Hifiman HE-6

Former Hifiman’s flagship, successor of the HE5/HE5LE. Major difference with those is the use of gold traces on the diaphragm and a stronger magnet. The HE6 is very hard to drive, with a (measured) sensitivity of 77dB/mW. 2 variants of the HE-6 exist : early HE-6 with 4-screw (that attach the drivers mounting plate to the cups) and late HE-6s with 6-screw. 

Just above 500g, it’s a bit heavy but I’ve never had any comfort issue with the old Hifiman models. The headband probably fits my head shape well, and the stock velour pads, while quite rigid, become softer over time.

○ Release : 2010
○ Current status : Discontinued
○ Type : Over-ear / Open-back
○ Measured weight : 516g
○ Impedance : 50 Ohms
○ Sensitivity : ~77dB/mW
○ Average used price : $750-1000

Sound Impression
Impression is based on the 4-screw version. The HE6 is one of my favorite headphone. It does almost everything right .. almost.

Bass is fast, tight and perfectly extended and integrated in the midrange. It hits quite hard and the impact can be great. EQing the bass is a wonderful experience, the HE-6 takes EQ without any problem. The 6-screw version is apparently a bit bassier.

The midrange is very enjoyable – maybe not the timbre and warmth of an HD600 but one of the best mids I have heard in a planar, with a small dip around 2 khz but it comes back well around 3-4 khz (unlike many other orthodynamic headphones).

Treble is way too harsh for me. With stock Hifiman velour pads, the lower-treble (4-7khz) is super forward and not tolerable. With some other pads (Dekoni TH900 Sheepskin, Pleather Pads, Ori Pads, etc), the overall treble area is attenuated and FR peaks reduced or shifted. I like the Dekoni TH900 Sheepskin pads the best of the bunch, but I feel it takes away some air and sparkle up top. The stock Velour pads are the best at this, that is why I simply prefer using these pads and add some EQ, generally a good -5 dB around 5Khz.

The soundstage is not particularly wide, but the imaging is definitely precise and the feeling of clarity and openness remains great. Headphones like the HD600 or HE500 sounds muffled next to the HE6. This Hifiman is also a very dynamic and punchy pair of cans, shaking the head with the right tracks.

In the end, the HE6 is a great headphone with decent amplification and some pad swapping / EQ. I prefer it to the HD800 and most high-end headphones for almost every type of music. It’s simply a great all-rounder.


Measurements & Resources

Tyll measurements of a (probably) 4-screw HE6 with stock velour pads. Note the very small lift from 250 to 30hz. Midrange is overall good until 4khz where the low-treble is very elevated and harsh, like all the treble up to 10khz.

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