First off let me say im really blown away by this headphone. This headphone is very unique. You wont find another headphone like it and its surprising it comes out of Hifiman. Maybe Drop had a lot more to say in its tuning than we think. The Asians these days are really killing it with the unique sounding headphones these days and this headphone definitely adds to that credit.
The build is kinda flimsy unfortunately. Its Hifiman lol. It’s all metal and plastic but seems sturdy enough. One things that bugs me about this headphone is the lack of clamp. So i was trying to fix that. I bent it into a curl. then A shape. then twisted the cups to give more seal in the back. Seems to be better but i still want more clamp.
This is a very light headphone. and the cups are big. The drivers are big. but instead of the old egg shape cups Hifiman was putting out, a shape that people complained about it touching their jawline, Hifiman seems to be opting for the oval shape of the Susvera and Deva. Who knows if this is what their gonna be doing from now on. Speaking of the Deva some have speculated that this is just a rebranding of that headphone. but thanks to the SBFA article on this, its pretty clear its a different enough headphone.
I think this headphone would benefit from pads to create a better seal. These pads are a little too firm and require a pad that collapses better on the head and will give it a better seal and little more body. when I push the cups on my head it seems to sound a little better. I would very much like to try modding this headphones with a new headband with tighter clamp and new pads. I think it would sound better. Though it might lose that air.
I describe this as a V shaped fun/exciting headphone. Some would say aggressive. I dont like that term lol. I love the exciting sounding headphones. And this is definitely that. It has big drivers. It has that big driver sound. Which is glorious. It has a lot of soundstage. and a lot of treble. In fact I would say its treblelicious! Wonderful clear clean crisp treble here. for those treble lovers out there this headphone is for you. 5XX has a light kind of sound also. lack of clamp and firm pads = light sound, lack of body.
But im digging this awesome soundstagy, treblicious, light, exciting sound! It has an energy to it. The bass is here too and kicks in every once in a while to impress. The midrange is good but not a strong point. Detail! This headphone has a lot of it! Certainly more than the 4XX and I believe the Sundara. I dont know if its the treble but it sounds so finely detailed. And in a 220$ headphone i love it. Audio technology continues to march forward. We could not get this much detail in a 200$ headphone back a year or 2.
This headphone has some sibilance. In fact ive never heard sibilance slice so sharp on a headphone before. So some tracks might not be that good for it. But most tracks I played on it sounded very good. And its light treble big soundstage sound really helped with certain poorly recorded tracks that sound compressed and dark and a little muffled. Dream Academy’s “Love Parade” never sounded better. As did Sinead O’conner’s “Jump in the River”. I also noticed hard rock really sounded good on this headphone.
For the DAC I used the Schitt Bifrost 2. for the amps I used the Topping A90 and Monoprice Liquid Platinum balanced on both. It seemed to sound best on the A90. It might benefit from darker tubes on a tube amp. but i had Sylvania tubes on my LP and it seemed to not have much effect on the headphone. But then again the LP is a very dry sounding hybrid tube amp.
Lately we’ve been getting a lot of great headphones in the 200$ range and I think this definitely a good addition to that group. A good opposite to this headphone would be the Sivga Phoenix. Also a good addition would be the neutral Sennheiser 560s. with these 3 headphones you’d be covering a lot of the frequency signature spectrum lol.