Review: Hifiman Edition-X – Game, set and match

Sources & Amplifiers

Straight from the AK380 the Edition-X on low gain sounds more than loud enough and it’ll get you deaf in no-time. The AK is very detailed and clean and that shows when listening to the X. Bass body is a bit smaller but it’s tighter than on most sources. You get great detail and speed in return. In combination with the AK380 the Edition-X sounds a bit more neutral because of the bass and mids showing less body.

With the Woo Audio WA8 the Edition-X becomes a whole lot smoother and warmer. Bass and mid body gets bigger but unfortunately gets a bit looser as well. When switching to the 2-tube output you get less bass body but everything is tighter and more balanced. This is an extremely musical and engaging combination, one that used most when listening to Jazz music and female vocals. Straight out of the AudioQuest DragonFly RED, the Edition-X sounds smooth and it has the right mix of speed, detail and warmth making it a very very good combination. On the DragonFly Black the Edition-X sounds a bit more aggressive and the vocals are more to the front. I find the Black to sound more concentrated as well. To me the Edition-X and the DragonFly RED is the most excellent combination.

Hifiman Edition-X_5

The Bakoon International HPA-01M always sounds best when used with orthodynamics and it’s no different with this headphone (and the AK380 as source). On the Voltage output you get a very airy and spacious yet tight sound where voices are more upfront. On the current output you get a more relaxed sound that reminds me of the LCD-2 (which absolutely rocks with this amp and current out). Bass on both outputs is about the same and for all other musical genres than those mentioned above, this combination absolutely rocks.

The Chord Electronics Hugo also makes the Edition-X sing. Like I mentioned in the WA-8 (and Hugo) review, the Hugo excels in sound stage width and depth and I find it’s layering one of the best on the market within the portable segment. Bass on the Hugo goes reasonably deep but is a bit on the looser side. The mids are slightly more in the back with the upfront vocals and the Edition-X’s treble is easygoing. The Hugo has that perfect mix of detail and musicality which I don’t find in their Mojo.

On my reference Violectric V281 in SE mode (which of course is overkill for this headphone), you also get all the detail you want with a slightly added bass body and bass is on the looser kind. The mids are as good as perfect and treble is dynamic and engaging. When switching to balanced mode the sound stage width and depth increases and it shows great detail and layering. Bass body is back to normal for what body is concerned and it’s nicely tight. The balanced output of the V281 simply is extremely good.

Hifiman Edition-X_2

As you can read, the Edition-X sounds good with a whole bunch of sources and amplifiers. The great thing is that the X doesn’t really need any amplification as is sounds good by itself. By amping it however, you are able to tune its sound signature to your liking. I personally liked the Edition-X most when using an amplifier as it just performs even better.

Conclusion

The Edition-X is a fully grown up headphone and it’s no mini HE-1000 or maxi HE-560. It combines different things of the Hifiman line-up into one new headphone. Build quality and comfort are excellent and even with a low powered source the Edition-X sounds really good. Its sound strongly depends on the source and/or amplifier used though and it does scale up quite nicely.

The Edition-X price-wise is closest to the Audeze LCD-X and the Sennheiser HD800 but its sound signature is very different. If you already own the HE-1000 there is no reason to get the Edition-X as the HE-1000 has it beat for what technicalities are concerned, then again you just might prefer the Edition-X’s sound signature over that of the HE-1000. I feel the Edition-X is a great high-end headphone that keeps it musical at all times. For many headphone fans, the Edition-X will be their TOTL model as the price gap between the X and the HE-1000 still is pretty big.

The Edition-x is one of those headphones you just want to listen to the whole day long until you go to bed. Hifiman once again managed to create a very well-tuned headphone and a lot of people are going to enjoy the hell out of it. Well done.

 

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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.

7 Comments

  • Reply July 5, 2016

    Barun C

    Nice article Lieven. Wish you had the HE-6 for comparison.

    Anyway, is it suppose to be Edition-S in the 5th paragraph and in the fourth line of the Comfort & Design/Build Quality section?

    • Reply July 5, 2016

      Lieven

      Thank you Barun. I like the HE-6 sound wise with a speaker amp but I don’t like the comfort. I hope they come out with a rev 2 with the new head band and ear cup design.

      Thank you for pointing out the Edition S errors!

  • Reply July 8, 2016

    mrphng

    It might a little bit off topic but between the He-500 that you mentioned in the beginning and the HD650 that you owned for many years. Which one do you prefer for Jazz(classic+modern), Instrument (Violin), and a bit of Pop? I was curious for such a long time despite reading many comparison 🙂

  • Reply October 28, 2016

    Filippo

    Hi, i ask you an advice because here in Italy is impossible to listen to these headphones and i have much confidence in your judgment:

    i’m undecided between Edition X V2 and HD800S to upgrade from HE-500.
    My setup is Violectric V850 + V281 and i listen to rock, classic rock , jazz and blues.

    Kind regards, Filippo

    • Reply October 28, 2016

      Lieven

      Great setup. Coming from the HE-500 you might like the V2 a little more than the HD800S (bigger body and bass) but to me the HD800S is the better headphone. More detail, better sound stage but it has less body in the mids and just sunds a little lighter.

      I personally would go for the HD800S

  • Reply October 29, 2016

    Filippo

    Thank you, i’ll let you know!

  • Reply July 25, 2019

    Layerpoint

    Can anyone give me some review about Discord bots, because I am a gamer and a few of my game mates suggest me to use this server to communicate with each other? But before i install it, i want some genuine review. Hope here most of the people are knowledgeable about these things. I am looking for your definite answer.

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