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Hifiman HE6-SE

Discussion in 'High-end Audio Forum' started by ufospls2, Aug 10, 2018.
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  1. PY034
    Ok tks! And I suppose you manage the connection of the He6se using also the Hifiman HE adaptor?
  2. ufospls2
    No. You just use a Dual 3pin XLR to 4pin XLR adapter, all female.
  3. Ragnar-BY
    No, supplied HiFiMan adapter is for big 2ch amplifiers. For TT2 you need custom made adapter 4-pin XLR female - 2x 3-pin XLR female. I’ve ordered mine from Forza AudioWorks.
  4. PY034
  5. Oregonian
    Are the pads on these attached the same way as the HE-6/400 series? I have a new pair of Vegan pads that I'd like to try but want to see what the mount is without having to damage something.
  6. Ragnar-BY
    my HE6se Tour impressions

    First of all I want to thank HiFiMan for possibility to spend two weeks with these headphones. It was an interesting experience. I hope to see more headphone tours for EU headfiers in future.
    English is not my native, so I hope I did not make too much mistakes in this review :)

    Design and wearing comfort

    Design is nothing special to discuss, really. Wearing comfort is ok. HE6se is not the most comfortable headphones in the world, but I can`t say anything bad. Clamping force is too strong for my had, but it could be a problem only for loaner unit. If I have such problem with my own headphones I would simply put it on a pillow or something for a few days and it will stretch a little bit. I would prefer deeper earpads and this is also easy to change. HE6se is heavier than my Fostex TH-900, but not as heavy as many other planar headphones. All in all I was comfortable enough for long listening sessions.

    Stock cable looks like the thin hose with wires inside of it. It may look unusual, but it`s really comfortable to use. No microfonics and very lite.


    This cans are neutral. Not warm, not cold - just neutral. Sub-bass ( the lowest area below 40Hz) is slightly recessed. This recession takes away some low frequency rumble, but makes bass notes clearer, punchy and more precise. HE6se does not feel «bass light». Bass hits hard, but either I can`t say that these are headphones for a basshead. Treble is neutral and natural, no sibilance or harshness. Everybody, who is after a neutral balance, would find these headphones very satisfying in regard of tonal balance. Neutral tonality with very good resolution leads to a natural sound. Violin sounds like a violin, piano like piano. Very good quality for those, who love classic music. It`s not so fun to listen, like warmer or brighter cans, but it is very natural.

    Soundstage is a strong point of HE6se. Even maybe the strongest point. In terms of soundstage these cans would hold up against any comparison. Soundstage is wide and deep. Not HD800 wide, but deeper and it feels right. Correct instrument placing, good separation and the whole soundstage is like a sphere. A lot of headphones would draw you wide soundstage, but few of them would draw this level of depth. HE6se do this remarkably good. Imaging is also first class. Sound is very holographic, three-dimensional and size of image always feels right. Another big plus for classical music.

    Notes start feels almost physically. Sense of attack is great, especially with strings. Acoustic guitars sounds outstanding. I also was fascinated how good was ringing percussion (like triangles or bells). HE6se makes it sound real with natural ringing and right amount of body.

    Pads (there are two of them in HE6se box) change the sound. With soft «velour» pads vocal sounds better and overall sound is more forgiving and relaxed, but you are loosing some resolution. I`m not sure which presentation is better, so it`s good to have a choice.


    Well, these headphones are sold with 2ch amplifier adapter for a reason. It is not a secret that HE6se is amongst the most hard to drive headphones in the world. With my Chord Hugo TT2 it was good only from balanced outputs (6Wpc at 50 Ohm), single-ended with its 1,5W at 50 Ohm was too boring to listen to. You need a very capable amplifier to hear what these headphones are capable off. Everybody, who is considering HE6se purchase, should think twice if his amplifier is powerful enough.


    It`s a hard headphone to discuss. Everything seems right and neutral, so you don`t have much to say. HE6se is definitely good. In 2019 $1800 pricetag does not make headphones «expensive» anymore. I mean, it`s still a lot of money but TOTL headphones today usually cost much much more. Despite the «affordable» price tag, HE6se can be very competitive in some areas. Technically it would easily compete with cans above it`s price range. If you want a neutral sound presentation and especially if you listen to classics or live recordings, these cans could be a very good choice. For rock music I would prefer warmer sounding cans, but this is more about my personal taste, than headphones itself.
    trellus, ToddRaymond and bidn like this.
  7. Oregonian
    So after a few weeks with the HE-6SE I have to say it has exceeded my audio memory of the famed HE-6.

    Comfort is improved - yes, the clamp is a bit tighter than some headphones but I like it like this and I can listen for hours without any discomfort.

    Pads - the HE-6 I owned before was modded in every conceivable way including adding Vegan pads. I've only taken the grills off the SE and put a small length of nylon rope under the inner edges of the pads away from the ear opening and am content with the changes. A bit more open sounding (soundstage was already excellent stock) and the added depth of the pads (not to the level of the Vegans but just right) also gave a bit more comfort and more width to the soundstage. The stock pads are good but I prefer slightly deeper padding. Just a personal preference thing.

    Bass - while these are neutral headphones they can clearly handle bass and the impact is visceral. Keep in mind I run these straight from the speaker taps of a 250WPC vintage Pioneer Spec 1 preamp/Spec 2 amp combination and add a notch or two of low and mid bass to the tone controls (the Spec 1 preamp has both areas adjustable) as well as some added bass on the SG-9800 equalizer that is part of my rack system.

    Haven't listened to either of my other headphones that are usually in the rotation (Pioneer SE Master 1 and Denon LA-7000) in a few weeks. It's a tribute to the HE-6SE that while I like rotating the others in, the HE-6SE has just got me hooked on it's sound in so many ways.

    I was fortunate to buy these open box for $1200 but they are probably worth the $1800 asking price. For $1200 they were a steal.

    **What other pads have you guys tried?
    kid vic likes this.
  8. bigshel99
    I want to thank Hifiman for allowing me to demo these as part of the tour.

    Initial Thoughts (or the TLDR version)

    Build quality is very good/excellent. Compared to the HE560's that I own, it's leaps ahead and I don't feel concerned these will break with above light use and handling. Weight is good; clamp comfort is “ok” for The cable included with this one isn't my favorite and I would replace it. Sound is dynamic... Hifiman often feel similar to Beyerdynamic to me with strong performance across the spectrum, from deep tight bass to striking highs. I was curious to see how these would compare to the HE560’s and a few other planars (Audeze LCD-X and LCD-3; Sendy's), and these are certainly more neutral. As already known these things can take their own power plant to drive. Haha. Unfortunately, my tinnitus is back (ugh) so I’ll likely not get to play around as much as I’d like.

    Systems used:

    System 1: PC -> iFi Pro-iDSD -> iFi Pro-iCAN
    System 2: iPad -> iFi Micro-iDSD BL -> THX AAA 789
    System 3: PC -> Topping DX7 -> THX AAA 789

    More Thoughts

    Amps/Power/Driving: The ability to handle almost all the power an amp can throw at it gave me a chance to try the pro-iCAN at max gain on something, so that was fun. It can more than handle driving them at an uncomfortable sound level without much distortion, if any. The 789 drives it well too; at max volume / gain it will get to the edge of uncomfortably loud for me but at almost no distortion (to my ears)... that's impressive for the 789 but I think many know how good that thing is. I was a bit surprised by how well the micro-iDSD BL could drive these... actually can drive them to a more than uncomfortable level, though it's distorted as hell. Impressive for a USB powered device, non the less. Okay, I'm supposed to be talking headphones…

    Sound: I’m no pro at this, nor will I ever be/claim to be. I tend to simplify it down cuz otherwise I feel like I’m just making up or creatively using words to describe something. The theme for these headphones for me was clean and dynamic. Highs, mids, lows all were clean.
    Highs.. clean, but can get sharp. To be fair, my sinuses are a bit on the wild side right now which can make me a little more sensitive to treble (hello, tinnitus, my old friend).
    Mids.. Again, clean... These separate better than some others (like the LCD-3), very clear.
    Bass.. deep, tight, good stuff. Compared to say, Audeze LCD-X, these can get lower and are tighter, though I’d give the LCD-X the win in bass, Audeze is just tough there. Compared to the HE560's, the bass with the HE6 is just way better, tighter, detailed.​

    I feel like I'm in a studio when I listen to these, not like monitors but just clean, neutral, intimate sound. Listening to something like Sinatra... I feel like I'm listening to the studio recording, pure studio, good stuff. In contrast with the LCD-3, which I love, where I feel like I'm in a nice smokey Jazz club listening to him or the Aeolus where I’m at a concert. None is necessarily better than the other, though I tend to lean more toward the LCD3/Aeolus sound. It’s just a matter of how I'm feeling in the moment. These headphones are more forgiving than many headphones as I don't hear as much noise from system or recording (likely because they take a ton of juice to excite haha). They made some tracks that I don't think are recorded/produced very well (I won't call out the artists haha), sound better than a few other headphones I own.

    As I mentioned earlier, these feel similar to Beyerdynamic headphones to me and I'm a fan of what both companies can do in reproducing sound so dynamic and strong across frequencies. These pair very well with the 789 and the pro-iCAN, though I think I slightly preferred the 789 with these as it seemed to match it's dynamic sound better. If I listened to a lot of older music, these would be a great, almost must, pair of headphones to have.

    Some of the tracks used:
    trellus and ToddRaymond like this.
  9. ostewart
    Just wanted to chime in and say that I am really loving the HE-6SE with the Keces S3 DAC > Keces E40 amp, no need for the HE adaptor.

    I have had a few people listen to this system, and each and every one of them has been blown away. They all comment about how you can hear every detail in the recording, yet everything is perfectly balanced. No matter how complex the recording, the HE-6SE can handle it when powered correctly.
    trellus, Happy Camper and Oregonian like this.
  10. GU1DO
    ToddRaymond and kid vic like this.
  11. ufospls2
  12. GU1DO
    I couldn't resist the deal so i grabbed a pair , hopefully it is better than the Arya which i didnt like.
  13. nahpungnome
    Been eyeing these for a while, saw it at $899 and buckled. Looks like my HE560v3 and Elears are going up for sale pretty soon.
  14. Oregonian
    GU1DO likes this.
  15. bigshel99
    GU1DO likes this.
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