Review: Hifiman Edition X V2 – All I want for Christmas…

Accessories

Besides the pretty box the accessories are pretty limited. You get two sets of cables where one measures 1.5m and is terminated with a 3.5mm plug. This is supposed to be the portable cable. The second cables measures 3m and is terminated with a 6.3mm plug for use at home with a desktop source. The original V1 also came with two cables and the exact same termination. Next to that you get a standard yet nice  ¼ headphone adapter and that’s about it. While the X’s are built to also perform out of sources you normally use on-the-go, there is no carrying pouch or anything in the package to transport it. In that regard it is a use at home headphone and the accessories are basic.

For your ears

I know this is a controversial topic but Hifiman recommends 150 hours burn in. They insist the sound signature will change during this period. I also want to state (again) that even after the update the Edition X is no HE-1000 (V2), but it do is better to me than the original version and that says a lot.

Back when I reviewed the original I already liked it a lot and said the X was a really good headphone. Now Hifiman with the changes described above has even managed to improve how it sounds and they managed to cut $500 of the price, it’s incredible. When coming from the V1 you will hear that a lot of things are the same, yet there are some important differences as well. The first things you would probably notice is the slightly improved sound stage and the more forward and richer sounding mids giving the headphone a more energetic and dynamic sound. The modifications might not seem a lot but the result is positively impressive.

The Edition X V2 still has its softer, more laid back character and it has pleasant warmth creating a very enjoyable, fun, yet qualitative sound signature. No matter what type of music you throw at it (from classical to rap to country to techno), the Edition-X with its soft treble, smooth rich mids and entertaining bass plays everything effortless. Its sound is easy to love and that combined with its easy drivability and great comfort make it an easy to use and even more addictive headphone than the really great HE-560 and the HE-1000. The Edition x V2 doesn’t sound intimate, overly airy or spacious, it’s overall level is good although the TOTL headphones score even better in this category.

The sound signature still is fairly neutral but like said it’s tilting more to the warmer side with its smooth and lush presentation. Like all planar magnetic headphones the Edition-X V2 has a very black background, good separation and the typical orthodynamic clear/clean sound. The Edition-X V2 has a good balance but the focus is mostly on midrange and bass and treble are reasonably easygoing. Compared to the old version there is even more focus on the mids which are more forward and even richer sounding with better layering and depth. You could say the new V2 is a mid-centric headphone but an extremely good one for that.

Depending on the source and the amplifier used the Edition-X V2’s bass changes somewhat body wise. Bass body when using the Cayin HA-1A mkII in example, is bigger compared to bass on the Hugo. It to me seems the V2 has a little more weight than the V1 but again it’s not like the HE1000. Bass always has good/sufficient body though and its amount is never exaggerated to my ears. Bass has a good level of detail and layering but the HE-1000 goes deeper with better layering. Edition-X V2’s bass is punchy most of the time, pretty fast and goes deep when needed.

hifiman-edition-x-v2-2

The bass perfectly flows in to the full bodied, very detailed and layered more upfront mid-section of the Edition-X V2, now even better than on the V1. Delivery of the mids is smooth with a great level of layering and depth. Mid bass seems a little more elevated to before. Voices sound realistic and precise and the mids are musical. The mids are to die for. Treble maybe is a little more extended and it because of the fuller mids now sounds more balanced overall. Listening to this headphone for longer periods is no problem as the sound signature is relaxed and unfatiguing yet detailed, energetic and qualitative.

The Family (Comparisons)

All of the differences with the Edition X V1 have already been described in the part on sound. In short the most important things to remember are: richer mids, better balance, more energy, better comfort.

The HE-1000 V2’s clamping force on the side of your head is a lot bigger than that of the Edition X V2, making it less comfortable than the new X V2. Sound wise the Edition X V2 is closer to the original HE-1000 V1 than it is to the update of that headphone. The New HE-1000 V2 is leaner sounding. The Edition X V2 (compared to the new HE-1000 V2) has bigger bodied mids and has more body overall.  The HE-1000 sounds more airy and has better micro detailing and layering. It also seems to deliver the sound in a more effortless and clean way. Voices in the HE-1000 V2 are more natural and relaxed and they make the voices in the X V2 sound less natural and more forced. They’re still good though, the HE-1000 simply is a level up and that’s no shame.

Once you’re used to the Edition X’s ear cups, going back to the Hifiman HE-560 is less comfortable. The 560 is light but your ears simply touch the pads and get pressure. The HE 560’s sound is lighter, more clear and more neutral with a lighter presentation. The HE- 560 is very detailed and has a good sound stage width and depth, it’s a great headphone with a different tuning that for most might be less easy on the ears for longer listening periods. For almost half the price of the Edition X you get a sublime headphone ($689) but it isn’t as rich and natural sounding as the X V2. Still a very strong contender in its price class though.

More comparisons, Sources and amplifier pairings on the next page, after the JUMP

Review: Hifiman Edition X V2 – All I want for Christmas…
4.1 (81.54%) 26 votes

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Lieven is living in Europe and he's the leader of the gang. Coming from a musical family he's always been interested in good sound. Unlike his family members the only musical instruments he plays are amps and DACs. He loves playing with old tubes and discovering new products while staying faithful to the good old Sennheiser HD650.

19 Comments

  • Reply December 28, 2016

    Mark

    Umm, did you or are you going to return these? Of all the tech review/sites etc. Walt Mossberg appears to be the only one that goes out of his way stating that he never keeps free samples or products he reviews. An admirable quality.
    I’m not questioning your integrity, however the inference of bias refuses to go away.
    I hope you did/do return them.

    • Reply December 28, 2016

      dale thorn

      “Of all the tech review/sites etc. Walt Mossberg appears to be the only one that goes out of his way stating that he never keeps free samples or products he reviews.”

      Oopsie – read his ethics statement. He *does* keep some items. Now of course, you might say “well, those things have no real value” etc. etc., but the truth is, he *does* keep some stuff. But the big picture is this: As the most highly paid staffer at the WSJ until 2013, he made nearly one $million each year, so the notion that he would be influenced by a “free” $500 item is of course a silly notion. And then we’re just talking money, not technology. Those of us who are really into audio tech value our reputations far more than an occasional freebie.

  • Reply December 28, 2016

    Mark

    As a follow up I’ve read you other reviews and this is my first time on your website. Your disclaimer that as far as you know they don’t have to be returned peppered through ypur reviews I must say appears to treat your readers witn contempt. I’m certain the first line in the emal you receive will quite clearly state you can keep the product after review. I don’t call your integrity into question previously and it appears others comments don’t broach the subject.
    As soon as ai read that weak attempt of a cop out of a disclaimer the rest of thr words are a waste of time to read. You understand on this day and age integrity has taken a back seat quite comfortably. Maybe I’m out of line or unaware if you return these items. Politicians/police etc in Australia have not had the luxury of keeping gifts and nor should the public expect it. I’m not comparing you to these occupations, but principally it’s the same thing. Considering your lack of any mention in returning the items it’s open to conclude you don’t. If so I’m only one person who can’t accept this and will seek reviews elsewhere. Integrity means a lot to me and the respect that goes with it.

    • Reply December 28, 2016

      Dale Thorn

      There are some things you just don’t know, for example:
      1) A professional review costs more to do than what a $2000 headphone is worth used.
      2) The money, which is not a lot for most small headphone sites, comes mainly from advertising.
      3) All of the really expensive products do get returned.

      That’s the way it really works. And BTW, if you can’t pick out the critical parts of the review that tell you how it really sounds, then you’re not trying.

    • Reply December 28, 2016

      Dale Thorn

      And I forgot:
      4) The only real incentive to review any product is to “build the site”, to have more reviews and more industry coverage.

  • Reply December 28, 2016

    NightPhotographer

    Hello

    How do you compare it to HE-560 with respect to the sound stage and imaging?

    Merry Christmas

  • Reply December 28, 2016

    Lieven

    Thanks, Dale

  • Reply December 29, 2016

    Bryan

    Excellent review Dale. I really enjoyed the HE-1000 v1 at meets (however never heard the Ed. X), and decided my Christmas present would be a pair of the new Edition X v2 at the friendlier price point. I was pleasantly surprised at the similarity of presentation between the Ed. X v2 and the HE-1000 v1. I match your impressions of full body and a natural sound, with the slight reverb I enjoy from planar magnetics. Some have called this headphone neutral, but I find it slightly on the warm side, which is quite honestly where I prefer it. I did replace the stock cable with one of my own making (DIYAudioBlog.com) and am still quite happy with the purchase a month later.

    Thanks very much for creating and maintaining this site. Even responding to individual comments rapidly is very impressive. I know first-hand it is not easy to generate income from niche interest sites. Your reviews are far better than the ones where everything sounds “great”, and I appreciate your analytical view of the sound properties, as it easily allows me to look for qualities I enjoy or don’t enjoy in an audio product. It’s sometimes hard for reviewers to adequately describe the sound so that seekers of warmth and musicality (without sacrificing detail) can put some sort of trust in what they are ordering without audition.

    I also have a penchant for tube amplifiers, my current favs are the Bottlehead Mainline and S.E.X. (no affiliation). The S.E.X. (albeit highly modified) just oozes musicality, and the Mainline provides a very nice amount of detail without losing that tube amp feel. Which desktop tube HPAs do you currently hold in highest regard?

    Thanks Dale and best regards.

    • Reply December 30, 2016

      dale thorn

      Oops – you mean Lieven, yes?

      • Reply January 5, 2017

        Bryan

        Ah yes I do, my apologies. Two very talented audio reviewers: Dale and Lieven 😉

  • Reply December 31, 2016

    NEIL

    Excellent review! I’m considering purchasing the X V2 or B&O H6 2nd Gen but since I’m fairly new to headphones (not IEM as I have about 10) and only have the Superlux HD668B, Audio Technica ATH-M50x and MEE Venture AF52, can you tell how does the X V2 compare to the HD668B?

    I love the HD668B and trying to use as my benchmark for all new purchases, although this may seem an unfair comparison from a price/cost perspective.

    Thanks.

    • Reply December 31, 2016

      Lieven

      I don’t have the 668B but the X V2 is in a different league compared to the H6. If you have the budget, the X V2 is the one you need 😉

  • Reply January 21, 2017

    Nick

    hey Lieven,
    It’s been a while since I got the opportunity to check out your reviews and even had to miss can jam last time, but great to see you are still writing great reviews.

    I m still waiting/saving until I can upgrade to the he 560, but with prices in NL still at 900 euro’s it almost seems lucrative to go on for the x v2. Although based on your comparison the neutral and more detailed sound of the 560 seems to better match the corda classic ff, as I love details in the music….ahhh choices.

    Thanks for the review and all the things to contemplate. Hopefully I ll make it to can jam this year!

    • Reply January 22, 2017

      Lieven

      Hi Nick. Thanks! I do think the 560 suits your taste better, yes 🙂

  • Reply January 23, 2017

    Luther Adams

    Hello. I read your review of the Edition X V2. Loved it. For one , you described the differences between the V2 and the V1. I have a few questions. I own the Hifi-Man HM-650 with the power II card. I labsolutely love it but there are no tone control adjustments that can be made on the unit. I’m wondering if I will get enough low bass. I’m not one to over do it on the bass end but I definitely like it. I don’t want my music to sound thin. I was also looking at Focal’s Elear. I listen to a wide range of music. From classical to edm and rap. Which one of these do you think would be better for me?

    • Reply January 24, 2017

      Lieven

      thanks! I’m not familiar with that DAP. I would suggest you listen to both of them. Both the Elear and the X V2 are very good sounding headphones where the Elear sounds most reference. For EDM and rap I’d go for the XV2, classic, the Elear. It’s a tough choice!

      • Reply January 24, 2017

        Luther Adams

        Thank you for your quick response. It’s definitely tough. I don’t have any stores near my to listen to the headphones either.

  • Reply July 24, 2017

    Julien

    Hi,

    I wonder how the edition x v2 would sound with the herus+, as this would be quite handy portable set-up…

    Thank you

    • Reply July 24, 2017

      Lieven

      good combo. The Herus is clean clear precise and fast, it will contrast the edition X nicely

Leave a Reply