With the HE-560, HiFiMAN has stepped up their game in terms of design. The wooden cups and the new suspended headband look great and function extremely well. Except for the cable solution, which is the same as that used on all HE-series headphones, everything about the HE-560 is new. The new exterior design looks classy and the finish on its parts is definitely better than what we saw on other HE headphones. It is still not quite up there with the truly high-end headphones by German manufacturers Beyerdynamic and Sennheiser, but it is getting there.
The ear cup and pad assemblies have been upgraded. The pads are asymmetrical and are made out of velour and pleather.
One of the reasons why the HE-560 is so much lighter than the last generation of planar magnetic headphones from HiFiMAN is that half the magnets have been ditched. The HE-5LE/6/400/500s all had a magnet array in the back and front of the diaphragm. HiFiMAN somehow managed to do away with the problematic front array that sits right in front of the path the sound waves travel, which probably causes some odd reflections. This puts an even higher demand on both the diaphragm and rear magnet array if you want to maintain the same efficiency and speed. The new driver looks very different compared to what is in the HE-6 and HE-500. One would think that it was an evolution of the HE-4's driver, but here the similarities are few as well.
HiFiMAN's new suspended headband design looks and feels great on your skull. It is slight and ensures a much better pressure distribution across your skull than the old design on the HE-500. The clamping pressure is a little lighter than with the previous HE series of headphones.
The pads are now asymmetrical, which makes the ear cups sit on your skull at an angel, rather than being orthogonal.
HiFiMAN surprised us when they first showcased the HE-560 with its wooden cups. HiFiMAN already tried that with the HE-5, but those cups were prone to cracking. The new HE-560 is very different internally and the woodwork seems better. Aesthetically, the HE-560 is definitely one of the better looking headphones I have had on my desk in a long time.