Hifiman HE-6

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

  1. treboR

    treboR Friend

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    So I decided to try the stock HiFiMAN Velour pads since I had them lying around and do the open grill mod.

    @Armaegis said the Vegans were too dark and murky for him, and I have to agree with that description regarding my ZMF Suede Auteur pads. I know the Vegans are thicker and looks like they have a different hair screen, but they sorta measure the same.

    I feel like the Velour pads get a lot closer to a "balanced" sound for me. That is bass, mids, treble form a much more coherent whole; there's nothing that sticks out as a sore thumb like how the HD650 has incredible mids but the rest is so-so.

    Another improvement is the resolution. There's no longer this covering over some of the smaller details like reverb. Vocals also have much more clarity, it's like a cloth was removed over a singer's microphone.

    I was worried the stock pads were going to give me treble spikes of death like I got when I had the Modi 3 hooked up, but not hearing it. I don't know WTF the Convert-2 did to tame the excess treble energy, maybe the lack of top end air helps?

    I listen mostly to studio recorded music, so I don't hear a huge soundstage expansion like others do with the open grill mod. It didn't make a difference to me. I'll probably still keep the grills off though.

    If anyone has any recommendations for a different pad to roll, I'd be up to try it.
     
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  2. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    The type of music you listen to shouldn't really matter... simply wave the grills in front of the open cups while listening to anything and you should hear an immediate difference.
     
  3. treboR

    treboR Friend

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    Listening to the HE-6 a few hours tonight, and shit you're right there is a big difference. With the grills on, it's like being enclosed in a small room with an extra layer of reverb added. Grills off, it's airier, open and more effortless. Wow. Soundstage width and depth still remain the same to me, but there's no longer this wall on right or left.

    I'm super happy with the velour pads, open cups, and removal of all quarter felt pieces. But l have been thinking about doing the blutack mod to finish modding them. Is that mod crucial? I don't find the bass muddy at all. And since I'm using the stock velour pads and not the ZMF Suede (or Vegans) then maybe I shouldn't bother. Sounds like a huge pain in the ass removing the drivers if they are that glued in.

    I don't want to compare against the HD650 (it's the only other audiophile can I have) but holy shit do drums sound phenomenal thru the HE-6. It gets all the nuances correct across different drumkits and drum styles. With the HD650 snares hit like empty plastic milk jugs.

    Listening to MJ's "Invincible" and "Dangerous" albums, that fucking slam is incredible. It's like your skull being crushed by an 18-wheeler. Righteous explosive intensity.

    I know I'm already nuts, but I swear these stock Velour pads just bring more clarity and control.
     
  4. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    You can just mush blutack into the crevice instead of pulling the driver out.
     
  5. treboR

    treboR Friend

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  6. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    One pack should be more than enough.
     
  7. frenchbat

    frenchbat BritishBat's arch enemy - Friend

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    Depending on how your unit has been built, you might or might not get a difference. Some drivers' units are well glued to the housing and won't see much improvement because the glue acts the same way as the bluetak mod.

    If your unit isn't well glued, you will hear a difference.
     
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  8. E_Schaaf

    E_Schaaf MOT: Upscale Audio (Thread Judge Code-6 District)

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    I've personally never encountered a HE6 that was glued into the housing - they always come out with ease once you unscrew the mounting ring.

    Personally not a big fan of the blutak mod (and I know LFF isn't either after disassembling a few of his headphones). If you're going to do it, it's very important to use **as little as possible**, otherwise it's a huge PITA to take back out. The mod will reduce the slight bloom in the midbass and tighten up the low end, at the expense of being slightly leaner afterwards. I prefer to deal with the bass in other ways (pads, housing resonance control, mass loading).

    On that note, you might have more interesting results by mass-loading or otherwise controlling the vibrations of the empty cavities in the plastic housing that you'll be able to see once you pop the drivers out.

    I've played with clay, blutak, foams, cotton, polyfil, dynamat, sorbothane in there. A tiny bit can go a long way - cleaning up this area will make the presentation smoother, less glaring, and more cohesive in the transition areas from bass to mid and mid to treble. The solid wood rings on my pair make these adjustments redundant.
     
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  9. treboR

    treboR Friend

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    @E_Schaaf can PEQ achieve the same results or does it require physical mods a la HD800 (to tame the 6khz spike for example)?

    Good suggestion on filling in the empty cavities to control the vibrations, it seems the area ohhgourami applies the blutack fills in the gap between driver and housing: http://i.imgur.com/roTabaD.jpg

    Filling in any empty spots in the housing should make an improvement in theory.

    Before I forget, from what I've read ohhgourami prefers a less warmer sound and his blutak mod (and his Krell amp) were to achieve this. Personally it depends on my mood, some days I like a leaner/brighter sig and other days darker/warmer.
     
  10. E_Schaaf

    E_Schaaf MOT: Upscale Audio (Thread Judge Code-6 District)

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    That blutak area is just the space between the driver and the sides of the ring. The front of the driver sits flush with the inner part of that ring. However, there's an entire sunken cavity as well (pretty sure HFM did this so that there was an easy place to fix the SMC terminal).

    Here's the detached ring from my HE6 with some clay residue from before I cleared it out. Lots of air space to fill partially or completely.

    Filling this up fixes time domain things (ringing, resonance, etc) moreso than FR things. You can't fix time domain things with PEQ.

    [​IMG]
     
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  11. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    My HE-6 has the grill mod, hardwired cable, leather pads, plus an extra layer of felt and acoustic filler in front
     
  12. treboR

    treboR Friend

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    What does the extra layer of felt and acoustic filler do? Do you have a picture available, Armaegis?
     
  13. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    I don't remember... has anyone ever tried filling the hollow portion of the ring with epoxy or clay?
     
  14. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    Pictures #4-8 here: https://www.head-fi.org/gallery/album/diy-misc.712831/

    edit: I sandwiched some aramid fiber* between the felt and the nylon screen

    *super fancy "Twaron Angel Hair" acoustic fiber, seriously that was the name
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2019
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  15. E_Schaaf

    E_Schaaf MOT: Upscale Audio (Thread Judge Code-6 District)

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    @treboR Felt will reduce the 3-5k area to varying degrees depending on the type. This will give a slight V-shape to the mid response, which may bring forward the bass and mid-treble. Filler will diffuse reflections and reduce treble glare (I find rug liner is similarly as effective for this purpose).

    I did try filling that crevice up with many different materials - epoxy I didn't try but that may be an excellent idea. A solid body seems to be of benefit to the dynamic response (the wood rings surprised me here). Other fillers showed promise (similar effects as blutak in terms of bass tightness but without leaning out the bottom end fr-wise).

    I ended up moving to the solid wood rings before I could be more meticulous about measuring each variation. Plus it's a massive pain to get to that area and work in that tiny space without snipping the wires. It's laborious to unscrew, snip, fill, re-solder, re-screw.

    I would definitely perform this mod on request but maybe it's best not do to it on your own unless you're ready for the labor involved and know how to solder well.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2019
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  16. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    I consider bluetack more of a convenience filler since it's moderately sticky and easy to cleanup, but doesn't have any real weight or damping ability aside from just being a sticky filler. I remember back in the ortho modding heyday that people were using (making) tungsten putty to really mass load their baffles and cups. Other guys glued in braces or used epoxy to stiffen framework.
     
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  17. treboR

    treboR Friend

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    @Armaegis with the mods you've applied to the HE-6, what kind of sound signature were you after? What were some areas you found improvement after the mods?
     
  18. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    Mine is one of the very early production 4-screw, so great resolution but it was a bit hot and tizzy up top. I regrilled the backside and removed all the stock foam to open up the sound. No blutack because I can't be bothered. JMoney Beyer-esque leather pads (loooong out of production) which I liked more than the Audeze pads for bringing up the bottom end, but it too added tizz in a different spot. So in went the felt, then after that the aramid fibers to clean up the tizz. Overall sound is a bit dark as I've taken too much off the top now, but *shrug*.
     
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  19. Clemmaster

    Clemmaster Friend

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    Easy to clean?! Sir, I need your method, because to me blutack is just a HUGE PITA. I regret doing it in my HE-6 as it didn’t improve anything... Just left it in, cause it’s such a pain to remove...
     
  20. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    Er... kinda depends on the brand and vintage I suppose. Cheap stuff melts or turns to gunk , but I think even the good stuff has a certain shelf life. Remove smudged gummy blutack with new fresh blutack. Or tape. Tape is great for removing sticker gunk (I like to use packing tape so I can see what I'm doing, it's relatively strong and sticky and it's cheap; lift up a few bits, chuck out, repeat repeat)
     
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