Review: Klipsch Hp-3 Heritage

Klipsch HP-3

The Box, Accessories & Price

The Heritage HP-3 headphone has one of the most impressive, if not THE most impressive, delivery box I have ever seen. Like the headphone itself it is beautifully made out of wood and it actually serves as a carrying case at the same time. This screams quality and to me, this is how every single reference headphone should be packed and presented. Klipsch for the win.

Together with your HP-3 headphone you get two stock cables which are terminated with a 3.5mm plug and that’s it. There’s no balanced cable and at this price point, there absolutely should be one. Even more so because the matching DAC/AMP unit from the Heritage series – which we’ll look at next week – features a balanced output for this headphone. The HP-3 is a flagship headphone and it goes for $1199, to me, a balanced cable should be included. Then why didn’t Klipsch add one in the box? Probably because the HP-3 is so easy to drive that they don’t expect anyone to us it in a balanced configuration. They have a good point, but still, a balanced cable would have been nice.

Klipsch HP-3

Klipsch HP-3

At the same time however you do get a simple steel rod headphone stand with the HP-3, and that’s a nice touch. Unfortunately the one in my box has a production issue and it’s not stable. I do hope this is an isolated issue however, at this price point everything should be perfect.

What you do get in return for your hard earned money is the following:

– Klipsch Heritage HP-3 Headphone

– 1.37m cable

– 2.5m cable

– 1/4″ adapter

– Solid steel rod headphone stand

– Certificate of Authenticity

– Owner’s manual

What is not listed is that for the money you get a beautiful handmade headphone with a really nice design, that awesome delivery box and of course a “high end” sound. But more on that in a bit.

Design

I think we can all agree the HP-3 looks beautiful. Klipsch actually offers the HP-3 in three different finishes as you can see in the pictures: Walnut, Ebony and Oak. The Klipsch designers did an excellent job and the cups, headband system, pads and even the connector system all look incredibly good. It does remind me a bit of the Sennheiser HD800 because of that reversed connector look, but I like it. The pads are easily removable (magnetic) and when removed you see the beautiful and perfectly finished inside with the driver right in the center. Technically the design is also special:

Proper acoustic venting drives the powerful and smooth delivery of the Heritage HP-3. Back-vented to the outside world as well as through the front baffle, the drivers can breathe and allow ambient noise to fuse seamlessly with the rhythm of your music, creating a natural presentation. Precisely vented between the front of the driver and directly behind the ear pad through a vortex guide, the Heritage HP-3 reduces pressure in your ears, and creates a consistent performance for any head or ear shape.

Klipsch HP-3

Klipsch HP-3

Build Quality & Comfort

Designed from the most functional and premium materials available, the Heritage Headphones feature die-cast steel, milled wood, premium leathers, and machined aluminum components. Solid-wood, triple-vented ear cups add natural warmth and character. Angled sheepskin ear pads provide perfect depth and distress naturally with age. A genuine hand-stitched cowhide headband adds quality, strength, and becomes more pliable over time. Hand-assembled with visible copper nuts and bolts, the Heritage headphones boast a classic aesthetic that’s built to last. Build quality wise, this Heritage HP-3 headphone scores very high.

The HP-3 weighs a solid 440gr and that means it isn’t the lightest headphone on the market. At the same time that nowadays is nothing special anymore for a reference headphone, and the weight actually doesn’t really bother me at all. The pads are soft and even after extended listening your ears don’t get overly hot. The pads inside diameter also is large enough to house your full ear without your ear touching the pads or screen protecting the driver. The weight is evenly distributed over your head but even though the head band is soft and flexible, it after a few hours does start hurting a bit on the top of my head.

Klipsch HP-3

Klipsch HP-3

Cable

We quickly touched this point earlier and it’s one I’m not completely happy with. The stock cables are 1.37m and 2.5m long and they are terminated with a 3.5mm plug so you can us it you’re your phone and any other source. It of course does come with a very nice looking and perfectly fitting 3.5mm to 6.3mm plug to use with desktop amp. At the headphone’s and the cables are terminated with 3.5mm plugs. Unlike Hifiman, AudioQuest and so many other companies, Klipsch chose the 3.5mm plugs instead of the smaller 2.5 ones, and as a result all my aftermarket cables can’t be used with the HP-3 as I have no other headphones that require a double 3.5mm plug termination.

So while it’s fully understandable why there’s no balanced cable, I do feel one should have been included, especially as the matching Heritage DAC/AMP features a balanced output.

Sound

According to the Klipsch marketing people, the Heritage HP-3 sounds as follows:

Crafted with one engineering goal in mind: achieving high efficiency, low distortion, full-range Klipsch loudspeaker sound, the Heritage Headphones deliberately tugs on your emotions; extracting every detail from studio recordings and revealing both presence and detail without sacrificing bass. Featuring a recessed 52mm biodynamic driver, the Heritage HP-3 expands the soundstage to mimic the imaging characteristics of speakers instead of conventional headphones. The HP-3 headphones deliver unsurpassed acoustic performance.

Klipsch HP-3

Klipsch HP-3

When you first start listening to the HP-3 there are a couple of things you’ll immediately notice: the bass impact, the airy delivery and the more V-shaped sound signature.

The sound stage is nicely wide but it’s smaller than let’s say the Sennheiser HD800 or the Focal Utopia. The sound stage to me is wider than it is deep and the layering is good but again not up to the level of the two mentioned competing headphones. This is valid for bass, mids and treble, so the full spectrum. The HP-3 has a good level of detail as a reference headphone should have and the extension also is up to this level.

The part on sound continues in full on Page Three of the review, after the click HERE (or below)

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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.

11 Comments

  • Reply March 25, 2018

    M Girvan

    Nice review, qualified well and allows me to get an idea what the HP-3 is all about. It sounds like I would very much like it, but would prefer better control and bass layering ability. I would like to suggest that you consider reviewing the Pioneer SE Monitor 5. I would be really interested in knowing how you hear it. Based on your take of the HP-3 I would predict that you would find in as much as a closed headphone can, that the Monitor 5 moves much closer to neutrality while still being a crafted signature with some pretty solid bass chops.

    • Reply March 25, 2018

      Lieven

      Thanks. The problem is you just can’t get Pioneer review samples :/

  • Reply April 15, 2018

    Mark

    Simply the VERY BEST headphone around.
    Not an headphone for the useless surgical audiophile but for the REAL Music lover!
    Thank you 🙂

  • Reply July 15, 2018

    March

    I’ve had these for a while, and while I question your assessment about the bass (not that it’s a bit overblown, but that it’s got poor texture), I generally agree with your impressions. As someone who listens to a lot of different genres I feel I’d be hard-pressed to use these as my sole HPs, but what the Klipsch does it does very well. My only regret is that there’s a tad too much energy in the treble for my liking, but I expect to become less treble sensitive in about a decade or so— I could consider these an investment until then.

  • Reply September 6, 2018

    plouplou

    Merci beaucoup pour ce test. Il m’a été d’une grande utilité pour me décider à acheter ce casque dont je suis pleinement satisfait. Néanmoins, j’ai une question.

    En effet, je suis à la recherche d’un ampli casque pour l’associé (budget 600 euros). J’utilise mon HP3 en ce moment avec un fiio Q1 ii avec un résultat très satisfaisant pour le prix.

    J’ai essayé le casque avec l’ampli klipsch de la même gamme, j’ai été très déçu du résultat. L’ampli était relié à un mac par usb audio. Je ne suis pas le seul à être déçu de ce branchement usb audio.

    Pour vous, y a-t-il une différence de qualité entre un branchement en usb audio et un branchement en RCA ou optique concernant l’ampli Klispch ? L’ampli Klipsch Heritage mérite-t-il que je le réessaye avec d’autres types de branchement?

    Merci d’avance,

  • Reply September 6, 2018

    Lieven

    I always seem to prefer coaxial over USB, but in this case I don’t think it will make much difference…

  • Reply September 6, 2018

    plouplou

    Je vais réessayer l’ampli Klipsch une dernière fois. Auriez-vous des suggestions concernant un ampli qui se marierait bien avec le HP3 dans cette gamme de prix (600 euros)? J’aime beaucoup la signature sonore en V.

    Merci pour votre travail.

    • Reply September 27, 2018

      Mike I

      Ampli seul ou ampli-DAC ?

  • Reply October 9, 2018

    plouplou

    I come back to you because I received the dedicated Heritage amp that I could try a lot this weekend. I do not regret my choice. I had the impression to clamp my HP3 headset in use with the Fiio Q1 ii even if it does not go wrong. The advantage is that I could feel the difference from Q1 to Klipsch amp, having been used to the first.

    And there is nothing to say. If there are sedentary amps is that it serves something: more power, width of scene, simply. In the end, after being seen as budget helmets, this association is the one that gave me the most pleasure. Not to mention the aesthetics and the quality of the materials used.

  • Reply December 22, 2018

    Shane D

    Nice review. It sounds like I would like these ‘phones. I prefer Fun over Neutral. I am not wowed by Audeze and I bought and then sold Senn HD6XX.

    There is a dealer that has a demo pair on sale…still at the high end of my budget. Especially when you can’t hear them first. I use the Sony NW-ZX300.

    What to do, what to do…😊

  • Reply September 3, 2019

    andrew ganley

    Good review,i recently purchased the Focal Clear and while loving the sound and build,not overly pleased with the finish.
    I first came across these HP3s online at YouTube and fell for the drop dead gorgeous look and box!
    Wether they are better sounding then my Focal’s is some thing for me to audition
    but if looks can kill these maybe for me!

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