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HE-500 vs HD650 with different budget setup

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

hi guys is this my very first post on head if and i would like to get some solid response to help decide with which combo to go.  Well currently I'm starting this build with zero nothing.zip.  I need headphone, amp, dac, maybe some balanced cable if i choose that route.  I'm located in Hong Kong where there are just tons and tons of headphones store and 2nd market.  And on top of that the option there is taobao (of cause buying Chinese brand).  I find buying international brands cheaper in Hong Kong.  My music is mostly Hip Hop, R&B, Pop (Chinese and English), old school rock like aerosmith, female vocal.  As for my budget I'm pretty flexiable these are all within my budget, i might not get them all at once, maybe in a couple month spam. OK enough here is a couple headphones with different kinds of setups. 

 

HIFIMAN HE-500 (Brand new with 1yr warranty) + (NFB 15.1 brand new from Kingwa ) or (NFB 10.2 brand new from Kingwa)

(RMB $4000 --- USD $625)                                   (RMB1395 -- USD$180)                     (RMB 3150-----USD493)

 

So here is

 

1   Hifiman HE-500 combo would cost me about USD$805 for NFB15.1

 

2   HIfiman He-500 with NFB10.2 would come to USD$1118  + extra for balanced cable

 

For this combo, I have not personally heard it, but i have heard good things about HE500 sound.  I will however, take the train up to China sometime next week to audition Yulong, Matrix and Hifiman ( basically all the Chinese brand name)  Really interested in the Yulong A18+d18 combo with HE 500 or Senn HD650.  I'm sure it will be a fun day finally seeing all these equipments u hear about all the time online, in person.

 

3   Senn HD650 (used local, 1 and half year left on global warranty) + NFB10.2(new)

    (USD $245) with box and cert and everything                                USD 403

 

This combo comes up to about USD$648  + extra for balanced cable (decent 4pin XLR should be about USD$130)

 

4    Senn HD650 (same as above)  +  Centrance Dacmini (used a couple months left on warranty)                  

      USD$245                                    USD$512

 

This combo runs about USD$757

 

5     Senn HD650 (same as above)  + Burson HA-160DS (new)

       USD$245                                  USD$899

 

This comes up to USD$1144

 

6   Senn HD650 (same as above)   + Matrix M-stage with usb dac (new)

     USD$245                                    USD250

 

This comes up to USD$500     

 

 

 

SO I have done alot of price matching and auditioning these product before buying anything.  I know the HD650+ M stage would be the most budgeted option (headphone, dac, amp) good review too.  On the other hand i have not yet tried the HE-500 ( i will have a chance to next week but not with a nfb 10.2,  He500 should be paired with D18 and A18 , maybe a matrix.  Also one last time is if i decided to get the NFB10.2 i will eventually get a balanced cable for the headphones depends if i can get a deal with it, but it will be balanced none of less.   Please give your advice on what combo to choose and why? Thanks you for your reply.


Edited by danielhfchung - 7/2/12 at 5:08pm
post #2 of 8

I'm all for getting the HE-500 over the HD 650. I personally went from a NFB-12 and HD 580 to a NFB-10SE and HE-500 and later a HE-6. I found that all three headphones have a similar sound signature, but the orthos do everything slightly better. Their main advantage is the lack of grain across all frequencies, which in my opinion, translates to a more real to life sound. 

 

The law of diminishing returns definitely applies here. If the HE-500 is about 20% better than the HD 650, the HE-6 is maybe 10% better than the HE-500. Moving from the NFB-12 to the NFB-10SE is an even smaller improvement for the HE-500 and HD 650, but a requirement to drive the HE-6.

 

Let us know what you find when you demo the headphones. If you buy the HE-500 and NFB-10SE combo, you can always get the HE-6 balanced cable and 4 pin XLR to 1/4" adapter from Hifiman for $150. 

post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 

This is truly the law of diminish returns.  I'm torn between these choices,   at one end i hear all these great reviews on the M-stage and HD650 (also the most budget friendly USD$500, half the price of the HE-500 and NFB-10.2).  Too bad I can't find a place where i can get all these gears together and do an A/B comparison. 

 

Well what I did demo is the HD650 + Burson HA 160DS and I liked it more than the HD650+ Dacmini.  To me I feel the HD 650 and Burson's sounded more lively, and with power.  Don't get me wrong, I think the Dacmini is very capable to push the 650, it has volume, clarity but it is just not up to the Burson's level.  So out of all those HD650 combo, the only one that i haven't have a chance to demo is the HD650 and m-stage combo,  which will need to wait unit I go up to China, since there is no shops in Hong Kong that carries the m-stage.

 

As for the HE 500, do you guys think that is a better match with the m-stage or NFB15.1?  Also Do you think is worth it to go balanced with the HE 500?   I mean compare prices the SE HE500 + NFB 15.1 is around USD$800, VS spending extra $400-500 on NFB10.2 and balanced cable?  I mean in this case what would be the sound differences between the balanced and SE with these equipment?

post #4 of 8

I wouldn't spend a lot of time worrying about SE vs Balanced.  Just figure out what kind of sound you are going for.  Both outputs can provide excellent sound.  I personally find no need for any balanced components.

post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 

I've heard a lot of impressions of both cans.  Personally I like the sound of HD 650 when compare to DT880 and DT990.  I'm not a fan of the 880 and 990's brightness when amped with both Burson and Dacmini.  I wonder what will be the different when comparing Burson to M-stage( I know that would not be a fair comparison but in term on sound quality will i get somewhat of a comparable sound with 1/4 of the price?) 

 

Demoing the HE-500 is going to be the hard, i need to take a 2 hrs train up to China to test it out.  However the good part is I get to demo all kinds of budget Chinese brands, like Hifiman, Matrix, and especially Yulong.  I really want to demo D100, A18 and D18, even though they are WAY WAY over my budget but hey it is free to try.  The Bad part is even if i go up to China I would still not able to try out the NBFs before i buy.

 

brw what do guys think has the better bang for the buck  HD650(used) + M-stage (new)  = USD$500

 

OR HE-500 (new) + NFB 15.1(new) =USD$800???

post #6 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by steve2151 View Post

I'm all for getting the HE-500 over the HD 650. I personally went from a NFB-12 and HD 580 to a NFB-10SE and HE-500 and later a HE-6. I found that all three headphones have a similar sound signature, but the orthos do everything slightly better. Their main advantage is the lack of grain across all frequencies, which in my opinion, translates to a more real to life sound. 

 

The law of diminishing returns definitely applies here. If the HE-500 is about 20% better than the HD 650, the HE-6 is maybe 10% better than the HE-500. Moving from the NFB-12 to the NFB-10SE is an even smaller improvement for the HE-500 and HD 650, but a requirement to drive the HE-6.

 

Let us know what you find when you demo the headphones. If you buy the HE-500 and NFB-10SE combo, you can always get the HE-6 balanced cable and 4 pin XLR to 1/4" adapter from Hifiman for $150. 

 

I agree with steve2151.  To me the HE-500 was about 20% better than the HD650 also.  It's worth the price difference to me.

post #7 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by brokenthumb View Post

 

I agree with steve2151.  To me the HE-500 was about 20% better than the HD650 also.  It's worth the price difference to me.

I'd also agree with that, just upgraded from the 650's to the HE500's. 20% is a big improvement once you get to this price point.  Having said that, I've lived with the 650's for 7 years keeping them while many headphones have come and gone. They really are special.

The HE500's are going to sound significantly better than the 650's with lower end equipment, but the higher up you go with source gear the 650's will compete more. But they are never going to be as good as the hifimans in terms of transparency and realism.

 

Just a note on comfort if this an issue; The 650's are one of the most comfortable hp's out there. The he500's are very heavy in comparison.      

post #8 of 8

I'm sure the HE500 would do better than the little HiFiman tube amp but that was all I could try out with at the Headphone show I went to. HE500 was impressive but I liked the 650 with Graham Slees the best, I would pick it over LCD-2s with same amp though I love the LCD3 more. The new HiFiMan prototype though, I really love. It sounds like a better version of the Abyss headphone(in my opinion Abyss is a total joke, sound is crap for the money and the fit was awful) clear and detailed with all sound so expressive. It also looks like the Abyss too.

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