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Reviewer at hxosplus
Be sealed or be gone
Pros: + Featuring the famous HIFIMAN neutral sound signature
+ Great bass technicalities
+ Clear and resolving
+ Open and well defined soundstage
+ Lightweight and comfortable
+ Good passive noise attenuation
+ Well made cable with low microphonic noise
+ Easy to drive
+ It can go as low as $99 and then is the greatest bargain in headphone history
Cons: - Not as natural sounding in the upper frequency range
- Sound quality is heavily seal dependant
- Small headed people might not be able to achieve a proper sealing under any circumstances
- Outdated design
- Mostly plastic and bulky
- Thick and heavy cable
- Left/Right markings are not visible
- No carrying pouch
The review sample was kindly provided by Drop+ free of charge in exchange for my honest and subjective evaluation.
The regular price is $149 but sometimes gets discounted as low as $99.
The headphone is exclusively available from Drop.



Drop has a long established and creative partnership with HIFIMAN, they have produced some excellent planar magnetic headphones like the HE4XX and the HE5XX that are well regarded among the community.
However the HE-R7DX is their first ever collaboration in a closed-back headphone.

Technical highlights

The HE-R7DX is outfitted with a large 50-millimeter dynamic driver for mid range focus, high-end clarity, and low-end punch.
To give these drivers a competitive edge, HIFIMAN founder and chemistry PhD Dr. Fang equipped them with the company’s new Topology Diaphragms.
An extension of Dr. Fang’s graduate research on the varying structures of nanomaterials, the Topology Diaphragm features an innovative, uniquely-manipulatable nanoparticle coating on its surface.
The coating has distinct geometric patterns, which can be varied (along with their thickness and chemical makeup) to precisely tailor sound wave formation.
This allows for a level of sonic control never before seen in headphone drivers.


Build quality and appearance

The HE-R7DX shares the same design language with the HE4XX, it has the old-style HIFIMAN headband with a hand-stitched protein leather cover that envelopes a foam cushion and the inner spring steel.
The gimbals and yokes are made from steel and attach to the headband by the means of a rounded plastic component.
The height adjustment is done by freely sliding the cups up and down thanks to a friction mechanism.
It doesn't have the usual prefixed stops, so there is the possibility that it might loosen but for starters it is tight and gets the job done.
The left - right markings are barely visible so you have to rely on the cable markings in order to distinguish between them.
The plastic ear cups have the darkish blue - Drop trademark - color.
They are huge with a rather uninspiring and boring design, so don't expect to wear the HE-R7DX and make a fashion statement.
The hybrid earpads are custom made with a protein leather ring that surrounds the velour part that touches the face and are padded with soft memory foam.


Comfort and isolation

I have been reading various comments about the fit and seal of the HE-R7DX.
Mine came with a good clamping force out of the box, not too tight nor too loose, they stayed stable in my head with a clamping pressure which ensured proper sealing without causing any kind of discomfort.
If you find that your pair doesn't seal well enough then it is pretty easy to adjust the clamping force by gently bending the headband till you achieve the desired pressure.
The headphone at 338g is lightweight and thanks to the huge earpads it is super comfortable and suitable for extended use, minus the usual sweating due to the closed ear cups.
The only real downside is that the large sized ear cups may not fit people with small faces even at the lowest height setting and after bending the headband.
This is something to be carefully considered before buying because loose fit will result in poor sealing and bad sound.
Passive noise attenuation is very good given that you have properly adjusted clamping force.


Cable and accessories

The HE-R7DX has a detachable cable with dual 3.5mm mono sockets that HIFIMAN is using lately in all their headphones.
The 1.5m long cable is thick and heavy due to the rubber sheathing.
At least it has low microphonic noise and is surprisingly well made, much better than the notoriously poor cables that come bundled with most HIFIMAN headphones.
The HE-R7DX comes in a simple cardboard box with an inner plastic tray for keeping the headphone safely stored inside it.
There is no carrying pouch and the only accessory is a 3.5mm to 6.35mm adapter.
Not much to complain about given the price but they could have included a cheap, cloth pouch.


Associated gear

As per usual practice the headphone was left playing music for 150 hours before listening.
The Impedance is 16Ω with a sensitivity of 101 dB making the HE-R7DX very easy to drive.
With the FiiO K5 Pro ESS set to low gain I never reached higher than half of the available volume.
Except for the K5 Pro ESS, the SMSL SU-6/SH-6 stack was also used.

The importance of proper sealing

Before continuing it must be noted and emphasized again the importance of good sealing as it greatly affects the sound performance.
A loose fit will result in early bass roll off and pronounced upper-mids/treble response that will make the headphone sound bass light, bright and piercing.
So if you have been reading about the HE-R7DX being too bright and bass light then there is a great chance that the reviewer/user was evaluating the headphone poorly fitted into his head.


Listening impressions

If you have been looking for a bass heavy closed back headphone with rumbling sub-bass and accentuated low end then you will be greatly disappointed.
The HE-R7DX is not a bass-head headphone nor does it have the popular, heavily V-shaped crowd-loving tuning.
This is undeniably a headphone with the reference HIFIMAN sound signature.
Well extended but not too deep sub-bass, neutral bass, linear mids and a touch of upper-mids / treble emphasis.
It is exactly like listening to your favorite HIFIMAN open headphones, like the HE400SE, but with some extra bass presence and impact.

The bass tuning is extremely well done for a budget, closed back, headphone, featuring an almost neutral frequency response with good technicalities that far exceed the expectations.
Sub-bass extension is not that deep in absolute numbers but you will not feel anything really missing unless you love your bass heavy, thick and over cooked.
The headphone is definitely not lacking in some serious fun when it comes to electronic tunes but it is not what we would call a party animal.
Then there is the slightest mid-bass emphasis to add some kind of warmth and compensate for the lack of extension but at same time clarity is kept on the highest level so the bass line sounds accurate and well defined without never clouding the mids.
The bass is tight and well controlled, not bloomy or loose, you will not hear the annoying cup reverb, a usual phenomenon that is synonymous with budget (and not only) closed back headphones.
Dynamics are good and although the presentation is not that punchy there is always a satisfying level of dynamic contrast, adding the needed sense of realism.
The texture is not as visceral as someone would expect from a closed headphone but it is not too lean either, it is mid ground and maybe fuller than some of the open-back budget HIFIMAN headphones like the HE400SE.

The mid range is the classic HIFIMAN neutral target with a touch of upper-mids emphasis that doesn't get too pronounced.
Articulation, layering and clarity are surprisingly good for the price, the region sounds spacious, quite engaging and harmoniously intense but you will not fail to sense some kind of dryness to the sound.
Timbre is more or less natural when it comes to voices and instruments with good coherency minus a touch of upper-mids glare but not that much as for the region to sound piercing or shouting.

Climbing higher and the texture becomes leaner while timbre gets negatively affected by becoming somewhat metallic and artificial.
The sound is not too bright or fatiguing but notes do loose in intensity and become thinner with a faster decay and too short in duration, missing in reverb.
The detail retrieval is stellar for the price, the HE-R7DX is a finely resolving and well articulated headphone.
The HE-R7DX is not bright sounding per se, it is just luminous, fast and agile with a sound character that will satisfy most people that are looking for an everyday, all rounder, headphone that is suited for long term listening without causing any ear fatigue.
The only real downside is that some higher pitched instruments or harmonics will sound slightly out of tune and not too convincing regarding the naturalness of their timbre but we are really nitpicking here.

The soundstage is the real star of the show, wide and extended with a rare spaciousness for a closed headphone, the HE-R7DX sounded superb, with accurate imaging, sharp positioning and adequate depth layering.
The HE-R7DX is grand and glorious either while listening to music or watching movies and while I do not game, I bet that it can make a perfect gaming companion.

A good sound example that highlighted both the strong and the weak points of the HE-R7DX was the following recording of Rinaldo Alessandrini featuring concertos by Antonio Vivaldi and their arrangements by J.S Bach.


I don't own any other closed back headphones, except the 10 times more expensive Meze Audio Liric, so I can't offer a fair comparison.
But on the other hand, as already discussed, comparing the HE-R7DX with similarly priced open back headphones strengthened all the arguments about the overall quality of its sound.


In the end

The Drop+ HE-R7DX is a good sounding headphone with a mostly neutral sound signature, great technicalities for the category and a surprisingly open sounding nature.
For a mere $149 (and sometimes as low as $99) you can get a great taste of the HIFIMAN house sound from a versatile, closed back, headphone that is commute and travel friendly plus easy to drive.
Build quality is good for the asking price and while it is not going to earn any design prizes the only real downside worth mentioning is that the sound performance is largely fit dependent.
But the headband clamping pressure can be easily adjusted and minus some exceptions you are definitely going to find a way to make it sound as good as it can.

Test playlist

Copyright - Petros Laskis 2022.


Reviewer at Ear Fidelity
Drop + Hifiman HE-R7DX
Pros: For me, the design is very good
Comfort for days
Comfortable, flexible cable included
Neutral, smooth tonality
Extraordinary soundstage for a closed-back
Brilliant for gaming
Good technical performance
Very good value for $149, crazy value for $99
Cons: The clamping force out of the box literally breaks this headphone
The unboxing experience is super basic, not a con, but worth noting
Might sound different depending on the amount of bend you'd apply to the headband (go heavy)
Because of the seal problem, it's probably one of the most polarizing headphones on the market, it's either horrible or really, really good.


Okay, I’m a fan of DROP and an even bigger fan of Hifiman. Drop (previously known as Massdrop) made a name for itself a few years ago by doing great products at even better prices. Now, they’re offering a lot of stuff from knives, mechanical keyboards, clothing, and of course, headphone audio.
They have some excellent products in their lineup, with their flagship Sennheiser 6XX that they sold more than 150000 (!) units. This is a huge number for a +/- $200 pair of headphones, trust me.
So, Drop partnered with Hifiman to create the R7DX. Hifiman is the leading player in the headphone market, with arguably the best headphone in almost every price category when open-back, planar-magnetic headphones are considered. We reviewed so many Hifiman headphones, and every single review was highly positive. They just simply know how to deliver exceptional audio performance at great prices. Also, when the price is not a problem, they have their Susvara, the winner of our “Battle Of The Flagships” article, which means that for me, this is the best headphone in the world right now. This is really something.
This time, Drop has decided to go with a rather budget-friendly closed-back headphone that uses a dynamic driver. We see fewer and fewer dynamic driver headphones currently, as planars really took over in the past few years. Nonetheless, the 6xx that I mentioned earlier is a dynamic driver headphone, and it’s their all-time bestseller by a huge margin, so there’s still a big opportunity in this technology, especially at this price bracket.



Hifiman’s time as a boutique brand is long gone, so their unboxing experience has been more modest and minimal lately. The same goes with the R7DX, which comes in a rather basic box, and the only accessory you’re getting is the cable.
When we’ll take its price into consideration, it is obvious that some corners had to be cut, and it’s a good thing that they’ve chosen the packaging to save some money to keep the price as low as possible.
It’s a $149 pair of headphones, you cannot expect a luxurious unboxing experience, and you won’t be getting it. The packaging quality of the R7DX is pretty straightforward and it’s a good thing.
Speaking about the included cable, I’m really happy to see that Hifiman goes for this cable design more often lately. It is a basic black chord that is just comfortable and it gets the job done. The most important thing a cable should do is not to bother during listening sessions, and this cable does just that.

Design, Build and Comfort​


This paragraph might be slightly controversial. I’ve seen people not really liking the design of the R7DX, but for me, the first time I’ve seen them I was immediately sold. They do look minimalistic and classy with these matte-blue earcups. Yes, they look like pilot headphones a little bit, but is it a bad thing? They’re big, clean, and modern, definitely my cup of tea.

As for the build quality, it’s a standard affordable Hifiman – good, not perfect. The whole construction feels a little bit wonky, but they’re very lightweight for a closed-back, and very, very comfortable, like all Hifiman headphones. While it won’t win any prize for its luxurious materials and attention to details, comfort has been more important for Hifiman, and this is the proper approach to manufacturing headphones. Who needs headphones that are a piece of art but you can’t actually use them for more than an hour?


One important thing to mention is the clamping force. Out of the box, the R7DX has next to no clamping force, which is not ideal for closed-back headphones. Luckily, the headband is made of metal, so you can easily bend it to introduce more clamping force.
I’ve seen some reviews of people claiming that the R7DX is bass-less, lifeless, and thin sounding, and it is all because of the lack of isolation. This is a closed-back headphone, it has to isolate to some degree to provide a good bass response, there’s no way around it. Because of that, please make sure you’re getting a good seal with these if you’ll decide to pick them up or you’re simply trying them on, this part is essential.



When you’ll get a good seal with the R7DX, they do sound rather neutral and inoffensive, providing very good performance for long listening sessions.
They do remind me somehow of a closed-back hd6xx with their smooth and neutral tonality. What’s the most impressive though, is that they do not sound like closed-back headphones, creating a very good sense of space and very good imaging.

The bass does sound like it’s coming from an open-back pair of headphones. It’s not as hard-hitting or big as I’m used to with closed-back constructions, providing a good neutral and easy-going type of sound signature. It has a slight emphasis on the mid-bass region, providing a good weight and thickness to the sound. It’s not extremely low reaching, but the subbass region is not subdued too much. Overall, the R7DX is definitely not a bass-heavy headphone, but it’s also not lean, it sits in the middle of what I would call “just right”. Daft Punk and their “Random Access Memories” is a great test for bass frequencies, and it is reproduced in a good, fresh-sounding way. It doesn’t overpower, yet it’s not too distant nor underwhelming, providing a good combination of texture and punch.

The midrange is mostly neutral and flat sounding, with an overall sense of smoothness across the whole range. Vocals sound natural and a bit relaxed. The detail retrieval is really good for a $149 headphone and the overall resolution is impressive. This is a great pair for late-night listening sessions or your daily driver, as its slightly calm character works great with most music genres. There’s also a slight bump to the upper-midrange, which gives female vocals some shine and quite a forward presentation. My standard vocal test using a song called “A Thousand Shards of Heaven” by Lunatic Soul resulted in a highly pleasant, smooth vocal delivery with good resolution. There’s nothing that bothers me, yet nothing that leaves me speechless. What’s worth noting is that because of its sound signature, every vocalist sounds good on the R7DX, which further establishes these headphones as a really good all-rounder.


The treble is the most technical sounding when compared to the rest of the frequency response. As I said previously, female vocals have a good shimmer to them and they are quite forward. The same goes with percussions and string instruments, which come out a bit metallic and sharp in some masterings. However, this kind of treble response pairs well with the rest of the spectrum, providing some life and air to an overall soft and neutral presentation. That slight emphasis leads to a really good detail retrieval in this price bracket, especially for a closed-back model. “Iron Hand” by Dire Straits got some good string action and it is represented in a realistic way here, with metal strings being slightly forward and well pronounced. Some people may find the treble a bit too hot or too technical sounding, so if you’re a fan of a rather dark, smooth tonality in the upper region, I’d recommend trying the R7DX first. Other than that, this is again, a highly pleasant and technically impressive-sounding treble for a $149 pair of headphones.

The soundstage is probably the most impressive thing about the R7DX. They do sound like open-back headphones with great width and depth. The imaging and layering are also impressive for a $149 closed-back headphones, producing a good sensation of instruments playing around your head. Closed-back headphones often sound congested and they lack space between instruments, but the R7DX does great in both of these aspects. That all makes for a great gaming headphone that makes them an even better option for a daily driver in a PC setup. You can spend a few hours working, then play some competitive shooter games, and when the night comes, the R7DX will give you pleasing sounding music for relaxation. I believe that in this price bracket, people are mostly looking for headphones that can do everything right, and the R7DX is exactly that. Drop really knows how to target their products.
When it comes to pairing, the R7DX does well with many different setups I’ve tried, but one really worth noting is the SMSL DO100+HO100 (reviews coming very soon). This whole setup costs just about $500 and it offers a great, clean and neutral sound performance for all audiophiles on a budget. You will hardly need anything “better” than this to pair with the R7DX, and to get such sound at this price is just wonderful.


Dekoni Blue


These two are both closed-back headphones in a somewhat similar price bracket, so it’s a natural comparison for me.
The Dekoni Blue is definitely a thicker, warmer, and darker sounding of the two, with a narrower and shallower soundstage. The R7DX provides better detail retrieval and resolution, which makes them a more universal and coherent sounding of the two. The Blue has that huge bass that might be highly desirable for some, but seeing how much it overpowers the rest of the frequency response when compared to the R7DX, it comes down as a more “specialty” pair of headphones, while the R7DX can do almost everything well.
Lastly, even though both headphones are closed-back, the R7DX is better for long listening sessions when it comes to comfort. The Dekoni Blue can get pretty hot after about an hour of use, while the R7DX feels more ventilated and breathable (Hifiman pads are known for their good ventilation).

Meze 99 Classics

Same story as the above. The 99 Classics is definitely bassier and thicker sounding than the R7DX, while the latter offers a better sense of space and is more detailed.
The 99 Classics has always been a more portable pair of headphones for me, while the R7DX is definitely more of a desk-scenario pair. For gaming, the R7DX is much better with its better imaging and overall bigger soundstage.
The tonality is more neutral and smooth in the R7DX, while the 99 Classics is more V-shaped with an added body in both bass and treble. This makes for a more exciting sounding headphone than the 7DX, but also more tiring in longer listening sessions.
Seeing how different these two are, and how well they complement each other, I can see the point of having both. Meze for when you’re craving for fun and full-bodied presentation for an hour or two, and the R7DX for your everyday long sessions and gaming.



The Drop + Hifiman R7DX is an impressive closed-back pair of headphones. While it’s not perfect with its somewhat aggressive treble presentation, it makes for a good daily driver near your PC, and it’s an excellent gaming headphone. The biggest pro is the asking price. At $149, the R7DX is a highly detailed, neutral headphone sounding more like an open-back. This is a really good value and I honestly think it should get more attention.

Gear used during this review for the sake of comparison and as an accompanying equipment:
  • Headphones – Dekoni Blue, Meze 99 Classics, Hifiman Susvara, Meze Elite, Hifiman Edition XS, Hifiman Deva Pro
  • Sources– Poco X3 Pro, MacBook Pro 2021 M1 Pro, Cayin N3Pro, Cayin N8ii, EarMen Tradutto, SMSL SH-9, LittleDot MK III SE, XI Audio Broadway S
Big thanks to DROP for providing the R7DX for this review. I wasn’t paid or asked to say anything good or bad about this product, all of the above is just my personal, unbiased opinion. Drop hasn’t seen this review before publishing it.
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John Massaria
John Massaria
awesome review - you should check into my mod though it eleivates them to a whole other realm of value and performance


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