With the release of HiFiMan’s HE1000 at $3000, there was a large gap between their lesser planar offerings, such as the HE560 and the flagship. Filling that gap, originally at $1799, the Edition X set to compete with the Audeze LCD-X, LCD-3 and MrSpeakers Ether.
Updates to the design for the HE1000 V2 also trickled down into their younger sibling, resulting in the Edition X V2. In the two-and-a-half years since their original release, the price has also dropped, and they can now be found on amazon.com for $1,199.
One of the key aims HiFiMan had with the Edition X was making it easier to drive than the HE1000, allowing it to be used even with portable gear. With an attractive black metal finish, they are also more attractive than the HE1000 in many ways.
To start with, they come in a slightly smaller and, in my opinion, more attractive box. Like the HE1000 box, the Edition X V2 box secures the headphones very well in foam, with a central section for the cables. Two cables are included: A longer 6.3mm terminated cable and a shorter 3.5mm one with right-angle plug. Unlike the 3-wire per channel cables that come with the HE1000 V2, the Edition X V2 has 2-wire per channel cables. Both connect to the headphones themselves with 2.5mm connectors.
The primary improvements of the Edition X V2 over the original are: A greater number of adjustment notches in the headband; Smoother contact between the headband swivels with the addition of plastic inserts, and a shallower area between the driver and earpads to reduce reflections and distortion. The earpads are also new, featuring perforated cloth on the contact edges. Overall this makes the Edition X V2 look far more professionally made than before.
The design of both the Edition X V2 and HE1000 V2 obviously takes inspiration from the Stax Lambda series, with a spring steel headband below which a leather head pad is suspended and can be adjusted up and down on both sides. The cups are massive, and I could move them a considerable way up and down while they were on my head between having the ear pads touch the top of my ears or the bottom.
Despite the metal, they feel very comfortable on my head and strike the right balance for relaxed listening. Air guitarists will find them too loose, but listening-room-with-relaxing-chair types will find them great.
While designed to be easier to drive makes them work great out of portable amps, their very open-backed design leaks as much sound as an electrostat, so out-and-about use is fairly out-of-the-question. You’d have to use them at whisper-quiet levels in a library not to cause problems.
The Edition X V2 tuning is quite neutral, which makes for a change versus the older v-shaped planars like the old HE-5 and HE-6. While not as nuanced as the HE1000 V2, they are more punchy, making them more suited to a wider variety of music, especially where the last fine details aren’t critical. What is more, out of a mid-range amp such as Audio-gd’s NFB-1AMP, which sounded a bit boring with the HE1000 V2, with the Edition X V2 the result was spot-on.
Likewise out of portable players (DAPs) such as FiiO’s X7 and Calyx M, as well as portable DAC/amps like Chord’s Mojo. Anything with a reasonable amount of power will bring out their capabilities.
Now they have dropped to $1,199, they have become quite a good buy. However they are now well-challenged by $800 headphones from MrSpeakers, like the Aeon Flow Open and the more entertaining Campfire Audio Cascade, as well as the heavier Audeze LCD-X which has dropped in price as well.
For comfortable home listening, the Edition X makes for a great pair of headphones.