Dekoni x Hifiman Cobalt Review



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Sound performances

For this review, my main sources were the SMSL DO400 / Shanling H7 / iBasso DX320. Trusted sources from trusted brands that I used extensively for the past months.

As usual, files were played from either Apple Music / Spotify or my own music library. Some tracks will be highlighted, just so you can try them at home too!

Overall signature

After the Svanar, EF400 and EF600, I was pretty curious to hear what Hifiman could achieve under Dekoni direction. And if the wow-factor isn’t there anymore (obviously), for the price, the Cobalt really should find some appeal with newcomers, and even seasoned audiophiles like me.

In fact, even just paired with my MacBook headphone output, I was surprised by how powerful the new Cobalt sounded. Simple physic at work here, low impedance + good sensitivity, but even knowing that beforehand, the first session really surprised me – in a good way – and I quickly had to adjust the gain on my Shanling H7.

And, despite the Dekoni label, the Cobalt remains an Hifiman headphone through and through: voices were given a lot of love and attention, the upper mids tend to be a bit too bright, and I was impressed by how natural the mid-range came out. It’s airy most of the time, with good layering and a little spike over 8kHz – much like the ATH-MSR7 back in the day – making the headphone crazy sharp most of the time, but also kind of bright at the same time.


Paired with a better source – the Chord Mojo 2 and SMSL new desktop DAC/Amp, the DO400 – the Cobalt seemed to open-up a little bit more, whilst giving me that toe-tapping bass, with no audible distortion. And if the new model couldn’t reach planar prowess in terms of bass, I still found the headphone quite good on my usual electro track list.

On the long run, the Cobalt only exhibit one obvious flaw, not to a level that could push me back or stop my listening session of course, but still a bit annoying to my ears: it’s always bright, even more so with the velvet pads. Some may like this kind of signature, one that seem to push details over and over, but personally, that’s not my kind of sound.

But, if your like this kind of sound, the Dekoni might be your perfect “to-go” headphone; even more thanks to its astounding sound pressure. Even when just paired with the small ddHiFi TC35C, the Cobalt was able to reach non-safe sound level with ease, while maintaining a very large dynamic range.


On well-produced tracks like Rock You from Dirty Loops, the headphone displayed nicely controlled bass response and impact, helped by the tight-seal offered by the massive pads. Add to that a baffling wide soundstage and you get a very good model, easily competing with the Deva in terms of resolution and clarity. For a neophyte or someone that only need a spare set, this is a definitive upgrade, and could even become your main pair of headphone.

A good all-rounder overall.


Good test-track: Strobe Lights (feat. Kilian & Jo) – Henry Green remix

Highs: good extension, solid high-mids. If you love your highs “spiky” this headset should definitely on your shortlist. There is no sibilant and you can confidently raise the volume never to encounter any harshness, but keep in mind that depending on your source, it won’t always be the case. On my usual test gear, it was great though.

Mediums: wide and quick. As usual with Hifiman, mids are superb and provide a good, balanced presentation. Voices, especially women singers, really benefit from the brand’s field expertise and even seasoned audiophile might be surprised by what the Cobalt achieved here.

Good test-track: Unstable Gravity – Colyn

Lows: solid bass with the lambskin pads, thin lows with the velvet one. The Cobalt isn’t for bass-head, that’s for sure, but it still managed to give me some nice bumps when I wanted it too. Bear in mind, it’s no planar, but for a dynamic model, the end-result remain quite good, punch even!

Good test-Track: To the Moon and Back – Boris Brejcha



For a first partnership, I have to say that Hifiman and Dekoni did quite a good job with the Cobalt. Lightweight, comfortable and easy to drive, it delivers a catchy sound with prominent highs, a wide soundstage, and excellent sound clarity overall. A sound signature that should fit most aspiring audiophiles, especially thanks to the headphone’s high-sensitivity, making it a great companion for a portable DAC.

it’s not perfect of course, and the cups design kind of set me back, as did the bright signature, but apart from that, I think that Dekoni did some nice job here. Bonus point for the pads, as you might have guessed already, they are amazing – but that should really be no surprise.



  • excellent fit and wear
  • sturdy build and lightweight construction
  • large soundstage and clean mids
  • easy to scale with a good source
  • awesome pads


  • highs can be a bit prominent sometimes
  • the cups are too thin for me
  • closed back, but isolation remains weak

5/5 - (3 votes)

A nerdy guy with a passion for audio and gadgets, he likes to combine his DAC and his swiss knife. Even after more than 10 years of experience, Nanotechnos still collects all gear he gets, even his first MPMAN MP3 player. He likes spreadsheets, technical specs and all this amazing(ly boring) numbers. But most of all, he loves music: electro, classical, dubstep, Debussy : the daily playlist.

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