HiFiMAN HE-560 Planar Magnetic Headphones Preview
- Single-ended planar magnetic driver provides superior soundstage and spatial imaging
- 30% lighter than other full-size planar magnetic designs for increased comfort
- Increased efficiency so it is easier to drive
- Beveled ear pads for increased comfort
- Newly-designed cable of Crystalline metal featuring Oxygen-free copper and Oxygen-free silver
- Frequency response - 15Hz to 50KHz
- Sensitivity - 90db
- Impedance - 35 ohm
- Weight- 380gm (13.7 ounces)
HiFiMAN is a company practically unknown outside of headphone aficionado circles. They made their name with headphones that utilize planar magnetic drivers. Planar magnetic drivers can be thought of as a cross between a traditional dynamic driver and an electrostatic driver. A planer magnetic driver has an array of magnets in front and behind a very thin diaphragm. The diaphragm has very thin wires mounted to it. When the current is sent through the wires, the diaphragm moves.
Planar magnetic drivers have the potential to offer the best of both the electrostatic and dynamic driver worlds. The thin driver is very responsive and quick like an electrostatic driver while still capable of being driven by consumer-level gear like dynamic drivers. If there has been a knock against planar magnetic drivers is that they tend to be heavy.
HiFiMAN is updating their headphone line so we thought it would be a good time to talk about their suite of offerings. Currently, their HE-500 is being discontinued and replaced with the HE-560 headphone. Like many planar magnetic headphones, the HE-560 headphones have an open back and an over-ear design. The wood on the earcups is teak and HiFiMAN has incorporated Crystalline copper and Crystalline silver throughout the design and cable.
The headphone makes us think of all those 40's and 50's space movies
The real claim-to-fame of the HiFiMAN HE-560s is the weight. At only 13.7 ounces, they are up to 30% lighter than similarly sized planar magnetic headphones. With a 90dB sensitivity and 35ohm impedance, the HE-560s should work with many consumer devices, though you'll likely see a benefit from adding an external headphone amplifier like the Emotiva Stealth DC-1.
HiFiMAN specs the HE-560s from 15Hz to 50KHz. That isn't unusual from HiFiMAN as all their headphones have similarly wide frequency response claims. The HE-560s are designed for home or studio use and feature newly designed single-ended planar magnetic driver which HiFiMAN claims will provide superior imaging and soundstage. The headband has been designed for additional comfort and the earpads have been beveled for comfort and a better fit.
Open backs means sound goes in as well as out. The wide headband does look very comfortable.
HiFiMAN has other headphone offerings as well, starting with their entry level HE-300. These are the only headphones in the line that have dynamic drivers instead of planar magnetic. They are open backed, over ear, and run just under $250. The least expensive planar magnetic headphones are the $300 HE-400 (which look like they are being replaced by the $450 HE-4 headphones). The most expensive in the line is the HE-6 headphones, which will set you back a cool $1,300. All their headphones are open backed, over ear, and very, very heavy. The HE-400 and HE-300 clock in a 1500 grams (3.3 pounds) and the HE-500, HE-4, and HE-6 weigh 2000 grams (nearly 4.5 pounds). It is clear why HiFiMAN is looking to shed some weight.
The HiFiMAN HE-560 planar magnetic headphones promise all the performance of the other HiFiMAN headphones in a package that is a fraction of the weight of the other offerings. At just under 14 ounces, it is less than a third the weight of the other HiFiMAN headphones. The HE-560s have newly designed singled ended planar magnetic drivers, a new headband with beveled earcups, and an easy to drive design. We're sure these will be just as popular as the other HiFiMAN offerings.
For more information, please visit www.hifiman.com.
Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.