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Hifiman HE-6 - thick congested sound?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

Folks - rather than trying to wade through the hundreds of pages of threads on this headphone I thought I'd try the direct approach...

 

I am trying this 'phone at present and am finding the above results - thick heavy muddy sound, treble is poor and lacking detail.

I am running them off a Lovely Cube BCL clone and a Schiit Lyr.   Both of these should have enough power, especially the Schiit.

 

All the posts I've seen hitherto have said that the HE-6 will sound thin and shouty if not driven properly, but I am getting exact opposite of thin and shouty - heavy and dull!

 

Could there be something wrong with the 'phones?   They have about 100 hours on them, would have thought that was getting close to running in, and I can't say the sound has changed much from new.   Any thoughts?....

 

post #2 of 15

Very possibly defective phones... but... maybe not.

 

I tried the HE500's with the same result - very thick, syrupy lower mids - nothing like others describe their sound.  I was amazed that they could sound so much different than others reported.  I drove them with great amps, with plenty of power - though, I did not keep them long enough to burn them in. 

 

I concluded - they either need a lot more burn in, or were defective.  However, no matter what the reason, they didn't sound like they could be much better, if any, than my other phones - certainly not enough to justify their lofty price.  And... I saw other reviews that suggested the HD650's sound just as good, or better, when mated with the right set up.  So... I returned them, and stuck with my other great phones. 

 

My guess is the same is true of the HE-6's - though, most suggest they must be driven by powerful speaker amps to achieve their true sound.  I avoided the HE-6's for just that reason. 

 

Regardless... I've also concluded there is just not that much difference between the better phones and mine - at least not enough to justify the much higher prices of the so-called "high-end" phones.  At least that's been my experience.  Though, I'm unwilling to invest the ridiculous sums required to drive the 007's and HE-500's / HE-6's to their optimum.  I do not believe the improvement in sound, can possibly justify such an investment - enough to have some of the best speaker set ups, which sound much better.

 

post #3 of 15

The last thing I would use to describe my HE-6s as "thick and syrupy" or "congested".

post #4 of 15

They definitely are not.

post #5 of 15

imo the HE6 (with cloth ear pads) is the best bang for the buck in hi end headphones. Nothing like you are describing.

The biggest problem is the amp and then the DAC that you are using to run the HE6's.

So if your rig is up to the task of driving the HE6, there should be none of what you are describing.

As far as speaker amps go I guess there are some out there that do a good job with the HE6, but I haven't found any that beat what I am using to drive my HE6's with.

post #6 of 15

I always find it fascinating when people come to complete opposite conclusions about a headphone. Personally the HE-6 is the most transparent headphone I heard. I found its imaging and micro dynamics intoxicating. 

To suggest that the HD650 could sound as good is just ridiculous. I still own a pair, which I loved and thought for a long time were  the best thing ever. But since getting the HE-6/HE-500  I 've been  trying  hard to enjoy them again but they never stay on my head for more than few minutes.

The OP comments about the treble suggest his pair is defective as I believe there is no other dynamic cans that challenge the HE-6's treble. However, I can easily  imagine not being to everyone taste as it can be surprisingly energetic, though never  thin or brittle.


Edited by zenpunk - 1/2/12 at 1:36am
post #7 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by alanbeeb View Post

Folks - rather than trying to wade through the hundreds of pages of threads on this headphone I thought I'd try the direct approach...

 

I am trying this 'phone at present and am finding the above results - thick heavy muddy sound, treble is poor and lacking detail.

I am running them off a Lovely Cube BCL clone and a Schiit Lyr.   Both of these should have enough power, especially the Schiit.

 

All the posts I've seen hitherto have said that the HE-6 will sound thin and shouty if not driven properly, but I am getting exact opposite of thin and shouty - heavy and dull!

 

Could there be something wrong with the 'phones?   They have about 100 hours on them, would have thought that was getting close to running in, and I can't say the sound has changed much from new.   Any thoughts?....

 


 


The BCL cannot drive the HE6 as that is similar to the matrix and no way could the Matrix drive theHE6. The treble is the best I have heard in any headphone when driven properly. thin is not what i would describe thee He6 if it used with a proper amp and source. Great headphones. I would not say they are thick nor muddy from ewhen i owned them they were like an improved T1 with a similar signature.

post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 

^ yes but I'm getting exactly the same result using a Schiit Lyr pushing out 6W in 32 ohms.  Which is hardly underpowered.  

 

There is a huge disparity between what I am reading about the HE-6 and what I am hearing with my own ears.... there must be something wrong with the ones I have.

 

post #9 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by alanbeeb View Post

^ yes but I'm getting exactly the same result using a Schiit Lyr pushing out 6W in 32 ohms.  Which is hardly underpowered.  

 

There is a huge disparity between what I am reading about the HE-6 and what I am hearing with my own ears.... there must be something wrong with the ones I have.

 



send then back for another pair if they are defective. Do you have any other headfliers there you can get an opinion on them. Could be they not your cup of tea but sounds like maybe they are defective.

post #10 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank I View Post



send then back for another pair if they are defective. Do you have any other headfliers there you can get an opinion on them. Could be they not your cup of tea but sounds like maybe they are defective.



Agreed that they sound defective. Using them right now with the Lyr and simply outstanding headphones. I can certainly understand why so many hold them in high regard.

post #11 of 15
Quote:

Originally Posted by zenpunk View Post

 

To suggest that the HD650 could sound as good is just ridiculous.

 


While that may have been your experience... mine has been much different. 

 

But... then I've got the "new version" of the HD650's... the RAL Cryo-silver cable... and... the WA6 SEM... with one of the best DAC's available to drive them.  I can assure you they sound every bit as good as the 007's and HE-500's I've tried... and at a bargain price.  You may never have heard the HD650's, unless they were the "new version" driven by a well matched setup. 

 

And... I would refer you to the Headfonia review of the HE-500's for that assessment of the HD650's properly driven (http://www.headfonia.com/hifiman-he-500-first-impression/). 

 

I may not have had the best matched set ups to drive the 007's and HE-500's... but... sufficient to tell they didn't sound that much better than my other phones... at far lower investments. 

 

But then... I'm just not as appreciative of subtleties as others are.  And... I have almost no tolerance for "mega-buck" investments in setups required to properly drive such phones as the 007's and HE6's to nominal improvements in sound quality.
 

 


Edited by Gradofan2 - 1/2/12 at 7:34pm
post #12 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gradofan2 View Post

 

But then... I'm just not as appreciative of subtleties as others are.  And... I have almost no tolerance for "mega-buck" investments in setups required to properly drive such phones as the 007's and HE6's to nominal improvements in sound quality.
 

 


RAL Cryo-silver cable....confused.gif

 

post #13 of 15

Used Primare 100W dual mono balanced speaker amp is a lot cheaper than WA6SE
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gradofan2 View Post


And... I have almost no tolerance for "mega-buck" investments in setups required to properly drive such phones as the 007's and HE6's to nominal improvements in sound quality.
 

 



 

post #14 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gradofan2 View Post


While that may have been your experience... mine has been much different. 

 

But... then I've got the "new version" of the HD650's... the RAL Cryo-silver cable... and... the WA6 SEM... with one of the best DAC's available to drive them.  I can assure you they sound every bit as good as the 007's and HE-500's I've tried... and at a bargain price.  You may never have heard the HD650's, unless they were the "new version" driven by a well matched setup. 

 

And... I would refer you to the Headfonia review of the HE-500's for that assessment of the HD650's properly driven (http://www.headfonia.com/hifiman-he-500-first-impression/). 

 

I may not have had the best matched set ups to drive the 007's and HE-500's... but... sufficient to tell they didn't sound that much better than my other phones... at far lower investments. 

 

But then... I'm just not as appreciative of subtleties as others are.  And... I have almost no tolerance for "mega-buck" investments in setups required to properly drive such phones as the 007's and HE6's to nominal improvements in sound quality.
 

 




Funny how people get max sound from the HE6 using vintage receivers and many paid less than 200.00 for them so  no mega bucks there. Matter of fact much less money than any jheadphone amp that can drive themconfused_face_2.gif

post #15 of 15

RAL is Revelation Audio Labs - see Senn threads of 2-5 years ago - a superb cable with Senns, but pretty expensive now.

 

A used Primare dual mono, balanced amp is hard to find at a good price... and... like the "vintage amps" is subject to the cost of updating and maintenance. 

 

One of my requirements is... the amp must be able to power other phones well, and not be dedicated solely to one set / type of phones. 

 

I'm sure the HE-6's with the right setup (dedicated speaker amps) sounds fine... but... I am unwilling to pay the price for the phones and dedicated setup... just... as I'm unwilling to do so for the 007's.  Though, I am a bit skeptical that the "thick, syrupy lower mids" can be completely eliminated by sufficient burn in and the right speaker amp.  Regardless, I'm unwilling to invest the money required to "get there," just as I am for the 007's.

 

And... again... I just can't appreciate such subtle improvements in sound, at disproportionate investments in equipment.  

 

And... yes... as great as the WA6 SEm sounds with a variety of phones... I find... much less costly amps sound nearly as great (e.g.  my Millett MiniMax for example).  I violated my own principles with my investment in the WA6 SEm, and the related tubes. 

 

These lessons took me several years of "experimentation" with a number of headphones and setups to learn - but, learn them I did.  Others will not "get there" without similar experimentation.  And... some... may nevertheless, appreciate such subtle nuances in sound quality, at astronomical prices.  And... I'm still tempted from time to time.  However... whenever I'm tempted to "fall off the wagon" again, I think about my utter surprise at the sound of the 007's I've owned with various amps, and the HE-500's - which, left me amazed that anyone would make the investments required - simply amazed!


Edited by Gradofan2 - 1/9/12 at 2:21pm
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