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HifiMAN HE-6 Planar Magnetic Headphone

Discussion in 'High-end Audio Forum' started by jigf, May 21, 2010.
  1. Monsterzero
    I asked this in the Elear thread,perhaps you can answer me....

    If one already owns an HE6(just bought one,should be here tomorrow,stock,un-modded)is there any reason to pursue an Elear?
  2. ohhgourami

    There's a reason I developed the blutack mod in the first place. And initially I had the same feeling as you (wanting more quantity), but the quality increased dramatically. If you want it all, upgrade your gear.
  3. Ithilstone
    Monsterzero - thats the question you ask your wallet or partner not us cause here almost every one will tell you that one cannot have too many headphones! :wink:
  4. Tobes
    Interesting. I think the bass of the Utopias is more precise and articulate than the HE6.
    The HE6 goes deeper and sounds more powerful, but I'd take the Utopias greater detail and precision on most music.
    the Utopia mids are on a different level to the HE6. For people who love vocals - both male and female - the Utopia would be an easy choice IMO. The highs are likewise no contest IMO. The longer I listen to the Utopia the more emphatically I favour it's sound.
    I find the Utopia balance very close to my Harbeth monitors which are vocal and midrange champs.
  5. phaeton70
    umh... I quite agree. I think HE6 are a very nice sounding HPs, I do love them, but Utopia are simply on a different level, under any aspect but the sub-bass extension. for bass articulation,sometimes HE6 can loose for a bit the control, bass is a little "longer" than the Utopia's. and FWIW I think tha the sub-bass of HEK is much better than both HE6 and Utopia, but if I have to choose between the three on this specific bass aspect, I would pick the Utopia because of the overall performance.
  6. Liu Junyuan
    While Utopia is an excellent headphone, I concur with negura in preferring the bass on the modded HE-6 to that of the Utopia, which I feel is less linear and slightly boosted.
  7. negura
    I love vocals. I only commented on the bass because that is what was asked. The mids of the HE-6s are better too imo. The Utopia midrange timbres just sound fake. It may not be noticeable directly or easily, but in comparison with the HE-6s and better transducers the fakeness is there and with everything. I think it's at least partially due to colorations induced by materials used in the Utopia.
    Some people may like that, so may even love that. I don't. I find the HE-6s midrange more natural and closer to my Tannoy Canterbury GR or PMC IB2i monitors.
    In regards to the highs, the HE-6s have a high treble peak and the Utopia a treble dip and then high treble peak. Pick your poison. I think the HE-6s are more linear in the treble. They both have coloured treble.
    "Longer" bass than Utopia - oh my gosh. I would dread that and wouldn't be here writing about HE-6 bass performance. :)
    That's not normal for well driven HE-6s. In my experience it's the oppposite. Modded and well driven HE-6s have more precise, linear and better bass control. Since you mention the HEK sub-bass as "better" that also is in disagreement with my findings. It's a bit inflated and boomy actually. If you are talking about HEK v1 and think how the HEK have a bigger driver, from a thinner material and asymmetric magnets it makes sense it won't match the performance of well amped HE-6s in driver control. Perhaps HFM worked on this further since I saw people report bass improvements on HEK V2 (I haven't heard the latter yet to comment).
    Sorry never heard the Elear, but unless they somehow outperform Utopia, which I doubt, I see little reason other than new toy.
  8. Oregonian

    I just did an A/B with an Elear loaner and I much preferred the HE-6.  Everyone has preferences so there's that but the Elear didn't impress me at all - the cable is the heaviest and most awkward I've used, comfort wasn't even as good as my Lohb suspension modded HE-6 and the Elear sounded like a closed headphone. 
    All this of course is my opinion - thus far nothing has matched the HE-6 overall nor in the visceral bass - and I've owned or auditioned over 60 headphones.  Like any headphone, it's a matter of your preference and nothing we can say will beat trying it for yourself. 
    Monsterzero likes this.
  9. phaeton70
    Of course I respect yuor opinion and experience. First, let me say I have a non-modded HE6 (I don't have the "dexterity" to do such things) since 4 years now, and I still do love the sound of these hps. I have driven them with anything from 1W to 30W, currently using a Taurus MKII (more or less 5W at the HE6 load) and a Spectral+Pass (200W@8ohm, 25W at the HE6 load). My experience with the HEK, owned since 1.5 year now and driven by a 300B SE amplifier, is that it has slightly slower and less precise bass than HE6, but way deeper. My experience with the Utopia, admittedly very short, driven by the same 300B ampli as the HEK, is that it has slighlty less deep bass than HEK, but more precise, fast and controlled/undistorted than both HEK and HE6. 
    Maybe with a modded HE6 driven by a different amplifier, I would listen to the same as you described.
  10. negura
    Indeed I think this has a lot to do with what we hear. And these comparisons are between all very good headphones after all.
  11. DaemonSire
    Now that you have removed it, any tips on removing the blu-tack?
    I can't decide if I prefer it with or without.  Unfortunately it isn't to A/B so I haven't ventured in removing it yet.  I'd really hate to remove to just add it back in later :)
    However, I'm trying to decide if I need my HE-6 to be bassy anyways.  Since I already have an ZMF Ori which is fairly warm and bassy, maybe a neutral-lighter planar is a good contrast.  And I plan to add a tube preamp to the mix in the future, so that may warm it up enough that pairs nicely with the tightness of the HE-6 now.
    Decisions...decisions... :)
    I also like LarsHP's idea of doing a partial blu-tack.  The tricky part would be ensuring you have the same amount in both sides or it will be off.  I do miss the hard-hitting bass though... :)
  12. Armaegis
    An alternative to blutack which would be easier to remove is plumber's putty.
  13. Tobes
    Well I guess we've got to agree to disagree [​IMG] - as I find the Utopia midrange more realistic with truer more individual timbre than the HE6.
    All transducers have some material based colourations, but to me the Utopia sounds the more pure and uncoloured.
    I think the HE6 is very good and I find it a very satisfying listen - however I nearly always prefer (what I hear as) the Utopias better balance and clarity. And usually the better the recording the more the Utopia pulls ahead.
  14. bigfatpaulie
    I think it is hard to compare the HE-6's to anything else because the HE6 stock isn't that good so most owners have heavily modified them.  This, however, cause a very big variance in the sound quality of them because each set becomes almost unique.  Even with the same mods, some are done better than others.
    bosiemoncrieff likes this.
  15. Liu Junyuan
    I think much of the debate centers around one's reception of the Utopia's Be drivers, which do have their own distinct sound, whether colored or not, and from what I understand this also imparts its own character in the Utopia speakers. I happen to really enjoy the sound of the Be drivers.

    On the other hand, the treble etch on the HiFiMAN's is also something I can't ignore, as the Utopia's treble is much smoother in comparison. I hear the Utopia's midrange as more resolving than that of both the HD800 and HE-6, but again my sentiments agree with negura that the HE-6 mids sound more natural to me. However, I hear more microdetail and shades of microdynamics in the Utopia's mids to anything I have heard thus far.

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