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= HiFiMAN HE-560 Impressions & Discussion Thread =

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by jerg, Mar 25, 2014.
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  1. sakujou
    Hey fellow HE560 owners.

    I just got my pair a week ago and have been struggling so far. Driving them with a Schiit Magni 3 amp and a SMSL M8A DAC. They seem veeeery bright to me. Is it the Magni distorting at high levels or is this just the HE560's sound signature? They sure are very detailed, I like the bass extension, but I just can't handle the brightness.
    People at audioscience forums have recommended replacing the Magni 3 with a JDS Labs Atom, since it has very low distortion. Has anyone tried this combo? Do I need to aim for an expensive amp? Or there wouldn't be a vast change in terms of the brightness/distortion?

    One week in and I am already considering selling them. :/
    XylefMTG likes this.
  2. Atgm1
    look towards the matrix m-stage hpa-3b - warm, detailed, spacious, transparent and completely balanced.
  3. XylefMTG
    Just bought a used pair and I think I'm in the same boat. I am powering them with the Emotiva A-100 BasX (tried them on Topping DX3 Pro just for the fun of it and they sounded thin) and they sound detailed and fun. Just that brightness is tough for me to handle. I waffle on this headphone. Sometimes I put 'em on and I think, "I can't sell these. These are amazing". Next night I'll try them and I'll think, "there is such a thing as too much detail and that brightness! SELL!"

    Gonna give it some time, but I do think reviewers should be believed when they say, "needs a powerful amp". The BasX is a speaker amp and still I've heard you need something even more powerful to cure the brightness (but not entirely).
  4. phthora
    The issue in this case is amp pairing. The Magni 3 tends to exacerbate the treble spike already in the 560's sound signature. On a neutral amp, that spike is much more tolerable. I would imagine the Atom falls under this category, but I would be concerned about the 560 requiring enough power from the Atom to push that distortion back up. On a warmer amp, the spike doesn't stand out much at all. For this reason, I think the 560 sounds fantastic with the iFi Black Label, especially with the bass boost. As far as low distortion goes, I run my 560 with the Benchmark HPA4, which has the lowest measured distortion around, and it does take the edge off of that spike. Lower distortion, I find, can help quite a bit with resonance issues, which seems to be part of the problem here. However, it doesn't alleviate the treble issue entirely and it does not fill out the mids any (which also helps with the spike).

    Bottom line: pair the 560 with an amp warmer than neutral. The second best option would be something very low in distortion with a decent amount of power.
    peter123 and XylefMTG like this.
  5. eeagle
    Running my HE-560 with a Drop THX AAA™ 789 & R-2R DAC, very happy with this combo.
    XylefMTG likes this.
  6. LCMusicLover
    My ears hear the 560 as V-shaped, and the treble side can seem a bit boosted. So, as the replies above state, pairing them with a bright chain will exacerbate that sound characteristic. That said, I enjoy them with my portable rigs, using my AlgoRhythm Duet amp to drive them (which also helps my Utopia). I also enjoy them out of my desktop rig from my Liquid Platinum with the same Siemens NOS CCa tubes which I prefer with my Utopia.

    To my ears, the V-shape helps make their stage very open/airy, which is what I enjoy about them. Vocals can seem a bit recessed though.
  7. sanvara
    I wonder do the various versions of the HE560 all have the exact same sonic characteristics? I have HE560 V1 and they aren't overly bright for me at all using an Emotiva BasX A-100 jumper modded which provides ridiculous amounts of power. But everyone's ears are different.

    More powerful that the BasX A-100? With jumper power output should be as follows through the headphone jack:

    8 Ohms: 50 watts / channel
    33 Ohms: 12 watts / channel
    47 Ohms: 8.5 watts / channel
    150 Ohms: 2.6 watts / channel
    300 Ohms: 1.3 watts / channel
    600 Ohms: 0.6 watts / channel

    In comparison the Magni:

    Maximum Power, 16 ohms: 3W RMS per channel
    Maximum Power, 32 ohms: 2W RMS per channel
    Maximum Power, 50 ohms: 1.3W RMS per channel
    Maximum Power, 300 ohms: 430mW;RMS per channel
    Maximum Power, 600 ohms: 230mW RMS per channel
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2019
    XylefMTG likes this.
  8. DavidA
    I'm going to assume your HE560 is the latest version with 3.5mm jacks so keep in mine that there are some differences between your version and mine (original with wood veneer and SMC jacks). I agree with others that the HE560 can be a bit difficult to drive but it also depends on how loud you are listening at. I have two amps that I like paired with my HE560, Lyr2 or headphone jack of UD301, very different output power but since I listen at fairly low levels (65-75dB) I don't need much power to drive the HD560 and its why even the 100mw of the UD301 is sufficient for me. I also have found that the newer versions (wood veneer / 2.5mm) and (painted / 2.5mm) sound a bit different from mine but I haven't heard the newest one with the 3.5mm jacks. I really like how my HE560 paired with a friends Hugo and another friends Liquid Carbon (original, not the MassDrop version) but I think the MassDrop version might be a good match since I've heard that its fairly similar to the original.
    trellus likes this.
  9. XylefMTG
    Hello David,

    I've been reading a lot in this thread and it seems you've owned this headphone a while and have been active here. What pads do you use and what would you say you've heard is the consensus preferred pads for this headphone?

  10. gardibolt
    Not in my experience. The Lyr2 that I use is about half that power (6W/32 ohms), and the HE-560 sounds glorious through it. Not overly bright (like most Beyer headphones tend to be).
    trellus likes this.
  11. DavidA
    sorry for the late reply, had to make brunch for the girls before they fly out.
    As for pads I've only have Focus-A, Focus, Hifiman velour, Hifiman pleather, Shure SRH-1840 and Dekoni sheepskin. With my HE560 I've come to appreciate the stock Focus pads as the best compromise all around pads but I did add some attenuation rings in them. The Dekoni sheepskin was purchased for my TH-600 but I did try them on my HE560 and while they are comfortable they made the HE560 a bit more energetic in the highs but it was a bit too much for me. The Hifiman pleather was best at boosting the bass but uncomfortable due to the hardness of the foam and they also made the highs a bit shouty. I know a few like the Focus-A but I found them a bit too shallow where my ears touch at times.
    trellus and XylefMTG like this.
  12. Draknodd
    All the Schiit amplifiers that I've tried I noticed that they add distorsion. Magni distorts, valhalla distorts, lyr distorts. While I find it acceptable for a 50$ amp, it is not for a multiple hundreds amp. Someone may like them but still distortion Is, and there are no "warm" or "bright" amp, it's not an headphone, there are well engineered amp and bad engineered amp. To alterate sounds there are DSP, which are free.
    My advice is to buy a more neutral amp, mind that to sound at the best he560 needs >7.5V rms and >140mA. Don't focus too much on the "Watts" It can be misleading.
    Another advice to "calm down" the excessive "brightness" of the headphone Is to try the EQ that I've shared some post before, It Will correct the minor flaws of this headphone.

    Enjoy and good listening!
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2019
  13. bagwell359
    x 560 v1 owner & current HEX v2 owner

    560 a little more dynamic, bass growls a bit more, bright spike in the highs prompted me to sell them.

    HEX v2 flatter, more coherent, slightly suppressed dynamically and definition in the upper mids and above helped with silver cable and nuggets, but not solved. Great morning or late night cans when you don't want to be hammered with brightness. Supposedly re-wiring the cable inside the can reaps big benefits, but haven't done it myself
    phthora and LikeABell like this.
  14. bagwell359

    The 560 is a well known bright headphone. "curing" that by changing equipment might work, but, very well might not. EQ or a different headphone might cure it better.

    Draknodd: I don't know the lower end of the Schiit line - but the Mjolnir 1 and Ragnarok 1 don't distort (any more than other transistor amps of similar price). Your writing is unclear to me - are you saying there are no amps that sound "warm" or "bright"? If that is not proper, what is a proper amp? As an owner of various Pass amps for decades I can agree that they are better than the Schiit amps I mentioned, but, again not at or near that price. It is very easy to engineer a "warm" amp by injecting THD into the circuit - people pay lots for those.
  15. Draknodd
    Haven't tryed mjolnir and ragnarok so I don't know how they behave, still until lyr (500$) they distort, not acceptable for a 500$amp.
    I would use more these terms (warm and bright) for headphones, because Is means that, for ex in the case of "warm", in their frequency response they emphatize low-mid freq, and have rolled off highs. If an amp is "warm" Is because It distorts, which is not the same thing, because It means that there Is a design mistake in the circuit. Hope that the top end of their amps do not have this kind of flaws because in their top end of dacs there are.

    Anyway I thing that EQ Is essential with pretty any headphone, and he560 respond very well to eq like all planars!
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2019
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