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.
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.
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.