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Review: Hifiman HE-6/EF-6: An Elite Headphone System, Under One Roof - Page 3

post #31 of 244

Anyone listened some dubstep, electronic, hip-hop or something like that on those high end HE90/009/HE-6/LCD-3? Every time I read reviews like this I hear the words jazz, classic nad vocals :D.

post #32 of 244
Quote:
Originally Posted by Radio_head View Post

Quote:
I prefer the LCD-2 with decent amplification to the HE90 with the thunderbolt.  It was not a LCD2>HE90 as I haven't heard it with Sennheiser's matching amp or Justin's amps.  So the jury is still out on the headphone overall.  But based on that (few hours long non-meet) audition, I would prefer any of the headphones I mentioned with a decent amp.  And remember, dydy's post was an "LOL almost no-one on head-fi."  There are more than a couple on Head-fi who prefer the current crop to the HE90.  I (so far) am one of them.

 

Fair enough. I really liked how everything was voiced at Ray's table, but if you don't like that richer warmer sound I could see why you would prefer something else. I do still stand that the HE90 would perform better with a more complimentary (your sound preference) set of gear than any LCD2 rig. The technical capabilities are just better.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gaspir324 View Post

Anyone listened some dubstep, electronic, hip-hop or something like that on those high end HE90/009/HE-6/LCD-3? Every time I read reviews like this I hear the words jazz, classic nad vocals biggrin.gif.

I had a drum and bass track in my test kit for RMAF. 320k/s mp3 unfortunately, but hifi electronic music isn't the norm.
Edited by Maxvla - 2/2/12 at 10:09am
post #33 of 244
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxvla View Post

I had a drum and bass track in my test kit for RMAF. 320k/s mp3 unfortunately, but hifi electronic music isn't the norm.


Just so you know, www.boomkat.com has virtually all of the best electronic music being produced today available in FLAC format, and some things like Autechre's new album and EP in 24/96.  It might be interesting to d/l some of this to test with the higher end systems to get some variety.

post #34 of 244
Thanks for the link. Will look into picking up some of that. Might have to look into a vinyl rig as well.
post #35 of 244

Electronic music isn't the first thing people think of when they consider hi-fi audio equipment. However, I know it's certainly the majority of what I listen to, and just as with any other kind of music, better equipment simply makes it sound better.   

  

I suppose the lack of discussion of this music in the world of high-end audio ocnversation is because stuff like Jazz and symphony all comes back to reality - electronic doesn't. You can hear a jazz artist live and unamplified and you know what the real deal is, so you know what it means for a headphone to sound natural and true to the original. How can you say you know exactly what an artificially computer-generated waveform in an electronic song is supposed to sound like? Who could argue over whether the HE-6 or the HE-90 brings the most realism to Aphex Twin or London Elektricity, when neither have ever existed in a natural form, heard live in the strictly analog world or reality? It's one thing to say in an audiophile review that "you feel like you are in the second row of the orchestra," but how do you convincingly say that the electronic music, born from software and heavily edited studio samples, sounds "like you are really there, surrounded by the instruments?"

 

It's just not the same sort of thing to compare like that, really. 

  

Still, I heard some small bit of Massive Attack and The Orb on the HE-6 and the LCD-3, and I thought it sounded better than they did on my Denon AH-D5000.     

  

 

  

 


Edited by Timestretch - 2/2/12 at 12:49pm
post #36 of 244

I really disagree with you.  Quality electronic music has such nuance, detail and purposeful spatial placement.. and to speak more qualitatively, playfulness, excitement and emotion.. that you can't possibly hear what is actually on the album without a quality system.  And it's not like live recordings of electronic music don't exist, if you prefer hearing the analog reality-distorted version of what the composer actually intended ;)

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Timestretch View Post

Electronic music isn't the first thing people think of when they consider hi-fi audio equipment. However, I know it's certainly the majority of what I listen to, and just as with any other kind of music, better equipment simply makes it sound better.   

  

I suppose the lack of discussion of this music in the world of high-end audio ocnversation is because stuff like Jazz and symphony all comes back to reality - electronic doesn't. You can hear a jazz artist live and unamplified and you know what the real deal is, so you know what it means for a headphone to sound natural and true to the original. How can you say you know exactly what an artificially computer-generated waveform in an electronic song is supposed to sound like? Who could argue over whether the HE-6 or the HE-90 brings the most realism to Aphex Twin or London Elektricity, when neither have ever existed in a natural form, heard live in the strictly analog world or reality? It's one thing to say in an audiophile review that "you feel like you are in the second row of the orchestra," but how do you convincingly say that the electronic music, born from software and heavily edited studio samples, sounds "like you are really there, surrounded by the instruments?"

 

It's just not the same sort of thing to compare like that, really. 

  

Still, I heard some small bit of Massive Attack and The Orb on the HE-6 and the LCD-3, and I thought it sounded better than they did on my Denon AH-D5000.     

  

 

  

 



 

post #37 of 244

I would argue electronic music can test audio equipment at times more thoroughly than can anything acoustic. Why? Electronic music is virtually limitless. For example, if you wanted to, you could layer 50 samples on top of one another. Although this is an extreme example, I feel very confident in saying that no system in existence can audibly separate 50 different layers in a song. Though I do not know of any song with even close to 50 layers, I do know that many electronic tracks are too complex to be properly handled by poor audio equipment, and as a result come across as noise. In other cases, it is the fault of the producer. Nevertheless, IMO the potential of the genre's complexity necessitates high quality equipment.

 

post #38 of 244

Very very nice review! Nicely executed.

 

I still do have to whole-heartedly disagree that the HE-6 performs on a level surpassing the R10 or HE90.  It is, in my opinion quite a distance away from those two in terms of overall sound quality in my opinion.  

post #39 of 244
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moostrkraaft View Post

I would argue electronic music can test audio equipment at times more thoroughly than can anything acoustic. Why? Electronic music is virtually limitless. For example, if you wanted to, you could layer 50 samples on top of one another. Although this is an extreme example, I feel very confident in saying that no system in existence can audibly separate 50 different layers in a song. Though I do not know of any song with even close to 50 layers, I do know that many electronic tracks are too complex to be properly handled by poor audio equipment, and as a result come across as noise. In other cases, it is the fault of the producer. Nevertheless, IMO the potential of the genre's complexity necessitates high quality equipment.

 


sure, electronic music is layered, well extended from top to bottom, etc... so you can tell how a systems power handling, punch, snap, PRaT, etc.. is when listening to electronic but when judging for a realistic timbre, you can't do that accurately with electronic music.

 

post #40 of 244
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jude View Post

Peter, great review! And it was nice seeing you at CES, man.

 

As always, nice photos, too--sharp sharp sharp.

 

Thanks, great to see you there as well, you and Tyll certainly got around to see some other headphones that I wish I hadn't missed.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxvla View Post


I've got to wonder about some people. LCD2 over HE90? Really? Noticeably dark vs slightly warm? The speed and detail isn't close either, imo. Your impressions are just as valid as mine, it just knocks me for a loop. Enjoy what you use.
@ Iron Dreamer
I do agree with your point that the old elite was more difficult to match with gear and music than the new elite. That point is easy to hear, though the HE90 in particular sounded great with all the tracks I used, from drum and bass to acoustic folk to orchestral and metal.


Don't get me wrong.  I was certainly not saying the HE90, R10, L3000, or any of the older elite headphones sound bad.  In fact, they all generally sound great.  However, in the last few years we have seen a large number of new elite headphones on the market (whereas before that, they only trickled out very rarely), and by and large these new headphones have more strengths, fewer weaknesses, and are better all-around listening devices.  There is certainly some greatness in the HE90, but I prefer most of the other elite headphones (past or present) to it, let alone when the cost is factored in.  Once the cost is factored in, one must really love the characteristic sound of the HE90, as the alternatives are many, and most are significantly less pricey.  The HE90, like most of the older elite headphones, had a very strong flavor, and some people would love it for that (just as they might love the flavor of the R10, or so on).  Being that the newer headphones generally impart a bit less flavor onto the sound, I can see how people might be a bit less passionate about them, positively or negatively.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by takezo View Post

nice read. do you by chance know the input and output impedance of the ef6 amp? thanks in advance.

 

I have asked Fang at Hifiman about this, waiting to hear back on exact specifics.  I would assume, based on the design, that the output impedance is very low, well under 1ohm.


 

Quote:

Originally Posted by kiertijai View Post

With the output of 5 Watts, I think it can also drive the AKG K1000 effectively.

@Iron_Dreamer, could you confirm that?


 

I do not have a K1000 to try with the amp.  Perhaps we shall at the Bay Area meet in a week or so.  I would expect that the EF-6 has the power to drive the K1000.

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by gaspir324 View Post

Anyone listened some dubstep, electronic, hip-hop or something like that on those high end HE90/009/HE-6/LCD-3? Every time I read reviews like this I hear the words jazz, classic nad vocals :D.


I listen to a fair amount of electronic music, and have done so in the course of reviewing this system.  I find the HE-6/EF-6 extremely enjoyable for electronic music, as the fast yet punchy bass, combined with the ability to dissect numerous layers of sound, is very well mated for it.  Just last night, I had a fabulous time listening to Infect Mushroom's "Classical Mushroom," certainly the best listen of that album I've yet experienced.

 

I think the only question for an electronic fan with this system is the quantity of bass, which is quite even and neutral.  The listener who is after a ton of bass relative to the rest of the spectrum might be disappointed at first, if they don't give themselves the time to appreciate the quality of the EF6's bass, or simply can't live without heaps and heaps of bass, regardless of the quality.



Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidMahler View Post

Very very nice review! Nicely executed.

 

I still do have to whole-heartedly disagree that the HE-6 performs on a level surpassing the R10 or HE90.  It is, in my opinion quite a distance away from those two in terms of overall sound quality in my opinion.  


 

I might have said the same thing about the HE-6, until I heard it with this final version of the EF-6.  Of course, if you like the R10 or HE90 because of their specific flavors (as I discussed earlier in this post), the somewhat drier presentation of the HE-6 might understandably not be to your preference.  But I can assure you that a properly driven HE-6 gives up nothing in terms of technical performance to either of those headphones.

 

post #41 of 244
Thread Starter 

I have added a couple of internal photos of the amplifier to the first post.

 

I will also investigate the effects of the feedback switch over the next few days.  The feedback switch allows the amp to switch between using no negative feedback, and 10dB of negative feedback.  Thus far, I have used the amp exclusively in no negative feedback mode.

post #42 of 244

An excellent and captivating review .  However, after reading your review, and thinking that, although still a way from audio nirvana, that I had amassed a headphone/amp inventory that would allow me to sit back, relax and enjoy my music for a while as my wallet began recovering from the "sorry about your wallet" syndrome.  But no, now it seems that I must get the HE-6/EF-6 combo sooner rather than later.  I'm also interested in hearing my K-1000 and LCD-2 out of the EF-6 amp as compared to my SAC KH1000.

And in terms of higher-end gear and the supposed 'carved-in-stone' hierarchy, it really all comes down to personal choice afterall.  I prefer my Sennhesier HD-600 to my HD-650.  And even with limited listening to the HE-90, I vastly prefer my HE-60.

Again, thanks for all your marvelous reviews.

post #43 of 244
Great point about flavor Iron Dreamer. Very true about how strong it was in the past and now there is less flavor but still high performance. In the past you really had distinct camps of listeners, but today the high end headphones are more common than they are different.
post #44 of 244

How does the EF6 compare against good Vintage receivers (and integrated/power amps ) for driving the HE6 ? My au-999 drives them with authority , will i experience improvements if i move to EF6 ?

post #45 of 244

Hey guys, @iron dreamer. Sorry if my comments came across as insulting/negative/naive. Special apology to iron dreamer. I actually find the review a very nice and informative one, <3 your pics. I absolutely respect your opinion. Haha, Imo though, I do find the R-10s and HE-90s to be superior to everything currently available apart from the Stax 009, HE-6, LCD-3s and HD-800s. However, I can appreciate if some people prefer say the LCD-2s to a HE-90, since ymmw. All in all, let me re-iterate, this is a really great review. If possible, would love to see some more detailed comments on say the HE-6 vs LCD-3, HE-6 vs HD-800 :)

 

 

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