Some impressions so far, had mine for for about 10 days now and roughly 80 hours use. Coming from a Shure 1840 as my previous headphone, using a magni/modi as my dac and amp.
Music used: light female pop-rock, male hard rock, neo-classical/heavy/power/speed metal, power ballads, Golden- Age Classic hip-hop and K-POP
In short why I wanted HE-500:
- to account for better bass presentation, I wasn't really sure whether or not the Shures is giving me the full presentation of a rock/metal band because I do feel it lacks a little bass feeling as it was my first real good headphone
- I was intrigued by the planar magnetic tech
- possibly giving a better neutral sound signature
What I have experienced so far:
- very cool bass, not overly bassy but good enough for a good feeling(note: a basshead at all) from the boom bap, works excellent for hip-hop because of this. I don't really feel any drastic improvements for rock/metal, I just hear the sub-bass a little better which does give a better, fuller prensentation...success
- mids are a little weird, hard to explain overall. I was on the leather pads for a bit as I felt them to be really comfy in the first try. Tried the velours, vocals didn't change much as they weren't as engaging and I agree as highlighted below.
- the changing of pads really does make a difference in terms of airyness, not sure about improving the soundstage but it did took away a cave-like feeling with the leather ones
- treble was nothing special imo, maybe it's even more neutral than the Shures? The difference isn't too drastic but I just didn't feel guitars(neo-classical and power metal) are as good on the HE-500 than the Shures. It just seems like the HE-500's treble doesn't compliment's the midrange as well as the Shures such as the instances of strong vocals along with quick-heavy guitar riffs(forgive me, I am terrible at explaining things as eloquently as others).
Overall, I like it.
So I have had my HE-500's for about a week now. I ordered them from Head-Direct and it all went very promptly.
I must admit I am struggling with them and trying to get a sound that I like. I am running them from a Bifrost/Asgard2 setup and I realize I am probably at the bottom end for what is required to power these.
The biggest issue I have is a lack of air and resolution. They have tons of dynamics, for instance listening to the new Depeche Mode album will blow you out of your chair and sounds great.
But I find male voices and midrange to be euphonic or unresolved and there is a big lack of air and resonance. For example classical piano sounds thick and thumping as if tonality has been traded for dynamics.
So if you have recommendations please post. I imagine many will mention the amp, and the only reason I didn't get the Lyr is that I thought it would be less resolving than the Asgard 2. I haven't compared them so I don't really know. One thing I did recently that was surprising is that I plugged the HE-500's straight into my Xonar Essence STX and I thought it sounded better than through the Asgard even though less dynamic. That was an unexpected surprise.
Velour pads, right?