= HiFiMAN HE-560 Impressions & Discussion Thread =
Oct 16, 2019 at 7:47 AM Post #20,716 of 21,179
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. :/
look towards the matrix m-stage hpa-3b - warm, detailed, spacious, transparent and completely balanced.
 
Oct 16, 2019 at 10:25 AM Post #20,717 of 21,179
One week in and I am already considering selling them. :/
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).
 
Oct 16, 2019 at 10:33 AM Post #20,718 of 21,179
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. :/

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.
 
Oct 16, 2019 at 11:49 AM Post #20,719 of 21,179
Running my HE-560 with a Drop THX AAA™ 789 & R-2R DAC, very happy with this combo.
 
Oct 16, 2019 at 2:09 PM Post #20,720 of 21,179
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.
 
Oct 16, 2019 at 3:40 PM Post #20,721 of 21,179
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. :/

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.

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).

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
 
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Oct 16, 2019 at 4:05 PM Post #20,722 of 21,179
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. :/
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.
 
Oct 16, 2019 at 4:53 PM Post #20,723 of 21,179
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.
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?

Thanks!
 
Oct 16, 2019 at 5:56 PM Post #20,725 of 21,179
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?

Thanks!
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.
 
Oct 16, 2019 at 7:19 PM Post #20,726 of 21,179
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. :/

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!
 
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Oct 16, 2019 at 8:39 PM Post #20,727 of 21,179
Do any HE-560 owners here also own Ananda/Edition X v2/Edition XX?
I would appreciate some comparisons.
Thanks!

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
 
Oct 16, 2019 at 8:56 PM Post #20,728 of 21,179
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!

Sakaju:

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.
 
Oct 17, 2019 at 4:01 AM Post #20,729 of 21,179
Sakaju:

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.

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!
 
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Oct 17, 2019 at 9:37 AM Post #20,730 of 21,179
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!

I've heard lots of amps - esp tubed with lots of THD, that can sound warm, sweet, or smudgy depending on how much THD they have. Still they do fine with simple frequency response charts. I can recall a number of amps that are flat with almost no THD - such as a Crown IC 150, which are brutal to actually listen to. Then when you consider pre-amps, input impedance, transducers.... the entire area tends not to lend itself to absolute statements IMO.

I have a Gungnir 1, which sounded when I first heard it like the ARC flagship from about 2002 - all 20k of it, and also faced a number of competitors I put in front of it in 2015. I sold my top notch vinyl playback and a very large vinyl collection because it did so well in demo. It isn't as bright as most DAC's, but still has a huge amount of detail - from pp to fff. It doesn't have the nagging brightness of DAC's with SABRE chips - yet has a wonderful treble. Soundstage and low level details not as good as the Yggy - but that's a $1k more. Gungnir 1 has better bass impact than the Yggy however.

I've bought equipment since 1974 because it sounds like music (ear educated by fathers Quad ESL's and the BSO) that I could afford at the time. Did you have the Gungnir or Yggy in your home system? How did you compare them to equipment you know?
 

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