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HE-5..initial musings - Page 13

post #181 of 1668
Quote:
Originally Posted by Silenced View Post
Well that is discouraging.... how am I supposed to trust the opinion of anybody on headfi... Some people must be old enough/rich enough to have heard the "best" discontinued and current production headphones? Right?
You weigh what you hear with your own ears against what other people say about the same model, then use that as a filter for future reference. The best thing you can do is to find someplace that doesn't charge a restocking fee who'll let you try headphones...if you don't have a local dealer, that is.
post #182 of 1668
Quote:
Originally Posted by achristilaw View Post
A word about impedance and Planars:

The impedance (resistance/reactance) is steady in most Planar designs and is a constant, independent of frequency.

Dynamic drivers have a stated impedance value but it's nominal (averaged). The actual impedance can very wildly form 3 to 3000 ohms for instant peaks as an example, (measured in time increments of nano or pico ex.) and are a more complex load for an amp.

An Ipod will see the HE-5 and say "I can do it" and does. BUT the crux of the matter is SENSITIVITY!

Sensitivity, is more the ability of how efficiently the (current in this case) is turned into loudness level. Planars are, across the board, not the most sensitive of creatures.

The Sennheiser 6XX family is Voltage friendly and loves a good Voltage source. The HD800 requires a bit of both. The era of the Planar is upon us and it is now the "current" generation.
As electrostatic drivers are also planar, and with modern headphones, more common than orthodynamic headphones, it isn't correct to say that they have a nearly resistive impedance. Orthos do, but 'stats have a capacitive impedance, so it varies greatly. Also, the impedance peaks in dynamic headphones are in the frequency domain, not time.

That said, this is a thread about the HE-5, so I should talk about that. Fang kindly loaned me a pair of these headphones a few weeks ago, and I have been enjoying them since that time. These are excellent sounding headphones, some of the best I have ever heard. They have a nice, smooth response, are quite fast, no serious peaks like it seems most dynamics have in the treble, and when well amped, have great bass. I found the bass a bit rolled off on my Millett Max, possibly due to the 470uf output caps and 25ohm impedance of the headphones. It is much better though with the l'espressivo I recently finished building. Basically, I am perfectly happy with the sound, and the only headphones I have heard which I prefer are some of the top Stax, namely my SR007mk1. Koss ESP950 is up there too, though I havnt heard mine recently as it developed noise in one channel as they seem so prone to doing.

The frame for the HE-5 looks nice and feels very solid. Maybe a little too solid, as it does weigh a bit heavily on the cranium, though I suspect much of this is due to the lack of clamp and the headband not being overly padded. Still, it isnt bad at all, and I have worn far worse. The pads are circumaural, and tall enough so that my ears do not hit anything, which is great. They are covered in a velor material which is nice, but I find them a bit more stiff than I would like. The cable is a 4 conductor braided unit, covered completely in heatshrink and terminated to a Neutrik NP3x-bag (my favorite 1/4" TRS connector) and a pair of rf connectors on the headphone side. I really like the connectors used, though I am not quite sure what they are (not standard SMA, maybe OS-50). The cable is a bit stiff, but doesnt lead to audible microphonics, so OK on that front. I really like everything else about the frame though, and find it comfortable enough to wear all day. Just minor tweaks I would make really.

The Head-Direct HE-5 is a very nice headphone, and I can honestly say I prefer it over any dynamic or vintage ortho I have owned or had on long term loan. Of the dynamics I have heard, only the HD800 may be competitive with it, though the only experience I have had with that was an hour alone in Tylls room at canjam the night before the meet started. I prefer it over the Fostex T50v1 and the dbel84 modded Audeze LCD1, which I have here as loaners right now, Yamaha YH-100 and HP1/2/3, NAD RP18, Fostex T20v2, Realistic Pro30, as well as a very wide range of dynamic headphones. I do prefer my Stax SR007mk1 in every respect, but that cost me double on the used market what the HE-5 goes for new, and requires more amplification to boot. While I dont own these HE-5, I am seriously considering it if I can scrounge the needed money together (likely from the pending sale of my ESP950).
post #183 of 1668
I sincerely hope that it outdoes all the flagships coming out at the moment. It would send a nice message to other manufactures .
post #184 of 1668
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrGreen View Post
I sincerely hope that it outdoes all the flagships coming out at the moment. It would send a nice message to other manufactures .
The same here!
post #185 of 1668
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cetoole View Post
As electrostatic drivers are also planar, and with modern headphones, more common than orthodynamic headphones, it isn't correct to say that they have a nearly resistive impedance. Orthos do, but 'stats have a capacitive impedance, so it varies greatly. Also, the impedance peaks in dynamic headphones are in the frequency domain, not time.

That said, this is a thread about the HE-5, so I should talk about that. Fang kindly loaned me a pair of these headphones a few weeks ago, and I have been enjoying them since that time. These are excellent sounding headphones, some of the best I have ever heard. They have a nice, smooth response, are quite fast, no serious peaks like it seems most dynamics have in the treble, and when well amped, have great bass. I found the bass a bit rolled off on my Millett Max, possibly due to the 470uf output caps and 25ohm impedance of the headphones. It is much better though with the l'espressivo I recently finished building. Basically, I am perfectly happy with the sound, and the only headphones I have heard which I prefer are some of the top Stax, namely my SR007mk1. Koss ESP950 is up there too, though I havnt heard mine recently as it developed noise in one channel as they seem so prone to doing.

The frame for the HE-5 looks nice and feels very solid. Maybe a little too solid, as it does weigh a bit heavily on the cranium, though I suspect much of this is due to the lack of clamp and the headband not being overly padded. Still, it isnt bad at all, and I have worn far worse. The pads are circumaural, and tall enough so that my ears do not hit anything, which is great. They are covered in a velor material which is nice, but I find them a bit more stiff than I would like. The cable is a 4 conductor braided unit, covered completely in heatshrink and terminated to a Neutrik NP3x-bag (my favorite 1/4" TRS connector) and a pair of rf connectors on the headphone side. I really like the connectors used, though I am not quite sure what they are (not standard SMA, maybe OS-50). The cable is a bit stiff, but doesnt lead to audible microphonics, so OK on that front. I really like everything else about the frame though, and find it comfortable enough to wear all day. Just minor tweaks I would make really.

The Head-Direct HE-5 is a very nice headphone, and I can honestly say I prefer it over any dynamic or vintage ortho I have owned or had on long term loan. Of the dynamics I have heard, only the HD800 may be competitive with it, though the only experience I have had with that was an hour alone in Tylls room at canjam the night before the meet started. I prefer it over the Fostex T50v1 and the dbel84 modded Audeze LCD1, which I have here as loaners right now, Yamaha YH-100 and HP1/2/3, NAD RP18, Fostex T20v2, Realistic Pro30, as well as a very wide range of dynamic headphones. I do prefer my Stax SR007mk1 in every respect, but that cost me double on the used market what the HE-5 goes for new, and requires more amplification to boot. While I dont own these HE-5, I am seriously considering it if I can scrounge the needed money together (likely from the pending sale of my ESP950).
Stats' aren't Iso Dynamic but Stater Charged from a powered grid and are therefore different critters. Yes the Planar is more inductive resistive (X/L) and the stat is a capacitive (X/C) form of resistance/reactance. The frequency domain is still metered time, using an O-scope I'm looking at amplitude and the duration in time of the peak occurrence, that has to be used in calculations. (ex.) X/L=2(pie)fL.
The "f" frequency is part of the equation. The frequency of the peaks are time measurements of duration. And the bobbin or voice coil of a dynamic driver has more in common with an inductor.

Everyone that has owned or spent time with the HE-5 has commented on that stock cable. It isn't well received..

Fang will have options and is working a different cable design as other members have reported. Myself and others have either enlisted cable builders or the DIY folks have taken the initiative and made their own configurations in a balanced format.

My frame creaks a little and I find the ear pads a little warmish. Minor nits actually considering the cost of the phone. They can romanticize from neutral on occasion and that is a form of coloration. Again Minor..and might be related directly to planar power consumption and it's tendencies on dynamic peaks.

And for the money spent, they offer a high degree of Fidelity (Truth). I have some nice balanced amps but I am working on a more powerful alternative and finalizing a trade deal for a First Watt (the F3 JFET model J2). I will pair it with the STS (Wyred for Sound) Preamp. Nice and quiet! MORE POWAH!
post #186 of 1668
the frame creak is the pads creaking just turn the pads a little and the creek is gone at least the creak was for me the pads. We need Leather pads NOW
post #187 of 1668
Leather pads will significantly change the sound. Elavating bass. And changing the characterisics of everyhing above there. There are lots of variables at play.
post #188 of 1668
its not how it sounds its how it looks ^_^
post #189 of 1668
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by momomo6789 View Post
its not how it sounds its how it looks ^_^
He's kidding...I think..
post #190 of 1668
maybe
post #191 of 1668
I think leather pads on these would be a bad idea - would probably bloat the bass too much.

The very bottom octave (20-40Hz) of these is definitely lower in level than the 40-80 Hz range, but the bass is still definitely ample without being bloated at all.
post #192 of 1668
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skylab View Post
The very bottom octave (20-40Hz) of these is definitely lower in level than the 40-80 Hz range, but the bass is still definitely ample without being bloated at all.
And it is most likely that these headphones would measure perfectly flat from 20 Hz to 200 Hz (wait, have not there been any measurements of them?). You would need a substantial boost in that area to perceive it as loud as say 1000Hz. ( Equal-loudness contour - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia ) And then it would probably obscure all these precious details, what a shame!
post #193 of 1668
Yeah - I know all about Fletcher-Munson. I should have been more specific - they have less bass in the 20-40 Hz range than my various 600 ohm Beyers, the DX1000, and the Senn HD800 did, IIRC.
post #194 of 1668

a voice from the lunatic fringe

I have been "one of them" for a while and have been advocating for vintage ortho's because that is all we had available. The new offerings from Head-Direct and Audeze have opened the playing field and I am pleased that they are top class players. It is clear that the HE5 is highly rated amongst the folk who have heard them, I am equally impressed but with some reserve.

Like Colin I have had the honour of hearing a selection of some of the best vintage ortho's available, as well as the high end stat / dynamic HP's and believe that I have a good "feel" for what these headphones are capable of. It is mostly subjective when all is said and done , what appeals to me is not the same as what would appeal to others.


Build - I love the look, one of the most aesthetically pleasing HP's imo. It has a good solid feel even though the little wood cap on the side of the headband fell off when I went to adjust them to fit - nothing a little contact glue didn't resolve. The pads are a little hard but like the AKG-K501, are surprisingly comfortable.

2 things that did dissapoint me a little:

1. the cable connector ( I actually like the small coax connector ) but the fact that the small housing inside the headphone projects 1/3 internally over the driver just makes no sense to me. This is akin to an undamped reflex dot sitting there scattering the backwave and pushing up the top end which probably explains that sibilant edge I was aware of while listening to them.

2. Why are these not damped? I listened to them for a while before making any conscious observations. I do think that these are great orthodynamics in stock form, but they are not perfect. I find the bass on the pair that I have here a little uncontrolled and the mids are projected more forward than I generally like. There were several times when I thought that the vintage ortho's represented certain nuances of the music with more "accuracy" and at the end of the session I was left with the feeling that the vintage ortho I was using for reference was faster. My conclusion was that the HE5 could be further improved with a little detail to improving the damping behind the driver (there is none).

edit:
I am a DIYr and am far too curious to leave things alone. I opened the HE5 and had a look at the driver. I am truly surprised these things sound as good as they do. It also explains why I was left with the feeling that the vintage ortho's were a little faster or more nuanced. The driver traces are 3mm thick and form a simple parallel maze. In comparison to the fine complexity of most of the vintage drivers as well as the audeze driver ( yes I opened the LCD1 too ), these are child's play. It also begs the question as to how the 30ohm impedance is being achieved as these traces will not generate enough resistance.


Regardless of my reservations, the sound is great and makes for a pleasurable listening experience. The soundstage on the HE5 is most impressive as it really throws a wide soundscape around you.

..dB
post #195 of 1668
3mm thick traces and no damping... yikes. Thanks for the in depth review and close look at the headphone construction.
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