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HiFiman HE-500 (HE as in High End) Proving to be an enjoyable experience in listening.

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by jamato8, Apr 26, 2011.
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  1. conquerator2
    I'll be more modest and set the NFB7 as my next target DAC update [​IMG]
     
  2. Ultramus
    I know that most people say transducer >>> amp >>> DAC, but in my experience as someone who listens to almost all digital music, the DAC had the largest impact after transducer, I think everyone who listens to digital music should have a nice DAC over a nice amp first, the DAC chips and probably more importantly the analog stage of onboard audio is just almost always terrible. I would take my NFB 1.32& a Vali over a modi+Mj, which is saying a lot as I really am a Mjolnir fan.
     
  3. conquerator2
    Which is now the NFB-1 and I agree...
     
  4. Ultramus
    As fond as I am of Kingwa's gear and his constant product evolution, it's basically impossible to keep up with the name changes :xf_eek:
     
  5. MrDelicious
    Sooo... anyone else got their hybrid pads yet and fancy writing a quick review?
     
    I'm still on the fence whether to get a pair or not, would appreciate impressions.
     
  6. elwappo99
     
    I agree with this, especially as you get into higher end headphones and higher end DACs.I hate to admit it, but I tried to replace my Audio-GD reference 1 with a Schiit Gungnir. With the HE-500 there was such a difference in the microdetailing, I just couldn't bring myself to do it. 
     
  7. Stevtt Contributor
    Sorry about interrupting the conversation flow but I just picked up a new set of these and have only been listening for about 20 minutes. Very, very nice.
     
  8. roadcykler
     
    I got mine but not for any audible differences but for comfort reasons. They are more forgiving and the velour (or whatever it is) feels softer than the pleather pads I was using. The pleather wasn't uncomfortable but the hybrid ones feel a little nicer to me. Don't notice nor expect any audible changes.
     
  9. iammoop
    I got the focus pads (not focus a) a few days ago and think they are pretty terrible on the He-500. I don't know how it's changing the sound so much but it really muffles everything for me. Originally I was worried something was wrong with my headphones or amp but then I switched the pads back and everything was fine. I removed and replaced them just to check that something wasn't grossly wrong but to me they sound much worse than the stock velours and stock pleathers. I have some self-made jerg mod pads that I like so I'm not sure what happened with these new pads. Maybe something is wrong with my set.
     
  10. ThurstonX
     
    I think you can trust your ears.  I've tried seven or eight different pads, or variations thereof, on my HE-500s, and two three really did muffle the sound and/or shrink the sound stage.  My homemade jerg pads do sound really good compared to most, but for comfort and sound I stick with my favs.  I ordered to Focus Pads, which HFM expects to receive in the US tomorrow or Friday, and then out to fill their orders.  I'll post some thoughts next week hopefully.  I'm crossing my fingers, but I'm certainly not holding my breath.
     
  11. intlsubband
    I got the hybrid pads and can't tell much of a sound difference.
     
    So are the "focus" pads the same as the 560 stock hybrid pads? I don't think they were labelled as "focus pads" when I ordered them. And now there's also the "focus A" - what's the difference there?
     
    thanks, i'm sure it was already discussed but I can't see it.
     
  12. Liu Junyuan
    Focus A pads are those which came with preproduction HE560.
     
  13. conquerator2

    Focus pads are the stock 560 pads.
    Focus A pads used to come with the first few preorder 560s.

    Comfort wise, some prefer this and some prefer that.
    Focus A are a bit more warner and rounded Focus are a bit more aggressive and livelier.
    Comfort is a toss up, honestly.

    Here's my short write up;

    Comfort:
    Focus - are firmer, decompress less and therefore accommodate for pointy ears, should last longer
    Focus-A - softer, decompress more, won't accommodate thicker ears as well, would last a shorter time due to more decompression

    I find the Focus pads more comfy. I have bigger ears, slightly pointy and even though the Focus-A are softer and possibly more comfy short term, they build up heat faster. The Focus pads provide better foundation for my ears and best the Focus-As in long term comfort and heat build up. They are also made a bit better but that's not an issue.

    Focus pads get the nod from me here. If you have small ears, tightly tucked to your head, you'll probably prefer the Focus-As but they will still deteriorate quicker by the looks of it.
    They both get an A+ in comfort though, have not used more comfy pads than the Focuses and they beat the old velour/pleather pads by a mile for me. YMMV.

    Now to the Sound:
    I was skeptical about any differences but I do hear a subtle difference here... YMMV and we all hear differently but this is subjectively what I hear and what my preference is.

    Highs:
    Focus-A - smoother, less presence
    Focus - bit more aggressive, a bit more bite

    Vocals
    Focus-A - rounder and smoother, more romantic and natural
    Focus - a bit more pronounced, slightly harsher, more presence

    Mids:
    Focus-A - smoother across
    Focus - slightly more bite

    Bass
    Focus-A - a bit more impact
    Focus - less impact, a bit tighter

    Imaging
    Focus-A - slightly less definition/precision
    Focus - slightly more precise/distinctive

    Soundstage
    Focus-A - smaller, more intimate
    Focus - a bit bigger, more spacious

    Overall
    Focus-A - warmer tonality, more akin to HE-500
    Focus - brighter tonality, more akin to HE-6

    Obviously take this with a grain of salt. I spent about 2 hours comparing the pads and came to the conclusion above. I prefer the Focus pad for both their build quality/comfort and sound quality. A lot of it is probably attributable to the upper midrange/ lower treble spike, but it gives everything a bit more bite and vigor and the soundstage and imaging gets a bit cleaner...

    In conclusion, I am happy with both pads and would easily be happy with the Focus-A only but the choice, being there, I prefer the Focus by a bit [the only area where the Focus-A edge them slightly is vocal smoothness, but in trade for slightly less presence]. The Focus-A will be there as a more-than-adequate backup or a possible, albeit slight, signature tune for brighter gear, brighter HiFiMANs, etc.
     
    Dachink and daerron like this.
  14. daerron
     
    That is a good impression of what I think of the Focus pads as well, however, I am not enjoying the itchiness they are causing my ears. Having owned many velour headphones in the past, these are the first to do so. They also significantly warm up and put more pressure on my ears. Tempted to sell my HE-500s and get the HE-400i.
     
  15. ThurstonX
     
    As noted earlier, but didn't see a mention about the differences in construction of the Focus (i.e., production) vs. the Focus A.  The primary, visible difference can be seen on the inner ring.  The new Focus pads switched to using perforated pleather, as opposed to an open mesh material on the original Focus A pads.  There are photos in the Impressions thread:
     
    www.head-fi.org/t/711824/hifiman-he-560-impressions-discussion-thread
     
    Yeah, it's a lot to look through, but maybe there's a way to look at just photos in the thread.
     
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