Hifiman SHANGRI-LA jr Review

Hifiman SHANGRI-LA jr Award

Sound – Comparisons


Vs JADE II Full system

First, let’s compare the full SHANGRI-LA jr system with the full Jade II system. Both are electrostat setup but there’s a $5,5K price difference and that’s seriously noticeable on the technical level.

Engaging and musical would be the 2 keywords to describe the Jade II system. The Jade II setup has quite a bit of body and overall fullness which is always present. It’s not the fastest or precise sounding system, certainly for an electrostat one. It’s quite soft on the ear and it’s more to the warmer side, but it’s entertaining and easy to like.

All-in-all, a pleasing, full, musical, and engaging combo. But if you want the very best possible technicalities, especially compared to its bigger brother, than this isn’t the combo for you. It however is a great electrostat entry setup when you’re not familiar yet with the typical tech sound or are still in love with the dynamic and orthodynamic drivers.

Vs Jade II Headphone (with SHANGRi-LA amp)

It’s easy testing the Jade II headphone with the SHANGR-LA jr amp, as it has two outputs.

The Jade II headphone sounds fuller, and it has more body from bottom to top. There is quite a big difference here and the technical level is quite a bit lower. The soundstage, precision, note extension, spaciousness, layering, sub rumble, etc. Everything is a at a lower level here.

You do still get a good, musical, and engaging, smoother sound, but it’s by far not as precise and high-end. It’s clear the headphone here is the factor holding the performance back. There’s no shame in that though, as it is quite a bit cheaper. When you switch back to the SHANGRI-LA jr headphone, the first thing you notice is how lighter sounding it us, but one you hear the technical proficiency, you’re in heaven.

Hifiman SHANGRI-LA jr

Vs Jade II Amplifier (with SHANGRi-LA amp)

Here we get a similar story, but it’s the amplifier that is holding the headphone back. The SHANGRI-LA jr headphone here sounds less full and just like before there’s a less technical level. The difference however isn’t as big as with the previous combo.

Should you be on a budget where the full SHANGRI-LA jr setup is out of range, this setup will be the next best thing. I could be very happy with this electrostat setup, but the full setup of course still is the better one.

Vs AudioValve Solaris (with SHANGRi-LA jr headphone)

The only other electrostat amplifier in my office, it the Audiovalve Solaris. The Solaris is a $5,000 USD do-it-all tube amplifier and it in general is very full sounding, and warmer in nature. For this test is was using the Musician Pegasus DAC, in a full balanced environment.

The SHANGR-LA jr headphone with the Solaris (compared to the full Hifiman setup) sounds less full and lighter bodied and that was a surprise. In stead you get a lighter and more neutral, balanced tonality with a strong vocal forwardness, and a focus on the upper mids and (spicy) treble section.

Technically this combo is strong, but it for my personal taste it could use a bit of fulness from top to bottom. It also gave me listening fatigue quite fast. If you however prefer a neutral, balanced and technically strong electrostat sound, then your ears will be very happy with this setup.

Hifiman SHANGRI-LA jr


For most mortals – me included – the super high-end electrostat systems from Hifiman and Sennheiser are unobtanium. This high-end SHANGRI-LA jr setup basically is the next best thing, offering a top level electrostat sound with an acceptable and accessible price tag. 

Not only is the SHANGRI-LA jr perfectly designed, but the build quality is also astonishing. The SHANGRI-LA jr delivers the typical electrostat sound signature, with a high level of technicalities. What I love about the SHANGRI-LA jr is that it does it all effortlessly and the 6SN7 tubes provide just enough smoothness and warmth in this combo to make the whole experience musical and engaging.

It’s the first time on Headfonia that we’re giving an electrostat system our Recommended Buy award, but in this case it’s fully deserved. The SHANGR-LA jr is now featured on our Best Headphone list, where it is in good company.



          – Excellent price/quality ratio as amp + headphone 

          – Great design & build quality


          – Source dependant

          – Non-detachable cable


Page 1: Hifiman, SHANGRI-LA jr, Box & Delivery, Build Quality & Lay-out

Page 2: Design, Comfort, Usability, Isolation, Specifications, Price, Accessories, Sound Intro / General / Classics / Conclusion

Page 3: Sound Comparisons, Conclusion, Pro & Con

4.1/5 - (122 votes)

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.

1 Comment

  • Reply March 14, 2023


    I prefer the sound of SHANGRI-LA JR system over SHANGRI-LA SR system. Stax X9000 with a good amp to me also sounds more enjoyable than Senior system from Hifiman. Jade 2 system to me is as mediocre sounding as Sennheiser HD650 or LCD3, too veiled and without liveliness. I wasn’t crazy about Audeze CRBN either, reminded me somewhat of original Sennheiser Orpheus amp with HE90, although it’s pleasant enough. Never liked Stax 009/009s – thin and dull regardless of the amp. Best value to me: Hifiman EF400 dac/amp plus Hifiman HE6SE v2 with stock cable via XLR output – but mostly for classical and ECM label and jazz trios. Although Steely Dan and Donald Fagen sound great too through it. Affordable system brand new at around $1200. Also love the sound of Empire Ears ESR MK2 with A&K SE200.

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