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Hifiman HE6-SE

Discussion in 'High-end Audio Forum' started by ufospls2, Aug 10, 2018.
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  1. Happy Camper
    The 6s with the EF 6 was too one dimensional. Plenty of power but speaker amps left it with better sound stage presentation. IMO from memory.
  2. TheGadaffiDuck
    Bryston 2BLP opened these headphones up tremendously. Close to a good set of stax imo
  3. fortunate son
    Very helpful. Thanks! Several years ago I used the EF6 for a few weeks with the original HE5 (which are easier to drive than the HE6). The EF6 was a standout in the areas of power and smooth response, but I much preferred the sound of the less powerful Woo WA6 Gen 1 which I kept and returned the EF6. But the WA6 doesn't have what it takes to drive the HE6.
  4. fortunate son
    Wow, I would love to hear that combo. Are you going through a resistor box or straight out of the amplifier?
  5. musicbuff
    Sorry it's taken 2 months to get this down. Life happens. Hope this helps. I agree with the review given by "once." I spent some time comparing the HE-6se to my modified 6 screw HE-6 and Sennheiser HD-800 that has had the Anaxilus Mod. Here are the differences I heard.

    I listened to "The Holy City," on Robert Shaw's album "Songs of Faith and Inspiration" which has a male soloist and a massive choir and orchestra including a pipe organ.
    The HE-6's bass is very good but the 6se's is a tad bit more controlled and tight. Of course most of you already know the Sennheiser HD-800 normally has a very light bass response in comparison. The lower the pipe organ went the softer it sounded until it was totally missing (Which was quite a bit of information). Compared to the HE-6 the HE-6se had a little more air (separation) between and around instruments and the placement of instruments and choir voices were more distinct from each other and solid. The Sennheiser, for me, provided more mid and high end information than both Hifiman's. The Anaxilus mod, mellowed the mids and highs making them very satisfying to listen to. But for me, the only way the Sennheiser wins for listening to classical music is if I'm willing to accept and be content with the fact that the lowest notes from the pipe organ (and all other low pitch instruments) were several db's too soft or missing. (It has been suggested that I EQ in more bass for the Senns. Might give it a try if somebody tells me how). Otherwise, both Hifiman phones delivered the lower notes of all bassier instruments with great satisfaction. I noticed the HFM headphones tend toward the side of warmth versus the Sennheiser's lean toward the cool side.

    I also listened to "Trust Me" from the album "No One Loves Me Like You," by Billy and Sarah Gaines.
    This is a husband wife duet. Their voices were more forward with the Senn. With all 3 HP's the voices came through as if the couple were sharing a single mike. (But I've also listened to other group songs with all 3 HP's where each singer came through in their own distinct space on stage). The song has a lot of electronically produced instrumentation and panning back and forth from left to right. There is also a punchy bass line throughout the song. Each of the headphones sounded very good with the Sennheiser again providing more clarity just short of analytical (I like analytical). The Hifiman's were more cohesive with the HE-6se being a bit more detailed (but not analytical) than the original 6 and the sound stage of the 6se was a bit deeper and higher than the HE-6. Neither Hifiman's sound stage was quite as wide as the Senn HD-800 but satisfying enough. Again the Sennheiser failed in visceral bass production.

    I listened to "Play a Lil Song for Me" from an album with the same name by Ben Tankard, a Contemporary Gospel Smooth Jazz artist.
    The song begins with a hard hitting palpable bass note that pounds itself through the whole song. Everything mentioned earlier applies to this song. The sparkling highs of chimes, piano and whatever other high producing instruments came through in mellow, shrill free pitches in all 3 headphones, again with the Senn providing a bit more detail in the mid and higher registry.

    Lastly, to specifically evaluate the female voice I listened to Ella Fitzgerald sing "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" from the album "Christmas Belles." Through all 3 HP's her voice came through dead center, more forward on the Senn HD-800, but clear and limber on all 3 with the HFM's giving her a bit more soulful warmth. The background singer's voices were distinct from each other yet united and placed on her left and right sides.

    Though it has been reported that the HE-6se has the same driver as the HE-6 I would say Mr. Fang has made the sound of the HE-6se a bit better than what the HE-6 was after all of its modifications. If you want a truly pleasing headphone listening experience without plopping down 3 or more grand, try the HE-6se. I wasn't disappointed. YMMV.
    Fegefeuer, Oregonian and thecrow like this.
  6. thecrow
    Thatnks for putting that together.

    What amp/how much power were you playing with in driving the he6se?
  7. fortunate son
    "But for me, the only way the Sennheiser wins for listening to classical music is if I'm willing to accept and be content with the fact that the lowest notes from the pipe organ (and all other low pitch instruments) were several db's too soft or missing. (It has been suggested that I EQ in more bass for the Senns. Might give it a try if somebody tells me how)."[/QUOTE]
    Thanks for taking the time to post this.
    You indicated that you might try to EQ in more bass for the HD800 if someone would explain how. You mention listening to "albums" which I suppose means vinyl. I use a Klark-Teknik DN410 parametric EQ for boosting bass on my HD800 for vinyl and compact discs. The Klark seems sonically transparent to me with Mogami W2549 cable from ZenPro (no affiliation). JRiver has an audio equalizer that can be used for FLAC, WAV and other ripped files. The free Ears Bass Boost parametric eq is available from the Chrome web store to use with youtube, online radio stations and Hulu, Netflix, etc. But it does not work with the Tidal Web Player.
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2018
  8. musicbuff
    My Primare A32 power amp (250 Watts/8 Ohms) has 2 sets of speaker taps on its rear panel. I use the bottom ones for my speakers and the top ones for my headphones. I'm very mindful to unplug whichever ones I'm not using when listening to music and always disconnect my headphones when I'm not listening to them. Power usage is somewhere around 6.666667 watts (Don't ask me how that number was calculated because another poster figured it out for me a while ago and told me not to do it). It's been a year and it all still sounds fantastic and thank God, no headphone drivers blown up (I also run my Sennheiser HD-800, HD-650, HD-600 and HFM HE-6 through the same amp).

    fortunate son, no vinyl. All my music is on my computer (including vinyl albums which have been converted to FLAC files using Audacity). I've tried an equalizer in the past and found it not to my liking. I've even tried to use the equalizer in JRiver and it just takes something away from the music. I'll play with it some more, but I'm pretty firm about using Signalyst HQ Player with my T+A DAC 8 DSD set @ DSD 48k/512. Using that set up is "off-the-charts" listening.
  9. fortunate son
    Yes, I know what you mean about equalizers, particularly the JRiver tool. The Klark is the only one that doesn't do a lot of harm to the signal but most of the time I don't use it either.
  10. TheGadaffiDuck

    In regards to the differences between the old and new models. The tracing and magnet structure is the same, but tensioned differently due to how theyve change manufactering tech over the years. Also the stiffening bar is abscent in the new drivers, & noticed slightly less felt lining the drivers, but that might be negligible
  11. SilverEars
    I've been listening to my HE-6 out of my Bryston BHA-1, and it sounds like it's driven properly. The volume knob is at 9 O'clock on high gain. This amp pushes out lots of power, and I think this amp rates the power truer than other amps. This amp seems to output more power than the GSXMK2 (which I didn't think had as much power output).

    Out of my BHA-1, I get an impression it's not as hard to drive as been said.

    I have yet to try an integrated amp. I'd like to find out how much it would improve.
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2018
    omniweltall likes this.
  12. SilverEars
  13. TheGadaffiDuck
    Obtaining volume is not a problem with planar magnetic headphones. Especially the Planars of old, required a lot of voltage for the driver to be dampened properly. Extra headroom is important for the headphone to sound optimal, especially to keep the lowend & highs under control, though Hifiman themselves not recommend you put anymore than 75W in them
  14. SilverEars
    After listening to it awhile out of my BHA-1 I realized that it probably can improve somewhat with more powerful amp, which I'd have to find out to be certain. Usually it's the bass and dynamics that increases with better amping. Perhaps better resolve control as well, but not sure if better resolve control can be better than my BHA-1? Which is quite transparent.
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2018
  15. TheGadaffiDuck
    More power will always be better for these headphones, but considering the colder tilt of these headphones, Id say itd be made harder to find a perfect match with power + sound signature. If youre going to stick with Brystons, the 2BLP a brilliant amp to power these with, If you're not willing to find an amp for these, the HE500, while a bit thicker in the lows, is good compromise (which is why I'm selling my HE6SE).
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