Updated: Jan 7
Great overall package, tonal as well as technical in deutsch
frequency range: 20 - 20000 Hz | sound pressure level: 93 dB | impedance: 18 Ohm | planar ma.
In the end, the HE5XX does almost everything better than the HE4XX in my opinion.
Bass Mids Trebles Stage Imaging
9 8.5 8.5 8.5 8.5
Processing Comfort Earpads Headband Weight
9 8 8 8 355 grams
Price 180 €
Pro Contra - open and detailed - not quite neutral
- great bass - sometimes a bit thin in the mids
- lively, but relaxed - there is not much more considering the price
The HE5XX is another collaboration between DROP and HIFIMAN and is supposed to be more similar in sound and appearance to the DEVA than to the HE500, or other models in the HE5 series, but I can't judge that because I don't have a comparison. What I can compare the HE5XX with, however, is the DROP X SENNHEISER HD6XX, which I currently rate as one of the best value for money and which thrills me with its neutral, detailed, unagitated and relaxed sound. At the same price tag, the HE5XX is a successful counterpart to the HD6XX, as it plays more openly and freshly, but has its strengths less in emotionality and does not bring the stoic composure of the HD6XX.
When I read the weight of the HE5XX, I had to look twice as it seems much lighter on my head.
The headband is basically identical to the HE4XX, but the ear cups including the pads are lighter. Somehow, this also makes them seem a bit cheaper, but that's just a subjective observation based on the feel. The contact pressure is almost non-existent and yet the HE5XX sits very stably and thus also extremely comfortably. The pads could still be a bit softer and fluffier, I prefer those of the HE4XX, but they have the better space in comparison.
The scope of delivery is similar to that of the HE4XX and is limited to a robust cable (3.5mm jack) with an adapter to 6.3mm.
There are certainly headphones that leave a more valuable impression, but in the processing I can not reproach the HE5XX, even if you notice here the attempt to save costs of DROP in the material and design. I found this a bit less obvious in the HE4XX. In return, the HE5XX has the headband's ratchet back, which I like.
All in all, the HE5XX is a very comfortable, open headphone with enough space for everyone, which is hardly noticeable on the head. The isolation is quite modest due to the construction.
In the end, you get a very good planar bass with the HE5XX, just like with the HE4XX, with a great resolution and homogeneity. However, the HE5Xx adds a little more depth and sounds somewhat fuller in the bass range. Suits him well and is for me as an upgrade to the already great bass of the HE4XX to evaluate.
I appreciate more and more the bass characteristics of a planar driver, as I hear the low frequencies all detailed out, but these are presented to me with a wonderful lightness, even if I would give priority to good dynamics in total, as I also like it a bit more physical. In return, I am impressed by the speed of the bass, but this is also slightly at the expense of dynamics.
For me, the HE5XX still has fantastic bass performance and offers a new experience.
Unlike the HE4XX, the HE5XX sounds more lively in the mids and voices seem more open and not quite as intimate. However, it also loses some of the emotion and the HE5XX may sound a bit like a robot, working through the music with absolute precision and matter-of-factness. However, it does so in outstanding quality and the mids excel in detail and transparency. Sometimes voices lack a bit of body, but tonally I'm very satisfied, as everything also sounds like it's all of a piece. Electric guitars are particularly fun for me and even if I repeat myself, the HE5XX has a very pleasant lightness in its sound reproduction. Robotic might not be the right word in sum either, as the mids exude playing joy, but are perhaps a bit dry here and there. In addition, they move a bit more to the foreground compared to the HE4XX.
An extremely discreet artificiality in the treble has remained, but the HE5XX seems more homogeneous and also more natural compared to the HE4XX, since the mids are on eye level with the treble.
The treble is not additionally emphasized and is more on par with the HD6XX with its relaxed nature, even though the latter appeals to me even more and sounds more natural.
Slight sibilants can be detected here and there, but that is negligible and not annoying for me, although I am very sensitive there.
In contrast to the HE4XX, one immediately has the feeling of listening to an open headphone. The stage clearly increases in width and the HE5XX also has the better arguments in the Y, as well as Z-axis.
The ample space is translated very well into a multi-layered 3D image, which also takes place outside the head, even if this is mostly only the case on the X-axis, i.e. in the stereo image. Nevertheless, the separation is more airy, which means we have more space between the individual instruments than with the HE4XX. I would make slight criticisms about the location of the bass, as it is sometimes hard to pick up. This is not different in a hi-fi system and even desired or normal that the bass has no real locatability, but in IEMs and headphones it is usually centered behind the voices. At least there the "kick" is always well locatable, the HE5XX is here somewhat more diffuse and thus, if you will, more speaker-like.
In the end, the HE5XX does almost everything better than the HE4XX, which I sometimes find quite exhausting due to the treble emphasis and which also does not necessarily act like an open planar driver in terms of technical performance. In direct comparison, the 30 - 40 € more for the HE5XX, depending on the dollar rate, are well invested.
I find the musical and transparent playing style with a lush stage and very good separation particularly appealing. With its lively nature, it can be a fitting counterpart to the DROP X SENNHEISER HD6XX, depending on your preferences. Tonally, it is similarly authentic and has the last word in the bass in comparison, however, I find mids and treble of the HD6XX more appealing, even if this is the more "boring" of the two in total and does not seem quite as open and unstrained, but can generate emotions more easily.
The HE5XX is a great overall package and that at a very appealing price. If you prefer something more intimate and emotional, you can take a look at the HE4XX as a planar entry.
I think, with the HD6XX and HE5XX you have two headphone weapons in hand and for both together not yet spent 400 €.