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HiFiman HE-500 (HE as in High End) Proving to be an enjoyable experience in listening. . - Page 884

post #13246 of 14176
I love lyr and bifrost uber with the 500s great pairing also have 6 watts loads of power
post #13247 of 14176

I had a few moments to directly compare the Bottlehead Mainline and S.E.X. amps driving the HE-500s this morning. Here are my quick impressions for those who are interested:

 

Mainline

 

  • More refined sound with a certain delicacy and texture to the mids that's not present with the S.E.X.
  • Seems to bring a slight emphasis to the treble that I find a little bit edgy at times (not that the treble itself is edgy, just that it seems to peak right where the HE-500s are already slightly peaky)
  • Soundstage more open and airy

 

S.E.X.

 

  • Smoother sound
  • More forward, creamy vocals
  • Lush and liquid sounding
  • Possibly slightly more bass presence and impact, but it's very, very subtle if at all and may depend on the output setting of the Mainline too

 

I think in the end, this is a question of preference. The Mainline is technically superior in it's reproduction, but the S.E.X. makes the HE-500s become everything that I bought them for - lush, liquid, engaging, but still detailed. If you were choosing one just to drive the HE-500s, I personally would highly recommend the S.E.X. as a bang-for-buck no-brainer. If you're looking for an amp that can also get the absolute most from flagship dynamic cans then I'd recommend the Mainline. Ideally of course, you could just buy both! :D

post #13248 of 14176
Interesting comparison, going by your description and for my tastes in sound and music (classical) I guess it would be the mainline for me. Funny how you describe the 500 as slightly peaky, to me they're not peaky at all, even with ss amps that have a brighter voicing.
post #13249 of 14176
Yeah, when I said peaky I was referring to the slight bump they have in the treble (see freq response measurements). I agree they're not a peaky headphone overall, but I was specifically buying them for an alternative to the T1s so I'm erring towards rolled off probably.
post #13250 of 14176

I see, I used to own the DT-880, very good value overall but I didn't care for their treble, tried the T1 in a store and decided it was just the Beyer 'house signature' which wasn't my thing.  Barring perhaps some electrostats one day (bank account shivers when contemplating an SR9 and bhse), for the foreseeable future my present headphones bring me all I could wish for.  Especially the 6 though it's a bear to drive well.

post #13251 of 14176
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xenophon View Post
 

I see, I used to own the DT-880, very good value overall but I didn't care for their treble, tried the T1 in a store and decided it was just the Beyer 'house signature' which wasn't my thing.  Barring perhaps some electrostats one day (bank account shivers when contemplating an SR9 and bhse), for the foreseeable future my present headphones bring me all I could wish for.  Especially the 6 though it's a bear to drive well.

 

Yeah, T1s definitely need the right chain and amp, but to my ears they're way ahead of the rest of the beyer range.

post #13252 of 14176

Thanks for your feedback on the Bottlehead amps as I was quite interested in both of these as an option. From your description they sound too euphonic tube-like that I would enjoy them. I guess the La Figaro 339 would be a nice option for tube amp with a more solid state like sound.

 

The HE-500 is definitely not peaky, though it does have a couple of dips in the upper midrange which you can pick up if you play a frequency sweep. If you want to redefine your views on peakiness go give a couple of Grado headphones a listen. It was difficult to enjoy the RS1i's after I got used to the HE-500s once you notice their peaky behaviour and colourations.


Edited by daerron - 4/4/14 at 1:48pm
post #13253 of 14176
Quote:
Originally Posted by Loquah View Post

 

S.E.X.

 

  • Smoother sound
  • More forward, creamy vocals
  • Lush and liquid sounding
  • Possibly slightly more bass presence and impact, but it's very, very subtle if at all and may depend on the output setting of the Mainline too

This is how I expected this kit to sound paired with the HE-500 based on other impressions and it's specs.  Being a SET fan, it's definitely one of the better values out there considering you can also doubles as a speaker amp for some near-field monitors and finding good matched tube pairs is pretty inexpensive.

post #13254 of 14176
Quote:
Originally Posted by daerron View Post
 

Thanks for your feedback on the Bottlehead amps as I was quite interested in both of these as an option. From your description they sound too euphonic tube-like that I would enjoy them. I guess the La Figaro 339 would be a nice option for tube amp with a more solid state like sound.

 

The HE-500 is definitely not peaky, though it does have a couple of dips in the upper midrange which you can pick up if you play a frequency sweep. If you want to redefine your views on peakiness go give a couple of Grado headphones a listen. It was difficult to enjoy the RS1i's after I got used to the HE-500s once you notice their peaky behaviour and colourations.

 

Sorry if my description was misleading. Those 2 Bottlehead amps are really not euphonic and the Mainline in particular is as accurate and detailed (i.e. not rolled off or euphonic) as any sold state amp I've tried thanks to significant power regulation ensuring very tight control over the performance of the tubes.

 

I have listened to many different Grados and beyers, both of which are significantly "peaky". The HE-500s are far from this, but do still have a little peak in the treble at 9k:

 

 

I really like the HE-500s so this isn't a criticism. My point was that I bought them for a lusher sound so I'm choosing to pair them accordingly. Is it less accurate and possibly not hearing them to their technical full potential? Probably, but I have the T1s for that... so long as we're all happy with our various setups, that's what matters.

post #13255 of 14176

Your description was extremely helpful and it's much appreciated.  Just finished reading your very comprehensive review of the mainline, congratulations!

post #13256 of 14176
post #13257 of 14176
Quote:
Originally Posted by inertianinja View Post
 

 

I switched the tubes for a different set entirely, and through 3 power cycles now (complete warm-up, cool-down) the issue hasn't happened.

 

I'm hesitant to keep switching tubes, since i'm entirely new to tube amps and I'm not sure how much swapping the sockets can take.

 

Glad to hear you're enjoying those HE-500 with the Lyr....excellent excellent synergy from what I remember.  That is one setup hard to beat for the $$.  You want to quit switching tubes?  IMO put endgame tubes that are more of an all around performer in the Lyr and listen to your heart's content.  I'd suggest Lorenz Stuggart 2 or 3 mica.....or Telefunken/Siemen cCA (big $$ though).....or also the the Amperex USN-CEP 6922's.  You won't need to roll any further IMO except for specifc tastes (trying to accentuate highs or bass etc....or a creamier sweeter tube like Mullard etc).  But yeah....with the ceramic base plate I'd doubt you can harm anything tube rolling for years continuously.  It's part of the fun with the Lyr.  Enjoy!

post #13258 of 14176
Quote:
Originally Posted by sensui123 View Post

 

Glad to hear you're enjoying those HE-500 with the Lyr....excellent excellent synergy from what I remember.  That is one setup hard to beat for the $$.  You want to quit switching tubes?  IMO put endgame tubes that are more of an all around performer in the Lyr and listen to your heart's content.  I'd suggest Lorenz Stuggart 2 or 3 mica.....or Telefunken/Siemen cCA (big $$ though).....or also the the Amperex USN-CEP 6922's.  You won't need to roll any further IMO except for specifc tastes (trying to accentuate highs or bass etc....or a creamier sweeter tube like Mullard etc).  But yeah....with the ceramic base plate I'd doubt you can harm anything tube rolling for years continuously.  It's part of the fun with the Lyr.  Enjoy!

 

The NOVIB socket savers from Tubemonger will let you roll to your heart's content.  I love mine, and not just because they raise the tubes.

 

After tons of reading and research, I find the tube rolling game to be buy-and-try.  If you really don't like how a pair sounds, or want to sell in order to finance a different pair, you can usually find a buyer.  You'll probably have to eat a small "rental" fee (that's how I think of it), but you can probably recoup most of the cost.

post #13259 of 14176

Agreed with the try and buy game. I ended up trying lots of tubes with the Project Sunrise 2 (which was a lot of fun btw), but sold most of those I didn't like which happened to be about 6/8. Imagining it is like drinking different types of wines which is great fun, but It can also be a bit maddening, thinking about which next great tube to try, or whether you are getting close to the max potential (is that new valve really endgame?)! It can feel a bit like trying to setup up a turntable when you are a newbie.. I must have messed around with the setup around a hundred times when I got a new cartridge for it, measuring the arc, alignment and VTA and then lots of head scratching when it doesn't sound right and then eventually realising its the stylus running in.. :p 

 

I guess that is one of the reasons why I prefer solid state in the end even though I do feel vinyl and tubes do have an edge, particularly when you hit a magic combination, it can be a really rewarding pursuit. With solid state what you is what is you get, especially once gear is burned in, it takes out the guesswork a bit, but also some of the fun away, but gives one more time to focus on the music!


Edited by daerron - 4/5/14 at 7:32pm
post #13260 of 14176

With me it's the other way around, I started out with a strong preference for SS gear but lately it's been my DV 337 tube amp that's been getting all the head-time with my HE-500 and HD-800 (not with the 6 as it lacks some power to drive them really well).  I'm hard to please, my ss amp is said to be among the most 'tube' sounding ones on the market and the DV is very neutral for a tube amp (depending also on the tubes used of course).  I auditioned a couple other tube amplifiers and don't really like those who sound overly 'tube-like' and get adjectives such as 'laid-back', 'syrupy', 'lush'. Also depends on the music of course but with classical I feel tubes do bring something extra to the table.

 

Have been rolling a load of 6AS7 and 6080 variants lately, together with the same pair of RCA 6SJ7WGT mesh plates.  Will do a complete write-up with pics in the appropriate thread once I'm done but generally I prefer the 6AS7 over the 6080 and -sad to say due to their insane pricing- at the moment the TungSol 5998 seem to rule the roost, power tube wise.  

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