Should I upgrade from the HiFiMan HE6SE V2s to the Abyss DIana V2?

I currently own the HE6SE V2 modded. Would it be worth it to upgrade to the Abyss Diana V2? Would there be a noticeable difference in detail retrieval? I realize the HE6SE V2s might be wider than the Diana V2s but I am generally unsure if the upgrade would be worth it.

AMP - Singxer SA-1
DAC - Denafrips Ares II

As far as my motives for upgrading it would be:

  1. Build - The HE6SE V2s are built “ok” even after being modded with an Audeze Headband and with new grills. As a plus for me, the Abyss Diana V2s are American-made, small, and understated.

  2. I personally love the sound of the HE6SE V2s but wonder if it is possible for a headphone to sound better. I guess curiosity.

  3. Ability to go portable - I would like to have the option. The HE6SE V2s CANT do this whatsoever.

Any input would be appreciated.

Edit: My preferred headphone tonality matches with how both headphones have been described, but I have not had a chance to listen to the Diana V2s in person yet. Of course, I own the HE6SE V2s and love the way the sound.

i don’t mean to throw off your post or go way off topic but i wanted to touch on your source stack if thats okay.

i’m getting the sinxer SA-1 for my own Denafrips Ares 2 and ill actually be “downgrading” from a violectric V280 so i’ll end up with the same stack as you

Do you have anything to compare the SA-1 to running off of your denafrips? i would very much appreciate if you could briefly touch on that, if you decide not to thats okay too.

hopefully someone can help you out on making a descission

Maybe @M0N might be able to help on this?

@VielenDank if you really like the he6, you could consider going with a nice speaker power amp around the 1-2k range used and get good benefit from that, but if you are looking for something with better build and at least the potential ability to be run portable the diana is a good pick. I would want to upgrade the amp if you could as well to get more out of the dianas. So sound wise what exactly are you looking for? What do you like about the he6, and what would you change?

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If I’m not mistaking Diana’s are open back right?open back is best enjoyed at home were no noise pollution interferes with the audio. I am guessing you’re looking for any excuse to buy an Abyss headphone, heres one buy American made ,make America great again ,lol

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Thank you for the advice regarding the speaker amp/amp upgrade. I generally like the low end of the HE6, the quantity and quality of the bass are great in my opinion. The decently large soundstage is nice, larger than my Ether C Flows, but not the most important factor. I tend to find the treble region to be just right and not be too fatiguing to listen to for quite a few hours. I think the mid-range of the HE6 to be a little too far away for me. I think the vocals could be a little bit closer. Finally, I like the openness of the HE6. Compared to other open backs I have had, like the Aeon RT open backs and the GL2000, the HE6 sounds very open and uncongested.

I did run my Singxer SA-1 with a Soncoz LA-QXD1 Balanced DAC before I got the Ares II. The difference between the performance before and after the DAC upgrade was noticeable, with the overall instrument separation and soundstage of most music. Its quite odd, but it felt like the Ares II could handle how fast the music was being replayed compared to the Soncoz DAC I had. I could just be imagining this. Other than that I have not ran the Ares II with any other AMPs i’m afraid. But the overall performance of the stack is great. Everything sounds warm, but detailed with a good focus on the lower/mid-range frequencies.

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Given what you describe, the diana does seem like a good fit overall, it will bring vocals and midrange more forward, it does have a bit smoother non fatiguing treble, generally is pretty open sounding so that’s nice, you will take a step back stage width wise (realize this wording is confusing, smaller stage is what I mean) but gain much more depth and placement accuracy, and bass it actually extends pretty well and given the amp is good enough will hit pretty hard too (also dependant on fit) with lots of texture. I think from what you describe it probably would be a very logical choice to go for, it’s a general step forward in most regards to the next tier of headphones while maintaining a decent bit of what you might be after (but I wouldn’t say it’s similar to the he6)

Yep open back, personally the ability to go portable doesn’t necessarily mean for use in public areas, but for me something like being able to use them in other areas of the house without being tied to a desk, or the ability to take them along on trips and use them in a hotel or something. But it depends on the person

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thanks you sir!

i noticed you seemed like you are after more detail specifically, why is that?
i ask because detail is probably the last thing im looking myself in a headphone but i’d also be much more likely to shop for that do i happen to check out headphones around 1400usd or so but apparantly not everyone is me

When I initially got into HiFi Audio I was after the most detail I could get. I honestly didn’t care if the sound was clinical, sterile, and boring. My goals with regards to what I want to hear have somewhat reoriented themselves recently. I bought the GL2000s, sold them because of the build, but I realized I liked the open and warm sound, compared to my Ether CXs. Because I tried out some gear that had a warmer signature I bought an R2R DAC and a Class A AMP. This made me realize that I like the smoothness and warmth of a Class A AMP and the sound of an R2R DAC rather than the clinical sound of the THX789 or a more clean DAC. I think the “problem” was partially down to wanting the best measuring gear, I did browse ASR for a time, but I realized that buying gear that measured well was dumb for me. Most gear measures so well nowadays that even a DAC that measures “bad”, like the Ares II can sound amazing compared to my previous “better” measuring DAC I had. I just don’t want to compromise too much detail for the warmth of a headphone. I would like to achieve a good middle ground.

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I’m guessing you also realized things like that the ares ii is more technically proficient than your better measuring dac for things like timbre, detail, spatial recreation and separation, etc and that your singxer could offer you better technicalities without sounding sterile and lifeless? :wink:

You really don’t have to when you move up to higher end stuff, you can if you want to, but you don’t have to

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Exactly! The Ares II is miles better than my previous DAC, but thats to be expected honestly. I’ll have to wait a while, but I’ll eventually upgrade my current AMP, not sure if I’ll upgrade DACs ever again, to something better. I’m not sure if I’ll go the speaker AMP route for the HE6 mainly because I don’t own any speakers to also drive using said amp.

The folks over at asr wouldn’t agree lol


Yeah that pretty much means you are hard committing to the he6, which is totally fine but you just have to make sure you want to do that and it kinda locks you to that path where you at least get some more flexibility with a traditional headphone amp (but as you move up to the higher end you will sort of limit options even with traditional headphone amps anyways due to synergy concerns)

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i feel like you just described every person ever that finds their way into the hobby and the growth thereon, seems like the Topping and THX craze wears off really quick on people and when i was in that i didn’t even know that analogue sounding audio was a thing.

i feel like off the shelf dacs and amps built for specs always end up ‘‘overworking’’ the headphones they get used with to where everything just sounds less controled and more congested, but i’ve most probably just not been through enough to have experienced anything better when it comes to that kind of chain because im sure there are great gear built for specs but that also sounds good but just that there is less of it, i have limited experience with source gear so bucket of salt, but this is just the experience i’ve had myself with what i have been through with that kind of gear myself, you may feel differently

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oh man, if every newcomer ever just knew that…

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