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HiFiman HE-500 (HE as in High End) Proving to be an enjoyable experience in listening. . - Page 376

post #5626 of 18011

Also to reiterate on the whole "end-game concept/talk,"  my definition of end game is a headphone that I would be satisfied with and could enjoy with no problems for the rest of my life if a zombie apocalypse was to come and kill off everyone, and your headphone was the only one left. Kinda like how Tyll refers to his as a "desert island" headphone.

 

Every headphone has some flaws or there is an attribute that someone might not like personally. I have come across some people that don't upgrade to Stax because they aren't a big fan of it. So having said that, I try to find a headphone that doesn't piss me off. I'm sure every component of a sound can be improved. However my point is the difference between "I like it, it could be better, but okay" vs. "This is just annoying every time, really want this to change, deal breaker for the overall experience"

 

My rule has been to stick with a headphone until something about it starts annoying you. I don't go looking for upgrades usually until there is at least one aspect that is beyond tolerable. For example:

 

- Bose Triport (bright + barely any bass)

- Shure SRH 240 (boring as hell, also slow)

- KRK KNS 8400 (bass light)

- Denon AH-D2000 (mids were like plastic + not punchy enough for fast tracks)

- Hifiman HE-500 (centerstage meh, lack of depth and height)

- LCD-2 - ????

 

With all of these headphones, I enjoyed them for sometime, however after a few months over many sessions, the average sound properties become clear and you can find any consistent problems or aspects that you don't like. I found them for all of them except the LCD-2 so far. Although to be fair, I had the LCD-2 only for 5 months, whereas I had the HE-500 for a year. The soundstage got annoying near the end with HE-500 and I really needed that. It was starting to annoy me a bit, after switching over from LCD-2. On the other hand a lot of people don't like the LCD-2's treble. I can attest to the fact, that HE-500 has higher treble extension and better imaging, while the LCD-2 is rolled off. I kinds wanted the LCD-2 to have more treble at times, but it was by no means a deal breaker for me like how the no depth of HE-500 became. (On the flip side, I started to like LCD-2's rolled off approach).

 

I remember when I went from HE-500 to LCD-2 it felt a bit boring. After getting accustomed to LCD-2, I thought that the HE-500 was unnecessarily bright at times. Of course this is because I got used to a certain sound signature. Also the mids on LCD-2 will expose the HE-500's mids a bit. Especially the upper mids area going into the lower treble regions - much better done on the LCD-2. This is where a lot of headphones fall IMO. That is a very critical transition.

 

With LCD-2, I wanted some things differently, but at no point after getting used to it did something annoy me consistently. Who knows, maybe after more time. So I did end up breaking my own rule this one time, as I jumped to the LCD-3 without really finding anything unbearable on the LCD-2. However, in my defense I got a good deal biggrin.gif Also on the flip side, I don't have to worry about Stax or HD 800 for a long time, simply due to the LCD-3's price. Next step after this is to save up for a DAC (NAD M51 leading the way so far). Emotiva will have to do for an amp right now. I was getting excellent bass even at low volumes with both planars - a sign that your speakers/headphones are well powered.

 

As far as LCD-3's go. I'm looking for two things:

 

1) The ear pads - I want them to be at least as comfortable as the LCD-2 earpads, if not more. Surprisingly with the softer ear pads of LCD-3, I've read some people complain about the vacuum created due to the softness and that it hurtsblink.gif I'll have to see for myself.

 

2) The sound - I just want to like it for now. Not looking at value/performance/cost blah blah. I just want to like it for the time being. Also with improved DAC over time will make a difference as the LCD-3 have some scalability, so going for a future proof headphone. Let's see how many months it takes to get the sound down for this.

post #5627 of 18011
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoom25 View Post

Also to reiterate on the whole "end-game concept/talk,"  my definition of end game is a headphone that I would be satisfied with and could enjoy with no problems for the rest of my life if a zombie apocalypse was to come and kill off everyone, and your headphone was the only one left. Kinda like how Tyll refers to his as a "desert island" headphone.

 

Every headphone has some flaws or there is an attribute that someone might not like personally. I have come across some people that don't upgrade to Stax because they aren't a big fan of it. So having said that, I try to find a headphone that doesn't piss me off. I'm sure every component of a sound can be improved. However my point is the difference between "I like it, it could be better, but okay" vs. "This is just annoying every time, really want this to change, deal breaker for the overall experience"

 

My rule has been to stick with a headphone until something about it starts annoying you. I don't go looking for upgrades usually until there is at least one aspect that is beyond tolerable. For example:

 

- Bose Triport (bright + barely any bass)

- Shure SRH 240 (boring as hell, also slow)

- KRK KNS 8400 (bass light)

- Denon AH-D2000 (mids were like plastic + not punchy enough for fast tracks)

- Hifiman HE-500 (centerstage meh, lack of depth and height)

- LCD-2 - ????

 

With all of these headphones, I enjoyed them for sometime, however after a few months over many sessions, the average sound properties become clear and you can find any consistent problems or aspects that you don't like. I found them for all of them except the LCD-2 so far. Although to be fair, I had the LCD-2 only for 5 months, whereas I had the HE-500 for a year. The soundstage got annoying near the end with HE-500 and I really needed that. It was starting to annoy me a bit, after switching over from LCD-2. On the other hand a lot of people don't like the LCD-2's treble. I can attest to the fact, that HE-500 has higher treble extension and better imaging, while the LCD-2 is rolled off. I kinds wanted the LCD-2 to have more treble at times, but it was by no means a deal breaker for me like how the no depth of HE-500 became. (On the flip side, I started to like LCD-2's rolled off approach).

 

I remember when I went from HE-500 to LCD-2 it felt a bit boring. After getting accustomed to LCD-2, I thought that the HE-500 was unnecessarily bright at times. Of course this is because I got used to a certain sound signature. Also the mids on LCD-2 will expose the HE-500's mids a bit. Especially the upper mids area going into the lower treble regions - much better done on the LCD-2. This is where a lot of headphones fall IMO. That is a very critical transition.

 

With LCD-2, I wanted some things differently, but at no point after getting used to it did something annoy me consistently. Who knows, maybe after more time. So I did end up breaking my own rule this one time, as I jumped to the LCD-3 without really finding anything unbearable on the LCD-2. However, in my defense I got a good deal biggrin.gif Also on the flip side, I don't have to worry about Stax or HD 800 for a long time, simply due to the LCD-3's price. Next step after this is to save up for a DAC (NAD M51 leading the way so far). Emotiva will have to do for an amp right now. I was getting excellent bass even at low volumes with both planars - a sign that your speakers/headphones are well powered.

 

As far as LCD-3's go. I'm looking for two things:

 

1) The ear pads - I want them to be at least as comfortable as the LCD-2 earpads, if not more. Surprisingly with the softer ear pads of LCD-3, I've read some people complain about the vacuum created due to the softness and that it hurtsblink.gif I'll have to see for myself.

 

2) The sound - I just want to like it for now. Not looking at value/performance/cost blah blah. I just want to like it for the time being. Also with improved DAC over time will make a difference as the LCD-3 have some scalability, so going for a future proof headphone. Let's see how many months it takes to get the sound down for this.

Just out of curiosity, what earpads did you use with your HE500s?

post #5628 of 18011
Quote:
Originally Posted by jerg View Post

Just out of curiosity, what earpads did you use with your HE500s?

 

We've been over this Jerg. Stock velour and pleathers. Didn't do your mods as I never get around to them.tongue.gif While I'm talking about the things I never tried the HE-500 with, I didn't try the HE-500 with the 337 or the 339, just in case someone was wondering.....wink.gif

post #5629 of 18011
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoom25 View Post

 

We've been over this Jerg. Stock velour and pleathers. Didn't do your mods as I never get around to them.tongue.gif While I'm talking about the things I never tried the HE-500 with, I didn't try the HE-500 with the 337 or the 339, just in case someone was wondering.....wink.gif

And you felt it was overly bright even with the stock pleather earpads? Because to my ears that combination is almost too dim.

post #5630 of 18011
Quote:
Originally Posted by jerg View Post

And you felt it was overly bright even with the stock pleather earpads? Because to my ears that combination is almost too dim.

No the stock pleather earpads weren't bright at all. They are somewhere in between HE-500 velours and LCD-2. More closer to the LCD-2 than HE-500 w/velour.

 

WIth HE-500 I really wasn't concerned with the treble. It was fine. It only felt bright or unnecessary at times when coming off of LCD-2.

post #5631 of 18011

Bright? Nah...

(with all due respect to fellow headfiers of course)

post #5632 of 18011
Quote:
Originally Posted by rgs9200m View Post

Bright? Nah...

(with all due respect to fellow headfiers of course)

my hears are very sensitive to bright headphones and i think like you about the he-500

post #5633 of 18011

Damn this thread.  Just placed an order for the HE500's, hoping for a decent upgrade from my current HE400's.

post #5634 of 18011
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanPluck View Post

Damn this thread.  Just placed an order for the HE500's, hoping for a decent upgrade from my current HE400's.

They're quite a bit better.

post #5635 of 18011

Just caught up on this thread. It's moving today.

 

A couple of thoughts.

 

HE-500 depth presentation improves dramatically with upgrading source. DACs often are responsible for transmitting cues that show us soundstage width/depth/layering. That's probably the first thing people will notice when going from something average like the Schiit Modi to something better like the Concero. The depth difference between the LCD-2/HE-500 will vanish with a better source and HE-500 has more layers IMO.

 

HE-500 is certainly more balanced then phones like the Q701 and Mad Dogs. I'm sorry but the Mad Dogs have recessed upper mids that make them sound congested, even more so than the LCD-2. The Q701 has heavy bass roll off and a artifically super-wide soundstage that presents itself whether or not it's in the recording. Every song/noise has a huge soundstage when listening with the Q701, whether the soundstage cues are in the actually mix or not. Of course the most important strength of the HE-500 is that it has much better resolution/clarity compared to cheaper phones, like going from DVD to 1080p Blu Ray. The transduecers move with speed of lightning, faster than even the LCD-2. It's like getting more refresh rates for your TV, the faster the refresh rate the more you see.

 

That being said I think the LCD-2 has a very nice romantic coloration that helps people engage with the music. The novelty does wear off, at least it did for me, and I started listening more to the HE-500. I also sometimes found the bass fatiguing after a while, maybe like 40 minutes of listening, then I would just go back to my HE-500 for like 2~3 hours until I had to sleep.


Edited by M-13 - 6/21/13 at 3:20pm
post #5636 of 18011
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clemmaster View Post

 

The 500s aren't what I'd call balanced headphones. They have lower and upper mids emphasis (bump, not spike) that gives them a warm and romantic sound (perfect for voices & acoustics, IMO).

I could name a lot of cheaper headphones that are more balanced (Mad Dogs, HE-4, Q-701, ...).

 

The 5LEs are (much) more balanced, for the same price.

They're still available at head-direct but you need to contact them by mail.

the 5LE are still not balanced though, they have a slightly recessed midrange and a weird slightly buzzy treble.

post #5637 of 18011

Yeah Clemmaster's sense of what is a balanced headphone is just completely off from my experience. Q701? Mad Dogs? more balanced than the HE-500? Not a chance IMO. The HE-500 is one of best balanced headphones I've tried, if not THE MOST BALANCED. And I've tried a lot of the most popular ones (see my profile). This of course is not saying I think the HE-500 is dead neutral or anything, but man it's close enough.

post #5638 of 18011
Quote:
Originally Posted by M-13 View Post

Yeah Clemmaster's sense of what is a balanced headphone is just completely off from my experience. Q701? Mad Dogs? more balanced than the HE-500? Not a chance IMO. The HE-500 is one of best balanced headphones I've tried, if not THE MOST BALANCED. And I've tried a lot of the most popular ones (see my profile). This of course is not saying I think the HE-500 is dead neutral or anything, but man it's close enough.

That is until you try something like Stax. It is all a matter of perspective, really. They are relaxed and a bit dull compared to my stats. But I can perceive both as fairly balanced, depending on what I am used to at the moment. Even though I havn't come up with one thing they have in common... Like at all

 

Source or not, the HE-500 will always lack some depth. I find it to be somewhat adequate on most well recorded tracks, though. But a good source really does make a difference in my opinion. 

post #5639 of 18011
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoom25 View Post

While I'm talking about the things I never tried the HE-500 with, I didn't try the HE-500 with the 337 or the 339, just in case someone was wondering.....wink.gif

biggrin.gif. And u dont know what u have been missing wink.gif but have fun with ur new rig.. Am sure u will love it...the lcd3 is one f the best headphones i ever heard..(never heard the sr007 or 009)

but as ualso know..mr. Fang and his crazy inventors areplanning for new stuff next year....a lcd3 killer maybe or even a sr007 killer? Its said that his very first headphone the He Audio 'Jade' was on same level as the mystical orpeus back then...only construction was very badly compared to the sennheiser.' So i am very curious what next year will bring us hifiman wise biggrin.gif
Edited by hifimanrookie - 6/21/13 at 6:34pm
post #5640 of 18011
Quote:
Originally Posted by hifimanrookie View Post


biggrin.gif. And u dont know what u have been missing wink.gif but have fun with ur new rig.. Am sure u will love it...the lcd3 is one f the best headphones i ever heard..(never heard the sr007 or 009)

but as ualso know..mr. Fang and his crazy inventors areplanning for new stuff next year....a lcd3 killer maybe or even a sr007 killer? Its said that his very first headphone the He Audio 'Jade' was on same level as the mystical orpeus back then...only construction was very badly compared to the sennheiser.' So i am very curious what next year will bring us hifiman wise biggrin.gif

 

Yea I'll definitely be keeping my eyes and ears open for future Hifiman products. 

 

Currently listening to the LCD-3's.

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