And probably also in the wrong forum but since I posted here before....
I have now had the Hifiman HE-500s for over two month, I thought I'd chime in on some thoughts.
First, I want to let everyone know where I'm coming from.
I'm not the usual head-fi-expert. In fact, I dont really have much experience with head-phones at all at a serious level.
I have had about 10 different, self-bought cans on my own - and the most expensive of them, except from the Hifiman He-500 is the in-ear Ultimate Ears Triple fi's 10 pro.
Althou I like them (the Ultimate Ears) to some extent, they didn't cut it for me (a different topic)...
This is in contrast to big, floorstanding speakers, where my passion really lies!
I have had the usual floor speaker to Eltax Camargue floor speaker to Hales System One Sig to Audio Physic Scorpio 2 to Audio Physic Avanti 3 to QRS Neptunus etc.
These are all very capable speakers!
But I kept on changing them becuase I felt something was missing...
The last pairs of speakers at a high end I owned were the QRS and although I felt they were very satisfying, I decided to move on to headphones because of my family situation. I have two kids and I had a hard time finding time to listen to them.
Enter headphones (and no regrets)!
I have always loved the intimate sound of headphones.
They tend to create the sound "in your head" as oppose to speakers that create the sound "out of your head". To each his own.
It is not nessecarily bad to have a sound created in your head - this is merely a preference of sound.
And here are my thoughts on Hifiman HE-500.
Let e begin with saying - WOW!
The most important thing in musical reproduction for me is involvment, dynamics, clearity, neutrality and coherancy.
He-500 meet these demands very well!
Out of these criterias, dynamics stand out the most.
This will show at any level - play any very well familiar song with them and you will notice the emotion of the artist as intended (imo).
The bass in particular is very good, almost at the level of QRS Neptunus.
I however feel that the Hifimans have an edge with coherancy over the QRS's.
The detail of Audio Physic Avanti is hard to overcome. HE-500 are almost there and they have the bass impact the Avanti lack!
The midrange of Hales speakers is probably famous in USA. However, in Europe (where im from), Hales are unknown.
HE-500 are'nt in the league of Hales midrange (imo), maybe due to the fact the most Hales configurations are closed (fast) and all Hifimans are open (slower) but the HE-500 are scaringly real and vivid when it comes to voices. You feel the emotion wether it is intended to feel as front row or 15th row - doesn't matter.
Soundstage wise headphones can't compare to speakers.
You can never get the depth of a good set of speakers with headphones.
But sometimes when I want to be real intimate with the music, I still prefer headphones.
Music is all about affection, what triggers your inner movement, and headphones are (imo) better when you want your brain to take part of the process of "subduing" to the music.
Speakers are better if you want to relax to the music.
Clarity-wise, I have nothing to complain about.
I earlie wrote that the HE-500 have the perfect blend of emotion and clarity. I still stand by this claim.
Any more clarity would tend to lean closer to the Audio Physic range of speakers - that in my ear are VERY good speakers but a slight analystic.
There is nothing, information-wise, I miss with HE-500. It's all there, and in perfect blend.
The impact of individual instruments is stunning!
Pianos, with a very broad spectrum of octaves, are handled excellent, as are subtle textures such as pedal stomps (excuse my english).
Guitars feel alive as do anything really, played with the HE-500s.
If there is something to complain about, it would be the soundstage.
I miss the depth of the soundstage a good speaker can produce.
Altho the width and heigh are OK, nothing can compare to real depth of a room.
I have however never heard any headphone come close the to experience of a good speaker in this regard.
Finally, I should say, that these orthodynamics sound natural. With this I mean that no range of frequency sound out of order with these headphone. I thinik they sound very controlled, with a lovely treble that is NEVER bright.
They are somewhat dark and could be perceived as closed-in with the wrong amplifier- however I dont consider them closed-in on my La Figaro 339 (but they sounded terrible on a Burson of undisclosed model).
What I have found is however that the dark sound really appeal to me and that the more time I spend with them, the more I come to appreciate them in contrast to many other headphones where I first enjoy them just to eventually grow bored or exausted by the sound.
I appreciate this. I think they are capable of peeling of many layers of an onion. They feel like a long time investment.
I hope this is of any help to those seeking a really, really good headphone.
If you have any questions - feel free to shoot them at me!
And pardon if I sound distracted, I just wrote this text on impulse.