Comparing World-Class Headphones HiFiMAN HE-6

HiFiMAN HE-6 ($1199)
Description - These are full size, open, planar magnetic headphones at the top of the HiFiMAN line.

Pink Noise - Very even through bass and mids; slightly uneven and overall slightly accentuated treble with a moderate low to mid-treble peak (think: "shhh").

Bass Texture/Extension - Very good in both texture and extension with slight bloom to sound.

Bass Slam - Planar magnetic cans typically have the best bass as a class of all headphone types. I found the HE-6 to do quite well in bass slam, but the slight bloom and strong treble to somewhat hinder their ability to hit the low notes hard.

Midrange - I found it a bit difficult to focus on the mids with these cans because of the mildly accentuated treble. The mids are very good, but I couldn't quite get interested with the distraction.

Treble - I find the treble here not only a bit too emphasized, but also having a bit too much "tizz," which obscures the natural sound of cymbals and brushwork.

Dynamics - These are very punchy sounding cans, as planar magnetics tend to be, but unfortunately it seems to me that too much impact is coming from excess treble energy.

Imaging - These deliver a strong sense of space and depth, but image specificity (the ability to separate instruments in space) is not so good. The zazzy highs are simply preventing it.


Click on graphs image to download .pdf for closer inspection.

Compare the frequency response of these to other cans in this test and you'll see they have significantly more energy in the treble with the exception of the HD 800. Also note the relatively bumpy response, and the significant peak located at 10kHz.

300Hz square wave shows significant overshoot and a significant second ring. This, I believe, indicates the tizziness heard in listening. Some noise is visible over the entire length of the wave top, and may indicate non-optimal damping.

Polarity is reversed on these cans ... not that I believe that can be heard for the most part.

Otherwise measurements are quite good.

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