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HiFiMAN Version 2 – RMAF 2016


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.

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.

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.

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:

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