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Hifiman HE6se Review (Headphone)

watchnerd

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First they were famous for QC issues, then with some of the revisions they seemed to have fixed stuff (my Sundara and Arya seem quite good) and now it rears it's ugly head again. And just to add it here as well - they just can't provide one single decent cable it seems :D - though at least they don't use proprietary connectors so getting aftermarket cables at a good price is not too big of an issue.

Time and time again I get reminded that Sennheiser builds stuff mostly from plastic, does not look of feel premium, and yet most of their stuff lasts for years - so many companies have issues with these basic things. Build and channel balance - at least get that right.

The crackling noise I get when I touch the cups is not comforting.

I can't tell if it's the drivers being sensitive (why?) or the cable being microphonic (doesn't sound like it).

My HE400si doesn't crackle.
 

Skinner001

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The crackling noise I get when I touch the cups is not comforting.

I can't tell if it's the drivers being sensitive (why?) or the cable being microphonic (doesn't sound like it).

My HE400si doesn't crackle.
Uff, haven't had that with headphones, have had crackling (old Fostex stuff) but not something like sensitivity to touching earcups. At that point I'd already be contacting them, and taking advantage of warranty if it's within the guaranteed period etc.
 

watchnerd

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Uff, haven't had that with headphones, have had crackling (old Fostex stuff) but not something like sensitivity to touching earcups. At that point I'd already be contacting them, and taking advantage of warranty if it's within the guaranteed period etc.

I should clarify.

It's more of crinkling thatn a crackling and it happens if I grab the cups, to adjust them on my head, in a way that my palms cover the back of the vents.
 

Skinner001

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I should clarify.

It's more of crinkling thatn a crackling and it happens if I grab the cups, to adjust them on my head, in a way that my palms cover the back of the vents.
Ahh, well that may be less problematic then - as in, working as intended :D
I guess covering the cups and artificially creating a closed cup could cause some wonky pressure issues and impact the driver - though seems unlikely.
The Arya are the most open headphone I've ever heard, leak enough to be mistaken for a speaker by my housemates, and covering the cup closes stuff up a lot, but haven't experienced anything like what you're experiencing. Obviously the sound changes completely, but no issues.
 

watchnerd

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Ahh, well that may be less problematic then - as in, working as intended :D
I guess covering the cups and artificially creating a closed cup could cause some wonky pressure issues and impact the driver - though seems unlikely.
The Arya are the most open headphone I've ever heard, leak enough to be mistaken for a speaker by my housemates, and covering the cup closes stuff up a lot, but haven't experienced anything like what you're experiencing. Obviously the sound changes completely, but no issues.

The weird part is that my HE400i's don't do it.

But different drivers, I guess.
 

Jimbob54

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I should clarify.

It's more of crinkling thatn a crackling and it happens if I grab the cups, to adjust them on my head, in a way that my palms cover the back of the vents.
Another member I think reported similar in the last week or so but cant remember on which thread! It was either the Arya or one of the HE6 threads
 

Robbo99999

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The measurement rig only has one mic, so I actually do flip the headphones around. Besides that, results are ofc verified by listening :)
Here are my HD650s (with oratory EQ) on the rig:
HwdyHSE.jpg


@edahl the measurements were made on a DIY rig with a speaker measurement mic, which is why the response looks wierd, but channel matching works pretty well.

9RlpqJB.jpg



Vt55HFB.jpg
I did make that, yes :)


I just take them off and flip them by 180°. The fixture is symmetrical, so it shouldn't matter if the driver is angled to the front or the back.
Like I mentioned earlier, I made a compensation EQ based on these measurements and confirmed the findings by ear. I also measured my HE400i 2020 on this fixture, which have similarly angled pads, which produced good results (not perfect channel matching, but miles better than these).
When I disable my compensation EQ for the right channel, vocals pan from center to the left.
I also take 3 measurements of each channel (removing the headphones from the fixture between each measurement) and average them to get an even better result. Deviation between these measurements is typically within fractions of a dB, these for example were +-0.1db through most of the range, since the pads seal well and are easy to align with the circles.
Seems like a good process to me. By the way the channel matching on that HD650 is insanely good! Yes, you can certainly send your results to Hifiman with confidence.
 

Robbo99999

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The crackling noise I get when I touch the cups is not comforting.

I can't tell if it's the drivers being sensitive (why?) or the cable being microphonic (doesn't sound like it).

My HE400si doesn't crackle.
remove the cable & try if it's still there? (or you're saying when music playing when you do that? could try with & without music, with & without cable).
 

frogmeat69

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That crinkling seems to be a problem with planar drivers, have read about it happening on Audeze and HiFiMan cans.
My LCD-3 does it if I push the ear cups against my head, so I try not to do it. Haven't tried on my HE6se.
Even though they are open back it seems these types of headphones make a seal which can create pressure and flex the drivers, and make the crinkle sound.
 

peniku8

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Heard back from Hifiman today and they're gonna replace the headphones. They offered either to send them back right away and I'd get a replacement from China, but alternatively I could also wait until January, when they have them back in stock at their warehouse in Poland, so I can send them there and would recieve my replacement with less of a delay. Since my compensation EQ works just fine I'm gonna wait and go back to my HE400i during the time I'm waiting for the replacement. Hope my replacement will come with impeccable channel matching.
 

Robbo99999

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Heard back from Hifiman today and they're gonna replace the headphones. They offered either to send them back right away and I'd get a replacement from China, but alternatively I could also wait until January, when they have them back in stock at their warehouse in Poland, so I can send them there and would recieve my replacement with less of a delay. Since my compensation EQ works just fine I'm gonna wait and go back to my HE400i during the time I'm waiting for the replacement. Hope my replacement will come with impeccable channel matching.
Well done, good solution & result! Let us know how the new pair measures in January.
 

edahl

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Heard back from Hifiman today and they're gonna replace the headphones. They offered either to send them back right away and I'd get a replacement from China, but alternatively I could also wait until January, when they have them back in stock at their warehouse in Poland, so I can send them there and would recieve my replacement with less of a delay. Since my compensation EQ works just fine I'm gonna wait and go back to my HE400i during the time I'm waiting for the replacement. Hope my replacement will come with impeccable channel matching.
Hifiman customer support is usually very nice in my experience, this seems to confirm that :)
 

frogmeat69

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Go this cable today:

View attachment 169760

Now ready to hook up HE6SE to the speaker amp.
Please let us know if the heavens open up and the angels trumpet, and if your wife can hear those trumpets from the kitchen, lol.
I know they are power hungry, but my A90 seems to do just fine, but soon we hopefully will know what the fuss is about.
 

watchnerd

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Please let us know if the heavens open up and the angels trumpet, and if your wife can hear those trumpets from the kitchen, lol.
I know they are power hungry, but my A90 seems to do just fine, but soon we hopefully will know what the fuss is about.

No angels until I can get rid of the stock cable.
 

edahl

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Please let us know if the heavens open up and the angels trumpet, and if your wife can hear those trumpets from the kitchen, lol.
I know they are power hungry, but my A90 seems to do just fine, but soon we hopefully will know what the fuss is about.
Just blind tested a Primare vs an RME ADI-2 DAC FS. No difference.
 

vitty0425

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I received my v2 a few days ago. I do also notice the crinkling noise when I press my ears into the drivers. Other owners have advised to avoid doing that as it may push the drivers stuck to the magnets. Stuck magnets are known to be an issue on the HE6SE V2. I don't have the V1 but I assume it might be the same noise / issue if you press your ears too hard onto the inner cup. Sadly I don't have the tools or skills to build the neat wooden contraption you have to measure L vs R balance. I just played test sweeps repetitively and listen for the quality & driver matching. Sounds even to me as far as I can tell so I'm going to keep mines.

I briefly compared driving them with the RME vs the Singxer SA-1 amp and I much prefer them running off the SA-1 w/ the RME as DAC only. While the RME can drive it to very loud levels, I think the SA-1 had better bass and less harsh treble. Not blind level matched. I may go back to do longer comparison sessions to see if I *really need the SA-1.
 

edahl

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How did you do that blind?
Level matched them with an UMIK-1, listener in the hall with a long cable, played the same song by Billy Eilish, upon guessing the next amp was picked by coinflip. One of the subjects (the owner of the Primare) was sure the Primare gave a bigger soundstage and better imaging but couldn't tell the difference in 4/8 tries. I did better with 6/9 right guesses, but not enough to really conclude there to be a difference.
 

watchnerd

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Which ear pads are you guys using?

I actually find the HE6SE V1 headband generally comfortable enough, but my ears do get hot.
 
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