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Hifiman Edition XS - poor highs?

_thelaughingman

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Just return it and get something else. It's not like the XS is some endgame headphone anyway so why try to fix it's flaws?

The XS is one of those hyped headphones that has quite a fanbase. This kind of following is often partly result of self reinforcement bias by buyers who first went trough countless reviews before spending big bucks (for them) and want to keep on believing they made the right choice. When you have the headphones you just have to forget all the reviews and opinions and focus on if they really are worth it to YOU.

If you can fix the problems with EQ then that's good, most headphones need some anyway. But if you can't and there are other things like Hifiman QC and lacking comfort, and you can get your money back then just get rid of it and try again.
I honestly don’t think the XS are as bad as you describe them to be. Most headphones have flaws, there is no headphone better than the other. End of the day it’s the personal taste and preferences of a person that matter the most on the likability of the headphones.
They’re definitely not end game but they’re a good choice in the planar competition.
 

bodhi

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I honestly don’t think the XS are as bad as you describe them to be. Most headphones have flaws, there is no headphone better than the other. End of the day it’s the personal taste and preferences of a person that matter the most on the likability of the headphones.
They’re definitely not end game but they’re a good choice in the planar competition.

You misunderstand me. My point of view was the user's experiences. And when those were somewhat negative that tells me that the headphone, for that specific user, is most likely trash. For somebody else it might be TOTL.

What I was trying to say that if a headphone already has flaws that cannot be fixed with EQ then it makes no sense spending money trying to fix it or trying to find out why you don't like it even when dozen youtube reviews say it's the best. Just let if go and try something different which in this case could be LCD-2 Classic or DCA Aeon RT.
 

NDRQ

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You mean Arya > than the others and not < ;)? The problem is that a balanced 3m cable is expensive so it destroys the good price from the XS a bit.
The Arya's sound is leaner in the low end and more sibilant in he highs than the Ananda or the XS so in my opinion it is not better, the often mentioned "extra detail" only comes from the boosted high range.

Btw why do you even need balanced cable? Dont tell me that it is improving the sound...:D
 

majingotan

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I tried lots of planar, but none of them were really realistic, their sound is generally kinda plasticky, with more or less unnatural timbre, depending the model.
The warmer ones are better, because the thicker sound masks very well the weirdness in the upper mids/highs.
But they are usually more airy, open, especially hifimans, i guess that why many people think that they are more "natural". But even though that more "airy" and "detailed" sound coming from the combination of the usually boosted highs and lean lows.

I don’t claim that all planars sound realistic. Only Planars that sound realistic to my own HTRF is Aeon X Open, Noire, Stealth, Expanse and Susvara (all other Hifiman models don’t and that’s because their treble response sound fake to my HTRF). My I haven’t encountered a DD that reproduces bass lines as lifelike as a planar (DDs always have some sort of coloration and underdamped decays while planars have perfect attack and decay in the step response and realistic and lifelike bottom end tonality/timbre)
 

NexusOne

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Btw why do you even need balanced cable? Dont tell me that it is improving the sound...:D
No. Only More Power and if you have an balanced Dac and amp. Highs? But then you Should Rank the xs bettet than the Ananda? Ananda with More highs? I would usw it for Rock Music and Movies. I Had hd560s, r70x and th610 before. I think the Hifiman could be a good upgrade.
 

NDRQ

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XS is basically the same as Ananda, but with a little bit more low end as i remember.

On the other topic, nowadays you can buy amplifiers even for 100-200 usd that have more than enough power for 99% of the headphone world, thats why i think that there is no real reason to go balanced. For example the 110 usd Magni can push 2.3W into 32ohm...
 

Blorg

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@PH14 The Ananda headband should fit the Edition XS, if you could get it. But I don't know of anywhere that you can buy it by itself. The dimensions of the egg cups are different to the round cup Hifimans and round cup headbands won't fit. I just bent the metal arms inwards to increase clamp force and added a headband cover which provides a bit more contact area, with those changes I find it very comfortable. Sibilance, is an EQ matter, possibly also a getting used to matter (as most Hifimans are quite bright) I wouldn't go trying to fix it with pads. Try Oratory1990's Harman EQ.
 

DEALUX

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The Hifimans have a nice airy/vivid presentation to the highs but a lot of their headphones are riddled with sharp/narrow resonances that give the treble a brittle character.
 
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PH14

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One thing about Hifiman: their service desk is awake. Just got a reply:
"Thanks for contacting us. Please kindly note that there is no headband of other models compatible with Edition XS. Sorry for the inconvenience."

@Blorg - see beginning of thread. Oratory's tuning definitely does not agree with me, and it even does nothing to diminish sibilence.
 

Blorg

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@PH14 it's a starting point that smooths over the peaks.

If you don't want elevated bass, just leave that out.

I'd tend to try reducing the upper mids (band 5- shoutiness) to see if this helps.

You can do a tone sweep to identify where the peaks are for you and make sure they're in the same place. Identify where the sibilance is and reduce that.

EQ is far more likely to help you with sibilance than new pads.

The reality is the Ananda headband WOULD fit the Edition XS, the cups are identical. But you can't get it aftermarket.
 

Lambo1985

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I have 20+ pairs of HP's, including all the popular closed backs (ATH-M50x/40x, SRH840/a HD280/380pro), HD600/6xx/660s/560s/580/595/598/599, Sundara, Ananda Stealth, Edition XS, DT1990/990/880/770, and many more. and the XS is my favorite of them all. To my ear, it is almost perfectly tuned. All headphones need EQ, and your mileage may vary based on physical dimensions and space. There will always be sonic compromises. Just gotta try and find the best balance that suits you. I know people that LOVE the 660s over what I like, and to me, it is all mids with no bass or treble. Everyone's different. Its a pain, but you have to try things out until you are happy.
 

NexusOne

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The only thing is: Topping could be not the best solution for the XS. Maybe too clean and bright? But if you need a remote the only solution is Burson which is at least 3x the price from the XS. Tricky...
 
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PH14

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@Lambo1985 the problem is sofar those that sounded great were very uncomfortable and vice versa :(
 

growbag

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Hi,

I've also noticed a lot of sibilance/harshness on these, depending on the track. Listening on spotify/quobuz to 'You Can't Hurry Love' or 'Baby Love' by The Supremes, or 'Rock'n'Roll Star' by Oasis are pretty bad examples. I think these tracks are a little sibilant anyway, but it's certainly really exaggerated on the Edition XS. I can hear the same sibilance on my HD560s, but it just sounds like a mildly irritating defect in the recording on those headphones - on the Edition XS, it becomes really distracting and even painful. On tracks where this effect isn't present, the Edition XS are pretty amazing to my ears so I'm keeping them.

This is my second pair of Edition XS - I had another pair a couple of months ago (which I don't have anymore). I'm not sure if there's been a revision, or if it's unit variance, or my imagination - but I think the first pair were looser on the head, and less harsh. But I can't say for sure whether I listened to the same tracks or not, I might have just not hit problematic songs on the first set. I don't remember ever finding them harsh though and listened quite a lot in the two weeks I had them.

On the fit - the news ones, feel tighter, and don't hurt the top of my head in the same way since the clamp seems to hold them better taking pressure of the top of my head. Again though, I'm going from memory. And I've had a haircut in the meantime!

Thanks,

G
 

GM3

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The thing also is that some tracks are sibilant/harsh/etc.. So if you have a set of headphones that aren't sibilant; or more accurately reduce the sibilant frequencies, their flaw (dip/reduced frequency) might help make sibilant recordings sound less sibilant. For harsh/sibilant recordings it's great, but it will hurt a non-sibilant/non-harsh recordings, as it will reduce what might have already have been reduced during mastering; so make good/great recordings seem dull... The opposite; brighter headphone make dull recordings less dull, etc.

So how do you as a human find a reference? Finding correct frame of reference is not easy; requires experience or known reference... I'm sure many are already used to flaws which correspond to their 'neutral' (ex; non-sibilant, non-harsh) sound. Then anything which is actually neutral will be for them harsh/sibilant.

It's what's annoying with EQ also, you never know if it's gear or recording, and some EQ settings might be great for some records and bad for others... For me, it's often attempting to look at measurements and fix/tweak stuff, but again, going from recording to recording, often varying results, so even if tweaked to perfection on one track, it might just sound awful on another; or just better without it on average. So issue if you're trying to be too precise with EQ: Almost a never-ending tweak quest that never seems to have a final answer. So yeah, that sort of EQ granularity not a good idea, as solderdude said: "people should not try to EQ the small wiggles". Better just go for 'general' treble vs bass vs mids as opposed to 'fix' headphone via FR measurements or by ear to fix some track/issue you think you're hearing.. (imho/experience..)

Also as pretty much all headphones have peaks/dips, might be inevitable that you'll find some recordings/sounds with similar peaks to the headphones, which will sound better/worse vs others... No perfect headphone.. :\
 
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growbag

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GM3 yes I understand what you mean. I've tried to EQ headphones in the past, and still do mess around a little, but generally I just don't... I find it hard to stop tweaking once I start. I generally just accept that they're not perfect, and enjoy the good qualities. For certain tracks, I just turn down the volume more than others!
 

majingotan

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GM3 yes I understand what you mean. I've tried to EQ headphones in the past, and still do mess around a little, but generally I just don't... I find it hard to stop tweaking once I start. I generally just accept that they're not perfect, and enjoy the good qualities. For certain tracks, I just turn down the volume more than others!

From my own HTRF ear response, ONLY the Susvara gets everything right in the HiFiman lineup. No harsh treble, no dull or muted treble, just very realistic, non-fatiguing, incredibly presented lifelike treble. Mids and bass reproduction are just perfect (unless you're a basshead). If you want 95% of Susvara at a 1/15th the price, DCA Aeon X Open is the ONLY answer (yes it has ALL of that Susvara traits, including detail and resolution, courtesy of low distortion performance, but dialed down to 10 rather than 11 max). Never needed to EQ these headphones based on my HTRF response
 

Lambo1985

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The only thing is: Topping could be not the best solution for the XS. Maybe too clean and bright? But if you need a remote the only solution is Burson which is at least 3x the price from the XS. Tricky...
My safe space is (believe it or not) an M50x with wicked cushion pads. It's super comfortable, an all-rounder, and is malleable with EQ.
 

NDRQ

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The only thing is: Topping could be not the best solution for the XS. Maybe too clean and bright? But if you need a remote the only solution is Burson which is at least 3x the price from the XS. Tricky...
Stop this stupid audiophool stuff.
1. That Topping is neutral.
2. Even the so called colored tube garbages doesnt really alter the sound, except adding some distortion.
 

growbag

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Doing a tone sweep and messing with eq, it seems to me the sharpness/sibilance on mine comes from around 9khz. But all the measurements I see have a big dip there. Is this likely to be due to personal sensitivity or unit variance? If anyone hasa chance to try the songs I mentioned above and see whether they find the same sharpness I'd be very curious!
 
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