For my listening tests with the HE-6, I used both the tube-powered HiFiMAN EF5 headphone amplifier ($399) and the solid state Burson Audio HA-160 headphone amplifier ($695). Both offered power sufficient to drive the HE-6 to satisfying volume levels, though the Burson required fairly high gain settings in order to do so. Overall, I would say the Burson amp gave better sonic results, more fully tapping the performance potential of the HE-6.
Source components included a hybrid tube/solid-state Musical Fidelity kW SACD player and a solid-state Musical Fidelity A5 CD player.
The HE-6is generally comfortable, though it is a relatively large and heavy (502 grams) headphone, which some may find problematic. The earcups are well padded and comfortable. However, one problem I noted with the HE-6 that the earcups tend to ride quite low relative to the top of the headband. Thus, even with the earcups raised as high as possible, the headband only just barely contacted the top of my head. For this reason, I would encourage HiFiMAN either to consider changing headband dimensions, or to provide a wider and thicker headband pad (a change that HiFiMAN’s Fang Bian told me he might consider offering in the form of an extra-cost, snap-on auxiliary headband pad).
The HE-6 ships in a padded presentation case. Included in the case is a detachable signal-cable harness featuring very high-quality signal wires in a braided configuration, terminated with a 4-pin balanced XLR connector. The HE-6 also comes with two adapter cables: an XLR-to-phone jack cable and an XLR-to-dual-banana-jack cable.
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 one caveat with this design, however, is that 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 performance.
SPECS & PRICING
HiFiMAN HE-6 Planar Magnetic Headphones
Accessories: as above.
Frequency response: 8Hz – 65kHz
Weight: 502 grams (without cables)
Sensitivity: 83.5 dB (1 mW input)
Impedance: 50 ohms