October 25, 2016 4 min read
‘The New HiFIMAN HE 1000 V2 Just Arrived. Hellooo, Audiophile Headphone Bliss’
Our headphone.com team has always thought pretty highly of the HiFiMAN headphone enterprise. We were one of the first retailers to jump aboard Dr. Fang Bian’s speeding planar magnetic headphone train back in the mid-2000s with superb high-end audiophile cans like the now-historical HiFiMAN HE-6 which, if memory serves correctly, required something like a small car battery for power.
Of course, we exaggerate … slightly. And to be perfectly honest, not everything HiFiMAN has ever manufactured has been completely peachy-dory (um, to coin a phrase) - their ‘HM’ series of high-res digital players was a totally innovative product but probably released 5 years before its time. Those early devices were plagued by buggy software and clunky interfaces when they were first available on the market. But for an era when the term ‘high-resolution portable player’ was a step off an audio ledge into the unknown, man, those things sure sounded awesome when they worked!
So you gotta hand it to HiFiMAN; they got up, dusted themselves off and devoted their company efforts to non-stop improvement and growth. Nowadays, their newest player devices and other headphone offerings are all extremely solid across the board. Dr. Bian and HiFiMAN can now even lay rightful claim to the philosophical audio high ground with the introduction of their $50,000 Shagri-La electrostatic headphone system at the 2016 Rocky Mountain Audio Fest.... HA! Take that and smoke it, Stax and Orpheus!
YOUR CORE IS YOUR STRENGTH
But we still think the real HiFiMAN core strength is making killer open-back planar magnetic full size headphones. In fact, the flagship HiFiMAN HE 1000 is among our staff’stop headphones of the year; we think its a superbly balanced, lushly even-toned audiophile headphone that sounds completely fluent with any musical genre or recording you throw at it.
Unquestionably, its expansive deep-field imaging and pristine sense of space are particularly amazing for orchestral and symphonic classical music, but jazz fans and rockers also love the HE 1000's easy openness and ability to accurately reproduce acoustic/electric guitars, horns and vocals with unsurpassed textural detail.
HUGE NANOTECHNOLOGICAL WINS
Dr. Bian’s PhD work over the past decade in the emerging research field of nano-technologies led him to develop the world’s first ‘nanometer thickness’ diaphragm featured in the HiFiMAN HE 1000 headphone originally released in early 2015. His patented planar driver film proved almost impossibly difficult to work with in the lab - its edge was so thin as to be invisible to the naked eye - and it required devising stringent assembly methods for commercial manufacturing. But all those late nights spent toiling behind an electron microscope would eventually pay off in some huge audio dividends.
Since Dr. Bian’s essentially massless planar diaphragm was lighter than the air around it, it inherently damped and controlled acoustic resonances while allowing for a super-fast linear radiance with an immediately responsive, uncolored sound that’s tonally balanced and extremely dynamic. In tandem with the unique louvered teardrop shape of the earcup grills designed to minimize second-wave acoustic reflections, the HE 1000 presentation is as pure as the driven Montana snow with a bell-like clarity and a quick sound heavy on precise musical detail but light on over-cooked bass slam.
THE REAL SKINNY ON HIFiMAN HE-1000 V2 UPDATES
Freshly arrived here at the headphone.com headquarters is the updated V2 edition of the HiFiMAN HE 1000. The V2 advancements are incremental but significant. Most notably, the new HE1000 model is slimmer-profile overall and better built than the previous iteration and they’ve also managed to shave off a couple of precious ounces from the HE 1000 V2 fighting weight, from 16.9oz in the first edition down to 14.8oz for the V2. Most of the weight reduction likely comes from the slimmer earcups which now measure approx 11mm thick versus the 14mm earcups of the v1 model. This translates to an even more comfortable wearing experience and a plainly improved look and feel.
The excellent fit ergonomics are further enhanced by a new thicker earpad material made from a soft polyester blend replacing the old velour earpad cushions. The plush polyester pad fabric better conforms to the earlobes while also having the benefit of improved audio transparency per HiFiMAN research. The new HE1000 V2 polyester pads remain ringed in pleather for maximized cushion durability.
The polished stainless steel headband HE 1000 V2 frame shows off a stronger industrial design and high-quality CNC machining with better fit adjustability for a wider array of head sizes. It’s still a headphone that’s probably best suited ergonomically for medium and larger noggins but smaller folks will be appreciative of the more sensitive, evenly applied clamping pressure offered by the improved construction.
IN SEARCH OF THE BETTER CORD
The HiFiMAN HE 1000 V2 audiophile headphone also has newly updated high-end headphone cables. All three provided cords that come standard with the HE 1000 feature a newly developed proprietary crystalline copper/silver conductor array with a slick outer sheathing and beefy Neutrik 1/4" stereo plug or Yongsheng XLR plug terminations. The cables vary in length from about 9ft for the ¼” stereo and balanced 4-pin cords to around 4.5ft for the short mini-plug 3.5mm portable-oriented cable.
Perhaps the most notable mention is the transducer design itself which incorporates the renown asymmetrical double-sided magnet circuit exclusive to HiFiMAN. In tandem with the incredible low mass of the super-thin film diaphragm and improved new earpad seal, the HE 1000 V2 sounds even quicker versus the already lightning-fast transient response of the original model.
Of course, the audible differences are not huge by any means, but listeners can expect a super-clear presentation to be especially evident in the midranges and seamless upper treble extension. The bass response is very tight, bouncy and a bit understated, so the HE 1000 V2 is likely not an ideal headphone for huge bass lovers. However, critical music listeners seeking layered detail and a non-fatiguing, accurate sound with unbeatable imaging depth have definitely come to the right place.
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