The HE-560 came out in 2014 as a replacement to the loved HE-500. It was featuring a new lighter chassis (shared with the HE400i/s, and later the Edition X / Arya models) and a single magnet configuration. The difference in weight between the HE-500 and HE-560 is huge : 200g.
Build is a bit cheap and the HE-560 will not be fine with violent handling – yokes can break easily. Hopefully, comfort is very solid : light weight, suspension headband, plush velour Focus pads and average clamping.
With a sensitivity (measured) of 86-87 dB/mW, it’s not going to play loud from any phone or most DAPs. An amp that can deliver at least 1W into 32 Ohms is required.
○ Release : 2014
○ Current status : Discontinued
○ Type : Over-ear / Open-back
○ Measured weight : 342g
○ Impedance : 43 Ohms
○ Sensitivity : ~86-87 dB/mW
○ Average used price : $220-300
The HE-560 reminds me of a HE-6, with less resolution and (much less) dynamics, but with better comfort and stock frequency response.
The bass extension is great, and it can play 20 dB sine tones without a drop in volume compared to 30 … 40 … 50 Hz. It doesnt hit as hard as the HE-6 or LCD2 though. I would say the bass impact is similar to the Verum (which I never thought had great bass slam).
Midrange will often sound a bit recessed, because the 1-3 kHz region is withdrawn. But on some tracks, with female voices and lot of string instruments, the mids are quite forward and a bit harsh, mostly in the upper-mids/low-treble area (3-5 kHz). The treble is generally well behaved and not very peaky (less than a HE400i, HE6 or HD800).
I had the HE-560 and Sundara in the same time. The Sundara sounds a bit more V-shaped than the HE-560 for two reasons : the upper-mids around 3-4 kHz are more recessed, and the mid-treble / upper-treble is more present with better finesse. The Sundara sounds a tad airier and colder than the HE-560. However, I prefer the HE-560 bass and midrange. The one you will find the brighter will depend on your sensitivite area between 3 and 10 kHz.
The HE-560 is technically capable, with an open wide staging. It’s not very dynamic like an HE-6 or HD800 though. The version I have is a V1, with veneer wood on the cups. The V2/V3 models are said to be lower quality than the earlier V1 unit, which can be found for really cheap – as low as $200-250. That makes it IMO one of the best headphones under $300. My preference as for “mid-fi priced Hifiman models” is HE500, Sundara, HE-5LE and HE560.
Measurements & Resources
Bass extension is exceptional – there is a small elevation around 15 Hz, probably created by an imperfect seal. Midrange is flat, although there is a big dip around 2 Khz and another one, minor, around 500-600 Hz. My main issue is the elevation around 3-5 kHz, clearly visible in the raw measurements. The treble between 6-10 kHz doesnt sound as peaky as it measures.