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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. hifimanrookie
    Thanks! Am glad somebody else thinks a bit like me and expresses it... :wink:
    But one point..the code-x is actually a woody he5... :D
    Luis, (Our beloved LFF) actually did try to modify the he500/he5le, but none of those gave the improvement (very demanding dude!) he was after..it has to do something about the drivers used or something i understand..am not technical..so he decided it was not worth it ..as it would only be to gain money...and he is not like that...thats why i respect brands like that.

    Ps..how did u know that about darkvoice amps? There they were considered inferior once? Wow..am impressed! But see how far they came in 2 years time..only wish they would improve communication as that for sure would help to make their well built amps more well-known and appreciated..what they deserve...

    Huge Respect for this post.

    For the rest..be prepared to get some remarks from the dark side :D
  2. Llloyd
    Well I first learned about darkvoice through head-fi, but it was always said, until I heard you singing its praises in this thread, that it should only be used for phones such as the HD-600/HD-800 and the like.. phones 300-600ohm.  I remember back maybe 2 or 3 years ago people saying it sounded particularly bad with the LCD/HE series phones.
    This was before planars really took off the way it is now so it was much more popular for OTL headphone amps due to sennheiser setting the trend of high impedence headphones. LCD2/HE-500 was still considered end game for some users, but it wasn't particularly easy to find information about amplifier setups for only a few hundred USD.
  3. davidsh

    Having 'too much skin in the game' means (in this case) that you are biased and don't see the big picture because you are too deep in the whole audio thing.. Or something like that.
    I think you are both objective in your own understandings by the way.
    He asked whether the Vali could drive HE-500 powerwise. Actually he didn't ask about sound quality, besides the bullet point might only be part of their email exchange.
    And who ever said power is the only thing that matters? I guess we can mention power without being accused of only caring about power, not sound quality. Power is just something you want enough of, period (imo). And enough power can be anything from 100mW to 2-4W depending on listener (how loud), scenario, and how much distortion there is at rated wattage etc.
    Besides, to me schiit is not just about power.
  4. .Sup
    My best amp for HE-500 is the one that puts 300Mw into 30 ohms. Thats a third of a Watt. I also have vintage amps that output several watts through headphone socket.
  5. Kyno
    For all HE-500 owners, did you encounter any issues with your headphones?
    I'm asking this because I'm considering the HE-560, but their warranty is rather short compared to Sennheiser 2 years and Audeze 3 years. Then again, it wouldn't be too much of an issue if their durability happens to on par with their price [​IMG] 
  6. .Sup
    Colour on cimbals washed out and some screws got rusty.
  7. .Sup
    Oh and cable broke but I fixed that.
  8. hifimanrookie
    I had a he300 for 2 yrs..using daily..a he400 used daily for 4months (sold as didnt like the agressive soundsignature) and then 2.5years a he500 and now since january the code-x (modded he5) , all used daily..and never had any issues..but have to admit i am extremely careful with my headphones..had a hm602 media player also..5 yrs..never let me down..only batt died quickly at a certain moment.. :wink:..
    On the he500 one screw on the hinches got loose...but screwed it back on..easy fix.
  9. ThurstonX
    Just recently, and after only a few months of ownership (purchased new from HiFiMAN) the left driver lost at least half its output (so, noticeably quieter than the right).  It was not quite four months old.  I managed to convince them to let me upgrade to the HE-560s.  Very different cans, but in the end I'm glad I did.  It would be nice to have both, though.
    Other than the driver, I was very happy with my HE-500s quality-wise.
  10. davidsh
    Never had problems except when I killed both drivers with a 125 watt emotiva power amp.
    The German distributor replaced it.
    Owned for some 2 years
  11. StanD
    The HE-500 is rated for 38 Ohms, A potential problem is that 300 mW will only get you to 113.8 dB SPL which of course is too loud for an average listening level, however, this will limit the headroom for transients when listening at more reasonable levels. One risks getting distortion due to clipping and Intermodulation on peaks which becomes inescapable when there is not enough headroom. I've heard this on cases of not having enough headroom and it isn't pretty.
    If one only listens to highly compressed music, which may be the case for some folks, it may be enough. I suspect this is not the case for most of us.
    Many believe the HE-500 needs more than 2 Watts, I don't agree with that, I think 1W of clean power is the sweet spot. I think many can get along with 750 mW if they don't listen at the louder side of normal..
  12. StanD
    Ouch, there must have been a very loud moment before things went silent. Did you accidentally turn it up all the way while listening to Jimi Hendrix? I like that German distributor, considering what happened and the timespan, that was really nice of them to replace it,
  13. Currawong Contributor
    The reason people go on about specifying overkill specs for amps is that many designers attempt to ensure that their designs are performing at their most linear at the power outputs that they will actually be used. Many amps go from Class A to Class AB as the power output increases. Some specs only list the Class A output, while some list a higher Class AB output. So on the other end of things, it was easiest to say "get an amp with at least 2W output" even though this was a gross over-simplification. Now that planars are common and many Head-Fi-focussed companies cater for them, there are amps with even only 0.5W that are very good with planars and quite a few fantastic amps with 1W of output.
    So, basically, it isn't the numbers as such, but the design intent of the amp. I recommend chatting to someone like Steve Eddy (or any other amp designer) who can explain it better than I can. Jason Stoddard also wrote about it to some degree in the Schiit Happened thread IIRC.
  14. StanD
    In any case to listen at a certain volume level on a specific set of headphones one will need enough power based upon its sensitivity/efficiency to achieve that and enough headroom to avoid clipping/distortion. Of course the amp has to be free of distortion, static and dynamic under all listening conditions. IMO going to higher power levels brings nothing to the table, go too high and one risks hurting their ears and/or damaging their headphones. When an amp cannot deliver enough power for a specific set of headphones at the desired listening levels, the result will be clipping or some form of undesirable transient distortion.
    The reason I said, "specific set of headphones" is that what's enough for the HE-500 will probably not be enough for the HE-6's. What's required for an HE-6 is probably overkill for most other headphones.
    In the case of 1W, one probably doesn't need an amp to transition into AB mode if it is a well executed Class A design. Achieving a Flat FR is easy. These days achieving a low THD is not that hard for a competent engineer, although many make measurements under conditions ideal for their design or not at higher power levels where it may rise, One almost never sees TIMD specs, something that sounds awful.
    I give Jason Stoddard a lot of credit for the Asgard 2, pure Class A with extremely low distortion by linear design, not by negative feedback. The thing is a steal.
  15. Currawong Contributor
    @StanD: It is easy to say this stuff, it is much harder to do it. [​IMG] 
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