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See More Reviews These are amazing, so wide and so precise. Every set of headphones I get is a step up and each revealing more in the music I listen to, these are easily the biggest step so far.
The first “real” (read: quality) headphones I got, and still have and use regularly, are my California Headphone Company Silverados. Closed, solid workhorses, it was so good when I got them as I could hear new things in my music I never knew was there before, they were the first over ear sealed closed headphones.
I wanted a pair for gaming and music playing next so I got a pair of AKG K553 Pro closed back headphones. More detail more space, more comfortable for at home. They turned out not to be good for games because they sealed so completely that I could not hear people literally open the door walk into the room and stand behind me. They are now my music playing headphones plugged into a Scarlett Solo for my bass.
So new gaming headphones needed and that was the HiFiMan HE-350, first open back headphones perfect for hearing people sneak up on me, both in real life and games. Wide open sound, very enjoyable, they are my everyday use headphones on my PC just plugged into a Optoma uDac3.
These… These are a whole world of different. Pictured below are the balanced cables I got recently and the mistakenly purchased ddHiFi TC44B USB-C DAC that lead to me looking for balanced headphones and ultimately the HiFiMan HE-5XX.
I looked around and balanced headphones are generally a lot more expensive than I would like to spend right now but hey I already made one expensive mistake buying the DAC soooo, in for a penny… I had a look around, not too hard, and was seeing more and more about planar magnetic headphones so figured I had enough dynamic ones I may as well make this the expensive hole I get lost down.
I just came across the HE-5XXs more or less by accident. I was looking on Drop (formerly Massdrop as their emails rarely fail to mention) and nothing was really doing it for me, they were either more dynamic headphones or not balanced and I had my mind set for better or worse, it had to be. They have plenty of those but frequently reaching intervention levels of expensive. In all of it a few time the HE-400i showed up, a set of planer magnetics for a budget ($125 I think) and I had payed that or more before for both the K553s and the HE-350s so I kind wanted to go a little more. Only in the suggested related stuff did the HE-5XXs ever show up, it was like they were trying to hide them. At $220 they were not overly expensive… In comparison, these things literally get to the thousands. So I went for it.
They were hiding them.
That had to be.
These are astoundingly good. I won’t say for the money as that’s unfair but they are double plus astounding when
you consider the price.
This is an entirely new dimension of sound. I had experienced it before with the others where the stereo separation is more than just left and right, the sound stage can make them sound directional, it is a cool thing but these… these things! the HE-5XXs are out there. So much more detail and the sound end enveloping, it is everywhere, not just left and right or in front and behind a bit too but just EVERYWHERE! The bass is so tight and punchy and goes so much deeper than I have heard before in a headphone. I am listening to a few things and where the bass would roll off before it just keeps going now. The separation of instruments is a delight, before I missed some things or could not fully resolve what was happening when I heard them because they all kind of got on top of each other but this just pulled each instrument out into it’s own space and makes them clear. It is strange too, these are open back, like they are not even there open, like I can move my hand around my head outside the headphones and the sound changes as if even the sound they make internally is coming from beyond them… sorry sidetracked, they are extremely open, when there is no sound on they are as if they are not even there but once the music starts, the world vanishes. Of course it is still there and I can hear stuff going on but the sound they makes just does something that makes them the only thing around, it is so strange and I love it.
It is music dependant, some recording just don’t have it, but the ones that do, it is special.
They are also very very comfortable. I had heard complaints about the headband as it is different on the HE-350 to this and people seem to prefer that one, it is nice on the 350s for sure but this is just super comfortable. It is super light on my head and has enough pressure to know they are there on the sides but if I am still and comfortable I can easily forget they are actually a physical thing touching me.
This is the best thing I have gotten in a long time now, just so much wonder and excitement and having to go look for old stuff that I have to experience again for the first time. And this is easily the best mistake purchase, or rather the result of not wanting to waste a mistake purchase.
Would recommend to a friend.