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Monday, August 26, 2013

HiFiMAN HE-500

Disclaimer: Finally I am completely done with Rick's headphones- Now I need to work on his IEMs. In less than few weeks, the current batch will be finished! :)



As previously verified with Audeze LCD-2 Rev.2 and Fostex T50RP, planar technology finds its versatility in a dipole driving mechanism. Due to less physical constraint given on the moving-mass, a planar headphone generally has low acoustic output impedance, low distortion, and wide frequency bandwidth.

Since HiFiMAN products usually exhibit an acceptable level of electroacoustic peformance, such as that of the classic RE-series IEMs, expectation is higher than ever.





PRO: Wide bandwidth, low distortion & a quick transient characteristic. In addition, this headphone has the largest sweetspot I've ever measured. There is virtually no placement-induced amplitude variation; Frequency response remains largely the same wherever the headphone's placed.

CON: Inverted polarity!

ON SECOND THOUGHT #1: There are few reversible modification techniques users can easily carry out. For instance, blocking 2/3rd portion of the rear vents slightly increases the mid-range. Although a pair of leather earpads certainly flips the headphone's tonality around, the sound becomes closer to that of STAX SR-Lambda, believe it or not. And if anybody wants more brightness, use angled pads.


ON SECOND THOUGHT #2: Above data clearly shows how uniformly HE500's driver behaves. However, when the microphone is positioned in the center, the characteristic deep-nulls, which can also be seen from my HATS data as well, appear.

ON SECOND THOUGHT #3: The planar driver turns out to be excited in a very uniform manner. Is HiFiMAN's planar headphone technology better than that of Audeze and Fostex then? Since only single pairs from each manufacturers have been analyzed, I can't possibly make a concrete assessment. However, it is certain that LCD-2's electroacoustic performance in the sub-bass range is much better than the other two.

ON SECOND THOUGHT #4: Dr. Fang Bian really needs to work on that plunge in the mid-range!


ON SECOND THOUGHT #5: This is due to Rick's personal request. While Accudio™ certainly helps tame the peak and deep-null, the app makes the headphone sound little too bassy IMHO.

10 comments:

  1. Rin:

    How do these measure with the Accudio compensation on?

    Rick

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just updated the article! Data was obtained at its default Hi-Fi setting as always.

      BTW headphones are now completely done!! (I don't see HD439 in the package though)

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    2. I don't see the 439s here and I'm pretty sure they were in the box (in a bag I believe, but let me check again here in the morning and if I find them I let you know. don't worry

      Rick

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    3. I found them - they made it in to the bad but not the box. I'll send them in the next shipment! ;-)

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  2. So of the high end headphones in the $700 price range which one would you recommend?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My first choice would be STAX Lambda series.

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  3. Heya,

    The deep plunge around 6kHz can be largely negated by a Hifiman pleather earpad modification I've devised ("Jergpad mod"), as such it might be a damping issue.

    Here are some measurements done by purrin via an early version of the Jergpad modded pads.

    http://www.changstar.com/index.php/topic,848.0.html

    He will be measuring the latest version of the modded pads on HE500s very soon as well, which would be interesting to see.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmm, hook me up with it too! haha..

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    2. I'm the one currently making the most recent revision of jergpads - I'll contact jerg and purrin and see if I can have him send you his demo pair if you're still interested now that he is done taking measurements.

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