Friday, 21 October 2011

HiFiMAN HE-500 Quick Review

HiFiMAN HE-500 Quick Review

Thanks to for the loan.

Brief: A low-ish power high end Ortho

Price: £795 ouch!

Specification: Planar Magnetic driver, Frequency Response: 10 Hz to 50 KHz, Sensitivity: 89 dB, 1 mW, Impedance: 38 Ohms, Cable: 2m with XLR and 1/4″ stereo plug, Ear cushions: exchangeable, velvet finish, Weight: 502 g, without cable

Accessories: Box / case and some mini coaxial cable ends.

Build Quality: First class.

Isolation: None.

Comfort/Fit: Hmm the pads are lovely and plush but they are rather snug and could have been a bit deeper. Perfectly fine to wear, they just never quite melt away.

Aesthetics: Good, nothing too flash or weird like the Grado with their antenna or Sennheiser and their Princess Leah omages. You’ll never wear these outside your home so what does it matter anyway.

Sound: OMG these are good stuff. I have a little issue with their sound signature (mids are bit below the bass and the treble is above them both) but I can’t argue with the clarity and detail they dish up. It’s phenomenal. No way to argue anything else these are just simply stunning in their detail and fidelity so much so that it really, really demands that you feed it high quality stuff. If you give it crappy recordings, badly mastered or low bit late (I really, really wouldn’t go below 320k) then these will quite happily and ever so effortlessly show you what a stinking heap of horse made fertiliser you’re listening to. I found them to be so good they made me want to listen to music I didn’t really like just because it was produced by competent people who gave a toss. If you play some good quality stuff then these just shine and can take you away to a magical world of aural awesomeness. Its transients are stupendously fast. You will quite happily spend many an evening re going through your music and hearing it through new ears. Just as well really given its cost you won’t be able to afford to do much else for a while! Yeah these are expensive but spend a few hours with them then listen to something else and you’ll see just how much better these are, soooooooo much better you really won’t mind how much they were.

Value: Terrible value, well sort of. What I mean is these are expensive to the point most will look at the price and instantly think no. £795 is a hell of a lot for a pair of headphones but much in the same way a normal person (not a Head-Fi person) looks at headphones and thinks £50 is a hell of a lot of money when their free ibuds are just as good. You get what you pay for and while diminishing returns does hold true these are so incredibly good they really do deserve you at least think about it. Honestly you’ll get more enjoyment from these and for years than you will by taking that week in Barcelona.

Pro’s: They are amazing.

Con’s: £££ and too happy with the treble for me. Oh and they make everything else sound crap in comparison, which I suspect your wallet very much wont like.

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