Will A Better Cable Make A Difference?
Nov 14, 2014 at 1:42 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 14

arftech

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Dec 3, 2010
Posts
550
Likes
370
Greetings,
 
I've been using a Hifiman HE-500 for a few months now and it has not been an enjoyable experience to say the least! The headphones is currently outfitted with the stock silver cables which to me ears sounds bright, fatiguing and not resolving at all.  Will a better cable make an immediate improvement and if so what are some of the recommendations?
 
Believe it or not my Beats Studio Wireless headphones and iPhone 6 Plus sometimes sounds better together using Neutron or CanOpener and they really shouldn't.
 
The equipment that is being used is a Lyr headphone amp, Bel Canto DAC, Oppo 95 and a MacBook Pro.  This desktop configuration will have to work for me for next few months until I'm able to deploy my audio system again that I know will be missed.  Oh the sacrifices we make in our lives!
 
Thanks,
 
Al
 
Nov 14, 2014 at 2:01 PM Post #2 of 14

Mink

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Oct 7, 2007
Posts
1,434
Likes
963
Location
Netherlands
I don't want to start a cable debate. My ears are different than other's and while I personally never perceived audible differences it doesn't mean there aren't any.
So you should trust your own ears.
But that said, if I were to say something in general about cables I think it is safe to say that no cable can provide you a difference any bigger than a very subtle one.
If you find the HE500s bright and fatiguing I would look at the amp first, cables are more in the realms of extremely fine-tuning.
But more likely you just don't dig the sound of the HE500s as much as you'd like.
 
Nov 14, 2014 at 2:19 PM Post #3 of 14

arftech

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Dec 3, 2010
Posts
550
Likes
370
  Greetings,
 
I've been using a Hifiman HE-500 for a few months now and it has not been an enjoyable experience to say the least! The headphones is currently outfitted with the stock silver cables which to me ears sounds bright, fatiguing and not resolving at all.  Will a better cable make an immediate improvement and if so what are some of the recommendations?
 
Believe it or not my Beats Studio Wireless headphones and iPhone 6 Plus sometimes sounds better together using Neutron or CanOpener and they really shouldn't.
 
The equipment that is being used is a Lyr headphone amp, Bel Canto DAC, Oppo 95 and a MacBook Pro.  This desktop configuration will have to work for me for next few months until I'm able to deploy my audio system again that I know will be missed.  Oh the sacrifices we make in our lives!
 
Thanks,
 
Al


Thanks for the reply but the HE500 suppose to be good.  According to some of the reviews, it offers good imaging, spaciousness, clarity, good bass and a certain warmness.  Those were the qualities that i was looking for when I made the purchase.  The Lyr amp had some great reviews but that's very subjective.  However, the reviews has some of the attributes I look for.  
 
As for the cable...it's the silver one and from what I understand it could play some part in how the headphone will sound.  If that makes any sense.
 
Nov 14, 2014 at 2:42 PM Post #4 of 14

Mink

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Oct 7, 2007
Posts
1,434
Likes
963
Location
Netherlands
Yes I am aware of the mantra: silver is considered to be brighter sounding than copper, although I never experienced this myself.
Psychoacoustics may come in to play, because visually copper is the darker (warmer) looking material. Your eyes or mental picture of the material (copper or silver) can play tricks on your ears.
But as said earlier, I don't want to diss the significance of cables completely, you should always trust your ears
Headphones cables generally are priced rather high, but maybe you could swap cables with another head-fier? Bring your HE500s to a meeting and listen first before you buy?
 
Nov 16, 2014 at 10:18 AM Post #5 of 14

Beyakusenn

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Sep 28, 2014
Posts
1,096
Likes
123
  Greetings,
 
... Will a better cable make an immediate improvement and if so what are some of the recommendations?

I honestly do not think an objectively 'better cable' exists for a headphone like the HE-500. The most you'll get out of a new (copper only) cable is a slightly  higher impedance and that would mean the treble is very slightly less, but that difference should be barely audible to normal human ears.
The only difference I ever heard with cables was between the original steel cable of the HD25-1 II and the copper Oehlbach cable for the HD580 (the old cable of my HD580 was damaged and the aftermarket cable is more sturdy). By the way: I preferred the steel cable because the HD25-1 II was already easily sibilant.
 
Believe it or not my Beats Studio Wireless headphones and iPhone 6 Plus sometimes sounds better together using Neutron or CanOpener and they really shouldn't.

The reason for this is probably that the tracks you listen to have sibilance and other errors in them and the better your equipment, the more you'll be hearing those errors. It's also possible that you simply prefer a darker sound signature. the Hifiman is warm, but quite neutral and not dark at all unlike your Beats headphone. You might like the Denon AH-D7000 much better than the HE-500 while others like the HE-500 much better than the Denon. The Senn HD650 might also suit your tastes better.
 
The headphone will almost always be the weakest link in the chain (unless you have heavily compressed / poorly recorded music).
 
Try listening to this song. Unless you have treble sensitive ears, this shouldn't sound fatiguing with your gear.
The equipment that is being used is a Lyr headphone amp, Bel Canto DAC, Oppo 95 and a MacBook Pro.  This desktop configuration will have to work for me for next few months until I'm able to deploy my audio system again that I know will be missed.  Oh the sacrifices we make in our lives!

This is a good setup as far as I can see. The most cost-effective way of getting a sound that suits your tastes better is getting a different headphone.
 
Nov 16, 2014 at 10:30 AM Post #6 of 14

Lorspeaker

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Nov 29, 2010
Posts
7,277
Likes
520
if u plan on keeping the can n amp...
switch your cables to copper...
usb,,,rca,,,powercords..hdfonecable..
whichever u fancy.,,try one out.
 
Nov 16, 2014 at 10:40 AM Post #7 of 14

Paul Graham

Member of the Trade: Mayflower Cables
Joined
Apr 29, 2012
Posts
1,224
Likes
174
Location
Plymouth UK
What Player are you using on the MAC and what quality are your sources?
 
Also, Im in the Pro-Foo camp ( All for cables making a change ) 
Although I must add as someone else has stated, They should be the last thing you change.
After hours and hours of intense listening, testing all manner of equipment combinations etc, 
Ive found that cables do make a difference, But its not a huge night and day difference.
Once you've found a rig you really enjoy, From source to headphone/speakers, Then you can tweak the sound a touch with cables.
 
To me its like having a graphic equaliser, But only moving the controls a fraction either way.
 
Hope this makes sense and helps?
 
So yes, I would first advise checking the quality of your source, Then move on through the gear bit by bit.
 
Nov 16, 2014 at 11:50 AM Post #8 of 14

arftech

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Dec 3, 2010
Posts
550
Likes
370
  I honestly do not think an objectively 'better cable' exists for a headphone like the HE-500. The most you'll get out of a new (copper only) cable is a slightly  higher impedance and that would mean the treble is very slightly less, but that difference should be barely audible to normal human ears.
The only difference I ever heard with cables was between the original steel cable of the HD25-1 II and the copper Oehlbach cable for the HD580 (the old cable of my HD580 was damaged and the aftermarket cable is more sturdy). By the way: I preferred the steel cable because the HD25-1 II was already easily sibilant.
 
The reason for this is probably that the tracks you listen to have sibilance and other errors in them and the better your equipment, the more you'll be hearing those errors. It's also possible that you simply prefer a darker sound signature. the Hifiman is warm, but quite neutral and not dark at all unlike your Beats headphone. You might like the Denon AH-D7000 much better than the HE-500 while others like the HE-500 much better than the Denon. The Senn HD650 might also suit your tastes better.
 
The headphone will almost always be the weakest link in the chain (unless you have heavily compressed / poorly recorded music).
 
Try listening to this song. Unless you have treble sensitive ears, this shouldn't sound fatiguing with your gear.
This is a good setup as far as I can see. The most cost-effective way of getting a sound that suits your tastes better is getting a different headphone.


Thanks for the reply!  I am going to swap out the silver cables for some copper cables.  However, upon further review I found letting my Lyr amp (it has tubes) warm up made a difference in the sound with my headphones.  It had been months since I last used it.  What benefits exist with tube rolling?  Can this change the sonic signature of the sound in the Lyr
 
Nov 16, 2014 at 11:55 AM Post #9 of 14

arftech

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Dec 3, 2010
Posts
550
Likes
370
  What Player are you using on the MAC and what quality are your sources?
 
Also, Im in the Pro-Foo camp ( All for cables making a change ) 
Although I must add as someone else has stated, They should be the last thing you change.
After hours and hours of intense listening, testing all manner of equipment combinations etc, 
Ive found that cables do make a difference, But its not a huge night and day difference.
Once you've found a rig you really enjoy, From source to headphone/speakers, Then you can tweak the sound a touch with cables.
 
To me its like having a graphic equaliser, But only moving the controls a fraction either way.
 
Hope this makes sense and helps?
 
So yes, I would first advise checking the quality of your source, Then move on through the gear bit by bit.


Thanks.  I'm using Audivrana Plus within the Mac.  My DAC is the Bel Canto DAC 3 with the optional mLINK for higher resolution files and as a disk spinner I'm sing the Oppo 95.
 
Nov 16, 2014 at 11:56 AM Post #10 of 14

Redcarmoose

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Dec 11, 2008
Posts
22,553
Likes
20,102
Location
.
No your not allowed to try different cables, that is just not true, don't try it. Please don't try it. Don't........it won't work.:rolleyes:
 
Nov 16, 2014 at 11:56 AM Post #11 of 14

arftech

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Dec 3, 2010
Posts
550
Likes
370
  if u plan on keeping the can n amp...
switch your cables to copper...
usb,,,rca,,,powercords..hdfonecable..
whichever u fancy.,,try one out.


Thanks.  I will try some copper cables.  
 
Nov 18, 2014 at 4:24 AM Post #12 of 14

Beyakusenn

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Sep 28, 2014
Posts
1,096
Likes
123
 
Thanks for the reply!  I am going to swap out the silver cables for some copper cables.  However, upon further review I found letting my Lyr amp (it has tubes) warm up made a difference in the sound with my headphones.  It had been months since I last used it.  What benefits exist with tube rolling?  Can this change the sonic signature of the sound in the Lyr

It certainly makes a difference when you let your tubes warm up. After 10/15 minutes they should sound at their best. I have no experience with tube rolling with the Lyr, but with my X-Can V3, the Philips NOS tubes certainly made a difference. Right now I'm using only SS amps, so I can't help you much with tubes. For tube rolling you should look on another forum like this one: http://www.head-fi.org/t/673709/schiit-lyr-tube-rollers
 
Nov 23, 2014 at 5:11 PM Post #13 of 14

plakat

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Jan 30, 2012
Posts
3,577
Likes
1,212
Location
Vienna/Austria
To me that sounds more like the HE-500 is just not your cup of tea, regardless of what others think/write about it... I'd not try to get it go your way by changing cables (won't work), you'd be better off looking for another headphone that simply better suits your preferences. Nothing bad about that I think...
 
Reviews only help so far... in the end its only your perception that matters. Other people simply have other preferences. Plus the words used don't have an exact definition, so don't take anything written as a given thing you can count on. Its more of an indication of a direction, a little help in your research.
 
Jan 25, 2015 at 7:48 PM Post #14 of 14

BlueInfinity

New Head-Fier
Joined
Dec 14, 2014
Posts
32
Likes
11
Hey i personally can relate to that i dont really like them myself but no offence
i personally find all three items from your phone to your labtop to your headphones insanly overpriced. (im not trying to start a argument i own all three but where price to performance is ocnsiderd they really
i acutally enjoy my dt990 more than my hi 400s
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top