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Just received my HiFiMAN HE-500 to replace my HD598. Kind of disappointed

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by tals, Jan 13, 2014.
  1. tals
    Hey guys.
    A week ago, I ordered my HiFiMan through Headroom.
    Yesterday, I received them, and eagerly plugged them in to my Music Streamer II ---> Little Dot Mk3, and I was sort of overwhelmed.
    Music doesn't sound much better, the bass (yep, bass!) is a little bit worse than my HD598, and it feels sort of muddy, overall.
    The mids are really the same as my HD598, and the treble is a little more sparkly.
    I don't know if it's because my amp is not powerful enough to move the HE, or if my DAC isn't good enough, but it just feels a bit underwhelming.
    I burned them in for 8 hours, overnight. The sound cleared up a little bit, but nothing major. The sounstage opened up a tiny bit and the highs are a bit better.
    Do you think I got a defected one, or is it just a case of bad amplification?
  2. nehcrow
    Shouldn't be muddy at all!
    Possibly amp not being powerful enough, I'd suggest a Magni at least
  3. tals
    Thanks for the reply.
    The bass seems to 'cut out' when it gets too intense. But overall, there isnt much change, moving from the HD598 to this. Im planning on getting a Lyr, soon.
  4. Hedonism
    Your amp isn't suited for orthodynamics. IIRC, Little Dot MK III is an OTL tube amp, which is used for high impedance phones, and will leave less than adequate power output for low-impedance phones like the HE-500.
    So, you may want to look at another amp.
  5. tals

    Will  it marginally increase the sound quality?
  6. Hedonism
    Yes! In fact, the problem with muddy bass is, from what I've read, is usually derived from inadequate amping. So, that loose, muddy bass will be much improved with proper amping, and I'm sure the rest of the spectrum will benefit as well.
    My brother owns the HD598, and a/b'ing the two, I can say that the two don't compare at all. HE-500 is a lot better.
  7. Asr
    The LD MK3 is an inappropriate amp for both the HD598 and HE-500; it lacks the power output for high current into low-impedance loads. You need to use a different amp, at a minimum something like the Schiit Magni.
  8. nehcrow
    An underpowered HE-500 is yucky
  9. Angelbelow
    I also have the HE500s and the HD598s... and I let my friend who lives out of state, borrow my HD598s for the time being. i'm not even sure when the next time he'll be back in town..
    Needless to say, HE500's are amazing. Your issue is definitely the amp. I remember I really hated the sound coming out of the HE500s + my asus essence stx computer soundcard while I was waiting for my amp to arrive.
    HE500s + Lyr generally have very positive reviews so wait until then to see how they sound. If its still muddy then maybe you have a defect. gl!
  10. NZtechfreak

    As others have said, your issue here is likely to be the amp, not the headphone.

    Your description of 'cutting out' sounds like clipping, which is very much a sign of an underpowered amp.
  11. tals
    Thanks alot guys.
    I feel much better now.  The HD598 was a tiny bit underwhelming as well, and now I understand why.
    Thank you guys, alot. I'm going to save up for a decent amp now, and enjoy my setup.
    Do you think I should save up for a better DAC as well? The Music Streamer II gets really good reviews, and I dont need all the other outputs that more expensive DACs give.
    Again, thank you!
  12. angelsblood
    I think right now your first priority is to get a new amp for the He 500 to shine. I must say when I first listened to the HE-500 it was so glorious I literally sat there stoned (pun XD) and speechless for quite a while!
    Also, there's always reasons to upgrade, so yeah why not, upgrade your DAC when you have the ££ XD
  13. Hedonism
    Get an amp first. And yes, the HE-500 will scale with a better DAC, but that's for down the road, when you have the funds to spare. You'll have plenty of fun with just he MSII.
  14. tals

    Thanks, guys!
  15. Megalomaniak
    I drive my HE-500 with the Matrix M-Stage and it performs very well, it might sound better with a more powerfull one, but my HE-500 dont sound muddy at all, they have way better bass than the HD598s (deep, textured, you can feel it) and way way better separation/sound stage (precise, not wider) and highs, of course. I like the HD598s mids, but the HE-500 ones are in a different level.

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