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[REVIEW] HiFiMAN HE-500 vs Sennheiser HD600 - Page 14

post #196 of 242

Thanks for the great review. I am also looking to upgrade my HD600 that I've been using for the past 11 years. So far, I've tried HD800, HD700, HE-500, and I'll be auditioning the LCD-2.2's tomorrow. I mostly listen to rock and pop. I use a souped up PPA amp. A couple of different observations:

 

1. I don't agree with the Lamborghini analogy for the built quality of Hifiman. To me, it feels like a well executed kitcar at best. HE-500 is not all metal. Cups are some sort of plastic or resin. Cable is disappointing, in that if you bend it, it stays bent (silver ones). I'd expect some more flexibility at this price level. Pads are hard; a lot more so than the HD600 pads. Connector is a cheap molded plastic. On the other hand, they used a thin but effective memory foam padding on the headband, which is very comfortable. The headband is covered with what appears to be genuine leather. So I think that Hifiman's effort in build quality is clear, but overall it still looks handmade, meaning that some parts look aftermarket or cheap. This is in stark contrast with say HD800.

 

2. It's heavy, pads are hard, cable is not very felxible. But somehow I can comfortable listen to it for a long time. Of course, HD600 is clearly more comfortable.

 

3. Soundwise, Hifiman offers much better bass, less mid-high's, much better clarity, detail and air. HD600 definitely hits every note, but everything feels "compressed" compared to the HE-500. Haveing used HD600 for 11 years, I am an avid fan; but I find HE-500 more enjoyable; even more so than the HD800, which is superior in many ways to both headphones (soundstage, detail, air, etc.)

 

I won't sell my HD600's no matter what I buy next. Given that, I am not sure if I'd pay $700 for a HE-500. It's a tough decision. But if I were buying new, I think I'd go for the HE-500.

 

Of the ones I auditioned, HD700 was a clear disappointment though. It offers better bass, more clarity, but balance was way of. Weird. No wonder the price dropped from $1K to $650.

post #197 of 242
Quote:
Originally Posted by zxc View Post
 

Thanks for the great review. I am also looking to upgrade my HD600 that I've been using for the past 11 years. So far, I've tried HD800, HD700, HE-500, and I'll be auditioning the LCD-2.2's tomorrow. I mostly listen to rock and pop. I use a souped up PPA amp. A couple of different observations:

 

1. I don't agree with the Lamborghini analogy for the built quality of Hifiman. To me, it feels like a well executed kitcar at best. HE-500 is not all metal. Cups are some sort of plastic or resin. Cable is disappointing, in that if you bend it, it stays bent (silver ones). I'd expect some more flexibility at this price level. Pads are hard; a lot more so than the HD600 pads. Connector is a cheap molded plastic. On the other hand, they used a thin but effective memory foam padding on the headband, which is very comfortable. The headband is covered with what appears to be genuine leather. So I think that Hifiman's effort in build quality is clear, but overall it still looks handmade, meaning that some parts look aftermarket or cheap. This is in stark contrast with say HD800.

 

2. It's heavy, pads are hard, cable is not very felxible. But somehow I can comfortable listen to it for a long time. Of course, HD600 is clearly more comfortable.

 

3. Soundwise, Hifiman offers much better bass, less mid-high's, much better clarity, detail and air. HD600 definitely hits every note, but everything feels "compressed" compared to the HE-500. Haveing used HD600 for 11 years, I am an avid fan; but I find HE-500 more enjoyable; even more so than the HD800, which is superior in many ways to both headphones (soundstage, detail, air, etc.)

 

I won't sell my HD600's no matter what I buy next. Given that, I am not sure if I'd pay $700 for a HE-500. It's a tough decision. But if I were buying new, I think I'd go for the HE-500.

 

Of the ones I auditioned, HD700 was a clear disappointment though. It offers better bass, more clarity, but balance was way of. Weird. No wonder the price dropped from $1K to $650.

How much time have you spent listening to the HE-500's? From what you say about buying something next and the $700 price for the HE-500's I'm assuming you didn't buy one, yet.:D

post #198 of 242
Quote:
Originally Posted by StanD View Post
 

How much time have you spent listening to the HE-500's? From what you say about buying something next and the $700 price for the HE-500's I'm assuming you didn't buy one, yet.:D

 

I gather that, as well.  Maybe you can find them used, zxc.  I got a pair here on Head-Fi for $500, and they're certainly worth every penny at that price.  After modding them, I'd say they're creeping closer to the $700 mark, but of course, one shouldn't have to mod to get to the retail price in terms of sound quality for money.

 

Another option, albeit one that requires waiting, is to see what the OPPO PM-1s are like, sound- and price-wise.  They are supposed to be lighter than the HE-500s.  Hopefully none of us will have to wait long for those :popcorn: 

post #199 of 242
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThurstonX View Post
 

 

I gather that, as well.  Maybe you can find them used, zxc.  I got a pair here on Head-Fi for $500, and they're certainly worth every penny at that price.  After modding them, I'd say they're creeping closer to the $700 mark, but of course, one shouldn't have to mod to get to the retail price in terms of sound quality for money.

 

Another option, albeit one that requires waiting, is to see what the OPPO PM-1s are like, sound- and price-wise.  They are supposed to be lighter than the HE-500s.  Hopefully none of us will have to wait long for those :popcorn: 

I can tell that you are lusting for them. Just one more purchasing OPPOrtunity.

post #200 of 242
Quote:
Originally Posted by StanD View Post
 

I can tell that you are lusting for them. Just one more purchasing OPPOrtunity.

 

I had pockets in my pants once.  Now it's just charred threads.

 

No, but I am curious to hear opinions about them.  I'd have to sell in order to buy now.  Or hypnotize my wife ;)

post #201 of 242
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThurstonX View Post
 

 

I had pockets in my pants once.  Now it's just charred threads.

 

No, but I am curious to hear opinions about them.  I'd have to sell in order to buy now.  Or hypnotize my wife ;)

Don't push your luck, I understand that she's kind enough to entertain you while you wait for your HE-500 pads to dry.

If the reports are good, you'll have to hypnotize yourself to look the other way.

post #202 of 242
Quote:
Originally Posted by StanD View Post
 

Don't push your luck, I understand that she's kind enough to entertain you while you wait for your HE-500 pads to dry.

If the reports are good, you'll have to hypnotize yourself to look the other way.

 

LOL.  That, or trade my HD 650s for the HD 600s so I can make a proper post in this thread ;)

post #203 of 242
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThurstonX View Post
 

 

LOL.  That, or trade my HD 650s for the HD 600s so I can make a proper post in this thread ;)

Well you do have mixed feeling on those 650's. I have 600's and find their sound profile much more like the HE-500s than the 650's do. Maybe in the big scheme of things the trade was meant for you. Maybe you can use some of the money to buy something for the wife,

post #204 of 242
Quote:
Originally Posted by StanD View Post
 

Well you do have mixed feeling on those 650's. I have 600's and find their sound profile much more like the HE-500s than the 650's do. Maybe in the big scheme of things the trade was meant for you. Maybe you can use some of the money to buy something for the wife,

 

You really don't pay attention to my posts, do you.  I'm hurt  ;)

 

I chose the 650s because I figured they'd be further from the HE-500s than the 600s.  The HE-500s are better all-arounders, no doubt.  The 650s actually do quite nicely with some music.  No, there was no trade.  I've got all the cans I need.  And my wife, she gets plenty of nice things.  I talk to her about my crazy hobby, and she talks to me about hers.  Of course, she's often asking my opinion (will this look nice? you don't mind if I buy this emu cream? etc.), whereas on the Head-Fi front I'm pretty much on my own ;)

post #205 of 242
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThurstonX View Post
 

 

You really don't pay attention to my posts, do you.  I'm hurt  ;)

 

I chose the 650s because I figured they'd be further from the HE-500s than the 600s.  The HE-500s are better all-arounders, no doubt.  The 650s actually do quite nicely with some music.  No, there was no trade.  I've got all the cans I need.  And my wife, she gets plenty of nice things.  I talk to her about my crazy hobby, and she talks to me about hers.  Of course, she's often asking my opinion (will this look nice? you don't mind if I buy this emu cream? etc.), whereas on the Head-Fi front I'm pretty much on my own ;)

So turn up the bass EQ on the HE-500's, they probably have a tighter bass anyways. I like more bass but don't like the way Sennheiser tweaked down the treble a bit on the 650's.

So if your wife took on the headphone addiction, would she ask you, "Do these Beats look nice on me?" And your reply is..... Just keep in mind how you answer things like, "How's this dress look on me, I'm not too fat am I?" Why is it even if they are skinny as a rail some of them ask if they're too fat? And your reply is.....

post #206 of 242
Quote:
Originally Posted by StanD View Post
 

So turn up the bass EQ on the HE-500's, they probably have a tighter bass anyways. I like more bass but don't like the way Sennheiser tweaked down the treble a bit on the 650's.

So if your wife took on the headphone addiction, would she ask you, "Do these Beats look nice on me?" And your reply is..... Just keep in mind how you answer things like, "How's this dress look on me, I'm not too fat am I?" Why is it even if they are skinny as a rail some of them ask if they're too fat? And your reply is.....

 

Nah, I love the HE-500s just the way I've modded them.  You really want me to see those 650s, don't you.

 

Fortunately that'll never happen, not even with pink Beats (I have no idea if they make pink Beats, but I assume so).  No, she really likes the K550s.  They block out the TV and don't leak, unlike the HE-500s and HD 600s (see, mods, I'm trying my damndest to keep this on-topic ;-)

post #207 of 242
Quote:
Originally Posted by StanD View Post

How much time have you spent listening to the HE-500's? From what you say about buying something next and the $700 price for the HE-500's I'm assuming you didn't buy one, yet.:D
About a week. I bought one, but I'm thinking about returning it, or maybe not. Should be clear after I listen to the LCD-2.2's.
post #208 of 242
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by zxc View Post


About a week. I bought one, but I'm thinking about returning it, or maybe not. Should be clear after I listen to the LCD-2.2's.

 

Thanks for the input! 

 

Since you've had it for a while now, do you notice any of the issues I pointed out in the OP? Mainly the lack of depth to the mids, compressed soundstage height and depth, lack of a true centerstage, and weird mid-treble transition, and somewhat strange timbre.

 

They ended up being utter deal-breakers for me, but maybe not for others.

post #209 of 242
Quote:
Originally Posted by eke2k6 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by zxc View Post


About a week. I bought one, but I'm thinking about returning it, or maybe not. Should be clear after I listen to the LCD-2.2's.

 

Thanks for the input! 

 

Since you've had it for a while now, do you notice any of the issues I pointed out in the OP? Mainly the lack of depth to the mids, compressed soundstage height and depth, lack of a true centerstage, and weird mid-treble transition, and somewhat strange timbre.

 

They ended up being utter deal-breakers for me, but maybe not for others.

Not quite. HD600 feels like all the frequencies are smashed together. He500 has a lot more detail, air and slightly better soundstage. Soundstage-wise, it's nothing like the HD800, but still better than the HD600.

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But HE-500 does have a dip between 1-5KHz, which may be a deal breaker for some. HD700 has a way worse dip around the same frequencies, and that was a deal breaker for me.

Ultimately I feel the benefits outweigh the cons. I'm still undecided. I would definitely get the HE-500 if it were as comfortable as the HD600 though...
post #210 of 242
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by zxc View Post


Not quite. HD600 feels like all the frequencies are smashed together. He500 has a lot more detail, air and slightly better soundstage. Soundstage-wise, it's nothing like the HD800, but still better than the HD600.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by zxc View Post
 

 

3. Soundwise, Hifiman offers much better bass, less mid-high's, much better clarity, detail and air. HD600 definitely hits every note

 

 

Hmm. 

 

 

Well I guess one man's "air" is another man's "cavernous". I just don't find the HE-500's staging or imaging to be as accurate as the HD600's.

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