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The Hifiman HE-500 headphones


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Wonder if any one has 1st hand experience with this headphones?

 

Maybe someone else has done reviews on this headphone?

 

Hifiman HE-500: Contender for world's best headphone? - CNET

on other review says that it needs to be paired with a good DAC and AMP, is this true? why so?

 

I want to find a good pair of over the ear headphone for good bass, contemporary songs (like the Police - every breath you take), classical and cello instrument music. (quite a large range, :) ) Right now, I don't have any good DAC or speaker AMP (I'm always on the road traveling). I want to get either Pono player or Sony walkman later on. Figure out that I like to use a good pair of headphones before I test out the players this spring. Thanks for any advice or other suggestions?

A good song finds me even during my sleep.

Thank God for my aging ears. I now can filter out blah blah blah and tune in blue blue blue...

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The HE-500 is a really good headphone, but "World's Best"? No chance. It also definitely needs to be paired with an adequate source/amp that has sufficient power for good performance. I can't comment on the Pono or walkman as I don't know anything about them. But the properties of the headphone that require a good dac and amp comes down to two aspects: resolution and efficiency. Resolution is (loosely) the ability of the headphone to transmit lower level aspects of the signal relative to the larger level aspects (say someone in the audience coughing in the background vs the super-loud drum crashes.) The efficiency is the amount of power needed to get a certain volume out of the headphone. The HE-500 is a relatively low efficiency but high resolution headphone. So you need a good dac and amp.

 

One thing to know if you are new to the world of upper echelon headphones, the HE-500 is an open-back design. That means it offers absolutely no sound isolation from background noise and anyone that might be in the same room with you will be able to hear what you are listening to. Also, you will hear all the road-noise, jet-engine roar, etc that might be around you. The HE-500 is a fine headphone, and an outstanding bargain at the current prices if you can still find a new one, but it is made to be properly driven and listened to in a quiet room.

 

Also, the ergonomics of headphones such as the HE-500 take some adjustment is you are new to these style headphones. They will seem VERY heavy and bulky and unwieldy. You don't wear these to go jogging.

 

Now, I do not own but really like the HE-500. Be warned that if you get one to plug into an iPhone you will likely be disappointed. For that purpose I would instead check out the Sennheiser Momentum series. But if you are willing to sink a few hundred dollars into a dac/amp then you will be well rewarded.

Roon ->UltraRendu + CI Audio 7v LPS-> Kii Control -> Kii Three

Roon->BMC UltraDAC->Mr Speakers Aeon Flow Open

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In addition to what Kelly said...Something that is almost never mentioned. That style of headphone completely covers the ear. If you wear glasses you have to take that into account. If they have thin arms no problem. If they don't, the cups will push the arms in. You will not be able to stand them after 1/2 hour.

 

"The function of music is to release us from the tyranny of conscious thought", Sir Thomas Beecham. 

 

 

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.... The efficiency is the amount of power needed to get a certain volume out of the headphone. The HE-500 is a relatively low efficiency but high resolution headphone. So you need a good dac and amp.

<<<< Oh, I see. :o

 

.... the HE-500 is an open-back design. That means it offers absolutely no sound isolation from background noise and anyone that might be in the same room with you will be able to hear what you are listening to. Also, you will hear all the road-noise, jet-engine roar, etc that might be around you. The HE-500 is a fine headphone, and an outstanding bargain at the current prices if you can still find a new one, but it is made to be properly driven and listened to in a quiet room.

<<<< Ok, it's not for me. :( Kind of a relief for me, because it is expensive. :)

 

Also, the ergonomics of headphones such as the HE-500 take some adjustment is you are new to these style headphones. They will seem VERY heavy and bulky and unwieldy. You don't wear these to go jogging.

<<<< Got it.

 

Now, I do not own but really like the HE-500. Be warned that if you get one to plug into an iPhone you will likely be disappointed. For that purpose I would instead check out the Sennheiser Momentum series. But if you are willing to sink a few hundred dollars into a dac/amp then you will be well rewarded.

<<<< Checking Sennheiser out now. Since you mention about the weight, I now can think more clearly that I really need some durable headphone since I am kind of absentminded with all my equipments. :( Anything that survives longer than a few months with me must be a good product.

 

Thanks for your insightful comment. :)

A good song finds me even during my sleep.

Thank God for my aging ears. I now can filter out blah blah blah and tune in blue blue blue...

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In addition to what Kelly said...Something that is almost never mentioned. That style of headphone completely covers the ear. If you wear glasses you have to take that into account. If they have thin arms no problem. If they don't, the cups will push the arms in. You will not be able to stand them after 1/2 hour.

 

Interesting... I am used to an old pair of AKGK240 studio headphones and it never bothers me with my thick arm eyeglasses. In fact, it is very comfortable. Maybe I have a smaller head circumference or I haven't actually worn the headphones long enough? Hmmm. Thanks for the reminder.

A good song finds me even during my sleep.

Thank God for my aging ears. I now can filter out blah blah blah and tune in blue blue blue...

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I have the 560s, which weigh pretty much the same as the 400i, and they are reasonably comfortable--certainly the weight is not an issue. I think they are harder to correctly drive than Hifiman would like to admit, but not nearly as problematic as some other orthos. I'm still biased towards speakers, but these do everything right.

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I have the 560s, which weigh pretty much the same as the 400i, and they are reasonably comfortable--certainly the weight is not an issue. I think they are harder to correctly drive than Hifiman would like to admit, but not nearly as problematic as some other orthos. I'm still biased towards speakers, but these do everything right.

 

True they are harder when compared to my HD650's which are middle of the road in terms of driving. I find that 500 is somewhere right of middle. With the ifi mico I leave it on turbo which drives them perfectly but this all depends on what you are doing. With HQplayer upsampling set to -3dbs I have to set the micro to turbo especially for very dynamic pieces. Modern day I have to set to standard.

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You also need to be aware of the weight of the HE500's. They are extremely heavy. I sold mine shortly after getting them due to neck and back pain. Be sure to try them first and make sure you have a strong neck to support all that weight.

 

neck and back pain... this is very serious. Thanks for your information. My old bones need to be pampered. :)

A good song finds me even during my sleep.

Thank God for my aging ears. I now can filter out blah blah blah and tune in blue blue blue...

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I'm on the road again... :)

 

Thanks for the suggestion. I'll try the 400is out. Do you happen to know where I can try it out in stores in New York or New Jersey area?

A good song finds me even during my sleep.

Thank God for my aging ears. I now can filter out blah blah blah and tune in blue blue blue...

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You might want to try a pair if the 400is. I have a set and they sound a lot like the 500's, but are very light and comfortable. Pretty easy to drive too.

I'm on the road again... :)

 

Thanks for the suggestion. I'll try the 400is out. Do you happen to know where I can try it out in stores in New York or New Jersey area?

A good song finds me even during my sleep.

Thank God for my aging ears. I now can filter out blah blah blah and tune in blue blue blue...

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I'm on the road again... :)

 

Thanks for the suggestion. I'll try the 400is out. Do you happen to know where I can try it out in stores in New York or New Jersey area?

 

They are up in that area. Try calling them at 201-443-4626.

 

Yours,

-Paul

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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