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HiFiMan HE5SE versus the original HE5

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by fortunate son, Nov 13, 2018.
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  1. Slim1970
    At the this point I still love the HE-500's more. I'm driving them balanced with an upgraded C3 Audio cable. The HE500's are fuller sounding with bigger, more taunt bass. The midrange is lush and liquid with the Cavalli Liquid Carbon and treble is smoother. You can definitely hear the improvement in sound going from the HE5se to the HE500's.

    For classic and modern rock the HE5se's sound okay. The midrange is very energetic but could use more body. I'm not sure what can be done to improve that. I would like to hear more thump from the kick drums as well. The HE5se's do a good job with male voices. They are not too forward sounding. Female voice sound great. The treble might be an issue for some though. The He5se's right now are a little too sterile and unforgiving in the treble for my taste for those music genres. At higher volume they could sound a little shouty. But I would expect them to smooth out over time. I have Schiit Loki and I added more bass and midrange to the HE5se's and lowered the treble and they sound a lot better with classic rock. The HE500's sound more natural and powerful in comparison. But it's still early as I have less than 5 hours on the HE5se's
     
    trellus and bagwell359 like this.
  2. jaker782
    It sounds like I would likely need a bit of EQ for my preferences. I don't really want to "force" a sound signature out of them so, sadly, I don't think these are for me. It's a shame because I really wanted to try these for their current price! Thanks for the info!
     
  3. Herueyes
    Just got mine in for $299 via Adorama and I'm gonna keep them. I don't have a powerful DAC/AMP at work. So I fired up my old Ipod 80gb which has some lossless tracks and they sounded great... Can't give an assessment on them cause it's only been like 2 hours of listening... and I haven't paired it with a nice set of cables yet. They might just live in my office drawer even though they're open cans! My old Ipod is putting my IphoneX to shame - next up is the onkyo DP-X1 and some DSD tracks!!!....:L3000:
     
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  4. Slim1970
    I've been logging a few hours on the HE5se's and they are getting better. The thin sound I was hearing at first, is being replaced with deep, impactful bass. The mids are becoming fuller and the highs that I thought was already great sound a lot better because the rest of the frequency range is filling in now. At the current price I would recommend these. Right now, I can't think of a headphone at the current price of these that can contend with the sound of the HE5se's.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2019
  5. frogmeat69
    My HE5se just came in today from Adorama, listening on my ifi Pro iCan, and thought, "meh, ok I guess", but then turned the 9db gain on and they came to life compared to low gain. Definitely need some power. Listening to Steely Dan's Aja, and it sounds great. The highs are a bit sparkley, but the bass is pretty solid, just a heads up. As usual with HiFiMan, the cable is short and not all that nice.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2019
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  6. Asahi Templar
    Think I am going to give these a try once I get a refund processed. Hopefully they dont sell out!

    I wonder what drivers they are actually using in these, its not the HE5 drivers that much is clear. I cant find any previous Hifiman headphones that have 40 impedeance and a frequency response of 20-35hz. The frequency response is a bit suspect if I am being honest, that is the frequency response of the 400 series. Doesnt give the most confidence is these being hi end.

    Visually they dont look like the 400i and the like though so probably not actually one of those drivers. I wonder if these were like prototype Sundara drivers or something like that. Hifiman has put out so many headphones and variations its hard to know what exactly you are getting when you buy one now.
     
  7. Slim1970
    The HE5se’s have a much better low end than the 400 series of headphones. Matter of fact, the more hours I log on these the better they are becoming. The bass is impactful and deep. The midrange clear and coherent and the highs are detail with a lot clarity. I’m really starting to enjoy these. For the price, they are definitely worth a listen.

    But do allow them to burn in a good 20 hours to open up. That’s where I started noticing the sound improvements. I’m also using a burn-in disk to speed things along.
     
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  8. bagwell359
    Is there a special entry point? No $299, but $399 carefully used.... Thanks. I just gave my 4XX's to my son, so looking for these specifically as a replacement.
     
  9. Slim1970
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  10. bagwell359
  11. Slim1970
    No problem, they are more than worth it at this price. I think we're possibly seeing the last of them and this price drop is to facilitate clearing out the remaining stock. Either way I think they are great headphones. I also had the HE6se's that I hate that I sold it. They are even a better listen.
     
  12. bagwell359
    I would assume that the HE6se would beat the pants off the 5. I know the 5 will be better than the 400* series. I expect it to be better than my HE5-LE. Not sure it will top my modded HE-500, or my buttoned down HEX v2, but if its vivid and alive, I'll be happy, or sell it on ebay....
     
  13. Slim1970
    The HE6se need goobs of power to sound good. The HE5se’s are much easier to drive but still loves power. I have the HE-500’s and the HE5se’s are more open sounding with a solid low end. So they might be what you’re looking for. I’ve never heard the HE5-LE’s to compare them too. But I don’t think the HE5se’s are bright sounding. They might sound bass light at first but let play for a few hours and the sound will start to balance out and fill in.
     
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  14. bagwell359
    I have a Rag which I was able to drive an HE-6 to full volume w/o getting out of the 2nd gain setting. The HE-500 is an easier drive for sure. Is your HE-500 stock? If moddified, which ones? I'll do a backspring if the HE5se is more open than my hE-500 - after break in.
     
  15. Slim1970
    My HE-500’s are pretty much stock outside of the FocusPad A’s and C3 Audio balanced cable. They have no other modifications. They sound fuller and thicker than the HE5se’s. Now that the bass on the HE5se’s is filling in, I’m appreciating their cleaner, open sound more a little bit more than the HE-500’s for some music.
     
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