This is the official thread for the Hifman HE560 (all variants)
This thread is for discussion and reviews.
- Type: Over Ear
- Amp needed: Yes
- Open Back
I’m really interested in the v4 I wonder if its good? The sales are usually good on the v4!
I have the V4, and it’s pretty good. However, in my opinion it needs a pad swap. It’s a bit too scooped in the upper mids for me, so I use Hifiman Velpads to make them sound a little better. Also a little sharp in the treble, but with some minor EQ I really like them. Kind of like a lighter more comfortable HE-500, not as dynamic or punchy as the 500 though. But if you like that brighter kind of sound, these are definitely that.
I like the feedback!
Just tried a simple but great mod for these. I took the foam from my HD58x. Cut to a circle and placed in front of the driver using the pads to hold in place. Seems to provide just enough to tame the brightness, but without loosing detail. Likely some effect of psychoacoustics, but seems like there’s more detail and airiness now.
It’s all about the Hifiman headphones. No matter what headphones you like, there’s always going to be someone else that doesn’t like it for their own reasons. My personal rankings are: Hifiman Arya Hifiman HE1000SE Hifiman Ananda. Because I don’t like Hifiman HE560 personally.
How’s it for gaming?
so… let’s talk about amps that can drive these.
I’d say probably an SH-9 or Asgard 3 are probably the cheapest options right now that don’t have an awful drawback of some kind (though I guess both of them are probably not the greatest with sensitive IEMs, so I guess that’s their drawback, SH-9 lacks negative gain and the Asgard isn’t the lowest on noise in general).
A little over a week ago, I scored a pair of HE560 V3s off of the for sale thread here (thanks @MrAyrit ) and was stoked with how it sounded. After reading some posts and such here and elsewhere about the possibility of the V1s sounding better than the V3s, I decided that I really wanted to hear the two together. Thankfully, a friend of mine who is a bit of a Hifiman round cup connoisseur has a pair of the V1.1 (wood veneer cups with 2.5mm) and he’s been wanting to borrow a Parasound speaker amp to drive my HE6s that he’s the current custodian of. Me being me, I told him he could borrow the Parasound if I could borrow the V1.1s. Fast forward to this evening and I am currently sitting in my music room with the V3s and the V1s side by side and I’m gonna have myself a ball doing some back to back comparisons. I have to finish a little earbud versus single DD IEM comparison first because I promised that to someone, but if you’re interested just stay tuned…
Okay, so I have been doing a lot listening back and forth between the V1s and V3s for the last few days. I’ve been using sources and amps of various powering abilities, quality, prices, and styles to check for stuff like synergy and scalability. I’ve had a whole lotta fun discovering the absolutely fantastic headphones and the fact that these aren’t more popular blows my mind. What follows are some general observations on various aspects of the HE560s in general and the way the V1 and V3 compare.
*Note: Both V1 and V3 had stock pads, used cables from Hart Audio and their interconnect system, and both were grill modded with the hex/honeycomb grills. I HIGHLY recommend the grill mod on these as they’re really a different beast with the more open grills.
First, and probably least surprising to anyone, the V1s are definitely better built. They feel more solid from the cup material to the way the drivers are mounted and secured and the overall fit and finish. I read in a few places where people were complaining about the cups’ inability to rotate causing fit problems on the V3, but surprisingly I think the headband is the one part that feels better/more solid on the V3 and they fit and seal perfectly on me without any fiddling or extra effort. The headband on the V1 is comfy, but just like on my HE400is (same headband) it’s a bit creaky and I wouldn’t be surprised if that joint where they rotate becomes an early fail point even with the metal reinforced version. Regardless, I think both headbands are good, I find both versions to be comfortable and easy to wear for long sessions, and even the V3s seem to be reasonably well built.
I read in a few different places where people were making various claims about driveability and scalability so I spent a good portion of my time testing these aspects as thoroughly as I could. The easiest one to address for me is that some folks were saying that the V1s are harder to drive properly and demand more power. I found that to be untrue. The V1 and V3 had essentially equal power requirements on every amp I used.
As far as scalability goes, I found that both versions will definitely show you performance increases with amp and source quality increases, getting better right on up through the best gear that I have which is pretty incredible for a couple pairs of headphones that are available for such modest cash. I tended to like both versions best on signal chains that were clean, precise, and had a touch of warmth and/or musicality. When the signal chain driving the HE560s crossed the boundary from clean and precise to being clinical and/or bright the HE560s took an obvious step back in sonic performance sounding like all the life and charm was sucked out of them, making them sound thin and sometimes even strident. With an overly warm signal chain I found that the HE560s took on a veiled character and the highest levels of detail and nuance were lost or significantly dampened. On the plus side, they make it very easy to hear when you have them on a signal chain that works versus one that isn’t clicking and when you get it right, these bad boys really open up and become a dynamic, versatile, and energetic pair of headphones that can really sing.
When looking around for info on the HE560s, I found various claims about their power requirements and scalability. Some folks were saying that you can’t get the best out of them without a quality speaker amp while others were saying that they don’t scale beyond the balanced output on a reasonably powerful dongle. IME, neither of those extremes is true. I found that increased power availability beyond a reasonably powerful headphone amp offered absolutely no performance benefit. I tried both versions on everything from dongles to speaker taps on two different power amps and I found that a quality amp that can give you a few watts per channel of clean power will leave you with a properly driven HE560 (either version) with plenty of spare room on the dial.
That said, the both versions of the HE560 do scale really well with quality. I keep mentioning high quality sources and amps because I found that driving the HE560s properly was much less about having hugely powerful gear and much more about having quality gear with clean power, a DAC with good detail retrieval, layering, spacial rendering, etc because they will continue to get better as you increase the quality of the signal they’re being fed. They scale with quality more than probably any other headphone I have ever heard that’s available for such reasonable prices.
Now, I can address the sonic/tuning differences. I want to preface this by saying that the differences I noticed were very minor. I was expecting there to be bigger differences between the two and was surprised at just how close the performance of the V1s and V3s are to each other.
First, I noticed that the bass on the V1s seem to be slightly more elevated in the subbass region and they might extend a little bit lower, but not by much. The midbass is slightly more prominent on the V3s versus the V1s. These two differences combine to give the V1s a slightly more rumbly feeling to their bass on certain tracks while the V3s can come across slightly more punchy on some. The low end is where I was expecting to hear the biggest difference and not only did I find a much smaller difference than I expected, but I also found a bigger difference elsewhere.
The mids are where I found that bigger difference. More specifically, the mids come across as slighty, and I mean very slightly, more recessed on the V3s and the upper mids in particular present as more forward on the V1s. These were minor differences, but bigger than the differences I heard in the bass and I think they were much more prominent or easily noticed on more tracks than the differences in the low end were. I didn’t come away liking one more than the other really as the differences were quite small and I found both presentations to be very enjoyable and to fit well in the overall tuning and performance of the respective version.
The treble is where I found the least amount of difference. Sometimes the treble presentations sounded so similar I questioned whether I was hearing any difference at all or whether any difference I was hearing was just attributable to some slight difference in fit for example or in one, the V1, having more hours on the pads though both sets had pretty new pads without any noticeable wear on them. Basically, I occasionally felt that the V1 had slightly more air in the very top of the treble and carries over a smidge of that extra forwardness from the upper mids to the lower treble, but I can’t overstate how infinitesimally small these differences were.
To sum up, I think either pair is a fantastic purchase and I can happily listen to either for hours upon hours without breaks or fatigue. They are both exceptional performers, especially given the price they can be had for, and if you’re like me and the Sundaras come across as a bit too bright and occasionally metallic sounding, the HE560s are a fantastic alternative that I find to be significantly better. They do require a bit more power than the Sundaras and they are a bit more picky about source quality, but they also give you a higher payoff with better sources than the Sundaras do. With my Sundaras I found that they didn’t get much better beyond a good midfi system (think topping e30/l30 stack or SMSL sp200/m200) whereas the HE560s will sound great off the right midfi system, but will keep getting better as the quality of your rig’s components increase. The HE560s will keep giving you more detail, better dynamics, better layering, etc as the rig driving them increases in its ability to provide those things in a higher quality signal.
I hope you guys find this interesting or helpful and if anyone has any questions feel free to ask. I was genuinely surprised by the level of parity I found between the V1 and V3 and I was also surprised by just how much I enjoy the HE560s in general. I had a ton of fun listening to two great pairs of headphones for many hours and I fully intend to keep my V3s in my collection. I might also grab a V4 at some point to see how they stack up as I have read some interesting comments about differences there as well.
P.S. This was typed on my phone between and during business conference calls so excuse any typos. Big thumbs + small phone keyboard + occasional distractions = typos. I will try to reread and fix/edit as I can.
Edit: Obviously this is all my opinion based on my experiences and YMMV.
Been swapping out pads and the grills among the various hifiman round cans - the sundara, he400se, he560v4, he6sev2… Its interesting how different from each other they are on the inside… the drivers and interior structure of these cans look totally different… The he560v4 inside has a driver that actually looks more similar to the sundara with that round shape, where the he400se which has a smaller square driver structure more close to the he4xx… The he6sev2 also looks totally different, it has a big gold color driver, its more like a big grid, less transparent…
I think I agree, the he560 does scale well with source equipment… Have you tried the he6 se v2?
I own the OG HE6 (six screw) and I used to have an HE6SE V1. Are the V1 and V2 very different? You’re the second person who has mentioned that I should try the HE6SE V2 since I enjoy the HE560s so much. Interesting…
BTW, so which pads do you like on the HE560s and what changes do they make to fit, comfort, and sound?
I just got these so need some time with them, but I think my favorite on the 560 is the ZMF Eikon Perforated Suede. Comfort wise I really love the premium feeling materials and hand crafted feel of ZMF pads. The ZMF pads are in general thick and soft with a bit steeper taper towards front so they angle the cans more towards your ears which I feel makes them have maybe a bit more depth but ear will be a tiny but farther away from the drivers. Both ZMF pads feel a bit thicker and cushioned compared to the stock pads, the feel of the ZMF suede material is super soft and adds a much more luxurious feel.
My favorite on my he560 is the Eikon perforated suede. I retains the soundstage but to my ears the sound remains neutral and detailed, with the added comfort and luxurious feel like a premium super soft suede armchair… The slightly forward tilt of the pad makes the stage feel more natural like its slightly more in front?
The ZMF Ori hybrid has sheepskin outside and suede inside, and I think the lack of perforations makes it lose a tiny bit of the stage width and maybe adds a little more intimacy slightly more bass emphasis but sound is still detailed and clean and natural. I think stage is also slightly more forward and deep than stock pads due to the pad shape and bit increased taper, the Ori feels a little stiffer deeper and cylindrical than the Eikon
Both pads are comfortable, the ZMF suede pads feel very soft and luxurious, feels alot more premium… I ended up going with the Eikon Perforated Suede on the he560 for now… Compared to stock hifiman pads? There is definitely more cushion, feel is more luxurious, sound is natural and neutral and fresh - honestly the stock Hifimans are fine for the most part sound good too but maybe feel a bit thin where these feel more lush…
One thing I want to figure out on for these ZMF pads though, how to get the pad to fit a little bit more snug to the hifiman mounting ring… The ZMF pads have some flexible fabric material lip which allows them to be mounted on different size rings… Its a small thing but there is just a tiny bit of movement on the pad and ring which I dont see on another set of Ori pads that I got with another second hand set of cans… I may try using some thin tape to get the pad to be super tight with no movement possible in the pad…
Found this, its about the sundara but ya I think pad swap to a thicker pad adds a bit more bass… makes me wonder about the ZMF full cowhide or lambskin:
I have never listened to the OG he6 so cannot comment… I only know the he6se v2 but I think its my favorite hifiman
Playing with these ZMF pads some more on hifimans, actually I think one thing to note is that the Ori pads are a perfect size / fit for the round hifiman cans, the Eikon pads are a tiny bit larger radius… Its not a huge deal they still sound great on my HE560 but I am going to make some adjustments to adjust the fit on the ring to be abit tighter.