This is the place to discuss hifiman’s Deva Bluemini Wireless Headphones.
I don’t have high hopes as this thread is still empty, but does anyone happen to know the pin out of the 3.5mm TRRS on the Deva?
I can’t confirm, but if they followed standards, it’s this:
(Img used from here.)
Used the Deva’s for enough time to have written a full review. They are actually a good sounding headphone (especially for 200 bucks), and considering that you can get a “full headphone system” for 300 bucks is something nice for beginners - cable connection, bluetooth, and amp/dac. Seems like a good value, and I am expecting them to go for sale (as usual)
I won’t be using the Deva a lot mainly due to the roll off the top top-end frequencies (sparkle), otherwise it is a very airy and good sounding headphone. It has high resolution and good depth to sound, separation is also pretty nice. I mainly used them paired up with TR-Amp over the 6.3 mm adapter. They are planar-magetic, so they are power hungry, I was pushing the TR-Amp to the extremes, so perhaps you need a stronger source.
Either way, have a read:
You are probably familiar with Hifiman, as it is one of the largest manufacturers of orthodynamic (planar-magnetic) headphones. Whether it’s the budget-friendly Sundara, the mid-range Arya, or the flagship Shangri-La, you should have heard about Hifiman by this point.
Hifimans roots go all the way back to 2005, when Dr. Fang Bian opened Head-Direct (Hifiman before the name was changed to “Hifiman”). With over 15 years of existence, Hifiman had more than enough time to play around and see what works, and what doesn’t.
Hifiman managed to put out a great number of products. Some great, some not so much. This being said, let’s see what what they did with the Deva with all those years of experience -
The Deva is the first headphone from Hifiman that supports both Bluetooth and cable connection. The Ananda BT was bluetooth only, which could be unappealing to those who prefer cable connection. Having both Bluetooth and cable connection is the best of both worlds - it provides the freedom to those that prefer cable connection to easily switch to Bluetooth, and vice-versa. I myself find this to be much more convenient, especially because I am not a big Bluetooth fan - I mainly listen to music in my room, so I rarely have the need to go Bluetooth. It’s a nice feature to have, and I’m glad that Hifiman is bringing the flexibility of both Bluetooth and cable to their headphones, there is a lot of potential with this technology. One thing is for sure - this is a step in the right direction.
Hifiman is known for going out of their way to bring a great unboxing experience, just like they did with the huge leather box for their RE-600s V2 earphones. However, they decided to keep it minimal with the Deva model. This time around there is no carrying case, just a simple box. This made sense to me, since usually a carrying case indicates that a product is intended for outdoor use, but you at least expect a pouch to protect the headphone from dust. All the contents are seated in the box. On the inside you will find the Deva pushed into a cloth-like material, while all the accessories are on the sides. You get all the necessary cables that you need, and there is also a 6.3 mm adapter.
In formal format, here is what you get:
1x Hifiman Deva
1x 3.5 mm cable (for analog connection)
1x 6.3 mm adapter
1x USB-A to USB-C cable (with the Bluemini)
Hifiman is infamous for its build quality, unless we are talking about their higher priced models like the Susvara, HE1000, or Shangri-La. QC (quality-control) has been a large issue for Hifiman in the past. However, it seems like they have been working hard on fixing it, and we hear much less about it nowadays.
While the Deva is a $220 headphone, it could definitely use some higher quality materials for the construction. The leather headband and ear-cups are superb, but the rest of the headphone is questionable - the parts that I hated the most are the plastic pieces on either end of the headband. Don’t get me wrong, the frame that holds the ear-cups is made out of metal, but the quality of these plastic pieces is so low that I was disappointed. I know Hifiman can do a better job, a small thing like this can largely impact on ones experience. Moving on, the grills are made of metal, but the ear-cups are made of plastic. I myself have nothing against plastic, especially when it’s high quality plastic like on the Sennheiser HD 598, but I simply cannot stand cheap plastic (mainly because of how it feels).
Sometimes you have to sacrifice the build quality for sound performance and the cost of manufacturing, but I really want to see Hifiman improve the build quality of their entry-level models. This being said, build quality remains the field for improvement for Hifiman.
Hifiman, I know you can do it!
While we are all used to Hifimans silver and black combo, they decided to step out of their comfort zone and try something different with the Deva. This time around we see a silver finish with tan leather accents. Unlike most of Hifiman’s lineup, the Deva went with a fairly simple construction. Instead of having headband frames with suspension systems, the headband is constructed from a single piece and is padded (very well!). The ear-cups can rotate vertically, but cannot rotate in the same way horizontally. They can pivot very slightly horizontally, and this is due to the ear cup frame being attached loosely to the headband construction. I personally prefer when things aren’t loose, I like smooth rotation, so it would be nice to see that in the next model. This isn’t a problem, it’s just a preference - I can easily adjust the Deva to my head.
You may notice that both the Deva and the 400i (2020 version) feature the same headband construction.
On the bottom side of the left ear-cup you can see a 3.5 mm TRRS socket. It is used both by the Bluemini and the stereo 3.5 mm cable. On the inner side of the headband there is labeling for left & right, this time in a nice and bold font. On either end of the headband there is a plastic piece - on the left it has “Hifiman” written, while on the right one there is “Deva”.
The ear-cups are removable, which means that you can get new ones if you want. They have the industry standard snap-on system. The ear-pads themselves have a fabric material facing you, while the rest of the ear-pad is made of leather.
Simple and minimalist - as headphone as it gets.
I don’t have a large head. What a statement to start off, huh? On a serious note, I don’t experience headphones the same way other people do. I don’t get the opportunity to have ear-pads pressed against my head, most of the time they just sit on my ears/head. Due to the extreme light-weight nature of the Deva, I don’t even notice them being on my head (which is a good thing!). They comfortably sit around my ears, and at no point do they come in contact with my ears. The rotation freedom of the ear-cups helps to precisely adjust the fit to your head. The fabric on the ear-pads is very pleasant to the skin, and I can easily see myself using them for hours without any fatigue. Same goes for the headband, very soft due to the padding. Simple and comfortable.
There is no doubt that the Deva is capable of digging deep down. It is not just capable of producing sub-frequencies, but also delivering the punch. The only issue that I have come across is that when turned up loud enough (between 3 and 4 o’clock on EarMen TR-Amp) the Deva cannot hold up with the sub-frequencies. It starts to create clicking noises, and I wasn’t willing to take the risk to damage the drivers, so I just turned the volume down. This can also be something to do with the TR-Amp, but I cannot confirm whether it’s the Deva or the amp.
The bass is very much present, I would consider it more balanced than present. It doesn’t overpower the mix or squash any details, it remains well controlled at all times. This is interesting to say, because Deva is quite capable of rumbling when it comes to sub-frequencies - it is not far off from the bass response from the Sivga Phoenix.
The Deva kept up my standard “Why so Serious?” by Hans Zimmer. It rumbled and delivered a clear frequency (while you keep it at moderate levels)
“Smoking Mirrors” by Lee Curtiss was well represented - the bass had good punch and good weight, all while remaining the dynamic feeling of the track.
“Paper Trails” by Darkside remained clean, with the bass not getting in the way of other elements in the mix.
“Hydrogen” by M.O.O.N (M|O|O|N) shows how good the punch is. It was tight and clean.
The more aggressive “Had Some Drinks” by Two Feet is where you can hear both the punch and the rumble from sub-bass. I found that the Deva was able to deliver some serious rumble when I pushed TR-Amp to around 1 o’clock.
Similar to Hans Zimmer’s “Why so Serious?”, “Angel” by Massive Attack is where I listen to presence of the sub-bass. It’s a very dark track, and the sub-frequencies are consistent throughout the track, it’s one consistent “baseline” with a kick happening every now and then. Both the kick and the sub-frequencies are presented well. The kick has a good body to it, while the sub-bass has beyond enough presence.
Overall, I am happy with the bass performance from the Deva’s. You have to keep in mind that these are open-back headphones, and for an open-back headphone the Deva manages to hit some pretty deep notes. I can confidently say that they have above-average bass quantity, and at no point did I find the bass to get muddy or bad sounding - it remained clear with good definition.
The mids remain sounding pretty natural in terms of tonality. I tend to have short listening sessions at louder volumes. This is mainly the case when I am using headphones, I love to completely feel the music for the short period of time that I am listening to it, of course it’s not advised to do this for longer periods of time (due to the risk of damaging your ears!). I mention this because at times the Deva can sound peaky (when “s” and “t” sounds a bit harsh and forward) - this is a problem you will most likely not face if you are listening to music at moderate levels. It’s mainly the upper mid-range where I found the Deva a bit warm. The lower mid-range was pretty much spot on due to the lower-range response.
I have to say that I particularly enjoyed listening to tracks where guitars are present. “Soldier of Fortune” by Deep Purple, “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin, “Dogs” or “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” by Pink Floyd, they all sounded phenomenal. However I did find the higher frequencies to be laid back (more on this in the next section).
While the warmer sound signature is more suitable for fatigue-free listening, my personal preference is to have sparkle and a tad of brightness that creates sparkle.
In terms of sparkle, here are some tracks where I found the absence of it -
Jeff Buckley’s “Forget Her” at mark 3:16, where Jeff’s vocal should have edge to it
“Little Wing” by Stevie Ray Vaughan, at mark 3:18, where the guitar hits some higher frequencies
“Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen, at mark 2:17, where Freddie Mercury’s voice should sound particularly gritty. It rather sounds flat, taking away the edge from the higher frequency of the vocal.
This can also take away the life from instruments such as violins, Jo A Ram’s cover of “Still Loving You” (originally by Scoripions).
All of this being said, I want to clearly state that it’s only the very top end of the higher frequencies that is rolled off. I would call it the section that is on the edge of bright and piercing, but if incorporated correctly, it will give a satisfying sparkle. This isn’t something easy to engineer, if not done correctly a headphone will sound too bright and unsatisfying, in worst cases fatiguing. The Deva plays it safe by leaning towards a warmer sound signature. This can be very appealing to some, especially those who are looking for a warmer sound signature. Also, if you listen to electronic music a lot, this might be something you would enjoy. At the end of the day I have to step outside of my personal preference and also consider that something I don’t enjoy much is exactly what somebody else will enjoy more.
While I would consider the Deva to be on the detailed side of the spectrum, I found it lacking sparkle - an element which is crucial to me. The good thing about this is that they aren’t sibilant or piercing in the upper region. The trade-off is that it takes away the experience from some vocals or instruments like violin. I was pleasantly surprised that the Deva was managed to produce a very clear frequency of Stevie Wonder’s harmonica in “Stop Trying to Be God” by Travis Scott (somewhere around the 5 minute mark).
The song selection from above (“Mids” section) states how I feel about this, so I will not repeat myself.
Perhaps the dynamic and airy nature the two standout elements of the Deva. Not only is the sound signature open with a large soundstage, but separation is top-notch. One of the best examples is “Dogs” from Pink Floyd. It’s a fairly dynamic track, having several elements in different positions. However, the most special part (and my favorite too) is the drum that rolls around your head at mark ~3:48 onward. Each drum hit is placed in a different position, but the flow/direction is from left to right.
It’s hard to pinpoint single tracks, because Deva sounded open and airy in all songs that I listened too. It have each element in the mix space to breathe, this allowed high resolution and detailed sound performance. It’s a simple concept - the more space there is, the more data and frequencies there can be. If the sound signature is crowded, many details get lost or overlap each other, this results elements to sound muddy and unclear.
The godfather of mastering dynamic tracks - Yosi Horikawa. Playing “Bubbles” and “Letter” from his 2012 masterpiece EP “Wandering” takes things to another level. In “Bubbles” no details get lost, you can hear each drop & bounce clearly, just like you can hear each re-bounce clearly. I always recommend the track “Letter” - it’s one track that gets the most wow-factor. People get blown away by how open it is, and your headphone needs to be able to represent the space of the track well. The Deva is very well capable of presenting the space, it’s able to capture the handwriting sound from the furthest points, but also capture subtle details such as mechanical winding sound that tends to switch panning from one side to the other.
No matter the track, the Deva was able to capture the tiniest details, even the ones that are hidden in the background. I have to say that this was one thing that had me coming back to the Deva, the dynamic sound characteristic is very pleasing to the ear, and it’s always nice to have a track that can breathe. Each element in the mix can be told apart from the rest, and it has enough room to be filled with the full-body of each element, separation is something that stands out in its performance.
While the Deva didn’t stand out in terms of build quality, it certainly had a good sonic performance. It’s safe to say that it’s much more forgiving on head than in hands. There was a high resolution characteristic to it. It had the depth and quality that you would expect from an audiophile headphone. For just $220, the Deva performed really well. You may have noticed that I didn’t mention the Bluemini that much - the main reason is because I am an analogue guy, I prefer to use my own sources, and of course, I prefer cable connection. If you do go the same route as me (using your own source), be prepared for the power-hungry nature of planar magnetic headphones! Thankfully for me, EarMen TR-Amp did an excellent job delivering clean and clear sound performance (though I should state that TR-Amp wasn’t anywhere near to delivering “ear deafening levels”). For somebody just starting out and getting into this hobby, I don’t think you will go wrong if you start with Deva. Each step into this hobby has it’s pros and cons, it’s about learning and being aware of each one - that’s how you mover forward. I cannot deny that the Deva is capable of producing high-resolution sound at a great budget, especially with the dynamics and clean separation, so give it a listen, see if you like it or not.
It’s also a great choice for those who like to have the freedom of Bluetooth, the Bluemini did a great job doing what it’s meant to do (both as a source and a Bluetooth module). I am looking forward to what Hifiman will do with this technology, I think it would be interesting to see it with some of their higher-end models.
Excellent review @voja. I really liked your music references which gave me a point of reference. It was easy to follow too which is something that’s important IMHO. Great stuff. Incidentally, I quite like the aesthetics of the Deva. It’s a good looking headphone.
Thanks! Always happy to hear that somebody enjoyed the read =)
I always include reference tracks, I think too many people overlook them. People start using all kinds of terms, but you cannot really understand them without any backing up. What is “bright” for someone, might not be bright for another, so if you give an accurate reference track, you know what to judge by, you have some material you can listen to. I follow a very simple, yet powerful concept - If I don’t hear it, I don’t write it. I also listen to the music, not the device (if I need to focus on the equipment, I’m not listening to music anymore, I’m listening to the machine… which isn’t quite the point of this hobby, most of us are here for the music).
I neither like or dislike the design. It’s pretty bare, and there is something about the colorway that doesn’t sit completely right with me. I think it would sit better if they used a darker leather color, or used a gunmetal for the construction. It’s not like the Sennheiser HD 598 (not SE version). I love the beige and brown combo on the HD 598’s, but the Deva seems to be quite light colored, and the leather is a very strong color, so the contrast might be too hard. Not a bad looking pair of headphones, that’s for sure
A post was merged into an existing topic: General purchase advice: Ask your questions/for advice here!
Although the title of this thread is for the version with the Bluemini, I thought I would post my review of the wired only version here.
As always, this review is also available in Spanish on my blog and on YouTube.
Hifiman Deva (Wired Only) - Review
First let me say that these headphones were sent to me for review by Hifiman, for which I am very grateful, in exchange for my unbiased review. As always, I will give my honest personal opinions on them but it has not cost me anything to test them out and create this review.
The Hifiman Deva was released a while ago as a bit of a break from the norm, being a Bluetooth headphone, by the attachment of an external module, that could also be used with the included wire. There are many reviews of these available around the web, from reviewers such as Resolve (The Headphone Show) and Wheezy Reviews amongst others.
Due to their price of around 300€, the majority of these compared the Deva directly with the Hifiman Sundara and other similarly priced headphones, with the added benefit of Bluetooth.
However, recently Hifiman started to offer the Deva in a wired only version at a much lower price of just over 200€. This clearly changes the price bracket in which the headphone sits and puts it in competition with other headphones at similar prices.
One of the most known headphones in this price range is the Sennheiser HD6XX (the Drop version of the HD650) which is a widely recommended headphone at this price point. Unfortunately, as I am based in Europe, the HD6XX is not something that is easily obtainable and the cost of import taxes and shipping do increase the price of the HD6XX significantly, making it closer to the HD650 (which is the non Drop version of the same headphone), which is around 340€ and puts it in a different price bracket. This would mean that the Deva actually competes in the price bracket of things like the Beyerdynamic DT880/990, the AKG K-712 Pro in the lower end of the “audiophilia” world, along with many other headphones that are more aimed at the higher end of the casual user world. I will explain why I mention the “casual user” world in a moment.
As I don’t have the specific Beyers or AKG’s that I mention to compare, I will make some references to the HD6XX, as it is a well known headphone and is a good reference point as far as sound qualities.
The presentation of the Deva is almost identical to that of the Sundara. A simple box with a silk lined interior, containing the headphones and the cable.
There is no case or bag included for transport, and although some kind of storage option is always appreciated, these headphones are not aimed at portability due to their open-backed nature. And to be honest, at this price bracket, I am more focused on the performance than case candy.
The cable included is a little thick and stiff but is more than adequate both for functionality and the price range.
Build and comfort…
The look of the Deva is definitely a break from so many other black offerings that fill the market. This is something that will either appeal to you or not, depending on tastes.
The looks of the Deva are one of the reasons I mentioned the “Casual User” under presentation, as I feel that the look of the Deva is something that could easily appeal to the higher end of the “Casual User” market, those that are interested in something that sounds good but also needs to look cool when set up at home. This could easily compete with things like the B&O Beoplay, some of the Bose or even B&W, these brands sell a lot of headphones to those who want a look that is not just a simple black headphone.
I think in this case, the Hifiman Deva has certainly beat things like the HD6XX and the Beyer DT series, at least as far as the higher end home consumer rather than the audiophile community. I mean, let’s be honest, harcore audiophiles will wear anything on their heads if it gives them that extra 1% in sound quality
Personally, I quite like the looks and think they would fit in quite well in a lot of homes, possibly matched with something like a silver Schiit stack.
The build is a combination of metal, plastic and imitation leather, with hybrid pads (pleather on the outside and material on the part that touches your face). They seem to be well put together and the cups that are made of plastic are nicely finished to match the metal parts, giving them a nice overall presentation. There is no creaking or rubbing going on while adjusting and the notches on the headband are sturdy and feel well implemented.
As far as comfort, as always this is something personal to each individual. They are fairly lightweight (around 350g) and there is plenty of adjustment to find the perfect fit. The headband is nicely padded and the cups are large. Personally I find them very comfortable.
To be honest, it has been a while since I last used a planar-magnetic headphone for any length of time, being the Hifiman Sundara that I reviewed around a year ago (you can find that review here: Review - Hifiman Sundara) and those were my first venture, and a very enjoyable one, into the planar-magnetic world.
As soon as I listened to the Deva for the first time, some of the Sundara memories came flooding back. I am not going to compare sound to the Sundara as it a long time since I had them on my head (although I keep planning on picking up a set) and there are plenty of reviews that already mention the comparisons available (such as those I mentioned earlier). Also, these (Deva) are also now in a completely different price category, nearly half the price, making a direct comparison unfair.
The bass is nicely articulated, with more presence in the upper bass frequencies than the lower ranges. There is a roll off that seems to start somewhere around the 50Hz mark, lowering the subbass which means you won’t get any of those low note rumbles in tracks like “Nara” by E.S. Posthumus or “No Mercy” by Gustavo Santaolalla, but the increase in the higher bass frequencies makes up for it and still allows them to present you with a nice warmth in the lower end.
The speed and clarity that is presented by the planar-magnetic drivers in the bass range results in nicely defined bass, where the bass lines are nicely appreciated even when songs get busy. You can easily differentiate between different instruments that occupy the same low frequency ranges whilst still doing a nice job of maintaining warmth to those areas.
The Deva are not a headphone that will appeal to lovers of lots of bass, but that is not the profile of the Deva (nor of Hifiman in general). As I mentioned previously, the HD6XX get a lot of use for my preferred style of music and I feel that the Deva are not quite as warm as the HD6XX but do present a little more definition in the bass range, allowing me to enjoy many complicated bass guitar passages.
The transition from bass into the mids is smooth, with no bleed that I can appreciate. Instruments that are located in the lower parts of the mids are not overpowered by the bass. For example, when listening to things like live performances of Victor Wooten, Stanley Clark and Marcus Miller (tracks like “Thunder” or “Beat It”) these are songs that include 3 bass guitars with very complicated bass playing by 3 amazing bassists. The Deva do a good job of letting you appreciate all three basses and styles, without them drowning each other out.
The overall cleanliness of the usual Hifiman sound along with the definition of the planar magnetic drivers makes acoustic tracks a pleasure to listen to. It has just enough warmth to give the acoustic guitars and basses some body and at the same time allow appreciation of the nuances of the instrument as it is played.
Vocals are not quite as warm as on the HD6XX and not quite as present, but to be fair, vocals are something that the HD6XX is excellent at. Songs like “No Ordinary Love” by Sade or “Hello” by Adele, which depend on a nice warmth and smoothness to the voices, are presented nicely but the vocals are not quite as much the center of attention as on the HD6XX but are still very pleasurable to listen to.
On songs that are purely based on vocals, such as “Hallelujah” by Pentatonix or “These Bones” by The Fairfield Four, voices are very nicely separated and very clear, but I still miss a slight bit more of warmth to them.
Up in the higher registers, the Deva has a nice presentation and is not overly bright, while still maintaining things clean. There is not really too much sibilance added and “Hope is A Dangerous Thing” by Lana Del Rey or “Code Cool” by Patricia Barber are both quite listenable without overpowering sibilance. If anything, I would say that the Deva is missing a slight touch of “air”, not that it is missing, it is just slightly below what I would personally prefer.
The speed and definition of the headphones in general is very good, as is to be expected from a planar magnetic. I do feel (from memory) that the Sundara performed quite a bit better than the Deva in this category but again, it is not really a fair comparison.
The soundstage and image presentation of the Deva is something that is also very good. It is leagues above the HD6XX in this regard, in fact, I would say that the soundstage is probably one of the best I have had the pleasure of trying. The typical test track, “Letter” by Yosi Horikawa”, has a great width to it and the placement of the pencil as it writes is very well defined. Listening to “La Luna” by Ottmar Liebert & Luna Negra, this binaural recording shows of the capabilities of the Deva very well and allows you to feel like you are surrounded by the instruments.
I have spent the last week or so with the Hifiman Deva, using them daily at the office and also doing detailed listening at home and I must say that I am impressed for a headphone that comes in at around 200€.
The Deva is not perfect and there are certainly areas where the sound could be improved, however, every time I think of what is better on other headphones, I remember the price of the Deva.
At this same price, there are things that the Beyerdynamic DT880/990 or the AKG K-712 Pro do better and may appeal more to those who are looking for a specific detail or signature, but the Deva is a decent all rounder. I can’t make direct comparisons with those headphones as I do not have them so I am going to refrain from saying which I prefer. They are also dynamic driver headphones, I am unaware of another planar magnetic headphone in this price bracket except maybe for the Fostex T line.
Where I do feel that the Deva pulls ahead is in what it offers for the price and who would probably be interested in these headphones.
I think that those who are not really looking to get into the audiophilia world but are more looking for a good sounding headphone that is also a break from the typical black headphones found in this category, then the Deva fits that perfectly. I think that matched with something like the silver schiit stack I mentioned, it would look great in any person’s living room or office (as long as a headphone that is as loud on the outside as it is on the inside is not a problem).
For someone who is interested in moving up through the audiophile world, then maybe they should take time to factor in the strong and weak points of headphones at this price, or even save up a little more and head for the Sundara. Although I still wouldn’t say the Deva is a bad choice at 200€.
For those who just enjoy listening to music and want a nice headphone without breaking the bank, then I wouldn’t have an issue recommending the Hifiman Deva. In fact, it could be a headphone that is purchased because of how it looks and then serves to introduce someone into the world of what good audio sounds like in comparison to consumer grade stuff.
Here is a comparison between the Hifiman Deva and the Hifiman HE400i 2020, the two budget planar offerings from Hifiman. I wasn’t sure where to post this, so I will leave it here and link to it from the HE400i thread.
As always, this is also available in Spanish on my blog and on Youtube.
Comparison of the Hifiman Deva vs the Hifiman HE400i 2020
My last two headphone reviews have been of two budget planar-magnetic offerings from Hifiman, the Deva and the HE400i 2020.
You can read those individual reviews here as they contain more specific details about each of the models:
My aim today is to place them against each other, giving direct comparisons, as I feel that these headphones are pretty much in competition with each other.
Please remember, as mentioned in the reviews, that these headphones were sent to me by Hifiman for review and I have not received anything in exchange for publishing the reviews or this comparison.
Let’s get on with it!
I get the feeling that both of these headphones are aimed at those either starting out in the lower end of the “audiophile” headphone world, or those that are looking for a step up from the general consumer world. Therefore, I believe that price is probably one of the first things to draw people towards these headphones.
At the time of publishing this, the Hifiman HE400i 2020 is available directly from Hifiman for $169 whereas the Deva is available for $219.
This difference of $50 is not a large amount but may be to those starting out in the headphone world. So if all else is equal, then one would say that HE400i 2020 is the winner as far as price.
There is no difference that I notice as far the overall build, at least on first glance. The design is identical, as are the parts used, as far as I can tell, just a slight shape difference on the bottom of the cups (where the bluetooth module attached on the BT version of the Deva). The pads are different and are also slightly larger on the Deva, but this is something that affects comfort more than build quality.
However, the HE400i 2020 does have an issue with driver flex. When putting the headphones on, or moving them around on your head, the sound of the drivers flexing is very apparent. This is something that the Deva did not have.
Therefore, due to the flexing, I would put the Deva in front as far as build quality.
Comfort & Aesthetics…
I have grouped these together as they are both something that is totally personal to each individual.
As I mentioned, the cups are slightly smaller on the HE400i 2020 and the material on the inside is different. Personally I find the pads more comfortable on the Deva, but that is obviously very personal.
The aesthetics are obviously also a personal decision. I find that the looks of the Deva may appeal more to the higher end of the general consumer, as it is a break from the normal black headphone offerings. Other than colour (and that tiny difference at the bottom of the cups), everything else looks identical.
Packaging and included items…
Both headphones are presented in a box that is almost identical, along with a cable and a user manual.
The only real difference here is the type of cable. The Deva is fairly stiff rubber cable, 3.5mm TRS to 3.5mm TRRS, whereas the HE400i 2020 includes a nylon sheathed cable with a 3.5mm TRS to 2x 3.5mm TRS connectors, one for each side.
Neither cable is outstanding but both do their job and both allow a swap for a balanced cable if preferred.
Therefore, in this regard, I don’t have any preference out of the two.
The bass extends more and is also more present on the HE400i 2020 but at the same time is less defined and bleeds over into the lower mids.
The mids are less recessed on the Deva, they are also cleaner and better presented.
The treble quantity is similar on both, however the Deva has less sibilance, more “air” and generally a cleaner presentation of treble.
Soundstage has good width on the HE400i 2020 but the Deva is wider. The image placement is also better on the Deva.
Speed and detail is superior on the Deva, doing a much better job when things get busy.
Timbre is more realistic on the Deva also, due to a better balance of sound overall.
In general, the presentation of the Deva is cleaner, more balanced and presents more detail, therefore I would put the Deva as a clear winner in this regard.
There is a $50 price difference between the two headphones, with the Deva coming in more expensive.
The build is very similar, the aesthetics and comfort are very personal, and the presentation (in the box) is almost identical, therefore, in my opinion, the real battle comes down to sound and performance.
Here is where the Deva is, in my opinion, a much better choice than the HE400i 2020.
100% agree with your comparison. Excellent write up.
Great comparison writeup @SenyorC.