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HifiMAN HE-6 Planar Magnetic Headphone

Discussion in 'High-end Audio Forum' started by jigf, May 21, 2010.
  1. Hansotek
    Ok. Compared the LC and Master-9 with the HE-6 for a bit tonight. Here's what I found:

    Pretty similar overall. I think you would be hard-pressed to tell the difference between the two, if you were going by memory. In a head-to-head, it's a little easier.

    The biggest difference is in the imaging and soundstage. The Master-9 is wider, deeper and more distinct. Images have a much more defined place in the sound field, stacking at very precise points from left to right and front to back. The LC, in comparison, is a little less specific.

    Other than that, the Master-9 is a tiny bit tighter on the low end and a little smoother in the upper midrange. But really, it's not by much at all.

    Impact on the two is about the same. Timbre and tone are very similar, as well. On other headphones, I generally find the LC to be the more engaging amp, but here it is a little bit closer.

    If I had to guess, most of the differences seem like they would be more attributable to the amps' power management differences, as opposed to the amount of power output they have on tap for the HE-6. I experienced a similar set of differences (albeit on a little smaller scale) when I A/B'ed a $5 Monoprice cable on the LC with the high current 7 gauge Pangea AC-9 MKII. This power management difference shouldn't be a huge surprise to you if you are familiar with the Master-9.

    Is the difference worth 2.5 to 3X the price? I don't think so, but YMMV. If I tested them with a day in between, it would have been quite difficult to tell the difference. Neither one of them get up to the level of the very best TOTL solutions, but they both perform quite, quite admirably with the HE-6.
    LarsHP and Shini44 like this.
  2. jarnopp

    Thanks for the impressions! In your opinion, what would "the very best TOTL" be?
  3. nkbg
    Ditto. Pefect vocals, balanced treble and reference quality bass. I can't ask for anything more in a headphone.

    Vegan pads + felt insert and removing grills made the biggest difference. Also did the BluTak mod.
  4. Mshenay Contributor
    TH 900 is really bass heavy, the LCD XC Weighs a ton an who can afford an MDR R10 :/ cmon even mentioning that is moot 
    what I'm looking for is an upgrade to my HE 4 with my current amp, I don't think my current amp is up to snuff for the HE 6, hence the Ether C seems to be my best bet given the cash I've got on hand
    Though I maye want to look into getting like a Used $800 Amp with an HE 6 [though I'm a little short on space so I think I can just wait till have the room for the M11]
    my point isn't that the HE 6 isn't amazing, it's that I'd rather buy an Ether C blind, than an HE 6 blind
    though I would really love to hear one... if any one has one they'd like to lend me for a week or so. I'd be happy to pay shipping both ways 
  5. Tobes

    I've been very happy with the stock HE6 for some 9 months, but just got around to doing the grill mod.
    Bass is certainly improved, digging deeper and with more impact - but the greatest improvement (for me) is the increased nuance and fine ambient detail.
    What changes/improvements did you note with the Vegan pads? I'm currently still using the stock velour and haven't been impressed with the focus pads.
    EDIT: Mmmm.....with further listening proving too much presence in the highs with grill mod and stock velour.
    I've put the focus pads back on - these killed detail with the pre-grill mod HE6, making it sound uninteresting IMO - but may be a better compromise with grill modded HE6.
    Wish the Audeze pads weren't so expensive - A$158 in Aust. You can buy a new Senn HD600 from the same retailer for A$328  (US$225)......that just doesn't add up.  
  6. Hansotek
    I think it's probably a little different for everybody, because stuff on the next level gets very, very subjective. I think as far as headphone amps go, I've had some magical moments with the Questyle CMA800R Monoblocks and DNA Stratus - those were both a clear level above for me (though I get the feeling that the Stratus's performance with the HE-6 is a little bit dependent on the tubes, based on some other conversations I've had on this thread). That's obviously doubling the investment level of the Master-9, but it's worth it, if you can swing it.
    Then you have the mega-buck Class-A speaker amps and the golden-age vintage stuff. The sky is kinda the limit there. I can't really speak to many of those amps, but Pass Labs / First Watt and Krell come up over and over again as best-in-class solutions for the HE-6. I have no doubt those are truly elite.
  7. Mshenay Contributor
    Good to hear about the increase in prensance with teh Grill Mod, I like how bitey an aggressive teh HE 4 is, counds like the Grill Mod brings some of that Bite to teh HE 6 
    I'm also curious about the Vegan pads as well 
  8. jelt2359 Contributor
    I just picked up a Hegel power amp just to drive the HE6. It should be here over the weekend. Friends of mine who have heard this Hegel amp with speakers, at least, have good things to say. This will be first proper set of speaker amps with the he6 unfortunately, so I won't be able to provide much context.

    Pass Labs/ First Watt/ Krell were my first choice too, but they're not really available around here. On the other hand there are lots of great Japanese and European amps around so that's what I went with.
  9. jarnopp
    Quick question about mods - are folks still positive on using the felt bass lens and, if so, do you remove the quarter circle of foam over the driver first or not? Will be experimenting, but would rather not destroy the foam if it's generally considered better to leave it on. Thanks!
  10. Hansotek
    I preferred the quarter felt on.
  11. Oregonian

    I removed it after about a month.  Really didn't hear much difference to be honest. 
  12. jarnopp
    Thanks Hansotek and Oregonian - and on the bass lens felt, you are using it? Other mods?
  13. Fearless1

    You didn't ask for my opinion, but if you don't care, I'm gonna give it!

    I have tried at least 25 different amps from the vintage Pioneer to the Stratus, I found my "end game " amp in the Firstwatt J2. It has a seductive tube-like sound of an OTL amp (J-fetts do that) and the clarity of a clean solid-state amp. The combo sends chills down my spine when the drums kick in . I highly recommend!
    Hansotek likes this.
  14. jarnopp

    Thanks. I am open to all opinions and appreciate it. Not sure my wallet is open to $4k though! I did look at the manual and wonder if the power out is different with SE input vs balanced? Are you running balanced in and is there a difference?
  15. Fearless1

    Never tried it SE, so dunno.

    They can be had for much cheaper then 4k if you poke around. I did not pay nearly that. IMHO a Pass amp and the HE-6 are a match made for each other.


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