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philips fidelio x1 vs hifiman he-400 (stronger natural midrange?) - Page 10

Poll Results: stronger natural midrange

This is a multiple choice poll
  • 27% (22)
    hifiman he-400
  • 46% (37)
    fidelio x1
  • 10% (8)
    sennheiser hd 598
  • 15% (12)
    akg q701
79 Total Votes  
post #136 of 185
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ishcabible View Post

I'm actually working on a review for the iCan (well, all of iFi's products. It's taking a while. I have 6 pages typed up, about 3 for the iCan alone). I don't have experience with the Hifimans (Hifimen?) with the iCan (I have tried the HE500, but that was way before I had possession of the iCan, so I can only make guesses), but I can say this: you'll probably have enough volume for either headphone, but they'll probably sound underpowered. Even my K702 sounds underpowered from the iCan. It's an upgrade from the Objective2, but it's more of a sound signature change than a step up. There's more detail and slightly more power, but when I use the iCan, the only thing I really notice different from the O2 is that there's noticeably less glare.

 

When looking at an amp, look at output power. 400mW isn't enough for neither my K702 nor my T50RP, so I'm guessing it won't be enough for the more power hungry HE500 and HE-5LE.

So when you say enough volume you mean that It would be loud enough but not strong enough to bring out its dynamics? Also would you say that the k702 and the t50rp are harder to drive then the hd650?

I was going for the iCan over the o2 because of the bass boost, halo graphics, and (from what I perceived in reviews) more power. But you are saying not enough to make a big difference. 

Well it looks like the only two things close to my budget if I purchased the he-5le would be the Hifiman ef-5 or the Schiit lyr. 

 

The Schiit lyr plus the he-5LE is a hard stretch. But there is saving for what you want rather than being anxious and settling. I am getting tired of trying different headphones for the sound I want. Instead of buying a headphone to hear details/review mixes and another for immersive music listening I would rather combine both. Hence he-5LE instead of hd650 and q701.


Edited by grizzlybeast - 6/4/13 at 9:33pm
post #137 of 185
Thread Starter 

With most of the other amplifiers I’ve tried, including the Beta22, the Grace and the Burson HA-160, I didn’t quite feel the magic of the HE5LE. One of the aspect that makes the HE5LE un-involving on those amps is the midrange to lower treble which doesn’t have enough presence for vocals. Although the technicalities are very good, but without a good vocal presence, music becomes dull and un-involving.

The EF5 amplifier changes that. In stock form, the amplifier is very warm and mellow, with very thick midrange and low end body. The soundstage image is very good, and more than what I expected from an amplifier at this price range. It’s not nearly as big as the solid state I’m used to listening, but it has a very coherent and unified soundstage. There is a circular sphere where the music takes place, and if I struggle to get a good soundstage coherence from the other amps, with the EF5, the HE5/LE really gives a nice soundstage. The EF5 is more of a mellow sounding amp than a lively/energetic one. Pairing the EF5 with the HD800, for instance, makes me feel that the overall sound is too mellow, lacking pace and attack. The HE5/LEs are quite an agressive sounding headphone, however, and with the EF5, the combination is just perfect, as the EF5 has a smoothing effect on the lower treble and midrange, and that works well to smooth out the treble area of the HE5/LE. The HE5LE also gained a fuller sounding upper midrange, which I think is precisely what the HE5LE need to shine. I haven’t been listening to the HE5LE for a long time, but with the EF5, I’m rediscovering this headphone once again.

this answers it for the ef5: that sucks for iCan. I like its features I wont give up on it yet.

Edited by grizzlybeast - 6/4/13 at 9:48pm
post #138 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by grizzlybeast View Post

So when you say enough volume you mean that It would be loud enough but not strong enough to bring out its dynamics? Also would you say that the k702 and the t50rp are harder to drive then the hd650?

I was going for the iCan over the o2 because of the bass boost, halo graphics, and (from what I perceived in reviews) more power. But you are saying not enough to make a big difference. 

Well it looks like the only two things close to my budget if I purchased the he-5le would be the Hifiman ef-5 or the Schiit lyr. 

 

The Schiit lyr plus the he-5LE is a hard stretch. But there is saving for what you want rather than being anxious and settling. I am getting tired of trying different headphones for the sound I want. Instead of buying a headphone to hear details/review mixes and another for immersive music listening I would rather combine both. Hence he-5LE instead of hd650 and q701.

 

Essentially. But to be honest, unless you use a better amp, you probably won't notice the difference. And if you are looking at the iCan for its features, then it's definitely something to consider, but, as much as I dislike the O2, it's hard to recommend the iCan. It's $250 and sounds like $150. To throw you off, my $50 Harman Kardon HK430 (vintage receiver) handily defeats not only the iCan, but it's embarrassingly close to my $500 Audio-GD SA-31. If my HK wasn't so big, my SA-31 would probably go packing.

 

I can't say how hard the HD650 is to drive in comparison. I've never used one in my system.

post #139 of 185

For what it's worth grizzly, I've actually been running a setup of the HE-5LE off the Emotiva mini-X a-100 for the past week or so (http://shop.emotiva.com/products/a100). It's a speaker amp, so you'd have to get the proper adapters made for you (which I did), but between the cost of the amp and the adapters you're not even going to go past $275, and it's an amp that can drive even the HE-6.

 

I really love this setup. I heard the HE-5LE on my friend's Schiit Magni (~1 watt) and it wasn't too bad, but the soundstage was smallish and unnatural. Move to the Emotiva, and the soundstage just takes off! It's utterly open, airy, transparent, clear, holographic, just awesome really. The HE-5LE (and HE-4) are the only two Hifimans I've loved. Slight nod to the HE-5LE, but the two sound very similar.

 

My setup is inspired by MalVeauX's: http://www.head-fi.org/t/629352/he-500-lcd2-d5000-dt770-sr80-on-a-speaker-amp-emotiva-mini-x-a-100-project

 

If you're still not sold on it, I encourage you to send a PM to MalVeauX. He is very kind, patient, and always willing to help people out with their setups. He has made mention in his thread (and to me via PM) that he feels the Emotiva setup out does the Schiit Lyr he owns, and for roughly half the cost.

 

As for myself, I'm not 100% sure it's what I'm going to keep yet - I'm just trying it out, as the HE-5LE's is my friend's. But I'm strongly considering this setup for myself; it's that good - it also has me craving to hear the HE-6 ><


Edited by Biscuitz - 6/4/13 at 10:58pm
post #140 of 185
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Biscuitz View Post

For what it's worth grizzly, I've actually been running a setup of the HE-5LE off the Emotiva mini-X a-100 for the past week or so (http://shop.emotiva.com/products/a100). It's a speaker amp, so you'd have to get the proper adapters made for you (which I did), but between the cost of the amp and the adapters you're not even going to go past $275, and it's an amp that can drive even the HE-6.

 

I really love this setup. I heard the HE-5LE on my friend's Schiit Magni (~1 watt) and it wasn't too bad, but the soundstage was smallish and unnatural. Move to the Emotiva, and the soundstage just takes off! It's utterly open, airy, transparent, clear, holographic, just awesome really. The HE-5LE (and HE-4) are the only two Hifimans I've loved. Slight nod to the HE-5LE, but the two sound very similar.

 

My setup is inspired by MalVeauX's: http://www.head-fi.org/t/629352/he-500-lcd2-d5000-dt770-sr80-on-a-speaker-amp-emotiva-mini-x-a-100-project

 

If you're still not sold on it, I encourage you to send a PM to MalVeauX. He is very kind, patient, and always willing to help people out with their setups. He has made mention in his thread (and to me via PM) that he feels the Emotiva setup out does the Schiit Lyr he owns, and for roughly half the cost.

 

As for myself, I'm not 100% sure it's what I'm going to keep yet - I'm just trying it out, as the HE-5LE's is my friend's. But I'm strongly considering this setup for myself; it's that good - it also has me craving to hear the HE-6 ><

Are there any specific reasons you prefer the he-5LE over the he-500? Tyll prefers the he-500 and a few ppl on here prefer the he-5LE.  My reason for considering these is that the smooth sound of the x1 made me reconsider the 650 because it is reportedly even more laid back. I know it's mids are just right but if I am going to go for power to bring out its dynamics I might as well go the final step and go for a hp that is naturally more engaging and detailed right upfront and not look back and go through the hassle of trying to upgrade.

 

I think that helps a lot.

You have helped so much im scared to ask you a question lol.

post #141 of 185
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ishcabible View Post

 

Essentially. But to be honest, unless you use a better amp, you probably won't notice the difference. And if you are looking at the iCan for its features, then it's definitely something to consider, but, as much as I dislike the O2, it's hard to recommend the iCan. It's $250 and sounds like $150. To throw you off, my $50 Harman Kardon HK430 (vintage receiver) handily defeats not only the iCan, but it's embarrassingly close to my $500 Audio-GD SA-31. If my HK wasn't so big, my SA-31 would probably go packing.

 

I can't say how hard the HD650 is to drive in comparison. I've never used one in my system.

thank for the feedback that puts things into perspective for sure.

post #142 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by grizzlybeast View Post

Are there any specific reasons you prefer the he-5LE over the he-500? Tyll prefers the he-500 and a few ppl on here prefer the he-5LE.  My reason for considering these is that the smooth sound of the x1 made me reconsider the 650 because it is reportedly even more laid back. I know it's mids are just right but if I am going to go for power to bring out its dynamics I might as well go the final step and go for a hp that is naturally more engaging and detailed right upfront and not look back and go through the hassle of trying to upgrade.

 

I think that helps a lot.

You have helped so much im scared to ask you a question lol.

Don't be afraid to ask questions. It's funny you say that, because I'm probably more scared to make recommendations! This game is so much a preference game; if I offer advice to someone based on what I like, that person may spend a lot of money based on my recommendation and end up not liking it! That's not a good feeling for either of us.

 

That's why the best thing is always for people to audition gear with their own ears. The problem with that is it's almost never that simple, or even possible! That's why we do what we can here on Head-Fi and hope for the best. It's also why buying used on Head-Fi is a good way to try out headphones; if you buy used, you'll likely reduce your net losses than if you had bought new.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by grizzlybeast View Post

Are there any specific reasons you prefer the he-5LE over the he-500? Tyll prefers the he-500 and a few ppl on here prefer the he-5LE.  My reason for considering these is that the smooth sound of the x1 made me reconsider the 650 because it is reportedly even more laid back. I know it's mids are just right but if I am going to go for power to bring out its dynamics I might as well go the final step and go for a hp that is naturally more engaging and detailed right upfront and not look back and go through the hassle of trying to upgrade.

 

I think that helps a lot.

You have helped so much im scared to ask you a question lol.

 

Yeah, I prefer the HE-5LE by a large margin actually. Its bass is less meaty than the HE-500 (which I find too meaty). Its bass is quicker, tauter, and more revealing of detail. The mids are way better in my opinion. The HE-5LE mids are thinner sounding, but much clearer and more life-like to me. The HE-500's mids have nice body to them but seem recessed on the upper end, which I don't like. They remind me of the HE-400 mids which I rather hated, but to less an extent. The highs are more to my liking as well, as they are as a whole elevated. The HE-500 just has one raised peak in the treble at 10khz, which a lot of headphones do, but I seem to prefer a total elevation of the treble rather than one peak 10khz.

 

In short, I think the HE-5LE is the more neutral headphone with tighter bass, better mids, and more exciting treble. It's an ultra clear, airy sound that I really dig. The one thing the HE-500 had going for it was it was less fatiguing; the elevated treble on the HE-5LE is awesome for detail, clarity, and dynamics, but is also more fatiguing than the more tame treble of the HE-500.

 

I'll add, I just re-watched the Hifiman lineup video review that Tyll put on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6b1q-WLnEL4). He actually mentions a "lack of body in the midrange" of the HE-5LE. I might agree with him there, but I far prefer a "lack of body" on the HE-5LE to the "excess body" on the HE-500. Which you'd prefer is ultimately, again, up to preference.

post #143 of 185
Thread Starter 

 

I'll add, I just re-watched the Hifiman lineup video review that Tyll put on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6b1q-WLnEL4). He actually mentions a "lack of body in the midrange" of the HE-5LE. I might agree with him there, but I far prefer a "lack of body" on the HE-5LE to the "excess body" on the HE-500. Which you'd prefer is ultimately, again, up to preference.

I would prefer the more hefty bass and whichever has the male vocals the most forward. So when you say recessed on the upper end you don't mean where the male vocals sit but where the female vocals sit right? If the he-500 doesn't have more pronounced or more life-like mids than the x1(slightly) or he-400(marginally) then that is a bit discouraging. How much does that headphone library cost?

 

I do notice that when eq'ing vocals that when I turn the higher midrange down it takes the fullness out of the voices. I think vocals are so hard because they have alot of different textures to them. specially males.

post #144 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by grizzlybeast View Post

I would prefer the more hefty bass and whichever has the male vocals the most forward. So when you say recessed on the upper end you don't mean where the male vocals sit but where the female vocals sit right? If the he-500 doesn't have more pronounced or more life-like mids than the x1(slightly) or he-400(marginally) then that is a bit discouraging. How much does that headphone library cost?

 

I do notice that when eq'ing vocals that when I turn the higher midrange down it takes the fullness out of the voices. I think vocals are so hard because they have alot of different textures to them. specially males.

HE-500 vocals will seam a bit relaxed, but with an edge to them. That is with the jergpads I have, though. 

 

With velours for example, the vocals seem relaxed. But still prominent, though (as they often should), and still with a slight edge to them (which is good), but they could be more defined, and can also sound ever so slightly congested. 

 

Personally I don't see the vocals as a weakness on the 500, unless you seek neutrality and don't like weighty vocals or perhaps want vocals that are up front.

 

In short they sound good with vocals if your not that purist kinda type or want a light or forward sound... That is my opinion..

post #145 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by grizzlybeast View Post

I would prefer the more hefty bass and whichever has the male vocals the most forward. So when you say recessed on the upper end you don't mean where the male vocals sit but where the female vocals sit right? If the he-500 doesn't have more pronounced or more life-like mids than the x1(slightly) or he-400(marginally) then that is a bit discouraging. How much does that headphone library cost?

 

I do notice that when eq'ing vocals that when I turn the higher midrange down it takes the fullness out of the voices. I think vocals are so hard because they have alot of different textures to them. specially males.

HE-5LE's vocals are more forward, regardless of male or female. The HE-500's vocals are more lush sounding. The HE-5LE's vocals are brighter sounding - more natural and lifelike in my opinion.

 

I highly recommend the headphone library. I returned my first borrow this Monday, and I just ordered another borrow today ;) When you borrow the headphones, they will charge you 5% of the total cost of the retail price of the headphones; this cost will count as credit toward any purchase made from their store. They also charge you for shipping round trip, but the shipping costs are fair - I think for the HE-500 / HD700 / HD800, my round-trip shipping costs were $30-35; this does not go toward store credit. They send you a prepaid label with the shipment to make things easy. You should get 5-7 days with the headphones. But they only have so many headphones in stock, so you should call to see what's in stock; but you know the HE-500 is going to be available soon, as I just sent it back! Maybe they can hold it for you.

 

I honestly don't know if I can link their website on the forums or not. I will send you a PM to be safe.

post #146 of 185
Thread Starter 

better mids than x1(slightly) or he-400(marginally)

 

<---that is pretty much my only question left? Do the he500 do the mids moderately better than the he-400 which would satisfy and slightly better than the x1.

 

"They(he500) remind me of the HE-400 mids which I rather hated, but to less an extent." Biscuitz.  So that leads me to believe that they don't I  just wanted clarity there.

 

As long as it does this i am fine. If the he-5le is less sibilant than the he-400 im fine with that too. 

 

5le:

cleaner, airy, more forward mids, tighter bass, more sibilant, more nuetrality. (remind me of how people describe grado's)

500:

meater bass, smoother sound, weightier vocals (more meat on the vocals) less fatiguing, not as life like, more congested.

 

THAT MAKES IT HARD LOLconfused_face.gif

 

Well atleast I have all of the info I need and I thank you guys again. Only worries is that the he500 mids would sound similar to the he400 wich would make the 5LE the obvious winner. But if they(500) pull the mids off moderately better than the he400 than that would make them the preffered choice due to its weighty and sibilance lacking presentation. I may follow suit with the library only I would have to hope to hear the signature through an inadequate amp first w/o emo speaker cables.

 

One says they are good, the other says they are not soo good. hmmmmm.

 

 

I know the hd600 and hd650 can do that. But I think its worth the extra money for the boldness and speed of the he500/5LE. If it gets a lot more smooth than the x1 I believe I will find it boring for my listening preferences. Edge being preferred which I am let to believe planars do well while giving it body.

 

I hope it doesnt take forever to sell my equipment. we will see.

post #147 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by grizzlybeast View Post

better mids than x1(slightly) or he-400(marginally)

 

<---that is pretty much my only question left? Do the he500 do the mids moderately better than the he-400 which would satisfy and slightly better than the x1.

 

"They(he500) remind me of the HE-400 mids which I rather hated, but to less an extent." Biscuitz.  So that leads me to believe that they don't I  just wanted clarity there.

 

As long as it does this i am fine. If the he-5le is less sibilant than the he-400 im fine with that too. 

 

5le:

cleaner, airy, more forward mids, tighter bass, more sibilant, more nuetrality. (remind me of how people describe grado's)

500:

meater bass, smoother sound, weightier vocals (more meat on the vocals) less fatiguing, not as life like, more congested.

 

THAT MAKES IT HARD LOLconfused_face.gif

 

Well atleast I have all of the info I need and I thank you guys again. Only worries is that the he500 mids would sound similar to the he400 wich would make the 5LE the obvious winner. But if they(500) pull the mids off moderately better than the he400 than that would make them the preffered choice due to its weighty and sibilance lacking presentation. I may follow suit with the library only I would have to hope to hear the signature through an inadequate amp first w/o emo speaker cables.

 

One says they are good, the other says they are not soo good. hmmmmm.

 

 

I know the hd600 and hd650 can do that. But I think its worth the extra money for the boldness and speed of the he500/5LE. If it gets a lot more smooth than the x1 I believe I will find it boring for my listening preferences. Edge being preferred which I am let to believe planars do well while giving it body.

 

I hope it doesnt take forever to sell my equipment. we will see.

Pretty accurate assessment. Please just know that there are a lot of people who seem to really enjoy the HE-500 mids. I'm not sure why or how, personally...I don't like them. I would say they are moderately better than the HE-400's though, which is what you want.

 

Don't worry about inadequate amping of the HE-500. They are good out of any decent headphone amp. The HE-5LE really needs some good amping to sound great though; this in itself is a selling point for the HE-500.

 

Also...if you don't want smoother than the X1, I think the HE-500 will be boring for you. I find the HE-500 almost relentlessly smooth. The HE-5LE is a bit more aggressive due to its treble and overall tighter sound.

post #148 of 185
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Biscuitz View Post

Pretty accurate assessment. Please just know that there are a lot of people who seem to really enjoy the HE-500 mids. I'm not sure why or how, personally...I don't like them. I would say they are moderately better than the HE-400's though, which is what you want.

 

Don't worry about inadequate amping of the HE-500. They are good out of any decent headphone amp. The HE-5LE really needs some good amping to sound great though; this in itself is a selling point for the HE-500.

 

Also...if you don't want smoother than the X1, I think the HE-500 will be boring for you. I find the HE-500 almost relentlessly smooth. The HE-5LE is a bit more aggressive due to its treble and overall tighter sound.

thanks again brothercool.gif

post #149 of 185
Thread Starter 

FWIW  having the hd650 I must say they did satisfy that midrange desire for sure.

Sold the german maestros to get the emotiva. It was worth it but I HIGHLY recommend the Maestro's they have got to be the most slept on hp period. Miss them

 

Thanks for the advice it proved very useful.

 

The END. lol

post #150 of 185

Did you get the HE-500? How do you compare them against the HE-400?

 

I'm waiting mine to arrive.


Edited by Okamoto - 7/11/13 at 6:56am
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