Hifiman HE-6

Discussion in 'Headphones' started by Meteora, Nov 13, 2015.

  1. Meteora

    Meteora Rando

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    Just want to start a thread on HE-6 to see if anyone prefers the former flagship of Hifiman to the HE1000;)

    I really enjoyed my HE-6 paired with my Speaker amp.
     
  2. PoochZag

    PoochZag The Shadow knows - Friend

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    I would be interested in hearing if anyone has any direct thoughts between this and it's little "easy to drive" brother, the HE-500? I love the HE-500, and at first glance it seems like an obvious upgrade path.
     
  3. Clemmaster

    Clemmaster Friend

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    They are voiced differently.
    The HE-500 is warmer due (in part) to some bloom to the bass (fat bass - but still far from being "Audeze Fat", thank god!). the HE-6's bass is tighter and goes deeper. It is more defined, as well. Finally, it can hit you with the same (perceived) impact when driven with an adequate amp, but with a different presentation and more details.
    The HE-6 is more linear in the mid-range up to mid treble and much more transparent. The HE-500 has some upper mid bump that pushes instruments like guitar forward and gives an interesting "speaker-like" presentation to vocals.
    The HE-500's treble is tamed by comparison. The HE-6's treble can be problematic (read hot) in stock form and even worse when not driven properly (they then become unbearably bright). The HE-500 have no such problem, but the overall performance of the 6s is way better, once you figure this out.

    Overall, a well driven / modded HE-6 is more linear and has an awesome sense of illumination that the HE-500 cannot match.

    Be prepared to invest in some good quality amp (not necessarily expensive. But most of the time, it is. Sadly.) if you go the HE-6 route.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2015
  4. Skyline

    Skyline Double-blindly done with this hobby

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    Clem pretty much nailed it.

    The HE-6 is in another class as far as I'm concerned and that's with it being driven by the humbly priced Project Ember II.

    Having said that, when I go back to the HE-500, I don't feel like it embarrasses itself at all. I can dive into the music without thinking about the clarity I'm missing out on, etc. It's a very involving headphone for me. I'd love to own an HE-6, but the 500 is such a good value on the used market these days that I'm content with what I've got.

    Also, some good HE-6 discussion going on here: http://www.superbestaudiofriends.or...ning-pad-rolling-fuzzor.412/page-2#post-12530
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2015
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  5. sphinxvc

    sphinxvc Gear Master (retired)

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    I always found the HE-500 bass to be a deal breaker. It’s a really good headphone otherwise. In today’s $1-4K flagship price wars, it looks better and better. As for the HE-6, I always thought they were a really good value proposition for those more into speakers than headphones, since your amp can pull double duty (if it’s up for the task). Makes other phones look high maintenance.
     
  6. RAZRr1275

    RAZRr1275 Acquaintance

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    I owned these for a while with a Temple Audio Bantam Gold speaker amp and a Beresford Caiman II DAC. I found the clarity and treble to be fantastic and the bass to be the best I'd heard. Ultimately I wound up selling them in favor of the HD650s as I missed the romantic, forward sound of the HD650s. It seemed like the origin of the sound from the planars was farther from the ear which made it a bit harder for me to get immersed. I am looking at rebuying them though as I did enjoy the headphone for quite a bit.
     
  7. kevnin

    kevnin #facetweeting - Friend

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    Has anyone heard the HE-6 from a Mjolnir2 compared to a speaker amp? Can the Mjolnir2 drive it to its potential?

    I picked up a used HE-6 to see if I would like it better than my HD800 for certain kinds of music, and I'm pretty disappointed so far. Other than a little more extension the bass is not any better - impact/slam is the same. Overall the sound quality is just generally not as good. Wondering if I should bother buying an adapter and pulling the power amp out of my speaker system, or just move on.
     
  8. elwappo99

    elwappo99 Friend

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    I thought the HE-6 was a little bright with the mjolnir1. I felt it was a bit underpowered. A speaker amp might help, but even with speaker amps, some people can find the HE-6 a bit bright.
     
  9. TomNC

    TomNC Facebook Friend

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    Yes. It is worth buying a adapter for driving the HE-6 from speaker taps. The $10 cheap ones should be just fine. The strengths of HE-6 are something you cannot experience without a proper amp. A simple mod like removing the grill will open and remove some brightness in trebles. But adequate amping is key. Comparing modded HE-6, modded HD650, and stock HD800 in the presence of trebles, the HE-6 is right in the middle, with the HD650 having significant roll-off and the HD800 being too bright and piercing for some recordings.
     
  10. elwappo99

    elwappo99 Friend

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    The HE-6 definitely loves the extra power. If you're generally not sensitive to treble I would agree with TomNC ^ that you'll really live the improved bass.


    If not.... I've been awful nostalgic about my HE-6 and I'll keep an eye out on the FS area :D
     
  11. TomNC

    TomNC Facebook Friend

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    HE6 has a sense of ironclad control and composure across the full spectrum that HD650 and HD800 don't have (while they each have their own strengths).
    One feasible and economical way to drive HE6 is to get a vintage receiver/amp for around $200. On Craigslist, you can often find good deals for such gear delivering 80 watts or higher. And they can drive HE6 well, if lacking some precision of modern dedicated headphone amps.
    Some used headphone amps can be good options too. For example, Taurus MKii and some of the Cavalli amps have enough power to drive HE6 well. According to some posts at SBAF, the Project Ember II can be a low budget power house for HE6 too.
     
  12. TomNC

    TomNC Facebook Friend

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    It is worse than mid-fi if not properly amped.
    Used HE6 should be in $800-900 range, no need to pay more.
     
  13. JoelT

    JoelT Friend

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    I'd second Tom. They become harsh, edgy and aggressive if poorly amped. Bass can become thin & exhibit a lot of distortion. Spatially everything is comparatively compressed and constipated.
     
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  14. elwappo99

    elwappo99 Friend

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    Last few pairs in the US have gone between $600 and $700 so the prices are going even lower than that.
     
  15. kapanak

    kapanak Canucklehead - Friend

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    And it's actually best to buy used, because at least you know it will continue to work, no diaphragm gold trace breakup/cracks, or other Hifiman box of chocolate effects. Is there any concrete numbers about voltage swings and current requirements or even power requirements one should look for when wanting a suitable amp for the HE-6?
     
  16. Thujone

    Thujone Friend

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    Please, for the love of all that is holy, don't turn this into another MOAR POWER circle jerk. I can't take yet another HE-6 thread where moar=better. To say that the headphone isn't "properly" amped without excess power... ugh. Please read this great resource from the old site: http://www.changstar.com/index.php?topic=1275.0

    Seriously though, this whole 80W speaker amp shit needs to stop. If you don't like the way your amp sounds with the HE-6, and the amp is able to reach listening levels with even a little bit of overhead, your amp is not lacking in power. Period. That's just physics. Power (quantity/wattage) gets you SPL (volume). Nothing else. Sorry. The actual 'cleanliness' of the power is a different story. Some amps have high quality power supply, some don't. Some aren't tuned for the treble heavy HE-6, some are. Most speaker amps tend to 'warm-up' the HE-6. Sure, I think that can be agreed upon. Is it due to power output? Nope. If you do your listening at XdB, whether you are on the Schiit Magni or your 2k speaker amp, the headphone receives the same amount of wattage to reach the same volume. All the rest of your watts are not being used (except for dynamic swings?).

    I think it would be very very beneficial to bury the hell out of this power argument and try to have a real conversation about why these speaker amps sound warmer than a traditional headphone amp. To tell you the truth, I have no idea. My experience with speaker amps is limited but I did own the Emotiva mini for a while and I found that it turned my HE-4's into bass cannons. Everything else was muddy as hell. But seriously, think about it. If an amp has 80W power output vs., say Project Ember, the 80W amp will provide the necessary power easier.... or will it? Most amplifiers are running at 100% all the time; the volume knob is literally only resisting the voltage at the headphone jack. Why, then, would a speaker amp give you more bass response and less treble? How is it even fathomable that overhead (unused) power=moar bass, less treble? Is it more realistic to think that speaker amps are just tuned to be warmer or with more focus on bass response than the top end?

    Bottom line, different strokes for different folks. There is no problem in enjoying the speaker amps more than headphones amps for these headphones. Hell, I'm looking forward to trying one out soon!

    I personally believe it's better for this website as a whole if we put a stop to theories as unjustified as the power theory. It immediately teaches people to dismiss a lot of (likely amazing) amplifiers due to power output alone. We should instead be focusing on legitimate, objective numbers when it comes to questions such as "will there be enough?" Then, ultimately, we can let subjectivity take the reigns in the long run. This was the changstar way, this is the SBAF way. We aren't here to blindly jack each other off.

    Still, if there are any EE's (or others) out there that are cringing by my statements above, I'm happily open minded.
     
  17. TomNC

    TomNC Facebook Friend

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    In theory, HE6 should be fine with close to 1 watt power. And the Ember II seems to drive The HE6 well with 1 watt. Taurus MK II outputs up to 3.5 watts and need volume passing 2 or 3 o'clock to get adequate volume. Some Cavalli and Audio-Gd amps do up to 7 or 8 watts. I recall many vintage receivers output power up to 8 watts from HF forum discussions. There are other parameters to consider definitely.
     
  18. BioniclePhile

    BioniclePhile The Terminal Man - Friend

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    I like to use Audiobot9000 for fun to see what amps can take the K1000 past 100 Db. All in all, noone listens to the maximum decibels an amp can give a headphone for very long. Even the Fulla can take the HE-6 to 105 Db, and that is pretty feckin' loud.
     
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  19. Thujone

    Thujone Friend

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    I should make an extra point to say that the impedance of the headphone greatly affects the max power output. This may be obvious when you look at websites like Schiit/Garage1217, since they post their outputs at varying impedances, but it's important to note. Your 20W speaker amp can't necessarily deliver that into the HE-6 anyway.
     
  20. BioniclePhile

    BioniclePhile The Terminal Man - Friend

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    Are there any impedance calculators anywhere? I've looked for things like that on the web for ages when I was considering HE-6 and FirstWatt (that's now far in the future because it's just a luxury item at the moment!). It'd also help for crazy efficient speakers like the ones from Zu, which often have impedances of 12 to 16 Ohm, rather than standard 8 or 4.
     
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