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HE-5..initial musings

post #1 of 1668
Thread Starter 
I like these phones... (AND SORRY...NO CAMERA)

PHYSICAL: They have a natural, organic appearance that bespeaks of handwork. The Wood on my pair is gorgeous! Nice marbling!

The connectors are miniature "F" type connectors for the cables (think Cable T.V.) and attach easily. The Headband is a nice LEATHER with a hard gloss top and a suede bottom (very comfortable). One caveat is the amount of travel on the adjustment for a large Head. I have a Huge Mellon (the one size fit's all baseball cap..doesn't fit me), and the travel is all used up (on the bottom).

The good news that it's perfect for me, and the ear cups are nice and large and surround my average ear with clearance top and bottom.

The pads are stiff however and after three hours did start to conform to my head contours and are also comfortable.

The phone isn't light weight (I have heavier) but is well balanced and the weight isn't noticed.

SOUND: Initial use was from custom Transport/Dac coupled to a Balanced Dynalo (using single-ended outs).

A word about a generous amp supply...it's needed! Now I have had Planars in the speaker arsenal for twenty years consistently. The average impedance is a constant but the sensitivity mandates a good amp. And any good amp will see a friendly but stiff load.

The sound started to loosen and dynamics appeared after the first few hours.

More break-in will be beneficial of course...after a hundred hours or so the lil' panels will flex instantly on command!

They sound great...and for the money...they sound silly great! From a strummed up-right Bass to Vocal Harmony to the Mass Strings they deliver above average sound.

More impressions as they run-in at a later time.....but Head-Direct has a nice offering here.
post #2 of 1668
Thanks for the review of these interesting headphones. I look forward to reading more of your impressions after you've had them a while.
post #3 of 1668
Thread Starter 
They are affording more of an effortless quality to them now, the contrast of dynamic swings are handled better than with first turn-on.

And that's to be expected with more run-in. I swapped to the LaRocco dual mono a few moments ago. Just to let them set and simmer.

Detail without a peaky, or strident character is what I noticed most toward the end of the last listen. The LaRocco isn't warm yet but it's clear the HE-5 will demonstrate the qualities of the amp they are hooked to....I'll try some stout tubes tomorrow.
post #4 of 1668
How would you compare them to the HD800? (particularly balanced)
post #5 of 1668
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by runswithaliens View Post
Thanks for the review of these interesting headphones. I look forward to reading more of your impressions after you've had them a while.
Not a review per-say, just some early unformed opinions about the nature of the new beastie! I think the Iso-dynamic market is a viable one and would love companies like Magnepan to make a headphone! Wouldn't that be the Cat's Meow!!
post #6 of 1668
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by IPodPJ View Post
How would you compare them to the HD800? (particularly balanced)
Really Early to draw any comparisons in that regard. To this point while balanced, the spatial presentation...HD800, the instrumental interplay and layering...HD800, the Macro dynamic...HD800.

But that's for now!! Any experience with Planar designs (or stat) shows that the last half octave of bass and dynamic swings also being able to respond without blunting leading edge transients take time to unfold.

A month from know....maybe a more level playing field, for now let nature take it's course. But this phone is balanced fairly well top to bottom and you have to pinch yourself not to write anything without slobbering all over it and yourself.

It's damn good!
post #7 of 1668

HE-5 prudence

mine's been burning in for about 10 + hrs. since i received it yesterday.
it's my first planar headphone and so can't say where this fits in the
hierarchy of things but here are some of my initial impressions:

- sturdy and well constructed. slightly heavier than the denon d7000.
- clamp force is rather tight but loosens up after few hours.
- first 45min to an hour, the sound is good but muddy. uninspiring to say the least.
- but is soon followed by a dynamic, highly resolving, yet very very refined
sound. no mid bass bump like the d7000 but much more resolving and the
timbre is extremely well fleshed out. better than d7000 and gs1000 in that
department. the mids are quite refined but highly resolving. it reminds of
the mids of the hf-2 but much much more resolving and refined. i've never
heard billie holliday sound so rich and smooth. completely grain-free but crisp
and detail heaven... yet there's a very gentle characteristic about the mids...
the best i've heard so far. the highs are as extended as the gs1000 and
d7000 but incredible focus and control. no sibilance to be found, unless the
recording has it. very impressive highs. prudence is out of her shell!
- odd characteristics: maybe it has to do with planar technology, but it takes
at least 45 warm up for every session, up to this point, for it to sound its best.
it could just be my tube amp warming up too...
- definitely a keeper and a bargain, imo.

post #8 of 1668
What amp are you using to power that that baby?
post #9 of 1668
Thread Starter 
See if after 24 hrs. that your opinion doesn't mirror mine...

I'm hearing a smidgen of heaviness on the lowest bass notes...a little slowness that adds some overhang on the lowest notes of a Bass Viola or a Large Kettle Tympani. In a couple days I'll dig out some Organ recordings, that can be more of a tell all.

And the uppermost register of the Piano tinkles can be a bit hard..that's in absolute terms.

But they have another 6 days of burn to go (I have decided to let them simmer with healthy levels of playback for a week). This might focus the response in total. After that experiment with various drive amps, to elicit some more response checks.

Mostly....heavenly..I mean heavenly midband...vocals are a wonderful degree of tonality. Another item that is noteworthy is the Macro dynamics are reigned in. The dynamic is good...not great like the rest of playback.

All these things are minor and the overall playback quality is Grand, and better than most in this price range. If you have the power try one of the new orthos might be your cup o' joe. More feedback from me and others are welcome....
post #10 of 1668
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by moonboy403 View Post
What amp are you using to power that that baby?
I started with the single-ended output of a balanced Dynalo and later used the Headcode Dual-Mono. After some burn I'll roll out other monsters and put the feet to the fire.
post #11 of 1668
i'm using the wa6 and wa6SE... no distortion at low and high volumes.
tried using a 6sn7gt with an adapter but not enough current... distortion
when volume was raised...
went back to the other dual triodes with higher current draw and works
very fine. the wa6SE with the higher gain gives more punch and better
head-stage than the wa6 though.
post #12 of 1668
I'm still curious if the HE5 can be driven well by a speaker amp. Fang isn't responding to this particular question that I have.
post #13 of 1668
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by moonboy403 View Post
I'm still curious if the HE5 can be driven well by a speaker amp. Fang isn't responding to this particular question that I have.

Wire it up and go for it!! What do you have a Firstwatt?
post #14 of 1668
Quote:
Originally Posted by achristilaw View Post
See if after 24 hrs. that your opinion doesn't mirror mine...

I'm hearing a smidgen of heaviness on the lowest bass notes...a little slowness that adds some overhang on the lowest notes of a Bass Viola or a Large Kettle Tympani. In a couple days I'll dig out some Organ recordings that can be more of a tell all.

And the uppermost register of the Piano tinkles are a bit hard..that's in absolute terms.

But they have another 6 days of burn to go (I have decided to let them simmer with healthy levels of playback for a week). This might focus the response in total. After that experiment with various drive amps, to elicit some more response checks.

Mostly....heavenly..I mean heavenly midband...vocals are a wonderful degree of tonality. Another item that is noteworthy is the Macro dynamics are reigned in. The dynamic is good...not great like the rest of playback.

All these things are minor and the overall playback quality is Grand, and better than most in this price range. If you have the power try one of the new orthos might be your cup o' joe. More feedback from me and others are welcome....
the "heaviness" or "slow" attack is noticeable in the first hour of warm up...
not sure if it's the hp or my tube amp... but improves significantly there after.
there's a spring to the bass and even the lowest E on the piano is fleshed out
impressively. been listening to mussorgsky's pictures at an exhibition on piano
with these phones and is even better than the gs1000 with only 10+ hours
of burn-in. my wife thinks it carries the piano timbre more faithfully. not perfect
but better than my other phones. separation of notes, or in this case chords,
is outstanding, as well as the timbre.

comparatively, the dynamics are not as punchy as the d7000 but it may be
more or less the weakness of my tube amp in that department. but fortunately
for me, dynamics is lower in my priorities when it comes to playback quality.
post #15 of 1668
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by takezo View Post
i'm using the wa6 and wa6SE... no distortion at low and high volumes.
tried using a 6sn7gt with an adapter but not enough current... distortion
when volume was raised...
went back to the other dual triodes with higher current draw and works
very fine. the wa6SE with the higher gain gives more punch and better
head-stage than the wa6 though.

I'm going to try the WA6SE later on this guy. It needs juice..lots a juice buddy!

I'm afraid I might get similar results...tubes have a current max and a ceiling and when that is reached...flat spot in the power curve!
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