My initial thoughts with the HiFiMan HE6SE V2 was that it had a good soundstage, impact, and body. The sound was nuanced, layered, and expansive. Though it’s a neutral headphone, there is certain liveliness with the HE6SE V2. When feeling in the mood to listen analytically, the HiFiMan HE6SE V2 brings all the details and the musicality associated with that style, that is, highly dynamic, life-like.
With the large soundstage and neutrality being staple characteristics of the HiFiMan HE6SE V2, engagement is slightly impacted. However, there is an undeniable grandness with the HE6SE V2. Dynamic, engaging, with plenty of room for lows, mids, and highs to harmonize, shine and intrigue.
The bass on the HE6SE is something that can be deep and rumbling if it’s in the recording. Sometimes, it is surprising how flexible it can be throughout the frequencies. Space is special with the HE6SE and gives a feeling of a great separation between instruments. You get an excellent experience with bass being slightly pronounced and beautiful when present. However, bass presence is not as strong in the HE6SE especially when compared to headphones like the HiFiMan Arya, and this should be taken into consideration when choosing for certain genres.
It is fundamentally a dynamic headphone with an excellent range. The HE6SE V2 keeps you on edge: the highs are extended, notes are coming in from each and every direction, and as a result, engagement with this headphone is what could be described as multi-faceted as they are harmonic, as frequencies come and go within its' sound-stage. The imaging is such that the sound is incredibly wide.
The mids are not as weighty, yet are still beautiful, and it’s the atmosphere that is given the spotlight, by virtue of the large sound stage. It’s immaculate. The sound-stage opens the way for all frequencies to shine. It's incredibly wide, everything has its place, and the result is a well-woven presentation, which strings you along for an interesting ride.
The HiFiMan HE6SE does many things well: the bass impact is unique and flexible, and this can be especially pleasant. The headphone-shaking bass quality is beautiful when present, but it's not a staple characteristic of the HE6SE. The dynamism and atmosphere can be awe-inspiring if the complexity is in the recording, but at the end of the day, it's more beautiful in its "neutrality".
Personally, having heard headphones such as the ZMF Auteur, I believe the HE6SE may sometimes take a hit in the engagement arena if the uniqueness is not shown overtly. Bass presence and forwardness is not really something I think is a strength of the HE6SE, and with this comes a loss of a little engagement. However, the HE6SE does play notes beautifully.
The note quality from the HE6SE sometimes varies; chain pairing is the driver of this. After trying the HE6SE with different amplifiers, I believe its potential makes it a headphone worth keeping, otherwise, the missing warmth that I prefer doesn't justify keeping the HE6SE.
If you’re an individual who derives pleasure from experimenting, I think, after spending some time with the HE6SE, you won’t be let down. The only thing that I was disappointed in HiFiMan HE6SE V2 was that the soundstage sometimes felt as if, with the absence of different frequencies, was not satisfactorily defined to my ears, however, this is a slight issue I have, and can happily dismiss, as my experience overall is great and has given me an appreciation for the HiFiMan HE6SE V2.
At $1,800 MSRP, if you want to purchase these headphones, you should wait until Black Friday; retailers usually drop the price on the HE6SE, and it could be had for ~$800USD. There's also a sale on the HiFiMan HE-560 V4 that puts it at ~$260. Either way, my thoughts are that they are worth it. The HE6SE is a well-rounded headphone that is a unique way to experience music.
It’s difficult to compare the HiFiMan HE6SE to a headphone like the Audeze LCD-4. They are for headphones for different moods, with the Audeze LCD-4 being a more intimate and personal headphone with more impact, warmth, and musicality, and the HiFiMan HE6SE V2, the more neutral headphone with more space, with musicality still, just that it can be considered flatter when compared to the LCD-4.
I’ve found that I may sometimes prefer the HiFiMan HE6SE V2 because it throws such a large soundstage, gives each range its space, and renders so elegantly throughout, that I feel it is a style that is better as an all-rounder; it’s more flexible and captures more details that engage the individual with its' fuller stage, giving more character and nuance to the music, however, overall, I will say that the Audeze LCD-4 wins in smoothness and pure musicality despite its' smaller stage. It depends on what you personally enjoy if you had to choose between the two headphones.
One important thing to mention is that the HE6SE V2 requires it seems to require a lot of volume to power. I have the volume pot turned up halfway with the Feliks Audio Euforia, and to 100 on my operating system, and this allows for the HE6SE V2 to play beautifully.
Source: Audio-GD HE-7 MK I, Yulong D18
USB: Singxer SU-6
Amplifier: Yulong A18, Feliks Audio Euforia