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

Sennheiser’s HD-800 is more spacious, more detailed and more analytic tuned (no that’s not a negative remark). It doesn’t have the Hifiman’s warmth or body but it sounds a lot clearer with very good layering and micro detailing. It’s a very different tuning with less bass and warmth/smoothness and of course it’s a typical dynamic sound vs the planar technology. Audeze’s LCD-2 (Pre Fazer) shows tighter bass but the sound isn’t as smooth and musical as the Edition X V2. The Hifiman’s mids are a lot richer and detailed and the X V2 has better layering from bottom to top. At the same time the LCD-2 is tighter, faster and sounds a whole lot less bloomy and warm, it’s still excellent for faster paced/rock/metal music.

Sources & Amplifiers

With Chord’s extremely popular Mojo the Edition X V2 sounds faster, tighter and has a little more bass body. Sound is dynamic, energetic and very rich in detail. On its big brother, the Hugo, the V2 is a little smoother and bass is a tad looser. There’s more emotion and the presentation is more relaxed. The X V2 sounds great on both dac/amp combos, it’s just a different flavor.

On RHA’s newest Dacamp L1 you get a sound which is similar to the Mojo but it’s a little more forward sounding, especially the vocals and the upper mids. I prefer both Chord units with the Edition X V2. On the Alo Continental Dual Mono with the Mullard tubes bass is a little bigger and looser and again the voices get put slightly more forwards. The mids here are more present than with the DacAmp L1 and they very rich in detail. The CDM and X V2 combination is very musical.

On the ALO continental V5 the X V2 sounds more like on the Mojo but with that touch of extra smoothness the tube puts in the sound. A rich, detailed and musical sound that is a little more laid back and easier to listen to. I prefer the Edition X V2 on the CV5 over the CDM.

With the Auris HA2-SE on Mullard tubes, the Edition X V2 sounds extremely rich with superb layering and the sweetest voices you can imagine. Bass is as tight as it gets and there’s no extra body anywhere. A superb combination to dream away with. On the Cayin HA-1A MKII the bass becomes a little bigger. The sound is also very rich in detail but the upper mids and voices are more forward sounding. Layering is great but it’s a more V-shaped sound curve.

hifiman-edition-x-v2-5

Straight from the iPhone 6S playing Tidal, the Edition X V2 sounds surprisingly energetic and smooth/musical. There might not be the body, richness and layering like one of the previous amps but it’s more than just OK. Do note that the volume easily goes up in to the red (EU phone). The L3PRO sounds smooth, layered, rich and seductive. The L&P brand has the best sounding DAPs on the market, if only they would make their players modern, swipeable and user friendly. Another great match match with the X V2.

Conclusion

Did I expect Hifiman to update the Edition X? Not at all. Am I glad that they did? Absolutely! The original already sounded very good but the V2 version simply sounds even better with richer mids and a more bodied, balanced sound.

While the unit can be used on the go, I can’t see anyone doing that in my neighborhood. The Edition X V2 is rather big but extremely comfortable and it is easy to drive. The source used will alter the sound signature somewhat, but it does make the Edition X V2 a headphone you can use anywhere and for all kinds of music. And it’s easy to drive so you don’t need the most powerful gear either.

With the X V2 you get a really good qualitative rich sound that is presented in a smooth and more laid back way that is non-fatiguing. Simply put: it is awesome. The Edition X V1 at $1799 was a headphone I already recommended getting and now, with Hifiman cutting the price to $1299, the Edition X V2 has become a headphone that is impossible to ignore. The Edition X V1 was wrongly priced at $689 on Amazon.com earlier, the actual/official closeout price for the V1 is $899 (confirmed by Hifiman). At $899 the V1 is certainly very much worth getting but the Hifiman Edition X V2, at $1299, with the sonical improvement it has over the V1, basically is a steal at that price. Yes, a steal.

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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.

22 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

  • Reply December 20, 2017

    Brian

    How would you compare the mids in the Edition Xv.2 to the HD650?

  • Reply December 20, 2017

    Ali

    Thanks for the great review
    Can you shortly compare these to the beyerdynamic T1 2nd Gen?

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