Hifiman HE-500 First Impression

hifiman_he500_01

It really doesn’t take lot of listening time to see that the HE-500 is, in most cases, a better headphone than the HE-6.

Perhaps the biggest improvement factor with the HE-500 is the sensitivity factor. Yes, you still need a fairly potent headphone amplifier, but at least you don’t need to hook it up to some 50 watts speaker amplifier or anything like that. This alone will make a huge different to people’s experience with the headphone, as a bigger range of amplifier are available to drive the HE-500 sufficiently with. In my case, I’m using the HE-500 with the Burson HA-160D as well as Earfonia’s Pseudo Balanced Amplifier (an article on that next week), and both amps were able to drive the HE-500 with plenty of headroom.

Tonality wise, the Hifiman HE-500 is warmer and slightly less bright than the HE-6. Though treble lovers would start hunting for a good silver cable, most people would find the tonal balance of the HE-500 to be more balanced than the HE-6. Sometimes, on loud passages, the brilliantly clear HE-6 treble does get a little piercing. Not anymore with the HE-500. The brilliantly clear and harsh-free treble is still there, just toned down perhaps around 2dB. And for you HE-6 fans worrying that it’ll turn into an LCD-2 clone, don’t worry, it’s far from it. The tonality change also gives the HE-500 a warmer and slightly fuller mids than the HE-6, while still retaining most of its clarity. Likewise, bass body is also slightly increased, making things more well balanced. Overall, it’s like the same headphone as the HE-6, but you seem to be getting a better pairing with the amplifier this time.

Guys, it is REALLY hard not to get impressed with this headphone. Even as I just finished another round of comparison between the Omega 2, HD800, T1, HE-6, and the LCD-2 last week.

Slight finishing differences include black headband on the HE-500 (brown on the HE-6), a metallic gray gloss finish, and black painted metal holder.

 

Additional impressions reveals that the HE-500 is somewhat less uptight, less dry than the HE-6. It’s funny because I’ve never felt the HE-6 to be dry before, and yet the warmer HE-500 is now giving me exactly that impression. The speed factor still feels faster on the HE-6, and the bass better articulated (the HE-500 feels looser next to the HE-6’s bass), but overall, I think the HE-500 with its slightly slower pace is the more musical sounding of the two. Despite the slightly looser bass, the added body in the bass makes it feel more planted and secure on the low frequencies. It still hasn’t mastered bass the way the LCD-2 does, but for people who can’t live with the sound of the LCD-2, the HE-500 is probably the best alternative in the market today in terms of musicality (easy to appreciate and enjoy) and practicality (doesn’t demand crazy-priced amps). The HE-500 is sure to be a crowd pleaser at your local headphone meet.

Ergonomics is also far improved. One reason is the lighter weight of the HE-500, significantly lighter than the HE-6. But it seems that Hifiman has also introduced new pads with the HE-500, though looking very similar to the HE-6. The pads are softer and much more comfortable on the ears. Additionally, the stock cable now comes with a Canare speaker cable, similar to the cable that comes on the early batches of the LCD-2. Comparing the cable to the HE-6 cable, the Canare is warmer and bassier, while the the HE-6 cable is more treble centric and is dryer. You can probably ask Hifiman if they’ll sell you the Canare cable to use with the HE-6, as I personally like the Canare better than the stock HE-6 cable. Using the HE-6 stock cable on the HE-500 will also bring it closer to the tonality of the HE-6. But of course the two headphones can’t be made to sound identical, due to the differences in the driver.
Continue to the next page…

Hifiman HE-500 First Impression
4.5 (90%) 2 votes

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326 Comments

  • Reply April 29, 2011

    Earfonia

    Excellent concise review Mike! Looks like HE-500 doesn’t come with balance 4 pin XLR cable anymore, is it true?

    • Reply April 29, 2011

      Anonymous

      Yes, Bram. No more 4-pin XLR.

  • Reply April 29, 2011

    Jim

    Great one Mike!
    I really love vocals on the LCD-2, but the cramped soundstage and rolled-off treble/darkness turned me off (mostly that really small soundstage & lack of air/separation, IMO).
    What’s your opinion Mike regarding this HE-500?
    Many thanks.

    • Reply April 29, 2011

      Anonymous

      I think every headphone does vocals differently, likewise the vocals on the HE-500 is not going to be the same as on the LCD-2. If you find the LCD-2 to be too dark, then the HE-500 is going to better tonally for you.

      • Reply April 30, 2011

        Jim

        Thanks Mike!
        Which one do you prefer for vocals anyway? I’m aware that your taste might not suit mine.
        How about the soundstage performance compared to the LCD-2?

        • Reply April 30, 2011

          Anonymous

          Well, there are different kind of vocals, from the jazzy Norah Jones and Diana Krall type, to the pop Buble, Groban, Adelle, Jewel, or Celine Dion type, then the black singers like Ray Charles, Alicia Keys, not to mention the opera guys like Pavarotti, Il Divo, or Bocelli, and then you have guys like Steven Tyler or Bon Jovi with Rock. It’s kinda hard to chose a headphone that’s “best” with vocals, as there are just too many different versions of them.

          Between the LCD-2 and the HE-500/HE-6, I like the tonality of the LCD-2’s vocal better, but the presence feels kind of distant to me. The HE-6 and HE-500 has a more forward engaging vocal, and though the tone is sweet and musical, I prefer something dryer and less colored, something like the T1 on a smooth tube amp like the Zana Deux for instance. But again I am listening to Norah Jones, Adele, and Jewel, and I think the T1 is good for those.

          The HD800 on a good tube amp like the Zana or the Manley can give a very sweet vocal, but it’s too mellow for my taste. Likewise the Omega2 on the Exstata is very sweet on the mids, but I prefer something with more attack like the T1.

          While it is important to make sure that a headphone does a good rendering of the vocal, I think you shouldn’t base your choice purely on vocal reproduction, UNLESS you are only listening to a very specific selection of vocalists. I would go with a headphone that ultimately matches the genre that I am listening to, or if I listen to a wide range of genres, then I would get a headphone with a wide genre bandwith.

          Soundstage wise, I think the HE-500 is better than the HE-6. better center image, more depth, overall smaller but better coherence and imaging. The LCD-2 has a better soundstage imaging, depth and center image than the HE-500 or HE-6, but it feels too closed in and too tunneled. Although the soundstage performance is better, the reverbs I am hearing with classical recordings (where soundstage performance really matters) is really bothersome. That’s why I have the HD800 for classical.

          I think the appeal with the HE-6/500 and the LCD-2 is that they work well for mainstream music. If your music tend to be fast paced and with strong beats (Rock, Electronic) then the LCD-2 with its superb bass is the way to go. If you listen to more moderate paced music, more vocal stuff, Jazz, and Instruments, Indie, then the HE6/500 is the better way to go.

          • Reply April 30, 2011

            Jim

            Thanks for the thorough explanation Mike.
            Sorry I forgot to mention that I mostly listen to pop & mainstream music.
            I think both the HE-500 and HD800 are moderate paced, which one would you recommend? The HE-500 might be better tonally.
            I love forward engaging vocals and nice instrument separation in the background. My concerns with the HD800 are its bass-shy characteristic and some people said that it’s quite picky on recordings and type of music.

            • Reply April 30, 2011

              Anonymous

              For Pop and Mainstream, the HE-500 will trump the HD800. Not even close.

              • Reply May 3, 2011

                Tony

                Greetings Mike, would you mind to explain why the HD800 is not suitable for Pop and Mainstream?

                • Reply May 4, 2011

                  Anonymous

                  Perhaps recording quality is the number one factor. The second factor is
                  the voicing of the HD800. It’s very good for Jazz, Classical, but not
                  Pop/Rock stuff.

            • Reply April 30, 2011

              Anonymous

              Yes, both are moderate paced, but the HE-500 is still faster than the
              HD800.

              The vocals on the HE-500 is quite forward and engaging as well. So it
              should be a good match with what you want.

              • Reply April 30, 2011

                Jim

                Really appreciate your suggestion Mike! Thanks.
                Another thing, when you swapped the HE-6 cable on the HE-500 then the signature will turn into more treble spikes and unappealing mids? More details and open transparency as the HE-6 perhaps?
                Have you tried any other cables that you could recommend?
                The stock HE-500 cable seems so stiff and inflexible IMO.

                • Reply April 30, 2011

                  Anonymous

                  The HE-6 cable changes the HE-500 a little bit to be more trebly, and
                  slightly dryer mids. I won’t say it’s unappealing, as everything goes
                  back to the recording-source-amplifier synergy. But I do prefer the
                  stock HE-500 cable for overall tonal balance.

                  I don’t normally test different cables on one headphones, as I have a
                  lot of headphones to test (Love this job, LOL). But I just happen to
                  have a Silver Dragon V3 and a DIY cable with a Belden coaxial cable that
                  my friend sent me with the appropriate Hifiman connector. The Silver
                  Dragon is even more trebly and dryer than the HE-6 cable. The Belden
                  coaxial is too mid centric.

                  So I went back to the stock cable. 🙂

                  The stock HE-500 cable is thick and moderately flexible. Yes, it can be
                  better (say more like a T1/HD800 cable), but I really don’t have an
                  issue with stiffness or microphonics or anything like that. The Jena
                  cables I tested on my friend’s LCD-2 is much stiffer.

                  • Reply April 30, 2011

                    Jim

                    Alright, thanks so much Mike!

                    I’m a bit curious how if TWag cables used on the HE-500. IME not as bright as other silvers and might add some air/separation.

                    • April 30, 2011

                      Anonymous

                      That’s probable, but I find the tonality to be very good as it is right now.

  • Reply April 29, 2011

    Marburger

    Great review, Mike! I have one question. I have posted it in HD580/HD600, HD650 comparison review too: Mike, do you really can hear differences between recabled headphones or interconnect rca cables? I read contradictory statements in forums. Some say (physicians) there must not be any changes in sound between stock cheap cable (say cheap copper) and branded pure pcocc cables (canare, Van den hul…) They say little firms make only money and fool the customers. Others argue to death that better cable improves sound little bit. I bought new pure creoyed copper cable to Senn580, it is on the way now. But I am bit confused. What is your expirience with it, is there significant changes and in which setups and headphones do you prefer better cables (which cables manufacture do you prefer?). Is there price point that better cables bring nothing, say 7000$ cable are not audibly better to over 100$ cable. There are lots of marketing, myths and opinions, I want to hear unbaised truth… 🙂

    • Reply April 29, 2011

      Anonymous

      Thanks!

      Cables does make a difference though quite small when compared to amplifiers, transducer design, etc. Now I agree that there is always an overpriced product in any category, and that also includes cables. So you just have to use common sense and read the opinion of people that you trust.

      Our sponsors, Whiplash and ALO make nice cables. Likewise good brands like Cardas and Moon Audio also make nice cables. Perhaps we should throw in a new cable comparison inthe future.

      • Reply April 29, 2011

        Marburger

        yeah, a cable review will be very cool!

  • Reply April 30, 2011

    Brandon

    Hey mike, which would you prefer for soundstage and instruments, HE-500, HE-6 or T1? Amping won’t be a problem for me.

    • Reply April 30, 2011

      Anonymous

      The T1’s soundstage is very small, smaller than the DT880 even, but much more accurate than the HE500/6. The HD800 is bigger and better with soundstage, but I like the T1’s sharper treble for pure instruments.

      • Reply April 30, 2011

        Brandon

        Would it help if I use silver cables for the HE-6 or HD800 to add more treble?

        • Reply April 30, 2011

          Anonymous

          I think the HE-6 has enough treble, but the presentation of the treble
          is different than the T1. The T1 has a sharper attack on the tones, and
          I think it’s just awesome for instruments.

          For the HD800, yes silver cabling will add treble quantity, but
          primarily the treble is still going to be more relaxed than the T1.

          What music are you listening to anyway?

          • Reply April 30, 2011

            Brandon

            Mainly instrumental stuff like orchestral

            • Reply April 30, 2011

              Anonymous

              For symphonies, concertos, operas, and choral, I still find that overall
              the HD800’s presentation is best.

              The T1’s smallish soundstage (by flagship standard) just don’t do it for
              orchestral work, not only is the HD800 bigger and deeper in size, but
              the layering, ambiance and three dimensionality is unparalleled.

              The T1’s bass is also more suited for Rock (bass punch), and though the
              HD800’s punch is weaker, for symphonies what you need is more to the
              bass slam, and the HD800 is much better in that area.

              If you worry that the HD800 will be too relaxed (despite the brighter
              tonality, the HD800 can be mellower than the HD650 on some systems),
              then getting an amp like the Lehmann Black Cube Linear would help to
              make it more precise, sharper sounding.

              • Reply April 30, 2011

                Brandon

                Any tube amps to recommend though? Am thinking about darkvoice, maybe something like the 3332.

                • Reply April 30, 2011

                  Anonymous

                  Ah…. never auditioned the darkvoices (surprisingly!).

                  I listened to the Little Dot Mk4 once and it matches pretty well with
                  the HD800 for orchestral work. A better suggestion would be the
                  WooAudio6, but more pricey.

                  • Reply April 30, 2011

                    Brandon

                    I’ve heard that woo only builds the amp after you order it? How long would the waiting time be?

  • Reply April 30, 2011

    homme

    hi mike,

    could you please explain me how much upgrade from hd650 to he-500?
    i’m using hd650 and loving its sound characteristic.
    will he500 give me the better in all departments, such as bass , vocal, sound stage, 3d layer seperation, headroom depth?

    i love classic rock , audiophile vocal and not bright sound lover.
    thank you so much

    • Reply April 30, 2011

      Anonymous

      The biggest upgrade you feel from the HD650 to the HE-500 will be:
      1. Clearer bass section, though not as thick as the HD650.
      2. More open sound — big difference
      3. More forward character — HD650 is pretty laid back.
      4. Faster pace.

      Now, a well amped HD650 will give you:
      1. Better soundstage image, better three dimensionality, better
      layering, better depth.
      2. Better micro details.
      3. Better dynamic range.

      For classic rock and audiophile vocal, I think the HE-500 is a good
      headphone. It’s definitely far more likeable than the HD650, as a lot of
      people feel the HD650 to be too slow-paced. But the HD650 has higher
      scalability than the HE-500, and so if you have a very very good amp
      (like $2000+ Zana, Beta22, Manley), then the HD650 may still be better
      than the HE-500. But compared to the HD650 on a sub $1000 amp, the
      HE-500 is far easier to enjoy and appreciate.

      • Reply April 30, 2011

        homme

        hi mike ,

        thank you for your reply.
        from you comment, its look like he500 not beat hd650 at all, just another sonic character.
        what headphone do you think that absolutely beat hd650, mainly for sound stage depth ,3d and mid-low performance? lcd2?

        • Reply April 30, 2011

          Anonymous

          Actually I think the HE-500 does beat the HD650 on a lot of points, unless you happen to have a $2k amp that just takes the HD650 on a whole different level.

          Let’s see:
          Better bass section.
          More open sound
          Better, faster pace
          More forward and more engaging
          Better tonality
          On the HE-500

          On the other hand, the HD650’s better micro details, soundstage layering, etc is mostly technicalities that will only be evident on classical recordings.

          If you are listening to the average pop rock recording, those advantages the HD650 has are irrelevant. Whereas the advantages of the HE-500 is very hard to miss.

          • Reply April 30, 2011

            glac1er

            I think Mike nailed the details of what’s good about the HD650 and HE500.

            I will also vouch that unless you’re a discerning classical listener, the HD650 may not be as good as the HE500 for you even when powered with super amps.

            From my experience, even through a balanced 4 channel beta22, HD650 to my ears still have transparency quite below the HE500. The other things (better micro details and dynamic range) wasn’t as evident to me as I’m not a discerning classical listener. For your music (classical rock and vocal), I didn’t feel that the b22 really took the HD650 to another level, although I have no experience with the Manley and Zana.

            • Reply May 1, 2011

              Homme

              Hi

              Thank you so much.

            • Reply May 1, 2011

              Anonymous

              I think overall, the HE-500 is just on a different level than the HD650
              and the two should not be compared.

      • Reply December 29, 2011

        Guest

        Hello, so I suppose HD800 with Zana Deux is even better than HE-500??? thanks, can313car@hotmail.com

        • Reply December 29, 2011

          Mike

          It would still depend on the type of music, but the HD800 and Zana combination is really hard to beat, yes.

  • Reply April 30, 2011

    Eric

    Mike, I have 1 question. Given its warmer tone, will it pair well with the EF5?

    • Reply April 30, 2011

      Anonymous

      It probably would. I had used the EF-5 with the HE-5LE that’s darker than the HE-500 with good results.

      • Reply May 4, 2011

        Pete Manakit

        So Mike, how does the original HE5 fares with the HE500?
        would you consider it as an ‘upgrade’, or just a slightly different presentation?

        • Reply May 4, 2011

          Anonymous

          Aw man… the HE-5 was so yesterday, it’s time to move on to the new stuff!

          Just kidding. Lol.

          Well, what do you think of the HE-5? Do you like the way it sounds? Do
          you have any problems with the treble?

          I think the HE-500 is quite an upgrade from the HE-5 and the HE-5LE. The
          driver sounds more like a HE-6 and less like the HE-5s. The sound is
          cleaner and more refined, and the tonal balance is better in my opinion.

  • Reply April 30, 2011

    Anonymous

    Okay,
    Some more addition.

    I think the HE-6 ultimately has an edge in scalability. With a good speaker amp, it will give better dynamic range and low level detail than the HE-500. However, as I’ve mentioned, for the majority of mainstream pop/rock music out there, this is not too relevant.

    I am quite convinced for now that the HE-500 does soundstage better than the HE-6. The center image is simply better with the HE-500, though you can make the HE-6 improve on this aspect with a good amp, but the HE-500 just have a more natural ability to create a good coherent soundstage with good center image. The soundstage depth is also better in the HE-500.

    • Reply May 1, 2011

      HC

      Greetings Mike,

      Thanks for the great write up!
      From what i read above, assuming that both the HE-6 and HE-500 are properly amped are you implying that HE-6 will fare better in technicalities while the HE-500 will come out as more musical (more balanced sound and better soundstage)?

      • Reply May 1, 2011

        Anonymous

        Yes, precisely.

        I love the soundstage of the HE-500. It is the best soundstage out of
        the Hifiman headphones yet.

        • Reply May 2, 2011

          HC

          I see, thanks for the clarification Mike!

  • Reply April 30, 2011

    Glen Waverley

    What are the weights of the HE-500 and the LCD-2? (HE-6: 502 g)
    Thanks!

    • Reply April 30, 2011

      Glen Waverley

      Some finds:
      LCD-2: weight: 550 g – efficiency: 91 dB/1mW
      HE-6: weight: 502 g – efficiency: 83.5 dB/1mW

      • Reply April 30, 2011

        Anonymous

        I havent got the exact weight of the HE-500, but if I can guess it’ll be close to the HE-5LE weight (402g), whioe sensitivity should be in the high 80s, perhaps 87-88dB.

  • Reply April 30, 2011

    Webez

    Hi Mike.

    Last year I bought a W1000x pair thanks to your great review with an Elekit TU-882AS tube amp and could’t be more satisfied (in fact I also got a m50 pair, so you see you are my reference reviewer 😉 ). But I have always been curious about the hifimans and how they compare with the w1000x (if you still remember them since they appear to be not too popular anymore) .

    PD: Great review as always.

    • Reply April 30, 2011

      Edvard Danielsson

      Haha! I see you have almos the same question. I didn’t see your post! I got w1000x recently but I’ve applied for the HE-500 loaner program that will start in a couple of weeks in Europe.

    • Reply April 30, 2011

      Anonymous

      Hi Webez,
      It has been a very long time since I listened to the W1000X. I have plans to make a comparison article between the W1000X to the flagship W5000, but that is still not yet confirmed.

      So in my faint memory of how the W1000X sounds, I can give several pointers:
      – The W1000X has a very refined, smooth tone, but when I reviewed it, I find it to work well with slow to medium paced jazz and acoustic recordings. It didnt have the speed, nor the PRaT and bass to do Rock. In this sense the HE-500 is better as it plays jazz very well, and yet it is also great for Rock.
      – The W1000X is a closed housing design, and the timbre though quite sweet is a bit colored. The Open design HE-500 have a more neutral timbre, and it also feels more open and spacious, and without the reverbs issue of the closed housing of the W1000X. I do think that the W1000X has a better soundstage imaging than the Hifimans though.
      – I think ultimately it boils down to this: the W1000X has a sweeter tonality, mellow while also intimate and romantic sounding. But like most flagship headphones in the Audio Technica range, it is quite polarized on what music it plays well with (I am working on an AD2000 vs AD1000PRM comparison).
      – The HE-500 doesn’t quite have the sweet tonality of the W1000X, but it’s fairly good in itself, and what matters the most to me is that the HE-500 will play a wider range of music better than the W1000X does.

      Hope that helps.

      If my plan to do the W1000X W5000 comparison happens, I probably can share more things to you then.

      • Reply May 2, 2011

        Earfonia

        I’ve W1000X and HE5-LE, sound sig wise, I prefer the HE5-LE when partnered with my Dr. DAC2 DX (DAC + Amp combo). W1000X treble is simple superb, smooth, rich, yet detailed. But the upper mid is too much for my taste, while lower mid downward is lacking. Soundstage wise, W1000X is more precise, easier to point the instrument location, but rather narrow, a bit in your head compared to open cans like HE5-LE or my DT880. HE5-LE on the other hand, wider soundstage, but not as focused as W1000X. Both has very different sound signature, so not about which one better. You have to try them with your amplifier to check which sounds better in your preference.

        • Reply May 2, 2011

          Anonymous

          Thanks for adding in your impressions, Bram.

  • Reply April 30, 2011

    Edvard Danielsson

    Hi Mike! How would you compare the Tonality of HE-500 with w1000x? I’m wondering specifically about which has the most fullbodied sound. Is w1000x brighter?

    I welcome comparions, but we have to keep in mind that HE-500 is almost 3x more expensive than HD650. Have you heard anything new about pricing yet? something like 700-1000 $?

    Thanks
    Ed

    • Reply April 30, 2011

      Anonymous

      Hi Edward,
      I’ve written a bit about the W1000X on the previous comment.

      The HE-500 will retail at $899.

      I think a lot of the points with the W1000X applies with the HD650 too. The Senn is still perhaps one of the most widely used “flagship” even today. It also scales very well with high end amps. However, the thing is that the HD 650 remains to sound too slow and too laid back for many people, and they simply can’t enjoy the headphone as it remains too limited in pace, and the thick bass is not too suitable with most of the newer Rock stuff.

      Again, I think the HE-500 beats both the W1000X and the HD650 in terms of genre bandwith. Forward and engaging, good fast pace, excellent tonality, good bass clarity, bass impact, many many good things that is going to be hard not to notice.

      As I said in the article, it is hard not to get impressed with this headphone.

      • Reply May 1, 2011

        Windsor

        Hey Mike,
        Do you know how the HE-500 compare with the HD 600?

        • Reply May 1, 2011

          Anonymous

          Big big difference there, and if you don’t mind, I’ve written a
          comparison of the HD650 to the HE-500 on the bottom part of the article.
          I think that should give you an idea of how the HD600 compares? (Except
          that the HD600 doesn’t scale up as well as the HD650 on the big amps).

          • Reply May 2, 2011

            Windsor

            Thanks Mike.
            It seems that HD 600 could be similar but not up to the quality of the HD-500.
            Keep up the great work, man. 🙂

            • Reply May 2, 2011

              Anonymous

              Thanks man. 🙂

      • Reply May 1, 2011

        Edvard

        Thanks for the comparsions Mike! I hope to be able to compare with w1000x and if I get HE-500 in a month or so.

        • Reply May 1, 2011

          Anonymous

          Awesome, Edvard!

  • Reply May 2, 2011

    Albert

    Hey Mike, will there be any full review of the HE-500?
    Between the LCD-2 and this new planar, which of them is more forward engaging?

    • Reply May 2, 2011

      Anonymous

      Haven’t planned any further review.

      The HE-500 is more forward than the LCD-2.

  • Reply May 4, 2011

    Tim

    Excellent review Mike!
    I own balanced HD650 and balanced B22. Which of the HE-500 or LCD-2 would be better for my upgrade? I also consider the Beyer T1.
    Cheers.

    • Reply May 4, 2011

      Anonymous

      Hmm.. can you try to have an audition? It’s hard to decide that as the
      HD650 is somehow in between the HE-500 and the LCD-2.

      • Reply May 4, 2011

        Tim

        Unfortunately cannot 🙁
        When you said that the HD650 is in between, which direction of sound signature is the HE-500 and LCD-2 fall into?

        • Reply May 4, 2011

          Anonymous

          Roughly,
          The LCD-2 is darker than the HD650. The HE-500 is brighter than the HD650.

          • Reply May 4, 2011

            Tim

            Thanks Mike. Do they offer bigger holographic soundstage than my balanced HD650?
            BTW, do you still own the B22? If yes, which of them did you find a better match?
            Cheers.

            • Reply May 4, 2011

              Anonymous

              I think the HD650 on the balanced B22 is still superior on the sound stage.

              I can’t comment on the LCD-2 or HE-500 pairing with the Beta22 though. I
              thought the LCD-2 was okay out of the Beta22, the Beta was not that good
              with the HE-6, and I haven’t tried the HE-500 with the Beta22.

              The Beta22 has been sitting idly for a few months now, not getting too
              much use.

              • Reply May 4, 2011

                Tim

                Why it was not that good with the HE-6?

                Is it safe to say that balanced HD650 has 2nd best soundstage after the HD-800? Since you have tried various cans.

                Last question, does the HE-500 have good bass extension, punch and PRaT?

                Thanks a lot Mike, really appreciate your help mate!

                • Reply May 5, 2011

                  Anonymous

                  I am not so sure why it wasn’t that good with the B22, since the amp supposedly is able to deliver up to 50 watts with the balanced configuration. The dynamics just wasn’t there.

                  Yea, the HD650 with the balanced Beta really have a very good soundstage. Perhaps second after the HD800.

                  Yes, the HE500 does bass really well, though not quite the LCD2 level.

  • Reply May 6, 2011

    Anonymous

    Hi Mike, first time posting on Headfonia myself and as always great to see some rocking gear popping up. Having got the HE6/EF5 combo myself I was wondering if you tested the HE500 on the EF5 and what the differences might be? Also noticing the brown headband on the HE6 whereas the ones we got in the Philippines where all black, was this a prototype you have? Keep up the great work!

    • Reply May 7, 2011

      Anonymous

      Hi Marcus,
      I have not tried the HE-500 on the EF-5. I disassembled the amp a while
      ago and hasn’t got the time to put it back. 🙂

      I notice the brown headband as well and honestly I don’t know what’s up
      with that. It’s definitely the production version, but maybe they
      changed the color after a certain batch number? Mine was a very early
      version. Gotta ask Fang about it.

      • Reply May 7, 2011

        Anonymous

        I remember seeing a prototype with a brown effect on the bands and it looks kind of neat. What did you do to your EF5?? haha. I recently had to resolder the pot as it was way off when it arrived from head direct but no biggie. I must get my hands on an HE500 to see if it kills my curiosity for an lcd-2 once and for all.

        • Reply May 7, 2011

          Anonymous

          Lol. I was just trying to correct a loose 1/4″ jack connection. HE-500
          is still mostly a Hifiman sound. The LCD-2 is still noticeably Audez’e.
          It’s like Beyer vs Sennheiser fight. Different sound for different people.

          I really enjoy the HE-500 though. It’s been winning everybody’s heart in
          a local meet. A lot of folks prefer it to the HE-6, though it’s probably
          an amplifier issue. But again, not too many people have a good high end
          25 watts amp laying around for pairing the HE-6 with.

          You have the HE-6 right? Tried it with any speaker amps?

          • Reply May 7, 2011

            Anonymous

            Ditto on the 1/4 jack also on the ef5 Mike, the whole front end of mine needed re-soldering, something I fed back to Fang and his team along with the HE6 cup connectors which are mega hard to tighten on the HE6 without the cable internal wiring breaking up. I notice the HE500 seems to address that with more solid terminations.

            For the HE6 I got to try it with the Bada Ph30 and Ph32 and I have to say I am mighty impressed, more so with the 32 though this is a huge tube monster (but quite cheap). The HE’s scale so well with almost any amp thrown at them with the right power levels.

            I do want to try the Lyr which feel is a must so going to reach out to Schiit at some point.

          • Reply May 9, 2011

            Anonymous

            @headfonics:twitter Yes everyone’s been talking about that Lyr. We had one on a recent meet and the impression was that it’s good for the HE-6 but they’re not so impressed by it when paired with other headphones. Weird, huh? They say it was all about midrange but the bass and treble was sub-par.

        • Reply May 7, 2011

          Anonymous

          They say the 845 tube is the best audio tube there is. Better than the
          300B, better than the 2A3 and 45s.

          http://www.dared.us/products_vp845.php

  • Reply May 8, 2011

    Gary

    I’m using a Schiit Lyr which puts out 4 watts at 50 olms. Do you think that I would be able to bring out the best from the HE-6? Or do you think that I’ll be better off with the HE-500?

    • Reply May 9, 2011

      Anonymous

      Hi Gary,

      I haven’t listened to the HE-6 with the Lyr, but friends who’ve heard them say the two pairs very very well.

      I’d still think that the HE-500 is a better option though, as you get more choices if you decide to change your amplifier in the future.

  • Reply May 9, 2011

    Henrik Olsen

    Anyone has hints on how the HE-500 sounds compared to a pair of Denon AH-D5000? Are the HE-500 likely to be driven by a Leckerton UHA-6S portable amp? Where can I buy the HE-500?

    • Reply May 10, 2011

      Anonymous

      Based on what I read, the HE-500 should be less bassy than the D5000. Sorry I can’t give you an actual listening impression on that headphone.

      Also, no experience with the Leckerton, so I wouldn’t know.

  • Reply May 11, 2011

    Anonymous

    […] HE-500 REVIEW: HiFiMan HE-500 Orthodynamic Headphones….Less Is More! – Head-Fi.org Community Hifiman HE-500 First Impression | Headfonia __________________ Kino:AR 312HQ, 308HQ, Yamaha RX-V3900, PS3, Panasonic BD-60, Sony 52W5500 […]

  • Reply May 19, 2011

    Marcus

     Hello, I own the Beyer T1. What should I expect from this new planar if I made-up my mind to purchase it? Is it in different league compared to the T1? Thanks for your help.

    • Reply May 22, 2011

      Marcus

      Hi, did you get my comment/question? Thanks.

      • Reply May 23, 2011

        Anonymous

        Marcus,
        Sorry if I had missed it earlier.

        Technicalities wise, the Beyer T1 is superior. Better soundstage imaging
        (though narrower than the HE-500), deeper, more detail, better
        separation and articulation, more transparent to the source, better
        dynamic range, and so on.
        Musicality wise, the HE-500 *in general* would be more pleasing to most
        people (this is based on my experience taking the HE-500 to different
        meets). It has a sweeter sound, very musical midrange, almost zero
        sibilance, clear treble without being harsh, etc.

        So, while the T1 is better technically, you need to pair it carefully
        with amplifiers and more importantly, recording qualities (the T1 is not
        forgiving to bad recordings). The HE-500, on the other hand, wins
        people’s impressions on a sansa clip & Fiio E11 set up. 🙂

        Cheers

        • Reply May 25, 2011

          Marcus

          No problem, thanks for the precise reply.

          Other than those cans, would you recommend the LCD-2 or the HD800 for musical midrange?

          I just read your HE-4 review, great one!
          Do you think the HE-4 is closer in sound signature to my T1?

          Cheers

          • Reply May 26, 2011

            Anonymous

            The HD800 and the LCD-2 both has a great midrange, but very different
            from each other. The HD800’s mids can be over forward on some
            recordings, but the LCD-2’s mids can be too laid back on some
            recordings. The LCD-2 is typical planar, clean and smooth mids. The
            HD800 is also smooth but grainier and more analog sounding. I think it’s
            hard deciding which has the better mids unless we’re talking strictly
            one song, one recording.

            If you’re after midrange, then the HE-500 is much more recommended. As a
            whole I always believe in selecting headphones based on their overall
            sound signature, rather than evaluating individual components (i.e:
            Treble A, Midrange B+, Bass C+ and such). And the HE-500 is clearly a
            midrange oriented headphone (though the tonal balance is not too heavily
            into the mids) when compared to all the flagships (except the Stax O2
            which is also midrange oriented). The HE-500’s mids is also sweeter than
            all the HE-6, HD800, LCD-2, T1, combined.

            The HE-4 is a bit unique, and no, it’s not close to the T1.

            Cheers.

  • Reply May 28, 2011

    Rlfmd

    Hi, very helpful review.  Any comment on the HE-500 and any of Peachtree’s headphone amps, particularly the Nova?  Thanks.

    • Reply May 28, 2011

      Anonymous

      Sorry I havent had any experience with Peachtree amps.

  • Reply May 30, 2011

    Shahrose

    Hey Mike, would you happen to know how much lighter the HE-500 is than the HE-6?

    • Reply May 31, 2011

      Anonymous

      Light as in weight? Or amplifier requirements?

      • Reply May 31, 2011

        Shahrose

        Hi Mike. I meant weight

  • Reply June 11, 2011

    Stephen

    Hi Mike, how much difference in SQ is the HE-500 when compared to my primary phones, Sennheiser HD800? Thanks.

    • Reply June 11, 2011

      Anonymous

      If you are on a high end tube amp, then the Senn HD800 will scale up
      much better than the HE-500. But anything under $1000, I think the
      HE-500 still have the overall edge in terms of musicality.

      This is what I wrote a few days ago regarding Dynamics and Orthos:
      (you can read the whole discussion here:
      http://www.headfonia.com/q-a/#comment-221733383)

      ——————————————————————————–

      I think one of the main reason with the general popularity of modern
      orthos (Hifiman and Audez’e) is that they give people sound that is
      predictable and is generally well-liked when compared to the top
      dynamics. While the top dynamics strive for the most in technicalities,
      they become a somewhat polarizing headphone — working well with clean
      high quality recording, but sounding absolutely horrible with over
      compressed pop recordings.

      The landscape obviously has changed and the headphone crowd is totally
      different than the speaker crowd, that people do listen to stuff like
      Linkin Park or Black Eyed Peas, and then you’re hearing all the
      complaints about peaky highs, bright, sharp, sibilance and so on with
      people who uses dynamic headphones. The orthos, on the other hand, give
      people sound that simply works regardless of the recording. Obviously
      when the recording quality is great, it’s quite evident that the
      dynamics present it with higher levels of resolution, but since very few
      people listen to Chesky, Telarc, or Stockfish, then this become quite
      irrelevant.

      I mean, take the HE-500, that headphone is so easy to like, and that’s
      the headphone I take to meets when people want to listen to good music
      regardless if they’re playing Diana Krall or some awfully recorded Jpop
      on the source. But it’s not the headphone that I use for my reviews,
      simply because I need something that’s more revealing. They work well
      with great quality recording, but they also work well with over
      compressed recordings.

      The other issue is amplification and source quality. Dynamics reveals
      any flaws and colorations you have in your amplifier, while the orthos
      are less so. This makes dynamic headphones more demanding of clean
      amplification signal, while the orthodynamics only demand higher power
      level. So it becomes easier for people to build a set up around
      orthodynamics as long as they satisfy the power requirement (which is
      not difficult nowadays, I mean you can use a portable amp like the PB-2
      to drive an orthodynamic fairly well), while the dynamics continue to
      demand highly refined amplifiers which normally are priced in the upper
      end of the range.

      ——————————————————————————–

      • Reply June 11, 2011

        Stephen

        Actually I asked whether the HE-500 is bassier or brighter than my HD800. What’s your thought Mike?
        Thanks though for the above information.

        • Reply June 11, 2011

          Anonymous

          Well both are not bass-oriented headphones. The HD800 is rather neutral,
          while the HE-500 is midrange-centric. They have bass, but they don’t
          give you that punch that people like about bass oriented headphones. If
          you are looking for bass, then the LCD-2 is the proper headphone for you.

          • Reply June 11, 2011

            Stephen

            Thanks Mike. How’s their treble and speed/pace in comparison?
            Do you think the HE-500 is as open sounding as the HD800? Well I’m aware that my HD800 is still the king in terms of biggest soundstage (perhaps a little too big).
            Cheers.

            • Reply June 12, 2011

              Anonymous

              The HE-500 feels more open, though the soundstage imaging is not as good
              as the HD800. The pace is also a little faster on the HE-500. The treble
              feels cleaner and clearer with the HE-500.

  • Reply June 16, 2011

    9homme

    Hi Mike,

    I’m using HE-5 with 12 Watt EL34 tubes headphone amp, so driving power is not my problem.

    How about HE-5 compares to HE-500? Will it be a big upgrade? Is HE-500 much more superior than HE-5 with good amp?

    Thanks,

    • Reply June 16, 2011

      Anonymous

      12 Watts EL34 Tubes sounds awesome man. Are you talking about the HE-5
      or the HE-6 here? The HE-500 is quite a big improvement over the HE-5.

      • Reply June 16, 2011

        9homme

        Hi Mike,  I mean HE-5.
        After few weeks using HE-5, I’m really missing  HD650 that was sold because I love it’s 3D sound stage and lovely warm sound.
        Now, I’m looking for something change.

        • Reply June 16, 2011

          Anonymous

          The HE-500 is warmer and has a sweeter mids than the HE-5 so that should
          give you something closer to the HD650.

          On the bottom of the article section I’ve added some comparison to the
          HD650. It should give you a good idea of what to expect.

          • Reply June 16, 2011

            9homme

            Thanks so much Mike.

  • Reply June 28, 2011

    Shahrose

    Excellent review Mike. Having acquired a set of 500s last week, I have to say you nailed the descriptions and comparisons.

    • Reply June 29, 2011

      Anonymous

      Thanks, Shahrose.
      We do seem to have similar ears. 

  • Reply July 2, 2011

    Shahrose

    I agree Mike.
    BTW, I’m thinking of getting an aftermarket copper cable for these to try and address the speed/control issue in the bass. Did you notice any difference in bass control/tightness with the HE6 cable on the HE500?

    • Reply July 2, 2011

      Anonymous

      What I noticed with the HE-6 cable was that the bass is a bit leaner,
      and that tends to make the improve the bass speed.

    • Reply July 2, 2011

      Anonymous

      *that tend to improve the bass speed.

  • Reply July 3, 2011

    sam

    Hi mike,

    Between the he5 and he500, would you say that the he5 offer a much bigger holographic soundstage (not necessarily better ) and better layering than the he500?

    Thanks!

    • Reply July 4, 2011

      Anonymous

      Hi Sam,
      I don’t have the HE-5 with me here, but I think the HE-500 has a better
      soundstage than the HE-5LE, HE-6, and HE-4. It’s probably also better
      than the HE-5.

  • Reply July 6, 2011

    jeffreyfranz

    Mike, a question on choices and trade-offs. I have been thinking about getting one of the newer Lambdas, like the 407 (about $500 new) or the Lambda Nova Signature (LNS; older Stax, price = $400+?). These phones, I think, are fairly close in price. My listening, these  days,  falls into a combo of vocal, jazz,  classical and indie with occasional forays into blues and rock but not as much as in the past. Can you comment on the HE500 vs. one of the Lambdas for applicability to my stated tastes, genre bandwidth, and anything else you might wish to note?  Thanks.

    • Reply July 7, 2011

      Anonymous

      Hi Jeffrey,
      Overall, the HE-500 is just a better all rounder headphone than any of
      the Lambda frame Staxes I’ve reviewed (haven’t listened to the 407, but
      it’s primarily the same design). Staxes are nice in their own way, the
      will give you their own unique electrostatic sound, but at the moment I
      think everyone pretty much agrees that the issue with Stax headphones is
      that it is very difficult to get a solid bass impact from these headphones.

      Genre bandwith, overall, is also better on the HE-500.

      • Reply July 7, 2011

        jeffreyfranz

        Thanks, Mike, good answer covering some important considerations. 

  • Reply July 14, 2011

    Bob

    Hi Mike,
    Which of the LCD-2 and HE-500 have more clear sound with distinct instrument separation?
    Does the HE-500 have speed and bass prat that could keep up with RnB and Hip-Hop type of song?
    Many thanks Mike.

    • Reply July 15, 2011

      Bob

      Any response Mike? Thanks.

      • Reply July 15, 2011

        Anonymous

        Bob,
        Sorry for missing your question earlier. These are flagship
        orthodynamics and they can all keep up with the bass speed needed for
        RnB and Hip Hop fairly easily. For RnB and Hip Hop, the voicing of the
        LCD-2 would be better and the bass quantity too.

        You can read more about this on the HE-500 review, I wrote some
        impressions of it compared to the LCD-2

        http://www.headfonia.com/hifiman-he-500-first-impression/

        • Reply July 18, 2011

          Bob

          I already read the above comparison, but I have some more questions:

          Between those two which is more clear sounding and have distinct instrument separation in your opinion?
          Does the LCD-2 have wider and deeper soundstage than the HE-500? Or it’s the other way around?

          Thanks Mike.

          • Reply July 19, 2011

            Anonymous

            Soundstage performance is better on the LCD-2. Better imaging, blacker background, clearer separation. The HE-500 is more open sounding though.

  • Reply July 16, 2011

    Homme

    hi mike

    do you think that he500 has an ability to be driven with class t 90w speaker amp?
    i’m using he5 but i feel that he5 is too bright for me, so i’m looking for upgrading. which one do you prefer to use with class t 90w amp, he500 or he6?

    thanks

    • Reply July 16, 2011

      Homme

      Another questions mike,

      Will he500 grow up well with 90w speaker amp? or I should look for he6?
      Will he6 too bright for me like he5?
      Thanks

    • Reply July 16, 2011

      Anonymous

      Either the HE-500 or the HE-6 would do fine with a 90w Class-T.

      I’d recommend the HE-500 howeverr, as it is less bright, overall more people seem to like it better, and it runs fine out of just about any of the newer headphone amp even the $250 Schiit Asgard can drive it fine. You can even use the Fiio E11 to drive it.

       

      • Reply July 16, 2011

        Homme

        Hi mike,

        Thanks for you response. Previously, I’m afraid that my 90w t-amp will has an excessive power to be used with he500, since he500 doesn’t need too powerful amp but if you think that he500 will be driven well by this amp, i think i will go with he500 because it’s darker sound compared to he6 and i think i like mid centric headphone.

        • Reply July 16, 2011

          Anonymous

          90watts should be fine. After all you do have control over the power
          output through the volume knob.

  • Reply August 7, 2011

    Mate Mayer

    Hi Mike,
    What would be the better amp to drive the HD650? Burson HA-160 or the Graham Slee Solo SRG II?
    Thanks,
    Mate

    • Reply August 8, 2011

      Anonymous

      The HD650.. I think the Graham Slee is a better pairing, but the Burson has a better bass impact and bass control to deal with HD650’s bass section.

  • Reply August 14, 2011

    Evan

    As a current HD650 user with little to no complaints about the character of the phones themselves, and an individual with 2 sub $1,000 amps (HDP and Solo II), I’m tempted by your no reason not to upgrade stance. The one thing that troubles me however, is that unlike almost everyone involved with headphones, ‘More forward and more engaging’ does not sound appealing to me. I prefer the laid back qualities of the HD650s and really had a problem with the HE5LEs when I owned them (very fatiguing in comparison).

    with this in mind, would you still say that that HE-500s are a significant upgrade? I’ve also heard from many sources that the WA6 + my HD650s would solve all my issues haha.

    • Reply August 15, 2011

      Anonymous

      Hi Evan,
      It actually sounds that you’re finding the laid back signature of the HD650 to be a perfect fit to your ears, and in that case I probably wouldn’t bother upgrading — since that was the main premise behind the “no reason not to ugprade” because people find the laid back signature to be veiled, boring, etc.

      And you’ve got a good amp on your system now anyway. If you find the sound to be perfectly the way you want it to be, but just want to hear more things, more open, clearer, then you can get a DAC upgrade.

      • Reply August 15, 2011

        Evan

        Thanks for the clarification Mike.

        Was thinking of  also consolidating my system to just a Burson 160D (of which I’ve heard many great things of the DAC section). Anyways thanks again for the quick response and keep up the great work with the site!

        • Reply August 15, 2011

          Anonymous

          You’re welcome, Evan.

  • Reply August 25, 2011

    Lxyn14

    Hi Mike,

    Sorry if you’ve already answered this, but what is the best amp youve heard the HE500 on? What would you recommend sub $1,000?

    • Reply August 27, 2011

      Anonymous

      The Apex Peak was probably the best pairing I’ve heard though it’s $2k+. On the $1K level, the Graham Slee Solo SRG II was very good.

  • Reply September 21, 2011

    Themiddlesky

    Hey Mike, 

    between HE500 and T1, which one has better/more accurate imaging?

    And in your article you said LCD2 more to Rock and HE500 more to moderate-slow pace songs, so where the T1 stand?

    • Reply September 21, 2011

      Anonymous

      The T1 is more accurate, and the T1 is also good for Rock. Some people just think it’s too bright and too edgy, where the crowd that likes the T1 think the LCD-2 is too dark and too un-involving.
      Di I say that the HE-500 is moderate to slow pace? I don’t remember ever saying that. The HE-500 is quite fast.

      • Reply September 21, 2011

        Themiddlesky

        well I’m not saying HE500 is moderate-slow headphone (it’s ortho anyway), I just read your conclusion above that HE500 more suitable for moderate-slow songs than LCD2. (because PRaT factor I guess)

        thx then 🙂

        • Reply September 21, 2011

          Anonymous

          Yes, maybe I need to rewrite that sentence. 

          • Reply October 22, 2011

            Themiddlesky

            Mike, have you tried LCD2 rev2? just curious how compare HE500 to it.

            Personaly, I like HE500, just sometimes I feel the vocal is a little bit grainy and the soundstage is a bit too narrow (great depth and height but not enough width), otherwise, everything is already really suit my taste (the vocal presentation is a bit distant, but it’s still acceptable)

            What you think?

          • Reply October 22, 2011

            Anonymous

            The Rev2, imagine the Rev1 LCD-2 with a brighter tone. So it comes down to your preference, the Audeze and the Hifiman both has their own sound.

            As for the vocals being grainy, I don’t remember any of them being grainy.

            The soundstage, the LCD-2 has a better imaging but it feels more closed in.

          • Reply October 23, 2011

            Themiddlesky

            ah.. i see… tq

            perhaps I just used to hear the lush coloration from ATH so I feel a little bit grainy 😀

            the more I listen this HE500, the more I really appreciate it, for now my primary complain only come from the comfort level.

            • Reply October 24, 2011

              Anonymous

              Maybe not grainy, but the HE-500 is definitely less relaxed than the ATHs.

          • Reply October 23, 2011

            Themiddlesky

            ah.. my bad, the more I listen it, the more I realize it isn’t little grainy problem, it’s just a bit lack of focus in the midrange section.

            • Reply October 24, 2011

              Anonymous

              Lack of focus? Really?

          • Reply October 24, 2011

            Themiddlesky

            compare to what I used to hear, yeah I think so 😀

            it’s only slightly and not prevent me to enjoying the midrange though.

  • Reply September 22, 2011

    zorin

    Hello Mike, .. can He-500 be driven by a top range portable amp ? There is an interesting product available now , ” class A ” [ I think the first one ] portable amplifier – Just Audio AHA-120. Did you have a chance to pair this amp. with T1, HE-500 or LCD-2 ? Thanks.

    • Reply September 22, 2011

      Anonymous

      We did a review of the AHA-120 a while ago: http://www.headfonia.com/portable-class-a-just-audio-aha-120/

      and right after that we did the Fiio E11: http://www.headfonia.com/fiio-e11-portable-amplifier/

      The E11 had plenty of power for the HE-500, but not the AHA-120. Now you have to understand that the AHA-120 is about Class-A refinement, and Class-A doesn’t necessarily mean power. With relatively undemanding headphones like the Sennheiser HD800, the refinement on the AHA-120 is very clear and obvious, whereas the E11 is more rough and less refined. With orthos however the E11 did a much better job since it was able to output higher current levels than the AHA-120 can. Actually many of the best sounding portable amp (and even desktop) usually are not as powerful as the lesser cheaper amps. An amplifier designer needs to choose between power level and refinement, and often you can’t get them both in one package.

      • Reply September 25, 2013

        Zeng Ryzon

        how about pairing with Hifi m8? Can it drive?

        • Reply September 26, 2013

          Mike

          HE-500 out of the M8? I think it should be able to, though how well I really can’t say.

          • Reply September 26, 2013

            Zeng Ryzon

            thanks for the reply, will try it myself though.

          • Reply September 26, 2013

            Zeng Ryzon

            Last question,I know it might sound unrelated to the topic,but does the He-400 sounds good in M8? or is it just overkill..

            • Reply September 26, 2013

              L.

              Overkill, the HE-400 sounds good out of pretty much everything

              • Reply September 26, 2013

                Zeng Ryzon

                I see. Is there any “portable” amp/dac that sounds better than this.

            • Reply September 27, 2013

              Mike

              Sorry I don’t think I tried the HE-400 on the M8

  • Reply September 24, 2011

    P. J.

    Mike hi, do you have any issues with the ears touching inner part of the capsule? I am experiencing quite a pain and cannot relax with these. My ears are rather small. The clamping force is not too strong but I think deeper pads are needed.

    • Reply September 24, 2011

      Anonymous

      Hey Peter,
      No I think they’re fine. Maybe I’m just used to pads touching my ears. It happens to my ears on almost all headphones (O2, LCD-2, T1, HD650) except only the HD800.

      • Reply September 25, 2011

        P. J.

        I haven’t had this problem before but somebody told me there is a metal bar that runs across the cup from inside and that is indeed the part that is hurting my ears. So its really putting off and I can’t truly enjoy these headphones.

  • Reply September 27, 2011

    P. J.

    I have posted my impressions on Head-fi. Maybe a bit unconventional impressions but I am not talented or experienced reviewer.
    http://www.head-fi.org/products/hifiman-he-500/reviews/5682

    • Reply September 27, 2011

      Anonymous

      I thought that was a very good review, Peter. Nothing unconventional about it.

  • Reply November 30, 2011

    Mikael

    Hi Mike, I’m really interested in trying out a full size Hifiman phone. I adore the HD650 and I can not stand the highs of the Grado phones. I mostly listen to new and old rock/metal and plan on using the Hifiman phone with a balanced cable from my ibasso DB2. Which Hifiman phone would you recommend? I’m looking for an upgrade from the HD650. Thanks,
    Mikael

    • Reply November 30, 2011

      Mikael

      I meant of course PB2. 🙂

      • Reply December 1, 2011

        Mike

        Hi Mikael,
        The Hifiman HE-500s are great, but I still think that the LCD-2 is the headphone to get for Rock and Metal.
        🙂

      • Reply December 1, 2011

        Mike

        Hi Mikael,
        The Hifiman HE-500s are great, but I still think that the LCD-2 is the headphone to get for Rock and Metal.

    • Reply November 30, 2011

      Lieven V

      Hi Mikael, like you I love the HD650 sound. I still like it alot but ever since I got the HE-500 it’s not been getting a lot of playtime. I find the He-500 more “senn-like” than the LCD-2, so I would recommend the Hifiman he-500. I’ll let Mike answer your amping question as I usually use bigger ss and tube amps with the Hifiman

      • Reply April 18, 2012

        Don Vittorio Sierra

         Are these comments still talking about the he500s when using the velour pads? Or are they also amazing now even with the new stock pads

        • Reply April 18, 2012

          L.

           I have the good old velour pads

          • Reply April 18, 2012

            Don Vittorio Sierra

             Thanks, thats good to know that the velour pads are standing the test of time so far as soundquality is concerned with the he500s

  • Reply December 1, 2011

    Andromeda

    The He-500 is still my favorite Hi-Fi set.   I literally sold off all my Hi Fi sets including the Edition 8, LCD2, HD800, T1 and He-6.   I find it the most pleasing in terms of sonics.  It is not only insanely clear and tonal but it also retains a slight warmth and extreme fun factor.  This formula is rare.   I plan to finally purchase one of my own sometime this week.  I simply cannot handle knowing my loaner HE500 isn’t mine and I have to give it back soon.  

    • Reply December 1, 2011

      Mike

      Yes, I think they really hit the spot with the HE-500. I have to agree with you. Clear – Warm – Fun. I don’t think I’ve heard a sound like the HE-500’s anywhere else.

      • Reply December 1, 2011

        Lieven V

        I love the HE-500. practically all I use nowadays, LCD-2 is sleeping in it’s travel case 🙂

        • Reply December 1, 2011

          Mike

          Well the Shure SE215 is all I use nowadays. Everything else is just hanging unusued on the headphone stand. 😉

          • Reply April 17, 2012

            Fabio_Rocks

            Really? Are the Se215 that good? They are cheap too…

            • Reply April 17, 2012

              Mike

              They’re not perfect, but I just happen to enjoy it.

          • Reply April 17, 2012

            John123John

            wheres the review man? 
            lol

            • Reply April 18, 2012

              Mike

              I don’t plan to do a review on that for the moment. 🙂

          • Reply April 18, 2012

            Fabio_Rocks

            Come on Mike, you can do a review! 😀

            • Reply April 18, 2012

              Mike

              You notice I haven’t done an IEM review for a LOOONG time. 🙂

          • Reply May 21, 2012

            Mike Roderigo

            I guess that might be cause of the nice combo with the tera player isn’t it?I find it funny that in the end (if my first guess is true) with all the expensive headphones that you have on hand , you enjoy a simpler unit but prefers to spend the extra “unreasonable” amount on a great practical/souding devise. It makes me wonder if the pleasure to use things factor isn’t sometimes skipped wrongly in favore of the “superior sound quality” holly graal. Cause in the end what really matters seems to be true enjoyement, and a sufficient level of audio quality, once acieved might only be one part of the equation. kindest regards

          • Reply May 21, 2012

            Mike Roderigo

            I guess that might be cause of the nice combo with the tera player isn’t it?I find it funny that in the end (if my first guess is true) with all the expensive headphones that you have on hand , you enjoy a simpler unit but prefers to spend the extra “unreasonable” amount on a great practical/souding devise. It makes me wonder if the pleasure to use things factor isn’t sometimes skipped wrongly in favore of the “superior sound quality” holly graal. Cause in the end what really matters seems to be true enjoyement, and a sufficient level of audio quality, once acieved might only be one part of the equation. kindest regards

            • Reply May 22, 2012

              Mike

              Yes, at the end it’s always the good sound that we’re after.

              I mean take a look at the Fiio E10. A lot of people, including me and Lieven are truly blown away by how good the thing sounds, and I still use it even today with my laptop and out to something like a Superlux HD661.

              • Reply May 22, 2012

                L.

                I even bought 2, using it daily!

          • Reply May 21, 2012

            Mike Roderigo

            sorry guys for the multiple post, my browser didn’t seems to post, so yes I admit, I’m gilty of having clicked a few times on the “post” button sorry 😉 so mike or lieven you can delete the extra ones.
            kindest regards

    • Reply March 5, 2012

      lofu321

      Hi there, may I know what amp do you pair with the HE-500

  • Reply December 6, 2011

    Turokrocks

    Just got my HE-500 with the new silver cable, all my cables are silver that’s why I made sure that I got the new upgraded cable, I love the can (I have  the Bey1350, Sen25 originals ans Sen598) but this in a complete different  league, thanks for recommending this and for the price update, for anybody thinking about getting this can, get your a$$ and buy it now, its the best investment on audio I have spent…..

    • Reply January 10, 2012

      Guest

      hey turok dude you’re here!! hahaha , so you got a O2 and a Dac port lx. lol you only named dacport and o2 best purchase of 2011 lol what happen to the he 500  ?

  • Reply February 21, 2012

    xNavyblue

    Hi,

    I have compared the HE-500 head to head with the HD650, albeit with my less than ideal portable setup. To my ears, the HE-500 wins by a fairly big margin. Better frequency extension, better transparency, better openness, better clarity, better separation and etc.

    You mentioned that the HD650 has better scalability with the best of amps. I have a Beta 22 at home that I can not use on the audition for obvious reason, do you think that the table would be turned if I have a proper home setup? Specifically in terms of detail, transparency and instrument separation? Also how about the frequency extension?

    On another occasion, I also compared the HD650, HD600 and LCD-2, this time with a better amp (Beyerdynamic A1). I actually prefered the HD600 over the HD650. Again, I don’t have the Beta 22 with me and I don’t know if HD650 would beat the HD600 given the right setup.

    I am considering all the models that I mentioned. What do you think is my best bet? As mentioned I value low level detail, transparency and instrument separation. Also frequency extension at a somewhat lower level. At the moment I seem to be leaning towards the HE-500.

  • Reply March 31, 2012

    Alexander Tilleard

    I am contemplating getting the HE-500’s but I’m not to sure about am amp to go with it. Right now I have the Fiio E10 and E17 as well as the cMoyBB Altoids (1x9V). Is this sufficient if I get a 1/4″ to 1/8″ adapter, or would getting another amp/DAC (under $300) be better? Any suggestions?

    • Reply March 31, 2012

      Mike

      Hi Alexander,
      The E10 actually drives the HE-500 quite well. The E17 and the CmoyBB not so much. Of course a good desktop amp would be good for the HE-500.

  • Reply April 21, 2012

    謝文翊

    Hi Mike,

    Some time ago, you gave me an advice on headphones, HD650 for symphonic works to be exact. Yesterday I finally had the opportunity to audition HD650, HD800, HE-6, HE-500 and LCD-2 in an audio shop. Sadly that HD650 appeared to be in a very poor condition. All of them, except HD650, were paired with EF-6 amplifier and Trigon Recall CD-player. HE-500 sounded phenomenal. They sounded very 3D-like. Imagining was excellent. It felt like that all the instruments and vocal had a full and round body in front. Fortunately HE-500 sounds great on my own Lyr with original GE 6BZ7 tubes, still very easy to enjoy various kinds of music. Thanks for the suggestion. Looking forward to yours and Lieven’s new reviews. 
    Hsieh, Wen-Yi

    • Reply April 23, 2012

      Mike

      Aww sorry it didn’t work out very well. Maybe a different amp? I don’t know how the EF6 sounds.

      • Reply April 23, 2012

        謝文翊

        That particular HD650 in the audio shop can be stated as broken, which had a very loose fit with no death grip at all, if it had any grip. I owned and liked HD580, so I was very disappointed by that. 

        HD650, HE-500 and LCD-2 were first paired with Lyr,and the later two were fine with Lyr. Eventually I bought HE-500 and enjoy it much  now though LCD-2 was most desirable that day. But I can see why HE-500 is not the best cans for symphonies, they don’t have a grand sound for that, still much better than my DT880.

        Perhaps you can do an EF6 review, and I can put in on my long-term wish list.

  • Reply May 18, 2012

    Rachit

    Hello Mike, great review as usual! Love hearing your opinions on all the phones. Right now I’m really struggling between the LCD-2 and HE-500. I mainly listen to electronica related stuff (trance, dubstep, vocal trance, prog etc). From what I’ve gathered the LCD-2 seems to be better than HE-500 in the bass region. Although I don’t know if the bass factor alone makes it better for this genre. For example, I have the Denon AH-D2000 paired with the Fiio E10 and while the bass hits nicely and goes deep, I find it slow throughout and the vocals are a bit laid back. Even my KRK KNS 8400 seem to be faster then the Denon’s. In terms of vocals, I want its presence to be there but not exaggerated, but also not laid back like the Denon. I occasionally listen to classical as well and it seems that HE-500 will be better. Although my phone is going to be for electronica mostly. Somewhere in the comments you said that the HE-500 is better for moderate-paced and LCD-2 for faster paced. I’ve heard that they are actually both fast, so if you could just clarify on the speed. As for amp pairing, right now I have an E10, and was wondering how that would pair with both LCD-2 and HE-500. Although I was eventually planning on getting Schiit Bitfrost and Schiit Lyr for either phones. Any light on this would be useful. What would be the main differences that I could expect for electronica between the LCD-2 and HE-500. Any help on this would be great Mike. Thanks in advance.

    • Reply May 18, 2012

      L.

      When amped properly, both headphones are great. HE-500 is my fav but electronic music might have an edge with the LCD-2, classical with the HE-500. It’s a tough choice yet you’ll be more then satisifed with both.

      • Reply May 18, 2012

        Mike

        I’ll have to vote for the LCD-2 for electronic music.

      • Reply May 19, 2012

        Rachit

        Haha I thought you guys might say LCD-2. Thanks for the reply. In particular, can you guys tell me exactly in what areas the LCD-2 is better suited for electronica than HE-500. One thing I really want with the headphone is detail retrieval. I’ve heard that HE-500 is much better than LCD-2 in that category, so would like your opinion on that. The more I can know the better I will be satisfied in my purchase. Thanks a bunch fellas.

        • Reply May 19, 2012

          Mike

          At the level of the LCD-2 and the HE-500, I don’t think you have to worry about detail retrieval. If you listen to a lot of live Jazz or Classical then you may want to put that into consideration, but electronica recordings don’t quite have that many micro details and either the LCD-2 and the HE-500 can resolve just about any electronica recordings just fine.

          Another thing that I’d be more concerned is the voicing. The voicing of the HE-500 is not quite right for electronica music. Hence, the LCD-2.

  • Reply June 3, 2012

    Victor Halgaard

    I am wondering if HE-6 is as fast as fx. Grado or HD800? I found that fx. Beyer T1 wasn’t fast enough for my tastes…

    • Reply June 4, 2012

      Mike

      fx?

      • Reply June 5, 2012

        Victor Halgaard

        for example 😉

        • Reply June 5, 2012

          Mike

          Victor,
          The HE-6 is as fast as any Grado and faster than a HD800. What confuses me is that you said the T1 is not fast enough? I think the T1 is one of the fastest headphone out there now. By contrast the HD800 is not a fast headphone.

          • Reply June 5, 2012

            Victor Halgaard

            Yea, I’ve really been confused by this, because the tesla technology inherently is extremely fast, but when I listen to fast paced music with a lot going on like a lot of molodic/symphonic/folk -metal, then with the HD800, grado’s and to some extent the HE500 which i just borrowed, all the notes and drum kicks, are each very distinguishable and punchy, where as with the T1 it all tends to meld a bit more together, giving less of a black background, and making the music less detailed/enjoyable. They are great for almost every other genre, but especially the HD800 just seems to bring each little sound in the music more forward and make them more independent somehow, if that makes sense…

            • Reply June 6, 2012

              Mike

              Alright, if that’s the case, and if you find the HE-500 to be good, then I suggest you stick to the HE-500. The HE-6 is faster but amplifier requirements are harder and I’m not sure if you’ll get the same good result as with the HE-500.

              • Reply June 8, 2012

                Victor Halgaard

                I actually seem to have found the solution to the mystery of the T1 sounding that way! If you take a look at the measurements Tyll has made on innefidelity of the T1, you can se that its impulse response is not very punctual – It does not hit the first note very hard, and it resonates for quite long in comparison to others. This would explain why a lot of quick sounds in succession would appear to meld together: because the resonance in fact makes them do just that 🙂

                • Reply June 8, 2012

                  Mike

                  The resonance, yes. The T1 does have a bit of that. Still I think it’s one of the fastest headphones out there. Perhaps for some reason the resonance problem interacts with your recording in a very bad way.

  • Reply June 5, 2012

    Victor Yu

    Hi Mike, do you think the HE500 will match well with the Asgard and WA6-SE? I’m using ATH-W3000ANV and AD1000PRM now, will HE500 give me something very different ?

    • Reply June 5, 2012

      Mike

      The HE-500 will be quite different yes. You already own the Asgard and the WA6SE, or are you looking to buy them?

      • Reply June 5, 2012

        Victor Yu

        Yes I own both amp now, would they be good for HE500? I thought the ATH are with very unique characteristic individually, but both of them are not good for fast pace and rock but excellent in vocals I guess. What Pros and Cons I would expect if I get the HE500 to my setup?

        • Reply June 5, 2012

          Mike

          Well first I don’t think that either amp is good for the HE-500. Sorry..
          If you want fast pace Rock, maybe go with the LCD-2 which I feel would be better with the WA6SE.

          • Reply June 7, 2012

            Victor Yu

            Hi Mike, I tried the HE500 using Ipod + RSA-71A and it sounds good to me and it beats the HD650 by a margin. Could you tell me know why my two desktop amp won’t be able to drive it well? I really like the natural sounding of this headphone

            • Reply June 7, 2012

              Mike

              I don’t know but I tried the HE-500 out of those two amps and find them lacking.

              • Reply June 7, 2012

                Victor Yu

                Lacking means not bring out the true sound of the headphone? Or even sound horrible? But driving with the 71A seems ok for me

                • Reply June 8, 2012

                  Victor Yu

                  Hi Mike what’s your feedback on this? Or is it because the RSA-71A can drive the HE500 well so I’m much impressed?

                  • Reply June 8, 2012

                    Mike

                    I don’t really understand the question here.

                    • June 8, 2012

                      Victor Yu

                      When I tried the HE500 I used My RSA-71A and I really like the sound and tempted to buy, but u mentioned that both my Asgard and WA6SE won’t drive it well, so I wonder why and will u consider the RSA-71A driving this headphone well?

                    • June 9, 2012

                      Mike

                      I haven’t tried the 71A with the HE-500, but I’ve tried it with the two desktop amps you said and I don’t think they’re a good pair.

                    • June 9, 2012

                      Victor Yu

                      If I really like the sounding of the HE500, any alternatives you will recommend to me, which give me good natural sounding and can match with both my amps?

                    • June 9, 2012

                      Mike

                      Try the Alessandro MS-Pro. It’s not going to be like the HE-500 but it’s very nice in its own sense, and should go very well with the Woo.

                    • June 9, 2012

                      Victor Yu

                      I read your previous review about it but you recommended theRS1 over it and said that it’s good for classical music, however I don’t listen to classical at all, just want something with neutral sounding, good for various genre of music, that’s why I was aiming at the HE500, will you have other recommendation for me?

                    • June 11, 2012

                      Mike

                      You want something neutral, right? The RS1 is never described as neutral.

                    • June 11, 2012

                      Mike

                      Or if you really like the HE-500, get the Graham Slee Solo SRG II amp. http://www.headfonia.com/graham-slee-desktop-amps-novo-solo-srg-ii-solo-ultra-linear/

                    • June 11, 2012

                      Victor Yu

                      Actually my next amp I’m looking at the Burson, do you think it will be a good match to the HE-500? Either HA-160 or the new Soloist

                    • June 13, 2012

                      Victor Yu

                      Hi Mike, do you think the Burson can match the HE-500 well?

  • Reply August 17, 2012

    Rachit

    Hi Mike, I’m a bit confused about your opinion on Schiit Asgard with HE-500. I have the HE-500 and am really interested in buying the Asgard. In your other article “Triple Schiit…” you at first said that Asgard won’t work well with the HE-500 and then updated to say that it works well with it. In the comments here, you again said that the Asgard won’t be a good match for the HE-500. I would really appreciate you clarifying on what your opinion is of the Asgard with HE-500 as of now. I read that HE-500 needs 1W at 32 ohms and Asgard does just a little bit more. Some people have said that the Asgard can get fully dynamic from Asgard but others find it completely dull (especially when compared to the Lyr). Any comments on sorting this out would be really helpful. Thanks, Mike.

    • Reply August 17, 2012

      Mike

      Sorry for the confusion.
      I just never think that the Asgard is a good match for the HE-500. If you are on a tight budget it would do, but I just never think that the Asgard is a good pairing with the HE-500.

      • Reply August 17, 2012

        Rachit

        Any other amp in this price range that you think is better with HE-500. How do you find the Lyr with the HE-500?

        • Reply August 18, 2012

          Mike

          So far, I haven’t quite find a better amp for the HE-500 than the Graham Slee, or more expensive ones like the Burson Soloist. The Lyr I didn’t quite like either.

          • Reply August 18, 2012

            Rachit

            I’ll check out the Graham and Burson as well. What exactly did you not like about the Lyr and Asgard with the HE-500?

            • Reply August 18, 2012

              Mike

              Rachit,
              I just didn’t think they were good pairings.

  • Reply August 29, 2012

    Pinoi Sufi

    Mike, so you would say with HE-500 is not the best synergy with Mk3-B? (based on your comment in Mk3-B) Because currently im funding for HE-500 and go with portable DAC and portable amp. Do you have any suggestion mike? Sorry I’ve been looking for the answer around but still couldnt get one.

  • Reply September 2, 2012

    Jliu

    Hello Mike,

    I have the MKIIIB amp and run it with a Cypher Solo. Source is Iphone 4s.

    Would you recommend the HE-6 or the HE-500?

    I really liked the LDC-3 on my set up and thought they were significantly better than the LDC-2.

    • Reply September 3, 2012

      Mike

      Jliu,
      The HE-6 is more impressive, the HE-500 warmer. I think it’s up to you to decide.

      • Reply September 4, 2012

        Jliu

        Just listened to the HE-6, HE-500, and HE-400(all in single ended config). With my configuration the HE-6 sounded fantastic for classical and vocal but was unable to handle big bass. I tried it on Boom Boom Pow from Black Eye Peas and the MKIII-B/Solo was unable to power it fully.
        Decided to go with the HE-500. My configuration had no problems with the LDC-2 or LDC-3.

        I personally liked the HE-500 over the LDC-2 and just couldn’t justify the cost differential of the HE-500 and the LDC-3. While the LDC-3 definitely was better it isn’t worth 3x the price to me.

        From what I could tell the MKIIIB definitely can NOT sufficiently power the HE-6. Even if it didn’t have the bass issues … I had to have it on hi-gain on max volume and would have liked it to have been even louder.

  • Reply September 16, 2012

    Nick Tam

    I think “HD650 on a sub $1000 amp, the HE-500 is far easier to enjoy and appreciate” doesn’t hold as true as it used to now 😉

    • Reply September 17, 2012

      Mike

      Good one, Nick. 🙂

      Yes that’s true with all the newer amps coming out.

  • Reply October 13, 2012

    Jack Knight

    what is “minimum” amp to make he-500 sounds good?

    • Reply October 15, 2012

      Mike

      I’ve been recommending people to go with the Burson Soloist or the Graham Slee Solo SRG II.

  • Reply October 15, 2012

    L.

    Exactly my fav amp and tubes with the HE-500!!

  • Reply October 15, 2012

    Mike

    I need to have a listen to the 339 one day. I won’t be surprised if it turns out to be a giant killer.

    • Reply October 15, 2012

      L.

      No indonesian guys with a 339 you can borrow?

      • Reply October 15, 2012

        Mike

        Nobody I know

        • Reply October 15, 2012

          L.

          Ask on our Facebook page! 🙂

  • Reply October 16, 2012

    cchristofer

    I cant decide between the HE-500 and the T1’s 🙁
    I’m coming from HD 600 with Schiit Asgard and HRT Music Streamer II.
    I think to upgrade the amp later..but I must make a choice between the headphones first.

    I mostly listen to:
    Film Scores
    Singer/Songwriter
    Classical,Minimalist
    Progressive Rock

    Any thoughts between the HE-500 and the T1’s?

    • Reply October 16, 2012

      Mike

      With the Asgard I think the T1 is the better pairing.

      Looking at your music, I also think the T1 would be a better headphone.

      • Reply October 25, 2012

        cchristofer

        Hi Mike again,

        I have the T1 now and I’m really pleased with it, It’s like an HD 600 with bigger sound stage and more details I have the Beyer dt250 to and all three have similar sound signature, at least for me it sounds so.

        The T1 is so awesome with film scores and classical:)
        Do you think I can get more sound of the T1? If I change amp?
        Do you think the Crack,Valhalla should be good? Or woo’s wa2 but it’s so big so I’m not leaning towards wa2 but I have heard it’s a great match with T1.

  • Reply November 11, 2012

    ScottSegal

    Hi Mike ,

    It seems the more I search for my next phones , the further from a decision I get.I already have the T1’s , and am very happy with them along with my LA7000’s and a few lower end moded pairs.I have a Liquid Fire amp, and am searching for the ultimate match.First the LCD3 was my target, but recently I have been reading comments that have moved me from them to the HD800.Now I have been reading about serial # batch and brightness issues regarding the HD800, and db inconsistencies , HELP!

    I am looking to spend up to 2 grand, but don’t want a peripheral to the T1’s , no point in that.Any advice would be appreciated .

  • Reply November 22, 2012

    Kis Ákos

    Hi Mike!

    I now have an Apex Butte, and planning to buy a pair of HE500’s.
    Do you think the Butte would power them well?
    Or have you heard them together? If not , can you try them out, and report back?

  • sorry do a question of this type again but i will buy a headphone for xmas and i thinking on buy the he500 with a amp and dac and the ”closed” lcd 2 next year,which is the ”best” amp for the lcd 2 and he 500 under 800?i know the the pan am is nice with the lcd 2 and not that great with the he 500 and with the la figarro is the oppositeand the v200 is great fr both but it is out of my budget same with the decware taboo

    • Reply December 15, 2012

      Julius

      I’d go for the Apex Butte or the Bottlehead Crack with a ton of upgrades. Stock Bottlehead Crack is one of the best Amps sub $1000, but with the Speedball and other little upgrades here and there you can do wonders…

      • Reply December 15, 2012

        Trent_D

        The Crack wont drive the he500, though. The Sex kit might. The Butte or the EF5 would be the ones I would look at for the hifiman.

        • Reply December 15, 2012

          Julius

          Nah, my basic crack drives the He500 well. Not the best it can be, but nicely and I’ve no desire to upgrade. Hell, my Aune T1 Dac drives it nicely as well, but the Crack is much better. If solid state were needed, I wouldnt touch anything else but the Apex Butte for that budget.

          • Reply December 15, 2012

            Trent_D

            The Crack really drives the he500?! No distortion? and what differences are you finding between rev 2 of the he400 and the original?

            • Reply December 15, 2012

              Julius

              Basic Crack has enough power, hell it drives the HD800 nicely. Like I said above, with certain parts the Crack can be tailored for anything. Basic Crack will have distortion, the parts do not work right with Orthos.

              I do not have the original HE400s on hand, not much I can say except that I am really loving the latest HE400. Peter at Hifiman told me it was tweaked a lot and fixed a lot of issues with the last version.

              • Reply December 15, 2012

                L.

                I don’t really agree the Crack does anything good for the HE500. That’s an awful combo. Rev1 vs Rev 2 HE400 should be up this week!

                • Reply December 15, 2012

                  Julius

                  I was given some bad info, I was wrong. I was told Bottlehead had parts designed to make good with Orthos but it cost a lot to upgrade. This isn’t true, investigated this last night and early this morning, thankfully I did. I apologize for that misinformation.

                  By the Way, L. Are you reviewing the brand new HE400 revision? Hifiman just sent me their latest version yesterday.

                  • Reply December 15, 2012

                    L.

                    yes, it will be online this week!

                  • Reply December 15, 2012

                    Trent_D

                    You’re fired!

                    • December 15, 2012

                      Julius

                      :[

          • really?but the crack isnt a OTL? i thinking in the pan am for a all in one solution and portability but now i am thinking about the butte,any detaild about the sound about it with lcd 2 or he 500? thanks again

            • Reply December 17, 2012

              L.

              Julius is mistaken, The crack is no good for the HE500. You need the SEX from Bottlehead

              • Reply December 17, 2012

                Julius

                Nope. I was right all along. There was sort of an upgrade that made good with Orthos. Some guys working on it who had it working mentioned this on the Bottlehead Forums. Never said the stock Crack was good for the HE500, I said that it has enough driving capability for it, but it will be distorted and that upgrades might exist for it to make it sound right. Stock Crack has the push capability to get the volume out of it, but it is distorted on the low end and feels Reverb heavy. I mentioned a few times that there were upgrades for the Bottlehead. Some told me this was not true, I shrugged and apologized for the bad info. But, my information was right. There are upgrades for the Bottlehead that work well with the HE500 and HE6 apparently.

                http://www.bottlehead.com/smf/index.php/topic,2520.0.html

                • Reply December 17, 2012

                  Trent_D

                  Well, let’s all be fired and go get a drink.

          • but this amp of buttlehead the sex it can drive the lcd 2 and he 500? i saw i their website it can drive the akg k1000(just wow ) and any review about this amp anytime soon ?

            • Reply December 17, 2012

              Mike

              The SEX looks like a powerful amp and I don’t doubt its ability to drive those headphones. How good does it drive those headphones? That I’m not so sure, and I haven’t really plan a review for the SEX.

              • Reply December 17, 2012

                L.

                Sure we do, 2013 😉

  • Reply December 16, 2012

    Edwin

    Use a Burson Soloist with the 500, the gain selector makes this combo amazing to listen too.

    • Reply December 16, 2012

      L.

      I prefer the HE500 on a really warm sounding amp. Personal preferences 🙂

      • Reply December 16, 2012

        Julius

        x2

        • Reply December 31, 2012

          Hagos Rush

          So while I await the Magni review, I must state that I am still new at the amp for headphone business. I have been fighting to find the correct pair of headphones for the past five years returning and purchasing too many models to count until I found this site. I have a pair of Ultimate Ears which I have fallen in love with but for the sibilance when I drive them which I am still not very happy about, So please forgive my ignorance, but are you talking about the Burson or a different type of amp?

          • Reply January 1, 2013

            Julius

            I tend to agree, warm and spacious amplifiers with 1w or better output power is the wisest path to take for the HE500. I loved the Burson HA160 ( never heard the Dac version ). If I could own one sub $1000 amp, it might be the last gen HA160, I think I enjoyed the HA160 more than the Soloist.

  • Reply December 31, 2012

    Hagos Rush

    Great Review, I am looking to purchase a pair of these for my belated Christmas gift. I have a great headphone output on my Sony receiver at home and need something portable while on the go. I am currently looking at the FIIO E17 which has received some good remarks all around.

    Would the FIIO do justice to these headphones or would you recommend comething a little heavier?

    Thanks in advance

    • Reply December 31, 2012

      Gorboman

      I’d go with something heavier, like an L3.

      • Reply December 31, 2012

        Hagos Rush

        Do you have another option that is not $800?
        I still have to buy a receiver for the house 🙂

        • Reply December 31, 2012

          Gorboman

          Hmm… I know mostly still above $500 and not that far from $800. Like ALO RX MK3-B or Portaphile 627.

        • Reply January 1, 2013

          Ken Stuart

          Another option that is not $800, in terms of an amp for the HE500, IS a receiver for the house – with a headphone jack.

          • Reply January 1, 2013

            Gorboman

            This, and the impression to my old Sansui at the year end meet in Mike’s store, made me continue my hunt on yet another vintage receiver. 😀

    • Reply December 31, 2012

      Julius

      I just listed my HE500 for sale. Skip the E17 unless you need the Dac as well, the new Schiit Magni is a better fit. ( My review on it is coming later this week ). The E17 doesn’t have enough power to get the job done, in my opinion. Sitting here with all of the above mentioned, the Magni is much better and cheaper, but less portable obviously.

      If you are interested in a used HE500, let me know 🙂

      • Reply December 31, 2012

        Hagos Rush

        THank you for your response, I will await the Schiit Magni review and some of the other one’s other members have suggested as well.

        I am absolutely interested but it will be a little while in the wait. I am going to use my tax refund for this. By that time they will probably be gone but I will remember you in case they are not!

        • Reply January 1, 2013

          Julius

          The Magni is a better fit with any headphones that have a smooth linear sound. The Magni+HE500 is MUCH better than the HE400+Magni…

          HE400+Magni combo is just about the worst thing I’ve heard in years.

          • Reply January 1, 2013

            Hagos Rush

            The Magni sounds like a win win for the home. Cheap and it is great. What is your take on something portable for the HE-500? Preferably something that does not cost as much as the headphones.

            • Reply January 1, 2013

              Julius

              I wouldn’t recommend anything portable for the HE500, especially not on a budget.

  • Reply January 7, 2013

    Jonathan Yen

    Do you think the EF-5 will be a good match with the HE-500?

    • Reply January 7, 2013

      Mike

      Hi Jonathan,
      Assuming it has enough power for the HE-500, I think tonally the two should be a great match. And I do think that the EF-5 is one of the more powerful amps out there and shouldn’t have any problem driving the HE-500.

      Unfortunately I can’t give you a direct impression, don’t remember if I’ve tried the 500 out of that amp.

  • Reply May 26, 2013

    Cris

    Hi,
    Very interesting review and comments!
    I have read that Audiolab M-DAC is not a high-end product but quite a good DAC. Does anyone has experience with the built-in headphone amplifier? Would this amplifier be sufficient for HE-500?
    KR,
    Cris

    • Reply May 27, 2013

      Mike

      I’ve used the MDAC with the Lcd 2 and the result was good. I don’t think that its headphone amp is a powerhouse and though should be able to drive the HE500 to sufficient dynamics

      • Reply May 27, 2013

        L.

        I tried the MDac with the HE-500 and wasn’t impressed. The Dac part is good but they just should have kept it a DAC only

        • Reply May 29, 2013

          Cris

          What about Naim DAC-V1, does anyone has experience with the built-in headphone amplifier, would this amplifier be sufficient/adequate for HE-500?

          • Reply May 30, 2013

            Mike

            Sorry not me, never heard the Naim.

            • Reply June 12, 2013

              Cris

              Are there any opinions for the headphone amplifier from Musical Fidelity M1SDAC ? The price is just between Audiolab M-DAC and Naim DAC-V1.

  • Reply June 6, 2013

    GrizzlybEast

    on a sub 1000 dollar set up, which one would have clearer male vocals.
    Do you have any impressions on it vs. the 5le.

  • Reply November 14, 2013

    ανώνυμος

    Interesting that you recommend the LCD2 for electronic music when I absolutely love the HE-500 for electronic. Especially with female vocals. I like the sub-bass in the HE-500 and highs compared to the LCD2. I use the LCD2’s specifically for rock.

    • Reply November 14, 2013

      L.

      It depends on the kind of electronic music. With deep bass and vocals, slower electronic music I would recommend the HE500. With hard punchy bass and fast electronic music like Skrillex or Netsky, I use and recommend the LCD-2

  • Reply February 18, 2014

    Shilelis

    Hey,
    What amp and DAC you can suggest for HE-500? budget 200-300$(for both or just for amp, DAC isn’t very important now).

    • Reply February 18, 2014

      L.

      In that price range I can’t think of anything, sorry

      • Reply February 18, 2014

        Shilelis

        Hmm, maybe in 300-400$ price range you can advice?

        • Reply February 18, 2014

          L.

          We usually suggest the V800; V200 combo in balanced

          • Reply February 18, 2014

            Shilelis

            Thank god I have spare 1700 euro.

            • Reply February 18, 2014

              L.

              hahaha. for a headphone like this you should have an amp & dac budget much bigger to get the very best result. That said, there always is cheaper and good

              • Reply February 18, 2014

                Shilelis

                There’s O2+ODAC Combo or NFB-15.32 – audio-gd priced very well and that can work well with he-500 I think. It’s not must to buy a 1700euro amp with dac 😀 ( I guess)

                • Reply February 18, 2014

                  L.

                  Please don’t go O2/ODac for your HE500

                  • Reply February 18, 2014

                    Shilelis

                    And what about Magni Modi combo? In the future I could buy better ones like Lyr and bitfrost.

                    • February 18, 2014

                      L.

                      O2 and Schiit, you really know how to pick my least favorite products man :). You better ask someone else like Dave or Dale about those, sorry but I can’t help you

  • Reply February 19, 2014

    Tom

    Hi,

    Why haven`t you tested Lehmann Rhinelander? It has had very good reviews. And the price is very attractive @ 350€. I think people would want to see more of cheaper amplifiers/headphones etc and really hear the thruth is it worth it to pay more. Can normal guy here it or is it just goldears review talk.

    Also would like to know these:

    200€ headphone plus 100€ amp (o2/Schiit) VS 500€ amp (A20) (How much the sound is better, can normal guy hear it easily?)

    500€ headphone plus 100€ amp / ~200-350€ amp (what you gain in sound by better amp, is it necessary to buy expensive amp, everyone says put more money to headphones, is it possible to get nice sound when amp costing much less than heaphones etc)

    It would be nice if you do tests for normal people, everone doesn`t have the money or don`t want to buy 1000€ amps etc. Approach the test little differently, maybe take some normal guy who listen music often in the test and blind test him etc. You guys have heard so many dirty costing systems that when you hear these cheapos you say bad words from them.

    • Reply February 19, 2014

      L.

      Cause Lehman didn’t even bother to reply to my sample request. In audio there is something like diminishing return ($$$)

      • Reply February 19, 2014

        dalethorn

        Some things just take care of themselves – that works for me.

    • Reply February 19, 2014

      Dave Ulrich

      Hmmm, I am pretty sure there are some very positive reviews of cheaper sound gear on headfonia, having written a few of them myself.

      • Reply February 19, 2014

        L.

        Exactly Dave. I didn’t really appreciate this comment either. That being said, maybe audio prices are going up constantly and maybe this isn’t a site where we review every cheap bit of gear that is released.

        But I’m curious, what “cheaper” gear would you want to see reviewed then, @disqus_duGlvEUTq7:disqus

  • […] cable. Retails for $1,388 on Treoo, selling at only $790 neg. Pls whatsapp/SMS 97634523. Reviews: Hifiman HE-500 Review 6moons audio reviews: HifiMan HE-500 Review: HiFiMan HE-400 and HE-500 Headphones | Sound & […]

  • Reply August 14, 2014

    L.

    The HE-500 has been officially discontinued. I advise everyone to buy one of the last ones around. Now!

    • Reply September 17, 2015

      Yaroslav

      Does the comparison (TL;DR “if you’re poor or just starting, go with 500”) stand with 400i/560?

  • Reply May 23, 2015

    Anon

    Hi guys,

    Would the Fiio X5 be able to drive these?

    • Reply May 23, 2015

      Headfonia_L.

      not at all

      • Reply May 23, 2015

        Anon

        Hmm thanks.
        Sorry its a bit off topic but I’m considering upgrading my headphones to something better, I currently have fidelio L1’s. Whats the best pair of headphones i could get away with, paired with the X5? I like hip hop and also a lot of country/folky music.

  • Reply June 10, 2015

    Mark

    Thank you for this review. This one and others helped me deciding to buy a HE-500. I’ve read numerous reviews mentioning the slight sparkly treble on this can. I plan to swap the stock silver cable for the copper one, but I’d also like to know which budget amps are mild in treble, in case the cable doesn’t tame it enough. I heard the Burson Conductor or Violectric offerings have the sound I’m looking for, but they are far out of my price range for now. I realize a €300 amp doesn’t do my new headphone justice, but that amount will have to do for now. I currently use a Schiit Magni with my HD600, but that amp is too hot in the treble for my liking and will soon go. Are there any other budget amps that provide 1W + like the magni, but have more forgiving highs?

    • Reply June 10, 2015

      dalethorn

      Maybe a tube amp?

      • Reply June 10, 2015

        Mark

        That would help out with the highs, but power would then be an issue. Hybrids could be an option, but a second hand Schiit Lyr is also not warm enough for my taste.

        • Reply June 10, 2015

          dalethorn

          I’m not sure on the power issue – I thought most of the decent tube amps had lots of power. I have a $110 or so tube amp that I think would drive anything. Bravo Ocean.

  • Reply November 5, 2015

    Jonathan Hwang

    If my amp is the violectric v200, would you say the he500 or the hd 650 is the way to go?

    • Reply November 5, 2015

      Dave Ulrich

      Honestly, most anything is the way to go with that amp. What is your source? What kind of music do you enjoy?

    • Reply November 5, 2015

      Headfonia_L.

      They both are excellent on the V200

    • Reply November 5, 2015

      Jonathan Hwang

      I mostly listen to instrumental/classical with a bit of jazz rock and electronic. My source is the Geek pulse Sfi

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