HEDD Audio HEDDphone Review

HEDD HEDDphone

Sound Classics – Bass

 

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In single ended mode bass is tight and fast but it’s lighter in presence. It clearly is quality over quantity but that’s no surprise when you’re going for a more neutral, accurate tuning. Bass reaches deep with a good level of sub bass. At the same time the bass impact and body always is neutral, so it’s lighter in presence.

In balanced mode you get a bigger and fuller bass, with increased body, impact and presence. Bass goes deeper and especially the sub bass is remarkable. Bass layering in balanced mode is much more apparent. Bass in balanced mode is more fun to listen to and most people will prefer this, but it’s amplified and not “neutral”.

Sound Classics – Mids

The mids section in single ended mode is detailed, precise and dynamic. It connects perfectly to the lighter and neutral bass presentation. Separation and spaciousness are good and the vocals are perfectly integrated. The mid timbre and decay is nice.

In balanced mode the mids behave like the bass and they come with more body and presence. They sound fuller with more energy and the depth/layering improves. The voices get more focus and sound more upfront (but not too much). They sound a lot more energetic where they in balanced mode sound softer, but it just works with the rest of the balanced tuning/behaviour.

Sound Classics – Treble

I’m starting to repeat myself but the treble section in single ended mode is neutral, flat and precise. The level of detail and extension is good but it’s missing some liveliness for me personally. In balanced mode, the treble energy is elevated and it sounds fuller. It increases the fun factor and perfectly connects to the bigger bass and fuller mids.

HEDD HEDDphone

HEDD HEDDphone

Sources / Amplification

With an impedance of 42Ohm and only 87dB, the HEDDphone isn’t the easiest to drive and that shows with the different amps I’ve used it with. It’s not that it’s impossible to drive though, but you’ll see the volume dial go up compared to your regular planar magnetic and dynamic headphones.

When I first heard the difference between balanced an single ended mode I figured it was the Niimbus US4+ that was acting up, but when I switched to the Topping DX7 Pro, I got the exact same result. The DX7 PRO is an incredible DAC/AMP and it totally outperforms its price. With the DX7 Pro and HEDDphone combo, you get more energetic upper mids and treble in both modes. The upper mids and vocals are even more clear and defined as it’s where the Topping DX7 pro really shines.

In general the Topping DX7 Pro sounds faster and tighter/defined compared to the warmer/smoother US4+. It’s a different kind of sound but with the same behaviour between SE and balanced

The tube driven Auris Audio Headonia (3W) behaves a little different with the HEDDphone. It’s highly energetic, dynamic, fast and precise and it has good body in bass in mids (though still lighter). It’s an amplifier where the difference between the SE and balanced output is less evident. It’s there but not as obvious as with the previous amplifiers. With the Headonia, even in balanced mode, the HEDDphone sounds nicely balanced, linear and more neutral.

With the solid state Flux Lab Acoustics Atlas and HEDDphone combo you get a behaviour which is more like that of the Headonia with a smaller difference between SE and balanced. Both outputs sound great, energetic, detailed and fast. This combo is really good as both units share the same characteristics. I actually prefer the HEDDphone in single ended mode with the Atlas as the precision, dynamics and energy levels are mind blowing.

HEDD HEDDphone

HEDD HEDDphone

The Chord Electronics Hugo 2 of course doesn’t have a balanced output, but it’s the amplifier from which the HEDDphone sounds fullest and with the biggest bass from the single ended output. I have been using the Hugo 2 and HEDDphone combo most in my second office and at my day job, and it’s incredibly good. You get a slightly softer sound, but it’s like a mix of what the other amps deliver in balanced and single ended. The perfect marriage of both signatures. The Hugo 2 also has more than enough power to fully drive the HEDDphone, though you will see the volume go up. The HEDD and Hugo 2 combo is energetic, precise, fast, musical and very addictive with the slightly lifted bass and body.

With the Feliks Audio Euforia AE, you get a single ended sound which resembles the Hugo 2 in some way. It’s softer, with a great sounds stage, spaciousness and extension. The body and bass are nicely full and the mid timbre is exceptional. It might be a bit soft for some, but that’s the tube character from the Euforia AE. IF you like that this certainly is an amplifier to take into account for the HEDDphone. If you prefer a more focused sound, the Hugo 2 will suit you more, and especially the Atlas in single ended mode.

Conclusion

HEDD has managed to create a high end headphone which brings freshness to the personal audio world. As a first headphone this can seriously count, though they of course have a lot of experience already producing speakers. Forget about planar and dynamic drivers and their typical sound signature. The full range AMT drivers in the HEDDphone prove that there’s room for diversification, and they bring you a really special, typical, high end sound.

While HEDD has managed to nail the “sound”, it’s hard to forget about the size and weight. Unfortunately this might be a deal breaker for many, but for those who put sound first, the HEDD Audio HEDDphone is an easy recommendation. As a result I am putting the HEDDphone on our list of Best Buys, where it is in good company.

That’s right, HEDD gets a recommended buy award for their first headphone, it’s sound is simply too good not to recommend. Well done.

 

4/5 - (98 votes)

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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.

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