A New Generation of Planar Magnetic Performance
HIFIMAN, the leader in planar magnetic headphone technology, has done it again and redefined how good planar driver technology can be. The HE-560 is a premium quality, full-size planar magnetic headphone designed for reference use in the home or studio.
The HE-560 is 30% lighter than comparable headphones, allowing you to comfortably enjoy music for hours on end. In addition, a newly designed headband and beveled earpads provide remarkable comfort as well as improved sound quality.
Rethinking Planar Technology
Using single-ended drivers, the HE-560 delivers the lifelike soundstage and spatial imaging that HIFIMAN is known for. Its increased efficiency allows it to be driven with a modest size amplifier.
Although the previous model HE-4 also used a single-ended design, the HE-560's single ended design is totally different. To create the HE-560, HiFiMAN conducted extensive research into single-ended planar driver design. "Planars require magnets on both sides of the diaphragms and this makes them heavy," said Dr. Fang Bian, Founder and President of HiFiMAN. "But you need the heavy magnets or you have low efficiency, and you also need a very powerful amplifier with them."
"We conducted many experiments over three years trying different designs and drivers," Fang said. "We created 100 different prototypes over three years. We set up a lab in 2011 just for this purpose, and we did research every day in improving the drivers."
According to Fang, "We improved the driver structure and the efficiency so we can cut down the amount of magnets while maintaining the high efficiency. We achieved improved efficiency by the arrangement of the magnets and also by using the very highest quality magnets – the most powerful magnets in the world, in fact."
To capture every bit of detail, a premium cable comprised of Crystalline copper and crystalline silver comes standard.
Single-Ended Design Advantages
According to Fang, his single-ended headphone design provides better soundstage and spatial information. "This is because the design eliminates the magnet that was in between diaphragm and human ears and which tended to significantly downgrade spatial information," according to Fang.
"Normal single ended drivers have slightly more harmonic distortion, but this is not necessarily bad for sound quality," Fang said. "Even harmonic distortion can a provide warm, natural sound signature just as vacuum tubes do. The main problem of most single-ended designs is lower efficiency and 'harmful,' distorted vibrations when playing the headphones at high volume. With the HE-560, we improved the single-ended design and solved the problem – and we call the new design an advanced single-ended planar driver."
As a result of the HE-560's extremely efficient design, a quality headphone amp with a one-to-two-watt output and appropriate output current can drive the HE-560, achieving 85% to 90% of the headphone's full potential. If you want to experience the full potential, however, please use a more powerful headphone amp, such as the HiFiMAN, EF-6 which can provide 5-watts-per-channel.
The HE-560 matches its superb sound quality with luxurious comfort. It takes advantage of HiFiMAN's years of research into earpad design, accounting for both the comfort factor of the earpads and their effect on headphone sound. The new earpads of the HE-560 excel in both feel and sound.
The HE-560 is also exceptionally comfortable because it is so light for a planar design. "We did a lot of work on cutting down mass on every parts of the headband, earcup, and cable," said Fang. "We tried to eliminate as much as 0.k5g (1.1 lbs.) mass, just like making an aircraft. Our efforts paid off, and we successfully achieved our goal."
The headphone is a full 30% lighter than other full-size planar magnetic designs. Beveled earpads add to the comfort factor.
Premium Teak Earcups
Contributing to the high quality appearance and performance of the HE-560 is its premium teak wood earcup construction. In addition to its attractiveness, teak is a very tough and durable wood that is used in making boats for that very reasons. Not only are they resistant to cracking, but they also provide an extra touch of luxury to these phenomenal 'phones, providing a rich, classic look.