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Hifiman Edition XS

Blorg

Member
Joined
Dec 16, 2020
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113
For a non-DIY option, I find this strap (big one) to work well. Linking AliExpress but if in SE Asia can also get on Shopee.


DSC03603.JPG
 

techguypaul

Member
Joined
Mar 9, 2022
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14
sYNhO9k.jpg


Disclaimer: I'm not a professional reviewer or writer for that matter but have a professional background in room acoustics and audio engineering. I've heard some amazing rooms/systems over the years that I feel gives me some perspective on what sounds good. But sound is a very personal thing so I always suggest that one must listen for themselves.

Preface
In general, I've only listened to headphones sparingly as tools for work. In most cases, I prefer to work with monitors. For enjoyment, I've almost exclusively listened to monitors. Life changes and I've found that headphones are a more practical approach for me to high-quality listening. I have many great IEM but even with custom ear impressions, I find them to be a generally odd feeling and are uncomfortable for extended listening. So I jumped in and bought a pair of Hifiman Edition XS based on some positive reviews. . As with all things it was only a matter of time before I started to look at what's the next thing up the ladder. With the general consensus being that the Hifiman Arya was a potentially better fitting version of the Edition XS I decided to try a different path and picked up a pair of new Audeze LCD-X.

Process
In an effort to come up with a reasonably controlled and more importantly a quick way to switch back and forth between headphones I used Roon and multiple DAC/Amps.
This proved to be pretty effective, especially when using DSP. I realize the DAC/Amps are not identical but I felt that given the tools at hand this was a good compromise. The alternative of switching connections selecting the correct DSP, and matching level proved too much for my already limited audio memory. To help minimize the difference I did swap DAC/Amps several times. An interesting byproduct of this was I found the Topping DX5 doesn't have enough output for the Edition XS. I preferred the balanced output from either the Qudelix 5k or Hidizs S9 Pro. I don't have a balanced cable for the LCD-X to confirm but my guess is that given their impedance and efficiency, the amplifier is less critical.

Build Quality| Fit | Comfort
The LCD-X looks and feels like a well-engineered high-quality professional device. With this of course comes a massive amount of weight. Thankfully the headband system and ear pads help to provide a very comfortable fit for me over many hours of use. Corners were cut on the Edition XS to reduce cost. How much these measures impact performance is hard for me to say. I do notice that there are some gaps around the earpads and my head on the Edition XS but when I manual even things out with pressure from my hands the sound doesn't change. The upside is the Edition XS is a relative feather. What's interesting is this didn't translate to better comfort for me. I was much more aware of the Edition XS after extending listening. With the LCD-X I got up and walked away from my desk several times forgetting I was wearing them until the cable yanked me back.

Performance
My assumption given the difference in build quality and cost was that the LCD-X would immediately and obviously be better. The reality is that it took many listening sessions with a wide variety of music over the course of several days for the LCD-X to stand out. I suspect that this was due to the process of learning what to listen for as it became easier to hear the differences. My initial thoughts were that the Edition XS had better resolution but I liken this to the 1st time I heard Stax headphones many decades ago. I was taken by the perceived clarity. However after some extending listening, I felt something was missing specifically in the midrange and lower frequencies, and something was added in the higher frequencies. While nowhere as egregious as the Stax the Edition XS have some of the same characteristics. In contrast, I initially felt that the LCD-X had less detail and more energy in the midrange and lower frequencies. But now I feel that it's because they offer a near-perfect balance. I never felt that anything had too much midrange or bass and details weren't missing. I also don't hear the upper midrange or lower treble ringing that I do on the Edition XS on certain recordings. They also provide an effortless quality that I have not heard before from headphones. They kind of sound like big full-range control room monitors. Which IMHO is pretty amazing for a headphone.

Conclusion
I'm not trying to suggest that the Edition XS is bad. In fact, I think they are more enjoyable for casual listening than the other over-the-ear headphones I have at home atm. This includes the Sennheiser HD600s, HD560s, and my trusty Beyerdynamic DT 770 PROs-while certainly far from perfect I know exactly what these sound like.
When you take into consideration their $500 cost I feel they are a bargain.

For me, the LCD-X offers better performance in every category. At nearly 3x the cost it's refreshing to actually get something for your $.

Notes:
Used the official Audeze setting for the LCD-X built into Roon. https://help.roonlabs.com/portal/en/kb/articles/audeze-presets
EQ settings for Edition XS both regular and extra bass from here: https://forum.headphones.com/t/hifiman-edition-xs/16492
 

dante21

Member
Joined
Sep 28, 2020
Messages
25
Likes
6
sYNhO9k.jpg


Disclaimer: I'm not a professional reviewer or writer for that matter but have a professional background in room acoustics and audio engineering. I've heard some amazing rooms/systems over the years that I feel gives me some perspective on what sounds good. But sound is a very personal thing so I always suggest that one must listen for themselves.

Preface
In general, I've only listened to headphones sparingly as tools for work. In most cases, I prefer to work with monitors. For enjoyment, I've almost exclusively listened to monitors. Life changes and I've found that headphones are a more practical approach for me to high-quality listening. I have many great IEM but even with custom ear impressions, I find them to be a generally odd feeling and are uncomfortable for extended listening. So I jumped in and bought a pair of Hifiman Edition XS based on some positive reviews. . As with all things it was only a matter of time before I started to look at what's the next thing up the ladder. With the general consensus being that the Hifiman Arya was a potentially better fitting version of the Edition XS I decided to try a different path and picked up a pair of new Audeze LCD-X.

Process
In an effort to come up with a reasonably controlled and more importantly a quick way to switch back and forth between headphones I used Roon and multiple DAC/Amps.
This proved to be pretty effective, especially when using DSP. I realize the DAC/Amps are not identical but I felt that given the tools at hand this was a good compromise. The alternative of switching connections selecting the correct DSP, and matching level proved too much for my already limited audio memory. To help minimize the difference I did swap DAC/Amps several times. An interesting byproduct of this was I found the Topping DX5 doesn't have enough output for the Edition XS. I preferred the balanced output from either the Qudelix 5k or Hidizs S9 Pro. I don't have a balanced cable for the LCD-X to confirm but my guess is that given their impedance and efficiency, the amplifier is less critical.

Build Quality| Fit | Comfort
The LCD-X looks and feels like a well-engineered high-quality professional device. With this of course comes a massive amount of weight. Thankfully the headband system and ear pads help to provide a very comfortable fit for me over many hours of use. Corners were cut on the Edition XS to reduce cost. How much these measures impact performance is hard for me to say. I do notice that there are some gaps around the earpads and my head on the Edition XS but when I manual even things out with pressure from my hands the sound doesn't change. The upside is the Edition XS is a relative feather. What's interesting is this didn't translate to better comfort for me. I was much more aware of the Edition XS after extending listening. With the LCD-X I got up and walked away from my desk several times forgetting I was wearing them until the cable yanked me back.

Performance
My assumption given the difference in build quality and cost was that the LCD-X would immediately and obviously be better. The reality is that it took many listening sessions with a wide variety of music over the course of several days for the LCD-X to stand out. I suspect that this was due to the process of learning what to listen for as it became easier to hear the differences. My initial thoughts were that the Edition XS had better resolution but I liken this to the 1st time I heard Stax headphones many decades ago. I was taken by the perceived clarity. However after some extending listening, I felt something was missing specifically in the midrange and lower frequencies, and something was added in the higher frequencies. While nowhere as egregious as the Stax the Edition XS have some of the same characteristics. In contrast, I initially felt that the LCD-X had less detail and more energy in the midrange and lower frequencies. But now I feel that it's because they offer a near-perfect balance. I never felt that anything had too much midrange or bass and details weren't missing. I also don't hear the upper midrange or lower treble ringing that I do on the Edition XS on certain recordings. They also provide an effortless quality that I have not heard before from headphones. They kind of sound like big full-range control room monitors. Which IMHO is pretty amazing for a headphone.

Conclusion
I'm not trying to suggest that the Edition XS is bad. In fact, I think they are more enjoyable for casual listening than the other over-the-ear headphones I have at home atm. This includes the Sennheiser HD600s, HD560s, and my trusty Beyerdynamic DT 770 PROs-while certainly far from perfect I know exactly what these sound like.
When you take into consideration their $500 cost I feel they are a bargain.

For me, the LCD-X offers better performance in every category. At nearly 3x the cost it's refreshing to actually get something for your $.

Notes:
Used the official Audeze setting for the LCD-X built into Roon. https://help.roonlabs.com/portal/en/kb/articles/audeze-presets
EQ settings for Edition XS both regular and extra bass from here: https://forum.headphones.com/t/hifiman-edition-xs/16492
Is the 560s a mini Edition XS?
 

dreamscene

Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2022
Messages
51
Likes
48
The deadly Hifiman poor QC quality and build quality has come for me too. Thought I could dodge it, left cup has died, no sound. 2 months into ownership, first non Sennheiser headphone. Should have stayed with Sennheiser, good lord. Now the faff to get it replaced.....never again will fall into the headphone review and hype train......
 

dreamscene

Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2022
Messages
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Likes
48
Rather than send it back, is there anything I can do to fix it myself?

Basically the early symptoms were crackly crinkly (rubbing 2 pieces of wrapping paper) noises coming from 1 ear cup for a few seconds and then it goes away, I didn't mind it as I heard it may be a condition of planar headphones. Then one side of the ear cup just completely stopped producing any sounds. I have had it only for 7 weeks. I read and read of all the horrid Hifiman quality and build quality posts and I still bought it and I really regret it right now. I bought it on Aliexpress and will probably have to send it back to China, the turn around would probably be months.
 

cheapmessiah

Active Member
Joined
Jun 10, 2021
Messages
159
Likes
119
Location
Mordor
Rather than send it back, is there anything I can do to fix it myself?

Basically the early symptoms were crackly crinkly (rubbing 2 pieces of wrapping paper) noises coming from 1 ear cup for a few seconds and then it goes away, I didn't mind it as I heard it may be a condition of planar headphones. Then one side of the ear cup just completely stopped producing any sounds. I have had it only for 7 weeks. I read and read of all the horrid Hifiman quality and build quality posts and I still bought it and I really regret it right now. I bought it on Aliexpress and will probably have to send it back to China, the turn around would probably be months.
You could disassemble it and check if there's anything that looks wrong on it, check continuity, check if there is anything wrong on the connections between the driver and the plugs socket, but have in mind that those drivers membrane is extremely fragile and you might pierce it while performing those operations.
 

Ken Tajalli

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Rather than send it back, is there anything I can do to fix it myself?

Basically the early symptoms were crackly crinkly (rubbing 2 pieces of wrapping paper) noises coming from 1 ear cup for a few seconds and then it goes away, I didn't mind it as I heard it may be a condition of planar headphones. Then one side of the ear cup just completely stopped producing any sounds. I have had it only for 7 weeks. I read and read of all the horrid Hifiman quality and build quality posts and I still bought it and I really regret it right now. I bought it on Aliexpress and will probably have to send it back to China, the turn around would probably be months.
No! that would null your warranty, do not even attempt to open it.
The crackly sound was the diaphragm , even Hifiman can not repair that, short of replacing the diaphragm.
Contact them, they are nice, they replace the entire headphone.
 

dreamscene

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Joined
Jan 4, 2022
Messages
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No! that would null your warranty, do not even attempt to open it.
The crackly sound was the diaphragm , even Hifiman can not repair that, short of replacing the diaphragm.
Contact them, they are nice, they replace the entire headphone.
I bought it on Aliexpress but I have sent Hifiman an email and hopefully they honor it as dealing with Aliexpress sellers would be a pain in the butt I would assume.
 

techguypaul

Member
Joined
Mar 9, 2022
Messages
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Rather than send it back, is there anything I can do to fix it myself?

Basically the early symptoms were crackly crinkly (rubbing 2 pieces of wrapping paper) noises coming from 1 ear cup for a few seconds and then it goes away, I didn't mind it as I heard it may be a condition of planar headphones. Then one side of the ear cup just completely stopped producing any sounds. I have had it only for 7 weeks. I read and read of all the horrid Hifiman quality and build quality posts and I still bought it and I really regret it right now. I bought it on Aliexpress and will probably have to send it back to China, the turn around would probably be months.
I’m sure you did but make sure you check the cable 1st by reversing the connections. If the problem follows then it’s the cable.
 

odyo

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I shared my experience before about the bass here. Now i'm seeing multiple reports of similar issues. Looks like another Hifiman common problems.
 

techguypaul

Member
Joined
Mar 9, 2022
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I shared my experience before about the bass here. Now i'm seeing multiple reports of similar issues. Looks like another Hifiman common problems.
I feel the bass performance is respectable, especially given the cost. They lack some of the lower midrange upper bass punch I get from the LCD-X but I never hear any distortion, breakup or resonance and I run them with an aggressive EQ, listen to EDM and play them at levels that are loud for me. Maybe I got lucky with mine idk??
 

odyo

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I feel the bass performance is respectable, especially given the cost. They lack some of the lower midrange upper bass punch I get from the LCD-X but I never hear any distortion, breakup or resonance and I run them with an aggressive EQ, listen to EDM and play them at levels that are loud for me. Maybe I got lucky with mine idk??
Yeah it's a defect i think. I can also see the traces on the diaphragm have unevenness on my unit. If you shine light on it, you can see bumps, wrinkles and cuts on the traces i don't know if it's related. I never noticed this with my Ananda.
IMG_20220514_161737.jpg


Hard to capture on photo.
 

Ken Tajalli

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Yeah it's a defect i think. I can also see the traces on the diaphragm have unevenness on my unit. If you shine light on it, you can see bumps, wrinkles and cuts on the traces i don't know if it's related. I never noticed this with my Ananda.
View attachment 209658

Hard to capture on photo.
You do know there is a plastic mesh attached on top of the magnets, and the coil is etched on an extremely thin diaphragm.
Unless yours is faulty, there couldn't be any tears, a tear would make so many noises, disturb the bass , you know it instantly.
 

odyo

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You do know there is a plastic mesh attached on top of the magnets, and the coil is etched on an extremely thin diaphragm.
Unless yours is faulty, there couldn't be any tears, a tear would make so many noises, disturb the bass , you know it instantly.
I mean there are very tiny cracks on magnet traces/coils. Diaphragm isn't ripped or anything. What do you mean by plastic mesh ?
 

Ken Tajalli

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I mean there are very tiny cracks on magnet traces/coils. Diaphragm isn't ripped or anything. What do you mean by plastic mesh ?
When you look through the back grill, you look through a plastic protective mesh.
The coil trace on the diaphragm is something like Aluminium foil, and it is not smooth, it has wrinkles on it, I am guessing so it wouldn't rip when stretched.
HE560 is similar.
I am not 100% on that.
 
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