Review: Klipsch Hp-3 Heritage

Klipsch HP-3

DAP

A high end headphone deserves a high end DAP, so we’ll just be looking at the following three DAPs.

The warmer and full bodied Sony NW-WMZ1 makes the HP-3 very rich from top to bottom. I really like how this combination does vocals as well as they’re very natural. The treble here is soft and there’s no sibilance to be found at all. Bass body is reasonably in control – of course it’s bigger than neutral – but I actually expected this combo to produce more bass. The mids are rich and natural and it’s just a very nice and easy to listen to combination. If you don’t have the Heritage DAC/Amp, then this setup is your ideal relaxation combo. Your volume dial will go up quite a bit though.

Klipsch HP-3

Klipsch HP-3

From the Astell&Kern SP1000 you get a snappier, faster sound that’s more energetic. You get a more dynamic upper mid and treble part, but the voices don’t sound as sexy as with the Sony. Bass is a lot more in control here and it’s lighter in body. This goes for the mid body as well (even more so) and that brings us back to the more v-shaped sound we’ve talked about so much now. I expected the treble harshness as well here but with the same songs I couldn’t reproduce it. (which of course is good). Like with the WM1Z, the volume went up quite a bit.

The Luxury & Precision L6 is all about delivering the best possible sound and those of you that have read my last reviews now know I described its sound as a mix of the two above DAPs. The result again is a very rich sound, with one of the best layering so far. The L6 has great L/R balance and it makes the HP-3’s bass really punchy and in control. The V-shaped signature is very obvious but the treble just is so well done. The result is a tight, musical, very rich sound with the snappiness of the SP1000 and the smoothness of the Sony. The perfect DAP for the HP-3? Possibly so.

Klipsch HP-3

Klipsch HP-3

After listening to all these different amps and sources and the effect they had on the HP-3’s sound, I really was curious to hook it up directly to my Samsung S6. After all, Klipsch did state the HP-3 can be driven by anything. Personally I don’t think that the majority of people buying a $1K full sized headphone will use it straight out of their phone, but there’s always the possibility. I was actually pleasantly surprised with how the HP-3 performed. Yes I almost had to turn the volume up all the way but the result was quite nice. Bass: big but loose, voices: smooth and natural, mids: rich and spacious, treble soft and musical with no harshness. For me it’s good to know it can be done with a more than just satisfactory result, but I’ll take the HP-3 with an amp anytime.

Comparisons

The only other dynamic headphones in my collection I want to compare the HP-3 to are the Focal Utopia, the Sennheiser HD800 and the Beyerdynamic DT1990PRO.

The Senn and the Utopia have a far more audiophile tuning than the HP-3 has. They are cleaner, wider, deeper, faster more precise and more in control. They both extend better and have a linear approach compared to the v-shape of the HP-3. The Klipsch couldn’t be any more different and if one of these two headphones has the ideal sound for you, you really won’t like the HP-3’s tuning. At the same time I can say that the HP-3 is very complementary to these two headphones as it’s very musical, smooth and it has a warm sound. Something that can’t be said of the Senn and the Focal.

Klipsch HP-3

Klipsch HP-3

The Beyerdynamic DT1990PRO has much lighter bass body wise but it’s more qualitative with more detail and better layering. The Beyer for sure also has a more v-shaped sound but where the HP-3 is a fun, smooth and warm headphone, the DT1990PRO was developed for studio use. It’s more precise, faster and thinner with a neutral approach to sound. Again a very different headphone.

Conclusion

The Klipsch HP-3 is a unique headphone. You usually don’t come across a flagship with this specific tuning. The HP-3 has more than average bass, a v-shaped signature and energetic treble, and I’m putting that mildly. The musical enjoyment level is very high and that combined with the richness it produces make the HP-3 a pure joy to listen to.

The HP-3 is liquidly smooth and warm, and it’s made to enjoy your music and not analyze it. Bass is really big for a TOTL model and that’s something I didn’t expect even though Klipsch is kind of known for it.

Klipsch HP-3

Klipsch HP-3

I really enjoyed my non critical listening with the HP-3. On top of that it’s gorgeous, perfectly build and it comes in a great box. If you have the cash, want a high end phone and you prefer musicality and bass over neutrality and precision, than the Klipsch HP-3 probably is the right headphone for you.

Beautiful, just beautiful. Thank you again BELHiFi for the sample!

Review: Klipsch Hp-3 Heritage
4 (79.05%) 42 vote[s]

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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.

10 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…😊

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