Hifiman HE-6

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

  1. luximal

    luximal AWOL with x2 pieces of SBAF loaner gear

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    4 screw vs 6 screw impressions

    [​IMG]

    Got a stock 4 screw a few days ago, did the full mods (new pads, blu tak and regrill). And yeah the 4 screw is better than the 6 screw, And having blu tak is much better than without.

    [​IMG]


    Blu tak

    Blu tak not only improves the bass, with better clarity, detail, tightness, extension and subbass impact (at the expense of mid bass impact). It also improves imaging and and deepens the soundstage.

    The stock 4 screw, is less clean, has worse bass and a shallower stage vs even the modded 6 screw.

    But when the 4 screw is modded, it's a different story. But before I get into the comparison, there are a few things I need to point out.

    Pre impression notes

    1. The 4 screw's headband clamps harder, so while that's less comfy, but also improves the seal which makes the comparison a bit uneven.

    2. Since I don't have 2 pairs of the same pads, I had to swap the same pads back and forth to give a fair comparison. But that also meant that a/bing the two headphones wasn't quick. The pads I used was the ori pads with some foam at the rear of the pads to increase the pad angle which improved the soundstage.

    3. I think the 6 screw has slightly more subbass, but that's probably due to the fact I used dollar store tak for the blu tak mod and as a someone that doesn't really do diy, I might not have applied the blu tak as well as the person the previous owner bought the 6 screw from.

    **edit: forgot to say this but my setup is PC > Eitr > Audial Model S mk2 > Mcintosh Mc2505


    Impressions

    The 4 screw sounds more explosive, has a deeper stage, has more resolution and air. It has overall better micro and macro dynamics and offers a more black and vivid blackground with transients being sharper and less rounded. Though make no mistake the 4 screw still sounds more rounded and liquid than something like a hd 800.

    So yeah the modded 4 screw is better than the 6 screw in pretty much every way. However with it's increased dynamics and less warm and rounded sound, I find a bit more fatiguing and it's probably not as pleasant vs the 6 screw for the "warm butt" people. The 6 screw tends toward the audeze sound, while the 4 screw tends toward to the hd800esq sound.

    To be honest I'm actually surprised that there could be that much of a difference. If the 6 screw makes other planars sound like "playnars". The 4 screw does the same to the 6 screw.

    I've always thought the he-6 was a step behind the likes of the utopia and hd 800 in terms of dynamics, clarity, separation and resolution. With the 4 screw I can safely say that it matches in terms of dynamics and improves in the other categories to the point that it's only a half a step behind.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2017
  2. Jozurr

    Jozurr Almost "Made"

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    Thank you for the impressions. What is your setup for the HE-6?
     
  3. luximal

    luximal AWOL with x2 pieces of SBAF loaner gear

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    my setup is PC > Eitr > Audial Model S mk2 > Mcintosh Mc2505
     
  4. khragon

    khragon Acquaintance

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    Man.. now I have no excuse not to put some blue tack on my 4 screw...
     
  5. frenchbat

    frenchbat BritishBat's arch enemy - Friend

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    You didn't have a hd800 on hand to compare did you?
     
  6. Thenewerguy009

    Thenewerguy009 Friend

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    I definitely agree with this, though I would say it's more of a HD650 vs HD800 type of sound.

    Might as well post my impressions as well

    [​IMG]

    Open grill mod on both & nothing else ( I removed that quarter felt in the picture as well).
    I used a power amp, tube amp, vintage receiver & a solid state amp for the testing.
    The clamp was tighter on the 6 screw version for me. I think the stronger clamp force is from it being used less. When it get a lot of use, the clamp will relax more.

    That said, I thought the 4 screw was more open, airy, better dynamics, snappier & had a noticeably wider soundstage. At the same time it was also unpleasantly brighter, had noticeable leaner, thinner sound.
    The 6 screw was more veiled, definitely more closed in sounding, but at the same time, more pleasing to listen to. The midrange had more weight to it. There were times were some songs begin to sound painfully bright on the 4 screw (more so than my HD800) & were much more bearable to listen on the fuller, warmer & sweeter sounding 6 screw.

    The 4 screw was more impressive right off the bat, but at extended listening sessions, I was enjoying the 6 screw version a little more.
    While not as impressive in terms of dynamics & soundstage, It hit all the right notes & made songs sound more natural & enjoyable.

    I will say the headphones started to sound similar after long sessions of listening to both (especially when the grill is open on the 6 screw version), I could still tell them apart but it became more subtle after I was spending a few hours with them.

    I also didn't feel the 4 screw version need the open grill mod. With the grill on or off, the sound signature didn't change as much as it did with the 6 screw version.
     
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  7. ohhgourami

    ohhgourami Friend

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    If anyone is complaining about brightness of the 4 screws, switch your pleather or leather pads to Vegans or other cloth pads. The smooth surface of leather-like material creates reflections which make it harsh sounding.

    My mods were created specifically to complement each other to create a close to neutral sound with emphasis on the upper mids (engaging sound) while not being harsh. If you decide to use a leather-like pad, you'll have to damoen the reflections by either doing something similar to the TP mod or felt the inner wall of the pads.
     
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  8. cskippy

    cskippy Creamy warmpoo

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    If you want a quick and reversible way to improve the sound of the stock pleather pads simply remove the foam ring inside the pad. This will get rid of some harshness and increase mids and bass.
     
  9. luximal

    luximal AWOL with x2 pieces of SBAF loaner gear

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    No I didn't, but concerning the 6 screw, it didn't need to have the hd 800 or the utopia on hand to tell that it didn't resolve as well or was as clear, or as dynamic as those 2 headphones.
    With the 4 screw however, it's good enough in those areas that I feel like I need to directly a/b it to those headphones to actually see what is better.
    With the ori pads, the reflections aren't too bad , as I didn't take off the cloth but it's still noticeable. But I'll do a felt mod sooner or later.

    Now the only thing I pretty much need to do after that is sell my 6 screw :).
     
  10. frenchbat

    frenchbat BritishBat's arch enemy - Friend

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    Thank you for correcting. That makes a lot more sense than what you wrote before.
     
  11. Thenewerguy009

    Thenewerguy009 Friend

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    I used the Audeze Vegan pads & Alpha Dog pads as well. The vegan pads did tame the harshness, but I didn't like how it changed the overall sound signature. Made things seem too soft & took away the bass impact. The Alpha Dogs were a side grade to the pleather imo.


    The way I saw it, having both the 4 screw & the HD800 made no sense. Bright spacious, airy headphones, all the things the 4 screw excelled at, the HD800 did better. The 6 screw on the other hand was a very good compliment to the HD800.
     
  12. frenchbat

    frenchbat BritishBat's arch enemy - Friend

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    Seems like you haven't heard the hd800 veil. Time to upgrade.
     
  13. luximal

    luximal AWOL with x2 pieces of SBAF loaner gear

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    I can't emphasize more how important the blutak mod is in improving the he-6's sound. The cleaner and more linear bass means it no longer gets in the way of the mids and treble which overall makes it more detailed and airy. And you can't really underestimate how much better the soundstage, separation and imaging gets with the mod. The stock 4 screw just sounds congested in comparison.

    Honestly, I don't find the hd 800 musical at all, and while the 4 screw is not as warm or rounded as the 6 screw, It still retains that smooth liquid planar sound which I find pleasant and musical.

    I'm not saying the 4 screw even with the blu tak mod will match the hd 800 in every technical category. But in my opinion, both headphones present the sound quite differently.

    Agreed here, the vegans sound too veiled and warm plus the staging isn't as nice as the ori pads. But I also find the pleather and focus pads meh as well. That being said I just got a bunch for black felt sheets (2 adhesive and 2 normal). Going to see how much it can improve the sound of the ori and the other pads.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2017
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  14. ColossalKiwi

    ColossalKiwi Rando

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    Vegan pads definitely dull the treble down too much for my liking. I must say I also have quite a bit of distaste for (p)leather pads on Hifimans, too, since most of them create a 1kHz hump, a hollow tone to most of the midrange, some 3kHz shout, and "dark-spike" treble. The Alpha pads are a prime example of this. God, they were awful. I'd like to try the Ori pads at some point, to see if they also follow this trend. For now, velour and hybrid-style pads seem to be the way to go.

    Speaking of which, I've found the best budget option to be the flat HM5 hybrid pads - they're comfy and sound great.
     
  15. E_Schaaf

    E_Schaaf MOT: Upscale Audio (Thread Judge Code-6 District)

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    After spending some time with my Code-LEX I was finding my modded (blu-tack, grill-less) 6-screw HE-6 a bit lacking in dynamism and treble extension.

    After swapping a few pads (code-x pads, HM5's, audeze vegan and leather pads, HFM velour and pleather pads), I've realized that (to my ears) it's important for the 6-screw variant to be placed as close to the ears as possible (using thin pads), with only a slight angle, a wide opening, and without a hair-screen. I have a pair of 2010 LCD leather pads that are extremely firm and quite thin, and after cutting out the hair-screen and directly taping them to the housing, the 6-screw is sounding more dynamic and open than I've heard it before.

    I'd suspect that these pads (due to their thinness) minimize high-frequency resonance that may be audible with thicker leather pads, while the closer proximity yields a perception of greater immediacy and treble energy. The firmness of the pads seems to add a bit of texture to the sound as well - while the audeze vegans produced a dynamic damping effect in my setup, these pads certainly enhance perceived tactility and solidity.

    While this change may indeed be due to some type of colorations or reflections induced by using highly firm pads, it is a welcome one to my ears. I feel a step closer to piercing that 6-screw veil.
     
  16. E_Schaaf

    E_Schaaf MOT: Upscale Audio (Thread Judge Code-6 District)

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    Just setup my first measurement rig using a binaural microphone > my head > arta. Still figuring out the software (so take everything with a huge grain of salt) but I thought I'd share a FR graph for my modded 6-screw HE-6 (right channel first, then left). Half octave smoothing. Still have to figure out how to do IR and distortion measurements, but that will come with time.

    I think the suckout around 7khz is probably due to my pinnae.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
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  17. Serious

    Serious Inquisitive Frequency Response Plot

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    Is the mic sealed to the ear canal? If not it could be from cancellation from a reflection from the eardrum. Looks like a lot of potential with some different pads, but honestly after giving giving Harman so much shit for the 1kHz emphasis with their target I still think a tiny bit of 1-2kHz can sometimes be beneficial. Looks to be 3-4db from your graphs which is way too much though.
    Do you hear the dip?
    BTW: 1/2 octave smoothing is way too much. I use 1/48th for my headphone measuremnts and either 1/24th or 1/48th even for my speaker measurements. Sometimes I'll use 1/12th.
    I also think the 10db/division range makes it very hard to see what's going on exactly. Use a less compressed scale with a 5db/division range.
     
  18. richard51

    richard51 Mr. Sorbothane

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    The differences is probably caused by the different damping function of the same materials cups but not with the same effect by the 2 different constraints.... I am not a bit surprized because i use different damping methods on all my pieces of gear with astounding results.... Damping and filtering EMI are the 2 most underestimated factors in audio ....
     
  19. Gould

    Gould Rando

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    I suggest the HM5 angled velour, tames the treble a bit without making them overly warm - sounds better, cleaner than the vegans with similar bass extension.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2017
  20. E_Schaaf

    E_Schaaf MOT: Upscale Audio (Thread Judge Code-6 District)

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    My right driver stopped working tonight for no apparent reason. Just heard a little click, and then the driver stopped working entirely.

    Troubleshooting the issue via cable, channel, and gear swapping was not effective. Not sure how this could have happened at fairly low listening levels.

    Does anyone know if HFM still services the HE-6? My pair is not under warranty, it's a six-screw from 2013.

    Maybe this will end up being a good excuse to track down and purchase a 4-screw. Disappointed nonetheless.
     

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