Here at MajorHifi, we sometimes encounter that rare breed of headphone that does so many things right, at such a good pricepoint, that we fall head-over-amplifier in love with it. As our Hifiman HE-560 review will show, the HE-560 is one such headphone.
Hifiman HE-560 Review
The HE-560 comes packaged in a giant wooden box with a sliding, grooved lid. Inside said box, you’ll find the headphones, as well as a 6.6 ft (2 m) audio cable with a 1/4” plug.
For longer listening sessions, the 560 is a dream, with thick pleather padding on the earcups and a wide leather band at the top of the headphones. While the cables connect to the headphone with the old screw-on type connectors, it’s easy not to twist them too much – contrary to what the internet rumor mill would have you believe.
Frequency Response : 15Hz-50KHz
Sensitivity : 90dB
Impedance : 45 Ohms
Weight : 375g
Cable Length : 2m
Plug : 6.35mm
As we can see from these specs, the Hifiman offers a pretty wide frequency range, a fairly low volume, and a pretty unsubstantial impedance (this usually means it could be paired with a low-power device, but during my listening sessions I found an amp absolutely essential).
The low end on the HE-560 is a bit relaxed. And while not as deep as some other models at this price point (think Audeze), the low end is still quite pleasant, with a subdued bass and GREAT detail. The one fault to the HE-560’s low end? There’s the slightest bit of bleeding between male vocals and low frequency notes. Not the end of the world, because it’s not always noticeable, but all the same it’s a weak point that deserves mentioning.
Here we see a definite edge over the competition, with a level of clarity and accuracy we don’t really get with many other headphones in this price range – especially with headphones utilizing a planar magnetic design. Both male and female vocals sound AMAZING. And pretty much everything else in the middle of the frequency range is kickass, too.
The high end on the 560 will probably make or break this headphone for you. It definitely shows a bright edge to the highest highs, as well as some piercing. Even when paired with Hifiman’s own EF100 hybrid amp (which I usually recommend to take the edge of certain headphones), that edge can still be there. If you’re particularly against a bright sound, you may find yourself slowly growing to hate these cans despite its strengths. However, if you love classical music and you can dig the kind of emotion that brightness brings to strings – and violins in particular – then you may just fall in love with this baby.
The HE-560 has some decent soundstage. With some types of music, this is more evident, with strong impressions of depth and placement. With other types of music – with less instrumentation in general – that sense is there, but there’s less of it overall.
The Hifiman HE-560 marches to the beat of its own driver. Where other planar magnetic headphones are concerned, this headphone just doesn’t stack up. Lacking just the tiniest bit of control in the low end, these might not fit the “MAX BASS!!!1!” persona of planars in general, but the slightly bright high end and excellent midrange make it a shoe-in for most acoustic and classical listening tastes. That being said, it’s definitely a top-tier headphone, and one that I’d gladly pay $895 for.
Should you snatch up the Hifiman HE-560? If you’re after the bassiest sound in the world, or the thought of slight bleeding causes you to clutch your balanced audio cables in fear, you should pass this one up. However, if you’re after a highly-detailed headphone with good mids and highs, and decent low-end performance, you should definitely consider the Hifiman HE-560. Your ears will thank you.
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