Apr 30, 2018

OKAY, Input, Dudes, Dudettes, Please...

So, Hifiman HE-500 vs 560?
You guys who have read me around here probly know by now that I tend to go for headphones that are more neutral and less veiled and have that sweetly clear mid-->high range with a present-yet-never overstated bass.
Do you feel this is accurate?
Do you prefer one over the other, and why?
I understand the 500 to be more bass-y and the 560 to be more neutral and lucid.... and there are many folks who are very solidly in one camp or the other on this, almost the way Sennies lean either 600 or 650.
Input, Kids?

Thank You!

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The HE-500 is better in pretty much every way but detail retrieval and sound stage width (and also build quality and comfort). Don't get the HE-560, it's not bad but it's quite worthless unless Adorama lists it for $320 again. The HE-560 isn't really more neutral, it's brighter, has slightly accentuated treble. I consider the HE-500 more neutral.

It slaughters every open back headphone below $1,000 save for HiFiMan's own Sundara which should actually be better, and maybe the Audeze LCD-2's depending on who you ask (their treble dip detracts too much though, they lose easily in realism).
Regarding quality of build, the He-500 are on the very heaby side. He-560 have had a reputation of being lighter, but with build related issues because of the wood or headband, or the driver going out.
Hi there

I have owned the HE500 and for me they really are great fun headphones I would say a bit in your face style sound bass was real tight but far from a basshead headphone treble was never an issue for me although some do say they can be a little bright. I haven't heard the 560 but most people say they are more laid back compared. One thing to note is that I eventually found the HE500 to be quite heavy and not the most comfortable headphones on the market. The sound quality was really amazing but for me it lost out on comfort and I ended up keeping a pair of HD800s over them.
Neither do I have, nor have I heard these two headphones, so I can only comment based on response measurements available online.

From the measurements, these look pretty similar. However, if I were to pick one based on measurements, I would pick the 560. This is because it has a smoother (less peaking behavior) high frequency response.

I guess the "veil" comes from a perceived difference in magnitude response (dB) between the high and low frequency ranges. In that case, the 500's will sound more veiled since their magnitude response in the higher frequencies drops further, w.r.t. the lower frequencies than that of the 560s. Both headphones seem to have stellar low frequency response characteristics.

For someone more sensitive to high frequency sounds, the "veil" might actually be appealing. For someone less sensitive, the veil could suck the life out of music. So, the choice of headphone also depends on the user. For example, Females are, in general, more sensitive to higher frequencies than males. I have tested this with my wife, and it holds true for us; she can also hear noise in the 14khz - 16khz range, which I can not.

Maybe this provides some things worth considering.
Yes. I agree.
I am leaning toward the 560 myself, for the reasons you've listed quite well.

Thank you for your excellent reply.

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