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Hifiman HE6-SE

Discussion in 'High-end Audio Forum' started by ufospls2, Aug 10, 2018.
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  1. TeamHiFiMAN
    The tour is still open, just add in your details in the tour thread.
    HiFiMAN Innovating the art of listening. Stay updated on HiFiMAN at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
  2. bluesaint
    Impressions from HE6se tour unit:

    TL:DR: They are a poor man susvara that requires speaker amps to give it life.


    Gears Used:
    • DAC: IFI iDSD Pro using LM Ericcson 2C51L Gold Pin tubes
    • Amps:
      • iCan Pro
      • NAD M22 V2 + XLR>Speaker adapter
      • NAD M22 V2 + IFI iESL

    • Having the experience of Shangri-La Jr, Susvara, HE1000 V2, and Jade II in my home setup, I can safely say the HE6se has the most premium construction in metal housing of the cups. Now if they have the headband design of the Susvara, Jr or HEKV2 then it'll be the perfect build (material wise).
    • This is where I'll actually say less is more. Despite the hate HFM gets for using plastic and pleather material, they make the cans super comfortable and lightweight! So with the HE6se, the comfort takes a hit vs. the other HFM cans I mentioned. This is because of 2 things: The metal housing makes the cans heavy! and the clamping force is more than I find comfortable for extended sessions. So is premium construction/material really worth it? I'll take the lightweight and plastic of the HFM ToTL comfort any day!
    • Out of iCan PRO: Despite the 14w rating, and more than capable of being plenty loud at 12'oclock dial, it sounded lifeless and sibilant at the same time. I almost wanted to stop listening after 2min. Again mind you this is also because I was just listening to my Shangri-la Jr a few min before hand, so not the fairest of comparisons.
    • Out of the Speaker amp and XLR>Speaker adapter: Ok wow now this is something else, much more energetic, full bodied sound similar to Susvara. Comparing to susvara though it lacked tighter bass, resolution, and details. It's probably 70% of a susvara. Other thing with connecting it directly to speaker amp is that it had a bit of background noise.
    • Out of the iESL powered by speaker amp: Black background, no more noise, while sounds more refined, and just all aspects elevated! Now it sounds like 80% of a susvara!
    Overall, when properly driven, the sound and tonal balance is closer to the HFM TOTL house sound, which to me is a full sounding, organic presentation.

    Thanks @TeamHiFiMAN for the opportunity to audition them!
    TeamHiFiMAN and Turdski like this.
  3. m17xr2b
    After spending a couple of days with these I have to say I'm mostly impressed. I've owned LCD-3,LCD-4,HEK and OG Abyss. Chain is Lynx AES16e->Pavane->DNA Stellaris/WA5

    Build quality is good, not at the level of higher end cans and are simpler in their design and materials but feel sturdy and I can't find any flaws unlike my V1 HEK. This is good enough for me. Comfort is so so, I'd like more space for my ear where they are pressed against the pads at the edges. Not a big deal but it's not my preference.

    Low end is great, too many planars lately have let me down, these go low and the control is superb, a highlight, not sure I've heard better actually, abyss is somewhat overpowering in V1. Quantity is a bit lacking but goes well with the overall signature.
    Mid range is just good, there's a sort of plastic coloration compared to the best mids I've heard on the MySphere 3.2 for example, neutral but not cold, slight grain.
    High end, this is my favourite bit about them, it's rare to hear a can that doesn't mess up this part. A slight spike in the low treble that's rarely a problem, extension is very good and creates enough air to be immersed in. They lack the last bit of refinement and overall sparkle with grace and delicacy.

    Soundstage is a bit above average, nothing to get excited about, separation and imaging are fantastic, each instrument has its own distinct space, there's no fuzziness or overlapping.

    I can see these as one of my secondary headphones when I want to hear technicalities and a neutral sound that's punchy and detailed. Ultimately the don't get me too emotionally involved and that comes down to preferences.

    Didn't expect to like them as much as I do, can't hear any flaws to be upset about, maybe amping and I can see why the HE6 has legendary status.
    Last edited: May 10, 2019
  4. Oregonian
    Having owned the HE-6 twice over the last few years, I was considering getting one again or trying the HE-6SE. Found a SE on eBay for a great price and took the plunge. Very glad I did............it's form factor and build quality are an improvement over the original classic. The HE-6 units I had were modded in every way possible, from Blutack to a Lohb comfort strap to Vegan pads, open grills, etc. And fed from the speaker taps on my vintage Pioneer Spec 1 pre/Spec 2 amp rack system, the sound was the best I'd heard. Enter the SE...............and with no mods, straight out of the box, into the 1/4" headphone out I was immediately back to nirvana sound-wise. Then got my speaker tap cable modified by Ted @headphone Lounge and hooked it up yesterday from the taps of the same vintage system. Wow. Not only does the SE have better comfort that the original, the sound, without any head time (and if I remember right HFM recommends 150 hours) I'm back to experiencing the incredible quality the HE-6 was always known for. Bass is tight, everything in the mids and treble are just right and I started playing all my usual audition playlist songs. Now to give them plenty of break in (if that is really a thing) and just enjoy the heck out of them.

    On to the modding questions................I need to go back and read all 14 pages but in the meantime, have you guys taken the grills off? On the HE-6 it clearly made a difference to me on making them sound more speaker-like - like no other headphone I've owned or auditioned (over 65 headphones on that list). Also - pads - have a pair of brand new Vegan pads I've kept in a box that I may consider trying but any other pads to consider?

    Surprised there are only 14 pages in this thread - wondering if it's the price point or something else at work here. The HE-6 was considered one of the best when fed right of all headphones and the only reason I sold mine was the concern that the support would stop - having lived through a two month wait for driver replacement on my first HE-6 made me leery of HFM but now that the SE is here, it's something I no longer worry about. Being a vintage speaker amp fan, owning 10 of these beasts, it's surely one issue that many folks just won't get beyond.

    Anyway, hope to find more info on the mods and if it's as prevalent on this generation.
    kid vic and ufospls2 like this.
  5. musicbuff
    I decided to sell my 6 screw HFM HE6 and buy a pair of HE6se's because I was afraid the original 6's would eventually break. A while back I was about to buy a pair of the 4 screw sets when the owner informed me there had been a break around the ear connector. Reality check. When I received my new HE6se and burned it in for a while, (after comparing the 2) I felt these HP's sounded better than the originals, even though it was said the new 6se had the same drivers. The only mods I've made are the ear pads and removing the grills. Though I felt the 6se was an improvement, I kept feeling I was listening to music with a sheet throw over it (some might equate that as warmth, I don't like warmth). I had the HP's connected to my 200 watt Primare A32 power amp's speaker taps and felt that should have removed that veil. I eventually got tired of it. Remembering from the HE6 thread that First Watt's J2 amplifier made the HE6's sing, I broke down and bought one. Talking about a match made in music heaven, I've NEVER heard anything so sublime. The return of natural sparkle to the highs is satisfying and now all registers (lows, mids and highs) are present, detailed and well balanced. Definitely my end game combo
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2019
  6. ostewart
    So these turned up... The original HE-6 have always been one of my personal favourites and I have always wanted to own a pair. Now I need a nice little compact power amp for them (the DA10 does a remarkably good job to be honest)

    IMG_20190709_111028.jpg IMG_20190709_112327.jpg IMG_20190709_113212.jpg
    Oregonian and ufospls2 like this.
  7. ufospls2
    Fantastic headphones imo
  8. ostewart
    Now we're talking :L3000: (Keces S3 as DAC only > Keces E40 integrated amp, excuse the phone picture taken in low light)

    Happy Camper likes this.
  9. PY034
    I pulled the trigger to purchase the Hifiman HE6se brand new.


    I am wondering if I should replace the pads to Dekoni for that extra comfort.

    ufospls2 likes this.
  10. Ragnar-BY
    Just received a HE6se thanks to HIFIMAN Loaner tour.


    It`s too early to say something, but consider me impressed. I will give it more careful listening, but one evening convinced me that HE6se discussion is in "Summit-Fi" forum for a reason. I was going to listen to my test tracks, but started an album and could not stop listening. Outstanding sound.
  11. kid vic
    Are any coming around to Canada soon? I signed up but never heard back....
  12. PY034
    What is your setup?
  13. Ragnar-BY
    Roon - Allo USBridge - Chord M Scaler - Chord TT2

    TT2 is doing great job driving HE6se via it`s balanced output.
  14. PY034
    Oh! I have the same setup but I’m not impress through the 6.3mm output. I will try to balanced output from the back. Have you tried the 6.3mm output?
  15. Ragnar-BY
    Single ended output from TT2 is very capable, but not for this headphones. HE6se sensivity is too low, so balanced is the only option with TT2. TT2 single ended output with HE6 sounds less dynamic and worse in general.
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