these impressions are for preorders/potential orders of the he-560 considering the switch to oppo pm-1s instead.
i've spent similiar time with each now, with 30 hours or so of burn in on the he-560 and 15-20 on the oppos.
there are many who feel more burn in time may be necessary to get the "full" sound of each but i think the signature of each can has gotten a decent chance to show, i don't think my opinion will change in terms of strict comparisons.
this is not a complete review of either headphone, more of a strict comparison to each other. i am no expert in how something should sound, only how it sounds to me.
i used a lot of various music and don't feel like listing them here.
build: so there is a lot of hype around the pm-1s high quality construction and concern over the he-560s. everything about the pm-1 is very nice, uniform and well manufactured. the cable provided is excellent. the metal pieces holding the cups are my favorite.
my he-560 overall seems solid. no issues with the headband. my wood cups are mostly smooth and uniform outside of some nicks on the inner part. no grill glue issues. wish the pads were uniform. if you can afford it i'd recommend a nicer/flexible cable replacement. i can feel the cables hitting my chest when i sit up straight.
pm-1 exceeds the he-560 in quality but i don't think either would have any issues with wear and tear.
comfort: i don't know how big my head is compared to everyone but i wear a loose 7 5/8" hat. headband wise i think the he-560 clearly wins due to more distrubtion area. the leather strap is very large and covers a good chunk of my head. the oppo created a slight hotspot but it just light enough to not cause much head pain.
the earpads are gonna be very subjective. the oppos are very snug while the he-560 were very spacious for me. i only used the leather pads with the pm-1 because i didn't like the velour as much. the leathers felt cooler and seemed to breathe well. with the he-560 i felt less like i was wearing headphones cause my ears were free. only disadvantage is that there may be more adjusting to get your ears in a good spot. the oppos will always be positioned the same since theres only one spot for your ears.
although a simliar weight, for me the he-560 are slightly better in comfort but the pm-1s are easily second in terms of planars.
sound: im gonna try to be straightforward since i don't like using all the fancy audiophile words to describe something. all listening was made out of my wa7 with eh tubes. i did listen thru magni a couple times (which i was using to burn in). i was not able to a-b because i don't have anything to measure volume and they were drastically different for the volume knob position.
the pm-1 have more of a weighted sound while the he-560 has more of an extended sound.
pm-1: bass more bloated, overall less detailed, very smooth from top to bottom, favorite trait is how it handled female vocals.
he-560: tighter bass but less quantity. a good bit more detailed (most noticable with string instruments), provides a more high resolution/neutral sound. favorite trait is either listening to anything string/piano related or the ability to keep detail/bass with lower listening volumes.
i felt the he-560 scaled a lot more from the magni to wa7 than the pm-1 did. both fed thru wa7 dac.
one thing that was interesting is the pm-1 does not get affected by putting your hands near the cups. the he-560 sound collapses in the same situation. leakage is also much less with the former so keep that in mind if it affects you.
i feel the pm-1 suits those who enjoy a relaxed sound and are wearing them while doing other activites or laying in bed. it does not get in your way presents music quite unoffensively. works well with lower quality/modern music but the jump to high quality flacs wasn't as noticeable. likely great for someone who only wants a low costing amp.
the he-560 in comparison feels much more dynamic/exciting. they extract more detail and the difference in treble energy is easily discernable. those who are active listeners and want to hear everything their music can provide would be happy with these though bad recordings/clipping is more noticeable. the treble can be a bit much for those who normally only listen to warm cans but when listening to the pm-1s i kept craving that top end i was missing.
overall they're both great headphones but they're going to appeal to different crowds. build wise the pm-1 is stellar but i think the sound falls short of the price. its the exact opposite for the he-560 which needs a little more polish to feel more "high end".
i would keep both if it was reasonable because my moods change but it's a bit goofy to have $2k+ in headphones when there are bills to pay.
i plan to keep the he-560 due to them having a sound that will suit me better in the long run and are slightly better comfort wise. with the price difference you can buy yourself a pair of cables or put that money into your amp/dac setup.
tl:dr - neither headphone "destroys" the other, its really down to preference like most other higher end cans. the treble is the determining factor imo.
Edited by smellyfungus - 5/12/14 at 1:40am