Is the HE90 (still) the most detailed headphone?
Oct 17, 2008 at 4:10 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 30

Gladstone

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I have searched and read some old threads on this, but most reviews and stories are pretty dated. I currently have the chance to purchase one however since this isn't something I can just go out and test for myself I want to be sure it is actually worth it.

Basically the question is if the HE90 is (still) the most detailed headphone on the market and if it ever was to begin with. Are there any people here who have one and still listen to it a lot? Are there any people here who have one and barely touch it anymore? Are there any people that have listened to it on an event or in a more private way that weren't impressed? Has anyone compared them to top dynamic phones like the R10? How easy/hard is it to properly drive the phones?

Thanks in advance!
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Oct 17, 2008 at 4:24 PM Post #2 of 30

CD44hi

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I have heard the HE90 several times. Also the R10s.

To my ears the Qualia 010 have more detail resolution than either on those ones. However, the music presentation of each is unique. The R10s are very good for soundstage and extremely good tone. Albeit there are presumably two flavors, the bass-rich, and the bass-light. So personal preference is an issue here.

The qualia's issue is fitting. When fitted properly, IMO they are the best dynamic headphone I've heard to date.
 
Oct 17, 2008 at 4:58 PM Post #3 of 30

blubliss

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Hi,

I have both the HE90 and the R10s. In my setup with my amps the R10s actually have more detail, larger soundstage, and are a bit more impactful.

I really enjoy both and they excel with different music. If you listen to mostly Classical, the R10 is the clear choice. The HE90 is more of an all-around great performer on most genres.
 
Oct 17, 2008 at 6:24 PM Post #4 of 30

robm321

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Quote:

Originally Posted by CD44hi /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I have heard the HE90 several times. Also the R10s.

To my ears the Qualia 010 have more detail resolution than either on those ones.



Agree - but overall I feel the HE-90 is in a league of it's own.
 
Oct 17, 2008 at 6:29 PM Post #5 of 30

Icarium

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Yeah the HE90 is not a particularly detailed headphone.

I think at the very least the Qualias/K1000s are more detailed headphones and perhaps the O2/R10 as well.

But it does have a lovely rich tone.
 
Oct 17, 2008 at 6:41 PM Post #6 of 30

Wmcmanus

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Icarium /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Yeah the HE90 is not a particularly detailed headphone.

I think at the very least the Qualias/K1000s are more detailed headphones and perhaps the O2/R10 as well.

But it does have a lovely rich tone.



I agree with what others have said, and with these comments in particular. This really hits it on the head for me. I still rate the HE90, followed closely by the R10, as the best all around headphones I've ever heard.
 
Oct 17, 2008 at 9:12 PM Post #7 of 30

vcoheda

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regardless of the strengths and weaknesses of the HE90, and i think there are very few of the latter, it is definitely a headphone that one could live with as their only one and be quite happy.
 
Oct 17, 2008 at 9:56 PM Post #8 of 30

catscratch

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I have to go from memory since I haven't heard the HE90 in years. The Qualia 010 and Omega 2 (Mk1) are more detailed to my ears. With the Qualia, it's immediately obvious, since it pushes microdetail forward and has a somewhat stark, pristine sound. I don't want to say "clinical" since that implies dryness and lacking dynamic range, which the 010 definitely doesn't suffer from. The O2 sounds less detailed on first listen than the HE90 but that's because it's the polar opposite of the 010 in terms of detail presentation. It keeps microdetail far back in the mix, and focuses on the overall picture instead. But, if you listen closely, you'll find that it is even more detailed than the Qualia, if anything. In fact, I've yet to hear a more resolving transducer than the O2, though of course debating detail at that level is pretty tricky. They're all - 010, O2, and HE90 - simply insanely detailed in a way that few speakers, if any, can be, and are quite close to each other in resolution, though they present detail in very different ways.

The HE90 doesn't quite have the technical abilities of the O2 to my ears but it does have the most wonderfully euphonic, romantic sound I've ever heard. It doesn't overdo it on euphony and is still pretty close to being accurate, and is still very techincal, but is also immensely enjoyable and enveloping. Subjectively speaking, it's my favorite headphone.
 
Oct 18, 2008 at 6:17 AM Post #9 of 30

HeadphoneAddict

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At the July Head-fi meet I compared the HE90, O2 and HE60 on Elephas' Single Power ES-1 amp that Mikhail had on display. I also listened to Mikhail's R10 on a Zana Deux and Apogee mini-DAC headphone out and Travagans Red with AD743 opamps.

I really liked the HE90 and would be perfectly happy to own a pair. I felt the HE60 and O2 were slightly more detailed, and the HE60 were the most airy and spacious of them all. I still liked the HE90 over the O2. But what I really wanted was the detail and clarity and soundstage of the HE60 combined with the bass impact and tonality of the HE90 or O2.

The R10 at the same meeting were simply one of the best dynamic headphones I have ever heard, and they were very detailed and spacious and open sounding. In practical terms, like amping and versatility (listen in any room of the house with affordable source/amps) I would go for an R10 before an HE90. It is simply much easier and less costly to amplify than the HE90, and even a $200 SS amp with $40 in opamps could drive it cleanly. Plus, the R10 are about half the price of the HE90.

But this is assuming I get to keep my HE60, O2 and other headphones too...
 
Oct 19, 2008 at 4:43 PM Post #10 of 30

Akathriel

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I agree with catscratch. Granted I have never owned an HE90, but the Qualia tries to sound detailed. Its the first thing you notice since the midrange on Qualias is deemphasized and they might possibly have more HF extension than HE90s. The HE90s are sennheissers, they don't jump out at you but I felt like they were as least as detailed as Qualias on an ES-1. Granted both headphones, are incredibly amp sensitive and the HEV90 is smooths over details for euphony.
 
Oct 20, 2008 at 2:40 AM Post #12 of 30

Happy Camper

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Quote:

Originally Posted by HeadphoneAddict /img/forum/go_quote.gif
At the July Head-fi meet I compared the HE90, O2 and HE60 on Elephas' Single Power ES-1 amp that Mikhail had on display. I also listened to Mikhail's R10 on a Zana Deux and Apogee mini-DAC headphone out and Travagans Red with AD743 opamps.

I really liked the HE90 and would be perfectly happy to own a pair. I felt the HE60 and O2 were slightly more detailed, and the HE60 were the most airy and spacious of them all. I still liked the HE90 over the O2. But what I really wanted was the detail and clarity and soundstage of the HE60 combined with the bass impact and tonality of the HE90 or O2.

The R10 at the same meeting were simply one of the best dynamic headphones I have ever heard, and they were very detailed and spacious and open sounding. In practical terms, like amping and versatility (listen in any room of the house with affordable source/amps) I would go for an R10 before an HE90. It is simply much easier and less costly to amplify than the HE90, and even a $200 SS amp with $40 in opamps could drive it cleanly. Plus, the R10 are about half the price of the HE90.

But this is assuming I get to keep my HE60, O2 and other headphones too...



Thanks for this. Would you comment on the HE60s and the O2s? I heard the 60s this weekend and was very impressed. Are the O2s that much better for their price?
 
Oct 20, 2008 at 3:09 AM Post #13 of 30

HeadphoneAddict

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Happy Camper /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Thanks for this. Would you comment on the HE60s and the O2s? I heard the 60s this weekend and was very impressed. Are the O2s that much better for their price?


I haven't completely formulated my thoughts on the O2 Mk2 since I just got them last Tuesday, and I am only 120 hours into a 200 hour burn-in. So, my only real comparison was at the July head-fi meet with my HE60 and someone elses O2 Mk2 (one was Mikhail's and one was Asr's).

So far I find the O2 Mk2 to be more forward and aggressive with much punchier bass and a little darker sound, but I did Spritzer's ear-pad-spring mod which has pulled back the mids some and they are less forward. The O2 Mk2 come the closest to sounding like a dynamic in terms of weight and bass (aside from the vintage Sony ECR-500) but with the speed of a Stat.

The HE60 are light and airy and spacious and transparent, and with the right amp still make some bass. At this point I still like the HE60 and ESP950 with Stax PC-OCC cable more, but I need to get to know the O2 and spend more time with them - they have spent most of their life plugged in with music and covered with a pillow to muffle the sound.
 
Oct 20, 2008 at 3:45 AM Post #15 of 30

HeadphoneAddict

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Happy Camper /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Now comes the dagger (for my wallet), what are some of "the right amps" for the 60s?


No - with the SRM-1 Mk2 Pro or the SRD-7 Pro with Travagans Red, due to the weak bass in the HE60 (these are great with all Lambdas, SR-003 and ESP-950).

Yes - with Woo GES std or maxed, Single Power ES-1, Stax SRM-T1 or SRD-7 Pro with Nuforce Icon speaker amp (or any punchy strong detailed speaker amp).

Maybe - with the stock HEV70 amp - it's like the HEV70 has some EQ for the HE60 that brings up the bass and makes them more forward. Despite less detail than the SRM-1 Mk2 Pro, I liked the fullness and solidity I got with the HE60 from the HEV70. Sometimes I think about seeing what happens if I run my HEV70 with my 24v Sigma 11 PSU.
 

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