All of HE-5XX's bullshit (that I noticed)

Discussion in 'Headphones' started by takato14, Nov 6, 2020.

  1. takato14

    takato14 Doglover

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    SBAF likes to delete posts I'm working on instead of saving them to drafts like it's supposed to (large part of the reason I stopped posting frequently) so I'm going to post these rapid-fire, one at a time to minimize the chance of that happening.

    Alright? Here we go.

    [​IMG]

    Headband badge is crooked. A nitpick, yes, but notable. There are also some marks on the edges that I have circled in red. This seems to suggest either poor plastic moulding or damage during assembly. Maybe they had to replace the badges? They almost look like pry marks.

    Things only get worse from here. Standby, I'm undergoing some interruptions.
     
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  2. takato14

    takato14 Doglover

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    [​IMG]

    Headband padding directly interferes with the earcups when the headphone's adjustments are at their minimum setting. This prevents the earcups from rotating backwards any further than what I have pictured here, which may cause issues for people with exceptionally small heads.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2020
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  3. takato14

    takato14 Doglover

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    [​IMG]

    On the driver, most of the bolts have a small circular cutaway that serves to make proper space for the bolts used to hold the driver assembly together.

    [​IMG]

    However, where the housing becomes narrower at the top for the cable detachment connector, its just... placed directly over top of it haphazardly.

    [​IMG]

    This creates an air gap that needs to be patched separately if you're attempting to mod it.
     
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  4. takato14

    takato14 Doglover

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    [​IMG]

    Both foam driver spacers are also aligned poorly, resulting in occasional gaps like this where the driver is completely exposed. Another air gap that will need to be patched individually.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2020
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  5. takato14

    takato14 Doglover

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    [​IMG]

    The magnets are raw, uncoated FERRITE with exceptionally weak pull force, which means that they are likely isotropic ferrite (NOT anisotropic), which to my knowledge hasn't been used in a headphone since the early 1980s or so when rare earth magnets were popularized and became readily available. Literally bottom of the barrel, as cheap as possible.
     
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  6. takato14

    takato14 Doglover

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    HE5XXA.png

    The diaphragm tension is WAY too high, resulting in one of the most ridiculously fucked spectrogram results I have seen from a planar since the 1970's. Every single solitary inch of the response above 300Hz is plagued with extremely violent ringing from the film resonating like a drum.

    A much more normal result from an original HE-500 on the same rig, for comparison:

    [​IMG]

    Even the original HE-400 (the second revision with the white driver housing) has less ringing than the HE5XX.

    HE400A.png
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2020
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  7. gixxerwimp

    gixxerwimp Professional tricycle rider

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    Get into the habit of manually saving drafts every now and then. It'll save you a lot of frustration.
     
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  8. takato14

    takato14 Doglover

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    I did. It doesn't seem to work correctly for new threads.
     
  9. gixxerwimp

    gixxerwimp Professional tricycle rider

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    Thanks for the teardown. I presume this is a production unit you just received? I'll have to open mine up when I get it and plug all the leaks. Do you hear a difference after doing so?

    Seems to be in line with Marv's CSDs, but I'm no expert in interpreting these.
     
  10. takato14

    takato14 Doglover

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    This is a production unit I purchased with my own money.

    I will go into mod related discussion later when I finish the teardown notes and the instructions for how to apply the mods I've chosen.

    I believe this headphone is extremely poor value and recommend it under no circumstances. If you are one of the other early adopters who, like me, bought it on a whim hoping for something in the class of HE-500 like it's naming scheme implies, I hope the mods I describe at a later time will help your experience be at least a little better.

    We're not done here. I'm at a PC now and thus can properly go into all details. But, right now I must get some shut-eye, as I am now on 3rd shift and to have any time to myself, I must sleep now.
     
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  11. Rthomas

    Rthomas Friend

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    Thanks, good to know that Hifiman cares about its customers :D

    Do you have a background in acoustics or product design? Have you done a teardown of any high end models?

    The thing that puzzles me about Hifiman is that they are almost universally praised for sound quality but the build shows such a lack of respect for the customer. If the could up the build quality they'd sell more and make more money right? I don't get Fang's thinking. Is it just how to make money as fast as possible company reputation be damned?
     
  12. Elmer Danilovich

    Elmer Danilovich MShenay trying to pretend to be an old man

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    I'll help you there, Takato has been hard modding for YEARS I also believe he is the vintage ortho collector and modder guy as well. More or less if you research his username both here and on Head Fi and likely Changstar you'll find a wealth of information. I believe he posts on Reddit to, either while he is not a "pro" I'd say he is a certainly a modder whose insight is likely far more than he's letting off

    @takato14 it's great to see your input on this headphone man thank you! Looking forward to the rest as well as what ever other mods you've got in mind
     
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  13. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Start a new thread with a post in progress note. Reply a few times to reserve post slots. You can go back and do edits. The edit save frequency is every five minutes with retention of 24 hours.

    It's generally a bad idea, especially with an initial thread post, to expect the forum software to act like 0365 or Google Docs. If you close the browser window on a new thread post, or there's a hiccup, it's likely going to be gone.

    Alternatively, work offline and cut paste text and images. This is what I do for longer posts.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2020
  14. jaker782

    jaker782 Rando

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    I didn't want to bash the build quality, but this really bothered me with these. They are literally unusable at the smallest setting because the cups are restricted from rotating far enough due to the interference with the bottom of the headband padding. In my opinion, there isn't nearly enough adjustment for anyone with an average to small sized head. Plus, the non-existent clamping force makes matters even worse for those with smaller heads... you deal with the headband not being small enough and the cups not staying put on your ears with the smallest of head movements. The whole headband assembly and its attachment to the cups is flimsy and doesn't seem like it will hold up well with normal use. Regardless of sound quality, the issues I had with fit were enough to send these back to Drop a day after receiving them.
     
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  15. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    This is funny because I usually bitch about headphones being a poor fit for big asian heads. I believe @ChaChaRealSmooth, @penguins, and I run into this a lot.

    For once, it's the other way around!
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2020
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  16. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Totally get you on the cut-corners and lack of attention to detail; however, did you actually listen to the headphone and compare it to the HE-500 or did you just look at the measurements?

    I owned an HE-500 for years (two pairs, one from @rhythmdevils, and one with the jerg mods, which incidentally broke the seal to get more openness at the expense of bass extension). I will say that out of the box, I think the HE5XX is generally better than the HE-500, and with mods, even better. Sure there are things that the HE-500 does better, like heft and slam, a more full bodied sound (preference); but there are more things that the HE5XX does better: clarity, lack of congestion, and better frequency response. We are talking subjectively here (not measurements).

    In regards to the CSD, or the ringing - I would disagree with your adjective "violent". Long-lived low amplitude perhaps, but violent would not seem to be an appropriate description. I was surprised as any to see this, and thought I would hear something egregious, but I did not. However, my philosophy was always been ears validate the measurements, not the other way around. There's a reason why I listen to gear before I take measurements.

    I appreciate your efforts to take this apart, point out areas that lacked attention or care, and attempt to improve the performance. However, I think that if you want to be taken more seriously, you can be a little bit more gracious, or at least pick your fights. Trust me, if anyone would know, I would. A $220 headphone, that sounds good, despite ripely CSDs and quality on par with toys from China, isn't worth sounding bombastic over.

    If you feel injured and ripped-off that you were sold an HE-500 but instead received a tweaked Deva with slightly different pads and asymmetrical magnets, then just brush it off your shoulder. You didn't pay anywhere near HE-500 prices and you ended up with a super fun project.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2020
  17. Psalmanazar

    Psalmanazar Most improved member; A+

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    Don’t like ringing and distortion? Buy speakers with soft dome tweeters without any computer-modeled wave guide bullshit to cross the woofer over to a piece of plastic.
     
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  18. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    A matter of semantics, but it's less ringing but rather settling when it comes to the HE5XX. The decays take a long time to fully settle. In that respect, planar type drivers, including stats, tend to do worse than traditional dynamics (noting that there are exceptions). The subjective effects of this are not "ringy" (as in elevated peaks, nails in eardrums), but rather smearing. As mentioned in the other thread, a desirable qualities could be more a liquid, flowy, and less grainy presentation. Undesirable qualities could be plasticky timbre, blunted micro attacks, and smoothed over fine detail. The HE5XX does exhibit these last two traits more than say an HE400S.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2020
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  19. sphinxvc

    sphinxvc Gear Master (retired)

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    You know it could be what you're comparing these to. If you compare to the OG HE-500 or to audiophool tiers of today, yeah maybe a decent FR is good enough and it might even seem like a value.

    But is it worth getting bombastic if you compare to what you get around that price range? Hifiman is basically Skullcandy tier now, even with some of their higher end models. So Dre Beats, SkullCandy, stalwarts like M50 might be better points of reference. I've no idea, I've been out the headphone game a long time. I'm just saying that megabuck audiophiles might give cheap headphones more of a pass than they deserve.

    On most of gear discussed on this forum we're the red line but when it comes to gear like this we're the blue or orange one.

    upload_2020-11-6_12-11-29.png

    Also Hifiman is batman villian status. It's 2020, and no one should be getting conned by LH Labs / Light Harmonic either. As the old Tennessee saying goes... https://bit.ly/3eCd0rt
     
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  20. Aurastys

    Aurastys Rando

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    I really wish I could just condemn Hifiman at this point, but, they still sometimes knock it out of the park with models like Ananda and (depending on who you ask) Susvara. I REALLY like the Ananda at it's price point but sadly things like the HE-5XX are just... Not good.

    I fail to see how that's relevant, or, how really high mass drivers that tend to measure an average of a few % THD minimum during LFO really are something that should be a go-to for a lack of distortion or ringing.
     
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