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Head-Direct HiFiMAN HE-6 Headphones

Frederik S

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Head-Direct's newest flagship headphones are put to the test. The headphones are dubbed the HE-6s and feature a gold plated driver, and a very special cable. They are priced at $1199, are they worth it ?

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Only $1,199? What a steal, I'll take two.
 

R_1

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Is it possible to use diamonds in the next Head-Direct model? Diamonds are the hardest staff around.
 
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Great review, I'd love to be able to afford headphones like this some day :laugh:
Is it possible to use diamonds in the next Head-Direct model? Diamonds are the hardest staff around.
Yes, diamonds are the hardest metal known to man :rolleyes:
 
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This is pretty much an audiophile(idiot)'s dream.

The cost to manufacture a system like that is quite cheap and it's not bringing any new wild technology to the game here. The gold on it isn't worth anything, it's trace meaning there isn't even 1 gram of it in there <$100usd...

The balanced connection is a bit overkill, lets be real here these are high impedance and low wattage. Do you listen to headphones like this next to your microwave and electromagnet that's powered, maybe lay a bunch of cell phones around see what one lands on the right frequency.

I am can assure you the response graph on that would make a joke of the frequency range claims.

I'll never understand this market...

Maybe it's just the fact that they take it all the way...
 
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If I could wear these for ten minutes it would make me happy.
 

Frederik S

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This is pretty much an audiophile(idiot)'s dream.
The cost to manufacture a system like that is quite cheap and it's not bringing any new wild technology to the game here. The gold on it isn't worth anything, it's trace meaning there isn't even 1 gram of it in there <$100usd...
The balanced connection is a bit overkill, lets be real here these are high impedance and low wattage. Do you listen to headphones like this next to your microwave and electromagnet that's powered, maybe lay a bunch of cell phones around see what one lands on the right frequency.
I am can assure you the response graph on that would make a joke of the frequency range claims.
I'll never understand this market...
Maybe it's just the fact that they take it all the way...

Why do you assume that the production of planer magnetic drivers is cheap?

We are not saying that you should buy them for the gold on the drivers just that it makes sense in this application.

Default termination to balanced is quite all right considering that most modern high performance headphone amplifiers are fully balanced.
 
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Why do you assume that the production of planer magnetic drivers is cheap?

We are not saying that you should buy them for the gold on the drivers just that it makes sense in this application.

Default termination to balanced is quite all right considering that most modern high performance headphone amplifiers are fully balanced.

Don't assume, I know those are cheap to manufacture as well.

My point was in general... The entire system including the balanced headphone amplifiers. It's a lot of cost for what I can guarantee you double blind testing would show useless in common use situations. These are not headphones used on stages by live bands, these are headphones in the market for the person who generally believes every bit of hype they read in marketing *snake oil* who will use them in their listening room which is probably properly sound absorbent with controlled reflections, let alone a lack of devices that could interfere with the headphones signals.

I mean it's cool to see they went all the way to the end every last touch but it's market is the snake oil market.
 

Frederik S

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The point of balanced amplification and termination is not eliminate noise in this application. Balanced amplification effectively doubles the slew rate which should boost transient response performance.

The absolutely cheapest drivers to produce are moving coil designs due to its mechanical simplicity. But the majority of the cost lies in development like everything else.
 
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The point of balanced amplification and termination is not eliminate noise in this application. Balanced amplification effectively doubles the slew rate which should boost transient response performance.

The absolutely cheapest drivers to produce are moving coil designs due to its mechanical simplicity. But the majority of the cost lies in development like everything else.

This design doesn't really bring much new to the table....

Have we forgotten these are headphones... I'll bet their specified range is probably a good 15+/-db at least. Forget more accurate transients they are slewed all over the place anyways.
 

Frederik S

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They are within +-5 dB in the audible range like most of the higher end headphones manufactured today. If you apply ear correction to the frequency response they are even closer neutral.

Frequency response has nothing to do with transient response, and you can find a multitude of headphones and speakers that perform well in one of these aspects and horribly in the other.

This design brings better performance to the table, like the majority of headphones they are an iteration upon an existing design. The only real new technology is the Sennheiser ring driver but even that is just a optimized moving coil design.

For those who are interested in how they measure up look: http://www.headphone.com/learning-c...raphType=0&buttonSelection=Compare+Headphones

The ER-4Ps are added because they perceived frequency response is very close to neutral.
 
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Think you could do some sort of comparative SQ review between say a HD595/598 and a similarly priced top wireless set like the RS 180? I've seen a good number of threads and anecdotal comments on the matter but no proper comparisons, and it seems there's a bit of a demand for such a comparison.
 
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Not sure if Frederik S is going to do more main stream headphones reviews. But its just a shame that if someone reviews any good headphones here, it is going to get trolled to hell.
 

Frederik S

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It has always been our goal to review all types of headphones. Over the summer there will be several reviews of more mainstream headphones.

Getting in touch with the right people is sometimes very tricky. To add to the issues some companies think they are too big, and that people will buy their products regardless of the availability of quality reviews.
 
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In my experience, where I have heard all current production hi-end headphones, save the Sony Z1000, Ultrasone ED10 and the new STAX. Other's impression can be very different to what you hear. Just for example, you will never find a whole brunch of people saying the HD800 is terrible on the internet without others bashing them saying they haven't got good gear or source to listen to it. But in the recent Head-Fi meet in London, I doubt there was over 30% there said they love it. And the T1 was getting far more praise than the HD800, which I totally agreed as I did hated the HD800 first listen when it came out. Most people tend to crowd toward the HE-6, HD800, T1, LCD-2, but I actually found my Audio-Technica pairing far more involving without losing out on clarity. Sound is a very personal thing, as much as I like your reviews and appreciate you doing it, listening to it first hand is still the best one can do.
 

Frederik S

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In my experience, where I have heard all current production hi-end headphones, save the Sony Z1000, Ultrasone ED10 and the new STAX. Other's impression can be very different to what you hear. Just for example, you will never find a whole brunch of people saying the HD800 is terrible on the internet without others bashing them saying they haven't got good gear or source to listen to it. But in the recent Head-Fi meet in London, I doubt there was over 30% there said they love it. And the T1 was getting far more praise than the HD800, which I totally agreed as I did hated the HD800 first listen when it came out. Most people tend to crowd toward the HE-6, HD800, T1, LCD-2, but I actually found my Audio-Technica pairing far more involving without losing out on clarity. Sound is a very personal thing, as much as I like your reviews and appreciate you doing it, listening to it first hand is still the best one can do.

I totally agree. Listening is far better than just reading especially in the beginning where you only have a vague definition of what type of headphone you are after. Also with high-end stuff it has a lot to do with personal preference.

My personal favourite at the moment is the HD800s on a fully balanced setup, but I can definitely understand why many people prefer the warmer more bass intensive headphones like the HE-series headphones.

All we can really do is try and spot the defining characteristics and see how well the headphones perform over a number of aspects, how people rate the individual performance aspects against each other is the personal preference.
 
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I totally agree. Listening is far better than just reading especially in the beginning where you only have a vague definition of what type of headphone you are after. Also with high-end stuff it has a lot to do with personal preference.

My personal favourite at the moment is the HD800s on a fully balanced setup, but I can definitely understand why many people prefer the warmer more bass intensive headphones like the HE-series headphones.

All we can really do is try and spot the defining characteristics and see how well the headphones perform over a number of aspects, how people rate the individual performance aspects against each other is the personal preference.

As much as I wanted to like the HD800, I could never get pass its brighter than the sun treble. I just couldn't listen to a headphones that hurts every now and then. I am glad that I found the A2000X and HA5000 pairing, which works wonderfully and sounds like HD800 without the piercing treble, it is just wonderful to my ears. Most the bass heavy headphones tend to wow on first listen, but just lacking after a longer session with them.

Again, these are totally my personal opinion, many people disagrees with it. The best written text could do is to describe the basic signature of the headphones, and its just impossible to pin point the sound to the audience. Its like trying to map out a painting in words. I have stopped trying to do that, once tried a totally different "review" style, trying to describe the effect and not the sound itself. It was a bit over the top, but it was fun. As I do some reviews as well, getting trolled first response you get is very depressing. I hope it is not going to stop you doing more of them and I hope others can keep their sarcastic comments else where.

http://www.techpowerup.com/forums/showthread.php?t=143934
 
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i've tried it on some different amplifiers, gainclone, balanced cMoy, and some other.
the sound it produces is very" good.

but i think frederik should write a review about the He500 too, its more musical, and much easier to drive than this..

the best setup for me so far is AMB Gamma2 > Burson HA-160D > SilverDragon V3 > LCD2
king of rock music..

and next best is Eddie Current Zana Deux > ER4, pure musical bliss,

and yes, i've tried almost all flagship headphone models.
:D
 
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