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HiFiMan - HE-6 Headphones

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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  • The HiFiMAN HE-6 represents the absolute pinnacle of audiophile-grade headphone engineering
  • The HiFiMAN HE-6 is an 'Orthodynamic' planar-magnetic design headphone marrying the best of dynamic and planar driver design into one can offering unparalled clarity and beautiful sound
  • Although extremely demanding of your audio sources and also extremely power-hungry to boot, audiophiles employing high-end headphone amps will fawn over the HE-6's simple, uncluttered acoustic textures, precise timbral accuracy and vast, open-sounding depth of musical field.
  • HiFiMAN HE6 go about the business of playing music with simple accuracy and complete tonal precision, they also present amongst the widest and deepest soundstage imaging of any audiophile phones on the market
  • long with this naturally open-toned spaciousness, the HE6's planar-magnetic drivers' detail resolution power and ability to retrieve low-level, nuanced subtleties is revelatory
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Product details

  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 12.7 x 11.4 cm ; 499 g
  • Boxed-product Weight: 2.5 Kg
  • Delivery Destinations: Visit the Delivery Destinations Help page to see where this item can be delivered.
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  • Item model number: HE6
  • ASIN: B005S3EIOS
  • Date first available at Amazon.co.uk: 25 Mar. 2012
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank:

Product Description

PLEASE NOTE. These need a headphone amplifier capable of comfortably delivering ~2 watts into 50 ohms to sound their best, especially if you like to listen at realistic levels. You can connect them directly to the output of a "speaker" amp without danger, as long as the amp is rated at 40~50 watts or less. An excellent alternative is to use the HiFiMan HE-Adapter box. Features: Advanced Orthodynamic engineering offers best sound quality between dynamic/electrostatic technologies Full-size 'around-the-ear' circumaural construction Reference headphone amp needed to power HE-6 Excellent 3-year manufacturer's warranty Included In The Box: 1 OCC (single crystal copper) 4-pin XLR cable (2 m / 6 ft) 1 OCC XLR to 1/4" 6.3mm headphone plug adapter (1m / 3 ft) 2 Headphone cable connector adaptors 1 earpad / extra replacement Specifications: Acoustic Seal: Open Sensitivity: 83.5 dB Warranty: 3 years Manufacturer Warranty: 3 years Headphone Type: Full Size Weight: 502 grams Impedance @ 1kHz: 50 Ohms Cable Length: 2.75 metres Detachable Cable: Yes Cord Type: Straight Y Coupler Size: Large Ear Coupler Type: Full-Size Driver Type: Dynamic


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I'm using this headphones with a NAD 3225PE in very good condition, connected directly to the speakers output using the hifiman box, and a Sony QS cdp740. I've compared with a Beyerdynamic T1 coonected to a Teac DAC UDH01 and Opera Cyber Consonance headphones amplifier with Valvo-Siemens tubes and ECC82 Raytheon (And also directly to the DAC). The ampli NAD is with 8ohm speakers, soft clipping off (with opposite setting it distorts at medium volume)

On low medium volume there's no match. Hifiman wins for transparency, micro details, neutrality, effortless dynamic and sub bass extension, sense of air...

On high volume they match on details on the mids, I guess because the hifiman loose something. Beyer T1 has also a better central soundstage and coeherence in the soundstage. But Hifiman has better lateral and depth soundstage, better micro dynamic and low level details, sub bass and generally bass that you feel like real. And all that using just a NAD 3225PE. In the next days I'm going to try it with a modded Aereo Space Tube amplifier.

This headphones, with the NAD amplifer only, is a must deal, I can't use any other
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9572cb1c) out of 5 stars 18 reviews
26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9574030c) out of 5 stars Nothing new to say: Absolute rubbish that sounds incredible. 29 Aug. 2014
By Aaron Nicholas Tubbs - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
These headphones are something special. Magical, even. That is, until you take them off and stop listening to the music. The build quality is horrendous. Fresh out of the box, the headphones came scuffed and marred. The headband's material (is it even leather) crinkled and felt incredibly cheap. The exposed metal on the headband looks incredibly cheap and flimsy. I can nervous about treating these cans with anything but kid gloves. Many headphones costing an order of magnitude less are far better built with far more attention to detail. It's clear that every dollar of this product goes into either snake oil or the drivers themselves. Everything else is absolute rubbish. Even the OCC 4-pin cable is very short, flimsy, and incredibly cheap. I have never encountered a stock cable so terrible; I think I prefer even the cables that came with the HD650/600/580!

The case in which they came was only partially assembled; the latch came off because it wasn't even screwed into the box. I'm not going to judge a product by its packaging, but we're talking some pretty rare air once we get into the kilobuck range for a pair of headphones. Customers used to solid packaging (Sennheiser HD-800) or incredible packaging (Audeze, Oppo) are not in for a pleasant ride when they receive these cans.

Oh, and don't get me started on the connectors. Worst. Connectors. Ever.

And, of course, you know these things are a bear to drive. An absolute bear. If you don't know this, buy literally any other headphone for a better time; you're not going to space today. Oppo's HA-1 and HeadAmp's GS-X just barely make the cut. Get ready to throw the gain switch into high. Schiit's high-wattage amps may be the better choice.

Comfort is middle of the road. The pad material feels at least as terrible as the headband material and is going to take a beating to get comfortable (if ever).

But, we need to get back to the magic. Forget how cheap these headphones look and feel. Forget the crappy packaging, connectors, and wires. Forget that your headamp is trying not to melt your face to power these.

Reader, well-driven, these headphones are the dragons you've been chasing. They bring incredible clarity, imaging, dynamics, control, precision, and accuracy. They are effortless, non-fatiguing, and lacking in coloration. Reward them with a lot of power, a good source chain, and good software and you're in for a treat. Are they better than all of the other kilobuck headphones? Not necessarily. They're different. They're likely the best fit for some and disappointing for others. They are definitely worth an audition, if nothing else. There's no formula for what's best for this sort of product. There are many things I can complain about with these headphones, but the sound quality is certainly not one of them.

With some effort into the materials, industrial design, ergonomics, and packaging, these would be an easy five-star product.
23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b28ed80) out of 5 stars Amazing, top-of-the-line, but finding something to drive them is another story! 21 Jan. 2014
By Craig Olson - Published on Amazon.com
I'm not sure when I got these, or how I came across them, but when I first heard them out of a really high-end rig ($5-$10k+) blew my mind. I already had the HD800s and K1Ks and was literally shocked at how amazing the sound stage on these were. Then I went home.

Here are some key insights that you need to consider before purchasing these cans:
1) Almost impossible to drive; don't buy if you aren't ready to shell out for a very nice amp. Like another reviewer mentioned, these are actually harder to drive than the K1000s. I know that's hard to believe and the math doesn't quite add up but it's true. Off of my Jonokuchi, the K1Ks had more than adequate power and were too loud at 9 o'clock. The HE-6s, however, had to be basically cranked to the max in order to even get them to a pleasurable listening level.

I want to spend more time on this point because it's such an important point. It is also the reason why HiFiMAN offered a speaker wire adapter for these because there are few amps under $5,000 that can power these without using that method. For this reason, I think many people have been negative about HE-6s because they never get an optimal setup for them. I've seen more than one owner of a high-end US amplifier company been completely blown away by these to the point where he actually gave them the edge over HD800s (the headphone he based most of his audio lineup off of).

The cheapest, and surprisingly one of the best amps that I tried was the Bottlehead S.E.X. 2.1 amp. Yes, it's a kit amp, but you can also pay for it to be built by one of their engineers. The kit starts at $539, and even at $1,500 would be an incredible deal. It powers these like no other, no speaker cable needed. Not only does it provide sufficient power but it makes them sing. Yes, a lot of the other solid state or really high-end amps were great too, but for some reason this amp stood out in the crowd.

Again, similar to the HE-500s the build quality just seems lacking when compared to the competitors. The HD800s, LCD-2/3s, and even the T1s seem much more durable and well-constructed. I had to get a replacement headband since the headband has a rim to it that can easily wear. It's not a big deal, but it seems like it should be better given the price you pay.

For those that own the HE-500, I think you're doing a disservice to not buy or at least experience the HE-6 on a good system. It takes everything great about the HE-500 and magnifies it by 5x. If you can't afford to buy these and an amp, then DO NOT BUY. You will be extremely disappointed and even if you can scrounge up money, it will take a while before you find one that you like.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9601ee68) out of 5 stars Very clear, well separated and balanced sound 30 Mar. 2012
By D.N.Wijewardane - Published on Amazon.com
The big question of course is how these sound compared to, say, "the benchmark" Sennheiser HD800 (in this price range): I leave this to the experts.

However, running these off my HM-801 (which is simply the best portable, fullstop) via a suitable amp (herein the problem) leaves one very satisfied. These headphones are open type so the overall sound is very "breezy" or delightfully airy, and not closed. You can hear alot of external room sounds (even the whisper of the a/c can affect your listening pleasure!) as a result but once there is music, one is in bliss. In layman's terms, jazz/classical music is beautifully clear, vocals are fab, instruments can generally be picked off one by one in clarity, bass is good (but not room thumping, naturally, but well articulated)... The sound stage is intimate and more close-up compared perhaps to the more widely dispersed 'concert' sound of the Sennheisers in general so personal preferences are key. I like both but have found myself, a life long Sennheiser user, spending more time with Hifiman's excellent sound (from HE-300 upwards). Generally one listens in a more fulsome way at lower volume levels with these headphone because they carry so much more, but listening at higher volumes is also quite nice!

Good recordings (and you would be surprised how badly some big named stars record and how well some old recordings come up) sound superb but bad recordings are made quite apparent though listenable. 44/16bit or 96/24bit music is made for such headphones or vice versa...so flac or high end sound formats are a must to capture details.

Comfort levels are solidly good (not spectacular); your head is not in a vice grip and one can listen for good periods without overheating etc.

The hitch is the amp: planar magnetic phones need tons (2W+ I believe) of power to run them, especially to exercise them to their optimum performance levels. I recommend EF-5 as the acceptable fairly well matched (non balanced) amp from the same stable; you do have to run this amp on high gain and volume pretty much full up. If you have a bigger budget, better and more balanced amps avail! Doubtless those would bring out even higher qualities of sound.

It's a lot of $$$s but for the discerning listener, it is godsend.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
PS Update Oct 1 2013 :

I have the LCD-3 and Sennheiser HD-800, two very fine phones each with their differences, physically and in house sound etc. However for those wavering on which of these fine headphones is best (and there is no one answer), it is really a question of musical taste (and mood!). But I have found that the HE-6 is my most go-to headphones all round (+/- considered) for classical and jazz and I would stick with this on my desert island.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x959267ec) out of 5 stars Perfectly balanced! 7 Mar. 2016
By B Brown - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
To me out of the box the HE-6 sounded well balanced and I sat there with a silly grin on my face; happy to finally find the headphones with "THE" sound signature I'd been searching for. These headphones need a headphone amplifier that can drive them sufficiently or they will underwhelm. Over 200 hours of burn-in their sound signature changed. During that time the mid section became recessed and the highs became a bit metallic and brittle. I read others also found the highs to be a bit strident. But I found after more burn in they came back full circle to perfect balance. One month of ownership has found these headphones to truly possess my perfect sound signature. They are well balanced with accurate extended bass of sufficiently satisfying quality and quantity (sometimes my head seems to vibrate similar to the whole body effect of a good subwoofer). The mid section is detailed with an accurate timbre to voices and instruments. The highs are airy, detailed and of high quality. If you have the amp to drive them well, I highly recommend this headphone.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x957408e8) out of 5 stars Fantastic! 14 Mar. 2016
By Kewl Munky - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Fantastic headphone! This was clearly a step up as compared to the HE-500. I use the Emotiva Mini-x A-100 amp to power it. While I'm not driving it to it's full potential, it still sounds great enough for me to have justified keeping it and selling my 500. This headphone can be bright at times and it has an aggressive sound overall. The bass impact is much better than the 500, while still digging deeper.
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