Disclaimer: Hifiman sent us the Edition X V2 free of charge in exchange for this review. The unit doesn’t have to be returned as far as I know.
Hifiman over the last years has quickly become a personal audio brand everyone knows and talks about. They offer a whole range of products for every budget, from the $249 Edition S to the $2999 HE-1000, and they strive to continuously extend, improve and update their product line-up. At the same time that’s exactly what people both like and fear about Hifiman. Some love them for always trying to bring better value and the latest technologies to their products while others find Hifiman to update their existing units way too fast, leaving some of their customers with a bitter taste in their mouth. While I certainly do understand that last group, I at the same time admire them for wanting to improve.
With the Megamini and Supermini, Hifiman recently launched two completely new products, but they also launched revisions of two of their TOTL headphones, the HE-1000 and Edition-X. To be honest, when I first heard about it, I was quite surprised to see it happening that soon or even “at all” as I absolutely love the Edition X V1. I’m sure Dr. Fang had his reasons though (see “Updates” below). After the news came out, Hifiman realized not everyone was very happy about it and they offered an upgrade program for the V1 HE-1000 buyers. As far as I know the Edition X V2 isn’t part of such a program. When the Edition X was first launched around December 2015, its price was $1799 (MSRP). The new Edition X V2 that was announced in August 2016, sells for only $1299 after it was permanently discounted only recently. It’s a huge mark-down and it makes the headphone obtainable for a whole lot more buyers. The difference with the reference HE-1000 now is $1700USD, leaving a big gap between both. Maybe for a new product to come? This time however we’ll be looking at the second version of the Edition X, the X V2.
I have to admit I’m a big fan of the Hifiman sound and they have produced fantastic sounding headphones over the years such as the HE-500, HE-6, HE-1000, HE-560, HE-400i, etc etc etc. While I didn’t feel the need for an X update, it is here now so we’ll gladly look at it and test it out for you.
Edition X V2
The Edition X V2 shares most of the V1’s characteristics and it still advertises the latest V2 as follows:
“Ultra thin diaphragm: lightning fast response, uncanny detail and ultra low distortion”
The new Edition X still has a high sensitivity so that it can more easily be used direct out of smartphones and portable audio devices. The typical window shade grill design it shares with the HE-1000 still serves to reduce sonic reflections and to deliver clearer sound. The X V2 is still very light and the headband has been revised to deliver a better fit, improved sound quality and better comfort for extended listening periods. The typical asymmetrical ear cups have been revised as well but still follow the natural shape of the human ear.
The Edition X V2 has undergone several styling and mechanical enhancements that, according to Hifiman, substantially improve its appearance, durability and comfort.
1. Approved head band design: Accommodate a wider range of head sizes
In my case the headband, with both versions, is set to the lowest position. With the new V2 the ear cups are better centered over my ears and it improves the overall comfort as the headband seems to distribute the weight better on the top of my head.
2. Newly updated yoke metal that helps to increase stability and durability. The original yoke is in plastic.
The new yokes are thinner and smaller at the same time and as they now in metal, they just feel a lot more qualitative and “right” for a headphone in this price range.
3. Improved beveled ear pads that are thicker with a larger asymmetrical angle.
They are exactly that and while they feel and fit great, the build quality, as in the stitching, still isn’t perfect. I don’t think these pads would pass Sennheiser’s QC.
4. Ear pads are now in polyester (before velour) to increase sound transparency. The surrounding pleather material has not been altered
So the pads and yokes now look and feel different/better and the termination of the cup is different. Where the V1 has a glossy blue finish, it now is matte grey/black-ish. The ear pads are easily replaceable so you can switch them to the version you prefer (but this will most likely impact the sound quality).
Comfort, Design & Build Quality
The Edition X V2, just like its predecessor, comes delivered in a gorgeous box you could store the headphone in when you’re not using it. In my case it rests on a Sieveking stand and the box goes to the attic but you seriously could leave the box in plain sight, it’s well built with top quality materials and it’s a pretty box all together.
If you quickly look at the Edition X’s you wouldn’t be able to tell them apart right of the bat. The build quality of both my units (except for the pad stitching, as I reported) is very good and the grills still look very sexy. We (and a lot of other audiophiles) haven’t always been pleased with the Hifiman build quality but I really can’t say anything bad about the headphone finish at all: there’s no glue and everything fits and matches up. With the added use of the metal yokes, it even feels better and more solid than the more plastic feeling V1. The 3.5mm headphone connecters are perfectly flush in the ear cup and detaching and connecting cables couldn’t be easier. Just make sure you plug it in the 2.5mm hole or you might find some scratches around the headphone connector after a few weeks of use. You either like or hate the huge head band system but it sure is comfortable.
The cables in the V1 had a grey sleeve finish and I quite liked their style. This time you get a white see-through plastic “sleeve” and it’s absolutely not my kind of thing, they look and feel weird. (Marcus even describes them as hospital tubes). Sonically and build quality-wise they’re perfectly fine though, I just don’t get the look.
Like I reported when I reviewed the original, the Edition X – even though it is fairly huge – is extremely comfortable and the V2 is even more so than the V1. It still isn’t Sennheiser HD800 comfy but that’s a personal thing; I know people who prefer the HE-1000/HE-X comfort over that of Senn’s. The earcups/drivers are thinner in the V2 but the pads are slightly thicker; I can’t say my ears touch the ear pads or the driver in any way though, but I don’t have the biggest of ears either. The Edition X V2 weighs only 300gr which is perfectly normal (and not heavy) for a full sized headphone. As it isn’t the smallest headphone, that actually is pretty impressive.
All in all, pretty darn good in all possible ways.
Frequency Response : 8Hz-50KHz
Impedance : 25 Ohms
Sensitivity : 103dB
Weight : 399g
Sound starts on Page Two, right after the jump or the click HERE