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HiFiman HE-500 (HE as in High End) Proving to be an enjoyable experience in listening. . - Page 38

post #556 of 18030

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Loevhagen View Post

Wise decision. The basic sound signature in a headphone is there, regardless of amps. Reading you impressions I also think you should try another headphone, instead of chasing margins with another amp.


Actually, I'm very pleased with the sound from the phones and setups I have now.  My recent experience with the HE-500's and the 007's and 507's has convinced me that the sound doesn't get much better than what I've got - only very minor differences - certainly not justifying their high cost, and special amp requirements, which add hundreds / thousands more to the cost.  The magic is in the "synergy" of the setups with the phones, and the tweaks.

 

Oh... I might experiment once more with the PS1000's (their signature would be consistent with my preferences)... but... likely not, since they're not so popular, and the resale market isn't as strong, and once again... there is the very real fact of "diminishing returns."  

 

So... unless... I'm willing to spend many thousands to try the high end Stax Stuff with the best amps (which I'm not)... I'm pretty sure I've reached the "pinnacle," though I might try a better SS amp, like the B22, or V200, just for fun with the phones I have.
 

 


Edited by Gradofan2 - 8/4/11 at 5:45pm
post #557 of 18030

 

Quote:
I find the sound of the bass to be anything but thick and syrupy, quite the opposite and the mids are clean and detailed. This is what I hear on a number of amps. I use the HE-6 cable. I also do not find them laid back but I hear a very good transient response and clean dynamics. I enjoy the HF-2 but the HE500, beside sounding more cohesive also throws a much larger soundstage.

I would have to agree with you.

post #558 of 18030

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by KingStyles View Post

 

I would have to agree with you.


Then you guys need to hear my other phones and setups... or... some good Stax phones and setups...
 

 

post #559 of 18030

I have heard a good stax setup and I didnt like it. Maybe someday I will hear a set I like.

post #560 of 18030
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gradofan2 View Post
Then you guys need to hear my other phones and setups... or... some good Stax phones and setups...


Really? I do not question what you hear. I have heard plenty and I know what I hear and it is as stated above. 

post #561 of 18030

Gradofan2. I'm with you on this one. I heard what you did but it wasn't as severe as you described it. The transients and attack (articulation of leading edge), as well as imaging/focus were not as good as the HD800, T1, HD650, or LCD-2. Mike at headfonia.com found the same thing as us.

 

I used them with the Dynahi, which has more power output and voltage swing than the Beta22 or Lyr. The general sound of the HE-500 is a bit on the thick, syrupy, smooth side, and nothing I did changed that (tube swap, amp, source, cable changes). The only thing I didn't try was to replace the stock Canare copper speaker cable with the HE-6 cable (SPC) or other silver, which I'm sure would mitigate some of the problems you're having.

 

In particular, there is a "bloom" in the lower midrange and upper-bass that can be pleasing on some recordings and a bit overwhelming on others. Apart from these things, I can list a whole range of positive points about the HE-500. I really liked them for what they did well (involving, liquid, upfront mids).

 


Edited by Shahrose - 8/4/11 at 9:57pm
post #562 of 18030
Thread Starter 

What type of music are you listening to? I don't mind exploring this but it is like we are listening to two different headphones. Mine compared to the HD650 walk away from them. I enjoy the 650's but the 500's are a level up, for me. Like I said though, I would like to know the music and compare more. 

post #563 of 18030
Quote:
Originally Posted by jamato8 View Post

What type of music are you listening to? I don't mind exploring this but it is like we are listening to two different headphones. Mine compared to the HD650 walk away from them. I enjoy the 650's but the 500's are a level up, for me. Like I said though, I would like to know the music and compare more. 


Pretty much every genre. I only listed the areas the HE-500 are not better than the HD650. In many regards, I think the HE-500 are better; higher resolution, less grain, more liquid, forgiving sound, more linear treble, larger sound images (but not as deep a soundstage as the 650s).

 

The weaknesses of the HE-500 I think are most noticeable in electronic music. It's tough to generalize though and you really have to compare to other high-end cans to realize.


Edited by Shahrose - 8/4/11 at 10:21pm
post #564 of 18030

I don't hear a thick syrupy sound, but I do find the HE-500 require a strong and stout amp to perform their best, despite their improved efficiency over the HE-6.  I really love the HE-500 on the ZDT vs the DACmini or EF-5, which is still pretty acceptable to me when using the RCA clear-top.  With the DACmini they're farthest from being thick and syrupy, and err slightly on the bright side.


Edited by HeadphoneAddict - 8/4/11 at 10:41pm
post #565 of 18030


Quote:

Originally Posted by Shahrose View Post

Gradofan2. I'm with you on this one. I heard what you did but it wasn't as severe as you described it. The transients and attack (articulation of leading edge), as well as imaging/focus were not as good as the HD800, T1, HD650, or LCD-2. Mike at headfonia.com found the same thing as us.

 

I used them with the Dynahi, which has more power output and voltage swing than the Beta22 or Lyr. The general sound of the HE-500 is a bit on the thick, syrupy, smooth side, and nothing I did changed that (tube swap, amp, source, cable changes). The only thing I didn't try was to replace the stock Canare copper speaker cable with the HE-6 cable (SPC) or other silver, which I'm sure would mitigate some of the problems you're having.

 

In particular, there is a "bloom" in the lower midrange and upper-bass that can be pleasing on some recordings and a bit overwhelming on others. Apart from these things, I can list a whole range of positive points about the HE-500. I really liked them for what they did well (involving, liquid, upfront mids).

 


You've described their sound precisely!

 

I would have thought it was my hearing, except my other phones don't reflect the same thick, syrupy sound - like listening through water, or oil.   My other phones have much sharper attacks, and clarity in the bass and lower mids.  The rest of their sound is pretty good - just very smooth - almost unnatural.  I would like them a lot, except for that excessive "bloom" that you note. 

 

And... it's interesting that you were driving them with a powerful, high current amp (I assume) - which should eliminate the under-amped issue.

 

I also don't think it makes any difference what type of music I was listening to (happened to be Jazz and acoustic).   
 

But... I find it amazing that others, apparently, don't notice this.  I wonder if there is some variance in the drivers from set to set.  Especially, since some report they sound fine with WA6 and WA6 SE amps, while they sound terrible with my WA6 SEm. 

 

Though, I found that the latest version of the EF5 just increases the "bloom" effect, quite a bit.  Which caused me to wonder if it might be reduced, or eliminated, with the right amp - if it can be increased by an amp.   But, your experience suggests maybe not.  Unless your amp doesn't output a lot of current, just lots of voltage - similar to OTL tube amps.

 

I did try the HE-6 OCC cable, which improved the resolution and clarity, but didn't eliminate the "bloom."  Perhaps, I should have tried a silver cable from HiFiMan.

 

I would be inclined to give them another try... if... I could be assured there was an amp that would eliminate it... that also... drives my other phones well (which eliminated the Lyr or speaker amp) - they don't sound so good that I could justify such an investment in both the phones and a dedicated amp, or a very expensive amp (again, diminishing returns, very much like the 007's when compared to my other phones).    


Edited by Gradofan2 - 8/5/11 at 4:07am
post #566 of 18030



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shahrose View Post

..I used them with the Dynahi, which has more power output and voltage swing than the Beta22 or Lyr. The general sound of the HE-500 is a bit on the thick, syrupy, smooth side, and nothing I did changed that (tube swap, amp, source, cable changes). ....

 

 



Just in case anyone reads anything into that wrt to the dynahi/b22.  The B22s performance is completely dependent on its gain setting, set up for 'power' (gain of 8) it will have roughly the same output power as the dynahi but will outperform it in slew rate and rise time (by a lot) which are much more important once you satisfy any requirement for current/voltage which is more than possible with the HE-500 at lower gain settings.

 

I do not find the HE-500 to be thick at all.  Compared to the Sennheisers (650 on down) of which I own all the ones that count, the 500 is more articulate, has a better sound stage, similar imaging, better bass, better midrange, better treble.  The 650 (with an Audio Art cable) arguably has better micro dyamics in some ways but not always.  When the 650s are pushed I feel that they are not as good as the HE-500 here either.  Compared to the LCD-2 the soundstage is better (less narrow) and it still has the edge in the midrange and treble where it counts as well as being just better balanced overall.  The LCD-2 (rev 1 and 2) have better bass for sure but almost to point of unbalancing the headphone.  There are a lot of tracks where I find the LCD-2 to be distractingly unbalanced, where I am looking for music I know should be there with more energy at the upper end but it ends up sounding a bit too diffuse and laid back for my taste.   Having said all that, this is really being picky. The HE-500 and LCD-2 are closer in overall performance than a lot of people would have you believe and the differences, while not subtle must be taken in context with the equipment, musical tastes, and to some extent age (hearing loss).  My father in law found the LCD-2 to be fun but the lack of treble energy really bothered him.  I tend to lean towards the HE-500 because of the overall balance but the LCD-2 rev 2 is much closer to the HE-500 than the rev 1 was. Fit, finish, etc.. taste aside, the HE-500 fits better, and is more comfortable aside from the silly cable placement, is just easier to use for long hours.  I really find myself wanting some blend of the two, the bass articulation/performance of the LCD-2 along with the more present midrange and better treble attack/energy of the HE-500.

 

The HE-500 seems to find some synergy with solid state or hybrid amps where the LCD-2, being easier to drive, does well on lower power tube amps, especially in the lower notes. 

 

just my 2c

(edited for pre-coffee speeeling mistakes)


Edited by earthling - 8/5/11 at 4:29am
post #567 of 18030

The only thing I found different than the above description was the "bloom" (thick, syrupy sound) in the bass and lower mids. 

 

Though, its unfortunate there is no way to assign a metric to such subjective descriptions, which necessarily make the differences sound much greater than they actually are.  They're actually very subtle differences, not dramatic differences.  I found the same thing with the 007's, and 507's, when compared to my other phones.  Which makes the point of "diminishing returns" so much more relevant - subtle improvements at a high price.


Edited by Gradofan2 - 8/5/11 at 4:41am
post #568 of 18030

Ive actually seen quite a few posts regarding that bass bloom quite a few pages back. Im not really sure what this bloom means. Is it similar to a frequency response peak? Or like a gradual hump? Or is it something different altogether? Because wouldnt a slight up in bass and low mids be beneficial to music like rock or jazz with prominent bass lines?

post #569 of 18030
Quote:
Originally Posted by earthling View Post


Just in case anyone reads anything into that wrt to the dynahi/b22.  The B22s performance is completely dependent on its gain setting, set up for 'power' (gain of 8) it will have roughly the same output power as the dynahi but will outperform it in slew rate and rise time (by a lot) which are much more important once you satisfy any requirement for current/voltage which is more than possible with the HE-500 at lower gain settings.

 

I do not find the HE-500 to be thick at all.  Compared to the Sennheisers (650 on down) of which I own all the ones that count, the 500 is more articulate, has a better sound stage, similar imaging, better bass, better midrange, better treble.  The 650 (with an Audio Art cable) arguably has better micro dyamics in some ways but not always.  When the 650s are pushed I feel that they are not as good as the HE-500 here either.  Compared to the LCD-2 the soundstage is better (less narrow) and it still has the edge in the midrange and treble where it counts as well as being just better balanced overall.  The LCD-2 (rev 1 and 2) have better bass for sure but almost to point of unbalancing the headphone.  There are a lot of tracks where I find the LCD-2 to be distractingly unbalanced, where I am looking for music I know should be there with more energy at the upper end but it ends up sounding a bit too diffuse and laid back for my taste.   Having said all that, this is really being picky. The HE-500 and LCD-2 are closer in overall performance than a lot of people would have you believe and the differences, while not subtle must be taken in context with the equipment, musical tastes, and to some extent age (hearing loss).  My father in law found the LCD-2 to be fun but the lack of treble energy really bothered him.  I tend to lean towards the HE-500 because of the overall balance but the LCD-2 rev 2 is much closer to the HE-500 than the rev 1 was. Fit, finish, etc.. taste aside, the HE-500 fits better, and is more comfortable aside from the silly cable placement, is just easier to use for long hours.  I really find myself wanting some blend of the two, the bass articulation/performance of the LCD-2 along with the more present midrange and better treble attack/energy of the HE-500.

 

The HE-500 seems to find some synergy with solid state or hybrid amps where the LCD-2, being easier to drive, does well on lower power tube amps, especially in the lower notes. 

 

just my 2c

(edited for pre-coffee speeeling mistakes)

 

1) The thickness that I'm referring to is not a roll-off of the treble as you seem to suggest (though it was nice and smooth). It's a rounding off of the sound and a slight lack of control.

2) The above effect almost disappears when the HE-500 is the only can you listen to for a while. It's easy to get used to. It wasn't until I went back to my other headphones (dynamics mainly) that these things became apparent.

3) For further confirmation of what Gradofan2 and I are describing. Read here please: http://www.headfonia.com/hifiman-he-500-first-impression/

 

4) Thanks for the info, but the Dynahi comment was to just avoid any power requirement arguments which some people seem to obsess over these days whenever orthos are mentioned. It's interesting you mention rise time and slew rate, because to me it has nothing to do with the actual sound of the amps. The Dynahi to me is faster and more transparent.

5) As I mentioned in the very sentence you quoted. I tried different amps (2 others). The result was the same.

6) Hearing is great thankfully. I've been very careful in preserving it.

post #570 of 18030
Quote:
Originally Posted by justie View Post

Ive actually seen quite a few posts regarding that bass bloom quite a few pages back. Im not really sure what this bloom means. Is it similar to a frequency response peak? Or like a gradual hump? Or is it something different altogether? Because wouldnt a slight up in bass and low mids be beneficial to music like rock or jazz with prominent bass lines?



I would guess it's a gradual hump as it causes one bass note to blur with the next one causing a dulling effect. It can be pleasant but I find it robs too much from attack and transients (in bass area). 

 

Try this track, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3zIzy3laQck. I find it easier to pick out the individual fingers plucking of the banjo with the LCD2 while they sort of blur with the HE500. 

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