I am shocked... absolutely flabbergasted!
I received my new HiFiMan HE-5LE planar headphones from Moon Audio on Wednesday evening. I knew from what everybody was reporting, and even from what David ZheZhe, the very nice and responsive Little Dot amp chief, said to me, that I needed either a solid state or a hybrid amp with some current to drive that kind of load. The Little Dot Mk III tube amp puts out voltage... not much current. But, I don't have anything like that right now, but I did purchase a used Matrix M-Stage with an upgraded Class A OPA627AP op amp from a member on Head-Fi... it will arrive probably Monday or Tuesday of next week. I planned on using that until maybe the Lyr production catches up.
So, in the meantime, I plugged the HE-5LE into my Little Dot Mk III so at least to start breaking them in. This Mk III came with upgraded M8100 driver tubes, and since it arrived I put in 6H30 power tubes, which David ZheZhe had told me are very dynamic sounding tubes. This combo really made my Denon AH-D2000 phones make music. These D2000 have Moon Audio Blue Dragon cabling and the new JMoney ear pads.
The HE-5LE, after about 6 hours of burn-in with the LD Mk III, the sound was very veiled and murky... and closed in. I decided to remove the grill cloth and foam from each side of the HE-5LE. That helped some... especially the upper mid and high end. But, I really thought a lot of the murk I was hearing was due to the Mk III just not being a good match... the HE-5LE were just not getting the current they needed.
By last night at midnight, I had about 28 hours on them, and was not planning to listen before going to bed, but I did, just to check for a minute.
What I heard blew my mind! I've had Grado 1000; Senn 600, 650, and 800; AKG 702; Denon 2000... but never have I heard sound open up like this in all my listening experiences... and with a little tube amp driving them that was not supposed to be a match... the Little Dot Mk III with upgraded tubes (8100 & 6H30) was making these phones sing and dance!
The sound was so open... very wide and deep soundstage; I could hear all the instruments playing in place, and all with proper texture and nuances; there was airiness and transparency... nothing blocked anything else. The focus was tight... no smear at all. Music like I had not heard before in a headphone! But, what really blows my mind was the dynamic contrast. The lows were there just right... very deep and well defined. And the highs were out to the limits without a hint of strain or breakup or edginess.
What was going to be just a minute to check on the sound, turned out to be over an hour of delightful listening, and then on to bed very excited. I've been listening again today. Wow... what sound! The Little Dot Mk III with the upgraded tubes, and the HiFiMan HE-5LE without its grill cloth or foam pieces, and the Oppo 83 Special Edition SACD/CD player, make quite a musical combo! And, oh yes, some good Audio Art and Moon Audio cables... don't forget the cables!
Who needs current? Who needs a lot of money? This is what it is all about!