DROP + HIFIMAN HE5XX Review and Measurements

Discussion in 'Headphones' started by purr1n, Oct 27, 2020.

  1. Elysian

    Elysian Friend

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    As a marketer, this is absolutely unethical and speaks to Drop's integrity or lack thereof. I'm really disappointed in where the company is going after @CEE TEE left. They should have called this the Deva-X or something similar.

    I was going to post a sarcastic comment about hard-hitting journalism re the headlined article at the other place as, iirc, the only passing mention of the Deva was the headband. I don't want to be mean as I appreciate anyone who takes the time to review gear (even if they got it for free) but this is 2020 and companies shouldn't be misleading consumers like this.

    If I was buying an HE-500 rebrand, I'm expecting a warmer HE-6 that isn't as resolving and still benefits from speaker amp-levels of power, with drivers that are largely similar to the original run.
     
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  2. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Well, as @E_Schaaf said, the Deva sounded fine as-is (knowing how few things sound fine as-is with the crowd here). This assuming that the HE5XX is a lift-and-shift of the Deva.

    HEADBAND AND GIMBAL NOTE:

    One thing I wanted to point out is that I wouldn't consider the headband inferior based purely on the looks with the old school round buttons. The headphone is quite a bit different from that of the OG HE-500. The swivel is incorporated into the round buttons with built in play instead of an extra screw mechanism between the rod of the screw. The ratchet mechanism for adjusting the height of the cups works has a good feel - tactile click adjustments with secure hold of position. The headband is more flexible and seems to have better quality padding as well. Whether everything will stay together, only time will tell. I think it will because the cups are such much lighter and there is much more built-in play, as opposed to the HE-500 which required a lot of force to adjust and was brittle (OG HE-500 headband literally exploded on me while I was adjusting it).

    The super funny thing really is how the Deva fell under the radar, sort of a hidden gem, which was able to be repurposed for this.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2020
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  3. Shazb0t

    Shazb0t Rando

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    Definitely trying to move Devas off of old HFM planar nostalgia.
     
  4. Bull Buchanan

    Bull Buchanan Rando

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    You can use the a balanced output on an amp with a dual 3.5mm mono to your balanced connector of choice, but the headphones themselves don't have the technology in them to resolve a balanced signal, just like most cans don't.
     
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  5. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    HE-5XX is bit more efficient than HD650. I'd say about 60% on the volume knob from where I have the Grado RS2 to HD650 to reach similar volume.

    As such, balanced bridged amps using a source with balanced output could result in too much gain and with not much usable range on the volume knob.

    For amps with output transformers, not sure if running balanced over SE (grounded one end of secondaries) would make a difference.

    I think maybe one headphone, the HD800, exhibited a difference where I would bet $20 on.
     
  6. Kernel Kurtz

    Kernel Kurtz Friend

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    On that recommendation, I've placed my order. I'm completely new to headphones and already ordering more. Does this make me an addict? Pretty soon I'll be ordering more amps! Damn you SBAF! :rolleyes:
     
  7. zerodeefex

    zerodeefex Grumpiest admin

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    What dumbass at Drop couldn't negotiate to offer it with the wireless module? Wtf. This is embarrassing.
     
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  8. Roget

    Roget Rando

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    Wireless module and HE5XX makes it look too much like Deva :)

    From what I hear about CEE TEE, maybe now Drop isn't unethical or did a bad job.
    I think HiFiMan Fang tricked Drop and maybe people at Drop didn't know.

    Purrin, do you have Deva measurements?
     
  9. zerodeefex

    zerodeefex Grumpiest admin

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    They are incompetent basically. Without @CEE TEE they have dumb dumbs making the audio calls.
     
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  10. julian67

    julian67 Facebook Friend

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    https://www.superbestaudiofriends.o...iman-he4xx-measurements-and-impressions.4815/

    "Holy cow, I just noticed the price. BUY THIS NOW!"
    "...on par with Mrspeakers Alpha Dog Prime headphones. Perfectly acceptable here given the price. "
    "The timbre is similar to the HE-560, but tonality is actually more even. Hard to complain. It ticks a lot of boxes for an entry level headphone. At $169, it's a no brainer."
    "I wouldn't worry about the low end so much unless you happen to listen exclusively to electronic music with a lot of 32Hz sustains. It's only 3db down at 30Hz from 100Hz, and 30Hz is even with 300Hz.

    Think of it as a slight mid-bass bump at 80Hz with extension down to 30. There is very little content below 30Hz anyway in 99.9% of music."

    Super Best Audio Shills have spoken.
     
  11. zerodeefex

    zerodeefex Grumpiest admin

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    What kind of smooth brain take is this?

    One of the three admins (me) came in and crapped on it. Soooo, what do you want? I think it probably is a good deal at ~$200, but then again, so apparently was the Deva which flew under the radar because... HFM is a dumpster fire most of the time and I'm going to keep telling people NOT to give a company like Drop their money if this is the kind of laziness we can expect.

    Edit: and look at that distortion, eff that for those of us not in the target market of "herp derp, I'm looking for a decently priced ortho that sounds normal-ish."
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2020
  12. Lyander

    Lyander Too sensitive for SBAF

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    I mean, the HE4XX I had ultimately ended up with someone I didn't care for (my ex's now-ex... I think. Weird story there.) cuz it was hard for me to like it other than appreciating it as a change of pace set (staging was very off, treble was AAAAAARGH, bass was untextured despite being lithe and groovy) but that doesn't mean other people can't like it or appreciate different aspects that I don't value as much. Haven't heard as many headphones as many others on here but given what's available on the market the asking price isn't obscene.

    pre-send edit: what @zerodeefex said.

    FWIW seeing the measurements here made me immediately take back wanting to get ears on these. HFM gonna HFM I guess, I'm sticking with my inferior dynamics.
     
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  13. E_Schaaf

    E_Schaaf MOT: Upscale Audio; recovering HFM addict

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    This might be a little off topic but feels tangentially related.

    Planars always sound best in the first 30 minutes you put them on. Cool diffusive wall of sound, deeper bass on most gear compared to many dynamics and all that.

    Then if you're like me the novelty wears off and you start missing the transient focus and better imaging of a good dynamic driver if you own a decent dynamic phone. Or over time your headphone funnels you into certain types of amps, continually getting more and more niche until your setup becomes impractical to use. Or you want to get into tubes but you can't find an amp that can drive or scale your headphones. Planar purgatory.

    Best way I can describe the planar experience is 'itchy'. I had the HE6 rash for a while. I was never quite satisfied and in retrospect each incremental change in my setup was smaller than I wanted to believe. My planars always begged me to pour more into them, but they were always 'off'.

    My setup is just simpler, more enjoyable to tweak, and better sounding without the unique nervosa using one of the few worth-while planars always gave me. I haven't seen any developments in planar tech that lead me to believe I should spend any more money or energy on them. Planars are stale and a headphone gateway drug. Innovation is lacking even if planars are becoming more accessible price-wise. I wish HFM would stop producing new SKUs and start rethinking their design entirely.

    Edit - HFM could redeem themselves by selling all their parts OEM for modular designs at a fixed margin. But we all know that will never happen. Bringing prices down at the entry level is a start
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2020
  14. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Keep in mind that the HE4XX came out in 2017, that's three years ago when there were even less cheap planar options than today and the HE400S was like $299 or something like that.

    But here is the dinger: for the price, name me a better planar headphone than the HE400i for $160?*
    $160 is the current price right now here: https://drop.com/buy/drop-hifiman-he4xx-planar-magnetic-headphones

    If anyone asked me, I'd tell them I would rather have a dynamic headphone. Everyone here already knows that I'm not exactly Mr. Planar, but at least I try to give them an honest shot so I can offer good recommendations for people who do appreciate their strengths. The fact is, some people prefer planars. At these price points, planars will have better bass quality and newer people will almost always prefer better bass and not really get the more resolving mids and highs thing until later.

    Knowing that $10, $20, $50 can be lot for people who are pinching pennies, this this what I would recommend for the following price points under $800. I stood by some of these recommendations then, and I stand by this now.

    $160 HE4XX
    $200 HE400S
    $220 HE5XX / Deva (assuming it sounds the same, which by @La Cenric's measurements it does)
    $300 Whatever that dude's planar
    $800 LCD-2 Classic

    Note that I did not care for Sundara or any of the Monoprice planars. There is some new stuff that I haven't gotten my hands on yet.

    * If you cannot do so, please submit your resignation to SBAF or post a picture of yourself wearing underwear on your head.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2020
  15. YMO

    YMO it's not drinking alone if you're on Zoom

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    I thought @julian67 left and never wanted to come back?

    If this was Head-Fi and HFM/Drop was giving tons of money to Jude for this Drop, @zerodeefex comments would be been removed either by shadow banning his ass or just give him a perma. That's the big difference between here and there.
     
  16. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    I'm pretty sure if I was Jude, @zerodeefex, @rhythmdevils, @La Cenric, and @Elysian would have had their posts deleted, their accounts restricted from posting in this thread, and their posts put under moderation. Add @jexby too. I didn't want to leave anyone out. You guys are all troublemakers. Oh wait... that's why you are here.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2020
  17. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Nope.

    This one dropped under the radar. I think I lost interest because HiFiMan's line up between the $180-$350 was already stuffed with four planars from HE400i, HE4XX, HE400S, and Sundara, all of which I took measurements. The Sundara's ergonomics frightened me so much that I wanted to avoid HFM for a while. The Deva would have grown that list to five headphones in that price bracket. IMO, that's nuts and horrible product strategy. The sad thing is that the Deva would have been favorite of them all.

    Think of Schiit making an Asgard 2i, Asgard 2S, Asgard 3, Himinbjörg Asgard. And then they came out with their latest Bilskírnir Asgard, which happened to be a hidden gem. By then, I could have cared less, being SKU fatigued.

    If anyone has a Deva, I'll take it for measurements and pay shipping both ways.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2020
  18. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    @purr1n

    Just a suggestion. Isn't it better to edit OP a little bit by adding some simple cautions for prospective drop buyers? Like some of us fooled already, the he5xx naming per se is obviously very misleading. Dudes in Drop 'cite' sbaf and generate hype train as a reborn of he500 there.

    I think having a brief disclaimer pointing out "he5xx <> betterized he500", and providing a link to discussions around Deva-suspicion would be a slightly righter way to go. This will rescue those happened to visit sbaf and skim the OP. Not everyone read the entire thread (in other forum, myself not either). A lot of illiteracy out there, too.

    Those who really need budget planars and have a decent literacy still benefit from your subjective/objective analyses.
     
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  19. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    I've already suffered from enough illiteracy today.

    It's not my job to save people because they lack reading comprehension skills or are too f'ing lazy to read down to the 9th post. I so rarely make TOCs for my stream of consciousness review style and I don't see any reason to do so now, particularly since my lifespan has already been shorted 10 minutes today by someone who couldn't read.

    The remasters of the HE-5 (HE-5se) <> OG HE-5s as well. There was discussion in the re-issue thread about this. No one asked me to put disclaimers there.

    Danger and conspiracies lurk everywhere in this hobby. It's not my f'ing job to slap warning labels everywhere. That is not until the state of California deems it necessary with a proposition. As far as EU cookies, screw them.

    P.S. They already figured it out in the Drop forums. People aren't that dumb. And for those who are, sucks to be them.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2020
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  20. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    P.S.S.

    Besides, I think it's kind of funny that I didn't even know myself. And then the reader finds out more as they scroll down the page - the detective work from y'all. I mean, doesn't my silence (mostly) on this matter just make it that much more fascinating? Aren't you wondering what I may actually be thinking in my head? Knowing my personality, you guys already know what I'm thinking without my saying a word. Sometimes the murder is more brutal when it's offscreen.

    SBAF isn't just info, it's also the story.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2020

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