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

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

  1. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    @purr1n do you still have enough data on my modded Yamaha YH3 to show their CSD with the same super low noise floor to see if the same “settling” is happening? I bet not. I’ll have to send you a fresh batch of modded vintage orthos sometime when you’re up for it and I’ve got them ready.
     
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  2. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    I have them on an old Athlon PC in a box and they are in a different format. Those were early measurements where we got to compare them to stuff from Ultrasone and laugh at the results. May be a good idea to send them.
     
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  3. penguins

    penguins Friend, formerly known as fp627

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    I guess my question right now is how much variance there will be between units in terms of the items show in the original post or if all units have the "exact same issues". ex: a component or step in the manufacturing process is out of spec, isn't foolproof in terms of assembly, etc.

    I completely understand annoyance at not being able to use the full range of adjustments - I feel the same way about a few headphones that won't fit me at max size (Ether 2 immediately comes to mind). However, I wonder if this has more to do with Drop using the Drop headband (an understandable choice IMO) and forgetting to check if this will be an issue (or assuming it won't be for 95%+ of users) vs "HFM being HFM".

    Regarding the prymarks, etc. - yeah, this shouldn't happen, but I wonder if HFM (and possibly Drop) just have a higher tolerance or allowance for things like this. I also wonder what similar types of issues exist on other similarly priced HFM headphones.
     
  4. Philimon

    Philimon Friend

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  5. Kernel Kurtz

    Kernel Kurtz Friend

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    Also was not sure which of the two HE-5XX threads to post this to. I'm sure mods will move as appropriate.

    My HE-5XX arrived today. Drop originally said they would ship on Nov 6, but they went out a few days early. DHL shipping to Canada was fast and reasonably priced, no complaints there. As an added bonus, they made it through customs without my being charged GST. This is kind of a hit and miss thing - I did have to pay the tax on my HD-6XX when they arrived earlier this year. This brought the 5XX in ~$25 cheaper ($325 CDN all in as opposed to $350 for my previous purchase). Even with the exchange rate Drop has some pretty good deals.

    Anyway, my first impression is I like them. I'm new to cans so my only reference is my 6XXs. These planars do indeed have a "more speaker like" presentation. A lot of the reviews I've read have suggested that at this price point, the Senns and the HFM make a good complimentary pair and I'm inclined to agree. They both bring different things to the table and are showing me a good initial taste of what is possible from the different designs. I'm beginning to see why some people own many different pairs.

    My pair does not appear to have any cosmetic issues on the outside. I have not taken them apart yet but will probably do Marv's tape mod shortly, just because. My only complaint, such as it is, is that the included cable is very short. I can only imagine it being useful with a phone or portable music player. I've not tried running them off my phone, but I expect it would result in a compromised experience much the same as it is with the 6XXs. Have a longer balanced cable on order, planned for them to arrive around the same time, but Drop shipped earlier. While I wait for that I'll try not to rip the connectors out of the headphones or pull the amp off the table.

    As always, thanks SBAF for the interesting discussions. They have for sure made a positive contribution to my audio choices over the last few years.
     
  6. Resolve

    Resolve Facebook Friend

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    Hey, thanks for posting this. Yeah all of my testing points to the HE5XX being acoustically equivalent to the Deva. I know there is some info here suggesting otherwise but I may have an explanation. This HE5XX has some moderate channel mismatch going on in both the bass and the treble. The right side driver of this particular HE5XX measures differently from the Deva, and has a different bass roll-off point for when the seal is broken (this matters for HiFiMAN headphones). But, the left side's is identical to that of the Deva, and the distortion is very similar as well. Now, given that the left side of this HE5XX measures very similarly to everything else out there that I've seen of the Deva, I imagine that's more representative. If that is indeed the case, then we should expect the HE5XX to be acoustically identical to the Deva.

    How does this help explain some of the differences we've seen here? Well in short, it's likely just down to unit variation. I know nobody likes to hear that, and this really is just a sample size of one. But because some of these differences are demonstrable in the same headphone, I also don't think those differences are sufficient to disprove claims of the HE5XX and Deva's acoustic equivalence.

    I'll try to highlight all of this in my full review - and to be clear I don't want to throw shade at anyone (not even Drop), because I think it's easy to be confused about this. I had been on the fence about it for a while as well. Also, I should note that it's not clear to me that anyone is at fault for the marketing stuff, because it very well could have just been miscommunication that's led to claims about it being similar to an HE500 (they're not lying about it being 'inspired by' it), and even that it's not a Deva driver. I admit it's a little bit annoying that the post from Drop suggesting the Deva is single-sided is still up, even after I took it apart and showed that it does in fact have magnets on both sides. This was something I had to amend when I got it wrong in my initial Deva review, and when they doubled down on that it just led to more confusion in my opinion. But I suppose until HiFiMAN tells them otherwise, like they told me, that's Drop's prerogative.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2020
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  7. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Do you have distortion measurements? Curious because there was some implication that the magnets in the 5XX could have been assymetrical, thus leading to increased higher second harmonic. (I run these at highish levels, around 102dbSPL)

    Also free-air impedance if possible. The Deva's I got were quite a bit higher in Fs. 87HZ on 5XX vs 160Hz on Deva.

    The FR differences alone were not sufficient enough to distinguish the differences as they were quite similar. Although I am seeing some similar relative results to yours (Deva with high 12-13kHz peak, 5XX's better extension)

    upload_2020-11-9_20-38-51.png

    Another possibility is what I received was different from what was sent to people who ordered. Or that HFM is not shipping what Drop thought they were getting.

    However, I don't think FR explains everything. There is some evidence here already that the Deva could yet be different based purely on the FR with your FR measurements. Yet there is also some wiggle room as FR will have variances (assuming HFM has poor production tolerances). The free-air impedance and broken down harmonic distortions will give us additional data to determine whether the 5XX is: (1) the same driver subject to production variances; or (2) a variant of the Deva driver with different Fs and harmonic distortions.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2020
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  8. Resolve

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    Regarding asymmetrical magnets, the Deva's seem to be of similar strength on both sides (I can't measure this, just from testing it with a magnet). Moreover, everything visible about the driver seems to be identical between the two, but it is possible that there's a difference in what we can't see - such as tensioning and whatnot. But then it seems strange we'd get the same or nearly the same FR result between the two headphones. In any case, to your last point, that's also something I'm worried about. A sample size of one isn't good enough to verify conclusively what I'm finding, and that it's representative of what a customer would get, merely that all of this is pointing in the direction of it being the same as the Deva.

    Here's the seal comparison I mentioned:

    https://i.imgur.com/XEYnfJj.jpg

    I'm currently compiling the distortion info for the review. I took a number of measurements to compare because there is some variation still, even from the same headphone, but here's some indication:

    HE5XX: https://i.imgur.com/r5HcnoR.png
    Deva: https://i.imgur.com/q0pPbRi.png, https://i.imgur.com/EoF7sDe.png
     
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  9. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Whoa, that's puzzling. For all we know, HFM decided to simplify their production line and use 5XXs for the Deva. Or maybe two production lines made stuff differently. It would appear that the only way to put this to rest is to order x5 more HE5XX and x5 more Deva with at least two people taking measurements of them. Not worth it. Life's too short.
     
  10. Lyander

    Lyander Too sensitive for SBAF

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    Just out of curiosity are there any specific frequencies most affected by differences in tensioning, or do these things manifest differently just because such is the nature of orthodynamic designs? I looked through variability in the LCD2C thread (sample size of three!) and among other sets off-site but frankly the latter's nowhere near being grapes to grapes so I just nixed it.

    TL;DR if these are worth the asking price then they're worth the asking price. If it turns out they're a rebranded Deva (which didn't have a horrible reception) or something else entirely then that's maybe just an academic curiosity at this point.
     
  11. cameng318

    cameng318 Facebook Friend

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    The tensioning seems to affect the locations of the shark fins the most. In a nut shell, frequencies below the first shark fin is not directional, and won't get affected by reflections, but seal still matters for the low extension. For frequency above the first shark fin, sound gets directional and reflection plays in gradually, pad and enclosure matters more here. Maybe the magnet gap also has effect here, but I'm not sure.

    Last week I put some tape on the diaphragm side of my T20RP's magnet to dampen the shark fin resonance. It flattened the shark fins, but didn't tame the 10 kHz peak as I intended. One of the screw on the right side driver doesn't screw in anymore, and might caused the shark fins got taller than the left side, but I didn't save the before measurements to back this up. It's smoothed response still matches the left channel.

    For frequencies magnitudes above the shark fin, like in the 10 to 20 kHz region, the diaphragm may resonant unpredictably and cause ringing on FR, but both my ears and EARS aren't good enough to confirm this. I'm also not capable to make models to run simulations to verify this.

    Thus I think planar diaphragms are inherently flat, but gets affected by pads and enclosure like dynamics do for frequency above the first shark fin. For HE5XX, loose tensioning makes more low end extension (for lack of seal apple to apple comparison), and might make the upper treble more pad dependent.

    If you pay attention to the locations of the shark fins, HE5XX's are shifted lower consistently for everyone who's comparing it with DEVA. (This still can't prove or disprove Drop sent unicorn units to reviewers)

    Edit: As a bonus, I think Hifiman finally figured out how to tune earpads. Years ago only focus A pads that sound good out of OEM options. Now they figure out a pad at least objectively some what flat, and even changed color and dampening for HE5XX. Not a bad trend, maybe they will figure out a headband in a few years
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2020
  12. Resolve

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    Just to be clear, this unit Have here is Josh Valour's review unit. He was kind enough to send it up for me to evaluate.
     
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  13. robot zombie

    robot zombie Friend

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    I picked up a pair just to have some planars on hand. Never been my thing. But for $220, a planar I won't totally hate seemed good to have. Something that will always sound different from my usual HD650 baseline.

    Right out of the gate, mine had a problem. The right cup had a rattle... like a little piece of plastic bag blowing in the wind when met with bass frequencies left running mostly alone. Or like when you purse your lips together and make a dry fart sound. I was not surprised, just disappointed.

    But before jumping to conclusions, I shook the cup and heard the rattle. That couldn't be the driver... not internally. So I removed the cup and opened it. Shook again and verified that something is actually moving around in the cup. Even very gently lifted the driver magnet sammich out to see if maybe something was stuck in there. Everything was secure, no crud. Having it out like that, I held the whole assembly into the cup (also held the swivels for the fork in place, which of course rattle when free) and shook. No rattle. Put it all back together. Still no rattle.

    Maybe the driver assembly just didn't sit quite right and it was rattling out in the cup? I'm really not sure. The world may never know. But it seems like simply reseating it was enough. Probably not necessary or wise to move the driver assembly itself around. I probably could have just reseated the bracket on top.

    Kinda jives with the overall build of this thing, which isn't impressive. I mean, it doesn't feel like it's going to break irreparably anytime soon, but not the most solid either. It's not terrible garbage. I don't mind how light and loose they are myself.

    Fortunately, it seems like most of that $220 went into the sound. That's why the rest is so chintzy. :) Maybe I'll do an impression later. A little confused as to where we're putting them at this point. But honestly, I think it's worth the $220 just for the sound. They're very fun without being offensive at all. I usually hate planars for the upper mids and treble. They always either sound rolled off on the upper treble, but shouty/splashy on the lower, or the lower treble is so recessed they sound veiled, but the sibilance is up there just dancing in the rain.

    These have a lot more treble than say, an HD650. And yet they don't wear me down at all... usually I'm the guy to cry about needles and stuff. But I put these on and didn't take them off for 2 hours. Just immediately engaging. IME that is a VERY rare thing for cheap planars. For me, anyway...
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2020
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  14. mk801

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    Took delivery of the HE5XX and, out of the box, I found out that the right button is failing and the right connector is a little wonky :(

    The HD6XX feels considerably more substantial in my hands. These feel Fischer-Price cheap. Its saving grace is that the cans are light as a feather. Additionally, the cups are generously sized and there's little to no clamp force. One can wear these all day. However, I still find them trailing in many respects to my HE-500. Anyways, due to QC issues, these will go back to Drop.

    [​IMG]
     
  15. robot zombie

    robot zombie Friend

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    Ooof, that gimbal looks sketchy! What do you mean when you say wonky connector? Moving around or just cutting out? From what I saw inside, the whole connector assembly is pretty firmly attached to the whole driver/magnet assembly. Though now I kind of wonder about the little wires stuffed around it.

    I'm sure we will see more than a few cases like this, sadly. Good ole HFM failure tolerances. Too cruel that the drivers are actually getting decent... as in, they can actually sound good and hold up. And yet HFM still can't figure out how to build everything else around them, which should arguably be the easier part. o_O

    I do wonder how pairs without immediate issues will hold up. I mean, they feel wobbly because of how the gimbals are, and the metal for the headband support is actually pretty thin (width-wise.) So it's inherently springy and wobbly. But actually testing all of the joints/connection on my pair, it really feels like they're not going anywhere without some considerable abuse. Having taken them apart and put them back together I can see they're very cheap and simple, right down to the brackets for the pads (pad side and cup side alike.) If there was anything that failed on an otherwise properly manufactured pair, I would think that'd be it. Otherwise I didn't find any major faults.

    I guess I'll find out about that...
     
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  16. gixxerwimp

    gixxerwimp Professional tricycle rider

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    I just got mine in 1.5 weeks via DHL standard int'l (to Taiwan), which I think is a speed record. First impression is that the smell of plasticky fake leather is overwhelming and I'm going to have to let them sit out on the balcony for a few weeks (I am very sensitive to smells). It's probably psychosomatic, but the pads feel a bit itchy on my face too.

    Soundwise, they're OK so far. A touch bright for me in the 7-8kHz range, which aligns with the peak/ridge in the FR/CSD. Bass is a bit meh so I'm hoping the blu-tack mod will help there.

    I ran some sweeps and heard some faint whispy buzzing in the low to mid bass region. They stink too much for me to investigate further right now.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2020
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  17. mk801

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    What I meant is that the sound cuts in and out from just slight movement of the 3.5mm jack in the right ear cup connector.

    From my initial listening session the other day:

    [​IMG]

    On the left, the HE-5XX, and on the right, the HE-500 (Audeze headband and velpads). Both were driven from XLR outputs of the Cavalli CTH, Cavalli Liquid Platinum, Marantz MM7025, or the THX AAA 789 at various times during my initial listening session.

    First things first. The box is rather spartan (no cloth material as shown in MLE’s review). Accordingly, this austere presentation resembles that of what Drop+Hifiman provided previously with the boxes from their previous collaborations (HE-4XX and the Edition XX).

    [​IMG]

    Some stream of consciousness notes I was relating to a friend of mine during my initial listening session:
    • Very cheap feeling, probably one of the cheapest, flimsiest feeling headphones that I’ve held in my hands (like Fischer-Price cheap). Both the HE500 and the HD6XX feel much more substantial than the HE5XX. The upshot is that the HE5XX is light as feather, and with little to no clamp force, one should have no problems wearing it all day.
    • L/R indicators are not immediately discernable (later found written with dark text on dark background, see above pic) but one can tell which side is which from the cup angle.
    • There is indeed a chemical smell on the headband (definitely not new car, lol), but it isn’t strong nor does it fill my apartment with it. Maybe that is due to the pumpkin pie baking in the oven that's masking it. Later on, I started to smell the chemical odor from the HE5XX in my apartment (kind of almost towards burnt plastic smell but thankfully not as rancid) with the can sitting a few feet away from me.
    • The HE5XX lacks the slam of the HE500, the former more on the softer side of things.
    • The slam of the HE5XX improves when driven from my Marantz (140WPC at 8ohms) but still noticeably trails that of the HE500 on the same amp.
    • The resolution/detail retrieval capabilities of the HE5XX trails that of the HE500, which is by no means a resolution monster.
    • There’s less body in the mids of the HE5XX than the HE500. When switching from the HE500 to the HE5XX, the mids sound thin and the upper mids and treble on the HE5XX are a little more peaky than the HE500 on Sun Kil Moon’s “Duk Koo Kim [YT]
    • Soundstage of the HE5XX is pretty nice
    • The CTH and LP add much needed body to the HE5XX
    In short, these are the HE500 in marketing-speak only. So, if one wants to get an HE500, go to the used market to find one. As for the HE5XX on their own, these are an interesting value proposition. However, the mids are a little too thin, and the upper mids and lower treble are a little too zesty for my taste but probably can be toned down by EQ. Furthermore, the build quality is just terrible, so I'd recommend one to go for the HD6XX instead if someone is looking for a can from Drop at around $200. If one wants to avoid the smell coming from these cans (at least temporarily), bake a pie ;)

    Due to QC issues, these are going back to Drop.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2020
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  18. gixxerwimp

    gixxerwimp Professional tricycle rider

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    I sprayed some 75% isopropyl onto a kitchen towel and wiped down all the non-metal surfaces. This took away enough of that plasticky smell that I can stand to wear them now.

    Cross posting my blu-tack mod here to save people flipping back and forth.
    I still hadn't found them until you pointed them out in your photo ... black paint on black is not terribly useful.
     
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  19. bhk1004

    bhk1004 Rando

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    Just a question, these have been confirmed to be deva redone correct? I think I've seen a picture floating around of both taken apart and the drivers were essentially identical.
     
  20. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    There is an entire thread here dedicated to this if you search. It's inconclusive. There is evidence pointing both ways (Deva or Deva tweaked). More samples are needed.
     
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