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post #1471 of 18030

Cross-posting here at someone's suggestion in the headphones forum.

 

 

So I'm looking to upgrade from my DT880s. I'd like to move away from the somewhat bright and analytical sound of the DT880s and get something with some more bottom end and maybe a little lushness. The HE-500 seems to fit the bill perfectly and its price is really good when compared to the other high-end headphones. I considered the T1 and HD800, but both those seem to err on the brighter side. I also need something that plays nice with a wide variety of music, and the HiFiman seem to be a better choice than either of those.

 

I'm thinking about pulling the trigger rather soon. Any thoughts?

post #1472 of 18030
Jump in it.
post #1473 of 18030

I would suggest that the drivers made by large companies such as Beyer, AKG,etc. are mostly machine made which causes uniform results. I do not think they have girls sitting there assembling them by hand. In the case of Hifiman, I suggest it is probably just the opposite. In China, especially a small manufacturer, such things are likely hand assembled and this would lead to a variation in the end product even if small. If you look at how the ortho driver is made I think some variation is unavoidable. I believe the same situation exist with Magnepan speakers which are basically the same technology. The real issue is the point at which the variation would effect the sound quality. Magnepan has long gotten that issue under control so that the variation is slight and arguably imperceptible.  I owned Magnepan speakers as my reference for many years and I bought the HE 500 looking for similar sound quality (which I got).

 

Impedance in and of itself is not necessarily going to cause a perceptable sound difference unless the channel balance is effected or the variation in impedance suggests a further mechanical problem. 


Edited by Chodi - 6/18/12 at 7:22pm
post #1474 of 18030

@evanft

 

My thoughts are that the he-500 is a headphone that can please most anyone.  To my ears it is a smooth and natural sound.  I would not call it analytical or overly bright or sibilant that's for sure even though it does a great job of bringing out details.  It does a good job of rolling off any harshness that you may have experienced from other phones.  I feel like with a poor source it can still do well, with the ability to power up with better gear.  I say I feel that way because I have not upgraded too much since I bought my HE-500.  

 

BUT~ within a weeks time my Decware Taboo should be finished and I have an MHDT Labs Havanah DAC coming in with multiple tubes for rolling on wednesday.  I'm very interested to see what kind of differences come with that gear.  I'm not really sure what to expect.  I'll be sure to post my impressions here and probably in the decware appreciation thread as well.  Was thinking of doing an official review of all my gear after a certain point.  Don't have a lot of time to write out the quality of review that I would like though.

post #1475 of 18030
Quote:
Originally Posted by Llloyd View Post

@evanft

 

My thoughts are that the he-500 is a headphone that can please most anyone.  To my ears it is a smooth and natural sound.  I would not call it analytical or overly bright or sibilant that's for sure even though it does a great job of bringing out details.  It does a good job of rolling off any harshness that you may have experienced from other phones.  I feel like with a poor source it can still do well, with the ability to power up with better gear.  I say I feel that way because I have not upgraded too much since I bought my HE-500.  

 

This is what I've been hearing from pretty much everybody. It seems like I'd be making the least number of compromises with this headphone. Some seem to do certain things better (the HD800 and soundstage, for example), but then you have to compromise on something else (the HD800 being too bright). The HE-500 seems to be pretty much great at everything while delivering a natural sound, as you said.

 

Also, it's only $700 shipped from Head Room with a 3 year warranty. You can't beat that.


Edited by evanft - 6/18/12 at 7:47pm
post #1476 of 18030
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chodi View Post

IImpedance in and of itself is not necessarily going to cause a perceptable sound difference unless the channel balance is effected or the variation in impedance suggests a further mechanical problem. 

 

I wish I had not auditioned the low impedance HE-500 which had worst SQ than mine. Then I would easily agree with you.

Variation in impedance suggests a variation of the one of the two 'drive' forces behind membrane movement (the other is the magnet). So it suggests an electromagnetic variation. Electromagnetic variation may easily lead to different SQ (and, also, as you said, channel imbalance or efficiency variations).

post #1477 of 18030
Quote:
Originally Posted by plin View Post

 

I wish I had not auditioned the low impedance HE-500 which had worst SQ than mine. Then I would easily agree with you.

Variation in impedance suggests a variation of the one of the two 'drive' forces behind membrane movement (the other is the magnet). So it suggests an electromagnetic variation. Electromagnetic variation may easily lead to different SQ (and, also, as you said, channel imbalance or efficiency variations).

 

I hope I can put your mind at ease with the following link http://www.transparentsound.com/measurements/Tomi_Engdahl.pdf There are so many factors involved in getting a true reading that I suspect the method used is not adequate for the task. If you read through that article and I quote: "The point is, the rated impedance IS NOT the same as the efficiency, nor is there any direct 

correlation between the two. Efficiency of a given direct radiator driver is determined by the 
following relationship"  
post #1478 of 18030
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chodi View Post

 

I hope I can put your mind at ease with the following link http://www.transparentsound.com/measurements/Tomi_Engdahl.pdf There are so many factors involved in getting a true reading that I suspect the method used is not adequate for the task. If you read through that article and I quote: "The point is, the rated impedance IS NOT the same as the efficiency, nor is there any direct 

correlation between the two. Efficiency of a given direct radiator driver is determined by the 
following relationship"  

 

Yes, you are quite right!
Indeed, different impedance does not necessary means different efficiency, but may lead to different sensitivity to amplifier voltage. 
You see, when we connected the two HE-500s in the same amp (an Audio GD 10ES), the difference in volume striked us immediately. This was because the one with half the impedance produced (with the same voltage on the amp’s output) double the power. The power efficiency of both the HPs was probably practically  the same, but the apparent voltage sensitivity was almost 3 dB different.
 
In any way, difference more than  25% of impedance between the two headphone drivers (given the efficiency remained the same) produces almost 1dB of difference in power and in sound level. This 1 dB will easily be perceived as channel imbalance.
 
 

Edited by plin - 6/19/12 at 6:43am
post #1479 of 18030
To add to the measurement pool:

My HE-500's measured 44.4 ohms on left and 44.2 ohms on right, through TRS plug, so well matched. This is an earlier set with thick Canare cord and single extra velour pad.

My HE-5LE's measured 50.8 ohms on both sides, so also well matched.
post #1480 of 18030

I believe you are correct that 25% is way out of range for manufacturing variance. In the case of the two samples you tested it is probable that one would be rated defective even by the manufacturer. Has anyone contacted Hifiman to request an explanation? To be honest the nominal impedance of 38 ohms stated by the factory probably would not hold up within more than plus or minus 10% over many samples. Even that might be too much to expect for a process that is completely hand assembled. This is, after all, a very small manufacturer. I wonder if samples of the LCD line would yield the same results? To me the real issue is the matching of the drivers within each sample. I can say that mine are so close that I cannot hear any imbalance. An easy test is to play a mono solo instrumental recording and the balance become very obvious. Here is a link to one I use which is well suited for this test: 

 

http://www.akg.com/mediendatenbank2/psfile/datei/55/guitar4055d1fb34f09.mp3

 

When you take stereo artifacts out of the loop it becomes easy to hear.

post #1481 of 18030

Yeah, I've emailed them. I'm waiting for a response right now.

post #1482 of 18030

i sent a message to nankai, dr. fang's username, couple of days ago but he must be busy.

 

i'm pretty certain the impedance load in itself will have negligible effect on the sound quality

but it may be indicative of a loose manufacturing process.  with lower impedance you'll probably

see a more sudden increase in volume increase with the turn of the dial; with higher impedance

like mine, it take more turn of the dial to get the same increase in volume, but as long as the

amp can provide enough juice it isn't an issue. as i've stated before, my he500 sounds fine

to my ears compared to the lcd2.2; they are neck and neck in SQ. the lcd2.2 has the upper

hand in bass impact and less sparkly highs, but the he500 has better bass texture and

the mids have better liquid-like characteristics and forward presence perfect for vocals.

post #1483 of 18030

I used the contact-us form on their website. They responded asking to see a copy of my receipt, but the reply to address gives a delivery failure message. Actually, these 4 addresses all get returned to me:

 

message@head-direct.com (the address that originally replied to my question)

customerservice@head-direct.com

technicalsupport@hifiman.com

technicalsupport@head-direct.com

 

 

The lady on the phone suggested I try phonesupport@head-direct.com, but head-direct@live.com also works. It was weird to receive a message from an address and then have my reply be undeliverable, but hopefully they'll get my messages to the phonesupport and @live.com addresses and be able to respond.

post #1484 of 18030

please keep us posted on your inquiry. i've contacted dr. fang many times in the past via private message

here on headfi and usually got a reply with 48 hrs. i'm not too concerned about the impedance

being out of spec actually. the sound is more than acceptable to me... but it is in the back of my thoughts

as long as your amp has the adequate power output it shouldn't be an issue. (at least not with planar

headphones/speakers)


Edited by takezo - 6/19/12 at 3:37pm
post #1485 of 18030

Purchased my HE-500 in February.  Came with the stock silver cable.  I prefer my a copper cable with the HE-500.  I tried both aftermarket silver and copper cables.

 

38.1 ohms left, 37.4 ohms left

 

To my ears both channels sound balanced but I always wanted an excuse to buy a multimeter biggrin.gif.  What's next now?  Bottlehead crack......wonder how that pairs with the HE-500.  A good Summertime newbie project.

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