Hifiman HE-560

My wonderful better half got me these for Christmas/Hanukkah. Christmas for her, Hanukkah for me. I listened to them for a while, let them run for a few days and listened again.

They are my new reference. More convenient than my old old STAX, but really, the sound is similar, which must be why I like them. Very fast response. Plenty of very smooth and low but not overpowering bass. Precise midrange, excellent on vocals, a standout on chamber music, quartets, etc. I played some Steve Smith jazz on vinyl and the drums were very good. Traps, snares, cymbal, kick drum. All fine.

Clean world percussion, (Shubendu Battacharia, Tabla Beat Science). Sitar sounds like you’re right there. I haven’t yet found any clean track that they sound bad on.

The flip side is - they’re just a bit heavy on the head, and they are merciless on poorly recorded material.
They are also just a bit power hungry. I can drive them to satisfactory levels using an iPhone/camera card/Dragonfly Black combination, but I can’t make them LOUD with that. A headphone amp is a real plus with them, and not a wimpy headphone amp. Someday, I may buy something with tubes to drive them; I think that would be ideal.


Fellow HE560 owner! You like Percussion music?

Check out Smoke and Mirrors Percussion Ensemble on Spotify/Tidal, they got some awesome stuff. Especially check out Juego de Relojes, that song is amazing.

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Thank you. I will check that out.

So how would you describe the HE-560 sound? What do you use to drive them? I generally use the new HeadRoom Standard that I bought in the pre-order last year.

Well I really love them because they have such clear treble but they managed to pair it with a solid bass and pleasant mids.

Currently I drive them off a schiit Fulla2 (DAC/amp) and sometimes use my Little Dot 1+, specifically when I want a bit more warmth for classical and a softer treble. Sounds pretty nice and worked on my budget since I’m a student so always poor :joy:

I own HE-400s that I seriously modified. They sound 50% better than when they were stock. I power them with an 8 year old Headroom Micro Amp that was discontinued 6 years ago.

I did check it out - but just on Apple Music, that I have. Played on a Mac Mini, output through Audioquest Dragonfly Black w/Jitterbug to drive the HE-560s. It sounds very nice, will have to listen a bit more. I like the Music for Pieces of Wood track.

Can’t get too much headphone volume when I’m up by the computers. The more robust Headroom Standard amp is in the living room where my main music setup is.

I really like Steve Smith’s _Vital Information, NYC Edition - Viewpoint_. Vital Information is Steve’s Jazz band. Listen to Bemsha Swing, or their tribute to Brubeck with a cover of Take 5. If you have not yet listened to Tabla Beat Science, I’m sure your Tidal can find you a few tracks_. Tala Matrix_ is good.

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I have heard Tabla! They’re cool.

I love the Brubeck quartet so that’s worth checking out. It’s particularly nice (the album Take 5 is off of) because the soundstaging and the panning of the instruments aren’t to the far right and left of the headphone (like in John Coltranes A Love Supreme. Amazing album but definitely over panned for headphones, meant for speakers i presume).

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Yes, Brubeck and MJQ are some of my standards. I got to see Brubeck live once, in a small auditorium, good acoustics. Lots of selection from Time Out and Time Further Out.

Haven’t seen Coltrane yet. I love love music. It gives you the yardstick to measure by. Saw Weather Report twice, Chick Corea, Keith Jarrett, Herbie Hancock, Bill Evans, Larry Coryell.

I’d had the HE-560’s in their box for too long. It’s good to listen to them again. They’re heavier than the trusty old STAX and my Sennheiser 650s. They blow the Senn’s away.

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I never liked the 650 but the 600 was always wonderful for classical. If only the soundstage was slightly better.

Jealous of the electrostat tbh. Which model of STAX is it? I tried a bunch but it was too loud to properly hear them and it didn’t do justice. I tried the Mr. Speakers electrostat at AXPONA and i fucking loved it. I’m hoping to get it one day, but for now I’m aiming for the Mr. Speakers Aeon Flow Sealed back, For a closed back headphone those are endgame tier. Like just amazing. And those little white pads that they have for you to put in them were crazy. I thought I wouldn’t like it because it makes the treble ‘dryer,’ but it was SO AMAZINGLY TUNED with them in. As a percussionist I’ve heard cymbals a lot and those did them perfectly. At least, one of the best I’ve heard.

I have the STAX SR-5N. Elsewhere I explain that STAX got me hooked on headphones (or earspeakers in their terminology). I couldn’t afford the Lambda’s back then, and the SR-5N in about 1979 was a minor revision of the SR-5 from 1975. It was in the middle of the STAX range.

A few years ago, the energizer went out and I replaced it. The STAX still sounds wonderful. It’s about half the weight of the HE-560s, which is a bonus. I try to be very careful with them as I replaced my old integrated amp, a Sansui AU-901 with a modern Wyred4Sound STI-1000. It would be possible to overdrive the energizer, which really wants a solid 30 watts RMS to drive it.

For a few years after this model, the STAX phones sounded ‘hot’ to me. The energizer became the energizer PRO. I don’t really care for STAX in that time period. Probably late 80’s to 2005 or so.

I’ve listened to more recent STAX and they sound very good. More like the older models, but cleaner, if anything.

I need to check more out, but it seems like there isn’t a huge outgoing headphone community in the chicagoland area. I’m going down to Memphis for college, so hopefully there’s a community there.

I love my HE-560s, but I find them to be almost unlistenable without EQ due to a dip in their frequency response between 1.5-3khz.
Once fixed, they are absolutely wonderful. I use them as my daily driver in my desktop setup.

I love the HE-560s, especially paired with the Lyr 2 tube amp. Wonderful imaging, clarity and presence across the board for classical music.

Particularly nice tube pairings I’ve found with it:
1950s Foton 6N3P triple mica (requires adapter for the Lyr)
Ken-Rad 6C8G (requires adapter for the Lyr)
Tesla E88CC
Amperex Bugle Boy 6922 1957 D getters

It took a long time to get a pair that worked properly; first set the left driver died after 10 hours. Second set the right driver died after 3 hours. Third set is working great, no yoke cracks or breaks. I knew that this was a very special set of headphones in the short time I had them before the drivers died on the first two, so I was persistent and made sure I was going to get a pair in good working order. But HiFiMan finally came through for me.

This, the Koss ESP-950 and the Elear are the top three of headphones I’ve heard. Really terrific; the HE-560 is my favorite of them.


I have the 560’s too and think your assessment of them is right on. I too love these headphones. But a really powerful power amp is needed to hear their best. I use the 6 watts Schiit Lyr-2 and think the quality of sound is about 30-40% better than when using my other amps. As we all know, there are trade-offs with every headphone and none is perfect. But in my experience the HE-560 is one of the best overall top 5, as well as one of the all time best dollar-for-dollar values in headphones. Don’t think they’ve ever been given their full due of credit. (Other system specifics: Furman PST-8D power conditioned; Marantz SA8004 SACD Player; Cardas high speed digital cable; upgraded Schiit Bifrost DAC; Schiit house brand interconnects from DAC to Amp; Telefunkin tubes in the LYR 2; Cardas Gray/Traditional aftermarket cable for the 560. Other amps mentioned in the comparison are Burson Soloist, Schiit Valhalla 2 with Telefunkin tubes, and Woo Audio WA6 with their best tube upgrade and their recommended Nordost power cable.)

They’re awesome for the price. I’m hoping to get a Mr. Speakers aeon closed because it does a bit better for classical and such. But this thing competes with the high end Audezes imo.

Then again I just don’t like Audezes sound

I’ve been using a set of HE560s for about a month: this is my second set. My first set developed a soft buzz, noticeable when listening to solo classical guitar pieces.

I pair the 560s with a Schiit Jotunheim in the main living area or a Cavalli CTH at my work desk. They are my preferred cans when at home; however, I listen critically for a living so I try not to do so at home. I listen to what I enjoy and try not to go deeper than that since I do not want to spiral into a circle of spending hell.

You guys have some great headphone amps. I’m moderately jealous. I’ve got a Headroom Airhead, which is mostly retired, an Electric Avenues for portable use, and the recent Headroom Standard, that was sold right before the Headroom Discontinuity.

That’s not a bad amp at all, but I still haven’t gone upscale of $300 or so. I’ve looked at the Jolida, but have not pulled the trigger.

:smiley: I have a pair of these arriving tomorrow! I had/loved my HE 4 an this is/should be it’s spiritual successor!

Did you get the old version (wood/smc), newer version (wood/2.5mm) or newest version (silver,3.5mm, sundara band)?

I love my HE560 (2.5mm, wood veneer version). It’s something I’ve been contemplating selling for a while now but I can’t do it. There’s something about it that keeps me from parting ways. Its partly the great sound, good clean bass extension, and the relatively lightweight for a planar and extremely comfortable design that I just love.

I have been using them with Dekoni Elite Hybrid pads which are extremely comfortable.

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I’ve got the wood/2.5. I can’t imagine a reason to sell it.

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