General Information

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cappuchino

Previously known as sub30
Pros: A relatively relaxed neutral signature
All the planar benefits without the drawback/s
That soundstage, when amped…
Not as power-demanding as its little brother
Sophisticated look (subjective)
Large “earpad hole”
Relatively light clamping force (preference-dependent)
Cable is usable – this is a huge pro coming from the HE400se
Cons: Nothing for 219 USD (wired)
Disclaimer:

I would like to thank Mr. Mark and HIFIMAN for providing a review unit of the Deva. Rest assured that my impressions written in this review are my own personal thoughts and opinions and in no way influenced by outside parties.

I am not an expert in this hobby nor claim to be an audiophile. I just love listening to music and am fond of writing articles.


Introduction:

Deva. A simple Google search tells me that it is a Sanskrit word related to Hinduism meaning “a divine being or a god.” I have here the wired version which sells for 219 USD, with an impedance of 18 ohms and a sensitivity of 93.5dB. There’s a BT version with an included BT DAC/Amp for 299 USD. As it is a HIFIMAN, it utilizes a full-sized, planar driver and follows in one way or another the neutral “line.”


Oppo Reno 4 > KGUSS BH3 > Kenwood KA-7300 > Transducer

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It was possible to reach my listening volume using only my phone, with a bit of headroom. But, as this is a planar, amping is mandatory.


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Build and Comfort: There’s something with the color scheme of the Deva that I just frickin’ adore. It oozes sophistication, luxury, and dare I say, “divinity.” As looks are subjective, it will of course depend on your preference. For me? I really, really love how the Deva exudes this delicate “air” around it, when on display.

As is typical of HIFIMAN, build is a mix of metal and plastic. Cup is made of plastic, but the grill and the “cup holder” thingy are all metal. No “wrong” moving part, whatsoever.

It also uses the new headband which fit comfortably on my head (same with HE400se, swivel’s front-and-back to an extent). YMMV.

The earpads are angled, aren’t circular, and are rather… elliptical? Hole is larger than the HE400se and should fit most ears. I do have to note that it was quite stiff OOTB, but a few days of leaving it “engaged” on the product box resulted in a softer feel on-ear (break-in).

Shaking the headphone itself, and you get some “wiggle” but nothing I would say unacceptable.

Now, for the cable… IT’S AWESOME!... coming from the HE400se, that is. It’s a 3.5mm TRS to 3.5mm TRRS cable, with the input source side being L-shaped. I’m not sure about the length, but it’s definitely more than 1 meter, which is very useful for me as I am always plugged into the amplifier, and a shorter cable would have been a hassle. This length is quite, personally speaking, impossible to use portably. But, then again, the Deva is an open-backed planar headphone and it’s generally not intended for portable use, no matter how it is advertised.

If you want to commission a custom cable if ever you need different connector types (balanced and such), cable material, or others, just send HIFIMAN a message on Facebook and they’ll send the pinout immediately.

Clamping force is on the lighter side and comfort would depend on the user’s head.


Package: ¼" adapter. Paperwork. Stock cable.



Now, onto sound:

For this review, the headphone was left in stock mode, without mods with a listening volume of low-medium to medium.

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Bass:
it’s neutral-sounding but mid-bass is more noticeable in the mix due to the sub-bass roll-off, resulting in a warmer tonality. What this does is that while it retains the “flat” line, the listener is provided with a fuller and punchier bass response, compared to a more analytical bass, to a degree, that is. However, even if it easily extends lower than 40 Hz (quite amazing, if you think about it), as it is an open-back, the Deva doesn’t work well in providing that sub-bass rumble for tracks that utilize such frequency. I have only listened to two planar headphones currently, the HE400se and the Deva. The former’s bass response is significantly more analytical/linear than the latter. However, the latter sounds much more “organic.” One can interpret this statement as, “The HIFIMAN Deva actually sounds close to how a dynamic driver presents bass, with the DD being vaguely described as having that organic tonality.” That’s a huge advantage, in my opinion – the best of both worlds, tonality of a DD + technicalities of a planar. But, it is still quicker in decay than the usual DD. Detail/texture is perceived and because it is a planar, bass lines are controlled and articulate, although isn't the best I've heard, regardless of transducer type.

Midrange: still that pre-upper/upper midrange dip… but it’s not as bad as the HE400se! While it is essentially “neutral,” that very slight dip does make the Deva appear to have a more delicate midrange. It does come off as recessed with certain tracks if you listen carefully, but it is still very much present, nonetheless. Coming from the HE400se, I didn’t expect the Deva to sound so… organic. Vocals are presented satisfyingly weighty, definitely influenced by that mid-bass presence – lush and emotional. The dip allows for an “ethereal” display. That quality is so hard to explain in words without having listened to it, but if you’ve ever watched movies/shows with the “coming-from-the-heavens” voice, or one of the dryad or any mythical creature kind of stuff, its close to that. Very, very preference-dependent but also very, very addicting. Instruments are articulate, detailed, and well-separated in the mix.

Treble: relatively neutral with the deviation of a peak going above neutral at around lower-to-mid treble. What this does is add zing to the presentation, but because the mid-bass is noticeably prominent on-ear, everything balances out. Extension is excellent and there are no lost frequencies. As it is a planar, along with the benefits of the driver technology granted that it is being fed with ample power, treble is very crisp, airy and detailed. But it is not the smoothest presentation – due to the few dips here and there, while staying in line with neutral (note: more mellow even on some sub-regions), highs sometimes sound grainy depending on the track, though is admittedly a rare occurrence. This is nitpicking, ngl. No sibilance heard at all.

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Timbre:
the Deva is exceptionally natural sounding considering it’s a planar, with no artificial tint whatsoever.

Soundstage, Imaging, and Separation: You gotta amp the Deva. After that, you are enveloped in this majestic soundstage that simply presents music as if you’re not wearing anything on your head – it’s *that* holographic. The lighter clamping force, larger earpad hole, and the open-back design plays a role in this. Add in the accurate imaging and effortless separation, and the Deva keeps getting better and better.

Detail-retrieval: The technical capabilities of a planar headphone is just fascinating. Even if it’s not an aggressive tuning to maximize perceived detail, it effortlessly presents macro and microdetail even with the distinct mid/upper-bass presence.

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Conclusion:


While I cannot speak for the more expensive wireless version that comes with the Bluemini BT DAC/Amp, the wired Deva that I have presents incredible value at 219 USD. With a close-to-neutral tuning that is tonally exceptional, the HIFIMAN Deva incorporates its namesake to its looks and most importantly its sound. Endgame-material tonality, in my most honest opinion.


UPDATE: Dropped due to Takstar HF580

****If you have other questions/concerns with the headphone mentioned, feel free to message me****​
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rev92

100+ Head-Fier
Hifiman Deva Wired
Pros: Fantastic sound quality for the price
Slightly warmer and more exciting than the 400i 2020
Good build quality
Comfortable
Fun
Soundstage is bonkers
Value
Cons: Cable is just okay
Packaging is simple, but that's okay for the price
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After the huge success of the Bluetooth Deva, Hifiman decided to launch its wired version, pricing it at $219. As usual, it is a planar-magnetic headphone promising an unrivalled value.


Sound quality for the price
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Rating: 10 out of 10.

Build quality and design
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Rating: 9 out of 10.

Value
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Rating: 10 out of 10.






Introduction​

In 2020 Hifiman released the Deva – their second, full-sized Bluetooth headphone after the Ananda BT. It’s been vastly successful, thanks to its fantastic sound quality and convenience.

It wasn’t all double rainbow though – some people simply didn’t want to pay extra for the Bluetooth functionality they might never use. Hifiman has listened to these complaints, and they came up with a wired version of Deva, simply because not everyone needs Bluetooth functionality (me included actually). So, here it is.

Packaging

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Say hello to Hifiman Deva.

The unboxing experience is quite similar to that of the Sundara or the HE-400i 2020. It’s a good looking outer box with not really much more into it. After opening it, you’re greeted by the Deva itself, the cable, and…that’s basically it. You’re also getting a manual and catalogue, but we’re living in an era of the internet – nobody really uses them anyway.
Having all that in mind, a simple conclusion comes into my mind – sure, it’s a modest and rather simple packaging, but this product isn’t meant to be luxurious or to seem expensive. Almost all of the budget went into the technology and materials, and that’s a good thing. Why bother including some quality accessories, if the performance of the product itself is rather poor? I prefer it to be the other way, and that’s exactly what happens here.

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And here it is.

Cable​


The included cable is Deva’s biggest weakness. It is basic and unimpressive. For the $219 asking price it’s fine, but don’t expect a quality cable coming with the new Deva. Also, it isn’t symmetric, which means that only one connector goes into the headphone itself (in this case, into the left earcup). Not a perfect solution, but I believe many people will actually appreciate this. I’d personally prefer a symmetrical entry into both earcups, but hey, it is what it is.

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The included cable is…okay.

Build quality and design​

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But as far as the headphone goes, it impresses with basically everything.

In terms of the wired Hifiman models, Deva continues the fashion started by the 400i 2020. That means that it’s a very well-built pair of headphones, with the whole headband construction being identical to this of the 400i.

The only difference is in the earcups and the pads. The cups have an elongated shape in comparison to the round ones found in the 400i. This results in a more interesting look of the headphone, and it also affects the overall shape of the earpads as well. Thanks to that, they’re slightly more comfortable than the HE400i, as there’s simply more room around your ears.

The included pads are squishy, comfortable and nice to the touch. What’s interesting though, is that as shown on the photo below, they do look like a sweater from up close. Still, they are breathable and I really have no complaints.

Comfort​

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I was surprised when I first saw the earpads through the Macro lens. It looks like a sweater!

Let’s put that straight – Deva is a very comfortable pair of headphones. This is my go-to pair for gaming, because of that, and thanks to one thing, that I’ll describe in the sound section of this review.

Nonetheless, Deva weighs 360g, but you simply don’t feel that on your head. The clamping force is very subtle, resulting in a fatigue-free and lightweight listening experience. The one and only problem I feel is the cable. Because of it going into just the left earcup, I sometimes feel it dragging a little, as the connector itself is not the smallest one. It’s not too big of a problem, but if they made it angled, or the connector itself was smaller, it would have been a perfectly comfortable pair of headphones.

Tech​

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Old-School-ish planar magnetic driver with magnets on both sides – lovely.

Deva uses a planar-magnetic driver with magnets on both sides. This is a reference to the past, when Hifiman was producing their legendary line-up, including the HE-6, HE-500, etc.
Thanks to that, the drivers are heavier than the ones with the single-sided magnet array, and this kind of construction is relatively harder to drive. The impedance is rated at 18 oHms, with the sensitivity of 93.5 dB.

Sound​

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It really sings.

I personally believe that Hifiman leads the market when it comes to “affordable”, open-back headphones nowadays. They’ve got the he400i 2020, which we awarded as “Best Headphones of 2020” thanks to their incredible value. Also, they’ve got a very broad offering, with award-winning models in almost every price category – Sundara, Ananda, Arya, Susvara to name a few. In Bluetooth over-ear market they are playing in their own league, and now they gave us a wired version of the vastly popular Deva, and guess what…it’s yet another great product.
One thing that is worth mentioning is that the Deva is a similar headphone to Hifiman’s He400i 2020. The biggest difference between the two when it comes to the sound is a slightly different timbre. That’s actually a great thing, as we still think the 400i is THE headphone to beat in the +/- $200 price market.



Starting from the bass, it is a touch boosted compared to the 400i 2020, and it has a slightly more sub-bass presence. It results in the low frequencies that are both neutral and boosted just a little bit. Result? A fantastic performing bass that is both well-controlled and fun to listen to.
“Sounds That Can’t Be Made” by Marillion starts with a hit and it continues throughout the whole song. While the 400i was greatly controlled and accurate, it lacked a little bit of kick, which is more prominent with the Deva. That made this song more enjoyable, powerful, and just simply better sounding.
That change also helps modern music quite a bit. Let’s talk The Weeknd “After Hours”. I’m not gonna talk about the pure awesomeness of this album, as I believe everyone knows what I’m talking about.
Getting back to it, that is a fun, fun, fun album to listen to, but it requires some kickbass presence to be really enjoyable. Well, while this is not perfect with the 400i 2020, it’s noticeably more enjoyable with the Deva.

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This color combination is striking in real life.


The midrange is again – quite neutral, but a touch different in terms of timbre than the 400i. While I described the latter as very neutral and uncolored, the Deva takes a slight step towards being warm and full-bodied sounding. Don’t expect the body or warmth of Audeze headphones though, as it is subtle here in the Deva.
This frequency also got me the biggest shock I’ve had in the headphone audio for a while now. The first song I’m always playing with the new gear is “A thousand Shards of Heaven” by Lunatic Soul. I’ve done it a couple thousand times now and I know every single note as my own pocket. Yet after trying the Deva for the first time I was well…shocked. As speechless as I’ve been, I asked my girlfriend to come to the desk and to listen to the same song as well. Observing her face as she was submerged into this musical abyss was quite nervous for me, as I waited for her feedback about my sanity.
As expected though, she took them off and simply said – wow, beautiful. That’s exactly what I’ve heard. The vocal of Mariusz Duda was such beautifully mellow, moist, resonating, romantic…it is hard for me to explain the genesis of such thing by looking at the frequency response. One thing I’m sure though – that was a TOP 5 performance when it comes to this specific song that I’ve ever heard, and I’ve tried it on some really serious gear, reaching 100k dollars and above. Stunning.

The treble is where I hear the least differences between the 400i and the Deva. It is vivid, crispy and well-controlled, but it doesn’t get sharp or unpleasant, running from the ATOM stack, which is known for not hiding anything in the upper frequencies. That results in a very energetic and neutral response that is well-suited for every music genre. The only thing that is not super impressive is the cymbals. Don’t get me wrong, they do sound great and detailed, but they lack body just a little bit. That’s not a problem though, as I think that only high-end, top of the line headphones tend to really get those right in terms of timbre and that pure, metallic sound.
As a result, listening to Fletwood Mac’s “Rumours” album is a great journey to enjoy. While not the best I’ve heard, it is definitely shockingly good for a +/- $200 pair of headphones. Chapeau bas.

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But still, not as striking as the sound quality.

And it doesn’t end there. Now into the biggest difference between the 400i and the Deva – the soundstage. I’ll put it as simple as it gets – Deva is the best staging headphone under 500 USD that I’ve ever heard, period. Wide, deep, razor-sharp and such holographic. It’s easiest to notice in gaming – while the 400i 2020 gave me a great gaming experience in FPS games, the Deva is just simply spectacular in this regard. They do create such a realistic, 3D soundstage that I kinda feel like I’m cheating. Also, what’s the most impressive is the ease of distinguishing the front and the rear. I actually believe that the Deva does this one thing better than the Sennheiser HD800 – and that means a lot to me.



Comparisons​


VS Hifiman HE400i 2020
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Hifiman HE400i 2020

Well, I’ve spent a big part of this review comparing these two, but let me summarize things. The 400i is the more neutral, flat and linear sounding of the two, which results in a more analytical and studio-like listening experience. The Deva, on the other hand, is a little bit fuller sounding, warmer and more pleasant. It also has a better sub-bass response, and most importantly – an even better soundstage. While the 2020’s staging capabilities are impressive, the Deva is, yet again – the best staging headphone I’ve ever heard in this price range.

VS Meze 99 Classics
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Meze 99 Classics

Okay, these two are just different – while the 99 Classics is fun, bold and in-your-face sounding, it lacks the definition, staging, and detail of the Deva. This planar-magnetic driver is really hard to beat when it comes to imaging, accuracy, and transparency of the sound. If you’re all about that big, bassy, and energetic sound then sure, consider the Meze – you might actually love them. But, for every single other reason, Deva is an easy choice.

VS Dekoni Blue
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Dekoni Blue

This one is a similar story to the one with Meze 99 Classics – If you want that huge, saturated bass and very forward, exciting sound, then the Dekoni Blue has the edge. If you value detail, soundstage and resolution though, the Deva is a no-brainer and it beats the Blue by a big margin. If you have quite a collection under your hand, then the Dekoni Blue is an exciting addition thanks to many things (review coming soon – stay tuned!), but if you’re looking for the best possible pair of headphones within that price range, Deva wins easily.

Summary​

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Deva is just shockingly good.

Hifiman yet again proves that it plays in its own league when it comes to “budget” open-back headphones. Even though they’ve got the Award-Winning he400i 2020 that beats all the competition, they’ve released the wired version of Deva, which in some areas is even better. If you’re looking for the best possible sound quality for 200-300 USD, then the DEVA is a very, very strong contender. Extraordinary.

Highly recommended.







Gear used during this review for the sake of comparison and as an accompanying equipment:
  • Headphones – Audeze LCD3, Hifiman HE 400i 2020, Meze 99 Classics, Dekoni Blue, AKG K501
  • Sources– Cayin N3Pro, JDSLabs Atom DAC + Atom AMP, Luxman R-1040, Ayon HA-3
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Antonio-DD
Antonio-DD
Excellent review, I agree on each single word. Just a minor comment/remark to stress once again that the Bluemini module of the Deva BT is working very well and is a BIG added value, allowing you to go wired or wireless (and Hi-Res) at your will, they are just two very different ways of enjoying music.

voja

100+ Head-Fier
Great on head (sound), could be better in hand (build quality)
Pros: Clean bass
Good punch and weight to the lower frequencies
Dynamic nature
Detailed sound characteristic
High resolution & definition (depth and information to the music)
Airy and open sound characteristic
Comfortable due to the very lightweight design
Fatigue-free due to the roll off of the higher frequencies (top top-end)
Option to use both wired and wireless (Bluetooth)
Cons: Build quality
Maybe lack of carrying case for some
Could be considered a con - not easy to drive due to the planar-magnetic nature

Personal preference, not a con - lack of sparkle
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You are probably familiar with Hifiman, as it is one of the largest manufacturers of orthodynamic (planar-magnetic) headphones. Whether it’s the budget-friendly Sundara, the mid-range Arya, or the flagship Shangri-La, you should have heard about Hifiman by this point.

Hifimans roots go all the way back to 2005, when Dr. Fang Bian opened Head-Direct (Hifiman before the name was changed to “Hifiman”). With over 15 years of existence, Hifiman had more than enough time to play around and see what works, and what doesn’t.

Hifiman managed to put out a great number of products. Some great, some not so much. This being said, let’s see what what they did with the Deva with all those years of experience -


The Deva is the first headphone from Hifiman that supports both Bluetooth and cable connection. The Ananda BT was bluetooth only, which could be unappealing to those who prefer cable connection. Having both Bluetooth and cable connection is the best of both worlds - it provides the freedom to those that prefer cable connection to easily switch to Bluetooth, and vice-versa. I myself find this to be much more convenient, especially because I am not a big Bluetooth fan - I mainly listen to music in my room, so I rarely have the need to go Bluetooth. It’s a nice feature to have, and I’m glad that Hifiman is bringing the flexibility of both Bluetooth and cable to their headphones, there is a lot of potential with this technology. One thing is for sure - this is a step in the right direction.

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Unboxing experience

Hifiman is known for going out of their way to bring a great unboxing experience, just like they did with the huge leather box for their RE-600s V2 earphones. However, they decided to keep it minimal with the Deva model. This time around there is no carrying case, just a simple box. This made sense to me, since usually a carrying case indicates that a product is intended for outdoor use, but you at least expect a pouch to protect the headphone from dust. All the contents are seated in the box. On the inside you will find the Deva pushed into a cloth-like material, while all the accessories are on the sides. You get all the necessary cables that you need, and there is also a 6.3 mm adapter.

In formal format, here is what you get:
1x Hifiman Deva
1x 3.5 mm cable (for analog connection)
1x 6.3 mm adapter

1x Bluemini
1x USB-A to USB-C cable (with the Bluemini)

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Build quality

Hifiman is infamous for its build quality, unless we are talking about their higher priced models like the Susvara, HE1000, or Shangri-La. QC (quality-control) has been a large issue for Hifiman in the past. However, it seems like they have been working hard on fixing it, and we hear much less about it nowadays.

While the Deva is a $220 headphone, it could definitely use some higher quality materials for the construction. The leather headband and ear-cups are superb, but the rest of the headphone is questionable - the parts that I hated the most are the plastic pieces on either end of the headband. Don’t get me wrong, the frame that holds the ear-cups is made out of metal, but the quality of these plastic pieces is so low that I was disappointed. I know Hifiman can do a better job, a small thing like this can largely impact on ones experience. Moving on, the grills are made of metal, but the ear-cups are made of plastic. I myself have nothing against plastic, especially when it’s high quality plastic like on the Sennheiser HD 598, but I simply cannot stand cheap plastic (mainly because of how it feels).

Sometimes you have to sacrifice the build quality for sound performance and the cost of manufacturing, but I really want to see Hifiman improve the build quality of their entry-level models. This being said, build quality remains the field for improvement for Hifiman.
Hifiman, I know you can do it!

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Design

While we are all used to Hifimans silver and black combo, they decided to step out of their comfort zone and try something different with the Deva. This time around we see a silver finish with tan leather accents. Unlike most of Hifiman’s lineup, the Deva went with a fairly simple construction. Instead of having headband frames with suspension systems, the headband is constructed from a single piece and is padded (very well!). The ear-cups can rotate vertically, but cannot rotate in the same way horizontally. They can pivot very slightly horizontally, and this is due to the ear cup frame being attached loosely to the headband construction. I personally prefer when things aren’t loose, I like smooth rotation, so it would be nice to see that in the next model. This isn’t a problem, it’s just a preference - I can easily adjust the Deva to my head.

You may notice that both the Deva and the 400i (2020 version) feature the same headband construction.

On the bottom side of the left ear-cup you can see a 3.5 mm TRRS socket. It is used both by the Bluemini and the stereo 3.5 mm cable. On the inner side of the headband there is labeling for left & right, this time in a nice and bold font. On either end of the headband there is a plastic piece - on the left it has “Hifiman” written, while on the right one there is “Deva”.

The ear-cups are removable, which means that you can get new ones if you want. They have the industry standard snap-on system. The ear-pads themselves have a fabric material facing you, while the rest of the ear-pad is made of leather.

Simple and minimalist - as headphone as it gets.

Comfort

I don’t have a large head. What a statement to start off, huh? On a serious note, I don’t experience headphones the same way other people do. I don’t get the opportunity to have ear-pads pressed against my head, most of the time they just sit on my ears/head. Due to the extreme light-weight nature of the Deva, I don’t even notice them being on my head (which is a good thing!). They comfortably sit around my ears, and at no point do they come in contact with my ears. The rotation freedom of the ear-cups helps to precisely adjust the fit to your head. The fabric on the ear-pads is very pleasant to the skin, and I can easily see myself using them for hours without any fatigue. Same goes for the headband, very soft due to the padding. Simple and comfortable.


Sound

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Lows

There is no doubt that the Deva is capable of digging deep down. It is not just capable of producing sub-frequencies, but also delivering the punch. The only issue that I have come across is that when turned up loud enough (between 3 and 4 o’clock on EarMen TR-Amp) the Deva cannot hold up with the sub-frequencies. It starts to create clicking noises, and I wasn’t willing to take the risk to damage the drivers, so I just turned the volume down. This can also be something to do with the TR-Amp, but I cannot confirm whether it’s the Deva or the amp.

The bass is very much present, I would consider it more balanced than present. It doesn’t overpower the mix or squash any details, it remains well controlled at all times. This is interesting to say, because Deva is quite capable of rumbling when it comes to sub-frequencies - it is not far off from the bass response from the Sivga Phoenix.

The Deva kept up my standard “Why so Serious?” by Hans Zimmer. It rumbled and delivered a clear frequency (while you keep it at moderate levels)

“Smoking Mirrors” by Lee Curtiss was well represented - the bass had good punch and good weight, all while remaining the dynamic feeling of the track.

“Paper Trails” by Darkside remained clean, with the bass not getting in the way of other elements in the mix.

“Hydrogen” by M.O.O.N (M|O|O|N) shows how good the punch is. It was tight and clean.

The more aggressive “Had Some Drinks” by Two Feet is where you can hear both the punch and the rumble from sub-bass. I found that the Deva was able to deliver some serious rumble when I pushed TR-Amp to around 1 o’clock.

Similar to Hans Zimmer’s “Why so Serious?”, “Angel” by Massive Attack is where I listen to presence of the sub-bass. It’s a very dark track, and the sub-frequencies are consistent throughout the track, it’s one consistent “baseline” with a kick happening every now and then. Both the kick and the sub-frequencies are presented well. The kick has a good body to it, while the sub-bass has beyond enough presence.

Overall, I am happy with the bass performance from the Deva’s. You have to keep in mind that these are open-back headphones, and for an open-back headphone the Deva manages to hit some pretty deep notes. I can confidently say that they have above-average bass quantity, and at no point did I find the bass to get muddy or bad sounding - it remained clear with good definition.

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Mids

The mids remain sounding pretty natural in terms of tonality. I tend to have short listening sessions at louder volumes. This is mainly the case when I am using headphones, I love to completely feel the music for the short period of time that I am listening to it, of course it’s not advised to do this for longer periods of time (due to the risk of damaging your ears!). I mention this because at times the Deva can sound peaky (when “s” and “t” sounds a bit harsh and forward) - this is a problem you will most likely not face if you are listening to music at moderate levels. It’s mainly the upper mid-range where I found the Deva a bit warm. The lower mid-range was pretty much spot on due to the lower-range response.

I have to say that I particularly enjoyed listening to tracks where guitars are present. “Soldier of Fortune” by Deep Purple, “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin, “Dogs” or “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” by Pink Floyd, they all sounded phenomenal. However I did find the higher frequencies to be laid back (more on this in the next section).

While the warmer sound signature is more suitable for fatigue-free listening, my personal preference is to have sparkle and a tad of brightness that creates sparkle.

In terms of sparkle, here are some tracks where I found the absence of it -

Jeff Buckley’s “Forget Her” at mark 3:16, where Jeff’s vocal should have edge to it

“Little Wing” by Stevie Ray Vaughan, at mark 3:18, where the guitar hits some higher frequencies

“Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen, at mark 2:17, where Freddie Mercury’s voice should sound particularly gritty. It rather sounds flat, taking away the edge from the higher frequency of the vocal.

This can also take away the life from instruments such as violins, Jo A Ram’s cover of “Still Loving You” (originally by Scoripions).

All of this being said, I want to clearly state that it’s only the very top end of the higher frequencies that is rolled off. I would call it the section that is on the edge of bright and piercing, but if incorporated correctly, it will give a satisfying sparkle. This isn’t something easy to engineer, if not done correctly a headphone will sound too bright and unsatisfying, in worst cases fatiguing. The Deva plays it safe by leaning towards a warmer sound signature. This can be very appealing to some, especially those who are looking for a warmer sound signature. Also, if you listen to electronic music a lot, this might be something you would enjoy. At the end of the day I have to step outside of my personal preference and also consider that something I don’t enjoy much is exactly what somebody else will enjoy more.

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Highs

While I would consider the Deva to be on the detailed side of the spectrum, I found it lacking sparkle - an element which is crucial to me. The good thing about this is that they aren’t sibilant or piercing in the upper region. The trade-off is that it takes away the experience from some vocals or instruments like violin. I was pleasantly surprised that the Deva was managed to produce a very clear frequency of Stevie Wonder’s harmonica in “Stop Trying to Be God” by Travis Scott (somewhere around the 5 minute mark).

The song selection from above (“Mids” section) states how I feel about this, so I will not repeat myself.

Soundstage

Perhaps the dynamic and airy nature the two standout elements of the Deva. Not only is the sound signature open with a large soundstage, but separation is top-notch. One of the best examples is “Dogs” from Pink Floyd. It’s a fairly dynamic track, having several elements in different positions. However, the most special part (and my favorite too) is the drum that rolls around your head at mark ~3:48 onward. Each drum hit is placed in a different position, but the flow/direction is from left to right.

It’s hard to pinpoint single tracks, because Deva sounded open and airy in all songs that I listened too. It have each element in the mix space to breathe, this allowed high resolution and detailed sound performance. It’s a simple concept - the more space there is, the more data and frequencies there can be. If the sound signature is crowded, many details get lost or overlap each other, this results elements to sound muddy and unclear.

The godfather of mastering dynamic tracks - Yosi Horikawa. Playing “Bubbles” and “Letter” from his 2012 masterpiece EP “Wandering” takes things to another level. In “Bubbles” no details get lost, you can hear each drop & bounce clearly, just like you can hear each re-bounce clearly. I always recommend the track “Letter” - it’s one track that gets the most wow-factor. People get blown away by how open it is, and your headphone needs to be able to represent the space of the track well. The Deva is very well capable of presenting the space, it’s able to capture the handwriting sound from the furthest points, but also capture subtle details such as mechanical winding sound that tends to switch panning from one side to the other.

No matter the track, the Deva was able to capture the tiniest details, even the ones that are hidden in the background. I have to say that this was one thing that had me coming back to the Deva, the dynamic sound characteristic is very pleasing to the ear, and it’s always nice to have a track that can breathe. Each element in the mix can be told apart from the rest, and it has enough room to be filled with the full-body of each element, separation is something that stands out in its performance.

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Conclusion

While the Deva didn’t stand out in terms of build quality, it certainly had a good sonic performance. It’s safe to say that it’s much more forgiving on head than in hands. There was a high resolution characteristic to it. It had the depth and quality that you would expect from an audiophile headphone. For just $220, the Deva performed really well. You may have noticed that I didn’t mention the Bluemini that much - the main reason is because I am an analogue guy, I prefer to use my own sources, and of course, I prefer cable connection. If you do go the same route as me (using your own source), be prepared for the power-hungry nature of planar magnetic headphones! Thankfully for me, EarMen TR-Amp did an excellent job delivering clean and clear sound performance (though I should state that TR-Amp wasn’t anywhere near to delivering “ear deafening levels”). For somebody just starting out and getting into this hobby, I don’t think you will go wrong if you start with Deva. Each step into this hobby has it’s pros and cons, it’s about learning and being aware of each one - that’s how you mover forward. I cannot deny that the Deva is capable of producing high-resolution sound at a great budget, especially with the dynamics and clean separation, so give it a listen, see if you like it or not.

It's also a great choice for those who like to have the freedom of Bluetooth, the Bluemini did a great job doing what it's meant to do (both as a source and a Bluetooth module). I am looking forward to what Hifiman will do with this technology, I think it would be interesting to see it with some of their higher-end models.

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X1787X
X1787X
Does it sound good off a laptop or phone? I don't have an amp at the moment

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