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HE-5..initial musings - Page 34

post #496 of 1668
I don't mind a slight treble emphasis as long as it is extended and smooth with no peaks. Of course I prefer a flat frequency response if possible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skylab
The donuts actually had a bit more clarity than the HE-5, but this was at the expense of a pretty hot treble (which is funny, because the stock YH-100 have a badly subdued treble).
Yeah, the only thing that got me about the HE5 was a slightly unclear sound with a not fluid enough midrange. I am kind of spoiled in regards to fluidity by my electrostats, though. A stock YH100 definitely has a very subdued treble and overall muddy sound... seems like it was tuned a bit too far in the opposite direction but I assume it could be tuned back somewhat.
post #497 of 1668

Compilation of thoughts on the HE-5

Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadphoneAddict View Post
I previously mentioned that my maxed Woo WA6 (non-SE) can drive them nicely, as did a $299 HiFiMan EF1 amp at CanJam and RMAF (although the EF2 does not fare as well). And I noted that I can get decent sound out of an iBasso D4 portable USB DAC/amp when running it with a fresh 9v battery, although it still wont play loud enough (and don't even think about the D4 in 5v-only mode). The Nuforce uDAC also could not get to adequate volume levels at 5v only either.

But, the EF5 and SAC KH1000 amps really take them to new heights as far as power is concerned. They drive the HE-5 effortlessly. As far as sound quality, my Woo WA6 still sounds great vs the EF5, and it can play loudly. But you can hit max volume on the knob more easily with WA6, and be left wishing for another 2-3 dB of headroom (although there is no clipping), while that doesn't happen with the EF5 or SAC KH1000 amps. Still, the WA6 beats all the portable amps with the HE-5, although one with all the mods like my WA6 will cost 3x more than the EF5. So, then you have to consider bang-for-the-buck.
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadphoneAddict View Post
Most of my listening so far has been using the CD5001 > PS Audio DLIII > SAC via XLR and EF5 via RCA > HE-5 so I think they pair up well, and it sounds good with the DAC in 96K or 192K up-sampling. The Pico DAC-only also pairs well with the EF5.
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadphoneAddict View Post
I'm still burning in the HE-5 with the EF5, while the HD800 are in the basement rig with my ZDT amp, so I haven't been able to compare them yet.

They sound different from each other, with the HD800 being a little more spacious and aggressive sounding and the HE-5 being a little more laid back with more bass. So, I am not picking a winner yet, but I love both.
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadphoneAddict View Post
I think the soundstaging makes the HD800 better for classical, but the HE-5 catch up with jazz and acoustic, and maybe passes them up with rock music. I'm not decided with vocals and electronic yet.
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadphoneAddict View Post
Since davidmahler already has R10 (DO NOT SELL) then maybe the HE-5 would be just the ticket to complement them. I could probably also go without my HD800 once my Woo WES arrives, since I tend to prefer my O2 and Jade. My HD800 are very similar to my HE60 but with more bass and impact and an improved soundstage, but they have just a little bit of the etch that you get with a Stax Lambda series phone. The HE-5 adds to that bass impact while pulling the mids back a little, yet keeping all the detail of the HD800 without any etch; but it has a smaller soundstage (bigger than a Grado though). Only you can decide if the trade-off is worth it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadphoneAddict View Post
I think we agree on all the other areas, based on what you and I both posted. I think the way that we feel about the aggressiveness may be me using the wrong terms.

I don't always thinks of aggressive as PRaT, and I agree the HE-5 have more PRaT. The HD800 upper mids reach out and grab you by the throat and say, "HEY look at all this detail, LOOK, isn't it wonderful!" And the HE-5 to me just seem to do it without making a big deal about it. The Mustard guys just eat it and enjoy it, but don't talk about it; the Grey Poupon guy wants you to know that's he's special enough to use it.
I spent a bit of time last night with the HE-5 vs the HD800 using my Apogee mini-DAC > ZDT and NAD C555 TT/Ortofon Blue, and the ZDT can drive both phones at the same time without a change in sound quality when listening to one and plugging in the other (HD800 via 4-pin XLR, HD-5 via 1/4" jack).

The HE-5 on the ZDT amp sound a lot better than they did at CanJam@RMAF, which I suspect might be because I am using the Apogee mini-DAC instead of PS Audio Digital Link III DAC. I also wonder if the ones at RMAF may have not been the production version like these, or maybe not broken in enough, I don't know. Regardless, they are now very well driven off the ZDT and the gap between the performance of the HD800 and HE-5 is noticeably smaller than it was at RMAF.

I am quite impressed with how well the HE-5 performance holds up to the HD800, and switching between the two phones did not make me feel that one was significantly superior or inferior to the other. Switching from those two phones to my APS V3 cabled RS-1 made the RS-1 seem compressed and thin in comparison. If the RS-1 are the first phones I put on for the day, they sound fantastic, but after listening the HD800 and HE-5 first, I can't enjoy my RS-1 nearly as much (or my HF-2 which sound more congested). The HE-5 soundstage is better than that of my APS V3 cabled RS-1, and does NOT sound especially tiny compared to the HD800 as some have been lead to believe. But the HE-5 soundstage is indeed less expansive or immersive than the HD800, and the sense of the concert hall is better appreciated with the HD800.

However, the HE-5 just play the music effortlessly, without ever sounding strained or incapable, and don't leave me wishing for more or less bass, mids or treble. They are nice and punchy, but not in your face or recessed sounding. If I didn't have the HD800 then the HE-5 would be my best open dynamic headphone, and it's the best orthodynamic headphone I have heard so far (many stock and modded orthos have graced my ears at various meets and I have owned 4 pairs myself). The HE-5 and HD800 are the closest dynamic headphones to my electrostatics, with the HD800 being closer to the HE60 (with more bass) and the HE-5 being more similar to the O2 Mk1 (with better treble, but similar narrower but well defined soundstage).

When I was importing, editing and cleaning up some LP needledrop recordings via GEMsound PL-USB phono stage A/D converter (Audacity and SoundSoap) I used the HE-5 to monitor the recording process. I was cleaning up the pop/crackle/surface noise and adjusting the sound EQ, and I got some good results that still sounded right with my other headphones. The HE-5 were also decently driven by the headphone out of the GEMsound PL-USB A/D box, but they wont play off the GEMsound as loudly as the WA6, let alone the more powerful ZDT, EF5 or SAC amps. The nice thing is when the HE-5 are driven off an underpowered amp it doesn't seem to hurt the sound quality, only the volume levels. The 3MOVE and D4 in 9v mode both seem to have adequate power to drive the HE-5 to louder than normal listening levels.

My only complaint is that the velour earpads have not softened up yet to form to my head shape better yet, but they've only had about 20 hours of head time out of the 200 hours of burn-in.
post #498 of 1668
Here's a question I don't think I've read any comments about yet - how forgiving are the HE-5 of less-than-ideal source material? Does poorly recorded stuff sound like crap?

Also, it would be nice to know if the production HE-5 is actually different from the one we heard at RMAF in a way that makes it easier to drive - I would be more likely to buy one if this were true.
post #499 of 1668
Quote:
Originally Posted by AmanGeorge View Post
Here's a question I don't think I've read any comments about yet - how forgiving are the HE-5 of less-than-ideal source material? Does poorly recorded stuff sound like crap?

Also, it would be nice to know if the production HE-5 is actually different from the one we heard at RMAF in a way that makes it easier to drive - I would be more likely to buy one if this were true.
I don't think the HE-5 makes bad recordings worse, but it doesn't sugar coat them either. Bad is bad, and I tend to stay away. However, 256K MP3 are not bad if the mastering was good, so you don't need to stick with only lossless or audiophile recordings to enjoy them. And, for example, I can listen to some of my sibilant recordings (Diana Krall, Eva Cassidy, Kathleen Edwards) with the HE-5 and it does not make them unbearable or worse.
post #500 of 1668
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadphoneAddict View Post
I can listen to some of my sibilant recordings (Diana Krall, Eva Cassidy, Kathleen Edwards) with the HE-5 and it does not make them unbearable or worse.
Whereas other 'phones in your collection do?
post #501 of 1668
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadphoneAddict View Post
And, for example, I can listen to some of my sibilant recordings (Diana Krall, Eva Cassidy, Kathleen Edwards) with the HE-5 and it does not make them unbearable or worse.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AmanGeorge View Post
Whereas other 'phones in your collection do?
Off the top of my head I'd say sometimes the HD800, RS-1, or UE 11Pro can exacerbate sibilance (sometimes the Nuforce UF-30). The Phonak Audeo PFE did it often but mostly with the grey filters, as did the HFI-780 with the stock cable. And the Denon C700 unless I use the Complys T400 tips.
post #502 of 1668
Is there anyboby know what the connector's type or part number of HE-5 is?
And can the Melos SHA gold drive the headphone well?

thanks, Lee
post #503 of 1668
Fang in including a spare set of connectors in every future order.
post #504 of 1668
Quote:
Originally Posted by tim3320070 View Post
Fang in including a spare set of connectors in every future order.
Thanks for the wonderful infromation and thanks Fang too.
post #505 of 1668

EF-5

Is the EF-5 likely to sound as good driving the HE-5 as a decent lowish-powered speaker amp? If not, would it mate well with other dynamic headphones?

The EF-5 seems good value- but only if it ends up getting used.
post #506 of 1668
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrainFood View Post
Is the EF-5 likely to sound as good driving the HE-5 as a decent lowish-powered speaker amp? If not, would it mate well with other dynamic headphones?

The EF-5 seems good value- but only if it ends up getting used.
Based on what I read in this thread, HE-5 can be driven off by many existing amps, just not well with the portable ones.

If you already got a decent desktop amp, I doubt u need to buy a dedicated power amp (low watt) or EF-5 for it.
post #507 of 1668
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post #508 of 1668
I doubt there is any kind of magic in the EF5 that makes it good for the HE5 and not good for anything else. In fact, I don't really understand all these statements about it being finicky with amplification or really hard to drive, other than the fact that it has such a low impedance for headphones.
post #509 of 1668
I agree - it doesn't seem very tricky to drive to me, either. I've had good success with just about every home amp I have tried, actually.
post #510 of 1668
Quote:
Originally Posted by mypasswordis View Post
I doubt there is any kind of magic in the HE5 that makes it good for the HE5 and not good for anything else. In fact, I don't really understand all these statements about it being finicky with amplification or really hard to drive, other than the fact that it has such a low impedance for headphones.
The ones I heard at RMAF clipped pretty noticeably on my amplifier when turned up to loud listening volumes - it didn't have these issues with any other headphone I plugged into it (including the K1000).

My guess is that something has changed between that version and this one to make them less of a bear.
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