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Getting Better Quality out of HE-500

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

This is my first post and I wanted to thank all of you for the knowledge offered on this great forum.

 

Previous experience with headphones consisted basically of iPod earbuds and Bang and Olufsen earbuds that I got for a birthday...

After many late nights of reading countless posts, I decided on the HiFiMan HE-500 and have been evaluating them for about a month. They now have seen 100-200 hours of service and have been used in conjunction with various Headphone Amps, DAC's, and combos. I'm using a combination of source material, including old mp3's, familiar cd's re-ripped in FLAC, and 88.2 and 96 24bit quality tracks downloaded from HDTracks.com . Most of my listening sessions are on my Dell laptop hooked up via USB to my DAC/Amp.

 

 

So far, I have not been WOW'ed by my experience. After numerous returns and exchanges, I am currently using my HE-500's with a Lavry DA-11 which just arrived today. I am impressed by its DAC performance, but the overall listening experience is still weak.

Would a dedicated headphone amp make a world of difference? I've spent over $2500.00 already and was hoping to get good seats for this concert :-)

 

post #2 of 9

I had a good listen with them and Schiit amps and DAC's. My friend is a big fan of their stuff.

 

I think you're asking a little too much from them. They aren't a "Flagship" can so say but up there with the best.

 

You could move to the HE-6 with a silver cable upgrade. But I'm not too good with DAC's and Amps so I don't want to lead you down the wrong path.

 

Headfi had posted up a new cable replacements for the HiFiman series here.

post #3 of 9

Hi, I assume you are using the stock HE500 cable which is thick and unwielding. Personally I believe the HE500 is a great sounding headphone and almost on par with the HE6. Since the HE500 is easier to drive and cheaper it was the one I chose. I would suggest you go about trying the HE6 cable with the HE500, you can buy it for about $100 from Head Direct. Good luck.

 

DSCN1137.JPG

post #4 of 9

Here's the thing: I don't think it's often that you become instantly WOW'ed in the audiophile world. I was never initially wowed when I first received any of my numerous headphones or amps. The problem is that we want to believe that spending big $$$ on audio gear will directly yield awesomeness.

 

But I found that after listening to my new setup for several weeks, if I were to go back to a lower-end headphone or amp, I simply could not do it. I could not settle for less hi-fi. At this point I have great appreciation for my "upgraded" headphone/amp. If you have not done this, you should try it out. Do not listen to anything but your best headphones, best DAC+amp, and FLAC files (or similar) for 3-4 weeks. I bet you will easily tell the difference if you downgraded a single element in the chain (i.e. use low bitrate mp3, or weaker amp, or crappier headphones, etc).

 

After I've owned a couple headphones and amps over the course of a couple years, I believe that my ear has become "trained" and that I am more analytical in my listening. I'm currently rocking Ultrasone Pro 2500s. I am sure that they don't candle to your HE-500s but I have to say that they are capable of "wowing" me. However, if I remember correctly, it took me about 6 months to be really wowed by them. Over that time I went from mp3 to FLAC, got a DAC for my laptop, and a FiiO E9. Then during some listening I just spontaneously went, "holy ****. You know what? These sound really awesome." 

 

So, what I'm trying to say is: be patient. It seems like you're someone who has money to burn and went straight for the good s*** and expected gold to be delivered to your ears. The HE-500 are an amazing headphone, but only so because seasoned listeners were able to analyze it and compare it to experiences they have had with other headphones. And it's this kind of experience that leads you to appreciate a great headphone like the HE-500. It takes time to grow experience and appreciation.

 

Btw, I'm sure that you're going to want a dedicated headphone amp. I'm not familiar with your DAC, but unless it has a powerful amp built in I'm afraid it won't cut it. IIRC, the HE-500 doesn't need serious amping like the HE-6, but should sound amazing with a nice, powerful amp regardless. A Lyr or Hifiman's very own EF-5 would be great places to start.

post #5 of 9

You have to say more about what they aren't doing for you.  You can't just say "I'm not wowed"  That means something different to every single person and you will get every response in the book and it will not be useful to you or anyone else.  Maybe you're not wowed because they don't have 6 subs in a pickup bass, and you need to mount a subwoofer an inch from your head.  Who knows. 

 

Why are you not wow'ed?

post #6 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Voohoo View Post

Here's the thing: I don't think it's often that you become instantly WOW'ed in the audiophile world. I was never initially wowed when I first received any of my numerous headphones or amps. The problem is that we want to believe that spending big $$$ on audio gear will directly yield awesomeness.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Voohoo View Post

So, what I'm trying to say is: be patient. It seems like you're someone who has money to burn and went straight for the good s*** and expected gold to be delivered to your ears. The HE-500 are an amazing headphone, but only so because seasoned listeners were able to analyze it and compare it to experiences they have had with other headphones. And it's this kind of experience that leads you to appreciate a great headphone like the HE-500. It takes time to grow experience and appreciation.

 

X2, X2, X2, X2, X2, X2, X2

 

Couldn't have said it better.

post #7 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Voohoo View Post

Here's the thing: I don't think it's often that you become instantly WOW'ed in the audiophile world. I was never initially wowed when I first received any of my numerous headphones or amps. The problem is that we want to believe that spending big $$$ on audio gear will directly yield awesomeness.

 

So, what I'm trying to say is: be patient. It seems like you're someone who has money to burn and went straight for the good s*** and expected gold to be delivered to your ears. The HE-500 are an amazing headphone, but only so because seasoned listeners were able to analyze it and compare it to experiences they have had with other headphones. And it's this kind of experience that leads you to appreciate a great headphone like the HE-500. It takes time to grow experience and appreciation.


Yes... if you're a "Bud Guy," it may take some time to acquire and refine your taste for "Dom Perignon," - but - don't be surprised if, after considering the high price of the "high-end," you may find you still prefer the taste of "Bud." 

 

Such so-called "refinement" is "lost" on me.

 

post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Voohoo View Post

Here's the thing: I don't think it's often that you become instantly WOW'ed in the audiophile world. I was never initially wowed when I first received any of my numerous headphones or amps. The problem is that we want to believe that spending big $$$ on audio gear will directly yield awesomeness.

 

But I found that after listening to my new setup for several weeks, if I were to go back to a lower-end headphone or amp, I simply could not do it. I could not settle for less hi-fi. At this point I have great appreciation for my "upgraded" headphone/amp. If you have not done this, you should try it out. Do not listen to anything but your best headphones, best DAC+amp, and FLAC files (or similar) for 3-4 weeks. I bet you will easily tell the difference if you downgraded a single element in the chain (i.e. use low bitrate mp3, or weaker amp, or crappier headphones, etc).

 

After I've owned a couple headphones and amps over the course of a couple years, I believe that my ear has become "trained" and that I am more analytical in my listening. I'm currently rocking Ultrasone Pro 2500s. I am sure that they don't candle to your HE-500s but I have to say that they are capable of "wowing" me. However, if I remember correctly, it took me about 6 months to be really wowed by them. Over that time I went from mp3 to FLAC, got a DAC for my laptop, and a FiiO E9. Then during some listening I just spontaneously went, "holy ****. You know what? These sound really awesome." 

 

So, what I'm trying to say is: be patient. It seems like you're someone who has money to burn and went straight for the good s*** and expected gold to be delivered to your ears. The HE-500 are an amazing headphone, but only so because seasoned listeners were able to analyze it and compare it to experiences they have had with other headphones. And it's this kind of experience that leads you to appreciate a great headphone like the HE-500. It takes time to grow experience and appreciation.

 

Btw, I'm sure that you're going to want a dedicated headphone amp. I'm not familiar with your DAC, but unless it has a powerful amp built in I'm afraid it won't cut it. IIRC, the HE-500 doesn't need serious amping like the HE-6, but should sound amazing with a nice, powerful amp regardless. A Lyr or Hifiman's very own EF-5 would be great places to start.

I actually had the EF-5 and thought it was okay but the fuse went going out so I returned it.

 

That's an interesting suggestion...to abstain from lo-fi listening for a month...

 

To elaborate on being "wow'ed", I am a classically-trained violinist and have experienced what good sound sounds like both playing in an orchestra and listening from the audience (I go to Symphony Center to see the Chicago Symphony Orchestra whenever possible). I used to take lessons with someone from the CSO and after a lesson he put on a recording for me on his Hi-End system. I could not believe my ears...I felt like I was standing on the conductor's podium! I think it was a recording of Heifitz playing the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto. Anyways, that wow factor happened spontaneously and I sort of forgot about it for a long time. After I moved to a new place, I felt like getting new speakers, but living in an apartment I felt I would have to try to find good sound in headphones, which leads me back to the beginning.

 

I think I will live with my DAC for about a month and then think about adding an Amp if I'm still not satisfied.

 

 

 


 

 

post #9 of 9
I'll suggest getting the 6 cable and trying them out of a speaker amp. They are easier to drive than the 6s but have the same characteristics. They benefit from power. I've not heard the Lyr but many have commented that the pair are pretty good. I've had both the 6 and the 500. The 500 sound pretty decent out of a headphone amp but do step it up on a speaker amp. Dynamics, soundstage and bass impact improve.

There are a few rigs in your area so take a peek in the meet forum to see when the next meet is. That's the best way to try before you buy.
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