Originally Posted by kothganesh
Wayne, I just received my HE-500 from another Head-fier and a new Schiit Lyr. I've been running the 400, the 500 and the LCD 2.2 for a couple of hours now and I'm struck with the "negligible" difference between the 400 and the 500 (to my ears). Its kind of weird but the 500 sounds is a little on the dark side. To my ears the 400 seems to have more treble than the 500. The latter has more of a refined overall sound though. The 2.2 was of course the darkest but seemed to have the widest soundstage of the three with better instrument separation.
Anyway, all this could change as the tubes in the Lyr are used more (I have the stock GE). In addition, I have an odd mix of cans in the sense that the 400 has the J4, the 500 has the velour, and 2.2 has, well, its stock pleathers.
Any thoughts are welcome.
This is kind of weird. This thread is over a year old, and back during last May, I was posting about the HD-580s that I owned. However, like you, I've been on a similar venture by going from the HE-400 to the HE-4, the HE-5LE and the HE-500. Yes, I had the last 3 all at one time in my house. Whoa ... talk about a HifiMAN testosterone experience !!! I had loved the HE-400s for nearly a year. The headphones served me very, very well. When I'd listen to jazz such as that by the Yellowjackets and others, I would love the signature. Then, as my music horizons expanded a bit, I started to take on more blues, especially quite a few more female vocalists. In greatly expanding my music collection in that area, it really started to show the weakness of the HE-400. The female vocals would be quite sibilant. I was just using standard copper cables - no boutique higher-end, highly pure silver cables either. To me, this was a major nose-dive of an experience that I never thought I'd reach with the HE-400. I was literally pushed down by the sound that I was hearing, and I had a more disappointment on my hands. Had I never ventured over to more female vocalists, I'd still have the HE-400 today. Also for any user who has the HE-400 and only occasionaly listens to female vocals, I don't see any valid reason to move up to the HE-500.
Now, some comments on the HE-500. It seems a bit more balanced across the frequency spectrum. I don't find the bass to be lacking much from what I felt with the HE-400s in that regards. The female vocals? A perfect ace at this point in time. The vocals really, really cleaned themselves up to where the sibilants are not present. I am a very, very happy man.
Does the HE-500 have a bit of "darker" sound that the HE-400? I do feel as though it does at times. Some artists, I can notice this presence more than others. However, I don't find that it is a deal-breaker for me as I'd rather have the warmer sound than the sibilant female vocals. I suspect that the HE-500 headphones might pair up OK with a set of silver cables to give them a bit more "life" on the top end. At the moment, I guess I'm just not in the mood to spend a few hundred on a silver cable to toy around with the signature. I am using copper cable - a Canare star quad cable product as the main material for the cable. I do recall back to my days of the Grado, Magnum and Fostex T50RP days when the Mogami Quad Neglex would give the impression of a bit more "air" at the top. I may get 8' or so of Mogami and eventually set a cable up to test it out. I don't want other members to read too far into this though, as well all have feelings (good and bad) regarding how a cable may or may not affect performance, so my intent wasn't to take this response down that road. However, it is just something I'd prefer to investigate further on my end to see how some of the resolution might change.
That's about it for now.