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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
    There's only one reason for the observation. Too much time on that tropical island. [​IMG]
  2. ThurstonX
    Heheheh.  True dat.  I've gone coconuts.
  3. StanD
    At least you're having a good time.
  4. ThurstonX
    I live by the Viv Savage motto of life: Have a good time... all the time [​IMG]
  5. StanD
    That's why you have both HE-500's and HE-560's.
  6. MP1968
    Please can I pick people's brains regarding good cable choices for the HE-500?  I'm sure this has been covered previously, but there are 976 pages of posts which is a fair amount to wade through.  I've read several of them in the last day or two, and am left a little confused. 
    Just to say, I've been very impressed with these 'phones.  It's probably worth mentioning that they (and my other 'phones, the DX1000) are a culmination of a reasonably comprehensive headphone journey (D7000, PS1000, HD650, HD800, DT990, T1, W5000, TH600........there may be others).  I thought I'd try planars as the HE500s came up for sale secondhand at a very good price.  My amp is a Phonitor.
    I've done the grille mod as suggested by jerg: bare grille, no dust 'cover' on the inside.  It opened up the soundstage a fair amount, and seemed to inject some 'air' into the music (less congestion).  Overall a definite improvement.  I also have some Focus pads on order, which may alter things again.  I don't think I have the time or the dexterity to make the jerg pads. 
    The cable is the Hifiman SPC one.  The areas I'd like to improve are as follows: inject even more richness and warmth, further improve the air in the music (some rock tracks are still sounding a bit 'crowded', separation-wise), a little better soundstaging, and crisper definition / attack in the bass.
    I'm in the 'believer' camp as far as cables go, having experimented with aftermarket cables for my HD800s, HD650s and DX1000s.   It's also worth pointing out that I'm more of a basshead than a treble fan.  Good mids are also important for rock guitars.
    So, from my reading it appears that there are fans of pure copper, SPC, and pure silver.  Not surprising, given that everyone's tastes are different in these things. There are fans of the Black Widow, the Silver Poison, the Silver Widow, Norne Vanquish, Forza Noir Hybrid, etc etc.  I doubt I'm the first Head Fi-er to feel a bit confused by it all, and much as I'd like to order 3 or 4 different cables, unfortunately funds don't permit this.  
    But what would your recommendations be, given what I'm trying to achieve with a cable change?  Any suggestions gratefully received.  
    Many thanks. 
  7. hifimanrookie
    the cable that almost fits all headphones soundwise (except maybe the lcd2) is the very affordable Black Widow 22awg..it does well with almost all phones as it has all the positives of a food copper cable without the nagatives...and best of all..its very affordable compared to other better quality copper cables...and there are lots more who can confirm this assumption of me....and if they for what reason dont do it for u..they are very easily sold!
  8. ThurstonX
    In my tests with the SPC cable (albeit not yet on the HE-500s; used HE-560s), an all copper cable definitely helped with the warmth and richness.  I need to finish a cable today, but if I have time, I can test the SPC vs. my DIY cable (Mogami W2799), but based on the HE-560 tests, I prefer the all copper, and my DIY vs. the new HFM cable.  If you can solder, you could try making your own.  If you have the spare HFM SMC connectors, the rest of the parts can be had for under $20.  SMC connectors can be found for cheap on eBay.  If you want to spend $$$, no doubt you'll get quite a few recommendations.
    Good luck!
  9. daerron
    I'm still thinking about cable upgrades. Do people also upgrade the wires as well that goes from the SMC connector to the headphone driver, otherwise its a pretty moot point upgrading the cable, not? Reminds me of how I was looking at fancy phono cables for my TT, till I saw the ugly basic wire that was being used inside the TT. Actually thinking that a good shielded wire might yield better gains vs some fancy pants litz cable.
  10. ThurstonX
    I'll iterate my earlier findings: I much prefer my simple DIY'd Mogami W2799 cable to the HE-500 SPC (by a long way), and also to the new HE-560 "crystalline" cable.  If I can learn to freakin' solder those PITA SMC connectors properly, I'll have a "fancy pants" Litz cable for not much more than my Mogami cable.  Hope it will at least match it in sound quality and preference.  So while I get your point about replacing (or not) the internal wiring, I find different cables present a different sound, sometimes subtle, sometimes more obvious.  That gives one options without have to void your warranty, but better if you can make your own, rather than spend hundreds of dollars on fancy cables just to see if there might possibly be some slight (and preferable) difference.
    YMMV, of course.
  11. daerron
    Apologies if my remark came over as somewhat snide, I really do appreciate the trouble you've gone to compare the cables. If I had access to Mogami cable locally and good solder I'd try soldering my own cable as well.
    This is what my HE-500 internal wiring looks like...
    That red cable to me looks like a bottleneck regardless of what wire you are connecting to the SMC connector. This is why I think a shielded cable might be worth more as it reduces EMI over the entire length of the cable so in theory you should have a blacker background, but the electrons might go on strike once they hit that awful red piece of wire.
  12. ThurstonX
    No worries [​IMG]  I didn't take it as such [​IMG]
    Interesting.  Mine (three different pairs) have all had the "silver" wiring from connector to driver.  I have no idea what it is, but possibly it's the same SPC as the cable.  Maybe we should compare serial numbers.  My current pair are replacements, so refurbished from ??? production run/time.  Now I really do see what you mean about replacing that wire.
  13. daerron
    How does one find the serial number? Mine was from an interesting batch though as it was an interim one after they ditched the canare stock cable and replaced it with a copper cable before switching production the silver stock cable. I think the time gap between the switch over was a month or two. The impedance on the drivers are also quite high at 53 ohm.
  14. ThurstonX
    Maybe serial number is the wrong word.  "Driver numbers" is probably better.  Sometimes there are "stickers" at bottom of the cups, against the metal framework (under the grills, IIRC, not the inside).  Also, if new, they usually come with a card which is mostly in Chinese, but has the driver numbers written on it.  I don't know if we could deduce anything from a comparison.  It was just a thought.
    Sounds like yours are an earlier version.  Also looks like that internal wiring is copper, though it's tough to tell from the photo.  Yes, that is a high impedance compared to the two pairs I've measured (between ~28.5 and 34.x ohms).
  15. daerron
    I've checked some earlier photos on this thread and looks the same as the one Jerg initially got. Also has the stock copper cable and red internal wiring.
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