Build Quality & Connections
The Hifiman HE-R10D’s build quality is just as good as on its more expensive big brother. The days were Hifiman had QC issues imo is long gone, and all of their latest units I received were perfectly built. Same goes for the HE-R10D, which is flawless. The connector is perfect, the headband is sturdy and the wood of the cups is soft and sexy. This headphone is a pleasure to hold in your hand, to feel and look at. As said earlier, the HE-R10D uses an upgraded HE400se headband, the only thing there I which was different, are the plastic pivot parts.
For this headphone, Hifman has chosen a left hand side cable entry with a 3.5mm balanced plug. I haven’t felt the need to do a cable swap as the supplied cables look, feel and sound perfect but should you want an aftermarket cable, this shouldn’t be an issue. Extra points go to Hifiman here for doing a great job in hiding the cable going from the left to the right driver via the headband. Stealth cable integration, perfect.
If you feel cables are so last century, then you can always op to use Hifiman’s BlueMini Bluetooth unit. It fits the shape of the bottom of the HE-R10D cup and all you have to do is click it in. In theory the BlueMini adapter can’t be used on different brand headphones as it has a clip on system, but I wouldn’t be surprised if some have managed to get it to work with a different headphone (brand).
Specs, Price & Accessories
The closed back Hifiman HE-R10D is part of Hifiman’s Reference product line-up and it is selling for $1,299USD which is the same as the Edition X V2 and just a bit less than the Arya. Compared to the Planar version, this HE-R10D is $4,200 USD less expensive, and that’s a lot of money.
The Hifiman HE-R10D headphone comes in the typical beautiful leather-ish Hifiman box, a black one in this case. The HE-R10D comes with three detachable cables with different terminations: a 3.5mm single ended one (1.5m), a 4-pin XLR balanced one (3m) and a 6.35mm single ended one (also 3m). The cable entry is one-sided and Hifiman uses a balanced 3.5mm connector for this.
Cable-wise the Hifiman HE-R10 headphones features a newly designed single-crystal, copper, silver-plated structure. According to Hifiman, the combination of a high number of strands and ratio of the various ingredients ensure low signal loss and unshakable strength. All of these 3 cables look and feel great with their nylon sleeving.
My HE-R10P headphone actually also came with the optional Hifiman BlueMini which fits the DEVA model and both of the HE-R10P/D ones. BlueMini supports LDAC/aptX (HD)/AAC and SBC. It also allows you to connect your headphone directly to your computer over USB-C, functioning as a USB DAC. I have to say it sounds pretty darn good, though this article/review will focus on the HE-R10P’s cabled sound.
So you get a top level box with a nice inlay and an elaborate set of connection options, as well as the HE-R10D owner’s guide and a warranty card with the driver serial numbers.
Frequency Response : 15Hz-35kHz
Impedance : 32Ω
Sensitivity : 103dB
Weight : 337g
Socket : 3.5mm Balanced
Sound – Intro
In the HE-R10D’s manual we can find the following statement from Hifiman:
“The HE-R10D offers the best attributes of closed and open-back headphones in a single model”
It’s actually the same statement as Hifiman makes for the HE-R10P, and I partially agreed to that. As you will see in a bit, the R10D is a unique headphone but if you compare it to Hifiman’s open headphones in the same price range, such as the Arya and Edition X V2, you will see they – at least to me – take it a step further.
As Hifiman also states, the last few years were all about producing top level open back headphones and not that many closed high end units saw the light. I can easily see this in the HFN headphone collection as well, where maybe only 2 or 3 out of 10 headphones are of the closed kind. With the technology we have today, I do feel we’ll be seeing more closed back headphones over the next months and years.
The HE-R10D is tuned as follows (copyright Hifiman) :
Insert FR picture here
As you can see above, the tuning of the R10D is quite unique. Hifiman mostly focusses on planar magnetic drivers and the Edition S and HE-300 up to now are their only headphones featuring a dynamic driver.
Let’s dive in!
Sound – General
For all parts on sound, unless differently mentioned, we mostly used two different setups. The first being the Violectric V850 DAC and AudioValve Solaris, and the second being the Violectric DHA V590 and Soncoz la-qxd1 DAC.
We all know by now that the HE-R10P is an in credible headphone, but that doesn’t mean this automatically is the same for the dynamic driver version. Yes they share the same packaging, build quality, design and cables but not the driver, and that’s most important.
The Hifiman HE-R10D does not have the neutral type of tuning. Instead you get a good amount of warmth and softness, and overall fullness (weight). Depending on the source the HE-R10D can even sound dark (especially when coming from a more neutrally tuned headphone or the HE-R10P), so make sure you use a source with good clarity and dynamics.
The smooth HE-R10D is very musical, relaxed and easy on the ears. It’s an easy to listen to headphone and the clarity is there, but it’s masked more by the fulness and weight of the bass and midrange.
Sound stage wise the R10D scores well good for a closed back headphone but you do get a denser and more intimate presentation compared to the planar version. The latter one has better clarity, speed and sounds more like an open headphone. With the R10D you get the typical closed headphone feeling, but the sound stage is good.
In general the HE-R10D has a full and punchy low end, with lower mids that share that weight. The upper mids to me have a bit less presence. Bass and mids are soft, smooth and warmer. The focus is mostly on bass and treble, but it’s not your typical v-shaped presentation either, as the graph clearly shows. The treble region is a bit peaky and it does help to spice things up and keep them exciting.
Depth and layering definitely are good but the stereo image and positioning are more at a medium level. Vocals sound really natural and engaging. They are presented a bit more to the front but they have a smooth delivery. Vocals will never sound shouty.
The article continues on the next page, with more on sound and much more. Click here.