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Hifiman Edition XS

mr.at

Member
Joined
Sep 20, 2019
Messages
68
Likes
83
Hi guys.

So guys, a little BACKGROUND first:

I'd heard the Hifiman Edition X a looooooong time ago (prob 2016ish) and was really like... wow. But it was out of my [wallet's] league. Couple of years down and we're graced with the presence of the Massdrop x Hifiman Edition XX. I wanted to take a bite so bad - but then the availability, shipping times, duties and the mixed reviews didn't get my anywhere.

I was just strolling on AliExpress casually and lo and behold - saw the Hifiman Edition XS on AliExpress; just stumbled upon it. For $441ish, it really got me going and then I decided okay, I gotta get this now. Stealth magnets - thinner diaphragm - but most importantly, a price tag at less than $450!

Finally filled my cravings and ordered one off Hifigo. Maybe I could have waited for some reviews. But I knew I had to get one of the egg-shaped Hifimans now, enough is enough. So I bit the bullet - and I'm so glad that I did when I did.

I'm really - REALLY loving what I hear. Again, this may be quite subjective at this moment, but I'll throw in some initial impressions and details here with some photos. I don't see an Edition XS thread here so I'm going to put some info here.

I've read that this is [at the moment], a China-only edition, and will arrive in other markets soon - not sure how true this is.

HIFIMAN EDITION XS
[Impressions]

BUILD AND COMFORT:

Build quality is fine. Cups are plastic, they look okay, probably help keep the weight or the costs down, so I can understand the choice.

Good to see a more flexible swivel mechanism. It can be a bit flimsy, as a bit freely rotating a bit free shaking, but not too bad. Feels good to see the notched stepped cups extension slider. And this doesn't seem like the cheaper, scratchy implementation on the Sundaras.

The newer headband is well padded, and although a bit firm, it contours nicely with the head.

Weight distribution is good. Comfort could be just a tad bit better.

- EARPADS: Some misses on comfort could be because of the pads as they're a bit firm, and the fabric material on the pads that touch your ears/face may interact with facial hair. It gets a bit off after sometimes, so I've also ordered sheepskin earpads for these.

The cable is average - it's the same cable as the one with the HE-4XX. No great, but not terrible.

The yokes and the grills are the visible metal parts.

Drivers: dual-sided stealth magnets with yet, an even thinner diaphragm <<< (according to Hifiman).

SOUND:

Overall sound signature: I find them quite balanced. Passive damping is very good - can hear everything outside when not playing, which adds to a natural, speaker-like presentation to the sound. Non-fatiguing, laid back listening with nuances ever so pronounced. I'd say, a V tending towards a U curve, something like that - if that means anything.

Soundstage: As with most Hifimans, and better than the 4X0 series cans - the soundstage is good, with the vocals often taking the center spot. The soundstage, though not being huge, is quite big and tall as well as wide.

Mids: The mids are good - soft, relaxed sound overall with really inoffensive vocal delivery - not the best mids, but quite natural (to me) at that - I like the whole package. They're a bit laid back, but never too extreme at any point - almost never.

Treble: the treble extended - may get a bit hot, but nothing to seriously worry about. There's always a bit of a shine up there in Hifimans, but I don't find it too bothersome.

Bass: The bass and sub-bass regions are well textured and extended, and though not super punchy or dynamic, still present and satisfying. An owner suggests they go down to 10Hz, but I'm feeling more like 20Hz here. Still, with such large diaphragms, a wall of sound would be safe choice of words, and that translates most definitively in the lower frequencies.

Definition: How the highs are delivered definitely makes them rich and detailed - the airiness and definition is sound is there, well textured in the upper ranges - like I mentioned, the nuances are quite there in that region. They're not crazy detailed, but enough to spot out the ambient sounds in orchestral recordings.

Airiness: Definitely airy, and that really increases the scale of the sound - the headphones do attempt often to be forgotten and add immersion to it.

Imaging: Imaging is one of the stronger points here - I feel quite stellar. Top, bottom and wide, imaging is definitely attempting to be precise here or at least closer, with distinction and layers there.

Presentation: The L/R separation is quite nice and more than my other cans. This is the second of third pair of headphones that gives me the feeling of bookshelf speakers when I'm listening to them - the other two being the EMU Teak (open back modded) and the Focal Elex. I adore this kind of presentation where one can easily settle for headphones instead at those moments, and one doesn't miss their speakers as much. How I perceive this is that it requires low damping and more pronounced dynamics, both of which I can find in the Edition XS.

Music I listen to: Electronic (Trance, Deephouse, DNB, Trap etc.), occasional Orchestral, Jazz, OSTs etc. Preferably music with good bass and sub-bass.

WRAPPING UP:

At the price, it's definitely a step up from the 4X0 series and a reminiscent of the Edition X sound to me (which I adore).

It hits the final nail on my planar collection really well (400i, 4xx, Monolith M1060C) and I can say that it's the best of my bunch. I do have a Focal Elex, Senn H6XXs, EMU Teaks and other [inferior per me] cans. I can say the Edition XS sound thick and laid back (what I like about the EMU Teaks), and more open and airy than the Focal Elex, with an even better soundstage than the Focals (many know the Focals are a bit shy there).
I don't have the Focals with me at the moment (those were my previous endgame headphones), but it seems that the Edition XS may be ahead of them in many attributes, except perhaps not in dynamics and punchiness. But these do feel like my personal end-game with the Focal Elex giving me a complimenting flavor.

I am very happy with them, though I must state that this may or may not apply to you, as I have not heard the Ananda or the Arya or the Edition X V2 or any others up the line to compare, so I can't quite comment how this would sound for an owner of either of those previous ones. But these probably may be mid-tier endgame for some folks.

For the price, the range of Hifiman's egg-shaped headphones cult has now been made even more accessible to the masses, and it's a welcoming move! I can finally sleep well!

PS: I did a little disassembly for you to see the components better if it helps anyone.

EDIT: A couple of us early buyers are giving out there impressions (you can check head-fi, hifi-guides etc.) and so far, we're all a happy little bunch - just sayin...
 

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Last edited:
OP
mr.at

mr.at

Member
Joined
Sep 20, 2019
Messages
68
Likes
83
Lol, went to HifiGo to have a look and they're sold out. Nice price though.
Yeah it's been like that for over a week now - I think I was one of the last ones to order when they were still in stock... don't know if AliExpress will work for you - there's enough on there. But I couldn't wait for rather long shipping times so...
 

ngs428

Active Member
Joined
Nov 21, 2018
Messages
234
Likes
190
Linsoul has them on pre order. I am interested to see some graphs on these.

 

DrEric

New Member
Joined
Nov 21, 2021
Messages
3
Likes
2
Hi guys.

So guys, a little BACKGROUND first:

I'd heard the Hifiman Edition X a looooooong time ago (prob 2016ish) and was really like... wow. But it was out of my [wallet's] league. Couple of years down and we're graced with the presence of the Massdrop x Hifiman Edition XX. I wanted to take a bite so bad - but then the availability, shipping times, duties and the mixed reviews didn't get my anywhere.

I was just strolling on AliExpress casually and lo and behold - saw the Hifiman Edition XS on AliExpress; just stumbled upon it. For $441ish, it really got me going and then I decided okay, I gotta get this now. Stealth magnets - thinner diaphragm - but most importantly, a price tag at less than $450!

Finally filled my cravings and ordered one off Hifigo. Maybe I could have waited for some reviews. But I knew I had to get one of the egg-shaped Hifimans now, enough is enough. So I bit the bullet - and I'm so glad that I did when I did.

I'm really - REALLY loving what I hear. Again, this may be quite subjective at this moment, but I'll throw in some initial impressions and details here with some photos. I don't see an Edition XS thread here so I'm going to put some info here.

I've read that this is [at the moment], a China-only edition, and will arrive in other markets soon - not sure how true this is.

HIFIMAN EDITION XS
[Impressions]

BUILD AND COMFORT:

Build quality is fine. Cups are plastic, they look okay, probably help keep the weight or the costs down, so I can understand the choice.

Good to see a more flexible swivel mechanism. It can be a bit flimsy, as a bit freely rotating a bit free shaking, but not too bad. Feels good to see the notched stepped cups extension slider. And this doesn't seem like the cheaper, scratchy implementation on the Sundaras.

The newer headband is well padded, and although a bit firm, it contours nicely with the head.

Weight distribution is good. Comfort could be just a tad bit better.

- EARPADS: Some misses on comfort could be because of the pads as they're a bit firm, and the fabric material on the pads that touch your ears/face may interact with facial hair. It gets a bit off after sometimes, so I've also ordered sheepskin earpads for these.

The cable is average - it's the same cable as the one with the HE-4XX. No great, but not terrible.

The yokes and the grills are the visible metal parts.

Drivers: dual-sided stealth magnets with yet, an even thinner diaphragm <<< (according to Hifiman).

SOUND:

Overall sound signature: I find them quite balanced. Passive damping is very good - can hear everything outside when not playing, which adds to a natural, speaker-like presentation to the sound. Non-fatiguing, laid back listening with nuances ever so pronounced. I'd say, a V tending towards a U curve, something like that - if that means anything.

Soundstage: As with most Hifimans, and better than the 4X0 series cans - the soundstage is good, with the vocals often taking the center spot. The soundstage, though not being huge, is quite big and tall as well as wide.

Mids: The mids are good - soft, relaxed sound overall with really inoffensive vocal delivery - not the best mids, but quite natural (to me) at that - I like the whole package. They're a bit laid back, but never too extreme at any point - almost never.

Treble: the treble extended - may get a bit hot, but nothing to seriously worry about. There's always a bit of a shine up there in Hifimans, but I don't find it too bothersome.

Bass: The bass and sub-bass regions are well textured and extended, and though not super punchy or dynamic, still present and satisfying. An owner suggests they go down to 10Hz, but I'm feeling more like 20Hz here. Still, with such large diaphragms, a wall of sound would be safe choice of words, and that translates most definitively in the lower frequencies.

Definition: How the highs are delivered definitely makes them rich and detailed - the airiness and definition is sound is there, well textured in the upper ranges - like I mentioned, the nuances are quite there in that region. They're not crazy detailed, but enough to spot out the ambient sounds in orchestral recordings.

Airiness: Definitely airy, and that really increases the scale of the sound - the headphones do attempt often to be forgotten and add immersion to it.

Imaging: Imaging is one of the stronger points here - I feel quite stellar. Top, bottom and wide, imaging is definitely attempting to be precise here or at least closer, with distinction and layers there.

Presentation: The L/R separation is quite nice and more than my other cans. This is the second of third pair of headphones that gives me the feeling of bookshelf speakers when I'm listening to them - the other two being the EMU Teak (open back modded) and the Focal Elex. I adore this kind of presentation where one can easily settle for headphones instead at those moments, and one doesn't miss their speakers as much. How I perceive this is that it requires low damping and more pronounced dynamics, both of which I can find in the Edition XS.

Music I listen to: Electronic (Trance, Deephouse, DNB, Trap etc.), occasional Orchestral, Jazz, OSTs etc. Preferably music with good bass and sub-bass.

WRAPPING UP:

At the price, it's definitely a step up from the 4X0 series and a reminiscent of the Edition X sound to me (which I adore).

It hits the final nail on my planar collection really well (400i, 4xx, Monolith M1060C) and I can say that it's the best of my bunch. I do have a Focal Elex, Senn H6XXs, EMU Teaks and other [inferior per me] cans. I can say the Edition XS sound thick and laid back (what I like about the EMU Teaks), and more open and airy than the Focal Elex, with an even better soundstage than the Focals (many know the Focals are a bit shy there).
I don't have the Focals with me at the moment (those were my previous endgame headphones), but it seems that the Edition XS may be ahead of them in many attributes, except perhaps not in dynamics and punchiness. But these do feel like my personal end-game with the Focal Elex giving me a complimenting flavor.

I am very happy with them, though I must state that this may or may not apply to you, as I have not heard the Ananda or the Arya or the Edition X V2 or any others up the line to compare, so I can't quite comment how this would sound for an owner of either of those previous ones. But these probably may be mid-tier endgame for some folks.

For the price, the range of Hifiman's egg-shaped headphones cult has now been made even more accessible to the masses, and it's a welcoming move! I can finally sleep well!

PS: I did a little disassembly for you to see the components better if it helps anyone.

EDIT: A couple of us early buyers are giving out there impressions (you can check head-fi, hifi-guides etc.) and so far, we're all a happy little bunch - just sayin...
Fantastic review, thanks for all the work and sharing. Can you compare to the HiFiMan 4XX you have? Clearly, there is a huge price difference. I have the 4XX now, thinking about upgrading to this new model or the Ananda on sale now. Thanks again!
 
OP
mr.at

mr.at

Member
Joined
Sep 20, 2019
Messages
68
Likes
83
Fantastic review, thanks for all the work and sharing. Can you compare to the HiFiMan 4XX you have? Clearly, there is a huge price difference. I have the 4XX now, thinking about upgrading to this new model or the Ananda on sale now. Thanks again!
Hi - most certainly my friend.

So I feel the 4XX are not too far behind TBH. They have a bit forward mids, similar mid and upper bass. The soundstage though is just a bit smaller. Also, the mids, though more forward, feel a bit thinner in comparison on the 4XX.

The XS feel like a bigger wall of sound, naturally, as they physically are bigger - the timbre feels more natural and organic. They have bass that goes down flatter - they feel thicker in sound - not louder per se, but thicker, in the roll-off especially in the bass - they go down flatter, and I hear the 20hz zone more distinctly. They're more open, less in your ears, more airy. The soundstage is larger, the separation and imaging is more distinct, there's more details - overall, a bit more laid back, but definitely the better headphone.

Hifiman was not kidding when they say the headphones 'disappear'. They definitely do - don't get me wrong, they're not the most comfortable thing to wear (I will be changing the pads with sheepskin ones I've received, as the stock pads should probably be replaced), and the weight you do feel a bit, again, cuz of the pads material (that fiber is finely finessed but gets itchy a bit). But when they're playing music, [the drivers] they definitely disappear. If they were just a tad more comfortable, the 'feeling of them on your head' would also disappear. And surely they do feel more comfortable to me than the 4XX, which are a bit clampy, and the sound of which doesn't quite encompass or immerse one's head as much.

Far as the Ananda, some folks are preferring this over the Ananda's as the XS are more like the Edition X series (obviously) which I believe then to be thicker sounding and warmer, so you may want to get more feedback on the Ananda vs. the XS. Also I can't get over the possible issues with the Ananda's headband (the last generation of headbands) - I'm not sure if those have a swivel feature, but that kind of stopped me from getting those eggHifimans - lucky to find this new XS with a better headband - it's definitely a better headband now, at least not any worse than the legacy 4XX headband or the most popular Edition X/He1000/He400i/Arya suspension strap headband. New headband definitely looks the most refined and least dorky, and definitely feels and fits fine and snug.

My absolutely most favorite appreciation of the XS is that it's only fatigue-free headphone in my arsenal, and almost the most detailed (Elex feels a tad bit more detailed here, but again, it doesn't have the soundstage or the airiness this offers). Feels effortless too.

Hope all this helps you.
 

DrEric

New Member
Joined
Nov 21, 2021
Messages
3
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2
Awesome - thanks again. Which replacement ear pads are you getting? Do they just slip on and off, or require a special adapter? Which ear pads in general will fit? (meaning, pads that will fit which other models also?). That will make it easier to ID choices of replacements.
 
OP
mr.at

mr.at

Member
Joined
Sep 20, 2019
Messages
68
Likes
83
Awesome - thanks again. Which replacement ear pads are you getting? Do they just slip on and off, or require a special adapter? Which ear pads in general will fit? (meaning, pads that will fit which other models also?). That will make it easier to ID choices of replacements.
Yes I got some cheap sheepskin ones off AliExpress - same ones titled as Edition X/Ananda/Arya pads. They cost a measly $20 incl. shipping. Ones with adaptors are quite expensive though - upwards of $40 for leather ones - I think these stick-on ones will do fine for me.
 

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Zenairis

Member
Joined
Jun 27, 2021
Messages
15
Likes
6
Hi guys.

So guys, a little BACKGROUND first:

I'd heard the Hifiman Edition X a looooooong time ago (prob 2016ish) and was really like... wow. But it was out of my [wallet's] league. Couple of years down and we're graced with the presence of the Massdrop x Hifiman Edition XX. I wanted to take a bite so bad - but then the availability, shipping times, duties and the mixed reviews didn't get my anywhere.

I was just strolling on AliExpress casually and lo and behold - saw the Hifiman Edition XS on AliExpress; just stumbled upon it. For $441ish, it really got me going and then I decided okay, I gotta get this now. Stealth magnets - thinner diaphragm - but most importantly, a price tag at less than $450!

Finally filled my cravings and ordered one off Hifigo. Maybe I could have waited for some reviews. But I knew I had to get one of the egg-shaped Hifimans now, enough is enough. So I bit the bullet - and I'm so glad that I did when I did.

I'm really - REALLY loving what I hear. Again, this may be quite subjective at this moment, but I'll throw in some initial impressions and details here with some photos. I don't see an Edition XS thread here so I'm going to put some info here.

I've read that this is [at the moment], a China-only edition, and will arrive in other markets soon - not sure how true this is.

HIFIMAN EDITION XS
[Impressions]

BUILD AND COMFORT:

Build quality is fine. Cups are plastic, they look okay, probably help keep the weight or the costs down, so I can understand the choice.

Good to see a more flexible swivel mechanism. It can be a bit flimsy, as a bit freely rotating a bit free shaking, but not too bad. Feels good to see the notched stepped cups extension slider. And this doesn't seem like the cheaper, scratchy implementation on the Sundaras.

The newer headband is well padded, and although a bit firm, it contours nicely with the head.

Weight distribution is good. Comfort could be just a tad bit better.

- EARPADS: Some misses on comfort could be because of the pads as they're a bit firm, and the fabric material on the pads that touch your ears/face may interact with facial hair. It gets a bit off after sometimes, so I've also ordered sheepskin earpads for these.

The cable is average - it's the same cable as the one with the HE-4XX. No great, but not terrible.

The yokes and the grills are the visible metal parts.

Drivers: dual-sided stealth magnets with yet, an even thinner diaphragm <<< (according to Hifiman).

SOUND:

Overall sound signature: I find them quite balanced. Passive damping is very good - can hear everything outside when not playing, which adds to a natural, speaker-like presentation to the sound. Non-fatiguing, laid back listening with nuances ever so pronounced. I'd say, a V tending towards a U curve, something like that - if that means anything.

Soundstage: As with most Hifimans, and better than the 4X0 series cans - the soundstage is good, with the vocals often taking the center spot. The soundstage, though not being huge, is quite big and tall as well as wide.

Mids: The mids are good - soft, relaxed sound overall with really inoffensive vocal delivery - not the best mids, but quite natural (to me) at that - I like the whole package. They're a bit laid back, but never too extreme at any point - almost never.

Treble: the treble extended - may get a bit hot, but nothing to seriously worry about. There's always a bit of a shine up there in Hifimans, but I don't find it too bothersome.

Bass: The bass and sub-bass regions are well textured and extended, and though not super punchy or dynamic, still present and satisfying. An owner suggests they go down to 10Hz, but I'm feeling more like 20Hz here. Still, with such large diaphragms, a wall of sound would be safe choice of words, and that translates most definitively in the lower frequencies.

Definition: How the highs are delivered definitely makes them rich and detailed - the airiness and definition is sound is there, well textured in the upper ranges - like I mentioned, the nuances are quite there in that region. They're not crazy detailed, but enough to spot out the ambient sounds in orchestral recordings.

Airiness: Definitely airy, and that really increases the scale of the sound - the headphones do attempt often to be forgotten and add immersion to it.

Imaging: Imaging is one of the stronger points here - I feel quite stellar. Top, bottom and wide, imaging is definitely attempting to be precise here or at least closer, with distinction and layers there.

Presentation: The L/R separation is quite nice and more than my other cans. This is the second of third pair of headphones that gives me the feeling of bookshelf speakers when I'm listening to them - the other two being the EMU Teak (open back modded) and the Focal Elex. I adore this kind of presentation where one can easily settle for headphones instead at those moments, and one doesn't miss their speakers as much. How I perceive this is that it requires low damping and more pronounced dynamics, both of which I can find in the Edition XS.

Music I listen to: Electronic (Trance, Deephouse, DNB, Trap etc.), occasional Orchestral, Jazz, OSTs etc. Preferably music with good bass and sub-bass.

WRAPPING UP:

At the price, it's definitely a step up from the 4X0 series and a reminiscent of the Edition X sound to me (which I adore).

It hits the final nail on my planar collection really well (400i, 4xx, Monolith M1060C) and I can say that it's the best of my bunch. I do have a Focal Elex, Senn H6XXs, EMU Teaks and other [inferior per me] cans. I can say the Edition XS sound thick and laid back (what I like about the EMU Teaks), and more open and airy than the Focal Elex, with an even better soundstage than the Focals (many know the Focals are a bit shy there).
I don't have the Focals with me at the moment (those were my previous endgame headphones), but it seems that the Edition XS may be ahead of them in many attributes, except perhaps not in dynamics and punchiness. But these do feel like my personal end-game with the Focal Elex giving me a complimenting flavor.

I am very happy with them, though I must state that this may or may not apply to you, as I have not heard the Ananda or the Arya or the Edition X V2 or any others up the line to compare, so I can't quite comment how this would sound for an owner of either of those previous ones. But these probably may be mid-tier endgame for some folks.

For the price, the range of Hifiman's egg-shaped headphones cult has now been made even more accessible to the masses, and it's a welcoming move! I can finally sleep well!

PS: I did a little disassembly for you to see the components better if it helps anyone.

EDIT: A couple of us early buyers are giving out there impressions (you can check head-fi, hifi-guides etc.) and so far, we're all a happy little bunch - just sayin...

You may want to try the Arya as well. I AB'd them with the Focal Elex many, many times and eventually found myself prefering the Arya pretty much every time. They have slightly less punch than the Elex do but destroy them everywhere else. (I went through and replaced the cables on my D90SE/A90 and the Arya cable with pure silver cables this increase the punch.)
 
OP
mr.at

mr.at

Member
Joined
Sep 20, 2019
Messages
68
Likes
83
You may want to try the Arya as well. I AB'd them with the Focal Elex many, many times and eventually found myself prefering the Arya pretty much every time. They have slightly less punch than the Elex do but destroy them everywhere else. (I went through and replaced the cables on my D90SE/A90 and the Arya cable with pure silver cables this increase the punch.)
I see - yes that's the same here with the XS - slightly less punchy than the Elex.
Well, I've got my holy grail of cans now so I'm no longer looking to try or buy anything else.
 

Leiker535

Active Member
Joined
Jul 7, 2020
Messages
173
Likes
192
Contributing to this thread, after PMing OP, I decided to make the blind buy and get these as a local vendor and friend had them in my region for sale

They have arrived today, and they look gorgeous:

1638924992987.png

1638925002253.png

My initial amazement was with the driver size and how they felt on the head, it seems like I'm wearing a helmet over my ears, and yet I have 100% transparency, so they are very very open, much more than the 6XX and MUCH more than my DT 880s.

With sound, that amazement persists with soundstage and imaging, as it is big and wide, definitely due in part to their open design.

They sure are detail monsters, and can be too much for my 6XX accustomed ears at times. Everything is bigger and wider, finesse and sparkle is show much more clearly, SEPARATION and IMAGING being the big words here. I put on the new Let it Be remix from the Beatles and felt like that there was a concert playing around me.

Bass is linear, but to linear for my liking, that's where EQing comes in though. Shelving them produced a very neat result, although different from the pillowy effect I had with the 880 and the 6xx. I don't dislike neither the pillow nor the planar sound, they are just different. With my dynamics I feel the slam much more than with the XS, where I feel the actual rumble of the headphones. It can be called a slight resonance, maybe, and I suspect this after seeing CSD graphs of the other headphones, but they are not audibly bad (I can't say for distortion though). I have pad swapped my DT880 with brainwavz XLs and those resonate like crazy and are terrible.

Mids are indeed the weakest link of this headphone. I haven't listened to Hifimans in person before, and I see that their reputation precedes them: mids are thin although detailed. Coming from the linear mids of the 880 and the vocal richness of the 6XX I was a bit disappointed, but not much, as I had been warned. If you are used to less substantial mids like with the Sennheisers, the mids here won't be much of a problem. For me they need further tweaking, so I added some gain between 1500-2250 (low Q and mid-high Q, respectively) and the effect was very good. They approach my sennheisers more now, sounding more "veiled" but yet tonally correct for my ears.

Highs are the high point here. As said, these are VERY detailed, and that is unfortunately noticed, for my treble sensitive ears, with some sibilance and quirkness over 10khz. Dialing this down was easy though.

Here is the EQ profile I'm using as of the moment, while no FR graphs are out yet (pre-amp is just very aggressive anti-clipping safekeeping, I power these from my L30 and they are very efficient):

1638925023916.png

Overall they are a good pair of headphones. It is to soon, and I'm to skeptical and ASRbrained, to call them more resolute, transparent, fast etc, than my mid-fi cans. They are a upgrade in terms of driver (and by that I mean what Amir called "wearing two 6 inch speakers suspended on each side of your ear.") and a very neat experience when considering the difference in technology and driver size, and a superb pair if you don't mind EQing.
 
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mr.at

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Good to know you like em my friend.

It's great to know that most or almost all of of us are feeling quite positive here about the XS.

I think the best thing going for the XS is the fact that they broke our mental barrier - being under $500 - anywhere between $380 to $440 - yes, some have indeed been lucky enough to grab them at such a low price.

This says A LOT. This is the price the Sundara was introduced at, and I think the XS is ahead of the Sundara in almost every way - almost (I've never tried the Sundara but deep down I was always looking to get one. Not anymore though). It's definitely ahead of the HE-4X0 line.

It's like if an Audeze LCD2 variant was offered at below $500. That's why it's huge. But we all know Audeze wouldn't really bring the price down so low - the $700, $800 pricing is quite a barrier, as, a hundred or two over $500 still creates a significant mental barrier for folks like us. And then there's the comfort thing - the Hifimans usually are just much more comfortable for longer listening sessions.

Maybe the Ananda is better in some areas - maybe. But again, that also roams at around $600 at best (was offered at $599 recently, but still $150 more than the XS).

The XS really steals the market niche here for folks profoundly familiar with mid-fi, just attempting to enter hi-fi, lower hi-fi on a tight budget.

And to offer a taste of the Arya/Edition X, and I even dare say, the HE-1000s, at this price - is a very fine move on Hifiman's part.
 

DrEric

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Contributing to this thread, after PMing OP, I decided to make the blind buy and get these as a local vendor and friend had them in my region for sale

They have arrived today, and they look gorgeous:


My initial amazement was with the driver size and how they felt on the head, it seems like I'm wearing a helmet over my ears, and yet I have 100% transparency, so they are very very open, much more than the 6XX and MUCH more than my DT 880s.

With sound, that amazement persists with soundstage and imaging, as it is big and wide, definitely due in part to their open design.

They sure are detail monsters, and can be too much for my 6XX accustomed ears at times. Everything is bigger and wider, finesse and sparkle is show much more clearly, SEPARATION and IMAGING being the big words here. I put on the new Let it Be remix from the Beatles and felt like that there was a concert playing around me.

Bass is linear, but to linear for my liking, that's where EQing comes in though. Shelving them produced a very neat result, although different from the pillowy effect I had with the 880 and the 6xx. I don't dislike neither the pillow nor the planar sound, they are just different. With my dynamics I feel the slam much more than with the XS, where I feel the actual rumble of the headphones. It can be called a slight resonance, maybe, and I suspect this after seeing CSD graphs of the other headphones, but they are not audibly bad (I can't say for distortion though). I have pad swapped my DT880 with brainwavz XLs and those resonate like crazy and are terrible.

Mids are indeed the weakest link of this headphone. I haven't listened to Hifimans in person before, and I see that their reputation precedes them: mids are thin although detailed. Coming from the linear mids of the 880 and the vocal richness of the 6XX I was a bit disappointed, but not much, as I had been warned. If you are used to less substantial mids like with the Sennheisers, the mids here won't be much of a problem. For me they need further tweaking, so I added some gain between 1500-2250 (low Q and mid-high Q, respectively) and the effect was very good. They approach my sennheisers more now, sounding more "veiled" but yet tonally correct for my ears.

Highs are the high point here. As said, these are VERY detailed, and that is unfortunately noticed, for my treble sensitive ears, with some sibilance and quirkness over 10khz. Dialing this down was easy though.

Here is the EQ profile I'm using as of the moment, while no FR graphs are out yet (pre-amp is just very aggressive anti-clipping safekeeping, I power these from my L30 and they are very efficient):


Overall they are a good pair of headphones. It is to soon, and I'm to skeptical and ASRbrained, to call them more resolute, transparent, fast etc, than my mid-fi cans. They are a upgrade in terms of driver (and by that I mean what Amir called "wearing two 6 inch speakers suspended on each side of your ear.") and a very neat experience when considering the difference in technology and driver size, and a superb pair if you don't mind EQing.
This is GREAT, thanks! I am hoping to get them sometime soon.
 

ngs428

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Finally got some FR graphs for this one. LINK

Edition XS
IMG_3477.jpg



Edition XS (blue) compared to the Ananda (cyan):
Similar to the Ananda but better bass extension.
IMG_3475.jpg


Reviewer's Comments: Note: Measurements are normalized in the mids around 500hz. Bass on the Ananda extends slightly better than the graph tells IMO, as it is almost impossible to get a perfect seal for them on the measurement rig due to the lack of swivel. But I think the Edition XS still has a bit more bass.
 

Leiker535

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Finally got some FR graphs for this one. LINK

Edition XS
View attachment 172633


Edition XS (blue) compared to the Ananda (cyan):
Similar to the Ananda but better bass extension.
View attachment 172632

Reviewer's Comments: Note: Measurements are normalized in the mids around 500hz. Bass on the Ananda extends slightly better than the graph tells IMO, as it is almost impossible to get a perfect seal for them on the measurement rig due to the lack of swivel. But I think the Edition XS still has a bit more bass.

Man, it really is a way cheaper Ananda. Indeed, that peak around 12khz troubled me at first listen. I slightly updated my EQ to this measurements now:
1639587122632.png
 
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3125b

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Unfortunately they didn't really fix the one issue the Ananda has in that broad 2kHz dip wich makes it sound slightly hollow and unnatural.
 

Ken Tajalli

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Hi guys.

So guys, a little BACKGROUND first:

I'd heard the Hifiman Edition X a looooooong time ago (prob 2016ish) and was really like... wow. But it was out of my [wallet's] league. Couple of years down and we're graced with the presence of the Massdrop x Hifiman Edition XX. I wanted to take a bite so bad - but then the availability, shipping times, duties and the mixed reviews didn't get my anywhere.

I was just strolling on AliExpress casually and lo and behold - saw the Hifiman Edition XS on AliExpress; just stumbled upon it. For $441ish, it really got me going and then I decided okay, I gotta get this now. Stealth magnets - thinner diaphragm - but most importantly, a price tag at less than $450!

Finally filled my cravings and ordered one off Hifigo. Maybe I could have waited for some reviews. But I knew I had to get one of the egg-shaped Hifimans now, enough is enough. So I bit the bullet - and I'm so glad that I did when I did. . . . . .
Thank you for your review, specially the pictures!
I got mine recently and I agree with most of your review.
Here is where we differ:
- Cans are made of Aluminium! Even the grill and the thin black insert just under the top plastic fitting where screws go in.
Because the cans are oval and not round, the sides can get squashed where the yokes are attached, so the metal back grill and the thing black plate help to keep its shape.
- To me there is a (usual) mid midrange suck-out around 1.5kHz to 2.5kHz (by ear), which can make them sound a bit hollow.
- There is a little upper bass/lower mid peak that makes them sound a little woody.
- They have an Ear Thumping effest on bass which I like, makes the kick drums pop up - some may call it Slam!
- I am not a fan of the headband, I prefer the leather strap type, I probably will add one later on.
A little EQ (do mean little) can help, though I agree they are very listenable out of box.
For amps, I have Chord Mojo and Chord Hugo2 - I must say, Mojo is a better match! not only it can drive them very well to deafening levels with ease, but Mojo's natural darker voice helps with Editions brightness and tames it down.
Over all very good, I am keeping mine.
 
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mr.at

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Thank you for your review, specially the pictures!
I got mine recently and I agree with most of your review.
Here is where we differ:
- Cans are made of Aluminium! Even the grill and the thin black insert just under the top plastic fitting where screws go in.
Because the cans are oval and not round, the sides can get squashed where the yokes are attached, so the metal back grill and the thing black plate help to keep its shape.
- To me there is a (usual) mid midrange suck-out around 1.5kHz to 2.5kHz (by ear), which can make them sound a bit hollow.
- There is a little upper bass/lower mid peak that makes them sound a little woody.
- They have an Ear Thumping effest on bass which I like, makes the kick drums pop up - some may call it Slam!
- I am not a fan of the headband, I prefer the leather strap type, I probably will add one later on.
A little EQ (do mean little) can help, though I agree they are very listenable out of box.
For amps, I have Chord Mojo and Chord Hugo2 - I must say, Mojo is a better match! not only it can drive them very well to deafening levels with ease, but Mojo's natural darker voice helps with Editions brightness and tames it down.
Over all very good, I am keeping mine.
You're welcome - and good to know we both have them now!

I do hear the mid suck-out. That's correct. I, personally accept them as laid back in that, therefore, but the suck-out is real, and any displeasures derived from that as such, as fair complaints.

I opened and checked mine, the grill seemed to be the only metal part to me (and I'm thinking magnesium, almost same as the Denon/EMU chassis material). The driver is magnets slapped onto two fiberglass/PCB materials slapped onto the dia. I can't attest to anything else being metal inside the cups. The thin black inserts you mentioned seem to be again, a thin fiberglass/PCB material to me.

You're assessment of the headband is also fair - it's a bit stiff. I just find it a tad bit better than the He4ooi style one - I may have even preferred the Edition XX style legacy headband, but then that always has inadequate padding. And even though I do prefer this headband over the rest of the previous versions, I'm also thinking of maybe covering this up with a BD style strap or something.
 

Ken Tajalli

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You're welcome - and good to know we both have them now!

I do hear the mid suck-out. That's correct. I, personally accept them as laid back in that, therefore, but the suck-out is real, and any displeasures derived from that as such, as fair complaints.

I opened and checked mine, the grill seemed to be the only metal part to me (and I'm thinking magnesium, almost same as the Denon/EMU chassis material). The driver is magnets slapped onto two fiberglass/PCB materials slapped onto the dia. I can't attest to anything else being metal inside the cups. The thin black inserts you mentioned seem to be again, a thin fiberglass/PCB material to me.

You're assessment of the headband is also fair - it's a bit stiff. I just find it a tad bit better than the He4ooi style one - I may have even preferred the Edition XX style legacy headband, but then that always has inadequate padding. And even though I do prefer this headband over the rest of the previous versions, I'm also thinking of maybe covering this up with a BD style strap or something.
The cup is very similar to Sundara, which is powdered aluminium, if you feel like opening them again, you could try a tiny scratch on the inside. there is a plastic insert glued to it on the inside where screws go into, also dampens the metal. The insert could be a composite material, it just felt like metal. at any rate it is not a big-e!
By ear I use this EQ for midrange, you could try it.
1500Hz - Q=1.4 - +2dB
 
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