Hifiman HE-6

Discussion in 'Headphones' started by Meteora, Nov 13, 2015.

  1. ohhgourami

    ohhgourami Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    585
    Dislikes Received:
    12
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    SGV, CA
    Anthem MCA20 is very decent for the price. It's something worth looking into. Be wary of age though, mine cuts in and out and fluctuates in volume because it needs new caps bad.

    About 100W of quality power would be enough. Having a 4 screw already puts you ahead of the game.
     
  2. weicheheck

    weicheheck Acquaintance

    Contributor
    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2018
    Likes Received:
    40
    Dislikes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Miami
    Im trying the blue tak mod right now, I got one driver done with few hiccups, except for a slightly oval housing causing the top and bottom to be much tighter to the driver, I got around that by applying pressure on the peaks of the oval after which the driver popped out quite easily.

    I'm having a similar issue now trying to take out the second driver, except it seems to be much more tightly encased into the housing, I can't even get the plastic ring to come out on its own. I'm not really sure what to do at this point, i tried rolling the housing around on top of the F5 (i took off the housing from the headphone to have easier access) which is stupid hot to expand the metal housing but I'm concerned about leaving it there too long and the heat somehow messing with the drivers, the shorter time frames I've been using have not succeeded in freeing the driver from the case.

    I don't want to end up with just one side blue tak modded I can't imagine that would be good for the low end presentation. @ohhgourami or anyone else, any suggestions?


    Edit: https://imgur.com/a/l6xeko9

    looks like just this driver was glued at the top and bottom ends, I pried the first plastic layer with a butterknife, gave the housing a little more F5 heat, and was able to pry from the glue side I applied the heat to by wedging the knife between the ring and driver and pulling up.

    Edit 2: more pictures https://imgur.com/a/9uyLRHY

    The glue pulled off the surface layer of the housing it was touching, classic Hifiman build quality, but it's all set up now :). I think the other driver was also glued just not as effectively, allowing me to separate the driver from the housing by applying inward force to the sides perpendicular to the glue.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2019
  3. skem

    skem Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2017
    Likes Received:
    867
    Dislikes Received:
    16
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Cambridge, MA
    In my limited experience, the issue with some speaker amps and HE6 is inadequate voltage gain. Not all speaker amps have adequate voltage to drive HE-6 to nice volumes (whereas they all have adequate power). Now, it is true that typically the higher the power rating of an amp, the higher the gain is too, but this is not uniform across products. If you are suffering from inadequate voltage gain, you will have to drive the amp harder from the pre/source to get good volume, and consequently your signal may be up against distortion thresholds in the early gain stages of the amp. So check your amp ratings. It’s not “Watts” you want to look at, but dB of gain.
     
    E_Schaaf likes this.
  4. dubharmonic

    dubharmonic Almost "Made"

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2017
    Likes Received:
    188
    Dislikes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    33
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Thanks @skem , is Voltage Gain 36.5dB a solid number in your experience?
     
  5. weicheheck

    weicheheck Acquaintance

    Contributor
    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2018
    Likes Received:
    40
    Dislikes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Miami
    The First Watt F5 has about 5 db of headroom on most songs in my library. I can push to 0 db on some more dynamic files like talking heads but it gets to hearing damage range and is not bearable for more than 15 seconds or so at a time. Honestly the 5 db of headroom is a personal number that has to do with the fact that I listen to music at pretty loud volumes, I really enjoy the tactile feeling the He 6 gives at higher volumes.

    The First Watt has 15 db gain as a standard, but this DIY version does not have the same exact specs, so I'm uncertain of how much gain it has. There's no where near as much headroom as the Vidar with 27 db of gain but the significantly lower noise floor (pitch black, especially compared to the Vidar which has audible noise on the He6, and is unbearably loud on the He 5le) as well as what seems like a warmer presentation are giving the F5 a decent lead over the Vidar, I'm hearing more microdetails like someone scooting in their chair or hearing the guitar amplifier feedback at the end of a Rage Against the Machine song (can't remember which), or some super quiet sounds in the left channel around 4:35 of Democratic Circus by Talking Heads (I have 5.1 downmix files so I don't know that they will be as audible in regular stereo), and I'm also getting less fatigue. It's too soon for me to make better comparisons though as I havent had much time with the F5, but I would argue that gain isn't much of an issue unless I want to EQ, which I might, but I will cross that bridge when the time comes.
     
  6. skem

    skem Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2017
    Likes Received:
    867
    Dislikes Received:
    16
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Cambridge, MA
    Yes. That’s ample.
     
    dubharmonic likes this.
  7. weicheheck

    weicheheck Acquaintance

    Contributor
    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2018
    Likes Received:
    40
    Dislikes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Miami
    Vidar with 27 db gain has an audible noise floor but can also get extremely loud, I'm not sure if such high gain will guarantee you an audible noise floor but it will certainly be more than enough gain for the He 6.
     
  8. skem

    skem Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2017
    Likes Received:
    867
    Dislikes Received:
    16
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Cambridge, MA
    As I said before, F5 is a great pairing. The F5 Turbo has more gain. A gain in the 30s is good. I was using 32 on my system. Only extreme purity to super-well mastered program content will utilize more.
     
  9. captkirk

    captkirk Khan's BFF

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2017
    Likes Received:
    2,278
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Sactown-ish
    I had similar issues with my 5LE and Vidar when I first picked up the amp. Noticeable hum. I researched out some likely issues, and followed Jason's advice on picking up an Ebtech Hum-x gizmo.

    Worked well, and hum dropped considerably. Still there, but not really an issue as at some point I needed to accept that I'm driving a headphone from a 100w power amp.

    My HE-6 and the Code-6 I have on loan - silent.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2019
    E_Schaaf, weicheheck and skem like this.
  10. skem

    skem Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2017
    Likes Received:
    867
    Dislikes Received:
    16
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Cambridge, MA
    I think you can increase the voltage rail in the F5 to get more gain. See the DIY docs.
     
    weicheheck likes this.
  11. weicheheck

    weicheheck Acquaintance

    Contributor
    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2018
    Likes Received:
    40
    Dislikes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Miami


    I put all my gear on the same power strip, I thought that would avoid ground loops? I'll go ahead and check anyway, I'm probably planning on keeping the F5 and selling the Vidar, although I might regret it in the summer.



    Will do thanks for the tip.
     
  12. ohhgourami

    ohhgourami Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    585
    Dislikes Received:
    12
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    SGV, CA
    Congrats on getting the driver out. The 4 screws were glued on much tighter than the 6 screws. I wouldn't worry about the unevenness of the retaining rings being slightly out of shape when holding the driver down. That is normal.

    Enjoy the headphone.
     
  13. weicheheck

    weicheheck Acquaintance

    Contributor
    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2018
    Likes Received:
    40
    Dislikes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Miami
    4 screw + Blue tak mod + Ether C Flow pads is by far the best combination I've heard so far, but It took me a lot of messing around with how I position the pads on the headphone as well as how I place my ears in the pads to get the best sound I could out of the Ethers. I settled on tilting the pads 45 degrees clockwise and tucking my ears into the top and back corners in a way that ends up with the top and back of my ear covered by parts under the rectangular hole of the pads.

    Pictures of what I mean https://imgur.com/a/xBkvQjJ.

    It requires a little bit of wiggling the headphone around to secure my ears in those pockets, as well as some getting used to having them there, but the pay off is worthwhile. Everything magically snaps into place, soundstage is the most cohesive I've ever heard. Instead of 3 blobs existing as left, center and right channels there is a fluid continuous stage in the shape of a very wide U, with pin point imaging nicely demonstrated by the percussive instrument in Nothing but flowers by talking heads around 4:46 in the right channel. I can hear it approaching, get very close, then get pretty far back and come close again very clearly while also having notes alternate from being more forward and back depth wise (5.1 downmix IDK how it sounds in regular stereo). The width has given me a lot more of those moments where you turn around thinking you heard something in real life.

    Bass becomes absolutely laser focused in the center of my brain, usually separated from everything except drums, with tons of weight (I feel the bass hitting my ear drums, but not that it is emphasized or anything) and texture. Blu tak mod pushes the boundaries of He 6 bass even further, getting rid of the sub 50 hz blurriness. and extending the bass down to 20 hz with practically no roll off (there's a difference in how audible 20hz is but I'm leaning towards that having more to do with my hearing).

    I do think I get more fatigue from 1-3 khz tones this way though, and the 10k+ region still has a bit more energy than I would like, although not as fatiguing for me as the upper midrange, just a bit "tizzy" like Tyll described it, with raspiness or sibilance from vocals being overly pronounced. The pads don't fix the hollow lower mid range, but the blu tak mod may have helped a bit with this.

    I have some ancient k702 pads that I tore up for parts, I'm hoping the gray foam damping ring they had could help me with the upper midrange since the K702 was peaky around that area as well.

    My opinion on felt flip flops, it takes away from the high frequency energy as well as most fatigue from 3 khz or so but it hurts soundstage and imaging, I will be messing around with it more because I don't want tinnitus.

    I also want to mention that when I first compared the 6 screw and 4 screw they they had different imaging and soundstage, something was off on the 4 screw. Once I took off the quarter circle of foam that comes stock just like I had already done for the 6 screw the stages were pretty much identical.


    I had a bit of a scare there, but that made the experience all the more rewarding :)
     
  14. beemerphile

    beemerphile Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2015
    Likes Received:
    442
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Danielsville, GA USA
    The relatively inexpensive Marantz MM7025 that I am happily employing with my HE-6 has no audible hiss and can drive the HE-6 to destruction. The specs are 140 wpc @ 8Ω; 105 dB S/N; 29 dB voltage gain. I haven't found myself wishing for more or better, though I know that many amps surpass it. One pairing that sucked badly for me was the NuPrime STA-9. It was rated 120 wpc with 22 dB voltage gain and only 80 dB S/N. The Benchmark AHB2 that lots of people speak well of for this duty manages 132 dB S/N (wow) and outputs 100 wpc with about 23 dB of gain in the high gain setting. The 105 dB of the Marantz is greater than the resolution capability of Redbook material and right now that is fine for my uses. Its power and gain seem to be within the happy range.
     
  15. frenchbat

    frenchbat BritishBat's arch enemy - Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2015
    Likes Received:
    1,131
    Dislikes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Honestly it depends on your dac's output voltage. With such high gains, you can get too much pretty fast.
     
    skem likes this.
  16. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

    Staff Member Friend BWC
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2015
    Likes Received:
    43,492
    Dislikes Received:
    70
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Antarctica
    Might be hot source or lack of attenuation between source and amp in this case.
     
  17. frenchbat

    frenchbat BritishBat's arch enemy - Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2015
    Likes Received:
    1,131
    Dislikes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Using the Yggdrasil's balanced output level as a reference (4.2V), the benchmark didn't need more than a few dBs of attenuation on low gain (9.2dB), between 3dB and 8dB in most cases. Using the high gain would have required me to use a lot more attenuation, but I really prefer to use as few as possible.
     
  18. ohhgourami

    ohhgourami Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    585
    Dislikes Received:
    12
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    SGV, CA
    If you're not liking the upper mids, some felt around the cup of the pads should help reduce that. A ton of reflections happen from an earpad. It's also why I'm hesitant to use leather pads.
     
    purr1n and frenchbat like this.
  19. weicheheck

    weicheheck Acquaintance

    Contributor
    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2018
    Likes Received:
    40
    Dislikes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Miami
    I think part of that was just me putting it way too loud, at more reasonable volume levels its more like the He 6 gives a strong presence to female vocals.

    https://imgur.com/a/rFVMS0Q

    This is what I'm currently using, but I can't get the subbass to hit as hard as it did without any felt in the pads, it's either due to me not getting the sweet spot or the felt is absorbing too much of the lower range energy, and I've been messing around a lot with placement so I feel like I should've been able to get the sweet spot

    (I was using that moment when the bass suddenly becomes laser focused as my main reference for hitting the sweet spot)

    My Saga arrived and I'm using balanced out of the Gungnir to RCA Saga with redco xlr to RCA, the increased voltage gave me that extra bit of headroom I needed, and between switching to balanced out and not needing digital attenuation I do feel I got another slightly incremental improvement, not sure if placebo or not but music sounds a little better so I'll take it.

    Trying to A/b RCA vt 231 and passive mode there seems to be a very small change, passive might have slightly stronger subbass while tube might have a tiny bit more emphasized microdetails in the mid-range based on listening from 1:30 to 2:00 min or so on save our now by Devin Townsend project, but I don't think I could pick one from a blind test, at least not yet I would need to get much more familiar with the modes, and even then it would probably be tough.

    The pads @skem sent with the He 6 seem exactly like vegan pads. Compared to the Ether they tame the upper mids, have a slightly wider stage, with less going on in front but still relatively well connected, less pin point imaging but still good, and woolier bass that has a bit more upper bass and maybe a bit less subbass. They have a better overall tone, but hitting that sweet spot on the Ether C is like nothing I've heard before in terms precise imaging, it was almost jaw dropping the first time I heard it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2019
  20. weicheheck

    weicheheck Acquaintance

    Contributor
    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2018
    Likes Received:
    40
    Dislikes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Miami
    I take it back I just needed to adjust my headband dramatically when switching from ether to vegan pads. I went from barely stretching the headband to maxing out how far it can go. I also realized just how important it is to actually use the full range of motion given to me by the headband with all the different ways it swivels. The cups are angled to point outward from the vertical, while pointing inward with respect to my face. I have it set up to maximize the distance between the drivers and my ears while also taking advantage of my HRTF, the stage is absolutely massive, while managing to be more cohesive with very good forward imaging, instrument seperation is increased, and bass feels like the what I hear from car speakers very big and texture, I'd say the He 6 sounds more like an earspeaker than a headphone like this. The pads are just barely resting on my face, almost no clamp force and it still feels more comfortable than any other combination i've tried.

    I get the feeling that the k1000 and abyss Phi headband designs are meant to maximize that HRTF at a distance to create that HUGE sound. Hifiman actually does a great job of allowing you the option to go for that same presentation with their old school headband design, I just wish I had realized what a big difference it makes sooner, I haven't really seen anyone mention it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2019

Share This Page