The HIFIMAN Edition XS are the company’s newest headphones. Retailing for $499, it doesn’t come cheap but impresses with its wide open soundstage and lots of detail. It also carries with it the new Stealth Magnet design, a trickle-down feature from some of HIFIMAN’s most expensive models. Whether you’re listening to your favorite music or immersed in your favorite game, these headphones are sure to impress.
Thank you Linsoul for submitting an XS sample for us to audition!
- Current price: $499 (Linsoul)
- Impedance: 18Ω
- Frequency response range: 8Hz-50kHz
- Sensitivity: 92dB
- Weight: 405 grams
- Cable termination: 3.5m
HIFIMAN Edition XS – First impressions and key features
The Edition XS is HIFIMAN’s newest headset, and an interesting one at that. It sits right in the middle of HIFIMAN’s price bracket, leaning on the scale at $499. It doesn’t come cheap, but is positioned as an upgrade for Sundaraone of the best pairs of headphones we’ve reviewed in 2020. Also, its design is borrowed from the next headphone up the ladder, Ananda. The prices for those headphones are $349 and $649 respectively, putting the XS Edition right in the middle.
Like most other HIFIMAN headphones, Edition XS uses flat dynamic drivers. They’re loud, bold, and tuned to deliver a wide yet full sound. As we’ve come to expect from HIFIMAN, the frequency response is extended at 8Hz to 50kHz. That’s beyond the range of human hearing and helps ensure that sound distortion won’t disrupt your hearing.
In fact, it’s quite the opposite. The drivers are implemented in conjunction with HIFIMAN’s Stealth Magnet design. In planar magnetic headphones, the driver is a flat plane lined with electrical traces, held taut in a magnetic field. The magnets here are positioned to avoid wave disturbances to ensure that everything you hear is clearer. It worked great, and I was blown away by the amount of detail I could hear. Listen to the Apocalyptic version of One by Metallica seems almost holographic. The texture of the notes from the Cello, and the slight nuances, like the way musicians tap the body of their violins to add percussion are some of the best presented music I’ve heard from a headset at home. this price.
However, headphones are not the easiest thing to drive. It has a low impedance of only 18 ohms, but don’t let that fool you. With a sensitivity of just 92dB, they need more power than the average dac dongle can deliver to sound their best. I would recommend at least one Sonata HD and preferably something closer to iFi Go Blu or Hip-Dac 2. With enough power, the bass swells and the sound seems to crystallize.
As mentioned before, the Edition XS looks extremely similar to the previous Ananda launch. It uses the oval earcup design found on many of HIFIMAN’s higher-end headphones. This larger size won’t be to everyone’s taste but has the effect of enhancing the soundstage and sense of scale that headphones can provide. If you’re only listening on the closed back or the smaller open back, these headphones offer a pleasant surprise in terms of music presentation, especially for gaming.
The biggest downside to the design lies in the included headband and cable. The headband is the same as used on the HIFIMAN HE-400SE. I’ll explain more in Fit and Comfort, but it’s not the best choice for users with sensitive heads. The cable, on the other hand, is an improvement over many of the cables that come with HIFIMAN headphones. It’s nothing special, but is made of rubber and doesn’t bond or hold a memory for long. It’s only a little short, about 3 feet, so if you need to move around away from your source, you’ll probably need to remove the headset completely.
HIFIMAN Edition XS – Fit and Comfort
All of the HIFIMAN oval headphones I’ve tried offer a similar experience in the comfort department. The headphones are large and swallow your ears completely inside their housings. I actually see the padding underneath is on the edge of my jaw. The clamping force is quite light but enough to keep them in a good position, provided you don’t hit your head. I can even bend over and pick my keycap pullers off the floor without them slipping out of place. This is not the case with the Ananda, a headset that looks almost identical, so clearly HIFIMAN has tweaked the overall fit.
The XS uses a very comfortable hybrid mattress. The inner and outer rings are decorated with leather while the surface that comes in contact with your skin is soft fabric. It feels great and doesn’t make me sweat, even when I kick on the space heater.
If you have a sensitive head, the Edition XS is best suited for listening sessions of less than two hours. This headset has the same headband as on the HE-400SE, and the more I used it, the more I found myself having to tweak to prevent hot spots. I have short hair and am prone to breakouts, so your mileage may vary, but this is a step back from the slings on Ananda and Sundara.
HIFIMAN Edition XS – Impressive listening
As for the most important thing with any headphones: how they sound! TL; The DR is simply this: these headphones are well-balanced, touch on the warm side, delivering good energy and dynamics. Reviewers often describe headphones as “music,” and those terms come to mind here.
Often, audiophiles use the terms interchangeably without defining their meanings, so allow me to explain. I means with XS version. This is a headset that feels set up in a well-balanced and detailed sound signature, superb dynamics and a realistic wide soundstage. From that background, bits of warmth and sparkle culminate. There are highlights throughout the listening experience, such as how the timbre female vocals can be loud and intimate at the same time while also capturing your attention with a realistic edge. Or how it surprises you with how instruments bounce off a mix and breathe life into a piece of music. Or how without knowing the bass comes into play and reminds you how deep it can reach.
All of these also pay dividends in gaming. Everything translates to a more realistic, enjoyable gaming experience, but the wide soundstage and great visuals are probably still important. than for your situational awareness.
Bass sound: The bass on the Edition XS is very well done. Has good sub-bass extension – more than listening to music. Try the bass test, though, and you’ll hear these headphones rumble in a rather shocking way. The point is, they’re right when asked, but don’t seduce you when they’re not. In gaming, explosions are powerful, but you don’t have to worry about your mix turning into a rumbling mess.
For music, I found the bass to be very well tuned. Sub-bass is bass that you can feel as well as hear. The mids and lows, or what comes out as audible lows, are present. The opening lines of Pearl of the Stars sounds downright ominous as the dissonant bass begins to swell. Switch to Dopamine by Angel Vivaldi is an example of how tight, detailed bass can go into mixing and creating a song with realistic body and texture. There are times when I find myself craving a little more, like performing a series of Metallica’s best songs. Turning on the bass boost on my Xduoo XD-05 Plus worked.
These aren’t really bass headphones, but they could be EQs. Even when they shook me up against that bass test, they never broke, so you can feel free to turn the lows up for more punch and more impact.
Help: The mids on these headphones are sweet and dripping with detail. The headphones have a great picture and soundstage, so the different instruments and sound sources are nearly separate from each other, which puts the level of detail and clarity of the center stage in a very diverse way. . The vocals sounded real, like Adele was singing behind my desk chair. The male voice is a bit darker but still feels quite well-organized and interesting.
Acoustic guitars have a wonderful sparkle on these headphones. Details in individual notes in Love like the way you Lier by Eminem and Rihanna performed perfectly. In that song, acoustic guitar is meant to be a country touch on modern pop beats and electronica, and the Edition XS takes that and presents it brilliantly.
The performance here reminds me of another HIFIMAN favorite, Sundara. That headset is loved for its detail, but sometimes it almost has clinical sound. The Edition XS hits similar notes in detail but is a little warmer and more vibrant to hear. I don’t think it quite hits the same peaks as the Ananda, the next headphone in HIFIMAN’s stack, but it comes close while still providing a clear upgrade path for the future.
Treble: Treble on these headphones is also very good. There’s a nice amount of sparkle on the high end and a generous amount of air to your atmosphere and feel of space. Cymbals have actual rotting. The percussion appeared clear and detailed enough to distinguish how it might have been struck during recording. The XS version was never silent in my testing, and I never found it harsher or more tiring than other headphones that I consider “long-term listening”.
Soundstage / Image: If the Edition XS stacks up against the Sundara in terms of detail, it outstrips it in terms of soundstage. These headphones are quite spacious. Not industry leading at this price – – Ananda offers a better soundstage, as does Mr Speakers Aeon Open X, but it’s efficient and wide. There’s nothing restrictive about the Edition XS, it’s about what I’ve come to expect from the oval earcup design and wide open back reminiscent of Ananda.
Pictures are great. Sound sources are located, so you can close your eyes and visualize where they’re coming from in both direction and depth. As you can imagine, this is great for gaming and allows you to pick out enemies before you can even see them. All in all, that’s a big part of how these headphones are able to deliver such a convincing and enjoyable experience.
Any $500 headset will be for a limited audience. If all you’re looking for is great sound that doubles for music as well as games, there are other great headphones that cost less. The Version XS There could also be some lessons to be learned from some of those headphones in terms of comfort: it’s time for a new headband design, at least in this humble reviewer’s opinion. Even so, these people managed to get through Sundara and instead entered Ananda territory with less than $200. It’s a great deal, which makes them a very, very solid choice for audiophiles looking for that $500 upgrade.
The product described in this article is provided by the manufacturer for evaluation purposes.
https://www.mmorpg.com/hardware-reviews/hifiman-edition-xs-review-2000124181 Review HIFIMAN Edition XS | MMORPG.com