Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphones (full-size) › HiFiMAN HE-6 + HE-560 + HE-400i + RE-400 In-depth Reviews and more!
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

HiFiMAN HE-6 + HE-560 + HE-400i + RE-400 In-depth Reviews and more!

post #1 of 104
Thread Starter 

 

Notifications about future reviews will appear here: [all found within this thread or are linked to]

 

HiFiMAN RE-400 Waterline [IEM] review can be found on page 6.

HiFiMAN HE-400i and HiFiMAN HE-560 review & comparison can be found on page 7.

HiFiMAN HM-601LE+RE-400 combo review + Fiio X1 and RE-600 comparison can be found on page 7.

Ultrasone Pro900 review can be found here -  http://www.head-fi.org/products/ultrasone-pro-900/reviews/7810.

 


 

  

HiFiMAN HE-6 review

 

A/N

Hi guys! This will be my 2nd review. Hope ya'll like this one better than the first! Enjoy :]

This will hopefully be expanded into a multi-review covering different headphones of various brands & origins.

 

Without further ado and at the time of writing, here comes my most complete review yet:

First though, please let me start with a proper introduction this time: [if you wanna get straight to the review, skip this.]

 

0) About me/Prologue (Click to show)

My name is Lukas. I am 19 years old and am a student. I live in Europe or more precisely the Czech Republic

A lot of time has passed since my discovery of this website and entry into the world of headphones. Before that I didn't care much about sound or music. I listened to speakers of dubious quality, severely over-bassed, which was mostly what I cared about.

In May last year, my “friend” bought himself the Beats by Dr. Dre Studio headphones. When I listened to them, I thought they were awesome because apparently I had no idea about the qualities a headphone should have, other than bass.

My only headphones back then (and still are, although rarely used) were the Sony XB-300. For those who don't know, "XB" stands for "Xtra Bass" and they sure were bassy.

The other was the Turtle Beach PX-5, a gaming headset. I bought these in July, 2011 for 250 USD. These were the polar opposites of both Beats and Sony –a pair of bass light cans and for gaming these were okay.

The Beats were an improvement on direct comparison with the XB-300 but there was also a little bit of bias, because quite frankly everybody wore them, celebrities mainly which should mean they are at least decent, right?

 

 

Well, before getting them I still hesitated a little. While they were quite expensive and very stylish, I still wasn't entirely convinced about their sound qualities.

This “friend” kept telling me that Beats are the best thing and that nothing can beat them. But I didn't buy into that. I made a betarrow-10x10.png with him that I can find a better headphone, even bassier while vastly superior in other aspects as well.

This is when I have discovered this website. As luck would have it, I was researching a bit about those Beats and I managed to find a link (actually the lone link which criticized them, every other websites just kept praising to death, including supposedly well respected sites as well) which read "Beats-why do they suck" which took me to this very website..

As this awoke some doubts inside me, I started looking for alternatives and found two – the Ultrasone Pro 900 and Denon AH-D2000.

And I was hesitating between these, each had its own pros and cons but in the end the discontinuation of the D2000 made the choice for me.

So I bought the Pro 900 for the retail price of 500 USD.

When I first listened to them, I was blown away by the sound. While overly high expectations had some part in this, in the end we (both me and even the other guy) agreed that they beat the Beats hands down.

But with time, I started to discover flaws with it. What flaws, you ask? There will be a little comparison with my current headphones in the review down below.

So my love for them turned to hate (and even a slight remorse) and this was around the time I wrote my first, very critical, review. If I were to write the same review again, I wouldn't bash them as much but I wanted to save you guys from the terrible burn-in processes I went through.

And after my previous experience I have concluded that it is better to be a little more critical than to overestimate.

This was the time when I have concluded that my preferences have shifted significantly. I no longer wanted that overbearing bass I found myself loving before. No, I wanted something neutral, balanced and natural.

And again, I found myself initially struggling to decide - this time HiFiMAN HE-500 and Audez'e LCD-2 were the culprits behind this and later the HiFiMAN HE-5LE was added to the mix.

But then I discovered how helpful you guys could be. Many of you hurried and offered me gobs of help and advice.

Those involved will be mentioned at the end of the review. Particularly a certain few, who sacrificed lots of their own freearrow-10x10.png time to guide me.

This made the choice so much easier for me in the end. Thanks a lot guys!

 

 

After extensive analysis and some deep thinking I came to a decision. Which one did I choose? As the title might hint, none of the above.

I took the plunge and increased my budget, thus kicking it up a notch higher - I went directly for the flagship model - the HE-6.

And this is why we are all here, right?

Without any further ado, let me get to the main event, the review itself.

 

 

Table of contents:

 

1)Equipment

 

2)Unboxing

 

3)Design, build quality and comfort

 

4)First impressions

 

5)Sound characteristics

 

6)Gaming

 

7)Portability

 

8)Unique trait

 

9)Songs and genres

 

10)Value 

 

11)Conclusion

 

12)More pictures

 

13)Special thanks

 

14)Epilogue

 

1)Equipment and cables

 

Here I will list all the associated equipment with each getting a few notes.

 

First the 

 

a)Headphones

 

HiFiMAN HE-6

 

Type: Open, full-size, over-head, orthodynamic/planar magnetic headphone

Frequency response: 8 - 65.000 Hz

Impedance: 50 Ω

Efficiency: 83.5 dB

Weight: 502 g

 

 

Airy, very neutral, natural, coherent, transparent, detailed, very extended, exciting and inviting. These are just a few words one can connect with the HE-6. Special, airy sound.

I don't want to say too much as these will be analyzed much deeper further in the review.

They retail for 1300 USD.

 

Now the associated equipment and gear:

b)Amplifiers, Digital to Analog Converters, Preamplifiers and more

 

Emotiva Mini-X a-100 speaker amplifier

 

 

Now, let me start by saying this amplifier is something special. It costs 220 USD + shipping/tax (which can be a lot, depending on where you live), which is still less than most headphone amplifiers.

Of course this thing is for powering speakers, or is it?

Well you could say the HE-6 is a little speaker. These two have great synergy, but is a speaker amp really necessary? It is a power hungry headphone, so I’d say yes. There still is a little controversy about how much power HiFiMAN cans, especially the HE-6, really need. Well this amp works really nicely with the HE-500 and HE-5LE as well.

In my experience a conventional headphone amplifier was not able to drive the HE-6 sufficiently.

If there are still a few hardheaded guys who would like to use a conventional amp, then yes there are those, but you are looking at a substantially higher amount of dollars and yet the results are in most cases underwhelming, save for a few higher outputing beasts.

Mini-X and HE-6 is the real deal. It is transparent, quick, provides enough drive and above all, a jack of all trades. No noise floor at all volumes with the HE-6. It provides plenty of punch, definition and tightness in the bass. Midrange is full. Vocals are distinctly defined and very clear. Highs are also present and offer excellent extension. Instrument separation is great and so is the soundstage, which extends really wide and has sufficient depth. The presentation is very speaker-like, spacious and airy.

This amp is very neutral and there is no roll-off anywhere to be found.

Did I mention it is only 220 USD? It also runs very cool. You also have a really nice volume knob and gold platted RCA in/out and speaker connectors. This unit is built to last.

Long story short, there is hardly any better entry level amp for the HE-6. It drives them effortlessly so it is easy to see that HE-6 benefits from extra power/current much more in comparison with other Headphones.

That saying there are obviously more expensive speaker/integrated amplifiers which can outperform the Mini-X.

In contrast spending hundreds more on a Headphone amp with various results... Speaker amplifiers seem to be the much safer choice in case of the HE-6, especially if you are on a budget.

There is also a chance that the receiver you have in your living room could play well with this can, so try that first.

 

Pros:

+ Price

+ All-round performance

 

Cons:

- Size

 

Overall 9/10

 

Audio GD NFB-3.32

 

 

DAC stands for Digital to Analogue converter. To put it simply, it converts digital sound (1s and 0s) to analogue (sound we perceive).

The cheapest of the Audio GD DACs offerings (excluding a pair of DAC/Amp combo units).

This one uses two WM8741 chips as well as a WM8805 module for S-PDIF and the USB32 chip for the USB input. ("WM" stands for Wolfson Microelectronics)

This one costs 350 bucks + around 60 for shipping and I would say it is priced adequately as well.

The sound is very neutral but slightly bright up top but still nicely detailed and extended. Also quite transparent. It is a bit harsh and rough around the edges though. It offers  plenty of detail and enough clearness as well, but lacks the refinement higher-end DACs offer.

It has all the inputs you might need - USB (very nicely implemented, practically nullifies all differences that were there between coaxial and USB), coaxial and optical too and an ACSS output as well.

It runs slightly warmer than the Mini-X (which is still practically cold)

Much like the Mini, it is dead silent and there is no hum or noise from the computer.

For 350 USD, it is a good deal too. Although I can see further improvements with more expensive DACs.

However, much like the a-100, it is hard to beat as a starter. All the components mentioned have good quality and synergy with each other.

 

Pros

+ Price

+ Many inputs

+ Detailed, clear sound

 

Cons:

- Lacks the refinement of higher end DACs

- Can be a little edgy

 

Overall 8/10

 

 

Audio GD C-10 power amplifier

 

 

A now discontinued power amplifier replaced by the Master series, offering 250 watts into 8 ohms. Unlike Master series, this one does not offer volume regulation so a preamplifier of sorts is recommended. In comparison with the Mini-X, it offers ultimate transparency and clearness. Soundstage is more holographic and intimate and instrument separation is further improved. Bass gains even more control and tightness, but a bit of punch as well. It is just as neutral if not more than the Mini. The overall sound improvements are noticeable and top notch in every aspect. The amplifier itself is huge and heavy and runs formidably hot over time. However, everything inside the amp is separated and has its own space. And there are lots of things inside so the size and heft is justified. It comes with ACSS, XLR and Speaker outputs while being fully black aluminium.

The asking price was roughly 1600 USD and the performance should be almost identical to the Master series. This unit brought the ultimate cleanness and refinement the Mini lacked, although no longer a steal, there are others selling such amplifiers for considerably more and as such I think the C10 is priced accordingly, making it a good deal as well. Also, the way Audio GD works and the customer service it offers is excellent. Also, kudos to KingWa for maintaining an awesome communication and ease of dealing throughout.

 

Pros

+ Ultimate sound

+ Neutrality

+ Availability, relative affordability

 

Cons

- Weight

- Size

- Runs hot

 

Overall 9/10

 

Audio GD Reference One DAC

 

 

Also a discontinued product, but should be once again akin to the Master DAC series.

It uses 8 PCM1704UK chips, one of the highest grade audiophile chips available. It also follows the same design as the C10 and keeps everything separated in its own space and enclosure. It is once again large and rather heavy and too runs slightly hot. However, here in direct comparison with the NFB3.32, I feel that the difference is rather huge. This DAC is much more refined and smooth, while not lacking any extension. It also brings a huge boost in clarity. When using the 3.32 as a DAC, I always thought there was just a bit of cleanness missing and that the sound was very slightly muddy and edgy. Now all that is gone. Everything is now crisp, clean and sounds just right to me. Instrument separation much like everything else is improved. No roughness or edginess.

The DAC caps out at 24/96 and offers Coax and BNC inputs (USB is optional) as well as XLR, ACSS and RCA outputs.

The asking price was around 1500 – 1800 USD when new and much like with the C10, it offers comparable sound to products priced even higher. I personally think that both the C10 and Reference One brought about similar improvements, with perhaps the DAC offering slightly more.

 

Pros

+ Ultimate sound and performance

+ Full-bodied and smooth

+ Superior DAC capabilities

 

Cons

- Size

- Weight

- Runs rather hot

 

Overall 9.5/10

 

Audio GD DI-V3

 

 

Standard converter used for USB/Coax to Coax/BNC conversion. Seems to be doing its job really well.

 

Audio GD external power supply

 

 

External power supply for the DI-V3. I am not too fond of components that draw power directly from the USB port so I am happy the DI-V3 can be used in DC mode as well. I am not sure if the external power supply is required or simply used to keep everything separated, but probably the latter. Nothing like getting nice clean power.

 

 

Classé CP-47.5 preamplifier

 

 

Classé is a company making high-end audio products including preamplifiers, amplifiers, CD players and more. I have never heard of them but that didn’t stop me from appreciating its value. As I said it belongs to the high-end preamplifier category. It offers 2 balanced XLR inputs, 4 unbalanced RCA inputs and an XLR and 4 RCA outputs, making for an all-purpose unit (also offering an optional phono stage). It uses a 120 x 0.5db steps volume pot. All my sources are connected to it and I don’t perceive any negative sound impacts (although it might be slightly on the bright side, which complements the smooth sound of the Audio GD well), implying it is on the same level as the high-end Audio GD, its former price of 1500 – 2000 USD would imply that too. Runs cool to the touch, made from black and silver aluminium.

 

Pros

+ Offers all the ins and outs you might need

+ 120 volume steps ensure smooth audio attenuation

+ Does not affect sound in a negative way

+ Feels solid and looks nice

 

Cons

- Discontinued, availability

 

Overall 9/10

 

The table is definitely rather crammed.

 

 

c)Cables

 

Stock power cables

 

 

 

Audio GD power cable

 

 

Die-Hard RCA cables

 

 

Die-Hard Optical cables

 

 

Nuforce transient USB cable

 

 

Hifiman HE-5 stock cable

 

 

 

The very first Hifiman cable that used to come with the HE-5. Claiming to be the best HiFiMAN stock cable, close to aftermarket quality. Silver coated, has nylon sleeving. I won't comment on the cable differences but to my ears it sounds really good. Bought from a fellow headfier HiFlight (http://www.hiflightaudio.com/)

In my opinion better than the stock OCC cable (which is prone to oxidizing anyway). All Neutrik connectors

 

+ Matching speaker tap extension

 

 

Matched with the HE-5 cable, silver tinned. Neutrik XLR and banana plugs. Sturdy, heavy but lies on the table anyways. Sonically good to me.

Also made by HiFlight (http://www.hiflightaudio.com/)

 

Also own the same matched cable for XLR to 1/4 plug. Again all Neutriks and again courtesy of HiFlight (Used to come with the HE-5 cable)

 

 

Now let's get to

 

2)Unboxing and accessories

 

A/N:

I bought the HE-6 from Justin W. at HeadAmp. Justin is a nice guy, was easy to deal with and if you have any requests he is likely to fulfill them (for ex. I wanted the leathers swapped for velours and he did that). He also offered international free shipping with FedEx, which was really cool. Either way, both Justin and HiFiMAN offer tremendous customer support and service and I can easily recommend either of them.

 

 

 

The headphone comes in a luxurious leatherette box

 

 

 

What else will you receive?

 

A copper cable, valued at 150 USD.

 

 

A pouch in which the cable came and an extra pair of velour earpads.

 

 

Quality control card (old design)

 

 

New design

 

 

Package overall 8.5/10

 

Right, this brings us to 

 

3)Design, build quality and comfort

 

a)Design/Build quality

 

I think the headphone is really neat. It is glossy and looks very 70’s. It is a finger-print magnet but as you can see from the pictures it looks rather good and shiny.

 

 

The headband is made of metal with memory foam inside. Some say it's under padded, perhaps slightly so but for me it’s quite okay.

 

 

The headband adjustment is really smooth. There are no preset positions ("clicks") so you can adjust the headband exactly to your fit.

I wear it slightly above the lowest position. The adjustment rings with the "HIFIMAN HE-X" labels are made of plastic.

I think this could also be the least sturdy part.

 

 

The yokes and swivels are made of metal and they hold the cups with two screws imbued into the plastic cup on each side.

 

 

The cups are made of metal-like looking plastic. Very glossy stuff. These are heavy. Inside each cup is a pair of magnets with a [golden honeycomb-like] driver suspended in-between, which is typical for all orthodynamic headphones.

 

 

On the back you have a pair of grills with a black damping cloth underneath. Now these headphones are open-back and leak out substantially more sound than closed-backs. Not for portable use.

 

 

Then you have the ear cups and drivers. They are large and because I have big ears, they fit me rather nicely. Even though the headphone itself weights over 500 grams, the pads are still the most comfortable for me because of my ears. The headphone uses honeycomb-like golden drivers

Now pad swapping is a great strength of this headphone. Each cup is mounted onto a plastic ring. This ring has four plastic tabs. While initially difficult to swap, I got used to it after a while and can now change pads almost effortlessly.

 

 

 

Lastly you have the SMC connectors. And boy, these are not great. These were not the greatest choice! They aren't XLRs connectors, they are screw-in type. But not Ultrasone style easy screw in. More like screwdriver screwing.

In this process you inevitably have to twist the cable a lot thus shortening the cable's lifespan.

The stiffness of the connectors doesn't help much.

It is not the worst mechanism, but it leaves much to be desired.

 

 

 

Bottom line is, even though these headphones look sturdy initially, they are rather fragile in reality due to their weight. They are heavy and as such dropping these on the floor would probably break them.

 

A/N

 

Yes for 1300 USD, the design/build quality is somewhat disappointing.

But partially thanks to the awesome HiFiMAN customer support, it's something I can live with for now.

Still, looking forward to some improvements with their future offerings.

After owning the 2nd pair for over 5 months now, I think the build quality is improved with each batch. It still leaves a lot to be desired though. 

 

Update: I am glad HiFiMAN has taken these criticisms to heart and they are working on fixing most of the issues.

Lighter weight, better headband and higher efficiency are just some of the things HiFiMAN will improve with their future headphones.

Good work on these, really looking forward to these :]

 

Package overall 8/10 (Build quality 7.5/10 Design 8/10 Comfort 8.5/10)

 

b)Comfort

 

Pads

I have six different pads on my hand at the moment, three of which are velours, two are pleathers and one is leather.

 

How to put the pads on - You simply slip one of your spare Hifiman pad ring under the pad. You just bend them and roll them under, not too hard to do, usually all the pads I tried were very durable and rather easy to mount. Additional ring modifications further individually specified for 3rd party pads.

 

Velour pads

I received two different kinds of velours. One was an older batch, the other was a newer at that. I then bought the DT990 pads as well to see how these would compare.

 

NOTE: I strongly recommend to initially apply the "hot water squishing" mod on the HiFiMAN velours. Found in the modification category.

 

Gray black velours earpads

 

Those are the ones I use. They are probably the older velours and I have no idea if they are still available. These are stuffed with gray foam.

Those are mightly comfortable. Before I squished them in hot water, They were fine, but they were somewhat itchy and hard/stiff.

But after the mod they are just like two huge pillows and fit my ears perfectly. They will harden up a bit again, but they still remain softer than before.

They are slightly thicker than the dark black velours. They also attract dust the most.

They do not hinder the sound quality/neutrality in any way at all. Really love the soundstage and the overall tonal balance with these. There is a bit less bass though.

Great for sound analysis. Retails for 10 USD.

 

Sound 9/10 

Comfort 8/10

 

 

 

 

Dark black velours earpads

 

Those are the ones I have for back-up. They are very similar to the grayish black velours with a few differences.

They are stuffed with white memory foam and are even slightly softer than the other velours. They are also slightly shallower.

Again, the soaking in hot water did the trick.

Due to them being slightly less deep, I prefer the gray HiFiMAN velours. These would put my ears closer to the drivers. The reduced distance could slightly affect the sound quality and the reduced distance can cause some discomfort as well. Nothing major though.

Nonetheless, still a good pair of pads and would work very good for back-up purposes.

Retails for 10 USD.

 

Sound 8/10

Comfort 7/10 

 

 

 

 

Beyerdynamic DT990 velour earpads

 

(HiFiMAN plastic ring modification required)

 

I tried the DT990 velour pads then. They are much softer than the HFM velours but as a result they don’t hold shape so well. I also believe they are slightly deeper than the dark black velours but at the same time slightly smaller and deform easier. The problem is the mesh they come with. I am talking about the middle mesh ring that is found inside the pad, which separates your ears from the drivers and protects the drivers from dust and other small particles.

The mesh Beyerdynamic provides with all their pads is simply not acoustically transparent and to my ears affect the sound negatively, so further modification would be required. In addition, they are just not deep enough for my ears, so from my point of view I cannot recommend them. Retails for 30 USD.

 

Sound 7/10

Comfort 7/10 (me), Others potentially 8.5 – 9.5/10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Protein leather/real leather pads

 

Lawton audio's Denon stock protein leather pads 

 

They are incredibly soft and would be incredibly comfortable if they weren't too shallow for my ears.

Because of this, my ears touch the metal bars which are part of the drivers, which causes significant discomfort and I couldn't get a decent fit no matter what.

Those of you with small ears could find these perfect for them. Soft, smell nice, not sweaty and very sturdy.

There is still that one thing beside comfort and this is where these perhaps disappointed me the most, compared to velours.

What was made up in comfort was ultimately lost in sound quality, in my opinion of course.

The soundstage is somewhat preserved but the tonal balance is thrown out of the window. They just ended up sounding strange in the end.

Highs were more emphasized, vocals were pushed back and lost their inviting tone, while midrange became more recessed. The bass gained a bit more body and punch. Soundstage and instrument separation became muddy at times. 

This is all in relation to the grayish earpads and some of it is the effect of my ears being too close to the drivers. Retails for 35 USD.

 

Sound 5/10

Comfort 5/10 (me) - 9/10 (others, possibly)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HiFiMAN protein leather earpads

 

(Alternative mesh mod recommended)

 

These are the stock pleather earpads that come with the HE-500, HE-6 headphones.

Now to me, they are significantly more comfortable than either of the velours. The pad has a bigger hole for your ear to fit in and the artificial leather still manages to be softer than the velour. They are nowhere as soft as real leather pads, but in return they don’t make you sweaty like real ones would. Unfortunately, the mesh protector they come with is rather thick, too think to not affect the sound. And they do sound a bit muddy with the stock mesh. That is why I’d recommend replacing it and performing the “alternative mesh” mod.

If you plan on using these, I recommend to keep the foam rings inside as they make the pads deeper and helps them retain their shape.

Simply cut it out and use something thinner. I used thin stocking mesh. More about that in the “pads modifications” section.

In general their sound is warm. The midrange is clear, low-end has substantial punch and highs are very smooth, some air is ultimately lost.

Good if you want smooth, relaxing sound. Retails for 20 USD.

 

Sound 8.5/10 (with Alternative mesh, 7.5 without)

Comfort 9/10

 

A foam ring (from the HiFiMAN protein leather earpads)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brainwavz HM5 leather earpads

 

(HiFiMAN plastic ring modification required)

 

(Foam rings implant – depending on comfort, optional)

 

My latest addition to the pads family. It is also the most complicated one. These are leather pads, or as close as one can get to real leather for 18 USD shipped. They resemble real leather closely. They are very soft to the touch. They also feel like real leather and are quite a little more sweaty than all the other pads. To my ears they sound a bit like a cross between pleathers and velours. They have the rich velour midrange, a somewhat tamed but still extended and airy treble and highs and pleather-like strong bass. Soundstage and instrument separation is similar. They create the most natural sound to my ears. They are the deepest of the three and also the softest. As such, they compress more and a few people with big ears may find them uncomfortable due to this, me included. Luckily, there is the “foam ring implant” mod to keep you covered.  However aside from these mods, there is one more issue with the pads – the quality control. My own pads are rather similar. They are not exactly the same, they have different hole diameters and one is slightly larger than the other. But they are still probably close enough to be considered the same batch. Others were not so lucky. They received cross batch pads, smaller and bigger pads, significantly different pads and what not. They did receive two of them every time but sometimes one was really vastly different to the other and consequentially to my batch as well. Because of this, further modification may be required and variation in sound quality could also be possible. We also have different ears after all.

 

Sound 9.5/10

Comfort 9/10

 

 

 

 

 

 

Various pads conclusion - As you can see the difference between the pads is quite noticeable to my ears. I was not expecting any difference when I was swapping pads because I was told not to expect any. But it was there. It couldn't be ignored because it was rather apparent. The balance shifted and each pad brought slightly different sound to the mix. I sometimes felt bad for the turn of events it took.

If you have smaller ears, you can give some of the pads a try and see if improved fit and more space for your ears remedy the issues I had. It certainly could. Some of these pads were not made for this headphone yet some worked rather well and there are more out there of course.

 

In the middle is the bar which can cause discomfort with shallow pads

 

 

c)Pads modifications:

 

1) HiFiMAN plastic ring modification

For: Beyerdinamic, Brainwavz/Fischer audio pads, possibly other smaller pads

Difficulty: easy-medium

What you need: HiFiMAN plastic rings, a pair of scissors or any other sharp object used for cutting

How to: First you want to get yourself a pair of the Hifiman plastic rings. They come with all the stock pads, so if you have some spare pads, you can simply take the pad off from the ring. The rings should still be usable with stock pads even after this modification. Now you will cut off a piece of the outer ring. There is a border line on the pads I used for reference. See the pictures below. Not a difficult mod at all. You could also use your desired pads for reference and cut off a smaller or bigger piece. Pads are usually a bit flexible so it might be wise to make the ring slightly larger than the pads and then stretch them a bit to fit the headphone nicely.

 

 

 

 

 

2) Foam rings implant

For: to extend pads depth and improve their shape

Difficulty: easy-medium

What you need: HiFiMAN foam rings (from the Hifiman pleather pads), your desired pads, HiFiMAN plastic rings, a pair of scissors.

How to: Cut off the middle mesh of the pleather pads (I recommend doing that anyway, more in the next mod). Remove the foam ring from the inside. Do the same with the other pad. Now put them inside your pads of choice, then put the (stock or modified) HiFiMAN plastic ring on. Install them on your headphone and enjoy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

3) Alternative mesh

For: Any pad with too thick middle mesh (Beyerdynamic, HiFiMAN pleathers, other pads)

Difficulty: easy-medium (choice1,2), medium-hard(choice 3)

What you need: pair of thin stockings or equivalent material, scissors, (super)glue (choice 1,2), or needle, thread (choice 3) and a spare pair of plastic rings

How to: Cut off a circular piece of your fabric of choice. Now you can either do choice 1 – glue it onto your pads of choice, choice 2 – glue it onto a pair of HiFiMAN rings or choice 3 – sew it onto a pair of HiFiMAN rings (for those who don’t want to mess with glue)

I personally did the choice 3, with a little help.

 

 

 

4) Hot water squishing

For: Hard velour pads (tested with HiFiMAN velour only)

Difficulty: easy

What you need: velour earpad, bucket of hot water

How to: remove the plastic rings that velours are attached to, then get yourself a bucket of hot water and put the velours in there.

You then use your hands to squeeze them, wrap them in half and squish them again. When you think the velours are soaked enough and softened, you squeeze the water out and put them on a heating or anywhere else to dry up.

This makes them noticeably more comfortable and reduces the itchiness they were so infamous for.

This will cost you absolutely nothing yet makes the comfort so much better. I really cannot recommend it enough.

No sound related side effects.

 

 

 

 

4)First and further impressions

 

At first the HE-6 was powered by the lowly NFB-16. I had no other amplifier at my disposal and it took 3 weeks for the Mini to arrive.

So I had to burn them in with it. The sound was really good even though the cans were severely underamped.

The highs were the least affected. Very natural and airy. Great treble, inviting vocals. Not harsh or sibilant. Very extended yet smooth. With the Mini-X, there wasn't much change.

Mids were slightly more affected. More precisely the background instruments, general soundstage width, depth and instrument separation.

Now don't get me wrong it was fine, but with the Mini the background instruments gained more space, the soundstage width and depth subtly improved and all instruments and vocals became better separated with instruments gaining more air in-between.

Finally the bass was the most impacted area. It was very weak, same with all the songs be it bass heavy or bass light. It lacked definition and impact. It distorted with certain bass heavy sounds, struggling to deliver due to insufficient power, This was most apparent with the Mini. The bass immediately gained punch, detail and resolution but still remained as tight as possible.

 

First impressions overall 9.5/10

 

The setup

 

Finally, we get to the

 

5)Sound

 

But first, a little thought of mine

 

MP3, FLAC and bad mastering

 

Many disputes were led here on head-fi. One such is the effect of cables on sound, which I won’t comment on. Instead, I’d like to touch the music quality a bit, and how and if different file formats affect it or not. Please keep in mind that these are all subjective impressions. Everyone is free to make his own assessment.

Now I won’t be talking about LPs or DXDs as I don’t feel like I can comment on that just yet, I will only mention the basic stuff.

 

During my recent year, I had the opportunity to compare many different genres, artists and decades of music. From mp3 to flac, from the 60’s to the 00’s, from classical to pop. From CD rips to downloaded. Now, it might be a common fact and I might just be repeating what has been said, but to me the mastering is much more important than anything else. When we try to compare different file formats for instance. Let’s take the two most common – mp3 and flac. Now the obvious advantage of flac is that it is lossless (it also sounds more audiphile), meaning there is absolutely no loss or degradation of quality. Flac also comes in different flavors, starting all the way down at 16/44, going all the way up to 24/192, possibly even higher, with file sizes crossing hundreds of megabytes, is it worth the size?

My answer is “rather no”.

Let me explain. The first thing you need to make sure when comparing the two is to volume level them properly. Even then, according to a research done in the past here, many head-fier’s trained ears did mistake one for the other. And I want to say yes, there could be a difference between the two but it is just so subtle to me that most of the time I am not able to tell the difference between let’s say a 256/320 mp3 and a 16/44 flac file, or a 16/44 flac file and a 24/96 flac file or even a 128 and 256 mp3. So even if you just don’t have your favorite song available in flac, give the mp3 version a try, you may like it the same in the end. That is if we are talking about properly mastered material.

If the material is mastered shoddily then there is not much one can do to save it. Here the difference is much more than just compression or bitrate. It is ruined from the get go and if the quality isn’t there, a lossless conversion is not going to make it sound any better. Now if you make a lossy conversion, that is taking an already messed up recording and making it even worse by doing a lossy, compressed conversion into an mp3, then I believe the difference could be more apparent. With well mastered recordings, the differences remain subtle

Bottom line is, the difference is not as big as we like it to make. It’s not like an mp3 will be unlistenable or night and day in comparison with flac. There are many more variables as well – which encoder was used, how compressed it was, what gear are you using-is it a resolving one or forgiving, have you compared the two side by side and finally how it was mastered. All this should be taken into consideration. More often than not the difference is very tiny – it just depends on your particular pick.

 

Headphones

 

Also, I will put a graph here, should anyone be interested :)

 

HE-6 and Pro 900

 

 

a)Low-end/bass

 

Pros

+ Very tight

+ Punchy when the song wants it

+ Visceral and tactile

+ Very detailed and textured

+ Does not bleed into other frequencies

 

Cons

- Cannot reproduce rumbly deep bass very well

 

Overall 9/10 – The bass is quite magnificent with these. It gradually increases with amplification and volume so if there isn’t enough juice, you won’t get any of that goodness. It’s strong, very tight, palpable and visceral, incredibly detailed. It is not always there but only when it’s called for meaning it is different for each genre. There is just the right amount of it. It cannot do rumbly sub-bass very well but these are no bass heavy cans so you wouldn’t expect them to do that, otherwise the great neutrality and delicate tonal balance would be hindered.

 

b)Midrange

 

Pros

+ Super natural and neutral

+ Each instrument has its space and is given the same amount of detail and attention

+ Easy to follow individual instruments

+ Incredibly detailed and pristine

+ You can hear it all at one time

 

Cons

- None

 

Overall 10/10 – Remember that time when you were listening to your previous pair of headphones and you just said to yourself “damn, how is this possible?”

Well, I do because this is where the world of difference lies between the HEs and the Pros. I was shocked just how much more information and detail there was in the midrange that was just hidden before. The midrange is quite literally magical, just crystal clear and natural. Everything is there, you can almost touch it as if there was a tiny band performing for you in your head. Just perfect, stunning, unbelievable… you name it. Never heard anything quite like it before

 

c)Vocals

 

Pros

+ Lovely inviting vocals, velvety

+ Carry the singer’s signature voice without a hint of coloration

+ Lively and very life like

+ Crisp and ridiculously detailed

+ It’s unreal just how airy and extended these are

 

Cons

- Rarely very slightly sibilant with certain vocalists

 

Overall 9.5/10 – Remember that time when you had your favorite singers in your house, performing for you while wondering how come that somebody who died and somebody who lives far away from you is with you in the same room? This is as close as it gets to that. Being the first thing that literally struck me - the realness, the presence, the clearness and crispness. It’s mind boggling how they managed to achieve this. Even if this was the only thing these headphones did perfectly, I would probably get them. These vocals are to die for. The magical breath of singer’s voice in the air is astounding. The only puddle on this perfectly clean floor is a certain rare hint of sibilance which appears here and there but it’s so rare one would almost forget about it. Equals to 0.5 or so.

 

d)Highs/treble

 

Pros

+ Natural

+ Neutral

+ Engaging

+ Never harsh/fatiguing

+ Airy and extended

+ Very detailed

 

Cons

-  None

 

Overall 10/10 - Again, much like midrange and vocals, there is nothing to criticize. They sound very engaging, almost fatiguing, but they are always one step below that. Even with less stellar recordings they still remain perfectly neutral. Gear can obviously affect this to a certain point, but all the information, extension and air is there without harshness. So it has more to do with headphones I'd say. Perfectly balanced with the rest of the spectrum. What I like is that you can almost always pick up a certain part of the song, be it instruments or vocals and almost listen to that part individually.

 

e)Soundstage/Instrument separation

 

Pros

+ Solid instrument separation

+ Coherent across the board

+ Great all-rounder

+ Each instrument has it's "air"

+ Dead neutral/balanced

+ Expansive soundstage

+ Transparent

 

Cons

- Soundstage height and depth could be slightly larger

 

Overall 9/10 - The only shortcoming is the soundstage height and depth. Yes it could be improved, but the impressive instrument separation makes up for that - airy sound and coherent performance. I haven't found a ditty where I would find the headphone lacking in a particular way because if there is something I don't like it always makes it up with something else, remedying the flaw. HiFiMAN house sound is really something a head-fier should hear at least once. I myself was skeptical and now I am not anymore.

 

f)Recordings sensitivity

 

Overall 8/10 - I know, I know. HE-6 is supposed to be the pinnacle of unforgiving but it's simply not the case (at least with direct comparison with the Pro 900).

My less revealing components might play a part, but simply put, they sound amazing with FLAC but still manage to sound decent with less stellar MP3s. 

Doesn't sound harsh with them or anything... Yes you can tell the subtle difference sometimes but it's definitely more listenable than the Pros. Depends on the mastering as more than anything.

 

Sound overall 9.5/10

 

6)Gaming

 

Now both of these headphones fare well in this category, however, there are some particular differences.

 

But first associated equipment:

 

Turtle Beach PX5's DSP

 

 

 

Sony Playstation 3

 

 

 

Along with a pair of controllers

 

 

Picture is connected through a HDMI cable

While sound goes through (Die Hard)Optical out (PS3) to Optical in (DSP) then through the HP out to the C10 (Nuforce 2RCA to 1/8 jack) and finally to the

HE-6

 

Comparisons

 

Of course we also need some games. I will mention the ones I have tested with both headphones

 

Right off the bat, it provides the best spatial cues of all headphones I've tried for gaming so far.

Much like with music, the HE-6 is again neutral, but thanks to all the extra detail, each game feels different and is always exciting because you simply can hear it all. Very nice.

The highs are nice and sparkly with plenty of detail, very accurate.

Similarly the middles. This is where the Pro 900 hide or rather masks some details (voices, ambient sounds, etc) in exchange for more exciting tonality. While the HE-6 midrange remain present at all times.

The bass is a little more complicated here, it is as tight and refined with lots of details as with music, but there is one thing which is not present and that is sub-bass "rumble" explosions which are more felt than heard. That involves grenades, dynamites, bombs, rockets and many different kinds of explosions and this is where the HE-6 struggles.

It is neutral and to keep it as such the bass is rolled off, covering some of the sub-bass from 8 Hz to roughly 16 Hz. If an explosion occurs in these frequencies or rather any deep explosion that requires more oomph (or rumble) than tight definition, HE-6 will distort because it can't quite reproduce it well. Same applies to movies but to a lesser extent..

But it is slightly more complicated because it varies from game to game with different bass implementations.

99% of the time it’s only a problem with FPS (ex. Call of Duty) where there is emphasized bass everywhere so everything from grenades and up cause distortion.

 

HE-6 overall 9/10

 

Let's get to the games, shall we?

 

 

The Last of Us

Genre: survivor/adventure

Winner: HE-6

 

GOTY, just play it really. You're doing yourself a great disservice if you haven't played it yet!

 

 

Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time

Genre: platformer/stealth

Winner: HE-6

 

A great plaformer. Very reminiscent of the older Sly Cooper games. The story is a bit too crazy but I enjoyed it quite a lot.

The bass is very tight and deep, but not rumbly, so no distortion. Rest of the spectrum is top notch too.

 

Ratchet and Clank: Full frontal assault [US]/ Q-force [EU]

Genre: platformer/shooter

winner:HE-6

 

Another platformer from the old times. Tower defence style tonight.

Here the bass is tight but a little rumbly. The HE-6 can handle that but when multiple things explode at a time, it can distort. No complains with highs and mids.

 

Lego Harry Potter Years 5 – 7

Genre: platformer

Winner: HE-6

 

Your typical LEGO platformer, with good accompanying orchestra. This game doesn’t really require any space rendering but it is nice to play it with a headphone on anyway. Headphones just give an immersion speakers can’t deliver. And I really prefer headphones to speakers with most games and movies as well.

 

 

Fallout: New Vegas

Genre: RPG

Winner: HE-6

 

This game is a shooter more than anything, but the bass is nicely controlled and actually very tight, it rumbles very rarely. I've had the bass distort very rarely here[during a bombarding sequence for instance], which actually surprised me. The way grenades and other explosives explode here not overly sub-bass centric. It's a boom, but very tight. The slight sub-bass required is nothing HE-6 couldn't handle. spacial cues are great as well as the rest.

 

 

Borderlands

Genre: FPS

Winner: HE-6

 

Although this game is a shooter, the HE-6 doesn’t seem to have any problem with it.  It offers really good space rendering. This proves that the performance of the HE-6 ultimately boils down to the implementation. If it is nice, tight boom, then it works just fine. If it is subwoofer like oomph, raised by a few decibels, then that is definitely bad. Like the Call of Duty games...

 

 

NHL 13

Genre: sports

Winner: HE-6

 

The immersion is really incredible in this game. The crowd surrounds you. The horn strikes sound just so real. Even when the puck bounces off the post or when you skate on the ice... It’s amazing really.

 

 

Need for Speed: The Run

Genre: racing

Winner: HE-6

 

Not too much bass found here. The presentation is very accurate. The bass distorted only once here - during a particular race, during which a thunder is roaring, created with sub-bass more than sound, this part of the race was a distorted mess. I rest my case at first because I had no idea what was happening, before I noticed the lightning around.

There is also slight distortion during crashes, but nothing to brag about. Engines sound amazing, Also there is music playing during the race. Both nicely split.

Race takes the foreground, playing music is in the background. both easily distinguishable.

 

 

Yakuza 4

Genre: Fighter with RPG elements

Winner: HE-6

 

A great game with huge immersive story. I like Japanese voiceovers and the more with the HE-6 because they are just so clear. Again, space simulation is not needed all that much but it is good to have. Dattebayo!

 

 

The Sims 3 : Pets

Genre: life simulator!

Winner: HE-6

 

Cool game with the HE-6. Since it allows custom soundtracks to be played, you can enjoy both the game sounds and your favorite songs separated with utmost quality of both. While listening to your favorite doggie barking or kitty hissing.

 

 

Call of Duty: X (I suppose you can use any entry as an example. My "X" stands for World at War)

Genre: FPS shooter

Winner:Pro 900

The game would be really good with the HE-6 thanks to it's brilliant spatial cues, but it is so over-bassed in general and the sub-bass is so emphasized, that it is one big distorted mess.

You can hear things, but every grenade or any other explosion covers the sound with one distorted blanket and that sound [if you ever heard it] isn't exactly easy to listen to.

Pro 900, on the other hand, reproduces the bass without a hint of distortion so you can still hear lots of things clearly and the spatial cues are good as well.

 

The rest of the games weren't tested yet but I will estimate the results based on the previous basis. 

 

 

Resistance 3

Genre: FPS shooter

Probable winner: Pro 900

 

 

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow

Genre: RPG

Probable winner: HE-6

 

 

Dragon Age II

Genre: RPG

Probable winner: HE-6

 

I just love RPGs with the HE-6.

 

 

Ico and Shadow of the Colossus HD Collection

Genre: action-adventure/RPG

Probable winner: HE-6

 

 

 

Jack and Daxter HD Collection

genre: action-adventure/platformer

probable winner: HE-6

 

Ratchet and Clank HD Collection

Genre: action-adventure-platformer/shooter

Probable winner: HE-6

 

Gran Turismo 5

Genre: racing

Probable winner: HE-6

 

 

Dynasty warriors: Strikeforce

Genre: RPG/beat ‘em-up

Probable winner: HE-6

 

 

Little big planet 2

Genre: platformer

Probable winner: HE-6

 

 

And others...

 

Conclusion - they are really great gaming ‘phones, and if we take into account the price difference, Pro 900 is hard to beat.

You could also say that the HE-6 is the better gaming can as it offers unparalleled clarity and spatial cues. It struggles only with the most bass intense FPS games. For all the other genres, they are hard to challenge as well.  

 

7)Portability

 

HE-6 overall - N/A. It is not a portable headphone.

 

8)Unique trait

 

Airiness 

 

HE-6 possesses a very unique ability. Quite simply it gives everything air. Be it vocals, guitars, drums violins or pianos. The tone is carried through the air and echoes for lack of a better word. The quantity varies from artist to artist, from song to song and from instrument to instrument.

Partly it is due to their open nature, but even if you cover the grills with your hands, some air still remains, albeit less.

I am not really sure how it works but from what I understand this is typical for all HiFiMAN cans. It gives everything a breath of fresh air (no pun intended).

 

 

Overlooking my table.

 

 

9)Songs and genres

 

Okay now I will mention some of the artists and songs I like with the HE-6. My favorite list if you will.

 

A/N

At first I used the Foobar 2000, which is a great player and it's free, but there were a few kinks I didn't like. For one thing, the way it works. Lots of things need to be adjusted with script commands, etc.

Recently I am using the J River media center and it works much more conventionally, like a standard player, offer lots of customization and is easier to work with.

 

 

Artists

 

50 Cent

Genre: rap

Favorite songs: Patiently Waiting, 21 Questions, Blood Hound [Get Rich or Die Tryin' album]

 

 

AC/DC

Genre: hard rock

Favorite songs: Back In Black, Highway To Hell, T.N.T [Warning, High Voltage Greatest Hits Collection]

 

 

Alvin And The Chipmunks

Genre: various [pop, rock, hip hop,etc

Favorite songs: Don't Stop Believin', Get You Goin', Say Hey [Undeniable, Squeakquel and Chipwrecked albums]

 

 

Bon Jovi

Genre: rock

Favorite songs: Livin' On A Prayer, It's My Life, I'll Be There For You [Greatest Hits-Ultimate Collection]

 

 

Coldplay

Genre: alternative rock

Favorite songs: Princess Of China, Paradise, Hurts Like Heaven [Mylo Xyloto album]

 

 

Deadmau5

Genre: electro house music

Favorite songs: Moar Ghosts N Stuff, The 16Th Hour, Strobe [For Lack Of A Better Name album]

 

 

Linkin Park

Genre: [alternative] rock

Favorite songs: Breaking The Habit, In The End, Numb[Encore] [Hybrid Theory and Meteora albums]

 

 

Michael Jackson

Genre: pop

Favorite songs: Dangerous, Breaking News, Behind The Mask [Dangerous and Michael albums] and many others

 

 

Nickelback

Genre: rock

Favorite songs: If Everyone Cared, Hero, Rockstar [Star Mark Greatest Hits Collection]

 

 

Nicki Minaj

Genre: rap

Favorite songs: Starships, Pound The Alarm, Super bass [ Pink Friday and Pink Friday Roman Reloaded albums]

 

 

Pet Shop Boys

Genre: Electronic dance music

Favorite songs: Leaving, A Face Like That, Everything Means Something [Elysium album]

 

 

Poets Of The Fall

Genre: rock

Favorite songs: War, The Cradle of Life, Show Me This Life [Alchemy and Temple Of Thought albums]

 

 

The Cure

Genre: rock

Favorite songs: many classics, including the Just Like Heaven

 

 

Other artists, such as Vertical Horizon or Rascal Flatts and many more deserve a honorable mention.

 

Game original soundtracks

 

Age Of Empires II OST

Genre: orchestral

Favorite sings: whole album

 

 

Alan Wake OST

Genre: orchestral, rock [Poets of the fall songs]

Favorite songs: whole album

 

 

Alone In The Dark OST [2008]

Genre: Bulgarian folk music

Favorite songs: whole album

 

 

Alvin And The Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, the game OST

Genre: various [pop, rock, hip hop]

Favorite: whole album

 

 

Assassins Creed [I - III]

Genre: orchestral

Favorite: all albums

 

 

Fallout 3, New Vegas OSTs

Genre: Jazz

Favorite: All

 

*

 

Halo 1-4 OSTs

Genre: orchestral

Favorite: all albums

 

 

Infamous 1,2 OSTs

Genre: orchestral

Favorite: both albums

 

 

Journey OST

Genre: orchestral

Favorite: whole album

 

 

Kingdom Hearts OSTs

Genre: orchestral

Favorite: most of the albums

 

 

L.A. Noire OST

Genre: jazz, blues [40s]

Favorite: whole album

 

 

Mirror's Edge OSTs/Lisa Miskovsky's The Remixes

Genre: pop, rock

Favorite: Still Alive [The Remixes album]

 

 

The Elder Scrolls-Morrowind, Oblivion, Skyrim OSTs

Genre: orchestral

Favorite songs: all albums

 

 

Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm [1-3] OSTs

Genre: Japanese orchestral, instrumental

Favorite songs: all albums

 

 

Rayman: Origins OST

Genre: orchestra, instrumental rock [one single]

Favorite songs: whole album

 

 

Sonic Generations OST

Genre: instrumental

Favorite songs: whole album

 

 

Tomb Raider: Legend OST

Genre: orchestral

Favorite songs: whole album

 

 

Uncharted 1-3 OSTs

Genre: orchestral

Favorite songs: all albums

 

 

Yakuza 1 - 4/Spin-off OSTs

Genre: instrumental, Japanese rock, electronic

Favorite songs: whole album

 

 

 

TV series, movies OSTs

Most of these are really famous, so in case you haven't heard them, give it a listen.

 

Movies

 

Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises original soundtracks

Genre: orchestral, various 

Favorite songs: all albums

 

 

Django Unchained Original Soundtrack

Genre: western, various

Favorite songs: Django, Nicaragua, Unchained

 

 

Harry Potter Original Motion Picture Soundtrack [1-7]

Genre: instrumental, orchestral

Favorite songs: all albums

 

 

Kill Bill 1,2 Original Soundtrack

Genre: various [instrumental, etc]

Favorite songs: both albums

 

 

Lord Of The Rings OST

Genre: instrumental, orchestral

Favorite songs: all albums

 

 

Madagascar OST

Genre: various [instrumental, orchestral, one dance]

Favorite songs: whole album

 

 

Matrix Trilogy OST

Genre: various [instrumental, orchestral, pop, rock]

Favorite songs: a few from each movie/album

 

 

Pirates Of The Caribbean OST

Genre: instrumental, orchestral

Favorite songs: all albums

 

 

Pulp Fiction OST

Genre: various [pop, rap, hip hop, country, rock, jazz]

Favorite songs: all of them

 

 

Rocky Balboa [The Best Of Rocky] Collection

Genre: rock, instrumental

Favorite songs: all of them

 

 

Sherlock Holmes OST

Genre: instrumental, orchestral

Favorite songs: all of them

 

 

Star Wars Soundtrack Collection

Genre: orchestral

Favorite songs: all

 

 

Taxi 1 - 4 OST

Genre: various [French pop, hip hop,etc]

Favorite songs: a few from each movie

 

 

Terminator 1,2, S OST

Genre: instrumental, orchestral

Favorite songs: all of them

 

 

Transformers Trilogy OST

Genre: orchestral

Favorite: all singles

 

 

TV series

 

House M.D. Soundtrack

Genre: rock, drum, etc

Favorite songs: a few + the theme song [Teardrop by Massive attack]

 

 

Misfits OST

Genre: mostly rock, various

Favorite songs: all

 

 

Naruto Original/Shippuden Songs From The Anime

Genre: instrumental, J pop, J rock

Favorite: all songs

 

 

Scrubs OST

Genre: various [rock mostly]

Favorite songs: Superman, Overkill, End Credit Score

 

 

The X-Files OST [both series and movies]

Genre: instrumental, orchestral

Favorite songs: absolutely love all of them, oh, that X-files intro...

 

 

And more...

 

Phew, okay, let's move to 

 

10)Value

 

HE-6

if we take the headphone as a whole and recap, we get a nice all-rounder, good for music as well as games, with somewhat decent quality and looks but there are still a few flaws which will hopefully be fixed with their next headphone because there is no doubt there will be more. They are also hard to drive which can be considered a strength (you can experiment with these a lot) or weakness (if you don't want to). One is clear however, they sound like a flagship can. Their sound wowed me and still continue to do so. You pay 1300 bucks for a headphone that scales really well and gets really close to the most expensive headphones.

So yes I believe they were worth their asking price. I can't compare them with the lower HiFiMAN models, so my only reference is the Pro 900.

And since they clearly beat it in regards to anything with the bass being different and slightly more geared towards music and audiophiles than gaming. Which is their main focus anyways. Regardless, they perform outstandingly well in both.

 

Overall value 9/10

 

 

 

11)Conclusion

 

Ok, to clarify, I think it is good to own all three headphones. They complement each other very nicely. You have 2 neutral HPs, one of which is great for traveling and a very colored headphone as well. If you wanted, you can use the Pros for gaming, RE-400 for traveling and the HE-6 as your home music rig.

For me, however, the Pro 900 had to go. I wouldn't give them as much head time as I want because I am not a self-proclaimed bass-head as I was at the beginning.

Sure bass is nice, but neutral one it is for me. But again, it is perfectly fine to own them both. But right now, it's best for me to just buy an IEM (the RE-400 from HiFiMAN probably – I was a prophet back then!) and have the HE-6 as my home rig.

 

HE-6 final score 9/10

 

12)Special thanks: 

 

preproman - for his infinite patience and help. Thanks man, I wouldn't be here writing this now without your assistance.

seaice – for providing all the high-grade components and cables. Thanks a ton man!

elwappo99 - for extensive advice and aid.

hiflight - for providing me with quality cables for a reasonable price and additional help

pataburd - for help and useful advice

MaIVeauX - for useful tips and advice

Mattcg – for assistance and objective insight

clemmaster – for assistance and friendly chatter :)

LugBug 1 - for support and backing up my decisions 

 

And everyone else who in any way, form or shape helped with my decisions, contributed or gave advice as well as all the dealers and manufacturers whose products were featured in this review

 

13)More images

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bart (Cavalier King Charles Spaniel)

 

14)Epilogue

 

And with this, I have concluded my review. Hope you guys liked it as it took many days just to write it + all the pictures, editing and stuff.

Please take into consideration that this is only my 2nd review here and that I am not a native speaker (although trying hard to get close)

Thank you for reading it!

Please post additional questions or inquiries bellow or send a PM.

Let the discussion commence.

 

Kindest regards and thanks to anyone reading this. Hope you liked it!

Luke, the reviewer


Edited by conquerator2 - 11/16/14 at 7:11am
post #2 of 104

Wow. You really put a lot of work into that and I appreciate it! I'm in exactly the same boat as you... I currently own the Pro 900s and I have a set of HE400s (little bro) on the way tomorrow. I love the bass on the Pros but as you said, some of the shortcomings are starting to get to me if I use them for music with vocals and midrange detail. Hoping the HE400 will make me happy too. I'm now going to back and read the rest of your review again,  more carefully. Thanks for the time and effort.beerchug.gif

 

ETA: Small nit... I'd change the highlight color on the prices to something other than Yellow. Maybe something darker.  It's hard to read without selecting it. Just an FYI on an otherwise awesomely done review. 


Edited by bareyb - 2/12/13 at 6:15pm
post #3 of 104

What an excellent post.  It's posts and users like this that keep me coming back to this community.  There's no financial issues at stakes.  It's just honest user opinion made from joy for the hobby.  Well done!

post #4 of 104
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bareyb View Post

Wow. You really put a lot of work into that and I appreciate it! I'm in exactly the same boat as you... I currently own the Pro 900s and I have a set of HE400s (little bro) on the way tomorrow. I love the bass on the Pros but as you said, some of the shortcomings are starting to get to me if I use them for music with vocals and midrange detail. Hoping the HE400 will make me happy too. I'm now going to back and read the rest of your review again,  more carefully. Thanks for the time and effort.beerchug.gif

 

ETA: Small nit... I'd change the highlight color on the prices to something other than Yellow. Maybe something darker.  It's hard to read without selecting it. Just an FYI on an otherwise awesomely done review. 

 

Thank you!

And please do let me know about the design flaws! I am not particularly good at that :)

 

EDIT - hopefully remedied, added two more lines of text or so at the end of the 3) build quality, comfort and design category :)


Edited by conquerator2 - 2/12/13 at 6:35pm
post #5 of 104
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hodgjy View Post

What an excellent post.  It's posts and users like this that keep me coming back to this community.  There's no financial issues at stakes.  It's just honest user opinion made from joy for the hobby.  Well done!

 

Thank you! You are welcome :)

post #6 of 104

WOW Luke.  Lots of work.  Great music choices.  This is one of the most in-depth reviews I've seen.  Yes the Pro 900s really cannot compare.  

 

Really glad to see you give the HE-6 some juice, especially in a review.  

 

Great Job..

post #7 of 104

Great review.

 

You went down a lot in my estimation a lot when I got to the Nickleback album, but if I try not to hold that against you I can appreciate the volume of work that went into that ;p 

 

Thank you.

post #8 of 104
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by NZtechfreak View Post

Great review.

You went down a lot in my estimation a lot when I got to the Nickleback album, but if I try not to hold that against you I can appreciate the volume of work that went into that ;p 

Thank you.

Sorry to disappoint but I barely mentioned them...
The fact that I mentioned doesnt necessarily mean that I listen to them, I barely have them.in my music folders.
And in this particular case I have not listened to them for a long time wink.gif
Still, try to be a bit more forgiving wink.gif
Thank you

Funny you didn't mention the letter A biggrin.gif First letter in the alphabet ;P
Edited by conquerator2 - 2/12/13 at 8:01pm
post #9 of 104

Your English is very impressive for not being native.  Great work on the informative review, and I loved most of your music selections  (especially the game soundtracks!).  Thanks for all the hard work.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NZtechfreak View Post

Great review.

 

You went down a lot in my estimation a lot when I got to the Nickleback album, but if I try not to hold that against you I can appreciate the volume of work that went into that ;p 

 

Thank you.

Haha, to be fair, Nickelback would have been an OK band if they only released like 3-4 songs.  It's just that every song is the same song :(. 

post #10 of 104
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by preproman View Post

WOW Luke.  Lots of work.  Great music choices.  This is one of the most in-depth reviews I've seen.  Yes the Pro 900s really cannot compare.  

Really glad to see you give the HE-6 some juice, especially in a review.  

Great Job..

Thank you sir wink.gif
You know it
post #11 of 104
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Caessa View Post

Your English is very impressive for not being native.  Great work on the informative review, and I loved most of your music selections  (especially the game soundtracks!).  Thanks for all the hard work.


Haha, to be fair, Nickelback would have been an OK band if they only released like 3-4 songs.  It's just that every song is the same song frown.gif

You are welcome, thanks! and agreed! ;D
I perhaps like only 6 songs or so.
I think for instance the"If Everyone Cared".song is a very special one and I quite like it.
post #12 of 104

Great thorough review!

 

But, above all, really nice ruby Cavalier King Charles!

My parents happen to have one as well (a brand new one! :p). Ruby is not that common ;)

post #13 of 104
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clemmaster View Post

Great thorough review!

 

But, above all, really nice ruby Cavalier King Charles!

My parents happen to have one as well (a brand new one! :p). Ruby is not that common ;)

 

Hey, thanks! I actually have three of them.

 

Fred is the ruby one, the middle one

Ray is the tricolor one, the oldest one

David is the blenheim one, the youngest one

 

I love them all, although I like Fred a little more wink.gif

post #14 of 104

They have an old blenheim too (14 years old, not far from world record :D).

 

I love the honey cake color of the ruby more. I call him cookie.

post #15 of 104

Thanks for the Great Review!

 

Very Detailed and in-depth!

 

Wide Variety of Music Genres.

 

Great Post.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Headphones (full-size)
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphones (full-size) › HiFiMAN HE-6 + HE-560 + HE-400i + RE-400 In-depth Reviews and more!