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HiFiMAN HE-1000

Rating:
4.71429/5,
  1. Aornic
    Fatigue-Lacking Former Flagship
    Written by Aornic
    Published Nov 18, 2017
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Uniquely mellow and soft presentation, forgiving of music, depth, staging, comfortable
    Cons - Not very revealing of finer detail, doesn't scale too much with source gear, slightly tizzy treble while lacking air


    Once again, a big thank you to Audio Sanctuary (based in New Malden, London) for lending me this demo unit of the HE-1000 V1

    Introduction

    Hifiman and I have come quite a way. It was their HE400i that was my first ever planar magnetic headphone. I had gotten a great deal, for the time, on it from Taobao and was over the moon to see what the fuss was about regarding planar tech. While I liked it, I found their classic HE-500 more to my liking. Continuing my tradition with reviewing phased out Hifiman products, I’m tackling their former flagship today – the HE1000 version 1.

    Specifications

    Fit – Over Ear

    Jack Plug – 3.5mm

    Transducer Type – Planar Magnetic

    Frequency Response – 8Hz – 65KHz

    Impedance – 35+/-3 Ohms

    Sensitivity – 90dB

    Maximum Power Handling – 6W

    Weight – 16.9 Oz/480g/1.06 lb

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    Build Quality, Comfort & Features

    I’m on the fence about the use of veneer on the cups. On one hand, I am told it is to prevent cracking issues which might come about with using hardwood - but on the other hand it was released as a $3000 headphone. My bias is showing here, but this doesn’t quite lend to a premium look and Hifiman would have probably been better off going for another finish. That being said, I do kind of understand what they were going for with the headphones overall – a kind of classic look with a very modern twist with the earcup shape and drivers.

    The build itself felt sturdy enough to me as the frame is made of stainless steel and feels quite durable. The earcup size is absolutely huge, easily the most space I’ve had for my ears in a full-sized headphone to date. It isn’t any sort of width that especially accomplishes this either, but the tallness of it all. This adds to the HE1000 being quite a comfortable headphone, easily wearable for long listening sessions. It weighs 480g but this weight is distributed quite evenly through the floating head strap, avoiding any issues that I found on the stock Audeze LCD-2.

    The HE1000 uses 2.5mm connectors, similar to the later production HE400i and HE560 models further down the line. While not my favourite connectors, I greatly prefer them to the older SMC variants that they, thankfully, abandoned with time.

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    Sound

    This is probably the first time I’ve reviewed a planar magnetic headphone where its presentation was a blatant alternative to my dynamic driver offerings. The most apparent difference is the bass on this. It reminds me of my once-owned Hifiman HE500 in a sense that it doesn’t seem hiked in the mid-bass region, but is rather quite linear and well extended. It’s also very clean and full sounding when the music calls for it, but in no way intrudes when it is not wanted. I would imagine that absolute bassheads might find the HE1000’s bass presentation to be a bit light, along with lacking slam and impact – but I find it far more than sufficient for all-rounder listening. While bass impact might be on the softer side, it retains good speed and decay rate.

    Similarly, I didn’t find the lower midrange to be either too elevated or recessed. Its transition from the bass is natural without any overpowering or bleed. This area is what can make or break some headphones for me, as messing it up can render the whole experience a bit muddy – no such complaint with the HE1000. Rock, metal and vocal music are some of the genres I really enjoyed listening to on this headphone, lending to its ability to be a stellar all-rounder. I found the midrange itself to be enjoyably smooth and well-layered.

    The detail-retrieval prowess of this headphone, while not entirely lacking, is still muted compared to several other headphones that can be obtained for its price – and well below in the case of the Sennheiser HD800/HD800S. While track separation is pretty good, texture and detail is a bit masked – instead offering a smoothed experience. That being said, there is some remarkable body in the midrange that really shows itself with vocals both male and female. Also, this is a very forgiving headphone – perhaps more than any other I’ve reviewed this year. Bad productions, poor masterings and shrill and harsh recordings are all doused in the blanket that is the HE1000’s presentation – which may be very much to your liking or a characteristic you will decry as incompatible with the concept of high fidelity.

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    On top of that, the staging is decently wide while possessing good depth to it – and a “tall” sound that might be related to the sheer size of the cups and drivers. There’s a slight “larger-than-life” sound compared to other headphones.

    Treble performance is a bit of a mixed bag on the HE1000. I don’t really get the string texture and air that I find somewhat necessary when listening to the high string sections in orchestral music, or the bite of a saxophone in jazz music. Both instances and genres feel a bit smoothed and muted in their ability to sound truly lifelike. However, I again must commend this headphone for its pairing with rock and metal music – and cymbals, while slightly muted, still retain their crisp attributes in the percussion section of these genres.

    That being said, I couldn’t shake the feeling of the treble being a bit tizzy at some points. What I mean by this is that, while not exceptionally problematic or painful, there sometimes existed too much energy along with the fact that it was thin and artificially hard sounding at some points. I’ll chalk this up to the driver having a slightly dry and brittle presentation in this area, not a deal-breaker for me but a noticeable difference from my dynamic-driver offerings.

    Amping

    This headphone’s ability to scale was quite a bit less, in the detail retrieval department, than my dynamic driver headphones. Rather than be infused by my most detail-oriented tubes on the Dragon Inspire IHA-1, I found it to have similar performance in this regard on the Audio-GD NFB-28. Most importantly, the latter was able to supply enough juice to flesh out the bass heft and performance – making it both full-sounding and nimble on its feet.

    The difference in bass performance alone makes this a headphone that I would rather pair with a decently strong solid-state amplifier. While it wasn’t anywhere near horrible on the tube amplifier, it was a noticeable upgrade in this region without losing too much of the tube benefits. Again, this seems to scale more with current/wattage rather than tubes.

    This is not an especially sensitive headphone and definitely needs an amplifier, if the above didn’t make that absolutely clear.

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    Comparison to the Focal Utopia

    Let’s get this out of the way, the HE1000 does not nearly match the Utopia in detail retrieval, dynamics, resolution, soundstage depth, timbre and impactfulness. The Focal flagship is also better paired with tubes for further scaling and is a headphone both revealing of source gear and source material. There, honestly, isn’t a situation that I can think of (for myself) where I would pick the HE1000 over the Utopia if I had to buy only one.

    That being said, I do recognise the appeal the HE1000 clearly may have over the Utopia for others who don’t share my tastes. The Utopia can be too harsh for some, its stubbornness in presenting high detail and dynamics may fatigue some and cause them to call it overly dramatic. It also is brighter than the HE1000, and lacks its forgiving nature – skewering eardrums on poorly mastered and recorded music.

    The HE1000 is a smoother experience, one lacking in many ways in this head-to-head but still with merit due to its unique sound signature.

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    Conclusion

    It’s hard to hate on the disadvantages of this headphone really. Sure, it falls into a similar trap that many planar offerings do with the slightly artificial sound in the treble – but it really is one of the most non-fatiguing and tonally rich headphones that I’ve heard to date. I even, for now, prefer it to the Hifiman Susvara – which I thought had a distinct peak in the treble that I found hard to fathom.

    While it could very well be someone’s all-rounder, I personally could see this as being a nice complement to my Focal Utopia. Its softer characteristic is sometimes needed, and its forgiving nature is sometimes appreciated. It is such a musical headphone honestly and, while noting its flaws, I couldn’t even feel especially critical. It’s a very cohesive listening experience that I’d honestly recommend to anyone to try at least. In a way, it’s more inoffensive than the Utopia, which (despite its great attributes) may seem too dramatic for some in its presentation. The HE1000 prefers to toe the line between laid back and energetic, and is somehow engaging for it.
      omniweltall and Arthur Li like this.
    1. omniweltall
      What a good objective review. Rare thing in head-fi.

      Look at all those reviews saying the detail capability of this headphone. Geez.
      omniweltall, Sep 7, 2018
  2. conquerator2
    BEST OF BOTH WORLDS – THE ONE OF A KIND HiFiMAN HE1000
    Written by conquerator2
    Published Mar 9, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Musicality, detail retrieval, remarkable soundstage , incredible imaging & separation, tuneful bass [especially sub-bass], comfort
    Cons - Price, signature HiFiMAN 5kHz peak, build is a bit clunky, would not recommend pairing with very bright and/or warm gear, The Edition X
    EDIT - Half a star dropped. The Edition X gets very close in performance and the HE1000 is not perfect, pointing out the 4-5K peak and only decent vocal performance, hence 4.5/5.
    DISCLAIMER: Please note this review was officially written for and is property of Headphone.Guru and was published on January 25th, 2016. It is pasted here on behalf of Headphone.Guru as well as the manufacturer. Hope you enjoy it! [​IMG]   
     
    Read the original review here: http://headphone.guru/best-of-both-worlds-the-one-of-a-kind-hifiman-he1000/#sthash.qw7U3wdH.dpuf  
     
    BEST OF BOTH WORLDS – THE ONE OF A KIND HiFiMAN HE1000
                                                                                                
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    HiFiMAN has always had a special place in my heart. My audiophile journey began back in 2012 with their former mighty flagship, the HE-6, which is notoriously known for not only being very demanding of power  but also for its pickiness about what it is paired with. While my setup was far from ideal at that point [a cheap DAC and speaker amplifier], I still enjoyed listening to it quite a bit. Even today, many consider it one of the best headphones available. Time has passed since and I moved on, owning many different headphones, from the excellent AKG K7XX to the beautiful Audio Technica ATH-W1000X, as I fleshed out my sonic preferences and experimented with different gear.
     
    Since last July, my favorite headphone has once again been one of HiFiMAN’s own – the HE560. This headphone performed better than the HE-6 on my budget-conscious setup and scaled higher when I upgraded later. This new-born planar-magnetic headphone performed admirably and I found myself in a temporary state of bliss. However, I knew there were still many headphones out there that was yet to hear.
     
    This was about to change the upcoming August, when I flew to London for the first annual Europe-held Canjam. There, I finally tried some of the current and past world-class headphones, which I wanted to hear for so long. There was one in particular, however, that in my view managed to steal more of the spotlight than the rest. One that made me really eager to hear and review it on a gear of my own. Which brings me to HiFiMAN’s newest flagship, the HE1000.
     
    The HEK – what the HE1000 is often called – got to me earlier this month, delivered by DHL. The packaging is designed so that the HEK box rests securely, fixed in place by six clear protective pieces, one for each side. Removing the top piece reveals the beautiful headphone box. While all next generation HiFiMAN offerings come in all-new, improved and fancier packages, this one tops the others with its luxuriousness factor. The rigid wooden box is fully coated in grained leather, with a squared aluminum middle section, where the letters ‘’HIFIMAN HE1000’’ are imbued, along with company’s logo, giving it a clean yet classy look. The cover slowly opened as I lifted the metallic buckle, revealing the owner’s guide as well as additional paperwork. Underneath this layer laid the headphones, nested in a soft cutout, with cables hidden under a removable compartment in the middle.
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    Speaking of accessories, the HEK comes with 3 sets of cables. The first one is 3 meters long, terminated by an XLR connector, the second, also 3 meters, ends with a 6.35mm plug and the last one is 1.5 meters with a 3.5mm end. All are made from crystalline silver & copper, sleeved in a fabric jacket and terminated into the headphone with 2.5mm mini plugs. The cables are fairly unwieldy and stiff but they are quite long and as far as I can tell, fairly well made as I’ve been using the 6.35mm cable without issues. If you were to buy them separately, they together retail for over 500$. Adding the warranty and owner’s manual, there are no other accessories in the box. I think a nice stand or case would be welcome given the price but with headphones like these that will be kept at home and pampered, this is less of an issue than it would be with a pair of closed back portables. The stand depicted is HiFiMAN’s own, which sells for 20$ and gets the job done.
     
    Holding the HEK in my hands, they feel like a product of decent craftsmanship. The materials used are all of premium quality. The headband frame is made from stainless steel, the suspension strap that rests on your head is premium leather. The yokes, grilles and ear-cup rims are all steel. A big part of the headphone is occupied by two chunky wooden veneer strips. The newly developed 2.5mm metal sockets sit at an angle near the bottom of the cups, preventing the cables from rubbing on your shoulders whenever you put the headphone on. HiFiMAN made sure there would be no obstacles in the way of sonic reproduction, by utilizing a new back cover system – shades, which improve upon the previous grille design. At the back of each ear-cup are 11 horizontal ‘shades’ with a thin grill layer underneath, combining for a more transparent solution with the added benefit of protection.
     
    Previously, avid audiophiles would have to modify the headphone by replacing the sound-obtrusive stock grilles with something more transparent, to attain the most faithful sonic reproduction, but with this aspect now remediedthere is no need for any modifications. The UltraPads, HiFiMAN’s newest ear-pads exclusively developed for the super-sized HE1000, are made from protein leather, with velour sewn on top for added comfort. These headphones are indeed physically the largest I’ve ever owned and they do feel a bit flimsy when held. This is mainly because the ear-cups rotate and swivel freely and when rotated, produce a squeak-like sound. Despite this, the overall finish looks great without any rough edges or imperfections and I cannot see any reasons for long term durability concerns.
     
    The reason for their gargantuan size is a valid one as inside the cups live some very special drivers. These measure 131x100mm across and their thickness is calculated in nanometers, making them the world’s thinnest and possibly largest planar-magnetic drivers ever made. I am not quite sure what material they utilized, but there is a video on the internet where it is dropped on the ground. As the feather-light nano-grade substance slowly spirals and dances in the air, I found myself wondering at just how far technology has progressed in recent years.
     
    Putting the headphones on feels great. They are twenty grams shy of being 500g, but they don’t feel heavy and I can wear them for hours on end without fatigue. This is due to the reworked headband system, which distributes weight evenly across my whole cranium, making these newest planars one of the most comfortable headphones I’ve ever worn, with ideal clamp right out of the box. The pads themselves are cavernous and my large ears fit inside very comfortably, instantly forming a perfect seal. I do wish they were stylized slightly more akin to the Focus pads, meaning even thicker and more cushioned, but the UltraPads still make for very fine pads with good depth and softness. The velour topped protein leather allows for excellent heat management, mitigating any issues that a leather contact area could create. The stainless headband is adjusted by tactile ‘clicks’ and feels secure, but I wish it were a bit smaller. To fit me comfortably, it has to be set to its lowest possible setting, meaning there is practically no leeway whatsoever for adjustment. Now, I do have a smaller head, but this was not an issue with the HE560, where I was on the second or third ‘click’. These still do rank up among the most comfortable headphones, if a tiny step below the pillow-like comfort of the 560/400i/400S.
     
    With other necessities out of the way, what does this expensive pair of oversized headphones sound like? Initial Canjam impressions were positive, but show conditions can notably affect perception. I made sure I gave the HE1000 at least 200 hours of recommended burn-in before listening critically. My music taste spreads across a broad range of genres including 90s electronic pop, chamber jazz, large instrumental pieces and alternative rock music, with varying degree of mastering quality, which made sure the headphones were certainly put through their paces. In addition I also played games and watched movies. My current setup is an Audio-gd SA31SE amplifier, a vintage Theta Digital DS Pro Basic II R2R DAC, coupled with a Breeze Audio DX-U8 USB DDC and a USB isolator. Thousands of files flow through JRiver MC20 from my PC.
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    The first track I listened to with the HEK was ‘A Scattered Moment’ by Hidenori Shoji. This is a simpler instrumental piece, but it carries incredible emotional impact for me and I have heard it countless times before with different headphones. But what an impression it left! The piano starts off shy, delicate, moving from right to center and right again. The timbre and tone is pitch perfect. Individual key strokes echo through the air and fill the whole space. Then a synth roars through the air, rising up, disappearing slowly until the last tone melts into space. A drum kicks through, intertwined with a cymbal crash. The cymbal is not harsh and decays naturally with excellent timbral accuracy, while the definition of the drum is simply stunning as the impact is also felt and the vibration disappears to the far right. Other instruments start filling the stage, throwing an image so big, natural and real I am completely taken aback. A knock-on-the-door-like synth hits a few times through the song. It was always difficult to hear but now it is oh so clear. The balance is perfect throughout. The track ends. I open my eyes… Wow! That was my first home experience.
     
    Now to describe the sonic characteristics more meticulously. The bass is very impressive. The sub-bass is tuneful and deep, while never bleeding into other frequencies without any trace of sounding boomy and also  produced  a tight yet tactile feeling. The mid-bass punches well with moderate impact that never overbears and kicks decently. There are songs where it might seem a bit on the soft side, but then there are tracks where it feels very adequate and recording dependent. Acoustic bass does show less variability than synthetic. The transition into upper bass – lower midrange is seamless. I am quite amazed by the overall bass response as the sub-bass is integrated expertly into the mix and the whole low range just sounds so clean, textured and tight with zero bleed as if it were produced by a separate woofer. Believe me when I say the bass surprised me on more than one occasion.
     
    Midrange is likewise stellar, smooth, even and musically rich. It sounds very coherent throughout and gives great presence to most instruments from lower to upper, including guitars, pianos and violins. Sometimes I only wish vocals had a bit more heft to them. It is not that they sound recessed, rather they sound ever-so-slightly  small at times. This again depends on the mastering to a substantial degree although  it is something I noticed recurring. Midrange registers do sound enveloping, cohesive and natural, and like the bass was well incorporated into the encompassing mix.
     
    It is fair to preface this by saying that I am more sensitive to lower treble than most other people and it should be taken into consideration as it is very relevant here. The treble area is slightly different to the smooth bass & midrange  in that it is boosted from 4 through 7KH and then dips a bit and later rises again, extending up to 15K. As one of my few criticisms, this enhances presence and sometimes gives some recordings some  sibilance in male and female vocals. As such, this also has the butterfly effect of injecting a pleasant boost of energy into recordings that need it and would otherwise sound dull or muffled. Also, because essentially the whole lower treble area is boosted it is less problematic than if there was only a single peak, causing less trouble. Minding this raise, the treble sounds accurate, delicate and extended. Lots of air surrounds instruments and voices, helping to create a more convincing and realistic presentation. All secondary harmonics, like air, timbre and decay are preserved to their fullest. A very clear and open treble presentation, which, as with most neutral headphones, I would not pair with dead-neutral or bright gear.
     
    Detail retrieval is amazing. Simply phenomenal. Now, I thought I’ve heard everything there was to hear in my favorite tracks but the HEK proves me wrong again and again with its subtle cues, extraordinary layering and clarity. All the minute details are not forced on you but are instead presented in a very natural manner, without ever sounding strident or artificially enhanced. This makes it easier to follow any instrument at will. The dynamic range is virtually infinite, allowing for both very fine and nuanced cues and grand and explosive impact. The HEK manages to reveal all the details without ever losing musicality.
     
    Soundstage is the most realistic and convincing I have heard yet. It almost makes regular stereo recordings sound binaural. Sounds come from all directions and spread wide and deep, filling the stage evenly with musical bliss. Never did anything sound congested, too distant or mushed. As someone who also likes using headphone surround for games & movies, this attribute is very crucial for me and the HE1000 delivers here on all counts. It simply allows me to just get immersed completely in whatever I am currently doing.
     
    Now this wouldn’t be possible without exquisite imaging & instrument separation and while all recent HiFiMAN planars do admirably in these areas, the HEK simply takes it to another level. Instruments just pop up and disappear, locked in their own little airy bubble, never smeared. Locating them within space is easy, with multi-vocal tracks deserving special mention as this is where I found many headphones to struggle.
     
    To briefly compare, I would like to throw in my previous favorite headphone, the HiFiMAN HE-560 as in many ways, the HE1000 sounds like an evolution of sorts. On the HEK, the bass digs deeper, the midrange is more articulate and the treble is more even in its presentation. The vocals sound more like real voices, though the way the HE560 does vocals is also very special. The soundstage is one of the most apparent improvements as it is bigger, more dimensional and projects more evenly from all directions. Imaging was already excellent on the HE560 but the HE1000 outclasses it still with even more accuracy. The HEK always manages to straddle the line between analytical and musicality perfectly, revealing all the details yet keeping the experience musical and while the HE560 comes close, it does not quite reach that line. Price is an entirely different matter of course and it is the one area where I feel the HE1000 is squarely beat.
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    Retailing for 2999$, the latest HiFiMAN flagship finds itself priced in the top tiers of the headphone pricing echelon. With many great offerings for significantly less, starting with the AKG K7XX and HiFiMAN’s own HE400S and going all the way to the Mr. Speakers Ether, Audeze LCD-X and Sennheiser HD800. These established themselves as excellent sounding headphones and represent a contextually incredible value for about half the money. But they did not wow me to the same extent and I believe that indeed at this price point, it becomes a matter of personal enjoyment rather than technical prowess. Preferences have always played a major part in decision making, especially this high up and the HE1000 simply comes closest to my idea of ‘perfection’ that I have heard in any headphone yet. I will continue to enjoy this HEK of a headphone, while playing with my setup to hear just what else the astonishingly-analytic-yet-marvelously-musical HiFiMAN HE1000 has to offer. For those looking to spend less, the just released HiFiMAN Edition X is worthy of consideration.
     
    Headphone Specifications:
    Type: Planar-magnetic driver, full-size, open-back design
    Frequency Response: 8Hz – 65KHz
    Impedance: 35 +-3 Ω
    Efficiency: 90dB/mW
    Weight: ~480g
    MSRP: 2999$
     
     
      Stillhart likes this.
    1. Barra
      While there is no denying that the HEK is an awesome piece of engineering, the one thing that bothers me is the sound stage. In addition to the peaks that you are hearing, IMO I feel that there are also some dips that occasionally make instruments or musicians sound like they are in another room or off in the audience rather than being coherent on the same stage. Because the sound stage is already pushed back like you are a couple sections back, the occasional out of room experience really pushes them out of the context of the song. I guess this is why I am one of those that prefers the HEX that is a more intimate sound stage what is not affected by the dips giving a more cohesive experience. While the HEK is more detailed overall, the HEX pulls me into the music more. So I will probably be buying a HEX for myself. Regardless, both the HEK and the HEX are excellent TOTL HPs.
      Barra, Mar 10, 2016
    2. Barra
      BTW, ABing the stock to a custom silver litz cable on both the HEX and the HEK, the treble issue is subdued considerably and a veal that you didn't realize was there is lifted. IMO, the stock cable is definitely holding both HPs back.
      Barra, Mar 10, 2016
    3. conquerator2
      I am using an aftermarket cable at this point so that point is moot :) One aspect I am slightly disappointed by vocal performance. Beside the peak, that'd be my other issue. I don't perceive the soundstage difuseness that you mention. In general I find the soundstage one of the more impressive aspects. I'd love to hear the HEX though! Very curios about it.
      conquerator2, Mar 11, 2016
  3. Kiats
    Organic, Lush, Quick & Supple
    Written by Kiats
    Published Feb 17, 2016
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Musical and Natural Sound Signature
    Cons - May be pricey for some
    I have admired what Dr Fang Bian has tried to do in his relentless pursuit of the ultimate sound signature for his products. I have followed his achievements from my first Hifiman can, the HE 500 with its mellow and liquid mids, the dark one in the family. I had since moved on to the HE-6 (of which I have two, the later one I picked up because I heard that it was to be discontinued), the HE-5LE and the HE 560. I also have  a soft spot for his DAPs: I have the HM603, the classic that is HM801, the peerless HM901, the organic HM802 and the reinvigorated HM901S.
     
    So when I heard that Dr Fang Bian had come out with a nanometer thick diaphragm and reputed to be natural and musical, my interest was piqued. Particularly since I was sadly overlooked for the beta testing exercise. When the commercialization commenced, I reached out to Eric, who was then at AV One in Singapore and I had only one simple question: when? There were delays in the production but I was fortunate to that Eric managed to arrange for me to receive the first commercial specimen in Singapore.
     
    When I was informed that my HE-1000 was in, I quickly drove down, handed over my credit card and shooed poor Jeremy through the cash out process. Jeremy at AV One, being the great chap that he is, had been carefully taking the can out from its case, gently unpacking protection sheets etc to show me that it was in pristine condition. He even kindly asked if I wanted to test it before I took it home. I was impatient to get it home to my system and get on with the listening. Credit to Jeremy for being his usual patient and calm self despite my hustling him to get on with the cashing out.
     
    When I got home, I could hardly wait to unpack it and plug it into my home desktop rig. Hence began the wonderful sonic journey.
     
    The HE-1000 still has a special place in my little collection of full sized headphones comprising most of the top tier Grados, the LCD 2 & 3, HD700 & 800, Beyerdynamic T1, Hifiman HE-6, HE-5LE, HE-560, HE-500, Fostex TH900, AKG K702 & K812, Stax SR007 MK1 & MK2.5, SR 009, SR L700,  the Final Sonorous X and the Abyss. 
     
     
    Home Desktop Headphone Set Up
     
    The chain comprises an Auralic Aries (with external linear PSU), connected via a Audiquest Diamond USB 3 cable to a Bricasti M1 DAC and then JPS Superconductor V RCA to the Cavalli Liquid Gold. Power cord for the DAC is a Tralucent Uber power cord, and power cord for the Liquid Gold is a JPS Kaptovator power cord. Power to the components of the desktop rig and sources is fed through an Isotek Aquarus and all the power cords use US plugs. Mains power is fed to the Isotek Aquarius via a Tralucent Uber power cord.
     
    My Synology DS 414 and a Seagate Backup Plus HDD (connected directly via USB to the Aries) are powered by the new Plixir Elite BDC Power Supply kindly customized for me by James Soh of Sound Affairs in Singapore. James had also helpfully suggested that I run a separate switch for the audio components away from the wifi access point. The switch is also powered by the Plixir Elite BDC Power Supply that James customized for me. The Aries and the Synology DS414 NAS are connected via the dedicated switch by a pair of Ranko Acoustics OCC audio LAN cables.
     
     
     
    Build Quality
     
    The build quality of the HE-1000 seems to be good. While there are constant complaints about the build quality of Hifiman cans, I cannot say I have any personal experience with such issues. In any event, looking at the anecdotal evidence of failure of Audeze drivers, it would appear that any issues faced by owners of Hifiman cans is nothing which is higher in incidence than that experienced by owners of other brands.
     
    The headband of the HE-1000 follows the general look and system which was started with the HE-560. I will say that it is easy to adjust and the headband comprising some nice perforated leather is comfortable. The touches of wood and aluminum grills on the ear cups, with the two-part aluminum and suspended leather headband combine for a very good looking headphone indeed.
     
    The cables that come with the HE-1000.are removable, thereby allowing users to switch cables to their personal preference and tastes. I must confess that I have only used the balanced cables with a 4 pin XLR connector. Anyone who wants to consider after market cables should note that the connectors used here are not the traditional Hifiman connectors but the 2.5mm 2 pole plugs, the same ones used in the Senn HD700.
     
     
    Comfort and Isolation
     
    Those who have always struggled with the weight of planar magnetic cans, especially the heavyweights from Audeze, will be happy to know that you no longer need the neck muscles of a sumo wrestler to wear these. The HE-1000 is astonishingly light. Once you have them on, they disappear from your consciousness the same way that the HD800 and SR 009 do.
     
    The ear cups of the HE-1000 are large and elongated. I would struggle to think of anyone who could not fit their ears within those cups. Isolation is not really there since it is an open can. This is one headphone where the Mrs is able to tell me what I am listening to when she is sitting downstairs in the sitting room while I am listening to music on the Mezzanine level study. I think you can surmise from this experience that isolation is not one of the strong suits of the HE-1000…
     
     
    Music Genres
     
    I am an equal opportunist insofar as music genre is concerned. So, I have accumulated an impressive digital music collection running the gamut from medieval music to modern day EDM, acoustic vocals and jazz.
     
    I must say that the HE-1000 sounds great with the music I have heard on it thus far. The full bodied sonic signature of the HE-1000 lends a sense of lushness and musicality to anything you listen to. The sound you get is natural and flows easily.
     
    One genre that the HE-1000 is particularly helpful for are the older jazz recordings. For some reason some of the 50s and 60s jazz recordings tend to sound a tad thin on most modern drivers. One suspects that they were mastered in a particular way to compensate for the shortcomings of the speakers or record players of that era. However, the HE-1000 with its full bodied and full range sonic signature make these very listenable, if not enjoyable.     
     
     
    Sound Quality
     
    The key words I would use to describe the HE-1000 are organic, lush, quick and supple. These are not words I would normally use together but then again the HE-1000 is not a normal headphone.
     
    The HE-1000 is such an easy headphone to listen to all day. It is natural sounding and musical at the same time. To my ears, no part of the sonic spectrum is emphasized or damped. Of course, the hallmark of the Hifiman can has always been details and clarity. The HE-1000 is true to that heritage. At the same time, it carries with it an organic signature where the music just sounds right and is downright musical. The timbre on strings are excellent. Vocals shine with much emotion and nuances The soundstage is first class: wide and deep.
     
    The reason for this, I suspect is because the HE-1000 has one characteristic which makes it quite different from our normal expectation of Hifiman cans: it has very high quality bass and full-bodies and layered mids. Hence, I would use the word supple when I describe the mids and bass – there is real grip on the music and you can almost feel the strings being plucked or drawn, or the quiver in the vocals of Corrinne May or Diana Krall. Very natural and emotional. 
     
    If you prefer the sonic signature of your headphones to be thin and flat with exaggerated trebles and nary a bass line, you need to look elsewhere. But if you have been longing for a reference level headphone which has depth, substance and emotion in its sound signature, this is the can for you.
     
     
    Pairing
     
    While the specs of the HE-1000 does not seem to suggest it, it does appreciate driving power and the head room and soundstage will open up when driven properly. I prefer the HE-1000 with the Liquid Gold on high gain.
     
    One of the criticisms you will read on forum threads about the HE-1000 is that it is too languid and not edgy enough. Well, the HE-1000 as a stock product with stock cables is tuned to be musical and organic. If you would like it to be edgy or change its sonic signature, perhaps one way to do so is to change the cable. As noted above, the cables can be switched. Frank from Toxic Cables has been a gem in this respect: he has made me a pair of adapters to allow me to use my cables terminated for the Abyss or with mini XLR connectors to be used with the HE100. Frankly, I actually prefer the stock cables. But I am of course always open to tweaks. I currently alternate the stock cable with the Tralucent Uber and the Toxic Cables Silver Widow 22. Each cable brings with it a different sonic signature. With these two cables, you realize what truly excellent drivers the HE-1000 has: the sound is even quicker and more nimble.
     
     
     
    Conclusion
     
    The HE-1000 is a great addition to the Hifiman family of headphones. Dr Fang Bian has really pushed the envelope insofar as the house sound of Hifiman is concerned: organic, musical and natural is no longer the exclusive domain of other houses like Audeze. Add to that the heritage of clarity and details and you have a magical experience. With its impressive light weight, the HE-1000 is a headphone you can put on, plug in, sit back and just enjoy the magical music.
      earfonia and TWerk like this.
  4. JWahl
    True High End personal audio, at a High End price
    Written by JWahl
    Published Dec 6, 2015
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Top to bottom tonal balance, micro detail, bass texture and dynamics
    Cons - Price
    First off, special thanks to Todd at TTVJ for allowing me to take part in the HE-1000 loaner program.
     
    This will be short and sweet, as I realized I'm not as good at coming up with reviews as I thought I might be.
     
    I primarily compared this to my Sennheiser HD800.  Utilizing a Schiit Yggdrasil as DAC and Trafomatic head 2 on 4 Pin XLR out.
     
    The HE-1000 has an unmistakable planar signature, such as it's lightning fast transient speeds, and ability to really dig into the bass.  Unlike many planar headphones I've listened to, it also does quite well in presenting a convincing soundstage, though it's not quite as expansive as the HD800.  Micro detail retrieval is also right up with the best.  Tone, texture, and separation are it's greatest strengths.
     
    The tonal balance is very pleasing, less fatiguing than the HD800, and strikes a good balance between the more "earthy" sound of some Audeze's and the more "ethereal" sound of the HD800.
     
    I also liked the comfort and shape of the earpads.  the upside-down teardrop shape is reminiscent of the Sennheiser HD-590, my very first "audiophile" headphone from 2005.
     
    Fit and finish seem worthy of the asking price, much better than past Hifiman products.
     
    In all honesty, I found myself wanting to listen to these more than my HD800, which is rare, as I really, really like my HD800.  My biggest complaint of the HE-1000 is simply the MSRP.  I think $1500-$1700 would have been more appropriate for this top tier headphone.  At $3k, it becomes difficult to recommend over competitors, when price is a consideration.  However, if your pockets are deep, then definitely put the HE-1000 on your must try list.  I have gone through several top tier headphones on my Journey to the HD800 and this is the first to truly challenge it IMO.  Of course, at double the MSRP.  I still have not heard, as of this writing, the Enigmacoustics Dharma, or Abyss, the latter I probably never will.
    1. erosenst
      I'd love to check out some hifiman's, So far my audiophile collection is solely the Sennheiser HD600s, some 100 dollar audiotechnica WS99s (which I like a lot) and I ordered the Beyerdynamic Closed T70 (which I'll hook up with my portable fio kilamanjaro 2)

      I wish there were a way to simply listen to these without having to be in the audiophile community that ships headphones to each other (which is cool, but difficult for a newbie like me to break into)
      erosenst, Dec 6, 2015
    2. JWahl
      The HE-400i or HE-560 might be a good step up depending on budget. I have yet to hear the 560 though.
      JWahl, Dec 9, 2015
  5. Alessandro1
    The HE1000 is the Michelangelo of the headphones and my music his Sistine.
    Written by Alessandro1
    Published Oct 20, 2015
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Presence of all those qualities often antithetical that until now considered mutually exclusive in a headset (aka it is an absolute headphone) Comfort
    Cons - Aesthetics, finishing and construction relative to price
    HIFIMAN HE1000 – We are in the theater!
     
    originally published on september 11 2015 at www.stereohead.it in Italian language and translated on the 20th http://www.stereo-head.it/2015/09/hifiman-he1000-we-are-in-the-theater-english-review/

    Just a few months ago I had reached a temporary satisfaction with my set of headphones. With the trio HD800, HE6, LCD2.2 I could listen every music genre and any kind of registration. The mere announcement of this HE1000 immediately intrigued me, and now, at last, the HEK is on my head.

    I tried to let decrease the “new toy syndrome” ; unfortunately it's a very difficult to do in this case, and I must confess that I don't think I'am able to do it this time.
    I've waited that the mechanical and mental break-in / burn-in to complete listening each musical genre.
    The HIFIMAN suggests 150 hours to stabilize the sound. Actually, during this period the performance is variable, but it's still overall at very high levels. However, the headphone is now “stable”; it's me that I'm still unsettled and shocked by its sound.


     

    Technical specifications

    Frequency response 8 Hz-65kHz
    Impedance: 35 +/- 3 Ohm
    Sensitivity - 90 dB at 1 mW
    Weight - 480g
    Sound system -Open
    Type- Planar Magnetic

    Construction and ergonomics:

    I'm not particularly attracted by the aesthetic design of this headphone, but in your hand, it's surely better than it appears in photos.
    For me the mere appearance is not important; instead, ergonomics is what I consider fundamental. Now you can forget the weaknesses of HE6: weight, comfort and drive power necessity of this HE1000 has improved considerably compared to the former flagship. It's light and comfortable and doesn't bother long listening sessions with comfort or weight issues despite their big size.
     
    I would have preferred a better finishing for the pads. Something like HD800 or the good silver ones of the Beyer DT series.
    It has a metal arch in on which is positioned an adjustable leather headband. It's really comfortable with a good control system snap.
    I have a small head so I find it perfect to wear, the clamping force is well balanced too.
    Light and comfortable, however, it does not provide a very solid feel. Here, we have to wait some years to see if its economic value is in line with its reliability.

    I'm not nanotechnology expertise, so I just report the mere fact that it is the thinnest diaphragm ever produced for a headphone, and the first time this technology is applied to a can.

    The magnets are arranged asymmetrically to limit spurious reflections, the protection grill is acoustically transparent and avoids as well the generation of unwanted reflections.
     
    DSCN3019ffff.jpg
     

    Compared to the majority of other orthos or flagships, the HE1000 is reasonably easy to drive, or at least, a insufficient amount of power worsens the entire sound performance a bit, not just in a specific parameter, like losing bass or harsh trebles, flat dynamic or small headstage...Using low power amps, the HD800 become algid and hysterical in the upper, the LCD2.2 became a scared turtle, HE6 sounds like the radio of the neighbor.

    If underpowered, the HEK becomes slightly less transparent and overall worse, but it worsens in a so distributed manner on all sound parameters, that ultimately it sounds extremely enjoyable even with poor amplification.

    Like other orthos, the HE1000 like power. The more you have the better the get. The headphone grows and shines Watt after Watt, the EF6 of HIFIMAN is a good candidate.

    That said, however, in the box there are three cables whose headphone side termination has changed compared to previous series, now it's a mini-jack. In addition to the 4-pin XLR cable and the classic Jack 6.3, there is a sort of surprise, a 3.5 terminated cable.

    With confidence in the HIFIMAN staff , I thought that if they decided to put an entire cable for portable devices or semi-portable and not a simple adapter or connector, it is possible that the headphone can be driven by portable stuff too.

    Just done! The headphone is satisfying even with an heretic Fiio E12 (declared with 880 mV at 32 Ohm). Obviously do not expect the sound levels you can reach with a good desktop amp which is several pounds hevier and more expensive, but just imagine that you can walk in the other rooms of the house or in the porch with your HEK and your DAP and your music. In my case it's an important option.

    Regarding ergonomics, let's have a look to wikipedia:

    "The ergonomics, according to the IEA (International Ergonomics Association), is the scientific discipline concerned with the understanding of interactions among humans and other elements of a system, and the profession that applies theory, principles, data and methods to design in order to optimize human well-being and overall system performance. [...]
    The quality of the relationship between the user and the medium used is determined by the level of ergonomics. The most important requirement to determine this level is security, followed by adaptability, usability, comfort, pleasantness, comprehensibility, and so on. "

    Under these conditions the ergonomics of the HE1000, in its broadest sense, is at the top. Unparalleled improvements compared to HE6.
     
    d1.jpg
     


    The sound:

    Being an owner and admirer of HE6, I would have expected some sort HE6 improved on all parameters in proportion to the price list, maybe easier to drive and more comfortable; is a desire in part betrayed; the HE1000 has a sound that does not have much in common with the previous flagship.
    It is different, those looking for a brilliant treble, clarity and attack the high range of HE6 will not find exactly the same type of sound.

    The HE6 is more aggressive, the HE1000 is decidedly calmer, roughly the HE6 is undoubtedly a "clear" headphone, the HEK compared to the 6 is slightly tending to the "dark", it is "wet" In the HIFIMAN production have listened, the HE400i, is perhaps the one that most resembles in sound signature. Just sound signature, the quality level difference is in line with the price list.
    Coarsely speaking, we could say that HE6 is sonically akin to a record in Archiv style, the HE1000 a Decca one.

    If I had to compare the overall quality of HE1000 in reference to other headphones, HE6 for example, I would say first of all that its overall quality, compared to the former flagship HIFIMAN, is significantly higher.
    It reminds me of when, as owner of a Beyerdynamic DT880 I switched to T1. The leap was remarkable. I could no longer look back.

    Although from a pure technical standpoint as “the ability to playback as much as possible of the original signal”, the HE6 is extraordinary and from this point of view the distance that separates it from HE1000 is not so unbridgeable as that between the DT880 and T1; the difference, once perceived, is evident.
    It is a kind of gestalt switch, now I hear a different music, not only a better reproduction.

    I would say that its sonic signature it's is a kind of synolon between the HD800 and LCD2.2, a real union, not a simple hybrid; the HEK seems to be no compromise, it's not something between HD800 and LCD2.2, It's what could be the sum of the two.

    Imagine a HD800 with the body, the smoothness and the forgiving sound of LCD2.2, or, conversely, a LCD2.2 with the scene, the precision, the extension on top of the HD800.
    Yes, a HD800 technically complete, with the addition of the emotional involvement of any Audeze and with a touch of kindness more.

    It's obvious that a headphone of this cost will be excellent with excellent recordings. Its resolution and transparency is unquestionable; each well recorded song benefits; brutally: you withdraw in transparency what you have spent money, so I will not go further.
    Beware though, the HEK is hungry for real music, not of audiophile HD tracks containing “plin plin” or other spectacular “boom boom”, the HE1000 has a potential that should not be squandered. You will enjoy the effect during a whole disk and more, its force is appreciated in long sessions.

    Certainly good performance with good recordings, but what I find it almost magically do, is to make enjoyable even those old recordings of classical or jazz and even rock than with a HD800, a T1 or other analytical-neutral headphones would result in a bad reproduction . Without compromises, without roll-off, without any strong coloration, while maintaining a remarkable detail.
     
    d2.jpg
     

    This does not mean that Edith Piaf is singing at the Pawnshop, but trying to listen to a lot of dated recordings with HE1000, I noticed the strange absence of unpleasant artifacts and defects that prevented me from fully enjoy the music.
    From this point of view the HE6 is definitely more recommended than the HD800; the LCD2.2 is undoubtedly a master at hiding flaws, but the way is the HEK. Parker, Coltrane, Gould, the Beatles... Thank the HEK.

    Some clear examples: you can enjoy Coltrane in Kind of Blue with a T1 or HD800, Coltrane's A Love Supreme, no. You need the HEK. What I have of Menuhin's recordings is annoying with the HD800, with HE1000 is not.

    The HEK is anything but monitor, this headset somehow sublimates the concept HI-FI bringing to light the good and leaving in the background the shortcomings of the recording. It is a headphone for users and music lovers, not for sound recordings or mastering.

    This headphone is almost contradictory: it sounds so very polite and extremely kind, but at the same time damn revealing and precise for what is needed, a sound more pleasant but not overly coloured. The harmonic content which allows us to perceive acoustic instruments as they are is complete.

    Listening this headphone searching for specific technical capabilities and not be swept away by the music is for me a hard enough task to accomplish, but I often like to focus on some parameter and I have fun in comparisons between headphones.

    When you pay critical attention the main thing that comes out is an excellent musicality, wonderful timbre, good cohesion and good balance between ranges with the result that no parameter prevails over the other.

    Paying greater attention, however, there are two parameters that come out first: a very large headstage with an excellent holographic capability and a deep, material and visceral bass.
    How can a headphone, at the same time, have this dimensional extension and this fullness?
    I have always heard headphones very well capable of returning one or the other aspect, but never this combination that is difficult to reach. (A special case was the Fidelio X1 properly placed in its price/quality range).
     
    DSdddCN3015-Copia.jpg
     

    Bass is just as you'd expect from a driver of huge dimensions: great, addictive, full and vibrant.
    In the first few tracks, it seemed that the lower end was less controlled the HE6's one, but with the mental and physical burn-in, I noticed that the control is at least equal to 6, but the bass is more present and majestic . At the same time it is more soft and delicate.
    Furthermore, it has the ability to confer a certain fleshiness and thickness to the lower-middle range better than the 6 does.

    The low-range of HE6 is more violent and incisive, HEK's one has an elegance and palpable feeling that leave behind the albeit great low of the 6. I have never heard anything going so low so easy, there is not a single note timid or burred, and a thing that is not easy to achieve, it goes low, deep and meaty in a very large headstage. I have not found any twentieth-century symphonic composition that can make the HEK suffer.

    The beauty and the thickness of this bass eclipse the good low range of the HD800. To get an emotionally similar level with which we can compare it, we need at least a LCD2.2 or LCDX, but the context changes, the size of the virtual view of the stage changes, the layering changes.

    In what sense the context changes? In the sense that the bass of the HEK is placed in a scene objectively broader, more precise and correlated to a more evident and detailed high range than the LCDX.

    In the LCDX seems that everything turns around its bass and its power. The bass is the pivot around which is built the beauty of its sound. The HEK's bass is part of the whole, is not only an extraordinary protagonist. It is part of the ensemble. It is a real sense of the whole that we perceive with HE1000.

    The bass of the LCDX is more incisive and impressive, equally consistent, however, the accuracy, speed and refinement of the HEK'lows are not questionable, especially if we talk about difficult music program like a symphony.

    It is true that impact and slam, also for the reasons mentioned above, go to Audeze. In the case of an electric bass I would be torn between a LCD2.2 and LCDX, but for a bass in a jazz quartet I would opt for the HIFIMAN.
    For a set of cellos and basses placed in an orchestra I would have not doubt chosing the HE1000. It'is spectacular, as well as for piano solo. Previously, I had assigned the task to HE6 for reliable timbre, control and transparency. Now the piano solo it's HE1000 work.
    Give them acoustic less altered as possible music, in my opinion, it is the thing to do. Jazz and classical music are at the forefront, for many genres, otherwise, might be a wasted investment or a side-grade.
     
    DSCN2998.jpg
     
     

    Talking about orchestras, then come to mind the headstage and layering. We have just seen that HEK has a very well developed scene inr size: excellent width and height, less deep front, which does not reach that of the T1 or HD800.
    In this virtual space are masterfully located instruments in a three-dimensional set, the layering ability has little to envy the Sennheiser flagship, however, the horizon the shows the HD800 is still superior and more distant.

    By virtue of its transparency, the HE1000 returns the ambience with meticulous care. The HD800, has a better focus, but at the expense of an inferior materiality and a musical cohesion to the HEK.
    The holographic rendering of HEK is a disarmingly pleasant. The central image / front is less clear than the T1 or the HD800's one, but the global vision that can provide can shock, there is almost a sense of tactility that is unknown for the Germans. Lying on the sofa, with eyes closed, I would stretch my arm and grab the violins.

    Its ability to disappear while listening is higher than that of the two German dynamic, and it become the best stage-illusionist.
    Before listening to the HE1000, I considered the HE6 most adept at concealment and the one that allow more direct contact with the sound message. The 6 has not, however, an extension of the scene comparable to the best dynamics, with the HE1000 this gap between the two technologies is not there.

    After spending many hours with HEK I can now perceive some artifacts even in the HE6. What before used to be transparency, now it has the appearance of being just played back. Now it's as if I hear the sound wave coming from the headphone driver. The magic of the invincible HE6 is vaporized in front of the majestic invisibility of HE1000.

    Technically, someone can prefer the precise and focused layering of the HD800, but I think it's a choice dictated by the taste and the desire to see the precise location; the HD800 is a virtuoso of the virtual.

    Without spending too much in discussion about natural and lifelike sound, personally, In live performances I never heard a so clear-cut distinction and surgery one such as that provided by the HD800.
    From this point of view the HE1000 looks more like a concert experience that one registered, or at least is able to recreate an illusion more convincing than the other headphones can do, although I find beautiful and unique orchestra image recreated by the HD800.
     
    DSCN3454NGSatur.jpg
     

    On the other hand there is that hemisphere of my brain that doesn't want to be critical and picky, It simply wants to have fun and take pleasure in this illusion. It is with this emotional need that HE1000 become an invisible hero.

    With the HD800 I hear the music coming from a physical source outside the limits of the skull. With HE1000 I feel no source; the music is just out there, I cannot identify the origin, the music just comes.

    I am in the music.

    This is where the HIFIMAN excels. It disappears and leave just the music. It leave us alone with our favorite songs, the most appropriate term is perhaps transparency, but do not ask any "wow effect" immediately, in my opinion should be used at least for relaxing for a whole disc. Jumping back and forward trough the play-list perplexes me.

    A special ingredient of this musicality is the High-range: extended and very soft. It can retrieve detail effortlessly and has the ability to reproduce a rich harmonic content without being excessive.
    I can't hear any roll off or peaks that distract from listening, of course, maintaining a detail, the micro-detail and if you want the nano-detail to the highets levels. Equal or more than HD800 or HE6 which, however, may have in some cases a too bright treble or pouring tons of sonic detail with arrogance.

    The new HIFIMAN flagship has a very gentle and delicate high range this, combined with a not aggessive bass, makes this headphone anything but aggressive. Despite having an impressive dynamics and fast transient response, this headphone is gentle and graceful too. Another contradiction that leaves me speechless.

    A composition that sounds terrific through this headphone is the Rite of Spring. You can savor all the power and the hysteria of the piece without the brass hurt us with the treble. The headset does not scream, does not stride, does not attack, but all the energy of the Sacre devastates us.

    Useless and redoundant to reiterate that its bottom is unattainable when there are percussions. Within a symphonic piece the bass of the HEK is unrivaled.
     
    DSCN3089-Copia1.jpg
     

    But there is a small flaw in this HE1000. The ability to reproduce the detail tends to fade in very low volumes, it is not a suitable to play very low volume.
    Even if they are sometimes more pungent, the HE6 and HD800 are more airy, however, probably because of the high range more in evidence, they maintain a high quality even at low volume listening, especially the HD800 and T1. Small neo of HEK.

    This extremely delicate sounding, however, could also be considered as a lack. Who likes a top-end more scratchy or sparkling like T1 might find the HEK be boring, but personally I have always found difficulty in long listening sessions with headphones that have an exaggerated aspect, both up and down.

    Its kindness comes from its will to disappear and not be intrusive; it's not shy, it is well educated and does not speak out of turn.
     

     

    The mid-range is the one of the three that was less fascinating. It's undubetly a very high level mid, but beyond the better thickness than the almost perfect medium of HE6, I find no obvious improvements.

    It is a rich medium, but perhaps slightly back, if we want to find something objectionable. Besides, I do not even think is a V shape headphone. The mid is harmonious with the rest, the bass and the treble are terrific, the mids are just very good.

    The impression is that the medium is not particularly penetrating. Those who are in search of the same energy of a Grado with Hendrix or who want be whipped by Fripp's 20th Century Schizoid Man will not find the right mid here.

    It sounds good with Rock, but sometimes the energy transmitted by the raw rock does not reach the level of a headphone designed and built for the genre. We do not want to give a Stratocaster to Segovia at Woodstock, neither a Ramirez to Hendrix sitting in the theater.

    A classic rock that must be heard with HEK is, for example, The Wall. The HEK is lovely with some Radiohead's album. With right rock albums the HE1000 leaves behind the competitors, but if you need that energy of Rage against the Machine, there is a risk of not achieving the goal.

    The midrange does not scream; along with the rest it is fluid, agile and calm. The lack of sharpness and fine grain make it particularly suitable for the reproduction of the strings and voices.

    Who owns the HD800 and adores for its peculiar qualities, knows what it means to desire that the violas and cellos acquire weight and the violins become less sharp, or at least less dry; tube rolling, balancing and perfect cable, probably, can stop in front of this HE1000, which is rich without being colored.

    Using the HEK I have the full pleasure in listening to some Bach cantatas that the HD800 reproduce flawlessly from the formal point of view, but lacking the vitality and spirit that made me rediscover them with the HEK.

    I'm not saying that the HD800 has obvious shortcomings. By its nature it has a character that is ruthlessly neutral, a detector outlining everything in a huge scene, but the HE1000 does better.

    The HD800 has the accuracy and reliability of an engineer, the HE1000, notwithstanding the undoubted technical ability, has the talent of a painter, the hand of an architect and the plastic vision of a sculptor.
    The HE1000 is the Michelangelo of the headphones and my music his Sistine.
     
    DSCN3131nl1NL333.jpg
     


    Conclusion:

    Too many paradoxes to be true, or a master synthesis of characteristics that are often antithetical?

    Fast and relaxed
    Calm and dynamic
    Full-bodied and ethereal
    Accurate and musical
    Analytical and engaging
    Gentle and harmonically rich
    meticulous resolving and forgiving
    Devourer of Watt and easy to drive
    Material presence and a extended headstage
    ...
    It has all these features and yet it disappears

    Thin diaphragm, a sonically transparent protection grill, asymmetrical magnets and that's all.

    We are in the theater.
     
    DSCN3457ex.jpg
     

    Many adjectives I used in this review may seem over the top or exaggerated and for those who have not yet listened calmly and in their system can arouse legitimate suspicions. I'd understand; I'd rather be suspicious too; The web it is full of hype headphone judged just "phenomenal" then the community wisely "normalizes".

    However, it's not the case. Relatively to the current headphone production that I know, I must wait a Sennheiser HD900, a Beyerdynamic T2 or Audezé LCD W ... to scale down, if necessary, what I wrote.
    If the my listening memory is reliable, just STAX SR009 owners can be not worried (at least those who are not bass-head).
     

    Pros:
    Presence of all those qualities often antithetical that until now considered mutually exclusive in a headset (aka it is an absolute headphone)
    Comfort
    Not so difficult to drive

    Cons:
    Aesthetics, finishing and construction relative to price

    originally published on september 11 2015 at www.stereohead.it in Italian language and translated on the 20th : http://www.stereo-head.it/2015/09/hifiman-he1000-we-are-in-the-theater-english-review/
      lumzi23, Alahad, Kenifiwan2 and 3 others like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. grizzlybeast
      Great review! Very informative thank you
      grizzlybeast, Dec 11, 2015
    3. Fifinder
      Well done, enjoyed reading it...and also, I agree with your assessment.
      Fifinder, Feb 19, 2016
    4. guguplex
      Perfect review It reflects exactly my same opinion of these fantastic cans. It's almost a Stax SR-009 but with the authority and the body that gives the real bass .... Incredible!
      guguplex, Aug 28, 2016
  6. Blackrain
    A lifted Veil
    Written by Blackrain
    Published Oct 13, 2015
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Transparent without being analytical, Warm without being bloated, Articulate Fast Bass, Imaging is rock solid, Super Wide Soundstage
    Cons - Price...Although with the new Audeze LCD 4 coming in at $4000 this might not be true.
    I have owned my Audeze LCD 3f for about one year and have enjoyed the headphone immensely.  The one thing that bothered me about the LCD 3 was the fact that they just seem to always be slightly muffled sounding.  I have tried different amps, both tube and solid state.  I have tried different cabling, different DACs but just could not get the clarity that I wanted with musicality without the sound being overly bright.  That is of course until I bought the HE-1000.  

     
    Is the HE-1000 more musical than my LCD 3f?  I would not say that they are.  I would say that they are different.  They are both extremely musical and they convey their musical touch in different ways. Full, warm, textured are the LCD 3. Quick, Articulate, wide sound stage, toe tapping is how I describe the HE-1000.
     
    In the end they are both very musical sounding headphones.  I had thought about selling my LCD 3 to fund the HE-1000 but truth be told I like both in different ways.  When I listen to Alison Krauss - A Hundred Miles or More CD..I love the lush sounding vocals from the LCD 3 and when I listen to the same songs via the HE-1000 her vocals have sweetness to them perhaps more so than the LCD 3 but it just isn't as lush sounding.  So for now I am holding on to the LCD 3's but who knows perhaps I may have to sell them both to fund the Audeze LCD 4 (better do some more neck exercises for the weight).
     
    All kidding aside after the initial shock of the clarity and super wide soundstage from the HE-1000 I do find that I sometimes miss the last iota of midrange quality that the LCD 3 brings.
     
    Headphone Rig: 
     
    Violectric V281
    Violectric V850
    Burson Audio Soloist SL
    Cayin Ha-1A
    Macbook Pro
    Amarra Software
    Big Leather Recliner [​IMG]
     
      montanari likes this.
  7. jerg
    'The Safety Flagship'
    Written by jerg
    Published Sep 25, 2015
    5.0/5,
    HIFIMAN HE1000 Review & Modification Notes
     
     
    aO7a4Wm.jpg
     
     
     
    Allow me to preface this write-up by saying, this review has taken a while to materialize largely due to personal reasons (busy time in my life with graduate school deadlines).
     
    I decided to embed my notes about potential modifications within the review rather than make a separate post or thread about it, as they are in my opinion fairly straight-forward mods that don’t need their own personal spotlight.
     
    Hope everyone has an enjoyable read.
     
     
     
    Durability, Design, & Ergonomics
     
    HE1K is made from a premium set of materials. Its headband assembly is fully brushed steel and aluminum. The headband strap is genuine leather, while the headphone cups are a combination of aluminum and relatively thick shaped wood veneer. The pads are either lambskin or premium grade pleather, it feels very good either way. The finish on these cans is commendable especially when looking back at older Hifiman cans. Everything on HE1K lines up in symmetry, all gimbals and pivots are smooth, the brushed finish on all the aluminum parts are nice and even, the wood is 99% seamless to the adjacent metal on the cups, with the veneer edge being only a bit frayed near where they shear off at the connectors; I do contemplate getting some wood wax to help preserve the wood in the long term though, as that is not included. Personally, I am quite satisfied with these earpads, they are impeccable, and certainly a lot nicer-finished than the Focus pads that go with HE400i/560.
     
    As far as I can tell, I don’t see any weakpoint in the physical build of these headphones, it’s a very robust design from top to bottom. Even the connectors are 2.5mm plug-n-play stereo jacks rather than the old SMC screw-on connectors favoured in the past by Hifiman; meaning if you accidentally yank the cables hard, they should give way before damaging the connectors. As long as the drivers with nm-thin diaphragms themselves hold up the test of time, I think these headphones will last a good long while.
     
    With regards to ergonomics and comfort, I am for the most part, floored. Beta testers including myself raised the issue with headband not accommodating smaller sized heads, and that was remedied in production units. Other than that, these are share the top spot for most comfortable full-sized cans I’ve ever tried, alongside HD800s (the HE1K headband is more comfortable than HD800’s, on my head) and HE-audio Jades. HE560s are already quite comfortable, but HE1000s improve the comfort on 2 fronts: 1. The headband is full of perforations which keep the head cooler over long sessions, 2. The sheer size and reverse-teardrop-shape of the cups mean my ears have plenty of space.
     
    Now let’s get on the sound…
     
     
     
    Sound Quality Analysis
     
    Treble
     
    HE1K’s treble is ultra-detailed, tonally neutral with moderate smoothness. It possesses great treble texture, which is shown through the ability for me to discern the physical nuances of vocals (the rasp, the smack of the tongue and lips, the wheeze of the airway and lungs, etc) and instruments (crunch and ribbed texture of guitar strings, crystalline twang of the piano keys, metallic sounds, etc) in critical listening on these headphones.
     
    However, I do think HE1000 sometimes shows a slight loss of treble cohesion, especially apparent with some vocal tracks at loud volumes. This lack of constant treble coherency is the only tangible gripe I can come up with HE1K’s sound.
     
    Modding angle
     
    A way I found even tracing back to HE560 modding, was that the spashiness / incohesion of treble in the case of that headphone (and homologously, of HE1K) is at least partly due to some form of chamber resonance. The shelf-liner mod works quite well here also, to dampen the treble “splashiness” without attenuating or filtering out treble detail.
     
    Simply trace out the driver onto a template, and trim out a shelf-liner disc using this template, be sure to trim the disc ½-inch smaller around the circumference, to compensate for the baffles (you want to tuck the shelf liner disc under the baffles, so that the earpad clips will lock down the disc).
    The type of shelf liner? Check my HE560 mod details (signature).
     
    This modification readily reduces the splashiness that is sometimes present in HE1K’s treble, enough so that it’s no longer a point of contention to my ears.  At the same time, the tonal balance stays exactly as is, the shelf-liner does not seem to be reducing or boosting specific frequency ranges.
     
     
    Midrange
     
    The midrange on HE1Ks retains the classical Hifiman house sound (flat in the low mids, dips somewhat in the low~mid midrange (at 2kHz), and increases again at the upper mids and beyond) in midrange tone, but stays fairly close to neutral. Subjectively, HE1K’s midrange tuning strikes a balance between being full-sounding and spacious/ethereal, which to my ears is a very likeable tonal compromise.
     
    Now this ties into the Imaging/layer separation section, but the sheer ability for HE1K drivers to effortlessly discern layering in music grants the midrange great presence and realism
     
     
    Bass
     
    The driver/earpad enclosure is able to produce large-sounding bass that succeeds in extending out of the headstage, almost subwoofer-like in projection, has its own presence independent of the rest of the frequency range.
     
    HE1Ks have fantastic control in bass / sub-bass tautness. It presents really superb physicality, and is able to play its own part cleanly in complex layered tracks, while still seamlessly blending into lower midrange in more cohesive music. Personally this is the most enjoyable bass response I have heard from any headphones; simply put, these cans do bass great justice in all genres of music.
     
    Modding angle
     
    By modifying the earpads so that they are more angled (described in detail in the next segment – Imaging & Headstaging), it does in part allow the drivers to be distanced slightly further from the ears; as well as increase the firmness of the earpads to a small extent which improves the fit and seal. The first factor contributes to a slightly punchier bass (more mid-bass grunt). The second factor adds a tad more control and groundedness to the lowest frequencies (more sub-bass conduction and better seal).
     
     
    Imaging & Headstaging
     
    HE1K’s 3D imaging is spectacular in some aspects, interesting in others. It possesses a very clean diagonal and lateral imaging, but frontal imaging is slightly fuzzy.
     
    These drivers boast one of the most competent layer separations I’ve heard from headphones, accentuated by the physicality of HE1K’s sound signature.
     
    The headstaging is convincingly out-of-the-head, but biases toward stronger lateral than frontal projection of audio cues.
     
    Modding angle
     
    A simple modification to increase the angling of the earpads is to trace the outer- and inner-edges of the undersides of the earpads onto 1/16-inch creatology foam, and trim out the back-facing half of the foam. This foam insert can further be tweaked in terms of its thickness (you could trim out another foam crescent and glue to this, for instance) as well as coverage (whether you want more or less of the earpad circumference elevated by this foam insert).
     
    This earpad-angling mod allows for a more natural angling of the HE1k drivers facing toward the user’s ears, which I find helps with centre-staging, and makes lateral imaging more natural – rather than audio cues biasing toward the far left and right, now they have more dimensionality panning diagonally to the ears.
     
     
    Dynamic Range, Transient Speed, & Misc. Capabilities
     
    Synergistic with its exquisite layering capability, HE1K has a very respectable dynamic range, observed both from tracks with quiet / loud segments, and complex tracks with simultaneous low/high volume information.
     
    Their drivers are extremely fast in terms of speed, sounds and cues simply materialize and disappear on a dime; this trait contributes greatly to the naturalness and believability to HE1K’s presentation.
     
    It has a well-rounded transient edge (stronger ‘attack’ than most headphones I’ve owned or tried), but retains a sense of sweetness to the sound that allows for comfortably long listening sessions as well. Midrange transients feel stronger than treble transients. The end result is a somewhat relaxed but technically top-tier sound
     
    I Find HE1K’s drivers to have good power-handling, and largely holds its beans together when I crank the volume way up. Bass and mids simply ramp up in volume without much strain in the SQ, as does the treble though maybe with a slight loss of treble cohesion.
     
     
     
    Summary & Conclusions
     
    What do I feel about HE1Ks after several months of listening and tweaking? Simply put, it is the most “safe” and “assuring” flagship headphone in my personal experience to date.
     
    These headphones in stock form do not possess attributes, sonic or physical, that beckon doubt from me. Every aspect and trait of the headphone ranges from at worst exceptional, to at best unmatched. With some relatively low-effort mods, the headphones are further pushed up the chain to a degree of sonic finesse that I no longer need to listen to the headphones and analyze and admire the sound quality, instead, I can actually enjoy the music with zero insecurities about the performance of the transducers.
     
    My mods are performance-driven, and I have a hyper-critical ear for sonic performance, and it’s rare that I can put on a pair of headphones and go, “I’m utterly okay with these now!” HE1Ks with a few simple tweaks are actually that.
     
     
     
    Jerg
    Sept. '15
    1. ezekiel77
      Well... time to start saving up. What amp did you pair it with?
      ezekiel77, Sep 25, 2015
    2. Thiry
      The ear pads aren't deep enough, my ears touch the cloth inside the cups, although I have normal ears. I don't have this problem with the HD800S and the LCD-4. 
      Thiry, Feb 27, 2016