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The HiFiMan HE6SE v2 Journey

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Hey all,
inspired by @Scubadude , I have listed my journey so far with the HiFiMan HE6SE...

The motivation for getting these headies was to both evaluate the power demands of them, as well as their tone/signature as a stepping-stone towards the hailed HiFiMan Susvara. (many people have rated a modded HE6SE as a the Susvara-Jnr)

The stock headie
When I got them, I was SERIOUSLY underwhelmed!!  The cable was just AWFUL!!! Screamed low-grade build, that one sometimes get from  :(

The sound was...... interesting...
My initial impression was as follows

* Un-EQ'd, they have provide a great sound stage, but like the HD800/S the simulated sound-stage seems to comes at the cost of bass depth and texture.
* Highs can be peaky, part and parcel of that simulated sound stage I guess.
* Mids and vocals are really awesome.  The tone and timbre fantastic.
* EQ'd they are awesome.
* Bass is not anemic, and has some (not a lot) of sub-bass rumble.
* Upper-bass and Mid-bass needs more definition though. Perhaps pads can help, or more power/current?
* EQ does help the peaky highs as well,  and leaves the fantastic mids largely untouched.
* it is a power hog.   Even though I have some clicks left on the HA-6A HPA,  it does get muddy past the 3 o'clock mark (both XLR and RCA)
* Headband definitely needs improvement / upgrade.
* Earpads are really awful. Too soft. With the headband combination, they don't feel like a proper fit and seal.
* They can easily be a replacement for the HD650 as my daily driver IF I can get the seal and / or driving power resolved.   
* Right now,  ballad and folk music should pretty great.. Hard Rock, Metal, Prog, etc. sounds mediocreThe First Tweak/Upgrade:
The first upgrade was bending the headband to make it tighter, for improving the clamping force. 
This was an easy task, but even with the additional clamping force, the weight of the earcups, the headband and stock earpads made it difficult to both form a great seal, and stay in position when bopping my head to music.
But, still an improvement none the less!

The Earpad Upgrade:
I had already ordered replacement aftermarket Dekoni Elite Sheepskin earpads before the headies arrived, based on what others' experience and suggestions.
Much better seal and helps prevented the headie from moving when bopping my head.However, these are not as plush as I'd like, so I am still considering other earpads (like the Kennerton ECL-01 or ECL-02)Sound felt better as well... better bass control, impact, and attack.  This was prolly a combination of the burn-in and the earpads.
A bit improvement at the end of the day  :thumbs:

The Grill Mod/Upgrade:
Sadly, the honey-comb grills were not available, so I decided to DIY my own grills.Source a cheapo metal mesh magazine case to cut my own custom grills

Sadly, the display unit was not the same as the box model.  The one I had purchased had indented wave/patterns

Took a bit of finesse, but manage to flatten it a bit.  However, decided to incorporate some of the indented lines into the grill; kept the line crease caused by the indent and aligned it to run in parallel vertically.
One can see this in a specific angle, but can definitely feel it on the grills.Sound stage improved to un-EQ'd levels, without impacting the sound sig negatively  :2thumbs: Just received my matched pair of Shuguang Natural Sound KT88-T tubes today, and a huge improvement to the driving power, attack, and dynamics of the HE6SE! :groovy: Still tho, think a Schiit Ragnarok 2 would have been ideal (but Schiit don't want to sell to SA)

The Next Mod/Upgrade:
Managed to source an Audeze headband, yoke, yoke-rod kit.Waiting for it to arrive.

The cable in the pics are my DIY Litz cable.
The stock cable is just too awful to show anyone

Grille mod looks amazing - I'm sure it sounds amazing too  :thumbs:

Have you tried these with a speaker amplifier with an adapter yet? I'm not sure how these compare to the original HE-6 efficiency wise, but if you haven't tried them on a high quality speaker amplifier, you are very likely missing out. Since you said metal and prog is not sounding great with these, I'd definitely think that have a power problem, these headphones should literary "grab music by the balls" and shake things up if well amped.

If you are looking for plusher more angled pads (these help with staging too) you can check out Defean pads on Amazon. I bought some for my HE-500 and they were a nice upgrade from the stock focus pads from Hifiman that fell apart.


With regards to the Schiit, you tried a service like Postbox Courier? Not cheap at all, but fast and efficient


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