The Hifiman HE-5 uses planar-magnetic drivers to create sound. A planar magnetic driver is a large, flat Mylar diaphragm, coated with super thin aluminum, suspended between rows of slender bar magnets. The HE-5's diaphragm is therefore driven over its entire area, which dramatically reduces distortion; conventional dynamic headphone drivers are "driven" by a voice coil
on the outer edge of the diaphragm, so the inner portion is more likely to distort.
Superior sound quality is the reason HiFiMan quickly made a name for itself in the audiophile community, and the company continues to outperform sleeker-looking models from name brands like Beyerdynamic, Bowers & Wilkins, or Sennheiser. While those companies' headphone drivers work like miniature cone or dome speaker drivers, the HE-400 uses thin-film "planar magnetic"
flat drivers that produce clearer and more dynamically alive sound.
HiFiMAN's new HE-6 is a world-class headphone that, though certainly not cheap, is reasonably priced for the quality on offer. Enthusiasts seeking the very best of the best would be wise to include this headphone on their "must audition" lists.
the HE-6 is not easy to drive so that a high-powered, high-resolution amp is a must for those hoping to optimize this headphone's
HE4 is made with as much loving attention to detail ... and it shows how serious they are about cracking the mid-fi level currently dominated by the likes of Sennheiser, Grado and Beyer.
HE-5LE was introduced in April 2010. Changes were made to reduce the treble response with an asymmetrical magnet configuration reducing the field strength on one side of the diaphragm. The earpieces were changed to a synthetic material to get rid of the cracking problem with wooden cups. The response from enthusiasts was ... well, enthusiastic.
I remember my first listening sessions
with these headphones, and thinking Fang Bian was certainly heading in the right direction. In listening now, I continue to feel they're very good; some of the zingyness still remains as an artificial sounding sheen on cymbals and strings but it's much better than the previous HE-5. I also find the upper-mid-range remains a bit too withdrawn. Nonetheless, these headphones remain available at
this writing, and I think they're competitive at the price-point.
The HE-500 uses a more complicated array of bigger magnets to increase sensitivity over the HE-5LE plus a different diaphragm to improve midrange performance. Sensitivity is 89dB, impedance 38 Ω. Our portable players can drive it well. The magnetics are actually the HE-6's. The diaphragm was modified to provide better vocals and bass. The voice coil traces are coiled
aluminum, not gold. Then we apply a different treatment to the surface of the HE-500's diaphragm. That makes it different from our HE-5, HE-5LE and HE-4 models. The HE-500 is better than the HE-5LE in almost every way.
The HE560 sound has a very different presentation. The sound is silky smooth with good transparency. Compared to the HE500 the improvement is a much better soundstage with a smoother presentation. The music seems to just float. It is very easy to get lost in listening sessions with the HE560.
Steve Guttenberg's review on CNET claims HE1000 is "quite possibly the best-sounding headphones in the world":
The see-through clarity and lively dynamics were remarkably effortless. Which is to say, music played over the HE1000 sounded less like listening over headphones, and more like the real thing.
Truly exceptional products are rare, that's what makes them exceptional. The HE1000 headphones and EF1000 amp looked and sounded radically different from and better than any current Hifiman product, that's for sure.
HE-400i offers the traditional planar magnetic virtue of easygoing coherency of the sort that lends desirable qualities of top-to-bottom evenness and consistency to the proceedings. I suspect that the HE-400i will be all the headphone that many music lovers will ever need...
Billed as one of the highest-efficiency planar 'phones on the market, the HE400S is a noteworthy bargain within its category. These lightweight, comfy cans are also realistically priced at $299—among the least expensive planar 'phones to be had.
One of HIFIMAN's earlier flagship phones, the HE-6 holds a legendary place in the hearts of audiophiles. Now after years of research and listening, HIFIMAN has taken our cutting-edge planar technology to an all new level. Meet SUSVARA. One of its many notable features is "Stealth Magnets" which dramatically reduces wave turbulence which degrades the integrity of the sound waves. The result reduces distortion and yields a purer, more harmonious sound that is audible.