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He60 Electrostat Rig or High End Dynamic Set Up

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

Moving this from Help and Recommendations as I think this is the correct area to post. Mods feel free to delete my previous post, my intention is not to double post.

 

Hi All -

 

Looking generally for a recommendation on bang for my buck on an electrostatic rig centered around an HE60, or a top end Dynamic set up centered around an LCD 2/3 or HD800.

 

I have been dabbling with headphones for a while. The highest end set I own is actually a UE 18 pro IEM, but I also have had a Grado Rs2i, a Sennheiser HD598 which I am running out of a VCAN II and a Meridian Explorer and my MacBook Air.

 

I have always had the desire to try an electrostat and I saw a good deal at a local hifi store for a new He60 HEV70 combo, so I bought it.

 

I've also had the desire to eventually get a high-end dynamic rig as well, but given the availability of the he60 I needed to snatch it up.

 

After listing to the he60 for a few days (through the hev60), I have been most impressed with the detail and treble extension, which I think is unmatched by any other headphones and equal to some of my speakers. That being said, the lower highs upper midrange can be a little harsh, though I don't get much sibilance. I've heard that almost all electrostatic amps are better than the HEV70, so I have been looking into a few them - but specifically at the Woo Audio GES as this is in my price range. With a good electrostatic amp, I've read that there are significant improvements in all aspects of the he60.

 

The GES for a $1500-$2000 amp seems to be regarded as very middle of the road for electrostatic amps, but I feel like if I spend that much I want very good quality. Given that high end electrostatic amps are very niche, I would need to get something in the 4-5k range for a top of the line amp.

 

Without even considering my other headphones, would I be better off selling the he60/hev70 combo and buying a dynamic hp/amp combo *maybe upgrade my DAC as well, but that's last), for around $3,500? Will I get superior sound to the combination he60 and a $1500-$2000 electrostatic amp?

 

I listen to a wide range of things but mostly acoustic music, progressive rock, classical, hip-hop, some jazz.

 

I just want to make sure I am investing my money into what ultimately will give me the best sound.

post #2 of 20

I had a pair of Stax 507's and loved them.   So much detail.   Then I heard a friends HD800's.  BANG, I bought a pair immediately.   Used with a good tube amp they offer astonishing sound and are the most comfortable cans I've ever had.  Highly recommended for building a hi-end system around. 

post #3 of 20

Do not judge the he60 by the hev70 - no greater mismatch in headphones and amp has ever been created.

 

Get a decent stat amp, and you will immediately see the difference, and likely never turn back. I was an original fan of the hd600, and moved to he60 and hd800. The he60 stayed, the hd800 departed. The hd800 will also need a decent amp, where I strongly preferred a balanced solution, though current SE sufficiently powered offerings are stellar as well.

 

This is a place where you cannot go wrong.

post #4 of 20

And in terms of Audeze be carefull. It is darker also lack air in top and lack depth separation in comparison to highend headphone. One Audeze advantage over dynamic headphones for example is tones vocals are lovely but not believable. Maybe HE500 could be great compromise between HD800 and Audeze.

 

So if you have HE60 ooh I envy you do not look back it is great hp, I would try firstly some diy amps..


Edited by knopi - 8/26/13 at 5:44am
post #5 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by pabbi1 View Post

Do not judge the he60 by the hev70 - no greater mismatch in headphones and amp has ever been created.

Get a decent stat amp, and you will immediately see the difference, and likely never turn back.

Although I've never heard the HE60, apparently one of the best amps to drive it is the BHSE.
post #6 of 20

To be fair though, some people will prefer the slam of planar's over the airiness of the stats. You should really try it for yourself to be sure.

post #7 of 20
Thread Starter 

Thanks very much for your suggestions.

 

I've purchased a uses SRM 717 through the forums, in order to allow the He60s to get closer to their full potential. Would love to get a BHSE, though it's more than I want to spend right now.

 

The he60s do sound really good even with the Hev70. I also purchased a Wadia 121, so I'll be running: JRiver Macbook Air - Wadia 121 - Stax SRM 717 - He60.

 

I'm hoping I do get a nice boost from the upgraded amp and dac, but honestly these are sounding pretty good all ready. 

post #8 of 20

My HE60 sounds very nice through my GES. I rolled the tubes on my GES. New production 12AX7 Mullards made a noticeable difference, while the power tubes didn't do much. I haven't heard the HEV70.

 

There's another poster here who also has a HE60 and GES combo, and from what I remember, was quite positive about it as well.

post #9 of 20
The HE-60 rates very high for most people. I was seriously considering them but didn't want to spend that kind of jack for an amp. So I went the ortho road with the HE-6.
post #10 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by pabbi1 View Post

Do not judge the he60 by the hev70 - no greater mismatch in headphones and amp has ever been created.

 

Get a decent stat amp, and you will immediately see the difference, and likely never turn back. I was an original fan of the hd600, and moved to he60 and hd800. The he60 stayed, the hd800 departed. The hd800 will also need a decent amp, where I strongly preferred a balanced solution, though current SE sufficiently powered offerings are stellar as well.

 

This is a place where you cannot go wrong.


I completely agree. I also went from HD800 to HE60 and quickly ditched the HEV70 in favor of the STAX SRM-007tII, which brought a little more bite/texture to the sound compared to the SRM-717. I haven't heard any of the more expensive amps, but I'm satisfied with what I have.

post #11 of 20

Hello,

 

The best I hear with my HE60 is Audio GD M7 -> Audiomat Prelude Reference 20 or McIntosh MC225 -> Woo WEE -> HE60. I owned KGSS, SRM600, SRM007 and my current rig is a step above them in term of balance, staging, dynamic, extension. It gives to the HE60 the bass it should have.

post #12 of 20
Thread Starter 

So, just to follow up on this thread:

 

I received the Stax SRM 717 amp which I purchased in the used forum, I got my headphones reterminated to Stax Pro Bias by Drew at Moon Audio, and I also purchased a Wadia 121 DAC - so I could feed the amp from balanced XLRs.

 

I'm using two sources for the Wadia 121: a Macbook Air running JRiver in Windows, and a Sony BDP 370 for SACD, running through an Atlona HDMI De-Embedder.

 

All I can say is that this combination just sounds flat out amazing.

 

For those who suggested that you cannot get a reasonable appreciation for the He60 via the HEV70, you couldn't be more correct. The SRM 717 is several orders of magnitude greater. Granted I also upgraded my DAC concurrently from a Meridian Explorer, but the combination just blows my previous setup away.

 

Main issue previously is that the HEV70 cannot drive the He60 properly at high volumes without being harsh. Now, the He60 is amazing at higher volumes; it's really true that when electrostats are driven at higher volumes they remain pristine and distortion free.

 

Some tracks I am really enjoying with this setup that seem to bring out its best (although everything really does sound amazing):

 

Handyman - James Taylor

Guess I'm doing fine - Beck

Radiohead - No Surprises

Steely Dan - Night by Night

Main theme from Star Wars

John Coltrane Quarter - Chim Chim Cheree

Sloop John B - Beach Boys

Eleanor Rigby - Beatles (off Love)

I Didn't Understand - Elliott Smith

Elton John - Honky Cat

Dave Matthews - Two Step

Phish - YEM

David Grisman / Jerry Gracia - Long Black Veil

Neil Young - Harvest

 

It just does so well with acoustic, classical, piano, vocals, and strings. The highs are very well extended and not harsh like they could be with the HEV70, and the bass is very articulate. 

 

I am very happy with this combination, and I appreciate everyones advice on getting me there.

post #13 of 20

Nothing left to do but enjoy, and roll through your entire music catalog. You will find nuggets of gold everywhere.

post #14 of 20
If you have a Macbook Air I suggest you get Audirvana (free) or Audirvana+ (cheap).
post #15 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by arturo71 View Post

If you have a Macbook Air I suggest you get Audirvana (free) or Audirvana+ (cheap).

 

Really? Do you think it's better than Jriver?

 

I have my whole music server set up with Jriver which is used for the rig connected to my speakers, so it's very convenient for me to access my media libray and use Jriver on the MacBook air. That being said, if there are significant sonic improvements I would give it a try.

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