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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. StanD
    Do what exactly? I've designed sensitive accurate instrumentation systems (125 nV/bit) that typically made around $50M a year in sales. I designed analog electronic music synthesizers for top pro musicians when I was still in college. My cousin was a partner for Premier Labs that in the day made custom recording equipment for studios, many in NYC. When I was 19 (far too long ago) I helped him design mic preamps and line amps for his recorders. I worked at Bell Labs when it was still at top form for over 6 years. I think I've walked the walk.
    These days there isn't much engineering or manufacturing in the USA, very depressing. So now I earn my coin writing software for an evil financial entity on W Street. I really miss Bell Labs.
  2. Currawong Contributor
    @StanD: Thanks for posting that.
  3. borrego
    I read something from the diyAudio forum (a Russian??) saying very high speed NFB design would sound pretty much like linear non-NFB design. Does it have a point?
  4. StanD
    I thank you guys for keeping this site going despite all the time and effort it must take to do so. We (the users) have fun and sometimes misbehave here. I found out about HE-500's here and really enjoy my pair. Now I'm lusting for HE-560's. Must control my wallet.....a losing battle. I just got a slew of costly technology so I have to behave, for a little while.
  5. StanD
    In ether case it depends on execution, one can do a good job either way. Either approach can be challenging. Designing a high speed circuit that a large open loop gain (to provide gobs of negative feedback) that remains stable in a closed loop from discrete components is not going to be easy. Nor is it easy to design a great linear non-NFB amp, something that I respect very much.
    One might question the strategy of having to design a high speed circuit to correct non linear behavior by leveraging NFB to get that job done. Even if one uses a good fast opamp and straps on a discrete output stage (for power), there will be challenges once NFB is applied. Using either approach it is easy to achieve a mediocre result.
    I haven't listened to an O2 amp, but it probably sounds better than many would be willing to admit. Especially since it uses opamp chips.
    Time for me to shutdown and recharge for tomorrow. ttfn.
  6. Drrizzt
    I have a pair of modded He-500 (Jergpads, grill removed) for more than a week now, it's feeded through the project Sunrise and it's totally jaw dropping with live recordings like Eric Clapton unplugged, i feel the combination of the liveness of the tube and the inherant qualities of the headphone makes the unplugged music sounding unbeleivably real.
    I wasn't expecting such performance, i only realise now that the gap between the HD600/650/X1 and the He-500 is really deeper than i thought.
    davidsh likes this.
  7. Llloyd
    The HE-500 is nice like that where at times it doesn't sound immediately deep or detailed. It's not overwhelming with its presentation but at the same time you get the ability to pick anything out of the recording that you might hear.  To me that's exactly what I want in a music listening device.  What version of the sunrise do you have?
  8. ThurstonX
    Agreed, which is why i'm working a deal to have my damaged HE-500s replaced.  I love the HE-560s, but I want the option of the HE-500 sound I came to love.  Also, they were sad sitting in their box with no prospect of working again [​IMG]
  9. Drrizzt
    I own the very first model, bought for almost nothing in here.
    The He-500 is no detail monster but though the very high resolution, the layering, the liveness of voices and the fluidity of all of that makes me think of stopping to upgrade, seems to be the end game for me this combination. 
    Unless i allow myself to fall into this bad circle again of wondering "What's it's like to go further with sound ?". 
  10. hifimanrookie

    Thats where i fell into since recently..and acted upon it..and we all know where it let me..audio rig wise... :D
    ..i really loved the hm602 - 337- BW 22awg 4wire - he500 (modulor pads/opengrill mod) combo i had for almost 3years!.... to be honest at that period i didnt thought i needed more..it gave me a huge smile every time i listened to it...especially with the tungsol tubes i had in it. :wink: never had any regret owning them (except maybe in hot summer..the 337 could get so hot it was to hot around it to sit close to it to listen comfortable) but then came an old review of skylark about an amp of a certain brand..i was hooked. :wink:
  11. Ultramus
    I've hit the soft cap for my head-fi journey at the moment. I want to upgrade to an he-6 but may wait till it's true successor due to my current budget constraints(Turns out engagement rings are expensive). Now if I was able to trade my 500+cash for a 6 I probably would, but otherwise the 500s are staying in my stable for the perceived future.

    FWIW as far as amping goes, and strictly talking about power, I feel like w should address the fact that almost all he-500s have measured higher than 38 impedence and lower than 89db sensitivity, add in that a lot of us are using pads that are thicker, angled, vented, or all of the above, which ALL will reduce the sensitivity, if the specs of amps can't always be trusted, neither can the specs of the he-500. I do not believe that power is the first thing to look for in an amp, but certainly there is a direct tangible interaction between cost, SQ, and power. Schiit makes good products that offer good min/maxing of the above. I heard the MJ and fell in love with it before I knew what it's power output was, but I will say it is certainly expected that for it's literal increase in size and price from the Asgard, even if their SQ is equal, the Mjolnir should be pushing more watts. I think that when you spend so much effort in designing a nice amp with high quality parts, it only makes sense to scale the design to what offers the optimum value,it just makes sense that as quality and price go up, so tends power output, and I think maybe that is why people conflate the two so easily.
    hifimanrookie and daerron like this.
  12. hifimanrookie

    As i know now from experience.. That what u say is not entirely right.. If u dont mind i wanna add something to ur true to the word post... Well written by the way!

    higher up the range in same brand doesnt automatically mean more power..but i admit..for the mainstream popular brands here on headfi and in the audio consumer industry its indeed the fact..as people expect that from a higher range better sounding model of the same brand..just like u just proved..and that perfectly fine..as thats whats marketing all about...but the more specialized smaller companies think differently..they design amps with a certain goal in mind... Like a Certain headphone... I am sure that if i tell someone to built me a better amp then i already have for my code-x.. It would be for sure better sounding..but probably not with more power..am almost sure of that...as its sufficient already..more current into the phones would just be overkill and only cost money (bigger transformer etc) which could be better spend in better components somewhere else.... As an example the least powerful standard speaker poweramp of BC is actually their best sounding one in their 'standard' (non custom) range..as it only pumps out 28w!

    All i want to say that ur right for the mainstream brands..as thats what us all expect of them..better components and better quality is also automatically more power...in speaker land thats never been the case..its all about how it sounds...more power never automatically meaned better sound in speaker land..

    Sorry..didnt want to oppose u..as i kmow what u mean..quality over quantity...just wanted to add some personal experience to it..well spoken by the way!
  13. intlsubband
    Sorting through all these discussions/debates about amps and I still have no idea what is supposed to be a good amp to the HE-500... [​IMG]
    I feel that my current setup sounds pretty spectacular with practically all of my phones. I was considering maybe getting another high powered amp for the HE-500, but honestly I don't know how much better it can sound, and if I did decide to get a new amp, I just don't know which amp to go with that would be a clear upgrade/ change from the existing one.
    Given that my current amp is solid state (Corda Concerto), I was thinking of getting a tube amp - I never owned a proper tube amp. Maybe the Lyr 2. 
    However, reading all of the debates, I'm rethinking this - I might just stay with my Concerto, it sounds wonderful with my DAC and my HE-500... I wish I knew someone with a Lyr so I can try it with the rest of my setup.
  14. hifimanrookie
    As said many times already..the lyr (with right tube) is not only tube amp in that price range that pairs good with the he500.. The 337/339 with the right tubes sound wonderful with the he500.. Maybe one of the biggest secrets around the he500 thread...lolz

    And between the lines i saw a lot suggestions for the he500 ampwise...a lot.. On this thread.

    Question...why are u looking at the pricerange of the lyr? U already have an amp above that pricerange..maybe u should start to look into the >1000usd amps...a Mjolnir, a18, audio gd, v200 etc. and my favorite brand from canada, all have an amp in that pricerange...maybe u should look there to better ur corda concerto?am not saying they will as i never had the opportunity to hear that amp, but it could give u some references.
  15. intlsubband
    Thanks for that. To be honest I'm not really looking primarily at the price tag as an indicator of performance when comparing amps, so I didn't even consider that the Lyr is "lesser" than the Concerto. I think the Concerto used to go for around 700$ when it was in production but I got mine 2nd hand for much less. I was looking at the Lyr because of the power specs, and because it seems to be hailed as an excellent choice for planars.
    I can afford an amp in the 1,000 - 1,500 $ range (but I wouldn't really want to spend more than that), but it's a risk without having a chance to listen to these before I buy. Amps around 500$ are easier for me to "buy to try", as these are easier to sell if I decide to. But if there is one amp which is unanimously hailed as the best choice for planars, I might consider.
    I definitely had my eyes on an LCD-3 for a while, so I would like an amp that works well with both. But at the moment I'm happy enough with the HE-500 that I'm not in a hurry to buy an LCD-3 just yet...
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