As an influential national brand, HIFIMAN has released many HIFI headphones with excellent performance. Among them, HIFIMAN released its first direct-push flagship planar planar headphone-Edition X at the end of 2015. It can be described as a classic generation, and it has also been sought after by many enthusiasts after its listing. Let me introduce to you the upgraded version of the classic Edition X – HIFIMAN Edition XS.
1. Appearance Design
The HIFIMAN Edition XS is an up-and-down packaging box with a sponge film covering the inner packaging, which provides multiple protections for the Edition XS. There is also a product description card on the sponge film, you can scan the QR code to browse the manual.
Remove the sponge film, you can see the HIFIMAN Edition XS fixed in the hard plastic card slot. The earphone is placed very stably, avoiding collision and friction during transportation. Similar to the packaging of most of the HiFiMAN equipment, Edition XS also uses silk and satin material for packaging, and the glossy black color is also highly consistent with the color of the headphones.
The parameters of HIFIMAN Edition XS, the frequency response range is 8Hz-50kHz, the impedance is 18Ω, it is a low-impedance earphone. Its sensitivity is 92dB, theoretically requires a larger thrust, and its weight is 405g. It is also very rare for a head-mounted planar headphone to achieve this weight.
Edition XS is divided into a left and right double-sided plug-in design, using a 3.5mm plug to directly plug the left and right earmuffs of the headphone. The connection of the headphone unit adopts a standard 3.5mm socket, which greatly facilitates the DIY production and custom replacement of the wire.
The appearance of HIFIMAN Edition XS is basically the same as the previous generation Edition X. The amp shell and cavity have the same mold, but the shape is only different in the head beam part. The head beam is wider and softer, and it will be more comfortable to wear. The design of the earphone cavity follows the classic shape of Edition X shutters, and the shell material is also a metal shell.
As a large grid type planar headphones, the shell and cavity of HIFIMAN Edition XS are made of metal, and the surface is brushed. The upgraded head beam part is called “hybrid structure” by HIFIMAN, which not only reduces the weight but also improves the reliability compared with the previous generation products.
The metal shell is processed neatly and the brushed lines are delicate. The shaft adopts a 2D structure, although it cannot be rotated in 3D, the structure is reliable and not easy to loosen. The earmuffs are made of leather and flocking fabrics, and the parts in contact with the skin are made of leather and flocking. In addition, the cable is a replaceable design.
The earmuffs of HIFIMAN Edition XS also continue the design of Edition X leather and velvet. The earmuffs can completely cover the entire ears and are very comfortable to wear. The ear cushion part also follows the design of leather and velvet. The ergonomic oval design not only brings excellent comfort, but also allows the sound to be more concentrated to the ear, improving the naturalness of the sound.
The head beam of the HIFIMAN Edition XS hybrid structure takes into account the needs of lightweight and high strength. At the same time, the ear-clamping feeling of the earmuffs is reduced, and the wearing is still relatively comfortable.
The HiFiMAN patent adopted by the HIFIMAN Edition XS headphone-the louvered grille design makes the entire Edition XS headphone spatially positioned accurately and the details are clearly visible, doing everything possible to reduce harmful reflections.
2. Headphone Experience
HIFIMAN Edition XS uses HIFIMAN NEO ultra-nano diaphragm and stealth magnets design. Both of these are not available in HIFIMAN Edition X. The NEO ultra-nano diaphragm adopts components that are much smaller than dynamic and armature in volume. The thickness of the NEO ultra-nano diaphragm is less than a quarter of the thickness of the Edition X diaphragm, so the volume of the planar diaphragm headphones is controlled very thin. Therefore, the high frequency characteristics are better than dynamic headphones, and the response speed is faster to obtain more sound quality details and reduce distortion.
The stealth magnets adopt a specially designed magnetic circuit, which greatly reduces the obstruction of sound waves, so that it will not affect the passage of sound at all. This restores the precise positioning of the sound field, ensuring a wide and natural sound field, a gentle and smooth tone, and precise sound positioning. All in all, HIFIMAN Edition XS uses the technology of the previous HIFIMAN flagship headphones, but the price of about $500 is really very cost-effective.
In terms of wearing, the wide pull-out head beam and earmuffs are very soft and comfortable. I usually wear glasses, and HIFIMAN Edition XS does not feel oppressed even if I wear it for two hours. The thick head beam cushion and earmuff cushions are very comfortable for me. They fit well and don’t feel stuffy. This is inseparable from the cotton material of the head beam, earmuffs, and the weight of only 405g.
The HIFIMAN Edition XS headset does not need to install an expensive desktop amplifier. The sensitivity of Edition XS is as high as 92 decibels, the impedance is only 18Ω, and a number of HIFIMAN core technologies including HIFIMAN NEO ultra-nano diaphragm are applied.
Stealth magnets technology avoids reflection and scattering that are extremely harmful to sound quality. The shutter grille technology greatly reduces the phase distortion, which makes the sound quality of the HIFIMAN Edition XS outstanding. Even if it is driven by a laptop computer, the restoration of the instrument can be lifelike and present an unparalleled sense of presence.
The most iconic feature of HIFIMAN Edition XS is the sound field performance brought by the HIFIMAN NEO ultra-nano diaphragm. Many excellent designs have created Edition XS’s sound field, both in scale and natural level, better than other dynamic headphones.
The overall listening experience is closer to that of near-field monitor speakers than headphones. Edition XS can already reflect the effects of top-of-the-line headphones, and it directly proves that large headphones do not necessarily require a huge and expensive desktop system. The same sound quality effect can be obtained by using the portable system.
When testing with GEM’s “泡沫”, it is obvious that the mid frequency is the strength of HIFIMAN Edition XS. With obvious sound dyeing, the vocal modification is very sweet, and the layers are distinct. While sensational, the background soundtrack still retains an extremely rich amount of information, which is also a feature of the flagship headphone.
In terms of high frequency, Edition XS has a significant improvement in high frequency analysis compared with the previous generation HIFIMAN Edition X. Edition XS is very delicate and smooth. It is not a gorgeous style that is very aggressive. If you taste it more carefully, the songs under the earmuffs are full of expansive energy. With the blessing of simple and powerful electronic drums, the lead singer’s singing also showed the most majestic momentum. Not only that, but the paragraph processing of the song is also very clever.
In general, the HIFIMAN Edition XS headset inherits the excellent pedigree of Edition X, even if the music composition is complicated, it can still be easily dealt with. The level is clear, and the separation between the lead singer and the background instrument, or the various parts of the symphony is excellent. The sense of space is precious, and the Edition XS treble is exquisite, which can restore loose, natural, and full of bouncing bass. The interpretation of popular songs and vocals is excellent. Its low-frequency temperature is soft and loose, which can create a good atmosphere of music.
HIFIMAN Edition XS does not reduce the quality because of the price. It does further reduce the entry barrier of head-mounted HiFi headphones, allowing more friends who love HiFi to enter the HiFi world at an affordable price. Combined with the technological content and expressiveness of HIFIMAN Edition XS, the price of less than $500 is really very cost-effective. Friends who have a special complex for HIFIMAN Edition X or want to have a glimpse of HiFi planar headphone can consider buying it.