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Hifiman HE6se Review (Headphone)

Measurements of my 3rd unit.
9laDa9t.jpg


The left driver is stuck to the magnets this time, as seen in the picture here:

NM0rxiJ.jpg


This was the 2nd replacement which I was told was tested at the factory to ensure I get a good unit this time.
Extremely disappointed. Not only did I recieve 3 bad units in a row, I was also lied to by their customer service. I don't know what to say.
 
Can you blow the membrane to the opposite side ?

I am amazed the headphone still can produce 90dB SPL in the bass when it is stuck to the magnets.
That should really be audible when listening to it and 2nd harm distortion would go through the roof.
Can you plot the distortion for both channels.
Which is another weird thing which I would think would only happen with DC on it.
The traces on the membrane should not be made of magnetic material (which would stick to a magnet.

The membranes must be substantially stretched to do this by themselves (stick to one side)
 
can someone summarize how many bad variants/failed drivers/bad QC cases did we already see alone in this thread?
this sounds scary, I know hifiman durability is very casino-like, but reading the most recent comments took it to a new high...
 
Honestly I'm starting to worry about my Arya at this point.. I don't have a way to measure it here. Any good way to test it properly by ear? Is there a better way than a tone generator?

To be honest I don't know if I will ever purchase a Hifiman from another country. Only in my country, where I can return it if something is off.
 
Measurements of my 3rd unit.
9laDa9t.jpg


The left driver is stuck to the magnets this time, as seen in the picture here:

NM0rxiJ.jpg


This was the 2nd replacement which I was told was tested at the factory to ensure I get a good unit this time.
Extremely disappointed. Not only did I recieve 3 bad units in a row, I was also lied to by their customer service. I don't know what to say.
Any chance there is something wrong with your setup that damages the headphones? (DC offset in one channel?)
 
Measurements of my 3rd unit.
9laDa9t.jpg


The left driver is stuck to the magnets this time, as seen in the picture here:

NM0rxiJ.jpg


This was the 2nd replacement which I was told was tested at the factory to ensure I get a good unit this time.
Extremely disappointed. Not only did I recieve 3 bad units in a row, I was also lied to by their customer service. I don't know what to say.
F*ckers, that's the worst measurement you've showed us! If this headphone is no better than your other headphones when EQ'd to equalise the channels & to whatever target you're aiming for, then I'd just get a refund! If the headphone is better than everything you've ever listened to once you've sorted it out with EQ then I'd keep it..........but given what solderdude is saying below, then it's hard to believe the headphone is sounding good if what you say is true re stuck magnets. (I'm not familiar enough with pictures of planar headphones to know if what you say can clearly be seen, can you point out the areas?)
Can you blow the membrane to the opposite side ?

I am amazed the headphone still can produce 90dB SPL in the bass when it is stuck to the magnets.
That should really be audible when listening to it and 2nd harm distortion would go through the roof.
Can you plot the distortion for both channels.
Which is another weird thing which I would think would only happen with DC on it.
The traces on the membrane should not be made of magnetic material (which would stick to a magnet.

The membranes must be substantially stretched to do this by themselves (stick to one side)
I don't know enough about planar technology to analyse it in the way you do here, but given what you're saying here, I'm very interested to see how your discussion goes forward between peniku and yourself.
 
Honestly I'm starting to worry about my Arya at this point.. I don't have a way to measure it here. Any good way to test it properly by ear? Is there a better way than a tone generator?

To be honest I don't know if I will ever purchase a Hifiman from another country. Only in my country, where I can return it if something is off.
This is why I bought a miniDSP EARS within the last months, at the very least you can check & correct for channel balance, lol! (albeit I did that for all my headphones, not because I was worried about Hifiman, albeit I own one of their models). (miniDSP EARS is the price of a mid to low tier headphone, so given the amount of headphones I own it was a no brainer!)
 
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This is why I bought a miniDSP EARS within the last months, at the very least you can check & correct for channel balance, lol! (albeit I did that for all my headphones, not because I was worried about Hifiman, albeit I own one of their models). (miniDSP EARS is the price of a mid to low tier headphone, so given the amount of headphones I own it was a no brainer!)
Is it accurate enough to trust it when checking for imbalance? Even the cheap ones?
 
Can you blow the membrane to the opposite side ?

I am amazed the headphone still can produce 90dB SPL in the bass when it is stuck to the magnets.
That should really be audible when listening to it and 2nd harm distortion would go through the roof.
Can you plot the distortion for both channels.
Which is another weird thing which I would think would only happen with DC on it.
The traces on the membrane should not be made of magnetic material (which would stick to a magnet.

The membranes must be substantially stretched to do this by themselves (stick to one side)
I'll have a look when I'm back at the studio tomorrow.
I have distortion measurements, but the SNR isn't exactly amazing. I'll post them tomorrow too. Don't remember seeing anything odd, but I might've looked at the other channel
 
Is it accurate enough to trust it when checking for imbalance? Even the cheap ones?
Yes, I think so, I've measured 3 units of HD560s on there and they have near perfect channel matching & near zero unit to unit variation, so that's no chance - if the miniDSP was off then there would be a consistent error between them all. I've also measured 3 units of K702 as well as one unit of HE4XX, one unit of HD600, and one unit of NAD HP50. There's nothing to show consistent error trends between them which would suggest a mismatch between the channels on the miniDSP EARS. I think you can be confident about the measurement validity between channels.

Here's the HD560s unit to unit variation for example (3 units on the same graph):
HD560s all units AVG of left & right channel.jpg

And left/right channel matching for each of the 3 units:
HD560s Unit 1 Channel Balance.jpgHD560s Unit 2 Channel Balance.jpgHD560s Unit 3 Channel Balance.jpg
 
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Yes, I think so, I've measured 3 units of HD560s on there and they have near perfect channel matching & near zero unit to unit variation, so that's no chance - if the miniDSP was off then there would be a consistent error between them all. I've also measured 3 units of K702 as well as one unit of HE4XX, one unit of HD600, and one unit of NAD HP50. There's nothing to show consistent error trends between them which would suggest a mismatch between the channels on the miniDSP EARS. I think you can be confident about the measurement validity between channels.

Here's the HD560s unit to unit variation for example (3 units on the same graph):
View attachment 202129

And left/right channel matching for each of the 3 units:
View attachment 202130View attachment 202131View attachment 202132
Which one do you use? Some of them are too small for Arya maybe?
 
Which one do you use? Some of them are too small for Arya maybe?
miniDSP EARS:

It's true that the width of the "head" is low, eg a small child, but given that it's a flat cheek measurement device then I think the reduced clamping pressure is balanced out with the enhanced bass seal potential of the flat cheek vs a human cheek.....so I think they cancel each other out resulting in sensible bass measurements....all my headphones have measured with sensible bass curvatures. (I've not had problems getting good bass seals, apart from the NAD HP50 which is notorious for that, but no harder than putting it on your own head!). But anyway, in terms of checking channel balance, it's totally valid for that function....it's valid for checking many other things too, but at a bare minimum for sure you can check channel balance (& unit to unit variation).

If you're of a scientific (& practical/creative) mindset then there's great use & potential in a simple measuring device like this, and particularly if you're already familiar with REW and equalisation (parametric EQ).
 
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Any chance there is something wrong with your setup that damages the headphones? (DC offset in one channel?)
no
 
Well I'm looking forward to your findings once you get back into the studio, and your further discussions with solderdude re the "stuck magnet".

I'm sad to hear of the somewhat poor channel matching you've seen amoungst your units, some have been better than others......unfortunately the ones you returned were better than your latest if I remember rightly.....but that's not your fault. I do think you're right to expect better of a $1800 headphone........you might need to draw a line under it and either accept their non-stellar channel matching or move onto a different headphone.....if you can correct for the channel imbalance and have a better experience than any headphone you've listened to then you could keep it.....or you could just get a refund and go with a more reliable headphone......you've seen my ultra reliable measurements of the HD560s in this thread, but that is somewhat counter to what a few other people report (including Oratory although he certainly doesn't think they're "bad" in that respect), although I don't know what the chances are of me receiving 3 units of impeccably channel matched & impeccably low unit to unit variation between them too.....don't know what the chances of that are.....but 3 "perfectly" matched units....I don't know how that can be explained away given I bought them over more than a circa 1yr plus period so from different batches I assume......but might give you food for thought for trying another headphone. (Personally, I trust my measurements more than anyone else's, but that's natural - I know there's no other BS involved ....whatever that may entail!)
 
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Can you blow the membrane to the opposite side ?

I am amazed the headphone still can produce 90dB SPL in the bass when it is stuck to the magnets.
That should really be audible when listening to it and 2nd harm distortion would go through the roof.
Can you plot the distortion for both channels.
Which is another weird thing which I would think would only happen with DC on it.
The traces on the membrane should not be made of magnetic material (which would stick to a magnet.

The membranes must be substantially stretched to do this by themselves (stick to one side)

Distortion is actually not *that* horrible, but none of the spikes you see are present in the working driver.

3xWtHNJ.jpg



I added the noise floor to the following graph, to show that the distortion data might not be very reliable at the low THD levels of the working driver:
8731SxR.jpg


Also, keep in mind that the fixture is uncalibrated, so the SPL might not be very accurate. The mic inside the fixture is calibrated though, so bass SPL might actually be decently close to the actual value.
You can calculate the levels theoretically. The level at 30Hz was -5dBFS of the headphone output of my Fireface UC. That's Oratory's EQ with -10dB of preamp gain with the sweep at 10dBFS.

I will not attempt to fix these headphones myself. If I mess it up it's my fault and Hifiman might refuse to replace it.
Tbh instead of sending me new headphones all the time they should just send me a new driver.
 
Distortion is actually not *that* horrible, but none of the spikes you see are present in the working driver.

3xWtHNJ.jpg



I added the noise floor to the following graph, to show that the distortion data might not be very reliable at the low THD levels of the working driver:
8731SxR.jpg


Also, keep in mind that the fixture is uncalibrated, so the SPL might not be very accurate. The mic inside the fixture is calibrated though, so bass SPL might actually be decently close to the actual value.
You can calculate the levels theoretically. The level at 30Hz was -5dBFS of the headphone output of my Fireface UC. That's Oratory's EQ with -10dB of preamp gain with the sweep at 10dBFS.

I will not attempt to fix these headphones myself. If I mess it up it's my fault and Hifiman might refuse to replace it.
Tbh instead of sending me new headphones all the time they should just send me a new driver.
So are you gonna push them to just send you a driver so you can replace it yourself, and maybe the turnaround will be quicker? Question is, how many times can both of you (yourself & Hifiman) go back & forth sending back headphones?
 
Alright, time for the final update on my journey with the HE6se.
For those who didn't follow my past posts closely, I'll write a short but mostly complete summary:

-bought HE6se, but the pair I got had very bad channel matching (5dB wide-Q difference between left and right at around 1.5khz)
this was very noticable with voices, as it felt like all vocals were panned to the left
-contacted HifiMan, returned my pair and received a new one
-new pair had a narrow-Q issue near 4khz in the left channel, adding a constant "sizzle" to stuff like distorted guitars
-returned that pair too, but this time requested Hifiman to test and validate the new pair at the factory, so history doesn't repeat itself
-Hifiman assured me the 3rd sample was tested and sent that to me
-3rd sample arrived with a stuck left driver (physical defect) and the channel was all over the place (wierd response, high distortion)
-Sent that back and got all my money back (including import tax and shipping, which totaled at around 250€)

I want to note that Hifiman refused to send me a 4th pair, which I initially requested.
The first unit I had sounded fantastic, when all the issues were corrected in dsp, so I was hoping to get that perfect unit, but it shan't be.
If I knew I could get a good pair with my next order I'd order right this moment. But this whole endeavour left a bitter taste in my mouth...
 
Alright, time for the final update on my journey with the HE6se.
For those who didn't follow my past posts closely, I'll write a short but mostly complete summary:

-bought HE6se, but the pair I got had very bad channel matching (5dB wide-Q difference between left and right at around 1.5khz)
this was very noticable with voices, as it felt like all vocals were panned to the left
-contacted HifiMan, returned my pair and received a new one
-new pair had a narrow-Q issue near 4khz in the left channel, adding a constant "sizzle" to stuff like distorted guitars
-returned that pair too, but this time requested Hifiman to test and validate the new pair at the factory, so history doesn't repeat itself
-Hifiman assured me the 3rd sample was tested and sent that to me
-3rd sample arrived with a stuck left driver (physical defect) and the channel was all over the place (wierd response, high distortion)
-Sent that back and got all my money back (including import tax and shipping, which totaled at around 250€)

I want to note that Hifiman refused to send me a 4th pair, which I initially requested.
The first unit I had sounded fantastic, when all the issues were corrected in dsp, so I was hoping to get that perfect unit, but it shan't be.
If I knew I could get a good pair with my next order I'd order right this moment. But this whole endeavour left a bitter taste in my mouth...
That is disappointing, they should have done better than that really. I like that they stuck with you in sending you 3 units altogether (2 replacements), but I don't like that they didn't send you a good one. I suppose a manufacturer isn't obliged to send someone a perfect unit when it comes to channel matching, as they have a spec tolerance for it's manufacture and customers have to either live with that or choose a different manufacturer or model. Did Hifiman ever come clean and tell you what their internal specs are for channel matching when it comes to QC & releasing the HE6se? For a rare (measuring your headphones) & committed consumer as yourself it's a shame they didn't go the extra mile for you and personally cherry pick a perfect headphone for you.....as they are expensive headphones and virtually no one is measuring the channel balance of their headphones and contacting them, so they're not gonna be inundated by people requesting a perfectly channel matched headphone....so they could have gone the extra mile to enhance their reputation in this case. What are you gonna get as a replacement?
 
That is disappointing, they should have done better than that really. I like that they stuck with you in sending you 3 units altogether (2 replacements), but I don't like that they didn't send you a good one. I suppose a manufacturer isn't obliged to send someone a perfect unit when it comes to channel matching, as they have a spec tolerance for it's manufacture and customers have to either live with that or choose a different manufacturer or model. Did Hifiman ever come clean and tell you what their internal specs are for channel matching when it comes to QC & releasing the HE6se? For a rare (measuring your headphones) & committed consumer as yourself it's a shame they didn't go the extra mile for you and personally cherry pick a perfect headphone for you.....as they are expensive headphones and virtually no one is measuring the channel balance of their headphones and contacting them, so they're not gonna be inundated by people requesting a perfectly channel matched headphone....so they could have gone the extra mile to enhance their reputation in this case. What are you gonna get as a replacement?
I got no information on internal specs. They could've put 10 minutes of effort into testing the 2nd unit properly, saved some money with that and had one more HE6se sale in their books. But they didn't, and the completely defective 3rd unit felt like a middle finger to my face.

I initially bought them because I moved and then sold my speaker system, because I didn't know if speakers would work at my new house.
After I got new speakers in to test, I realized noise leakage was a non issue and barely used the headphones anymore, but wanted to keep them to validate mixes on (studio work).
I don't know what I'll get as a replacement and when that will happen. I don't like the HD650 we have in the studio, compared to the HE6se, which sounded much more accurate and neutral. The HE6se was the closest in terms of detail and neutrality to my speaker setup(s) (both at home or in the studio).
I am not aware of any similar or better option than the discounted (700$) HE6se, so my next set is going to be either one of the extremes:
-cheap and good like HE400se (the headband is giving me a headache, but validating mixes doesn't take long. plus I can buy it locally and much easier deal with defective units)
-DCA Stealth
 
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