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HifiMAN HE-6 Planar Magnetic Headphone - Page 370

post #5536 of 14874
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadphoneAddict View Post

 

Well, if you go back you'll recall that I did post that the SR-009 and KGBH are better in several areas, but switching from that $8000 combo to a $4000 HE-6/ZDT combo doesn't make the HE-6 sound bad, just not as good (my ZDT has $ upgrades). While doubling the price doesn't give 2x better sound, it does give me better sound than any other headphone rig that I've tried/owned.  

 

On the other hand, for half as much money I'd be perfectly satisfied with the HE-6 rig if I couldn't afford better.  The contrast of switching from 009 to the HE-6 (or O2 Mk1/HE-60/HD800) after acclimating to the 009 isn't as dramatic as switching from SR-009 to something like HE-500, LCD-2 r1 or HD600. Switching down to the HF-2 is an even bigger "Yikes!"  

 

<snip>

 

Well, if your talking about bang for your buck, my 009/727 combo cost me about 6K new. What about your WES, I would think that the WES and SR-009's cost you over 10K "Yikes!!!". Anyway for about 2K you can upgrade to what many think are among the best headphones and a great amp that are being made now, from a ZDT (with stock tubes) that some say is under powered for the HE6's. Matter of fact add in the cost of your tube upgrades for your ZDT and the gap starts to narrow, becoming less and less.

 

Also you seem to suggest that the WA6 can properly power the HE6's, my experience with my max WA6SE was that in no way could it properly power my HE6's.   

post #5537 of 14874
Quote:
Originally Posted by elwappo99 View Post

 

I was agreeing :) 

 

Interesting tangent for my curiosity: have you ever gotten the LCD-2 to sound as open as the HE-6, given the right tubes? That was one of my big problems with it. It just never sounded as open as the HE-6. 

 

Okay, I misunderstood.  As for LCD-2, I have not gotten them to sound as open as the HE-6 with tube rolling, but the DACmini does seem to open them up, as does the Sylvania VT-231/Sophia Princess 274b combo with the WA6.  With my ZDT amp I found the $99 Sylvania Gold Pin 5751 and $200 partial silver transformer upgrade really helped.  I actually sent the ZDT back to Craig to have it modded to work better with the LCD-2, and it got better with everything.  I usually listen to the ZDT and HE-6 with the volume pot around 1-2 o'clock at fairly moderate volume levels, where max'd 5 o'clock is about 3-4 db louder without any clipping but louder than I like.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sillysally View Post

 

Well, if your talking about bang for your buck, my 009/727 combo cost me about 6K new. What about your WES, I would think that the WES and SR-009's cost you over 10K "Yikes!!!". Anyway for about 2K you can upgrade to what many think are among the best headphones and a great amp that are being made now, from a ZDT (with stock tubes) that some say is under powered for the HE6's. Matter of fact add in the cost of your tube upgrades for your ZDT and the gap starts to narrow, becoming less and less.

 

Also you seem to suggest that the WA6 can properly power the HE6's, my experience with my max WA6SE was that in no way could it properly power my HE6's.   

 

Admittedly, yes the SR-009 with my less expensive DIY KGSS ($6,500 combo) still beats the HE-6/ZDT ($4K after upgrades).  But those on a budget can have the $2,900 HE-6/EF6 combo for half the cost of our SR-009 rigs.  And $3K is still a lot of money, when most people here are under $1000 for source, amp and phones.  So, it's easy to say "for only $2K more..." but doing it is another story ;-)

 

I did spend $300 on upgrades for the ZDT, and it's got just enough power for HE-6 (or K1000) although they clearly benefit from more power.  But even the lower powered EF5 or SR-71b amp in balanced mode can sound very good with HE-6 at low to normal volumes.  In contrast, the WA6 is not optimal with the HE-6 at any volume, and while it can play the HE-6 to decent volumes they are lacking in impact and life with the WA6 (about 1/2 watt at 50 ohm). The WA6 brings the HE-6 down to the level of my AKG K240M - not bad and very detailed, but not a whole lot of fun to spend time with.

 

Craig at EC says the ZDT does 3 watts at 32 ohm (despite 8-watt at 8 ohm), although he didn't have a power figure for 50 ohms.  It clearly isn't giving a full 5 watts at 50 ohm that the EF6 offers.  The EF6 is pretty good, with the main difference from ZDT being slightly punchier bass, 3-4db of extra headroom, a little more forward soundstage, and a slightly more aggressive and energetic nature.  It's not quite as refined and spacious as the ZDT amp which also sounds slightly more laid back with the HE-6.  But for half the cost the EF6 is impressive.

 

The SR-009 are easy to drive with just about any stat amp, and I even liked the 009 via the eXStatA and HEV70 amps.  I was less impressed with the 009 out of a transformer with speaker amp (WEE or SRD-7 Pro).  So I can't see putting together a "budget" SR-009 rig for less than $6K.  But the HE-6 can be driven nicely from my $150 Marantz 2240 vintage amp, so there you have a very decent $1500 rig.

post #5538 of 14874
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadphoneAddict View Post

  But the HE-6 can be driven nicely from my $150 Marantz 2240 vintage amp, so there you have a very decent $1500 rig.

<snip>

 

This being the case with a good vintage amp, and I would agree with you because I have a nice vintage SS amp also. 

 

What is the point on buying a WA/EC/RS or what ever dynamic amp, when a good vintage amp will do as well if not even better. As you and many others seen to like how a vintage SS amp sounds with dynamic headphones sounds. 

post #5539 of 14874
Quote:
Originally Posted by sillysally View Post

 

This being the case with a good vintage amp, and I would agree with you because I have a nice vintage SS amp also. 

 

What is the point on buying a WA/EC/RS or what ever dynamic amp, when a good vintage amp will do as well if not even better. As you and many others seen to like how a vintage SS amp sounds with dynamic headphones sounds. 

 

Reliability & flexibility come to mind.

post #5540 of 14874
Quote:
Originally Posted by gurus View Post

I  listened to the Stax SR-009 and it definitely lacked the dynamics of my HE-6/Marantz 84D combo and also there was no contest in favor of the HE-6 in the treble in direct comparison.  That left me quite a bit disappointed. Was expecting more  as I have owned different models of Stax since the 80s including several pairs of  Stax SR-007s.

 

Maybe my definition of dynamics is off but, what do you mean it lacked dynamics?  I figure dynamics means the range AND ability to move from extremely low level sounds & detail to the "peaks."  

 

Just by virtue of a thinner, faster, more resolving diaphragm, the SR-009 reaches lower to extract more low-level detail than the HE-6, so wouldn't that automatically give it a edge on dynamics?  In visual form:

 

Dynamics

SR-009 - Low level detail <-------------------------------------------------> Peaks

HE-6 -     Low level detail <xxxxxxxx---------------------------------------> Peaks

 

I can understand what you're saying though, because every time I've tried the SR-007 MKI, MKII or MKII.5 on anything not named KGSSHV or BHSE, I've felt that it had somewhat compressed dynamics.

 

So maybe you're onto something, but to be honest I've never heard that issue on the SR-009.  

--

Another thing to keep in mind with ANY phone that is delicate in presentation, like HD800s, SR009s or any Stax for that matter, is that they are impossible to evaluate completely in meet conditions with ambient noise present.  The low level detail gets lost and bass response is almost completely sacrificed.  

 

My HD800s sometimes reach lower & hit harder than my LCD-2s, but I'd never be able to tell you that if I didn't own them.  And we know bass response contributes to tone, so even though I've been very tempted to call the SR-007 & SR-009 "thin" whenever I've heard them at meets, I have resisted.  (Based on my experience with the HD800s and b/c I've spent time with them at friends' places.)  

 

[You may not have heard what you did at a meet, but I'm just pointing this out anyway for everyone's benefit, since it's so rarely pointed out on head-fi.]

post #5541 of 14874
Quote:
Originally Posted by nigeljames View Post

 

Reliability & flexibility come to mind.

That makes no sense, the to headphone amps you have are not very powerful. So for your HE6's you have no flexibility, just two under powered amp's. My WA5LE with my very powerful tubes I have in it, has barely enough power to properly power my HE6's, and the same goes for my Liquid Fire.

 

That said, I should be clear on one point. That is, I am not a big fan of vintage amps, but Larry and I are talking about bang for your buck. 

post #5542 of 14874
Quote:
Originally Posted by sillysally View Post

That makes no sense, the to headphone amps you have are not very powerful. So for your HE6's you have no flexibility, just two under powered amp's. My WA5LE with my very powerful tubes I have in it, has barely enough power to properly power my HE6's, and the same goes for my Liquid Fire.

 

That said, I should be clear on one point. That is, I am not a big fan of vintage amps, but Larry and I are talking about bang for your buck. 

 

Personally I think your statement is pure hogwash!!

 

The Master-6 underpowered? you have got to on drugs if you think that. I only go to max volume 40 out of 70 (with low level recordings) and at that level the HE6's are extremely loud, powerful and dynamic.

 

As regards flexibility I meant the flexibility to run different type of headphones on one amp. Receivers are not recommended for high impedance phones, easy to drive phones, very low impedance phones or IEM's.

I have tried all but an IEM and it runs them superbly.

 

Its your amps you have mentioned that do not have the power to do the HE6's justice. I believe the Liquid Fire has more power than your Woo but just 4watts into 32 ohms. So that is what? 3 watts into 50 ohms whereas the Master-6 has 7 watts a 233% increase!!!

 

I do agree that bang for buck is better with vintage amps BUT only if you have the headphones that the vintage amp works well with which as I have mentioned most will not.


Edited by nigeljames - 6/7/12 at 6:33am
post #5543 of 14874

I'm scratching my head over that statement as well. The master 6 is almost twice as powerful as the liquid power. Never heard the master 6, but I listen to the liquid fire quiet a few times. It's one of the finest headphone amps I've ever listened to, but it seriously lacks the power to properly drive the he6. And I seriously hope he's still not using his experience with the sx650 to judge all vintage receivers/amps. Because although it sounds very good for what it is, there are about 6 receivers above the sx650 all the way up the the monster sx1980(that cost 2-3 grand itself). And that's just from pioneer. You still have vintage amps and receivers that can fetch several thousands. So I know at one time his comments were based solely on that experience of something that can be had for 30-50.00. So I wouldn't even bother debating him. Especially with the comment about your amp not being powerful enough when yours is actually way more powerful than his. Probably won't sound as good with headphones outside of the he6, but it's definitely more capable of driving the he6.

post #5544 of 14874
Quote:
Originally Posted by moodyrn View Post

I'm scratching my head over that statement as well. The master 6 is almost twice as powerful as the liquid power. Never heard the master 6, but I listen to the liquid fire quiet a few times. It's one of the finest headphone amps I've ever listened to, but it seriously lacks the power to properly drive the he6. And I seriously hope he's still not using his experience with the sx650 to judge all vintage receivers/amps. Because although it sounds very good for what it is, there are about 6 receivers above the sx650 all the way up the the monster sx1980(that cost 2-3 grand itself). And that's just from pioneer. You still have vintage amps and receivers that can fetch several thousands. So I know at one time his comments were based solely on that experience of something that can be had for 30-50.00. So I wouldn't even bother debating him. Especially with the comment about your amp not being powerful enough when yours is actually way more powerful than his. Probably won't sound as good with headphones outside of the he6, but it's definitely more capable of driving the he6.

 

Yes I will admit that I was surprised by Sillysally's comments. Even Hifiman's own EF-6, designed solely for the HE-6 by the makers of the HE-6, only gives out 5 watts which is generally assumed to be the minimun the HE-6's need.

 

I have never heard the Liquid Fire, would love to one day, but I would not right of the Master-6 in a direct SQ comparison. Don't forget the Master-6 would probably cost between $2500 - $3000 if made in US or EU so it would be price competitive. It does sound stunning driving my LCD's and also the T1's and they are not even balanced! Although it should be noted that I also have an Audio-gd DAC so synergy would be spot on.

post #5545 of 14874
Quote:
Originally Posted by sphinxvc View Post

 

Maybe my definition of dynamics is off but, what do you mean it lacked dynamics?  I figure dynamics means the range AND ability to move from extremely low level sounds & detail to the "peaks."  

 

Just by virtue of a thinner, faster, more resolving diaphragm, the SR-009 reaches lower to extract more low-level detail than the HE-6, so wouldn't that automatically give it a edge on dynamics?  In visual form:

 

Dynamics

SR-009 - Low level detail <-------------------------------------------------> Peaks

HE-6 -     Low level detail <xxxxxxxx---------------------------------------> Peaks

 

I can understand what you're saying though, because every time I've tried the SR-007 MKI, MKII or MKII.5 on anything not named KGSSHV or BHSE, I've felt that it had somewhat compressed dynamics.

 

So maybe you're onto something, but to be honest I've never heard that issue on the SR-009.  

--

Another thing to keep in mind with ANY phone that is delicate in presentation, like HD800s, SR009s or any Stax for that matter, is that they are impossible to evaluate completely in meet conditions with ambient noise present.  The low level detail gets lost and bass response is almost completely sacrificed.  

 

My HD800s sometimes reach lower & hit harder than my LCD-2s, but I'd never be able to tell you that if I didn't own them.  And we know bass response contributes to tone, so even though I've been very tempted to call the SR-007 & SR-009 "thin" whenever I've heard them at meets, I have resisted.  (Based on my experience with the HD800s and b/c I've spent time with them at friends' places.)  

 

[You may not have heard what you did at a meet, but I'm just pointing this out anyway for everyone's benefit, since it's so rarely pointed out on head-fi.]


What you are missing here is that the amps (which you have alluded to) to drive the Stax might contribute to the lack of dynamics (range) even tho the Stax might have an edge over the HE-6 technically. Even tho it was meet conditions, it was more like a private meet with very few in attendance. Besides the lack of dynamics  in comparison to the HE-6  was confirmed by the owner of the SR-009.

 

Having used Stax product extensively over the years ( I had their very first unit of the STAX Class A amp  -DA-300 and I am still using Stax Litz speaker wire which was not imported commercially) and have had personally known the previous Stax distributor who introduced the product to North America, it was a well known fact in the 90s that the (Stax)  amps were the bottleneck and they did not do enough justice to the Stax headphones. Case in point  was the general criticism of their TOTL Sr-007T amp for using the wrong tubes and having no headroom (running out of juice) to then drive the SR-007. I am glad other manufacturers have jumped into the arena to provide better amplification for the electrostatics, but I suspect are still not up to par to drive the Stax's to their full potential. Having owned Rudi's Egmont (maybe the first to own in NA) it still fell short when driving the SR-007s in that respect.

 

It has been well documented that the HE-6 is tough to drive and to find the right synergy with an good amp is very important, I think for the Stax it is tougher still as there are only a few (count under 5) electrostatic amps available commercially to drive the Stax earspeakers.(as they were initially called). Besides designing an electrostatic amp with those high voltages is a compromise due to the limited selection of parts available (read none). But that does not take  away from the fact that the Stax are one of the best if not the best HP's (all)  around.

post #5546 of 14874
Quote:
Originally Posted by nigeljames View Post

 

Yes I will admit that I was surprised by Sillysally's comments. Even Hifiman's own EF-6, designed solely for the HE-6 by the makers of the HE-6, only gives out 5 watts which is generally assumed to be the minimun the HE-6's need.

 

I have never heard the Liquid Fire, would love to one day, but I would not right of the Master-6 in a direct SQ comparison. Don't forget the Master-6 would probably cost between $2500 - $3000 if made in US or EU so it would be price competitive. It does sound stunning driving my LCD's and also the T1's and they are not even balanced! Although it should be noted that I also have an Audio-gd DAC so synergy would be spot on.

I've heard the LF and EF-6 back to back on HE-6's.  The LF can drive the HE-6 to satisfactory levels, IMO.  But overall, the LF has less clarity than the EF-6 when I heard them with either the HE-5 or HE-6's.


Edited by Face - 6/7/12 at 11:32am
post #5547 of 14874
Quote:
Originally Posted by nigeljames View Post

Yes I will admit that I was surprised by Sillysally's comments. Even Hifiman's own EF-6, designed solely for the HE-6 by the makers of the HE-6, only gives out 5 watts which is generally assumed to be the minimun the HE-6's need.

 

I have never heard the Liquid Fire, would love to one day, but I would not right of the Master-6 in a direct SQ comparison. Don't forget the Master-6 would probably cost between $2500 - $3000 if made in US or EU so it would be price competitive. It does sound stunning driving my LCD's and also the T1's and they are not even balanced! Although it should be noted that I also have an Audio-gd DAC so synergy would be spot on.

 

Not just the Liquid Fire, but his WA5LE is seriously under-powering the HE6 as well:

 

630mW @60Ω 1000mW @120Ω

 

The WA5 will do it though, through its K1000 port:

 

K1000 8W @120Ω

 

http://wooaudio.com/docs/wooaudio_amplifier_comparisons.pdf


Edited by grokit - 6/7/12 at 11:34am
post #5548 of 14874

Could be the amps certainly, that's why I caveated.  Lucky for Stax owners, the equation for chasing better sound mostly just comes down to how much voltage the amp supplies--if I'm not mistaken the KGSSHV & BH are the highest...not counting the elusive T2.  Not sure how much voltage that one dishes out.  I wish matching dynamic amps were that easy.  Random thoughts:

 

  • I heard the HE-6 & EF6 at a meet this weekend.  It was ok.

 

  • I can't begin to put into words the divide between the HE-500 & HE-6.  People have called them pretty close on head-fi--but to me the HE-6 is unequivocally a better phone.  

 

  • When my experiment with the LCD-2 ends (only one permutation left to try, LCD-2 + LCD-3 pads), I might trade it for an HE-6.  Still not sure if I want the headache and expense of getting a hi-power amp but I'll probably buy a hardware EQ for my HD800 anyway, might work perfect for the HE-6 too.
post #5549 of 14874
Quote:
Originally Posted by sphinxvc View Post


  • I can't begin to put into words the divide between the HE-500 & HE-6.  People have called them pretty close on head-fi--but to me the HE-6 is unequivocally a better phone.  

 

  • When my experiment with the LCD-2 ends (only one permutation left to try, LCD-2 + LCD-3 pads), I might trade it for an HE-6.  Still not sure if I want the headache and expense of getting a hi-power amp but I'll probably buy a hardware EQ for my HD800 anyway, might work perfect for the HE-6 too.

 

x2. The HE6 >> HE500 when fed properly. I hope all this talk of power doesn't mask the fact that these benefit greatly from quality power as well as a high-end source.

 

I also found the HE6 to scale higher than the LCD-2. Sold the latter.

post #5550 of 14874
Quote:
Originally Posted by sphinxvc View Post

  • I can't begin to put into words the divide between the HE-500 & HE-6.  People have called them pretty close on head-fi--but to me the HE-6 is unequivocally a better phone. 

The HE-6 has much better bass, treble and overall clarity. 

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