"Originally Posted by rgs9200m
This is what Tom Martin said in the AVguide review of the HE500 (which sounds about right to me) [link: avguide.com/review/hifiman-he-500-planar-magnetic-headphones-playback-47].
- The HE-500 sounds more harmonically coherent and all-of-one-piece on both human and instrument voices. Good though the HD800 is, it occasionally exhibits very small yet audible discontinuities that the HE-500 doesn’t have to the same degree.
- The HE-500 offers noticeably better low frequency extension and pitch definition than the HD800, which is saying something because bass performance is a relative strength of the HD800 compared to most competing headphones."
Cannot agree with any of the above. I own two versions of each headphone, HD800 with ALO copper and silver, HE500s with Silverdragons and Cardas. The HE 500 is not "more harmonically coherent", if anything it lacks depth and harmonic definition compared to the HD800s (comparisons through the same listening rig and material, at the same time). The HD 800s "...exibits very small yet audible discontinuities..."??? What does that mean?
The HE500 certainly does not offer "better" low frequency extension and pitch definition- certainly not even close through a Lyr, Vioelectric, Grace m903, or Asgard. They are noticeably more forgiving and less resolving in every level of detail, including the extended low end.
HE 500s are "warmer" and more "involving" in the mid-range, where they will undoubtedly suck you in through a single play of Vaughn Williams' Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis. At half the asking price, the HE 500s deserve a standing ovation. However, the HD800 are incomparable in terms of sheer stage depth and breadth, dynamic range, color range, micro details, and impeccable fidelity in reproducing the source, warts and all.