HIFIMAN HE1000se and HE6se arrive for review

A knock at the front door usually elicits a smile from me, a groan from my family and loud, vicious barking from our dog.

Why groans?

Because 99 per cent of the time it’s a delivery for InnerFidelity or AudioStream and means more boxes piled up in closets all over the house as I unpack the latest gear sent for review.

This time the knock was courtesy FedEx and HIFIMAN who have just shipped me their brand new HE1000se and HE6se headphones for review.

Both come in beautifully-made cases and both look and feel amazing to the touch (especially the HE1000se – it’s completely off the hook for how luxurious it feels in your hands and on your head). The level of fit and finish and materials used simply ooze quality all over the place and I can’t wait to get some hours on both of these cans for some serious listening sessions.

The HE1000se (Special Edition) planar-magnetic open-back features a diaphragm of one nanometer which, for those measurement challenged readers, translates to incredible speed and accuracy along with the ability to handle swings in dynamic range with ease. It has a suggested MSRP of $3,499 USD and is not considered a replacement of the venerable and multi-award winning HE1000 V2 ($2,999 USD), but rather, a full-blown update and separate model.

HIFIMAN has increased sensitivity to 96dB from 90dB and retained the same 35 Ohm impedance and 8Hz~65kHz frequency response of the V2, which makes the 1000se reasonably mobile-friendly for those so inclined. Weight is up very slightly from 420 grams to 440 grams.

The HE6se (also Special Edition) has a suggested MSRP of $1,799 USD and is an update of the original HE6 which has a long word count of Internet and paper-bound reviews touting it as an industry benchmark for transparency and lifelike timber and tone. Upgrades include a new deep-grey finish, new 3.5mm cable connectors which feature a 10-degree angle to alleviate pressure points, a lighter headband with improved adjustability and two sets of ear pads (one foam, one sheepskin) were included with my review pair. Weighing in at 502 grams, head feel is great. The HE6se is rated at 8Hz~65kHz for frequency response, with a more-difficult-to drive sensitivity of 83.5dB and a 50-Ohm impedance.

I’ll be performing all my listening through both sets of headphones with the Naim DAC V-1, my Macintosh Labs C2600 preamp’s built-in HXD headamp and a pair of Astell & Kern portable players (SE100 and SR15), and hopefully (if it gets here in time), the new Chord Hugo TT2.

Thanks for stopping by and check back often for updates.

#2001, C1, 2F. Yingbin Road, Bacheng county, Kunshan city, Jiangsu Prov. 215300, China

paladinm's picture

The biggest complaints of the original HE-6's I've known of are the weight and the difficulty to drive. It seems Hifiman downs the weight, but making it more difficult to drive? Well, I hope they sound better than the original one...

MFHRaptor's picture

Hey Mr. Arnott,

What about Arya?

It's supposed to be a more affordable HE-1000 but with trickle down technology from Susvara. It's also isn't clear how easy or hard it is to drive. Do you have any comments on Arya's staging abilities and tonality?


Rafe Arnott's picture
I wrote about the Arya at RMAF:


The setup there was completely different to what I'm using at the moment, and talking about comparing the two when being driven by disparate DACs/Amps isn't really helpful.

When I get my hands on an Arya and can listen to it in the context of my setup, I'll let you know how they stack up to each other.

Simply Nobody's picture

"Something Mysterious"? ............... Arya :-) ..............

Mrsnikoph78's picture

Will review of these headphones put the aforementioned state of the art headphone testing equipment to use?

I have a hard time keeping track of sound quality when it is compared to food preferences - I'm eager to have a chance to observe useful data.

Rafe Arnott's picture
Reviews will include measurements when they become available. The idea is that the new testing equipment will be used on all reviews moving forward.