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Head-Fi Buying Guide (Over-Ear Headphones) 3
Last edited: 1/18/16
- Head-Fi Buying Guide (Ultra-High-End Headphones (Summit-Fi))Last edited: 12/4/15
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- Head-Fi Buying Guide (Ultra-High-End Headphones (Summit-Fi))
= HiFiMAN HE-560 Impressions & Discussion Thread = - Page 411
Gear mentioned in this thread:
We are very sorry that you have received a product that is not up to our high standard. Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and our customer service rep will help you to resolve any issue you may have.
again, we would like you and everyone to know that we take QC very seriously and are constantly making improvements to make sure that we deliver the best the products to our customer.
Interesting area of subjective preference to consider, slow versus fast decay. Perhaps I have misunderstood, but when I hear decay discussed in threads typically faster decay is represented as better decay. Perhaps this is an area where individual differences are stronger than typically thought. I must admit some slow, rumbling bass decay is often something I like.
def the most controlled bass I have heard to date. Maybe its just not as strong as you'd like. Too fast to have weight when the bass lines arent mixed right.
For me I want to blame the mix of the songs more than the headphones themselves.
Would love to see a waterfall graph on the 560. Anyone?
Edited by Soundsgoodtome - 7/30/14 at 1:21pm
A much delayed followup to my comparison between HE-5LE, HE-560 v1, and LCD-3F. This will be TL; DR for many people, but I want to tell the whole story.
For background, I've owned the HE-5LE since 2011; it was my first planar headphone. My headphone rig consists of a Woo Audio WA6-SE (Princess + 6EW7 + BG cap upgrades), VPI Scout + Phonomena 2 for analog sources, and SqueezeBox Touch + Cambridge DACMagic for digital. I assembled this system as my first "serious" headphone system, mostly because my lovely spouse does not appreciate playback on the main (loudspeaker) system much above background music levels. Also, inexplicably, she hates the Beatles. So headphones became a necessity to maintain domestic bliss. I listen to a variety of music, but mostly jazz and well-mastered rock and folk music.
I’ve always enjoyed the HE-5LE, finding it capable of resolving incredible detail, especially in vocals and string instruments. Imaging is very good, with a wide and deep soundstage. But on the flip side, I would describe its character as a bit dry and analytical, with slightly too-bright treble for my taste. And something was missing from the bass—hard to put a finger on it, but I’d say the bass lacks a warmth or “bloom” that you hear in live or well-reproduced music through loudspeakers. I’m hardly a bass fanatic, but with many genres of music I believe bass is a critical foundation, and it’s not quite right coming from the HE5-LE.
I first heard the HE-560 at CES earlier this year. Despite it being a prototype and hearing it on a crowded show floor, I was impressed enough that I asked the HFM rep “How soon can I buy this?” I pre-ordered in April and was excited to receive my pre-order HE-560 in May.
HE-560 preorder arrives
Initial listening did not disappoint. The HE-560 is definitely a step up from the HE5-LE: Smoother treble without any loss of detail, punchier bass, an extremely wide and open soundstage. The imaging is almost surreal—the widest and most open soundstage I’ve heard in headphones. I don’t know if there’s a HiFiMAN “house sound” but clearly the HE-560 is an evolution of its older brother, sharing many qualities but substantially improved in several ways.
Beyond sound quality, I was disappointed: The teak cups were already cracking, the yokes were scratching the cups, and the finishing of the ear pads was shoddy at best. Regardless of how it sounded, it just didn’t look or feel like a $900 headphone. I won’t belabor this point--we all know by now HFM changed the design--but long story short, my enthusiasm for the HE-560 was soured by poor manufacturing quality and lack of attention to QC, followed by a lackluster response from HFM customer service. At this point I knew the pre-order was going back, so it was a question of whether I replace it with HE-560 v2 or something else.
HE-560 vs Audeze LCD
Which led me to auditioning the Audeze LCD line. At my local dealer (Ahead Stereo in Los Angeles) they had LCD-2F, LCD-3F, and LCD-XC in stock, but no LCD-X. I brought my HE-560 and spent an hour or so comparing each headphone back-to-back. Between the LCD models, there was no comparison; I felt the LCD-3 was the best. It was also beautifully made. Enough has been said elsewhere about Audeze build quality, but bottom line, I was impressed. So I paid for the LCD-3 and took it home in the nice Pelican case (every manufacturer should do this!) for an extended comparison, still unsure if I would keep it long term.
Back at home, I spent a couple of weeks in longer listening sessions with both HE-560 and LCD-3. They are very different headphones, each with a substantially different presentation. As objectively as possible, I’ll characterize each as follows:
- Open, airy soundstage. Very wide but not quite as tall.
- Good separation of instruments, very three-dimensional
- Pleasant treble “sparkle” but definitely not excessively bright
- Quick, punchy bass, but somewhat inconsistent response. On some tracks bass was lacking, other times it was very full. Never quite figured this out.
- Detailed and textured representation of vocals, but slightly dry, with just a touch of harshness on some tracks
- Extremely comfortable to wear (I had no issues with the ear pads)
LCD-3F compared to HE-560
- Smaller soundstage. Coming directly from the HE-560, it sounds a bit congested at first. Over time I decided the LCD-3 sounds like a small concert hall, whereas the HE-560 is like an outdoor concert.
- Less separation of instruments, but a more cohesive image; overall a more dense presentation
- Very smooth treble. Still detailed, but less analytical.
- Quick bass, with less attack than the HE-560, but otherwise warmer and fuller. Maybe slightly rolled off at the very bottom, but to no ill effect. To me the LCD-3 has the most natural bass reproduction I’ve heard in headphones.
- Liquid-smooth and natural reproduction of vocals
- Somewhat comfortable to wear. The weight is noticeable, especially if I’m moving around or looking down at my laptop, the headphones will slide on my head. But the leather ear pads are amazingly comfortable.
Given the very different sonic signatures of these two headphones, it comes down to preference. For me personally, I find the LCD-3 more musically satisfying; I forget about the headphones and get lost in the music, tapping my toes more. Wearing the HE-560, I remain focused on various discrete attributes of the sound, almost as if the headphones are constantly surprising me with their presentation of the music. Don’t get me wrong—many of those attributes are very positive, but overall, it's a less musically coherent experience listening through the HE-560.
In the end, I returned the HE-560 for a refund (but paid shipping both ways) and kept the LCD-3. From my point of view, HFM is clearly innovating and improving the state of the art in planar headphones, but they need to focus on improving quality control. Many of the recent comments in this thread highlighting irregularities in the production model seem to underscore this point. I sincerely hope they get the bugs worked out…
Edited by jmayzurk - 7/30/14 at 3:32pm
In a lot of cases like these there is no 'better'. Just a preferred presentation style.
The size, weight and clamp of the Audez'e was to much for this kid. Ortho's have to run in.... you can't take it out of the box and have the sound property nailed down. I've had two 800's (one hard wired ALO for balanced) the T-1 and Audies. The HE-560 and Alpha Dog are the only two I'll keep........
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