HEDD Audio HEDDphone Review

HEDD HEDDphone

The Box, Accessories & Price

 

[responsivevoice_button]

 

The HEDDphone comes in large and fancy box which can serve as a storage box as well. Accessory-wise there isn’t much to talk about as there are none. There’s the stock single ended cable and that’s it. Disappointed? Yes and no.

No, as there only are so many accessories for headphones. Yes, as the HEDDphone is selling for €1.690 Euro and for that price you probably expect more, even if it’s just a balanced cable or pouch or whatever.

 

Design

The design of the HEDDphone is simple and basic and that’s probably due to the size of the drivers and the ear cups, needed to produce great sound. The ear cups together with the pads are huge and at the office many of my colleagues first reaction was: “What the hell is that thing?”

Does it look sexy? No it doesn’t really, not for me anyway. But we all know this is a personal thing. The headband design probably was very difficult too, as it’s responsible for distributing the 718g (yes you read that right) over your head. I myself prefer a different headband type/look but that’s again very personal. From what I understand HEDD has already produced a new type of headband, but I haven’t seen that myself yet. As a matter of fact, in this picture below you can see that there in the beginning was an even different headband.

HEDD HEDDphone

HEDD HEDDphone

The HEDDphone is a fully open headphone and it leaks a lot of sound. It’s something to take into account even though I don’t see anyone using this one on-the-go. But even at home it can be difficult: my wife is used to a lot when it comes to headphones and sound leakage, but the HEDDphone takes it to a whole new level (resulting in her complaining when watching Netflix).

Build Quality

The build quality is excellent and everything is perfectly finished. The only downside I have experienced is that the silver from the headband yokes easily scratches and loses color because of the contact with the surface your resting the headphone on.

It’s too soon to tell how the headband will hold up after extensive use of the heavy drivers, only time will tell.

HEDD HEDDphone

HEDD HEDDphone

When picking up the headphones and when adjusting them on your head, you will hear the diaphragm crackling. This doesn’t mean there’s an issue with your HEDDphone, this is normal behaviour. The Air Motion Transformer squeezes air out of multiple Kapton® folds, allowing to move air significantly faster than any traditional dynamic, planar magnetic, or electrostatic driver. Due to this principle, you may sometimes notice quiet crackling sounds while adjusting the HEDDphone® to your ears. This happens when air pressure is applied to the diaphragm and does not affect the driver‘s performance. The crackling won’t appear when you have found your ideal listening position.

Comfort

Comfort wise these actually sit well on your head and the headband really does a good job distributing the weight. You however don’t make 718g disappear easily and as such you will always feel the heaviness of these pair of headphones. This especially for longer listening periods can be fatiguing.

The clamping force on the side of your head is also quite high. This is caused by the typical headband design and of course the weight of the drivers/ear cups.

So if you’re a marathon listener, or don’t like to feel the weight of the headphone, do take note that this one probably isn’t the headphone for you. This is sound over beauty and comfort.

HEDD HEDDphone

HEDD HEDDphone

Cable

The cable that comes with the HEDDphone is nice but it’s a basic 2.2m single ended cable terminated with a 6.3mm and mini-XLR plugs. I don’t know how HEDD stands in regards to balanced sound, but for the price a balanced cable would perhaps have been appreciated.

While there physically and sonically is nothing wrong with the HEDDphone cable, I have mostly used a balanced aftermarket cable from PlusSound (X16).

Sound

For this and the next sections the DAC and amplifier used are the Violectric V850 and the Niimbus Audio US4+ in full balanced mode. As said before the sound of the HEDDphone is refreshing, it’s something different from the dynamic and planar magnetic sound we’re used to nowadays.

HEDDphone® excels where it really matters: in accurate, untamed, and touching music reproduction.

The HEDDphone sounds clear, precise and very fast. It has great dynamics and PRaT and from bass to treble everything is ultra clear. The tuning is more to the neutral side but while you get an incredible amount of detail, it never sounds analytic or cold. The HEDDphone manages to combine a balanced, detailed sound with great musicality and excellent timbre. For me there is no warmth or smoothness and that’s only normal as this headphone wasn’t built to reproduce that. Remember that HEDD with the AMT drivers focuses on accuracy and precision.

The sound stage is both nice and deep and the presentation is airy and spacious with good layering. With better amplification, the HEDDphone scales up nicely, but more on that later. The HEDDphone’s background is always pitch black and dead silent. The timbre is very pleasing, especially in the bass and mid section. It’s also where the best decay and extension is present.

Another point the HEDDphone excels in is the left/right balance and stereo image. The spatial experience and positioning are wonderful.

HEDD HEDDphone

HEDD HEDDphone

Balanced vs Single ended

HEDD doesn’t specifically mention using the HEDDphone in balanced mode, but it behaves different when doing so, in a positive way.

In balanced mode you get a fuller (less neutral) bass presence, a wider sound stage, improved  layering and a more spacious/airy presentation. Next to that it also gets a higher energy level from bass to treble. In balanced mode the voices get more focus and are pushed a little more too the front, but in a positive way. They become more clear and focused, and it’s elevating the HEDDphone’s performance even more. I like HEDD’s behaviour in balanced mode but it’s also excellent in single ended mode.

The HEDDphone is single ended mode is more neutral, more linear and balanced. It sounds good, there’s no doubt about that. The energy level in single ended mode depends on the amplifier used, but more on that in the next chapter. In balanced mode it however always sounds more exciting but it’s less neutral and balanced. I’m sure the guys from HEDD must have tried this, so I on one hand am a little surprised they didn’t put an extra balanced cable in the box. At the same time I fully understand they didn’t as “accurate, untamed, and touching music reproduction” is their philosophy, and this in balanced mode is less the case.

The HEDDphone’s behaviour in single ended and balanced mode is different. You get two different signatures for the price of one, you just need to invest in a balanced cable. In single ended mode you get the pro approach with a neutral presentation and balanced tuning. In balanced more, you get a more fun approach, with bigger bass and fuller mids. In both modes the dynamics and detail retrieval are really good, there’s no need to worry about the technicalities.

The part on sound continues on the next page, click HERE.

4/5 - (98 votes)

linkedinrssyoutubeinstagram
Facebooktwitterredditpinterest

Lieven is living in Europe and he's the leader of the gang. He's running Headfonia as a side project next to his full time day job in Digital Marketing & Consultancy. He's a big fan of tube amps and custom inear monitors and has published hundreds of product reviews over the years.

6 Comments

  • Reply April 16, 2020

    Sp12er

    weight: 718 grams… and probably without cable attached, the fuk with that? ????

    • Reply May 10, 2020

      Lieven

      yes, it’s an area to improve in

  • Reply May 10, 2020

    Timo

    That is an excellent headphone and plays far, far above it’s price range.

    Too bad you, Lieven, didn’t focus as much and put more time describing the sound characteristics of this headphone.
    The heddphone has many unique sound characteristic, which in some ways sound different and fairly unique when compared to dynamic or planar drivers, which you could write about.
    There are some things about the heddphone which sound close to electrostatics from stax.
    That’s why I find it is a real shame you didn’t do a comparison between other headphones.

    It is an full range AMT driver, in a headphone – the first of it’s kind.

    Summaring, for me, this review is a big let down. 250 words written about bass, mids and treble. Out of these 250 words, a big part about the comparison between single ended and xlr output.
    You didn’t put as much time and effort in this review. Even the Hifiman Deva has more pages. Other headpones reviews from you are up to 6 pages.

    If you could and want, I would be happy if you ask for another review sample and rewrite it 😉

    • Reply May 10, 2020

      Lieven

      There are 1410 words on sound. There are no direct comparisons as it to me makes no use to compare different technologies to each other
      If you really think no time or effort went in this review, you have no clue what you’re talking about, sorry.
      Summarizing, for me, your comment is also a big let down.

      • Reply May 11, 2020

        Timo

        You’ve already made comparisons in written reviews with other transducer technologies.

        “If you really think no time or effort went in this review …” – assumption, haven’t said that.

        Well can’t be helped; could be a far more comprehensively review ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
        Still, thanks and bye.

  • Reply May 20, 2020

    Nate

    How do you feel this would pair up with a Burson Conductor 3R? No balanced mode, but 7.5wpc out of single ended on tap. Looking for a good set of open cans focusing on SQ when I’m not needing to use my closed back Elegias due to other people in the area.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.