Outside of Stax headphones, $1k price tags used to be the top of the heap for audiophile headphones. Alas, times have changed, but fortunately for audiophiles there is a much larger and diverse selection of high end cans to choose from, each of which bring along a new set of traits and proficiencies to the listening game. Today’s review isn’t one of a new top dollar flagship, but rather one from a product that hits the streets around $1.3k – somewhere in the middle of the pack for the current market. Unfortunately for a majority of the population extraneous income for hobbies is oft governed by budgets. And as such, when one evaluates the sliding scale of available options the thousand-dollar range might just hit the part of the bell curve you find yourself in.
The HiFiMan Edition X now on the market is actually a V2, having undergone a few new tweaks as part of the recent update. While driver technology remains mostly the same from the original, the V2 sports a new headband design made from metal along with a gimbal upgrade that now closely resembles what you might find on some of the uppermost premium products from the company. The wedge earpads are also a notable change, offering both a larger depth and slightly different asymmetrical angle against the head compared to the original.
The outside look and grill design can easily be identified as a trickledown aesthetics from the current flagship HE-1000, but unlike big power hungry headphones like the company’s HE-6 the Edition X can also be easily driven from personal device. We had no problem driving the headphone from the Astell and Kern AK240 player, or even an iPhone in a pinch (the latter did max out at a level most would consider quite loud). The translucent cable that comes with the piece is detachable and terminates in the familiar 2.5mm connection. And while it doesn’t attach with any sort of lockable mechanism, the pull and release capabilities of this design are still very much welcome as a safety measure against unforeseen snags against the wire. The ovoid shape of the earcup works well, providing plenty of room for bigger ears (this reviewer’s ears included) and properly distributes the caliper pressure along the head. Overall the comfort level for this headphone is very high, with full marks for both a light weight and a breathable, desirable wear. The suspension mechanism is traditional HiFiMAN, now fashioned out of an aluminum yoke instead of plastic found on the previous iteration. The entire system works well without too much fuss and feel supremely comfortable on the head.
The first thing that jumped out from critical listening sessions is the relative detail the headphone is able to achieve. This is the level of HD-ism that many a headphone strives for, but few achieve. Its very much part of that upper echelon of premium cans, but not necessarily with all the cost weight attached to it. To be honest, at $1.3k this is something that most purchasers would expect. However, with the recent aggregated climb in cost for headphone flagships, is something that appears to be pushing further away as a result of the expanding market. The Edition X V2 flows firmly against this trend, and stands as perhaps a quiet metaphor of what now is achievable for the price of a nice weekend getaway.