Hifiman HE-560: The XL* Ortho

Disclaimer: Hifiman sent me a review sample of their new unit. Hifiman is not a site sponsor.

I think everyone was, no wait correct that, still is extremely excited about Hifiman’s latest headphone ever since they announced it so many months ago. The Hifiman HE-500 is one of my all-time favorite headphones and so I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. But oh my, that didn’t turn out the way I had hoped.

An Early Disappointment

When I received the first HE-560 the lovely wooden box was damaged. Not only that but it was full of greasy finger prints under the wrapping. Not a good start but ok it’s just a box, right? The cups on the new Hifiman were wooden (Teak) and after the box and prints, I immediately turned on the lights for a closer inspection of the headphone. And yes, my disappointment only got bigger.

There were scratches caused by friction where the headphone is connected to the headband. I found multiple dents in the grill and the wood, which also had chips out of it. The ear pads were too small for my tiny ears, had extremely bad stitching and weren’t symmetric. To top it off there was a huge dried drop of varnish on the Teak on one side. “Oh my” I said to myself, “consumers get this for $899?” Immediately the HE400 driver story came in to mind but I didn’t report about all of it in my first article because Hifiman reacted incredibly fast to this and apparently I wasn’t the only one. I wrote: “The build quality does not seem stellar to me and I’m waiting for feedback from Hifiman on this so I prefer not to go into detail as this might be related to this being an early review sample”.

Sound wise the first HE-560, which came with a bulky plastic cable, sounded pretty much as the one I have now, only the mids in the new version are much nicer (less cold). But anyway, after reporting these issues to Hifiman they asked me to send back the HE-560 immediately, which I did. The headphone I had been looking forward to only rested on my head for about an hour before going back to the US of A.

The Rebirth

Hifiman took my remarks and those from the early adopting Head-fi community very seriously and they promised to come back with an improved version of the HE-560. The waiting, again, had begun.

When the second version arrived (in an improved box with a nicely sleeved crystalline copper and crystalline silver cable), the full Teak cups had gone and were replaced by a veneer over plastic design reminding me a little of the look of the LCD-X( C) cups. According to Hifiman, the veneer is more than 1mm thick so they call it bowed wood. I will come back to cable later.

No more scratches and dents this time. Everything was in perfect condition. Happy me! I just have one remark I will get back to. The pads are pleather on the outside and velour on the “inside”. They are extremely soft and shaped like the Audeze pads but in a smaller degree. “We improved the driver damping so the new 560 has more bass if you are using the old ear pad. However the new ear pad is more open for better high/mid clarity”. I have to go from memory but for me personally the change in sound with the new pads is minimal. The new pads however started a completely new craze on Head-fi and so I unsubscribed from the thread. Enough is enough. The detachable pads, in combination with the extremely good suspended head band design and the light drivers, make the Hifiman HE-560 one of the lightest and most comfortable Orthodynamic Headphones on the planet. You hardly notice it on your head, no painful feeling on top, no death grip and perfect sealing pads. It can’t get much better really. What a design! I love the HE-500 but the comfort is so so, it doesn’t really fit small heads and it isn’t the most comfortable fit. After a few hours the HE-500 starts to hurt on top of your head from the headband and the cups are so big they don’t seal well on everyone’s head. (velour pads do help for comfort)

I personally think their new creation looks stunning. It is a slick design but people in the office do look weird at me as they’re not used to the head band system, which does kind of stick out and looks funny on your head. I have to agree with that but let them laugh. Best comfort ever!

So the new HE-560 which is available now is perfect and has no more issues? I’m not saying no single new HE-560 will ever have a problem but that goes for all headphones, no, all tech products worldwide. I’m a quite critical guy and I have only one complaint about the cosmetics of my specific unit: the color of the veneer on both cups doesn’t match and I think that sucks (see picture). None of my LCD’s have that issue. But ok, I can live with that. I’m happy with how it turned out. Very happy.

It continues on the next page

Hifiman HE-560: The XL* Ortho
4.2 (83.26%) 43 votes

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Lieven is living in Europe and he's the leader of the gang. Coming from a musical family he's always been interested in good sound. Unlike his family members the only musical instruments he plays are amps and DACs. He loves playing with old tubes and discovering new products while staying faithful to the good old Sennheiser HD650.

142 Comments

  • Reply August 14, 2014

    L.

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

    • Reply August 14, 2014

      George Lai

      But I love my HE-400.

      • Reply August 14, 2014

        L.

        Sorry no, you have to buy this one 🙂

        • Reply February 6, 2015

          Ojasvi

          Hi Headfonia…How does the the HE560 & T1 compares in Bass department…Quality/Quanitity/Texturing wise as I have heard that on T1 its very easy to hear the Bass-notes i.e. how they are made up of.

      • Reply August 24, 2014

        Igor Sheykin

        Yeah, I love my 400 too! BUT only with Mr Speakers Alpha Pads. With default pads sound is much worse.

        • Reply August 24, 2014

          George Lai

          I use Audeze LCD2 pads with mine.

  • Reply August 14, 2014

    Rūdolfs Putniņš

    After I sort the DAC situation out these might be my next headphones.

    • Reply August 14, 2014

      L.

      They won’t disappoint if you want neutral 🙂

      • Reply August 14, 2014

        Rūdolfs Putniņš

        That’s exactly what I’m trying to achieve in my gear. The Paradox so far has given me just that!

  • Reply August 14, 2014

    tre54321

    “Noir Hybrib HPC” – You might want to correct this, L. 😛

    • Reply August 14, 2014

      L.

      oh no. 1 typo. corrected 😉

  • Reply August 14, 2014

    V__K

    So tempted to pick up a pair.

    Any ideas how they’ll sound driven from a Matrix M-Stage (basically a re-badged Lehman Black Cube Linear)?

    Currently running a HE-400 from them and they are powered nicely, although after reading the review the HE-560 might be a tiny bit harder to drive.

    • Reply August 14, 2014

      L.

      I don’t have that amp here. They are just as hard to drive as the HE-500s if that helps you.

      • Reply August 14, 2014

        V__K

        Ahhhh! So many decisions.
        Bite the bullet and go for a Schiit stack (Bifrost + Lyr2)?

        Wish I could try the HE-560 with both set ups side by side.

  • Reply August 14, 2014

    dalethorn

    From the descriptions in this review, the signature or tuning should be similar to the MrSpeakers Alpha Dog?

    • Reply August 14, 2014

      L.

      to me it’s more clearer, more detailed and has more air/open sound

      • Reply August 14, 2014

        Patrick

        So does it mean it is better for short sessions? hot tremble isn’t my style, but the headband is a great addition. Miss those headphones, because after 1-2h my head hurts of the weight… Philips X1/X2 as example and akg k/q701

        • Reply August 14, 2014

          L.

          Like I said I use it for 7 hour sessions daily, with an aftermarket cable to trim down the treble

          • Reply August 23, 2014

            Patrick

            Sry, didn’t saw your comment on this. But one thing is for sure, this baby will come in my collection. Btw. What is your opinion on vincent khv-111 mk II as pairing for orthodox headphones L?

            • Reply August 23, 2014

              L.

              I honestly have no clue what that even is

              • Reply August 23, 2014

                Patrick

                Just a amp which uses tubes and transistors – also a hybrid amp

      • Reply August 19, 2014

        lowbies

        Which one is more clearer, detailed and open sounding? The AD or HE560?

        • Reply August 19, 2014

          L.

          Easy: the HE560 of course

          • Reply August 19, 2014

            lowbies

            Thank you L…but it just make me more confused to decide.. HE560 vs AD or wait for TH500RP.. 🙁

    • Reply August 19, 2014

      ohm image

      Don’t say that word! I want one so badly. You selling?

  • Reply August 14, 2014

    Jonas Fre

    So hard to take this site and review seriously with all the cable comparisons. LOL.

  • Reply August 15, 2014

    Sam

    L, I have the T-90, which you like very much as well. How do they compare? Do you think it is still worth it to add the HE-560 to my collection as well?

    • Reply August 16, 2014

      L.

      I wouldn’t keep them both that’s for sure. It depends if you want the ortho sound or not

  • Reply August 18, 2014

    ghost2031 S23

    Nice review Lieven,
    i will probably wait till the Price goes down just like with the HE-500 happened (which i have and very happy with them).
    One question though, are the Earpads smaller than with the HE-500 or same size?

    Thanks

    • Reply August 18, 2014

      L.

      thank you. First they were, but with the 2nd sample they were back to the old HE-500 size, maybe a tad smaller but I can’t feel them against my ears

  • Reply August 23, 2014

    Tibor

    Hi there. Can you tell me if these headphones would be a perfect match for the Alo PanAm? Or better to go with T90? Thank you 🙂

    • Reply August 23, 2014

      L.

      Depends on the sound you want. I would not use the pan am for the he560

      • Reply October 10, 2014

        Tronco

        Hi L. Could you expand on that? I am seriously considering getting the He-560 and I have a PanAm and a Yulong U100. The budget right now would only cover the headphone…

        Cheers,
        tronco

        • Reply October 10, 2014

          Headfonia_L.

          I always found the PanAm to sound light. It sounds good but light. The 560 is a very clean, tight, fast headphone. TO me it can use an amp with more body, that’s why I wouldn’t recommend the Panam for it but that’s my personal taste

          • Reply October 11, 2014

            Tibor

            Hmm, could different tubes change it? I am just reading your B T90 review again, could be these (if he 560 not) a good match for PanAm? I would like to add Concero HD in the mix too, what do you think? Thank you

            • Reply October 11, 2014

              Headfonia_L.

              T90 and HE560 are somewhat in the same sound type category. For me the same goes for the T90 and the PanAm. too little body…

              • Reply October 11, 2014

                Tibor

                Tell me what are the best headphones for PanAm please before I will become crazy! 😀 LCD -2? I like balanced sound, maybe bit more bass and not too bright or too dark. Aah, thank you

                • Reply October 11, 2014

                  Headfonia_L.

                  LCD2 is nice indeed. very well balanced but don’t expect the bass to be “extra”

                  • Reply October 11, 2014

                    Tibor

                    If the bass is there and not missing at all, I am a happy man 😉 OK so one last question please. Overall sound quality, detail and musicality, who wins and by how much? And then again considering that LCD 2 is double the price than B T90 in EU? Many thanks, really, this is the only way for me to choose 🙂 🙂 🙂

                    • October 11, 2014

                      Headfonia_L.

                      you talking about headphones or amps now?

                    • October 11, 2014

                      Tibor

                      Headphones LCD 2 vs T90

          • Reply October 11, 2014

            Tibor

            Has Beyerdynamic A20 more body than PanAm? Thanks 🙂

            • Reply October 11, 2014

              Headfonia_L.

              yes but it has less detail, sound stage and clarity

          • Reply October 13, 2014

            Tronco

            Thanks, I think I know what you mean. Well, I think I got to keep on saving until I can afford a good matching amp as well or just get a pair of LCD-2s. Mike seemed to like the LCD-2 / PanAm combo.

            • Reply October 14, 2014

              Headfonia_L.

              Mike loves the Pan Am and LCD2! Don’t forget that everything in this audio world is about personal taste. I might like what you don’t and vice versa

              • Reply October 14, 2014

                Tronco

                I fully agree, everything in this audio world is personal taste. And in the end, that’s what matters.

                But so far you guys at headfonia have been good advisors and and a good source of knowledge. My experiences with the DT770, DT1350 and HD650 matched your reviews to a great extend.

                However, everything in the price range of a he-560 or lcd-2 must be listened to before buying, that’s for sure. 🙂

                • Reply October 15, 2014

                  dalethorn

                  I have the DT770-32, and two of the DT1350’s, and had the HD600 and 650. If I were buying now, I’d jump right on the HE-560. Having used the Mad Dog and Alpha Dog for awhile, I have a pretty good idea that I’d love the HE-560.

  • Reply August 24, 2014

    Eugen

    When you have to explain a joke (or a title) you know you failed. The sound description was both wordy and opaque.

    • Reply August 24, 2014

      L.

      Oh my. Are we really down to this?

      • Reply August 24, 2014

        Eugen

        Yes, I don’t know what happened to you but lately this site is not what it used to be. 🙁

        • Reply August 24, 2014

          L.

          Well it’s doing better than ever and most people like the direction Nathan and myself are steering it in, but we can’t please everyone

          • Reply August 25, 2014

            dalethorn

            “Lately it’s not what it used to be”. Now I’ll be chewing over that phrase in my sleep tonight. Late tonight.

          • Reply August 31, 2014

            rob

            I like that i am seeing more budget conscious gear than I normally see here. We don’t all have deep pockets so I appreciate the reviews on the lower-end gear just as much as the higher-end.
            One thing i have noticed are more spelling errors than normal. things like “pass” instead of “bass”…not huge but just some friendly feedback.
            Great effort overall.

      • Reply August 24, 2014

        George Lai

        Reading Headfonia is not compulsory. It’s recommended.

        • Reply August 24, 2014

          L.

          Exactly George

  • Reply August 27, 2014

    Sarah Kho

    Nice review, can I ask what Hifiman to Audeze converter do you use?

    • Reply August 28, 2014

      L.

      They were made by Norne Audio in the US

  • Reply October 4, 2014

    Patrick Michael Graf Murray

    Hey L. would you mind giving me some suggestions for amp upgrades for the He-560. I have been looking at the Vioeltric V200, Beta 22 2 channel and or 3 channel. La Figaro 339, Schiit MjoInir and Lyr 2. I am currently using the PanAm and the Geekout 1000. Any ideas would be great. I would like to keep it sub 1000$ and second hand is fine doesnt have to be new.

    • Reply October 4, 2014

      Headfonia_L.

      V200. V281. Theorem. Picollo (!). 339.A20

      • Reply October 4, 2014

        Patrick Michael Graf Murray

        so the 339 and V200 are both good options? DO you feel the V200 is worth more than 150 $ more than La Figaro 339? I am listening to the He-560, I am not regretful so far in the least.

        • Reply October 4, 2014

          Headfonia_L.

          For the 560, yes. but it depends on your other headphones and the directions you want to go in to. Yes the V200 is worth more

          • Reply October 4, 2014

            Patrick Michael Graf Murray

            The only other phone I use is ZMF X Vibro with the aplha pads, it is darker than the HE-560s, but not as dark as the other versions of ZMF headphones, the mid range is detailed and musical, lush, the bass and a musicality and impact to it that I really like. but not as tight and or as good with extension with the HE560. Treble on the Vibros is smoother but with a neutral and or more analytical headphone amp, or something like the class A amp of the Geekout 1000 it is very detailed for being so musical. Easily one of the easiest phones to listen to for myself. I know the V200 is warmer? which is why I was considering the MjoInir because it is neutral with an fast sound that I think would pair nicely with both. But this is only what I have heard so I am not sure.

            • Reply October 4, 2014

              Headfonia_L.

              In that case I do think the V200 is more for you than the 339. Yes it is a slightly warmer sounding solid state but it is really good. I’m listenin to the 281 now and it’s more dynamic, less “warm” and is better in everything. Maybe that’s one for you!

              • Reply October 4, 2014

                Patrick Michael Graf Murray

                The 281 I heard was very good, but I do not think I have enough for it. I mean I do not know where to find it and it’s pricing that is?

    • Reply October 10, 2014

      Tronco

      Hey Patrick,
      Could you share some impressions of the He-560 / PanAm pairing? I own the amp and I wonder if the He-560 would be a good match.

      • Reply October 18, 2014

        Patrick Michael Graf Murray

        Okay well first off I apologize I did not see this question and or would of responded sooner, secondly let me say that I have the grill modded and pad modded HE-560, which does open stage a decent bit and give nice kick in the already tight and fast low end. As to the PanAm I think it pairs really well, and do I feel like the HE-560 benefits from more power at lower impedances, yes. I think the ALO Panam is definitely great sounding with the 560s, but currently using tthe audio-gd NFB28 that can deliver something like 8w at 40ohms I feel the HE-560 really shines, and it just brings out some detail and speed with this units amp. But the PanAm is still very musical and fun and with the right tubes the bass sound great with speed and punch and airy detail throughout

  • Reply October 29, 2014

    Marc

    I demoed a newly opened HE-560 today with my Micro iDSD being with coaxial input from a DX90. My impressions and complaints are actually quite similar. I heard a nice, open, airy sound, mids that are not warm but very smooth and clear, treble that got hot on alt rock recordings and some modern hip-hop, and lastly, the sometimes thin but sometimes firmly planted and musical bass. The bass is really odd though… I tried Black Skinhead by Kanye which I find to be a very bass heavy track but the bass was thin and treble, slightly shrill. On another Kanye track, “Heard ‘Em Say,” which I don’t really consider bass heavy, the bass was present with body and it was a very musical experience. I really do wish to hear them with that change of cable and a better amp.

    • Reply October 29, 2014

      Headfonia_L.

      Don’t forget Hifiman recommends 150h of burn in too. thanks for the post!

      • Reply October 29, 2014

        Marc

        I wish I had the dough to own it AHAHA!! It’s a store demo which surprisingly no one before me asked to open. Comfort was excellent. I’m still looking/waiting for that direct Fidelio L2 upgrade. I honestly love the sound signature of the L2.

  • Reply November 11, 2014

    Aelms

    Can you go into a bit more detail about the HE560 paired with the Bottlehead Crack? You seem to have had a good impression of it but how does it really compare with the Lafigaro and the other amps in the review?

    • Reply November 11, 2014

      Headfonia_L.

      The He-560 is not supposed to work well on an OTL amp but like the HE-500 it just does. I however wouldn’t recommend the crack as main amp for this headpone. The 339 has a lot more power and can drive as good as anything. If you want tubes this can be a good option but there are better and more expensive tube options (speaker amp). I do think amps like the Violectric V200, V281 and Beyerdynamic A2 are the better solid state ones with this headphone

      • Reply November 12, 2014

        Aelms

        Since I haven’t actually bought the headphone yet and my current main amp is rather weak (CEntrance Dacmini), I’m actually curious about the budget options that also works with my other headphone (T1). Do you happen to know anything of the kind?

      • Reply December 6, 2014

        Rolf-Otto Eriksen

        I have not seen a review of the Beyerdynamic A 2 in here. Have you tested it/heard it? If so, what are your impressions? How would you describe the sound signature? And how would you rate it against the Violectric V200?

        • Reply December 6, 2014

          Headfonia_L.

          A2 will be up in january!

          • Reply December 6, 2014

            Rolf-Otto Eriksen

            Thank you. I am really looking forward to this one. Please post it sooner than later;)

  • Reply December 8, 2014

    Nick

    When is the HE-400i review coming?

  • Reply December 14, 2014

    Adam Woodard

    This versus the beyerdynamic T90?

    • Reply December 14, 2014

      Headfonia_L.

      Ortho vs dynamic. Very different sounding and yet some things are alike. I think the 560 will be easier to enjoy than the T90, unless you’re a fan of the Beyerdynamic house sound. The T90 needs a warmer sounding amp

      • Reply December 14, 2014

        Adam Woodard

        Ok, thanks for the quick reply. The main concern of mine is the possibility of fatiguing treble… Am I right in thinking that the 560 would be a safer bet regarding that?

        • Reply December 14, 2014

          Headfonia_L.

          yes, absolutely

          • Reply December 14, 2014

            Adam Woodard

            Sweet. Appreciate the help

  • Reply January 25, 2015

    chuck77

    Would the HE-560 be a redundant purchase if I already have a set of Beyer T1? I have been reading great reviews with these, but don’t know how they would compare to my T1.

    • Reply January 25, 2015

      Headfonia_L.

      If yu like your T1 I wouldn’t add another same style headphone to the club. Personally I’m not a fan of the T1 and the 560 suits me more. I’m a fan of the T90 though

      • Reply January 25, 2015

        chuck77

        I have tried the T90 before. It seemed to have even more soundstage than the T1, but was thinner sounding and had too much treble extension for my liking.

        I also have the HD800 (too revealing of source errors) and HD650 (veiled sounding.. working on a Bottlehead crack to use them with), which gets much less time than my T1, paired well with a Zana Deux.

        I was drawn to the HE-560 because of the many great reviews lately. What would you recommend instead of the HE-560?

        • Reply January 25, 2015

          dalethorn

          The best planar I’ve had for an extended time is the LCD2 (fazor edition), and as good as it is, I wouldn’t want to listen to it in lieu of the T1. Maybe the LCD3 or XC would be better – don’t know.

          • Reply January 26, 2015

            chuck77

            Is the T1 simply a better headphone than the LCD2 in your opinnion? LCD3 might be a good choice, but more than I am willing to spend on one set of cans.

            • Reply January 26, 2015

              dalethorn

              I think they are equally a top-quality headphone overall, but in trading the T1 for the LCD2 fazor, you’d be giving up the amazing inner detail of the T1 for the more earthy visceral experience of the LCD2. Most people find it easier to adapt to the planar, so if someone were starting from scratch, I wouldn’t even mention the T1.

              • Reply January 31, 2015

                chuck77

                Thanks Dale. How would you compare T1 to the K812?

                • Reply January 31, 2015

                  dalethorn

                  They are both pretty bright, and won’t sound pleasant with harsh or sibilant music. Aside from that, the K812 sounds “bigger”**, in spite of the good size earcups and slanted drivers of the T1. Given really good music tracks, the T1 should sound smoother, with great detail and much less coarseness or “graininess” than the K812.

                  **Most of the time a headphone sounds bigger it’s more of a ‘cavernous’ effect, but the K812 doesn’t have that kind of coloration – the spaciousness seems natural to me.

  • Reply January 30, 2015

    Michael Chan

    I got the HE-560 recently and very satisfied with it, as I am also the owner of T1 and HD800. The HE-560 sounds much like a electrostatic headphone like Stax, rather than any traditional moving coil headphone. HE-560 sounds great if you can pair it with a suitable high current amplifier. I found that Graham Slee Ultra Linear is one of the best options for HE-560. For the wearing comfort, the feeling is similar with the T1, no worry about this. Highly recommended for all folks want to try orthodynamic headphones.

  • Reply February 4, 2015

    George

    Could a Objective 2 amp drive this? From the specs it looks like it can but does it pair well with this headphone?

    • Reply February 4, 2015

      dalethorn

      Which of those items do you have now?

      • Reply February 5, 2015

        George

        Neither yet, i have listened to quite a lot of headphones, like the Audio technicas 900x’s the beryerdynamics 990’s and a few others as well as the AKG 701. And i enjoyed the sound of the HE 560’s a lot more they all went through a amp, But sadly i do not remember what it was. I’ve heard many good things about Objective 2 amps, But i do not have a place i can go to try both. My brother has a pair of Audeze LCD-2 running through a Schiit Lyr (I do not remember what his DAC was nor if it was the version 1 or 2 of the Lyr). He picked up the Lyr when he was in America and he does not believe in spending £300 pounds or above on an amp.

        • Reply February 5, 2015

          Headfonia_L.

          He should come over and listen to a couple of those >300$ amps 😉

          • Reply February 5, 2015

            George

            Maybe so. If the O2 amp is not very good then what would you recommend as a budget amp for the HE-560’s? In US dollars £300 is about $460, It said at the end of this review it said about the Herus from Resonessence Labs. So any other alternative amps?

            • Reply February 5, 2015

              dalethorn

              Schiit has some good amps.

              • Reply February 6, 2015

                George

                Apparently the Schiit Valhalla 2 can’t drive the 560’s but the Asgard 2 and the Lyr 2 can, as well as the Magni and Modi is it? Im in a bit of a tie between the Valhalla 2 and the Asgard 2 but i don’t know which would work well with the He-560’s….

                • Reply February 7, 2015

                  dalethorn

                  I like the idea of having lots of reserve power for dynamics, but I’m afraid of super-power amps with 6 watts or more output around 50 ohms. Mainly because if it’s there, it can be delivered under some conditions. That said, I like tubes(valves), since they do musical things that exceed what solid state can do.

        • Reply February 5, 2015

          dalethorn

          If you’re getting a 560 (which is great I think), then skip the O2 “bargain” and get a good amp.

    • Reply February 4, 2015

      Headfonia_L.

      Does any headphone sound good with the O2? 😀
      I’m afraid it would sound thin and boring actually

      • Reply February 5, 2015

        George

        Hmm, Well there seems to be a lot of mixed reviews about it. Some say its good and it allows the sound of the headphone to come through with out the amp colouring it, then people complain about it sounding thin and dull…

        • Reply February 5, 2015

          dalethorn

          It was pretty good as a budget kit a few years ago. Maybe if nwavguy came back and worked up a new design, he could step out ahead of brands like FiiO and Schiit, but I haven’t heard anything. Maybe if you got an O2 from ebay for $50 – that could be a good deal.

    • Reply February 7, 2015

      Nicolas

      I had both, I was not sell on it at all. It sounded underpowered by a significative stretch.

      I still have my Gustard H10 with it now, pretty good pairing for the price. A lot better than with the O2 if you ask me.

  • Reply February 19, 2015

    Matthew Wingert

    Hi Lieven,

    I am advised by a professional headphone reviewer from another site to purchase the Alpha Primes over the HE-560 for a better all-rounder type phone – i.e. more suitable for a wide variety of musical genres. If you have listened to the Alpha Primes. what are your impressions vs. the HE-560?

    • Reply February 19, 2015

      Headfonia_L.

      That’s a tough one. Personally I’d go for the Prime as well, but it’s also more expensive
      The prime is easier to drive and the 560, while being great, is just a bit light to me.

      • Reply February 19, 2015

        Matthew Wingert

        Thanks for the insight, Lieven.
        By light regarding the HE-560, do you mean its sound is too lean or maybe too bright?

    • Reply February 19, 2015

      dalethorn

      I was not at all impressed by the Alpha Dog, and while the Prime is “lots better” according to some reviews, those reviews weren’t convincing to me in light of the extra $400. The aesthetics and finish of the Alpha Dog were spectacular though, so maybe that’s worth something.

      • Reply February 19, 2015

        Matthew Wingert

        Hi Dale,
        I noticed on your 25 Favorite Headphone list that you do not list the Pandora Hope VI though your review of this headphone is very enthusiastic. What kept it from making your favorites lists?

        • Reply February 19, 2015

          dalethorn

          Gosh, I don’t know. I edited that on the 9th of this month, and the Pandora VI is better than most of those. One thing it might have to do with is the disaster at the site that sold it to me (for a high price!) – the very day I published my review that I worked many hours on, Amazon (or Amazon U.K. since it was a U.K. site I purchased from) listed that headphone for something like £300 or £350, and after they admitted their mistake days later and withdrew the VI entirely(!!), it was a dead item, and so too my review and costly purchase. Final Audio could have “re-released” it with some fanfare, but they didn’t, and when the IV was released (with irregular freq. response), they offered users the VI earpads for another £50 or so. I had bought the IV also. Altogether, the VI is or was a very good headphone, but how could I recommend it after all that indifference on the part of the suppliers?

  • Reply April 26, 2015

    Rolf-Otto Eriksen

    Hello Lieven,

    I am a very happy owner of the combo Violectric V200 and HIFIMAN HE-500. I know that you also think highly of the HE-500 (and the V200, of course…). I have read your review of the HE-560 and you are comparing it to the HE-500 to a certain extent. I have listened a bit to the 560 myself, but not enough to have it completely figured out. What do you get from the 560 that the 500 can’t give you? Do you think there is a need for both?

    • Reply April 27, 2015

      Headfonia_L.

      Hi,

      I do think it’s ok to have both. The 560 is faster, better attack. 500s bass is deeper with more rumble but it’s slower.

      560 is modern fast sounding, the 500 is romantic lush.

      • Reply April 27, 2015

        Rolf-Otto Eriksen

        Thanks for the response. “Romantic lush” is a beautiful and precise description of the 500. And I like romantic lush, to put it that way. Then my hunt for the 560 will actually continue, as my alternative for a modern fast sounding one.

  • Reply June 13, 2015

    socks mk2

    I’m thinking about picking up a used pair of 560’s to pair with my Matrix Mini-i Pro and Violectric HPA V100 setup. Soon enough I’ll have a balanced connection between my dac and amp. For just about $650 USD I don’t think I could do better in a headphone. I don’t think the treble will bother me as my old DT990/600’s didn’t on the same setup.

    I see you used your V200 and commented on your impressions with the pairing. I’m curious if you still had your V100 at the time of writing the review and would have any input on that pairing as well.

    I’m a bit interested in the Gustard H10 as a lot of input seems to be that it’s an ‘improved’ V200 clone. I doubt I’d sell my V100 anytime soon. If you would still recommend the V200 pairing with the 560, I might save up for an H10 as a secondary amplifier. Time will tell.

    • Reply June 13, 2015

      Headfonia_L.

      I sold my V100 when I bought the V200. I sold my V200 when I bought my V281.
      V100 is a tad quicker and less warm, I’m sure you’ll like it if the HE560 sound is your thing, power wise the V100 has enough

      • Reply June 13, 2015

        socks mk2

        Thanks for the reply. I guess I won’t know until I try the 560. It’s good to know my V100 is up to the task, though I suspected it would be. 😉

        This is just me thinking out loud: I wonder how it compares to my Ultrasone Signature Pro? I suspect you haven’t tried one (as it isn’t reviewed here). I imagine the 560 being similar with it’s perceived FR and speed, if not even quicker while being less colored. Closed vs Open and Dynamic vs Ortho applies here as well. Tonality will most likely be the most apparent difference. The mids being the other. It’s hard to say on paper with one being closed and the other open.

  • Reply June 21, 2015

    Anonymous

    Hi guys, just wondering where you get the hifiman to audeze adapters so I can use the same cables.

    • Reply June 21, 2015

      Headfonia_L.

      Any aftermarket boutique store makes them. I got mine form Norse/norne Audio

    • Reply June 21, 2015

      Anonymous

      ok, thanks!

  • Reply June 29, 2015

    Peter

    Any dac under 500 you suggest for these cans to pair with the v200? I was interested and in the peach tree or concero (non hd). What is the best budget dac you think for these

    • Reply June 29, 2015

      Headfonia_L.

      The Resonessence will be really good

      • Reply June 29, 2015

        Peter

        Which model do you recommend? Ty.

        • Reply June 29, 2015

          Headfonia_L.

          Check their price list, there aren’t that many you can get for under $500. Maybe second hand though

          • Reply June 29, 2015

            Peter

            The concero is the only one I can pair with the v200. Do you think that will suffice for the he 560? Will it be sufficient enough you think? Not the concero hd but the concero.

            • Reply June 29, 2015

              Headfonia_L.

              Yes sure, even the HERUS will work with a 3.5mm to RCA cable. I do it all the time

  • Reply August 14, 2015

    szoze

    Another great review Lieven! Thank you. I have a question. I know it is ortho vs. dynamic but if you’d have to choose which one would it be HE-560 or T90? 🙂

  • Reply November 12, 2015

    Max

    Hello, I have these cans and want to buy a new amp for them. I’m stuck between the lyr 2 and the project ember 2. Which one do you recommend? Also which tubes would you recommend?

    • Reply November 12, 2015

      Headfonia_L.

      Violectric 😀

      • Reply November 12, 2015

        Max

        That’s too expensive! I’ve been listening good things about the gustard h10. Is that a viable option?

        • Reply November 13, 2015

          Headfonia_L.

          I have no clue. A headphone like this deserves a good amplifier. I don’t get why a lot of people buy expensive headphones to then amp them as cheap as possible. It doesn’t work like that

        • Reply November 13, 2015

          dalethorn

          I understand why some people will put all the money they have into a headphone and worry about the amp later on. In my case, it would be to protect my headphone investment so I don’t have to spend a lot more $$$ on a better headphone later on. But in the meantime if I use a cheap amp until I get more money for a better amp, I would just get a used FiiO etc. and save the questions for when I’m ready to buy the better amp.

        • Reply November 15, 2015

          Maximus

          Then would a Cavalli Carbon be a better option?

    • Reply February 20, 2016

      Traveller2225

      Okay first of the Lyr 2( with some tube rolling) sounds very good with the HE-560, but the problem is here…. so does the Ember II and the Polaris( which is a solid state that puts out a few watts of power into the 50ohm ) The Ember II is a revised version of ember I and it is what they sell normally now I believe. It is very much affected by what tubes and types you use, which can be really cool and or really costly. I really like garage 1217 because of how they handle their customers and product. I cannot recommend which tubes to use only because I have used the Ember and not the Lyr2 ( but a few friends Have and own the Lyr and or Ember). You can head over to head-fi if you don’t find a response here and find threads on tubes with the EMber which are best. Hope this helps at least a little and good luck, I currently use the HE-560( modded with grill and upgrade cable/ear pads) wtth the Audio GD NFB-28( which is a fully balanced sabre dac and class A amplification, that drives the HE-560 just better and to a different level than the Pan am, geek out, M-stage, etc. Did. If you need a DAC upgrade this is one way to go you may want get the NFB 10se I believe it is called which is more warm source and would be nice pairing with the HE-560. The NFB28 is a very good implementation of the sabre chip to these ears, because normally the treble can bit a hot with certain headphones and sources… well it is detailed, airy, fast, good depth both in the lows and highs, as well as being smooth not harsh ( again to these ears). Plus it puts out 8 watts in to 40 ohms…. all you’ll need

    • Reply February 21, 2016

      Traveller2225

      Okay first of the Lyr 2( with some tube rolling) sounds very good with the HE-560, but the problem is here…. so does the Ember II and the Polaris( which is a solid state that puts out a few watts of power into the 50ohm ) The Ember II is a revised version of ember I and it is what they sell normally now I believe. It is very much affected by what tubes and types you use, which can be really cool and or really costly. I really like garage 1217 because of how they handle their customers and product. I cannot recommend which tubes to use only because I have used the Ember and not the Lyr2 ( but a few friends Have and own the Lyr and or Ember). You can head over to head-fi if you don’t find a response here and find threads on tubes with the EMber which are best. Hope this helps at least a little and good luck, I currently use the HE-560( modded with grill and upgrade cable/ear pads) wtth the Audio GD NFB-28( which is a fully balanced sabre dac and class A amplification, that drives the HE-560 just better and to a different level than the Pan am, geek out, M-stage, etc. Did. If you need a DAC upgrade this is one way to go you may want get the NFB 10se I believe it is called which is more warm source and would be nice pairing with the HE-560. The NFB28 is a very good implementation of the sabre chip to these ears, because normally the treble can bit a hot with certain headphones and sources… well it is detailed, airy, fast, good depth both in the lows and highs, as well as being smooth not harsh ( again to these ears). Plus it puts out 8 watts in to 40 ohms…. all you’ll need. Hope this helps

  • Reply December 23, 2015

    jazz1

    So is there a newer model of the Violectric V200?

  • Reply March 5, 2016

    NachoCarni

    An ifi Micro v2 will be powerfull enough to drive these cans?

  • Reply April 5, 2016

    Arttt

    Does Beyerdynamic A1 has enough current output to drive he560 correct ? Or should i look for another amp to feed current hungry planars ? If so, where in tech specs of amp do you see current output ?

  • Reply August 11, 2017

    Nickjan

    Reread the review and still loving it!
    Just ordered me one at only 499 dollars at hifiman’s site; great offer. Can’t wait to try them out. Will be on the meijer corda classic ff. This will probably make me end up buying the daccord ff as well for source DAC. I am wondering though, since the daccord is already some years old; is it still on par in it’s price range?

  • Reply August 18, 2017

    nickjan

    Just received my new HE560; wow,… enjoying Carmina Burana! And a little good new; they changed the cable connection; it is now a 3,5 mm female connection, so just clicking in the cable and no screwing it on. Perhaps a change that has been done for a longer time, but a welcome surprise to me.

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