Tv and Audio

Planar-magnetic headphones HiFiMan Edition X

Written by Tyler Rondman

Planar-magnetic headphones HiFiMan Edition X

A Special Edition of the Flagship HE-1000

If you are in the market for high-end headphones, you have reached your destination.

Why, because we have the special edition of the Flagship HE-1000 right here – the Planar-magnetic HiFiMan Edition X.

These headphones are perfect to use with your phone or tablet while indoors. With its open acoustic design, the cans have the same shape than its expensive sibling the HE-1000. However, as you will see later in our review there is a difference in the build material.

If you are undecided whether these headphones made for you, read our full HiFiMan Edition X review that follows the background history of HiFiMan.

Some Background History of HiFiMan

Fang Bian a Chinese born chemist established HiFiMan based in New York. He won a grant and received a Ph.D. in the US, specializing in nanotechnology.

Interestingly, his education was not in vain. Why, because the nanotechnology’s used in the thin and durable membrane found in the HE-1000 headphones.

If you are interested, the network has a funny video, where the founder of the company plays with the material of the membrane. The video shows the weightlessness of the film, from which the membranes made.

The amazing thing about HiFiMan is the development and products 100% their own. Recently, the headquarters moved to China to be closer to their factories. The development process takes place at the Shanghai and Shenzhen divisions.

Therefore, the company is not a purely Chinese national miracle – rather, it is a product of globalization. The products American purebred when it comes to comfort and sound. However, you can find some Chinese influence in the headphones.

First, they are a leader and sell the best headphones for the young and older generation. Furthermore, with the move to China and using their own factory, manufacturing the headphones is cheaper and offers you a competitive sound.

Our readers evaluated the first affordable planar magnetic headphones HiFiMan HE-400S and found the sound mind-blowing. We were also very impressed and happy with the sound. Some have written in the discussion that they do not like the too low price and the Velour ear pads.

However, if you feel the same we suggest you look at the more expensive HiFiMan Edition X headphones. This is a newer model than their flagship model the HE-1000. The weights reduced, it has a higher sensitivity and a simpler design.

The Importance of Impedance Headphones

Maybe you are happy when headphones have low impedance. You might think that any headphone with 16 to 32 ohm is by default compatible with any sound source. Alternatively, perhaps you think 250 to 600-ohms headphones need a large amplifier.

The fact is this is not true. There are certain models that do not need an amplified power while others do. If you plan to add amplified power, there are certain requirements you need to consider:

  • The current and voltage
  • Electrical damping
  • And the quality of sound without the distortion

So what is a Planar-magnetic Headphone?

This type of headphone has a low impedance and low sensitivity. This means that the amplifier must be able to produce a high current with a low internal impedance to avoid unnecessary surprises in the frequency response.

The high current introduces increased demands on the power supply unit and on the output current buffer. The problem is 99% of the time these requirements not followed. We not saying it will not work, but they could work on the IEM headphones if it has an impedance of 16 ohms and the high sensitivity is more than 110 dB / mW.

But the outstanding sound still remains to be questioned when using compatible headphones paired to a Smartphone. This can lead to high distortion due to overloading the power scheme. The conclusion is simple: to get a good sound, you need to make efforts – both the equipment manufacturer and the user who chooses the equipment.

Among the models, the HiFiMan version of the Edition X headphones has factors that make it much easier to find a headphone amplifier (or DAC with built-in headphone amplifier). According to the manufacturer, there is enough amplification with a maximum output of 500 mW on a low-resistance load.

The HiFiMan Edition X Headphone

There is another version of Edition X the Edition X V2. The only difference is the thickness and slope of the ear pads changed. They added a two-step adjustable headband and plug materials changed. The rest of the two models the same.

Further, the HiFiMan Edition Xs design is similar to the HE-1000. They are still planar-magnetic, only the appearance and features are different. The membrane in both headphones is still the same and the coil & magnets lighter.

Further, the magnetic system is two-sided. The photo shows the inside with the removed ear cup. Here it is clear that the membrane of the emitter with the applied coil actually takes up the entire space of the headphones cup.

This is not the case of Sennheiser, where a 37mm radiator stands in the huge cup. The cult HD580 / HD600 / HD650 lasts for decades and can outlive even the owner of such headphones.

Specifications HiFiMan Edition X

Headphone type: planar-magnetic

Impedance: 25 Ohm

Sensitivity: 103 dB

Weight: 399 g

The likeliness is the simplification of radiator found in both the Edition X and HE-1000 has the same principles as their younger siblings the 400i → 400S. In the previous models, the impedance decreased while the sensitivity increased to make the headphone more affordable.

However, what became of the sound – this is the most interesting question.

Design and Comfort

When it comes to the design and comfort these are the best Planar-magnetic headphones you can own. The headphones light and sit perfectly on your head. The great thing is the headbands sized for larger heads and ears.

The fact is when manufacturers design headphones for Asian people the cups and headbands smaller and designed with a durable clamp. While manufacturing for the American and European market the cups and headbands larger.

Included with your purchase you receive two separate cables and a mini-jack connector. Another standout is that there is a separate connection to each cup. With this design, you can find a balance while using a 4-pin XLR connector.

You do have an option, as there is a Crystalline balanced cable (4-pin XLR plug) for HiFiMan HE Series. It comes standard with the HE-400S, upgraded HE-400i / HE-560, HE-1000 and Edition X. You can replace the cables with 3rd-party cables.

Frequency Response Measurements

For testing the frequency response measurements, we used the RightMark Audio Analyzer Pro software. Further, we used the Brüel & Kjær 4153 measuring stand and the Artificial Ear / Ear Simulator (IEC 60318-1), manufactured in Denmark, costing about 5000 Euros.

The Brüel & Kjær stand effectively imitates the acoustic impedance of the ear to a frequency of 16 kHz. Compared to graphs found online our measurements are similar. You will note that the stand does change the curve of the headphones a little, but the rest remains the same.

You will note that the frequency response up to 1 kHz represents a flat line, and then there is a decline. We tried to apply the hardware filter high with the parameters: the cutoff frequency is 1 kHz, amplitude +6 dB. This equalization helps align the resonance balance, making the sound more balanced.

We connected the headphones to various high-quality amplifiers. All through our testing, the result was excellent. For example, we used the Astell & Kern A70 Hi-Fi based on the CS4398 DAC, which a touch screens, as well as a balanced output, to test the mobile application. With the impedance of 1 Ohm and low distortion at high current under load, makes it a suitable headphone to use.

While the HiFiMan Edition X used with this player, was an overkill, it is better to choose players like A & ultima SP1000 on dual AK4497EQ and Astell & Kern Kann on AK4490.

As a stationary amplifier for the HiFiMan Edition X, you can use almost any modern DAC model with built-in amplifier. However, if you need something more exotic, there is an alternative the HiFiMan EF2C – an inexpensive hybrid headphone amplifier with lamp insulation.

You will get a completely different sound and one cannot achieve this by changing out wires with more exotic ones.

Listening Experience

The HiFiMan Edition X headphone sound is excellent. The downside is it comes with a high price. There is a lack of color in the design and does distort at times. The benefit is the headphones comfortable to wear. When compared to budget-friendly headphones there is no focus on the mid-range and has no problems at high frequencies.

The headphone, when used at any volume does not strain your ears and there is no use of shouting. The membrane is huge and gives the headphone a solid sound with excellent details on the LF and MF. The earphones comprise of quality speakers providing you with no thumping sounds on the inside of your head.

You can listen to music for at least a few hours without a hint of fatigue. By the general feeling, the sound is approximately the same as in the Hi-End models of headphones of a much higher price category.

Conclusion

The HiFiMan Edition X is a remarkable headphone to use with your phone or tablet. It delivers a satisfying listening experience. Further, you get a terrific balance of the energy and imaging without using up-stream devices. If you have a wealthy wallet, the headphone gives you a great listening experience.

About the author

Tyler Rondman

When he isn't enjoying the beautiful Northwest outdoors, you can find Tyler on business and tech sites, writing about the latest news, analyzing trends, and generally making the Internet a more interesting place.