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HE-5..initial musings - Page 108

post #1606 of 1668
Quote:
Originally Posted by FauDrei View Post
You mean - the short white twisted single ended cable that comes with HE-5 has 4 wires in it? Not 3?

This is strange, I could bet my HE-5 stock cable is 3-wire-braided from Y joint to Neutrik stereo plug...
I had spent a lots of time to figure out how many wires is in the plastic sheath until I disassembled the SE plug.

You will find there are two wires soldered on the ground pin.
post #1607 of 1668
Quote:
Originally Posted by mudhole View Post
I had spent a lots of time to figure out how many wires is in the plastic sheath until I disassembled the SE plug.

You will find there are two wires soldered on the ground pin.
Silly me!

And to think that I've looked at the cable, said "Nah... 3 braided wires..." and proceeded with new balanced cable production... It is as simple as unscrewing a stock Neutrik NP3X-B plug... realizing there really are 4 wires there, and replacing NP3X plug with NC4MXX XLR connector (some de-soldering and soldering included)...

Bah! Live and learn... Live and learn. Thanks Mudhole.
post #1608 of 1668
A potentially dumb question, but how do you know if a given amp would be able to drive these? Any way to figure it out without having the phones?
post #1609 of 1668
Quote:
Originally Posted by buz View Post
A potentially dumb question, but how do you know if a given amp would be able to drive these? Any way to figure it out without having the phones?
Loads of amps that will drive this, though it needs to be pretty powerful to drive that planar magnetic driver. No way of really telling beforehand though, apart from looking at the output power ratings - though tht isnt the be and end all of powering the cans. Best thing to do is take a look at what other cans people find work with a given amp, if it seems to do well with other hard to drive cans then I guess you could draw a parallel.

Simplest one to go for is the Hifiman Ef5, was designed with the HE-5 in mind to work together really well. Head direct have that combo deal right: Head-Direct.com | YUIN .

I personally got mine from the UK retailer here: AmpCity - The UK's headphone amp specialists - Head Direct HiFiMan HE-5 & EF5 combo - Headphones

Otherwise just aking around I guess. thats what these forums are for :atsmile
post #1610 of 1668
I was trying to avoid spending another 300USD on the EF-5, especially seeing that my recently ordered HA NG98 is not even here . I'm getting the impression that it is all around easier to just go for Denons (D2000 or D7000, the latter if I can get them for like 630 shipped to Switzerland). Ah well I also have an RX-700 (decidedly different class though) on its way across the big pond, so let's that may buy me some more time to figure out what I want
post #1611 of 1668
Update on my HE5 evolution: The Woo WA6SE proved to be ultimately inadequate in power for the HE5's. When the music got dense and dynamic I could usually hear the amp straining and distorting. OTOH, I did not hear the aggressiveness in the treble, nor the sibilance I am now hearing with an SS amp. The soundstage has improved a bit over time to more along the lines I recall hearing at the meet. I'd guess I have 100-200 hours on them by now. Can anyone reflect on their burn-in experiences (time vs how they changed)?

So I sold the Woo and am now using a Rockhopper B22 (3-board). The principal differences there are the B22 doesn't break a sweat driving them, and is ruthlessly revealing, with an already revealing headphone. Poor recordings have really no place to hide and are laid bare with all their jagged edges and flaws clear as day (not a good thing). The other edge of that sword is that they make you really appreciate the well-recorded stuff. The contrast in presentation between this and my former Woo is pretty stark - In relation to the Crisp, airy presentation of the B22, the WA6SE occurs a bit slow and mushy, albeit also more forgiving of the treble issue (it was a non-issue with the Woo). The aggressive treble that others spoke of is now there, as well as some sibilance with the B22. The details are great..this is a very revealing combination, but ultimately still a bit fatiguing for me because of the high-frequencies. Keep in mind that I listen to mostly acoustic music....vocals, jazz, blues, folk, alt-[fill in the blank], classical, early-music, and a bit of world music. Not much rock much of anything heavy. I will continue to leave the cans on 24/7 to break them in further. If they don't smooth out more I'll either return them (I'm still well within 30 days) or sell them, whichever nets less of a loss.
post #1612 of 1668
Jax, that is interesting you sold the Woo6SE considering that you really like vocals, jazz, acoustic music, etc. For me, that amp was really beautifully airy and articulate with those music genres, giving it a warms and depth that is hard to find in many SS amps. I also had the HE-5 at one point and found the Woo to be insufficient to drive (and pretty much most other amps are too). In the end I decided to get rid of the HE-5s instead of buying a new amp to satisfy headphone which I wasn't 100% happy with since I also found them very harsh and fatiguing to listen to...
post #1613 of 1668
Quote:
Originally Posted by monsieurguzel View Post
Jax, that is interesting you sold the Woo6SE considering that you really like vocals, jazz, acoustic music, etc. For me, that amp was really beautifully airy and articulate with those music genres, giving it a warms and depth that is hard to find in many SS amps. I also had the HE-5 at one point and found the Woo to be insufficient to drive (and pretty much most other amps are too). In the end I decided to get rid of the HE-5s instead of buying a new amp to satisfy headphone which I wasn't 100% happy with since I also found them very harsh and fatiguing to listen to...
Yes, that was a difficult decision to make, and perhaps not the best one, though certainly have no regrets. As I've confessed here and in other posts, I'm a speaker guy first and foremost, and have just been getting my feet wet in the headphone world, so everything is new and I am curious to hear what can be attained, and what different combinations sound like. In addition to loving the music genres I listed I would say I'm also a detail freak - I love resolution and soundstaging. At the first meet I attended recently the two headphones that really got me going were HD800's and the HE5's. They both occurred to me as very revealing cans, yet with very different presentations - the HD800's seemed more laid back and relaxed. I decided to go with the HE5's because they were more affordable and I really liked what I heard there. Unfortunately it was in the environment of a meet and was fairly limited in terms of what I listened to and for how long. I loved what the Woo could do with them, but when things got challenging it just ran out of steam. The B22 has plenty of steam left over and I most certainly find it more airy than the Woo. I tried the Woo with several different cans. In order of which I enjoyed the most: GS1K, W5000, K702 and HF2's. In that listening I never really thought the Woo sounded "tube-like" in that classic low-mid/upper bass boost way that I'd associate with that descriptor. I thought it was very neutral, yes, articulate, with very good soundstaging abilities. It is an excellent amp, no doubt. My initial impression of the b22 is that it is more airy, and has a bit more low-end energy. I'd give soundstaging to the Woo, while the actual sense of the instruments...er, the 'texture' of the music...where you can actually visualize the shape and size of the cello and the string vibrating...that kind of detail falls more in the realm of the B22. Since I've only heard the HE5's (and no other common headphone) with both amps I can't really comment beyond that, and would point out the differences are only with those cans. There is also the issue of fit and feel. My ears feel fatigued wearing the HE5's for even 30 minutes. I am very aware of the headphones on my ears. I wish they were more comfortable. I will have a pair of HD600's to compare to the HE5's next week, and I'm also going to try a different front end. Currently I'm using a TADAC 2008 (tube buffered). I'll try a MHDT Havana next week to see how much difference that makes. Given how revealing I sense this combination is, I believe that front-end changes will be pronounced. Thanks for your feedback.
post #1614 of 1668
Quote:
Originally Posted by buz View Post
I was trying to avoid spending another 300USD on the EF-5, especially seeing that my recently ordered HA NG98 is not even here . I'm getting the impression that it is all around easier to just go for Denons (D2000 or D7000, the latter if I can get them for like 630 shipped to Switzerland).
I have the HE-5/EF5 combo and love it. But if you have no interest in spending an extra $300 for a proper amp, then less-demanding headphones should be considered.
post #1615 of 1668
Well it's not so much that I can't spend the money it's more that I am unsure whether it is worth it (esp. as people tell me not to jump to the high end immediately)

How much bass impact does it really have (vs. a D5000, for example)?
post #1616 of 1668
Quote:
Originally Posted by buz View Post
Well it's not so much that I can't spend the money it's more that I am unsure whether it is worth it (esp. as people tell me not to jump to the high end immediately)

How much bass impact does it really have (vs. a D5000, for example)?
lol, $300 is strictly mid-fi around here for a desktop head amp, you can easily spend many times more than that. The EF5 was re-designed especially for an uncompromising set of hard-to-drive headphones. And it's not just power, many amps will drive them, but reportedly not very many have the particulars for good "sound synergy" with the HE-5s. And a couple of amps out there are probably even better with the HE-5s; but not in the $300 price range, no way.

As far as bass on the HE-5 goes, the impact to me is there when called for, like a well-tuned subwoofer that moves a LOT of air. There is great low-frequency detail, and the extension goes literally into subsonic levels. But if by impact you mean punchy to where it distracts you from the rest of the spectrum, then these are not impactful. The bass is not lacking by any means; it seems fast and relaxed at the same time, with great space and texture. But it never comes close to messing with the rest of the sound signature; it may be an orthodynamic thing.
post #1617 of 1668
Quote:
Originally Posted by jax View Post
Update on my HE5 evolution: The Woo WA6SE proved to be ultimately inadequate in power for the HE5's. When the music got dense and dynamic I could usually hear the amp straining and distorting. OTOH, I did not hear the aggressiveness in the treble, nor the sibilance I am now hearing with an SS amp. The soundstage has improved a bit over time to more along the lines I recall hearing at the meet. I'd guess I have 100-200 hours on them by now. Can anyone reflect on their burn-in experiences (time vs how they changed)?

So I sold the Woo and am now using a Rockhopper B22 (3-board). The principal differences there are the B22 doesn't break a sweat driving them, and is ruthlessly revealing, with an already revealing headphone. Poor recordings have really no place to hide and are laid bare with all their jagged edges and flaws clear as day (not a good thing). The other edge of that sword is that they make you really appreciate the well-recorded stuff. The contrast in presentation between this and my former Woo is pretty stark - In relation to the Crisp, airy presentation of the B22, the WA6SE occurs a bit slow and mushy, albeit also more forgiving of the treble issue (it was a non-issue with the Woo). The aggressive treble that others spoke of is now there, as well as some sibilance with the B22. The details are great..this is a very revealing combination, but ultimately still a bit fatiguing for me because of the high-frequencies. Keep in mind that I listen to mostly acoustic music....vocals, jazz, blues, folk, alt-[fill in the blank], classical, early-music, and a bit of world music. Not much rock much of anything heavy. I will continue to leave the cans on 24/7 to break them in further. If they don't smooth out more I'll either return them (I'm still well within 30 days) or sell them, whichever nets less of a loss.
My findings were the same on the WA6 (not the SE). It smoothed out the treble and gave a wetness/liquidity to the sound that resulted in a larger soundstage. However, I preferred the M^3 with the HE-5 because the bass was much better controlled and the sound more transparent. I liked the Havana DAC BTW so definitely give it a try to see if it helps the treble calm down some, but don't expect any miracles. I could never entirely get that slight treble emphasis to go away with anything short of a tubey-sounding tube amp but then it caused other problems (re above). Your amp is very transparent of its source so getting a forgiving DAC/transport would be a good idea.
post #1618 of 1668
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shahrose View Post
My findings were the same on the WA6 (not the SE). It smoothed out the treble and gave a wetness/liquidity to the sound that resulted in a larger soundstage. However, I preferred the M^3 with the HE-5 because the bass was much better controlled and the sound more transparent. I liked the Havana DAC BTW so definitely give it a try to see if it helps the treble calm down some, but don't expect any miracles. I could never entirely get that slight treble emphasis to go away with anything short of a tubey-sounding tube amp but then it caused other problems (re above). Your amp is very transparent of its source so getting a forgiving DAC/transport would be a good idea.
I agree the mids and treble of the WA6 with HE-5 are very nice. I get better bass, impact and power with the SS Nuforce HDP or SAC KH1000 with HE-5, but their highs become more brittle and the mids more dry (apogee mini-dac source is not at fault). With the EF5 the HE-5 sounds good in bass, mids, treble and power, but the EF5 doesn't have the more open soundstage of the WA6.

The two best amps I have tried with the HE-5 are my Sq Wave XL (that rat-fink Mikhail's creation which had the PSU die), and the EC ZDT which is much more expensive but certainly does the HE-5 justice (and it can do 2 watts into 32 ohms). As for source, I also agree it makes a difference; and if I grab the warmer less bright uDAC it seems to pair well with the HE-5 regardless of amp, at the expense of some depth of stage and detail vs the Apogee.

I am getting a spare HE-5 cable and will balance it, and I look forward to trying the HE-5 balanced with my Protector like Skylab tried and loved. In single ended mode on the Protector the HE-5 is a little bright with less impact and volume - likely because SE mode on the Protector is not as powerful as balanced. It's clearly better with HD600 balanced than SE, and HE-5 should be no different. Although it's still not as powerful balanced as the Sq Wave or ZDT, it beats all my other portable amps with them.
post #1619 of 1668
Being that I am a P-1/HE-5 lover, I wonder the 5's would fair with the newer P-1u (which is a lot less money, but still expensive)?

Also, the Headroom Desktop Amp (circa 2006) w/ dedicated P/S does a really nice job with them.
post #1620 of 1668
I have had my LD MK6+ for two weeks now. I didn't buy the newer MK8 SE because Sword Yang told me that MK6+ would be more suitable for low impedance cans than MK8 (He was not sure MK6+ would be power enough to drive HE5s neither,). I re-terminated the stock cable with a 4-pin XLR plug by myself. Now, I am very satisfied with the balanced setup. They really bring me to a new listenning level.

BTW, I have to say that I don't have any headfier friends around, so I cannot compare the MK6+ with other decent amps. Maybe some other good SS amps will drive the HE-5s to a much higher level which I haven't experienced, I don't know....

At 1:00 o'clock, the volume is comfortable for me, and the sibilance never bother me again no matter what kind of music I listenning. The tube amp makes the sound a little bit warmer so that the harshness is gone, but the air and details are a lot. I heard some new details from some my favorite records. The highs are clear, extended and sweet. The bass was tight but not so impacted and dry, I even can see the vibration of the drumhead. The quantity is between the K701 and HD650 which is perfect for me. The mids are smooth and textural , I can smell the sweet juice inside.

The part most impressed me is the placements and separation in the well defined soundstage. I can point out most of instruments without any hesitance. And finally it makes me understanding what is 3D sounds, it is not only the direction of the instruments but also the distance. The soundstage is much big than HD650s and smaller than K701's which i think is too large.


Anyway, now I am happy!
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