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NO SMOOTHING is applied to the shown plots. Most measurement sites have some smoothing applied which ‘irons flat’ sharp peaks and ‘wiggles’. I do not use smoothing because some info about sound quality is lost when plots are smoothed.

Aside from a small correction of the microphone itself also some correction in the lowest frequencies is applied to the plots to compensate for the perceived loss of bass when using headphones. This is described HERE in more detail.
A ‘horizontal‘ frequency response curve on the shown frequency response plots on this website thus indicates a perceived ‘flat’ tonal signature.

ALL measurements are made with a good SEAL on a flatbed measurement rig.
The shape of your head, bone structure, pad size, pad ‘softness,  (compliance), hair or no hair and or wearing glasses may (drastically) change the frequency response of some headphones, so… your personal experience may differ substantially from these plots.

Frequency response (tonal balance) is the most sound-determining aspect of headphones. A horizontal line shows audible neutral response in the plots on this website. Deviations in different severities at different frequency bands have an effect on the sound character.
The bigger the deviation the stronger the effect.

Below an aid to help determining the sound character of headphones with relation to the frequency response.


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The HIFIMAN HE 560 is an  orthodynamic over-ear headphone.  It retails for around € 900.- which is quite expensive for a headphone. The fact that much more expensive headphones exist doesn’t turn this headphone into a relative bargain.
Despite its low impedance this headphone isn’t designed to be driven from portable equipment. The fact that it comes with a 6.3mm TRS plug and not a 3.5mm one is also testimony to that. The efficiency is low and thus needs amplification.
Comfort is excellent, the clamping force is somewhat on the high side but because of the large pads the pressure is well distributed and ensures a good seal.
The weight of this planar headphone is low compared to ‘similar’ headphone types. This is largely due to the way the drivers are built with single sides magnets.
Everyone around you can hear what you are playing and you can hear all ambient noises unattenuated.
The cable is very low in microphonics so when the cable rubs against clothes this isn’t mechanically audible in the headphone.


Type: Over ear, open
Usage: Home
Driver type: orthodynamic
Driver size: ø 75mm
Pads: replaceable, hybrid pleather/velours
Inner Pad dimensions: depth = 27mm, ø 54mm
Foldable: No, but can rotate the cups in a flat position.
Headphone connector: 2,5mm TRS (marked L and R)
Cable entry: double sided
Cable: replaceable 2m with gold plated 6.3 mm plug.
Nom. power rating: 2W (estimated)
Max. voltage: 10V
Max. current: 210mA
Max. S.P.L.: 119dB
Impedance: 45 Ω
Efficiency: 86 dB/1mW  (99dB/1V)
Weight: 375 g.
Clamping force: medium

Sound description:

Bass from the HE560 is punchy. Bass is well extended but not overblown but has some slight ‘wooly’ character to it. The sound is ‘laid back’ and lacks some ‘clarity’ and can sound a bit ‘coarse’ with some recordings as in not super refined. The mids sound very open and dynamic but has an unnatural/artificial ‘clarity’ to it because of the 2kHz dip followed by somewhat emphasized upper mids. because of this finer nuances are lacking a bit and it can sound a little ‘shouty’ with poorer recordings.


Below the frequency response of the HE-560 (Left, Right)HE560 FR

The channel balance is quite good as with most HIFIMAN headphones. The tonal balance is ‘flat’ as in neutral. It is perhaps slightly lacking in ‘grunt’ .
The 10dB dip at 2kHz lowers some sense of the ‘presence’ of voices a bit. The treble response is just very slightly elevated but certainly doesn’t stand out above the rest. It is well balanced and smooth.

For about half the price you can buy the HE 400i.
Below the differences between the HE-560 and HE 400i are shown.
FR 400i vs HE560

Basically the HE-560 is the ‘fixed’ version of the HE-400i. The tonal balance of the HE-560 is more accurate. Bass extension and ‘flatness’ is better and above all the 8kHz of the HE 400i isn’t there. This makes the HE-560 sound very smooth and real.

The tonal balance differences are shown more clearly in the 1/3 octave smoothed plot below. HE-560 and HE 400i
tonal bal dif 400i vs 560

Below the distortion measurements of the HE-560 (Right channel).

Note that this headphone was measured at ears-unlimited-logo where background noises were present in the demo room. As this is an open headphone the distortion levels and spectrum plot performance may thus be  better in reality than as shown on the plots due to ambient sounds being measured along with the headphone.

DIST HE560RBelow 100Hz the peaks are (most likely) caused by ambient noises during the measurements. In reality the distortion will be lower there.
Above 100Hz the distortion levels look good. The peak at 2 kHz barely touches the 0.2%.
Tyll’s plots also show increased distortion in this area so chances are this is not ambient sound.

Below the distortion plot but displayed in percentages.
DIST HE560R percent

Below the CSD of the HE-560. (Left and Right are superimposed)CSD HE560

At 3.5kHz there is some short lived ringing. This is benign as the ear canal resonates at this frequency as well. At  8.5kHz there is some ringing. This is at the same frequency as the HE 400i and doesn’t seem to be a coincidence.

output resistance / damping-factor

As this is an orthodynamic headphone its impedance is as good as ruler flat so a higher output resistance amplifier will have no consequences for the frequency response/tonal balance/damping.

Below the spectrum plot of the HE-560. SPECT HE560R
The spurious signals in the upper part above 1kHz of the plot are possibly ambient sounds. At 4kHz and 8kHz the ringing is visible.

The step response (Right channel) below shows the bass is just slightly rolled-off. The resonances are short lived and well damped. You can still see some higher frequency wiggles in a low amplitude on the horizontal trace which show some low level ringing is lingering on quite long. The small dip after the initial impulse flank shows the slight lack in ‘presence’ as caused by the 2kHz dip. Impulse response is at the proper level though.
Imp HE560 R

The left channel shows a similar pattern and thus not shown.


Fit and finish, comfort, weight (for an ortho) are very nice. The fake wood color scheme is a looks quite nice at a quick glance. On closer inspection it has something ‘cheap’ and fake about it. The black accents look really nice. The sound signature is ‘clean’ and realistic. Still it is lacking somewhat in presence of voices.  Clarity of instruments is good though because the 4kHz is present on the proper level. Treble is smooth, realistic and not splashy nor sibilant at all. A very nice sounding headphone with only some slight niggles.

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