The HE-6 builds upon the formidable strengths of the HE-5LE design (click here to read the Playback review of the HE-5LE), but pushes the performance envelope even harder in pursuit of extraordinary levels of resolution in a design that can still be powered by conventional headphone amplifiers.
Earlier prototypes of the HE-6 needed to be powered by full-size amplifiers of the type you would normally use to drive loudspeakers, but the production version of the HE-6 is more efficient than the prototypes and thus can be powered by normal headphone amps (albeit with volume levels turned up a good bit).
Watch for a full-length review of the HE-6 to be included in the upcoming Playback Guide to Full-Size Headphones, which will be released just a few weeks from now.
One other item of interest was Fang Bian’s working prototype of HiFiMAN’s upcoming EF-6 preamp/headphone amplifier. At this early stage in the development process, pricing for EF-6 could conceivably range anywhere from $700 to $1500, depending on how final parts selections affect overall build costs.
Humorously, the prototype EF-6 used the faux leather-clad presentation case of one of HiFiMAN’s full-size headphones as its, um, “chassis”—complete with hand-marked notes warning CanJam attendees not to touch the high voltage components within (see photo). The EF-6 sounded terrific when driving the new HE-6 ‘phones, though your guess is as good as mine as to what the final production version might look like.