As a loyal user of HIFIMAN for many years, I have experienced a lot of over-ear headphones of HIFIMAN, and most of the previous experiences were planar-diaphragm headphones, and I have not used dynamic headphones for a long time. I believe that many friends have an impression of last year’s HIFIMAN HE-R10, and the headphone I want to experience today is the reverse development of the HE-R10 dynamic version. The same design language is used, the appearance is similar, but the price is much cheaper.
Before I got the HIFIMAN HE-R9, I saw photos on the Internet. But I have to say that when I got it, I was still amazed. Although the wooden cavity of the HIFIMAN HE-R10 is not used, the cavity of the HE-R9 is more like plastic. The burgundy paint color is particularly elegant, and even the reflective gold powder can be seen under the light, similar to the metallic paint in the car. , it still looks quite tempting.
The overall design style continues the design language of the HE-R10. Although the headphone looks bulky, the actual feel is far beyond my imagination. It is very light in the hand, not heavy at all, and the materials are also very particular. There is no sultry feeling after wearing it for a long time, and it is breathable and comfortable.
The impedance of HIFIMAN HE-R9 is 32Ω, and the sensitivity reaches 100dB. In addition, it is a topological diaphragm, in terms of structure and parameters, it looks like a technically decentralized version of HE-R10.
The interface and connection method adopts HIFIMAN’s current mainstream bilateral 3.5mm + left side compatible 3.5mm Pro interface. The bilateral 3.5mm is convenient for balanced wiring. For some enthusiasts, it is very convenient to match an audiophile-grade balanced cable according to their preferences.
The purpose of the compatible 3.5mm Pro interface on the left is for the Bluemini R2R module, which is also a small product that HIFIMAN is proud of. It can be understood as a fever-grade bluetooth audio receiving module, which supports the LDAC encoding mode at the highest, and can basically reach the mainstream CD lossless bit rate. And it is also equipped with HYMALAYA DAC decoding chip, which is also a chip black technology independently developed by HIFIMAN, which is even better than the PCM1704 chip in quality.
The most important thing is to listen to the quality performance of HIIFMAN HE-R9. The listening device is still my most used CAS-1 desktop amplifier. Of course, the performance of the headphone amplifier circuit inside is also very good, so I have always used it as a dual-purpose amplifier. The audio source is the lossless music I ripped from the CD, as well as some lossless resources I downloaded in the forum.
I plugged in the headphones and wasn’t ready to listen to any song. I just played a song at random, and I was stunned for a few seconds when I made the sound, the sound was very unHIFIMAN. Unlike the HIFIMAN headphones I listened to before, the sound of the HIIFMAN HE-R9 is obviously much warmer. In retrospect, I should have used planar headphones a lot, and I have become accustomed to the extreme analysis of planar-diaphragm’s coldness. The first time I used HIIFMAN’s dynamic headphone, I was not used to it.
After getting used to it for a while, I started to enter the formal testing phase. Due to the characteristics of dynamic headphones and my first experience with HIIFMAN HE-R9, I must have chosen my favorite female voice. Tanya Chua’s “空格” is a tragic song, with a mellow and moving feeling, a strong sense of substitution, and a mellow voice. In particular, the sound of breathing during the ventilation is so clear and suffocating that it has a very depressing feeling, and it performs very well in terms of atmosphere.
I listened to Rene Liu’s “我很好” again. Rene Liu’s voice itself is also warmer, without the hoarseness of Tanya Chua. It is also the characteristic of Rene Liu’s own voice, which is more prominent on the HIIFMAN HE-R9. The gentle and mellow voice seems to resonate with the heart, which is particularly attractive.
In the low-frequency part of the accompaniment, especially the bass and the kick drum, the volume and elasticity of the bass are very well mastered. Although the overall style of the headphone is warm, the low frequency is not blurred, and it is neat. The transient response is also very fast, and there is no feeling of sluggishness at all. This is more difficult to achieve in dynamic headphones, and the atmosphere is just right.
Although dynamic headphones are compared to planar-diaphragm headphones, the former has certain inherent deficiencies in the performance of medium and high frequency details in terms of physical structure. But the topological diaphragm technology used by HIIFMAN HE-R9 is also HIFIMAN’s exclusive killer. The topological diaphragm solves the problems of severe split vibration and large frequency response distortion in ordinary dynamic headphones. By coating nanoparticles of different materials on the surface of the diaphragm according to a certain geometric shape, the timbre of the earphones can be changed, thereby enhancing the sound details.
Take Gary Moore’s “The Prophet.” One of my favorite electric guitar blues, especially the climax, full of high-frequency vibration electric guitar distortion sound. On the HIIFMAN HE-R9, the performance is still incisively and vividly, the details of the high-frequency vibration are very clear, and the instantaneous sound density of each plucking moment is also very high. Think of high-frequency tremors as a saw blade, and you can clearly feel the dense serrations on the saw blade.
The low frequency performance is basically the same as before. The atmosphere is rendered in place, but the overall is still a warmer style. In fact, if you want to feel the characteristics of this kind of music, of course, it depends on your personal understanding of music. The electric guitar itself is an instrument with a cold tone, and the warm tone of the HIIFMAN HE-R9 can help us balance it out. It’s just that I personally like to listen to cold music with cold equipment, and express this cool color to the extreme.
According to my personal habits, I prefer to use the HE-R9 to listen to some slower-paced jazz. Such as the saxophone, I think it is more suitable, and it can give people a different feeling of warmth. For example, Michael Lington’s “Stay With Me”, saxophone as the main melody, also includes vocals. In the middle and low frequencies, it can fully express the warmth and elegance of the saxophone. In terms of high frequency, the details that should be there are retained, and with the female voice that is very close to the ear and has a sense of atmosphere, the whole song gives people an elegant, warm and romantic night feeling.
Because the HIIFMAN HE-R9 is a closed headphone, I think the Bluemini R2R module it is equipped with may have more usage scenarios. Even the daily commute can use the bluetooth connection, unlike when you are out with open-back headphones with Bluemini R2R, there are always a few people around you who will turn around to notice you. As for the performance of sound quality, the resolution is weakened compared to the use of wired headphones, but in bluetooth headphones, it can still maintain a very high level.
Overall, the tone calibration of the HIFIMAN HE-R9 is beyond my expectations, and it is different from the style of HIFIMAN head-mounted headphones I have experienced in the past. I personally prefer to use it to listen to some warmer songs, such as saxophone, female voice, jazz, etc., which can give people a very leisurely, very relaxed and comfortable feeling. And the closed structure can be used without any scruples even for daily outings. Friends who like warm music are highly recommended.