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Hifiman HE-560 V4 Review (Planar Magnetic Headphone)

Rate this headphone:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 7 6.2%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 40 35.4%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 50 44.2%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 16 14.2%

  • Total voters
    113

Bugworm

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I have HE560v1 and HE6SEv2. HE6SE is better-sounding after EQ, but not worth 2x the price, IMHO.

HE560 without EQ is way too bright for my taste and I couldn't live with them without EQ. HE6SE sounds much better to me without EQ, but does require serious amplification.
HE6SE v2 is pretty meh without EQ anyway, so I'm implying that both of them would have EQ. Considering that, they should be pretty similar, but one of them is much cheaper and more comfortable (mostly because of weight). But I can only judge from measurements, so I'd be interested in comparsion between HE6SE v2 and HE560 v4.
 

hamcha

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First apologies for a very subjective and less experienced post.

Second, if considering the v4 as noted in earlier post, this link is for a very stellar price ($229) and I think an amazing entry point into Hifiman planar headphones.

This holiday season I am enjoying the chance to check out Hifiman's HE-560 v4 and Sundara. These are my first audiophile headphones besides lo/mid-fi Grado (SR60, SR225e). I REALLY like the HE-560 v4. They bring out separation, detail, and sub-bass (maybe not the right term, but I was happily swimming in the bass melodies on the HE-560 v4) not known to me before. (no surprise, right?).

Listening to the the same setlist on same system, the real suprise, based on my silly assumption the Sundara would be vastly superior, is I am struggling to say I prefer the Sundara's. After a week of the HE560 v4, switching to the Sundara's have me straining to hear the bass melodies (unexpected, but dissapointing for me) and background details that were easily identified on HE-560 v4 are less apparent on the Sundara.

There a more examples, but one easily shared is from a live recording of Julien Baker's "Rejoice." At the end you can hear her emotionally spent breathe followed by someone appreciating her performance with some comments including saying "...so good." It is a wonderful detail that is nicely presented on the HE560 v4, but much less present on the Sundara.

These are two elements that brings me to the initial impression that the HE-560 v4 > Sundara. There are others, but won't comment on until the Sundara's get at least a couple more days of breaking-in / listening / owning.

Anyways, I will be owning the Sundara's based on logistics of gift giving and I am hoping that the Sundara's break in or my ears adjust to the Sundara tuning. I fear I will be longing for the HE560 v4.

Either way, both are lovely headphones, but if you asked me now you gotta go for the HE560 v4 @ $229. I am also changing my polling vote from "happy panther" to "golfing panther" :)

Any thoughts, comments, suggestions, feedback?
Thanks!

Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays!
May this holiday season bring you warmth and joy.

Hamilton
 
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FrantzM

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I have HE560v1 and HE6SEv2. HE6SE is better-sounding after EQ, but not worth 2x the price, IMHO.

HE560 without EQ is way too bright for my taste and I couldn't live with them without EQ. HE6SE sounds much better to me without EQ, but does require serious amplification.
I have come to similar conclusions... I have the HE560 V1, have had it for more than 5 years, it has become my goto headphones. The HE6, requires serious amplification, mine is old too and if the price is right will get a HE6SE2.
If the HE560 V4 is close to the v1 in sound, it requires attention especially at the sub $300 price it is presently selling for..

On a different note:
HiFiMan would need to put some order in their lineup. Too many headphones with similar prices and names. The performance also doesn't scale with the price of position in lineup...

Happy Holidays to you'all
 
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MacCali

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I have HE560v1 and HE6SEv2. HE6SE is better-sounding after EQ, but not worth 2x the price, IMHO.

HE560 without EQ is way too bright for my taste and I couldn't live with them without EQ. HE6SE sounds much better to me without EQ, but does require serious amplification.
what's your EQ for the HE6Se edit: V2, I have one and I really love those headphones.

I was just about to ask if Amir has ever reviewed the HE6Se and if there was an eq available.

Honestly think they sound great just the way they are, considering they are the best headphones I own, and I guess it's all about current with those headphones. Not sure what the factor is really, I have massive power to drive them, there's no way the headphone itself is pushing probably more than 2-3 watts, maybe a little more. However, what I notice from going from class A HA to my Liquid platinum is the distance of sound or where things sound like they are coming from change. When you use an amp with really low power or current, maybe, the sound from the headphones is further away. Not sure what to call it or what it is.. not an expert here.

As in a strong amplifier it sounds like youre front row. Liquid platinum sounds like youre 20 rows back. Really weak amps, 2 watts is the lowest I tried it literally sounds like youre listening to music standing outside the stadium lol. Assuming that's current as the contributing factor.
 

pkane

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what's your EQ for the HE6Se edit: V2, I have one and I really love those headphones.

I was just about to ask if Amir has ever reviewed the HE6Se and if there was an eq available.

Honestly think they sound great just the way they are, considering they are the best headphones I own, and I guess it's all about current with those headphones. Not sure what the factor is really, I have massive power to drive them, there's no way the headphone itself is pushing probably more than 2-3 watts, maybe a little more. However, what I notice from going from class A HA to my Liquid platinum is the distance of sound or where things sound like they are coming from change. When you use an amp with really low power or current, maybe, the sound from the headphones is further away. Not sure what to call it or what it is.. not an expert here.

As in a strong amplifier it sounds like youre front row. Liquid platinum sounds like youre 20 rows back. Really weak amps, 2 watts is the lowest I tried it literally sounds like youre listening to music standing outside the stadium lol. Assuming that's current as the contributing factor.

I used @Maiky76 's HE6SE EQ as the starting point, and then modified slightly, mostly below 80Hz. This requires about 5dB headroom in the preamp setting:

1639922406632.png


Measuring the result on a simple flat, wooden fixture, I appear to get exactly what I normally prefer with other headphones -- a sloping down response, close to linear. This is not what I was shooting for, but this is what I got and prefer (solid line after EQ, dotted -- before):

1639923170898.png
 

MacCali

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I used @Maiky76 's HE6SE EQ as the starting point, and then modified slightly, mostly below 80Hz. This requires about 5dB headroom in the preamp setting:

View attachment 173396

Measuring the result on a simple flat, wooden fixture, I appear to get exactly what I normally prefer with other headphones -- a sloping down response, close to linear. This is not what I was shooting for, but this is what I got and prefer (solid line after EQ, dotted -- before):

View attachment 173401
What do you mean by 5 db headroom on the preamp, what if I don’t use a preamp?

I do have one preamp and I use it in my stereo setup, the topping pre90
 

pkane

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What do you mean by 5 db headroom on the preamp, what if I don’t use a preamp?

I do have one preamp and I use it in my stereo setup, the topping pre90

You'll need to lower gain somewhere by 5dB, in preamp or in the DAC, or in your player software, otherwise at some point the EQ'ed music will exceed the maximum allowed value of 0dBFS and result in clipping.
 

Jimbob54

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You'll need to lower gain somewhere by 5dB, in preamp or in the DAC, or in your player software, otherwise at some point the EQ'ed music will exceed the maximum allowed value of 0dBFS and result in clipping.
And its probably easiest to do in the same software as one uses to do the eq, so you can forget it in the rest of the chain.
 
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MacCali

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You'll need to lower gain somewhere by 5dB, in preamp or in the DAC, or in your player software, otherwise at some point the EQ'ed music will exceed the maximum allowed value of 0dBFS and result in clipping.
So does the pre 90 or D70s meet those needs? I use a Flux Labs FA10 for my power amplifier. At 50 ohms it’s 10.5 watts of power, would that clip? I think my flux labs has 27 db on high gain lol
 

Jimbob54

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So does the pre 90 or D70s meet those needs? I use a Flux Labs FA10 for my power amplifier. At 50 ohms it’s 10.5 watts of power, would that clip? I think my flux labs has 27 db on high gain lol
No, you need to do the reduction digitally. What software do you use to add the eq?
 

hamcha

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...
Listening to the the same setlist on same system, the real suprise, based on my silly assumption the Sundara would be vastly superior, is I am struggling to say I prefer the Sundara's. After a week of the HE560 v4, switching to the Sundara's have me straining to hear the bass melodies (unexpected, but dissapointing for me) and background details that were easily identified on HE-560 v4 are less apparent on the Sundara.
...
These are two elements that brings me to the initial impression that the HE-560 v4 > Sundara. There are others, but won't comment on until the Sundara's get at least a couple more days of breaking-in / listening / owning.
After a week of listening to the Sundara's I am happy to report that sound quality has improved and/or my ears have acclimated to the Sundara tuning. Either way, I no longer fear longing for the HE 560 v4.

NOTE: I did do my best to burn-in the Sundara and HE 560 v4 and, as a result, do believe in the 'magically' 'subconscious' need to burn-in to open up both sets of these headphones.

Upon initial transition from 560 to Sundara (abbreviated to SDR) listening, the difference in sub-bass was significant. This was before the burn-in of the SDR. After burn-in the 560 and SDR are much closer, but the 560 still has a more up front bass presentation then the SDR. As far as background details, I still think the 560 does present these elements a bit more than the SDR which seems to contradict what I have to say next...sorry about that.

The SDR does present mid and trebles with more clarity, detail, separation, and upfront compared to the 560. Compared to the SDR the 560 sound quality has a subtle veiled sound. As noted earlier, post burn-in the SDR bass is very clear, present, and detailed, although with less presence than the 560. Post burn-in the SDR really fleshed out the sound for me.

I have read and understand folks statements that the SDR sounds thin. I think that is valid, but as with anything else in this hobby it depends. I noticed thinness mostly before burn-in. I also believe it depends on the recording, equipment, etc... I will say listening to Dua Lipa's "Future Nostalgia" with the SDR there was no thinness and bass extension was wonderful.

As a newbie, I think hi-fi listening is a learning experience and I am beginning to understand neutral, technical, natural, etc... In this regard I think the SDR is a great choice to listen to music as recorded which could be bad or good depending on the recording and user preference. I also better understand bass clarity and extension. You know, back in the day I just wanted to 'feel' the music and the easiest way to do that was through bass. I'm older and gravitate to less bass heavy music in general, but really love the technical details in sound quality from bass to treble that the SDR provides me.

PS. I don't think you can go wrong with the 560 at $230. It is pretty great too, especially if you want more BASS

My 2 cents. Hope this is helpful to someone.

Happy New Year!!!
 

Ken Tajalli

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Arguably, a better headphone than Sundara when using EQ for those who want to boost the subbass.
No way. Sundara is superior in every way.
 

Ken Tajalli

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they are pretty much the same after EQ. 560 is harder to drive though.
The thing is I have had both at the same time, and Sundara needs a tenth of the EQ 560 needs.
Sundara is fine even without.
EQ is not a magic bullet that can cure a rainy day (despite common misbelief ).
I even modified the 560 (search the forum under my name) after which they improved a lot , but it was no cure.
560 is light in bass , deep bass and too metallic sounding.
at less than $100 price difference , if someone is deciding to choose now, it would be a mistake to go for 560 .
 

zepplock

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undara needs a tenth of the EQ 560 needs.
10s or 5s, it still needs an EQ. Not sure why you are arguing about it.
EQ works well as long as you don't get to distortion or resonance.
You can easily add +6db below 50hz on 560 without distortion and good listening levels.
 

Ken Tajalli

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Not sure why you are arguing about it.
Since what you are saying is a FACT, ever considered you might be wrong?
I often do.
 

zepplock

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Since what you are saying is a FACT
I said that: they are pretty much the same after EQ. 560 is harder to drive though.
Both of those are clearly visible from measurements. If you don't like what I'm saying, go look at the charts.
I honestly struggle to understand what/why you are arguing about.
 

raistlin65

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I said that: they are pretty much the same after EQ. 560 is harder to drive though.
Both of those are clearly visible from measurements. If you don't like what I'm saying, go look at the charts.
I honestly struggle to understand what/why you are arguing about.

I'm with you on this.

Certainly, make sense to compare headphones without EQ. Or with the optimal EQ that makes each headphone sound the best.

But I don't understand, when comparing headphones with optimal EQ, how having to add an extra parametric EQ point or 2 for best EQ makes the headphone with fewer EQ settings the best headphone???
 

Ken Tajalli

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But I don't understand, when comparing headphones with optimal EQ, how having to add an extra parametric EQ point or 2 for best EQ makes the headphone with fewer EQ settings the best headphone???
- EQ engines are not transparent, period! they mess with fine detail phase and timing, even the best super-duper digital ones.
I know this is contrary to common misbelief, but any DSP takes something away.
- Not that relevant here, but EQ also can lead to headphone going to distortion, cure is reducing the total level using a preamp, but then you might get into power and volume issues. Fortunately as mentioned before, the 560's distortion is quite low.
- When I am paying my money to buy something, I do not wish to fix it myself! unless it is a bargain. Sundara has stealth magnets and the thinner diaphragm, it shallower, easier on the head and sounds better out of box! 560 is not such a bargain in the face of that.
Of course I do understand that those who already own a pair of 560's do not like to hear anyone slagging them off (me!).
But for those who don't, we have a duty to inform.
I sold my 560's, and don't miss them.
Currently enjoying my Modded Edition XS, which is better than Sundara.

P.S. Charts and measurements are for designers - I judge a piece of Hifi equipment using my ears.
 
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