Received my HE-560 Thursday and I haven't spent but a few (10?) hours listening to them, but I do have some initial impressions.
The wood trim does look a bit tacky in my opinion, but others who do not know the history seem to like the look. They look nice, not top-of-the-line, but the fit and finish on my unit was great. I have no complaints. And as many others have said, it's really all about the sound ...at least to me.
Also, The HE560 is light and comfortable, a lot more so than some of my other headphones. For example, clamping force is much less than an Audeze and the weight seems much less than Audezes or other HifiMan.
So how do they sound? I am pleased with the sound, but not ecstatic. They seem very well balanced, but they did not "wow" me. I have heard virtually all of the Hifiman full sized headphones and I own quite a few, HE6, HE500, HE400, to name a few. I believe I prefer the 560s to each of those, in an overall sense, but the other models do perform some things better. HE-6 is clearer, the HE500 is a little more forward/fuller sounding, but in my opinion a little colored in the mids. And I actually do like that vocals are neither pushed forward or recessed.
I would also say the 560 headphones are great for allowing me to listen at reasonable low/moderate volumes. Probably for two reasons. They are well balanced and, unfortunately, because I do not feel compelled to turn them up ...doing so simply does not make the sound more exciting or live, as some headphones do. I mentioned earlier that these headphones are pretty balanced; there is no one element that is offensive, it does everything pretty well, almost like playing it safe? The sounds are not vibrant to me and the dynamics are very good, but not the best; in fact there is a slight (not objectionable, but noticeable to my ears) mellowness in the mid-range. If they lacked in quantity at any one frequency range, I would say the midbass has not quite filled out completely, but it is reasonably tight, clear, and present. Overall, I perceived the presentation to be just slightly warm of neutral, but the treble was definitely present and the overall sound was cohesive.
When I compared these headphones to the Senn HD800, the HE560, even when turned up loud, lacked the hard crisp hits (and not necessarily talking about crispness in treble) of the HD800, The drums sounded somewhat softer than the HD800 (note I did not say soft, I said softer than the HD800) and I felt the HD800 sounded a bit more real and life-like. Now the HD800 is not my perfect headphone either, it just happens to be the headphone I had an opportunity to compare to the HE560.
For me, the HE560 is a great headphone that I will keep and appreciate. It's a bit 'polite' as one of my friends said; incidentally, he also said it sounded similar to his Maggie speaker (don't know which model). I think the HE 560 sounds pretty neutral; clear, and dynamic - just possibly not absolute when compared to the best. It does a whole lot really well and it is the type of headphone I could comfortably wear/listen to all day long,
The headphones are still new and I do believe in subtle burn in of both headphone and brain so I am not passing judgement on these one way or the other. In case you are interested, I listened to the HE560 and compared with the HD800 using an Emotiva CD player and a Grado Headphone amp, as well as a HiFiman tube headphone amp. Unfortunately (for my ears), I do most of my listening at reasonably loud volumes, depending on mood. During the comparison, I listened to jazz, classic rock, orchestrial, and rock such as Red Hot Chilly Peppers (this disc was actually one that showed a significant difference between the HD800 and the HE560.
I'm sure I left a lot of useful information out, but I know others have a lot to say and there is no need for me to repeat. My one hope is that my review should not discourage anyone from trying the 560's they are very good; I perhaps focused on some of the negative aspects for this posting, but they are, in my opinion, going to be popular when people begin to hear just how balanced they sound.
Edited by buffer - 7/13/14 at 9:20pm