HiFiMAN Version 2 – RMAF 2016

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There were a fair amount of double takes at the HiFiMAN booth at this year’s RMAF CanJam, the first of which was a radical makeover for the Chinese company’s Shangri-La electrostatic headphone system (~$50k). Things looked different.

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The system includes headphones and tube amplifier, but rumor has it that the same amplifier will also be compatible with STAX’s ‘stats should the listener want to mix it up a bit. Fenced-off tubes – 300B and 6SN7 – occupy a pulpit-like platform. The volume pot sits front and center.

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The headphone retains much of the ovoid aesthetic of the more affordable, planar-magnetic HE-1000. The two models are interrelated in that they show Dr. Fang Bian’s ultra-thin diaphragm designs. Some of the finer details are TBC but company representatives at CanJam say that pre-orders for the new flagship are already being accepted. The first Shangri-Las should start shipping in around three months.

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Next up, a second take the aforementioned HE-1000. This latest revision retains the $3k pricepoint of the original (now discontinued) but adds a number of refinements, some sourced from customer feedback. The headband now sports a greater number of adjustment holes to accommodate a larger range of head sizes.  Even more noteworthy is a reduction in overall weight (480g down to 420g) and the earcup is now slimmer (11m vs 14mm).

Also noticeable in the v2 HE1K is a larger cheese-wedge earpad shape, reportedly for a better fit and driver fire. The outside material of the headpads has also been swapped over from a velour to polyester and an all-new copper/silver cable connects headphone to amplifier.

We got a chance to swing by the booth this weekend for a quick video. Check it out:

More info: http://www.hifiman.com/