I'm next after Alex.. I can't wait.. I owned some good Orthos..Y100 & Technic 810, & heard a few others.. But never heard ortho on this level before.. I just hope they don't wipe the the floor with my NAGRA's too much..)
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HE-6 Loaner Program - Page 33
Gear mentioned in this thread:
Hey I sent you a pm, I am dropping off the list, so after you just send it to grokit. Thanks.
So as agreed with the conditions of Fang on this loaner program, I have kept these headphones for a week and will write my impressions on them during this time.
First of all, let me say that my current headphone line-up consists of solely the LCD-2 since I have gotten rid of all my other high end headphones in favor of this (HD800, T1, O2 MKII, HE-5...), meaning that I was able to tweak my system very well to create a synergy that I absolutely love with the LCD-2. My ICs, power cables, tubes, and headphone recable have all been recently upgrade and all created a sound that truly opened up the LCD-2s while still keeping their killer midrange and bass to die for. My system consists of PPP > iMac (Amarra v.2) > PWD > WA5
As mentioned previously by others, these headphones come in a nice and durable packaging which is probably not finalized. The construction of the headphone is exactly that of the HE-5LE except that the plastic is wrapped in some nice(ish) leather and the headband adjustment is wood instead of plastic. Overall they are a step up from the HE-5LE but they feel a lot more like $6-800 headphones from build quality. When taking off the ear pads, the construction and arrangements of magnets/diaphragm assembly seems exactly the same as the HE-5...so my guess is the HE-6 only has the gold diaphragm and some minor tweaks from what I can tell. The headphone connectors are also the same as the HE-5, which I am not a huge fan of since they don't secure as nicely and don't seem as durable as the mini-xlr cables of the LCD-2.
The fit on the is quite nice and they are relatively light and with less clamping force than the LCD-2. I prefer the headband of the LCD-2 due to the great padding on the head and the earpads are angled, resulting in a much better seal on the ears.
As you all know, the HE-6 probably have to be one of the most demanding headphones in terms of power. I played with connecting them through headyones jack, K1000 jack, and speaker taps. I got the best performance out of the speaker taps and the K1000 output, where the sound was a lot fuller than on the headphone jack. Despite my amp being a 10W per channel speaker amp, I still didn't feel that it had enough to fully drive the HE-6 properly, which is a little ridiculous. So at the end of the day, you really need to like you HE-6 and invest in a real speaker amp since none of your headphone amps, no matter how great, will drive them properly.
What really matters in the end is the sound of it all, and in that department, I would say that they on par with many top end headphones. Earlier this week I said that they sound more open and airy than the LCD-2, which I think is partly due to the absence of the thick bass and midrange that the LCD-2 excels in. To me, the HE-6 portrays the music in a leaner way than the LCD-2...all the frequencies of the spectrum are pretty similarly emphasized ecxept of a little extra treble. The only problem is that because they are airy, the music doesn't feel as engaging and head-bobbing to me, and to me the sound never feels as realistically portrayed as on the LCD-2. A lot of these problems mostly occur at low and medium level listening, while higher level listening becomes more engaging but quickly fatiguing due to the treble.
So in conclusion, I am glad I was able to try out these headphones for a week and get a better feel for them than at Canjam. When hearing them in the show setting I wasn't a huge fan of them...but was now able to appreciate them better on my own equipment. They have a lot of positive aspects such as a very even sound spectrum which sounds quite good with most musical genres. The detail retrieval is close to that of LCD-2 and HD800, and the soundstage is somewhere in between both headphones. Where I find them lacking is in their midrange, which feels slightly distant, and the bass which is nowhere near as satisfying as the LCD-2 (which goes very deep and had amazing decay). So because of these issues, I actually found me listening to my LCD-2 most of the time in the last week and almost forcing myself to try the HE-6 for the sake of the loaner program. They are great headphones and some might prefer them to the HD800 and LCD-2, but to my musical tastes, the LCD-2 is a very tough headphone to beat. If I were to price these based on construction and sound I would go between $900 and $1200 as a suitable price for these.
Edited by monsieurguzel - 9/6/10 at 4:57pm
Very nice indeed. Great job on the impressions and I just wish the east coast team gets their act together not a word where they are or impressions. I kind of thought that the HE6 because of its power restrictions would have a hard time up against the LCD2. Great job.
Yeah, I kind of find it a shame that they have such high power requirement since it will alienate pretty much all head-fiers out there with their existing headphone amps. I know that people build dedicated stat rigs just to listen to their Stax O2s, but there is much more of a following for Stax than for Hifiman in order to do such things.
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