Official HIFIMAN HE1000 Impressions Thread
May 26, 2016 at 7:17 AM Post #2,356 of 3,541

ruthieandjohn

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I own the HD800,and the HEK,and would agree, they do compliment each other. If I had to choose one, it would be the HEK however.

I compared the HE1000, HD800, and Grado PS1000 when I did my beta unit review of the HE1000. I found that the HE1000 beat out the other two in more of the 10 audio categories. However, I still listen to my PS1000 more. I recently bought the HiFiMAN HE-6, their top headphone prior to the HE1000, since I had already gotten the HiFiMAN EF-6 amp that they made particularly for the HE-6, to drive my HE1000. I plan to soon do a comparison of the HE1000 and HE-6 like this one I did (higher numbers are better).


Comparison of HE1000, HD 800, and PS1000 on 10 acoustic features. Higher numbers are better.
 
May 26, 2016 at 10:44 AM Post #2,357 of 3,541

ruthieandjohn

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As indicated just above, I have compared the HiFiMAN HE-6 to the HE1000, also adding in my best-scoring headphones, the Grado GS1000i, to complete the trio for my three-way comparison methods, described in more detail here.

In this test I used a FiiO X3 playing CD-quality files and feeding out via the SPDIF serial port to my Schiit Bifrost Multibit Uber USB2 DAC. For the two HiFiMAN headphones, I used the HiFiMAN EF-6 amp, especially designed for the hard-to-drive HE-6 and my favorite amp for the HE1000. For the Grado GS1000i, I used the Schiit Lyr 2, low gain setting.

During the tests, I had the most puzzling problem. I was initially using the Apple iPhone 5S, outputting the digital signal via the Lightening Connector into the Apple Camera Kit (converts Lightening to USB), then to a Fanmusic FM-6011, which converts USB (from my Apple Lightening connector) to SPDIF (for my serial input to the Bifrost DAC). However, I found that the results really messed up the soundstage. It didn't collapse it, like a monaural combining of channels would, but it did move the instruments around, particularly putting a guitar normally heard at the right into the middle of the soundstage. If I didn't intimately know the recording from using it in all my tests (over 50 to date), I would have thought it was OK. When I removed the Fanmusic converter from the chain and went straight to the USB input of my Bifrost, all was restored to normal and the instruments were positioned as expected. Strange!! I repeated the tests without the Fanmusic converter.


Suspicious Fanmusic FM-6011 USB-to-SPDIF converter messes up instrument positions

Here are the headphones that I compared:


Comparison showed that the Grado GS1000i (bottom) won most of the acoustic tests, despite its reduced bass, which is so fine on both of the HiFiMAN HE-6 (top) and HE1000 (middle). The HE1000 bested the HE-6 in all aspects except treble detail, as determined by the fine structure of the attack of a finger on a plucked bass, where the HE-6 excelled.

The numerical results are given in the table that follows. As described in the referenced link detailing the test method, a score of 3 (blue) means that the associated headphone was best on that acoustic feature (first prize); 2 (red) is second best, and 3 (yellow) is third best. Ties for second place are 1.5 (orange = red + yellow).


HE1000 outperformed the HE-6 in all tests except treble detail; Grado GH-1000i won out on treble-related tests despite weakest subbass.

The one area mentioned for which the HE1000 headphone falls short of the HE-6 is its transient response, usually noticed as a weaker "snap" to a snare drum impact. That might explain the superior response of the HE-6 to the finger pluck feature of treble detail vs. the HE1000.
 
May 26, 2016 at 9:12 PM Post #2,359 of 3,541

MacedonianHero

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  Is the HEK better than HD800 S as an all rounder headphone ? 
 
 
I am no audiophile nor I own anything in that department. I found a good deal for a second hand HD800 S around 1300$ in almost new condition. Should I go for it or save for an HEK  ?

 
Both are fantastic headphones and you can't go wrong with either...that said, I do reach for my HE1000s more often. 
 
May 27, 2016 at 12:48 PM Post #2,360 of 3,541

potkettleblack

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Just thought I'd quickly weigh in on the edition X vs the hek.

What an absolute badboy of a headphone it is.

Unlike the hek (to me) it has zero harshness or glare in records. Handles higher volumes better. The bass is very close. And for being kind of a laid back headphone; it's incredibly engaging.

Wow what a dark horse. Genuinely great experience. I'm ashamed to have overlooked this.

Tested with the Ifi idsd micro.
 
May 27, 2016 at 1:24 PM Post #2,361 of 3,541

vc1187

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Just thought I'd quickly weigh in on the edition X vs the hek.

What an absolute badboy of a headphone it is.

Unlike the hek (to me) it has zero harshness or glare in records. Handles higher volumes better. The bass is very close. And for being kind of a laid back headphone; it's incredibly engaging.

Wow what a dark horse. Genuinely great experience. I'm ashamed to have overlooked this.

Tested with the Ifi idsd micro.

I'm not surprised by these results at all.
At this year's Charlotte, NC meet, I had the opportunity to hear the HEK paired with the first production model of the iCAN Pro, which was brought to the meet by an iFi representative.  This was my first time hearing the HEK and I was underwhelmed, especially considering its price.  
 
However, I brought the HEK over to the table where I had both my DNA Stratus set up next to a Moth Audio 2A3 (first version).  Out of either of these headphone amps, the magic of these cans truly showed itself.  I'd honestly rate it in the same league as the Stax SR-009 paired with the BHSE, which was sitting on the table right beside me.  I enjoyed it immensely and began to understand the justification for the large price tag.  While I haven't pulled the trigger on a pair of HEK yet, it's certainly next on my list.
 
I haven't had the opportunity to hear the HEX, but I'd imagine based on its design and goals, the HEX is much less amp dependent not only on power requirements but also on system synergy. Where the HEK didn't sound amazing from the iCAN Pro, I think the HEX would.  I'd think the case would be similar with an iFi iDSD Micro if it sounds anything remotely close to the iCAN Pro.
 
As mentioned, just speculation, but based on what I had a chance to hear, the HEK really is a world class headphone that can contend with the big boy electrostats.  
 
May 27, 2016 at 2:22 PM Post #2,363 of 3,541

moedawg140

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Just curious for reference/clarification's sake. What specific settings did you use when auditioning the HE1000 with the Pro iCAN, vc1187? I ask this because there are various settings and input/output (SE, balanced) that can drastically change the overall sound of the HE1000 (and every headphone I've paired it with when I had it on loan). Thank you in advance.
 
May 27, 2016 at 2:30 PM Post #2,364 of 3,541

vc1187

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Just curious for reference/clarification's sake. What specific settings did you use when auditioning the HE1000 with the Pro iCAN, @vc1187? I ask this because there are various settings and input (SE, balanced) that can drastically change the overall sound of the HE1000 (and every headphone I've paired it with when I had it on loan). Thank you in advance.

Good question... the only thing I touched on the amp was the volume knob.  The iFi representative was showcasing it with the HEK as its pairing, so hopefully he had it set to optimal settings.  Source was laptop to AMR DP-777 SE (not surprising considering it's iFi's table after all).
 
Here is the pictures/impressions thread
 
Not sure I can tell what the settings are based on the few pictures of the iCAN Pro.
 
May 27, 2016 at 2:40 PM Post #2,365 of 3,541

moedawg140

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Good question... the only thing I touched on the amp was the volume knob.  The iFi representative was showcasing it with the HEK as its pairing, so hopefully he had it set to optimal settings.  Source was laptop to AMR DP-777 SE (not surprising considering it's iFi's table after all).

Here is the pictures/impressions thread


Thanks for the thread link. I cannot tell what all of the settings are based on the few pictures of the Pro iCAN, but the fact that the settings weren't toggled at all, coupled with the fact that balanced wasn't used would result in having a less-than-optimal impression of the Pro iCAN as a whole in my opinion and experience.
 
May 27, 2016 at 2:52 PM Post #2,366 of 3,541

vc1187

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That's a fair conclusion.  Generally speaking, meet conditions aren't the best place to draw definitive conclusions on equipment, especially when it's equipment that has multiple settings or multiple tube rolling combinations that could make a pair of cans change from sounding mediocre to excellent.  
 
However, the point of my post was only that the HEK is a world class headphone that scales immensely with the right synergistic system.  I didn't hear any type of harshness described above, just pure bliss... but as always, YMMV and my ears are not your ears.
 
May 27, 2016 at 3:14 PM Post #2,367 of 3,541

moedawg140

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That's a fair conclusion.  Generally speaking, meet conditions aren't the best place to draw definitive conclusions on equipment, especially when it's equipment that has multiple settings or multiple tube rolling combinations that could make a pair of cans change from sounding mediocre to excellent.  

However, the point of my post was only that the HEK is a world class headphone that scales immensely with the right synergistic system.  I didn't hear any type of harshness described above, just pure bliss... but as always, YMMV and my ears are not your ears.


I agree, but a lot of the time, that's all most people have to go by are what they listen to at meets. My point is to try out the settings available so you can make a more definitive conclusion about a product (especially when you post as well) - this is regardless of show factors, what you hear and I hear, etcetera.
 
May 27, 2016 at 3:33 PM Post #2,368 of 3,541

vc1187

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I agree, but a lot of the time, that's all most people have to go by are what they listen to at meets. My point is to try out the settings available so you can make a more definitive conclusion about a product (especially when you post as well) - this is regardless of show factors, what you hear and I hear, etcetera.

Bingo, and that is what I am going by.  As it was a meet condition, one rarely has the time to meticulously try out every setting available and to meaningfully evaluate.  I consider myself lucky enough to have even heard the iCAN Pro, but since you were loaned one to use in your own system, you are very fortunate and can probably post more meaningful impressions on it.
 
In the end this isn't an iCAN Pro thread, and I never made a decisive conclusion about the iCAN Pro, just the HEK.  But just so no one is offended about my impressions, everything is IMO and IMME (In My Meet Experience).
 
May 27, 2016 at 3:41 PM Post #2,369 of 3,541

moedawg140

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  Bingo, and that is what I am going by.  As it was a meet condition, one rarely has the time to meticulously try out every setting available and to meaningfully evaluate.  I consider myself lucky enough to have even heard the iCAN Pro, but since you were loaned one to use in your own system, you are very fortunate and can probably post more meaningful impressions on it.
 
In the end this isn't an iCAN Pro thread, and I never made a decisive conclusion about the iCAN Pro, just the HEK.  But just so no one is offended about my impressions, everything is IMO and IMME (In My Meet Experience).

 
My point is if you are going to post your findings/impressions, whatever you want to specifically call it, it would be beneficial to state your settings (especially for a device that has a lot of various settings available).  Regardless of this being an Pro iCAN thread or not, listening at a meet or not, and if I have personally listened to the Pro iCAN at any capacity; loaned or auditioned is completely beside the point.
 
May 27, 2016 at 4:24 PM Post #2,370 of 3,541

doctorjazz

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Well, I have the HEK, got to compare the HEX at a meet, not for a minute did I feel if be willing to exchange them (and pocket some change). But that's me, meet conditions, yada yada yada...
 

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