DROP + HIFIMAN HE5XX Review and Measurements

Discussion in 'Headphones' started by purr1n, Oct 27, 2020.

  1. Philimon

    Philimon Friend

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  2. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    ^ nice hatchet job review. One review and one post on the Drop boards, and it's this. Someone has an axe to grind. It's a $220 ortho. Comparing its magnets to a $1200 doesn't quite seem fair.
     
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    Last edited: Nov 5, 2020
  3. mk801

    mk801 Facebook Friend

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    The HE500 ($899/499 MSRP) used the same magnets as the HE-6, no? Still, at least double the price of the HE5XX though.
     
  4. Clemmaster

    Clemmaster Friend

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    Got my pair on Monday. Kudos to Drop for shipping so fast and FedEx for delivery one day ahead of schedule!

    First impressions are mixed.

    Design/Ergonomics

    I was surprised at how lightweight these are! Makes them easy to wear for long periods of time. However, it also make them feel pretty cheap. The headband, assembly seems quite flimsy because of the play that allows the gimbals to rotate slightly.
    Comfort is great, but the pads have the annoying tendency of squeaking against my glasses when I move my head, slightly more so than the Arya.

    One last thing: the black L and R labelling is barely visible in broad daylight and nigh impossible to see in the dark. The cable's lettering is white, which "saves the day".

    Sound

    First of, the tonality is pretty much spot on! That's something Drop is really good at in general and I was pleasantly surprised to listen to a planar without some annoying wonkiness in the FR.
    It might be a bit bright up top, but not annoyingly so and there's no audible spikes to kill the overall presentation (looking at you, Arya :confused:).

    Digging further, the mids are slightly hollow and the headphones aren't super resolving in general (although they qualify as 'Audiophile' quality), but that's not unexpected at $220.
    Where I start to have a problem is when I hear resonances across the board, more so in the 5+ kHz range, which seems to track marv's CSD plot. I don't know if what I'm hearing is the high level of "grass" in the CSD, but I went and checked the same songs between it and the Arya, on both the DSHA-3F and Aegir and while some of it might be in the song, the 5xx sounds a lot more "resonnant". Cymbal crashes, in particular, have an unpleasant after 'zing' that sustains for quite a while.
    Could be in the song? I'm too lazy to do a spectrum analysis so I'll put it on the headphones since the others don't exhibit the issue ;)

    It is particularly audible on this track: Gareth Coker - Demeter (God of Farming)
     
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  5. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    The zing likely to do with the 8kHz peak and associated ortho wall which is more elevated
     
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  6. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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  7. Clemmaster

    Clemmaster Friend

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    Back to the sound.

    I don't really feel the resemblance with the HE-500, beyond maybe the midrange tonality. It's not as thick and doesn't have the phat bass slam of the 500. If anything, the cleaner sound reminds me more of the HE-5LE, without the upper mid range depression.

    Not a problem in the end, as - like I said - the tonality is better than any of the legacy planar HE headphones in stock form (I've owned all of them, save for the original HE-5).

    Overall, it's a good sounding $220 headphone with good ergonomics but a rather cheap build that doesn't insipire much confidence on durability. I've never owned other Drop Hifiman headphones. Maybe they last, despite all that?
     
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  8. zerodeefex

    zerodeefex Grumpiest admin

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  9. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    I forgot about the HE-5LE, probably a better argument that it's more like this, then again the 5LE was more edgy and zippy, and 5XX not so much. The jerg mods let the HE500 breath a bit more and lessened that thickness. Maybe Drop should have named it HE5XE? Like what I said, I could have cared less if Drop named it HE1.

    It's all confusing. The Discord stuff is a wall of mystery and allows people to hide and take cheap shots. For all we know, it's the same person.
     
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  10. zerodeefex

    zerodeefex Grumpiest admin

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    297.jpg
     
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  11. BURNART

    BURNART Rando

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    I think the modding community will experiment with these headphones. just like with other hifimans. if the diaphragm is well designed, a lot can be changed with pads and damping. but as I wrote @purr1n on the drop. I am curious if anyone has ever tried to replace magnets in any known planar headphones on the market.
     
  12. E_Schaaf

    E_Schaaf MOT: Upscale Audio; recovering HFM addict

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    HE5LE was extremely inefficient, the asymmetrical double-mag version of the SE HE4 and symmetrical HE5 - they all shared the same diaphragm AFAIK. HE500 and HE6 had different magnets and trace materials but the same diaphragm between these two too. In order of easiest to hardest to drive, it's HE500, a big jump to HE5LE, then HE5, HE4, and finally HE6. (Edit: reissue HE5SE and HE6SE are both easier to drive than the OG HE5 and HE6 too). The single digit HFMs are all harder to drive than pretty much any other planar in existence aside from AB1266. And all having way better bass and transient slam than any post-OG HE500 HFM when tweaked right.

    The HE5XX seems way easier to drive with the now-standard thinner diaphragms and whatnot. Despite the naming conventions this still looks more Deva-like in terms of build and sonics than any of the golden age HFMs. In terms of FR they do bear resemblance to OG HE500 as far as I can tell. I'd be curious to hear them but feel they'd probably be too planar-y and lightfooted relative to the old-skool HFMs that actually struck a good balance between the strengths of dynamic drivers and planars when well modded. (edit: at the cost of requiring insane gear chains for good performance)

    TLDR seems HFM went from fucked tone w/ good slam and poor efficiency to decent tone but weaksauce dynamics and more accessible efficiency. Not a bad tradeoff when considering the lower cost of entry with a model like this. But not necessarily attractive to anyone with older modded HFMs laying around either.
     
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    Last edited: Nov 5, 2020
  13. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    It's a bargain headphone and really not worth the effort for replacement magnets. Sure neo magnets are dime-a-dozen at the local Walmart, but the problem is forming them into a lattice!

    And as I mentioned, if we did replace with stronger magnets, it's possible that we could end up with less bass extension, at least not without adjusting other variables such as electrical and physical damping, tensioning, etc. Any time we mess with magnets, we are mucking about with the overall system. It's not a tweak here or there like pads.

    The best and easiest approach is pads. However, the design of the HE5XX pads, where the plastic clip on system is integrated (glued on) with the pad makes pad swapping more difficult.

    FWIW, here is HE5XX with Deva pads

    HE5XX
    Frequency Response
    PNK = Deva Pads
    GRY = HE5XX Pads
    upload_2020-11-5_14-13-16.png

    Demeanor is spot on, but I do have slightly more hair and a lot more muscles!
     
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    Last edited: Nov 5, 2020
  14. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    upload_2020-11-5_14-45-46.png

    @BURNART: The HD400S would be the better modding platform. I haven't played around with it enough though to say for certain, but I liked what I heard in terms of potential. We already know the bass can be more extended with pads.
     
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    Last edited: Nov 5, 2020
  15. E_Schaaf

    E_Schaaf MOT: Upscale Audio; recovering HFM addict

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    Nice chart, exactly how I'd put things. And then HE4, the least-well-known HFM, is kind of 'special' given the completely wild distortion profile / unique timbre. HE4 is actually my favorite just from a novelty standpoint - it truly feels like it has something unique and different to offer with zero planar haze and a slightly downsloping midrange response as opposed to a localized 2khz dip like the others. Big treble bounceback that can be tamed with mods. The speed and liquidity is incredible. It sounds plasmatic. With most of the others, I find myself putting them down and swapping to a dynamic after a few minutes. But HE4 is weirdly beguiling in a slightly masochistic way. A very intense listen.
     
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  16. Clemmaster

    Clemmaster Friend

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    HE-4 was my first 'serious' headphone. Had a blast with it!
    The HE-500 was a nice improvement across the board, though (or so I thought at the time).
     
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  17. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    HE-4 belongs in a "beyond classification" category of the HFM Universe.
     
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  18. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

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    Disclosure: I'm prolly never gonna buy these HE5XX thingamabobers, so I've not got skin in the game.

    But, I think this is a bit unfair, granted the Senn HD5xx and 6xx have benefitted from economies of scale more so than Drop+HFM, we compare LOTS of $1k+ headphones directly to the plain-jane $250-ish Senns as a matter of shared sound reference, if not build/material/comfort quality reference. Hell, Utopia v. HD600 gets compared quite frequently. Atticus/Aeolus v. HD650, much?

    It's a $220 Ortho? Then if ND magnets are cheap as potato chips at Walmart why doesn't it feature them? That's a failure of Drop and HFMan, unless, it doesn't make an objective or subjective difference in their opinion.
     
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  19. nishan99

    nishan99 Friend

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    That's called engineering.

    If they can make a great $220 headphones with dirt cheap magnets then kudos to them!.
    Many other DIYers and even some manufacturers can't engineer such thing.
     
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  20. Philimon

    Philimon Friend

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    Last edited: Nov 6, 2020

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