HIFIMAN HE1000 V2 Over Ear Planar Magnetic Headphone

General Information

The Ultimate Flagship Headphone HE1000 by HIFIMAN 1. World's First Diaphragm in Nanometer Thickness The diaphragm in nanometer thickness is extremely low in mass, yielding faster response and lower distortion. 2. Advanced Asymmetrical Magnetic Circuit 7 years of research and devotion into the groundbreaking design offers near perfect reproduction of live music. Regular Planar Magnetic Driver Insufficient construction of sound apertures from classical planar magnetic driver creates reflections, deflections, and refraction of sound waves, resulting in audible distortion. HIFIMAN Advanced Asymmetrical Planar Driver The innovative design of the double-sided, asymmetrical magnetic circuit is the perfect marriage of the diaphragm in nanometer thickness and its Magnetic partner. The result is Planar Magic. 3. Patented "Window Shade" System Created to meet the need for driver protection and optimized open-back design Traditional grill designs tend to reflect sound waves, creating audible interference and distortion. The patented "Window Shadow" design is precisely structured to achieve an optimal open-back design. It prevents interference from the sound waves, avoiding unwanted reflections and vibrations, which cause distortion. This results in a wider and natural soundstage, outstanding imagine and remarkable clarity. 4. Meticulously crafted and quality-checked by hand With its unique design, exceptional function and exquisite craftsmanship, the HE1000 is the total luxury item that redefines the audio landscape. 5. Enjoy Excellent Comfort and Remarkable Sound Quality Ergonomic and comfortable, the headband features a steady arch structure, a universal design with improved reliability and durability. Style: Open Back Impedance:35±3 Ohms

Latest reviews


100+ Head-Fier
HiFiMan HE1000v2 Review - By WaveTheory
Pros: Warm, smooth, and relaxed but still highly resolving. Treble is bright and sparkly without being sharp or sibilant (with right recordings and gear). Good timbre. Resolution and separation holds up when music gets busy. Staging can be enormous and grandiose when needed, but also intimate when needed. Comfort is excellent.
Cons: The stock cables. Treble can get too hot with brighter source gear and/or poor recordings. Mid presence might be lacking for some. Bass slam isn’t poor but isn’t a strength. The stock cables.
NOTE: This review was originally posted on HiFiGuides Forum on 19 April, 2021. https://forum.hifiguides.com/t/hifiman-he1000v2/17440/25


If you’ve followed my writing on this forum, you know it’s no secret that I adored the HiFiMan Edition X V2 (HexV2). It was my go-to headphone for most of the Fall of 2020 and early 2021. Then, I heard the HiFiMan Arya. While I didn’t love the Ayra’s signature, its spatial abilities and detail retrieval were another step up from the HexV2 and got me longing for a headphone that could combine the warmth and smoothness of the HexV2 with the staging, imaging, detail, and texturing of the Arya. Well, from what I was told that was the HE1000V2 (HekV2). When a deal for a used model came along, I sold my favorite son (lol) HexV2 and made the jump the HekV2. Was it worth it? Read on to find out…


The HE1000V2 is an accomplishment. Its sound is BIG, but also can be intimate. The sound is detailed, but also smooth and relaxed. The signature is warm but also airy and sparkly. The timbre is wonderful. It’s comfortable. It looks good. It has become the first headphone I reach for. Is it perfect? No. It’s not the last word in detail retrieval in its tier, the treble can be a bit hot with poor recordings, and it can be a little amp picky. Some will object to a slight dip in the 1KHz range of its frequency response. The stock cables also are an embarrassment to cable-kind…and it’s not cheap to find replacements. Nonetheless, the HekV2 lists for $2999 from most retailers, it’s worth it. But, it also can be found new in the $2200-2300 range, and can go used for as low as $1300. At those prices, it’s a no-brainer if you’re looking for a headphone in this performance tier.


My preferred genres are rock/metal and classical/orchestral music. I’m getting to know jazz more and enjoying quite a bit. I also listen to some EDM and hip-hop. My hearing quirks include a high sensitivity to midrange frequencies from just under 1KHz to around 3Khz, give or take. My ears are thus quick to perceive “shoutiness” in headphones in particular. I describe “shoutiness” as an emphasis on the ‘ou’ sound of ‘shout.’ It’s a forwardness in the neighborhood of 1KHz and/or on the first one or two harmonics above it (when I make the sound ‘ooooowwwww’ into a spectrum analyzer the dominant frequency on the vowel sound is around 930Hz, which also means harmonic spikes occur again at around 1860Hz and 2790Hz). In the extreme, it can have the tonal effect of sounding like a vocalist is speaking or singing through a toilet paper tube or cupping their hands over their mouth. It can also give instruments like piano, but especially brass instruments, an added ‘honk’ to their sound. I also get distracted by sibilance, or sharp ‘s’ and ‘t’ sounds that can make ssssingers sssssound like they’re forssssssing esssss ssssssounds aggresssssssively. Sibilance does not physically hurt my ears nearly as quickly as shout, though. It’s distracting because it’s annoying and unnatural. Finally, in a new clause in this section, I’m discovering that I have a preference for more subtle detail. I like good detail retrieval and hearing what a recording has to offer, but I prefer that presentation to what many would consider relaxed and subtle rather than aggressive of detail-forward. To my ear, more subtle detail-retrieval sounds more realistic and natural than aggressive, detail-forwardness. There is a balance here, though, because detail retrieval can get too relaxed and that can sound unnatural, as well. Readers should keep these hearing quirks and preferences in mind as they read my descriptions of sound.


The Patriarch of its Line

The HE1000 was launched by HiFiMan in 2015. It’s a little unclear when the V2 was launched. The HE1000se was launched in 2018, so I’m guessing the V2 was somewhere in between 2015 and 2018. Regardless, the HE1000 is a critical model in HiFiMan’s line of headphones with egg-shaped ear cups (https://hifiman.com/evo-fhp/tree.html). The HE1000 technology served as the base tech for my beloved Edition X V2, Arya, Ananda, HE1000se, and the current planar-magnetic flagship Susvara. I won’t go into a lot of detail about the magnet structure and all of the features of the HE1000 that make it special. But, if you’re interested, you can read about it on HiFiMan’s website (https://hifiman.com/products/detail/267).

The HekV2 is a large, open-back planar-magnetic heaphone. It has a rated impedance of 35Ω and sensitivity of 90dB/mW. That makes it fairly power hungry. It drives more like Arya than HexV2. It’s not going to be a mobile solution.

Aesthetics & Comfort

The HekV2, being a part of HiFiMan’s egg-shaped line, is large and comfortable. The earcups have room for very large ears. The suspension-strap headband system is very comfortable and the metal tension bend has enough clamp to keep the headphone firmly on the head but not become uncomfortable. The headstrap is leather, and becomes a bit floppy with age and use:


The aesthetic is really nice. I know beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but in IMO these are nice looking cans. The metal chassis has a matte silver finish and there is a nice wood veneer around the outside of the earcups. Yes, it is just a veneer on top of the metal chassis:


The ear pads are big and comfortable with a slight forward angle. The part of the pad that makes contact with the head is a soft polyester. Most of the time it’s comfortable, but sometimes the hair of my sideburns gets caught in the threading and pulls…first world problems.

As Open Back as They Come

Yeah, these egg-shaped HiFiMan cans – all of them – are completely open back. To say the ‘leak’ sound isn’t accurate because they make absolutely no attempt to hold sound in…or out. They are not good cubicle cans or walking around cans. Everyone else will hear your music and you’ll hear the world around you just as much (unless the music is rockin’ enough).

Cables Matter

Most HE1000 models floating around out there use dual 2.5mm cable entry. The cable jacks on the cups are mounted flush so that pretty much any 2.5mm terminations will fit. Recently produced models of HekV2 (and HE1000se?) have moved to 3.5mm jacks on the cups. That’s probably a good move seeing as how 3.5mm are a bit more durable and a bit more common. My unit has 2.5mm connections.

HiFiMan takes a lot of heat for the ridiculous ergonomics of their stock cables. I’m not going to be any different. From an ergonomic perspective, they suck. I think they use medical tubing around the conductors. They look and feel like catheter tubes. The plastic outer tubing is stiff, noisy, and keeps the cable from ever lying the way you want it to. The conductive wires inside it aren’t braided together either. They’re just run parallel to each other through the tubing. This pic is not the greatest, but it shows two conductive wires next to each other inside the tubing:


Now that wouldn’t be such a big deal if those individual wires – which I think are also covered in plastic tubing themselves – didn’t slide past and rub on each other. When they start rubbing on and sliding past one another it just feels squicky. It’s a hard feeling to convey unless you’ve experienced it, but it’s just nasty.

That returns us to the fact that it’s good news that the cable entry system uses flush mounted 2.5mm or 3.5mm jacks. You can buy whatever kind of aftermarket cable you want and it will fit. But, it’s gonna cost you. As ergonomically terrible as the stock cables are, whatever conductive material the wiring itself is made of is top-notch stuff; they sound great. When I first got my HekV2, I used the Hart Audio Cable that I had been using with me HexV2 – same cabling system. Hart Cables are ergonomic gold with their modular system. But with HekV2, I kept having issues with the sonic center image being slightly to one side or the other and also drifting slightly side-to-side as a singer changed pitch. It was weird, unsettling, and I was worried I’d gotten burned by buying used. The seller I got my set from bundled a Plussound Poetic GPH cable as part of the deal. I switched to that cable and WOW. The center image locked and stabilized. The soundstage opened up even more with better separation to go with it. And the sound smoothed out in general; cymbal crashes sounded more natural and less harsh, vocals sounded more natural, and a host of other things. If you read my Abyss Diana Phi review, you read I had to use HiFiMan stock cables on the Diana because I was having the same sonic issue with Hart cables on that one too, and the Plussound cable didn’t fit the Diana’s recessed jacks. The stock HiFiMan cables solved the issue there and would on the HekV2 if they weren’t so gross to use that I only touch them when I absolutely have to. This cabling situation is one of the biggest cons of the HekV2. The stock cables are terrible but of high sonic quality. HiFiMan sells replacement cables in the $350-500 range. The Plussound cable that came bundled with my set costs $500 new. If you’re looking to pick up an HE1000 model, you should plan on sinking multiple 100s of dollars into quality cables.

[for the skeptics, here is some recent measurement data showing how different speaker cables can affect sound https://www.lifewire.com/speaker-cables-make-a-difference-3134902. Headphone cables are basically speaker cables for smaller speakers…]


Test Gear

I used the HekV2 with an assortment of amps and dacs. Amps included Cayin HA-1AMK2 tube amp, Monolith Liquid Platinum, Vioelectric HPA-V200 and HPA-V281, and HeadAmp GS-X Mini. DACs included Schiit Bifrost 2, Soekris dac1321, Holo Audio Spring 2 Level 2, and Chord Hugo 2 (as DAC only).


The HekV2 is both warm and bright – ie ‘v’ in signature. There is a subbass boost that sounds like its centered around 40 Hz that gently rolls back into the ‘flat’ range somewhere in the 120-140Hz range. The upper bass and midrange stays relatively constant through much of the vocal region. Then, there is another upward trend in frequency response somewhere in the 1.5-1.7KHz range up to some noticeably above-neutral energy in the treble.

The bass is extended and plentiful but also detailed, textured, and never bloated. Individual plucks of a electric bass guitar strings are resolved well. The HekV2 showed me Jason Newsted’s bass work on Metallica’s Enter Sandman was far more galloping and active than I had ever realized, for example. The HekV2’s bass is also well balanced between impact and weight. It doesn’t slam hard, but it slams enough to be fun most of the time, and then there’s lots of rumble and weight to go with the slam. Coincidently, I was writing this very point as the drum intro to Aerosmith’s Walk This Way was playing and Joey Kramer’s kick drum was punching pretty good and then the texture of Tom Hamilton’s bass guitar was resolved beautifully (Hugo 2 and V281 as the source chain in this instance). The most impressive aspect to me of the bass is that many headphones – even planar-magnetics – tend to roll off quickly below 50 or 60 Hz. The HekV2 remarkably goes UP in frequency response until somewhere around 40 Hz and doesn’t return to neutral until below the audible range. The HekV2’s bass presentation would likely be technically the overall best had I not heard the Diana Phi recently. More on this in the comparison section.

The midrange is detailed and has wonderful timbre. To my ear this headphone nails most instrument sounds and vocals the best I’ve heard to date. The ability to hold it together in the mids as music gets very busy is also remarkable. My midrange acid tests are The Poet and the Pendulum by Nightwish and the 1812 Overture by Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. Both recordings just flood the mid-range frequencies with information with huge numbers of vocals, instruments, and effects. The HekV2 sailed through these tests unlike any other headphone I’ve heard before, rendering each voice and instrument sound with seemingly no interference from the rest of the sounds. I think I’ve only heard these tracks separated better by one other headphone (Diana Phi) but the HekV2 maintained that wonderfully natural mid timbre in the process moreso. Some listeners may object to a perceived lack of presence in the treble, though. Since the subbass and treble are both elevated some the mids come across as less forward. HekV2 matches my hearing quite well because I can’t remember a single incidence of shoutiness or honkiness in the mids – and those are things I’m sensitive too. If mid-forward sound is your jam, this may not be the best way to spend your $3K.

The treble is bright, prominent, and sparkly. There is lots of detail and excellent timbre up top. Cymbals and their room reverb are resolved beautifully. However, the treble can be a bit too hot with some lesser quality recordings. This part of the frequency response is the most amp/dac sensitive, too. I recommend warmer, smoother electronics (amps especially). Amps that are aggressive, bright, or analytical can cause the HekV2’s treble to wander into sharp and shrill territory. When the HekV2 does go sharp and shrill, it’s less strident and piercing than when less expensive models do so, but it’s still not particularly enjoyable.

Detail Retrieval

The HekV2 is very resolving and detailed but takes a more subtle approach to detail retrieval than the other hi-end headphones I’ve listened to of late. This gives it an overall more relaxed and smooth presentation. However, it’s not at all lacking in detail. Room reverb, instrument key clicks, the sound of drumstick-to-metal that happens on the attack of a cymbal crash, are all presented naturally and effectively. The texture in the bass is such that it’s possible to hear the pluck of a bass guitar string and the string noise that happens on top of the bass tone. I know some listeners who prefer aggressive detail. If that’s you, this headphone probably isn’t your jam. But, if you’re like me and think that subtle detail sounds more lifelike, than this headphone might be for you.


I really can’t complain here. We’re talking about a true high-end headphone hear and timbre – the ability for things to sound like what they really sound like; ie voices sound like voices, pianos sound like pianos, drums sound like drums, horns sound like horns, etc. – is outstanding. To my ear, things sound very right. I have heard the timbre bettered by Audeze LCD-24 for individual instruments. The LCD-24 has an amazing ability to squeeze seemingly every last drop of detail and timbre of an individual instrument played by itself. But, the HekV2’s already excellent timbre does not fall off as the 24’s does as more and more information is added to the music. When things get busy, the HekV2’s timbre is better and seems remarkably musical-complexity invariant.

Spatial Presentation

One thing I loved most about the HexV2 when I had it was how BIG it sounded. The soundstage was wide, tall, and deep. Everything sounded like I was sitting in the first row of a concert – just immense. Then along came the Arya, which said “hold my beer” and took it to another level. Both of those headphones also had pinpoint imaging and excellent separation and layering within that immense soundstage. Well, they got those abilities handed down to them from their big brother HekV2. The HekV2 can sound just as big and grand as either HexV2 or Arya, and it takes their already excellent imaging, separation, and layering to another level…maybe even 2 or 3 levels better. But HekV2 has another spatial trick up its sleeve. Where everything is grandiose through HexV2 or Arya, HekV2 can bring it in and sound more intimate when it needs to. It’s not going to be a Sennheiser HD600 series kind of intimate, but with a string quartet it has the ability to put the performers right in front of the listener and create an intimate, for-you-alone presentation. I found this Deutsche Grammophon record of Mozart’s string quintets to be intimate in presentation but still present the size of the performance hall surrounding the players.

The soundstage of the HekV2 is more out in front, not pulling off the wrap-around effect that some higher-end Audezes and Focals can. This is a matter of preference. By-in-large most music is performed in front of the listener so this approach sounds more natural to me. But, I can’t deny that being in the performance can be fun at times.


I’ve dropped a couple hints here and there that HekV2 gets a little sensitive to amps in the treble. My Violectric amps did a much better job with HekV2 than the HeadAmp GS-X Mini. The Monolith Liquid Platinum also drove it pretty well too, but didn’t have the detail that the V281 could deliver (nor should it be expected to). My Cayin tube amp is transformer-coupled and can sound ok with the HekV2. The detail takes a slight hit and the soundstage flattens, maintaining the height and width but losing much of the depth. Plan on spending a good chunk if you want to use the HekV2 with a tube amp.


The 2 headphones I’ve heard that make the most sense to compare to from a cost standpoint, Audeze LCD-24 and Abyss Diana Phi, I’ve already done at some length in those respective reviews. The points I wish to reiterate here involve the bass and midrange. The HekV2 has more bass quantity than LCD-24 and not as much as the Diana Phi is capable of (depending on pad position). The LCD-24 might slam slightly harder, and the Diana Phi definitely slams harder in the right pad position. For the mids, to my ear, it’s no competition. The HekV2 has the best overall midrange presentation of the three. The LCD-24 can wring more out of an individual instrument – the resinous sound of bows being dragged across strings, for example – until there are more than just a handful of instruments and voices happening at once. When that occurs, the LCD-24 loses its ability to resolve as well and timbre and separation suffers. The Diana Phi has more resolution than either 24 or HekV2 across the entire frequency spectrum but is so mid-forward that it gets shouty or cupped sounding often, whereupon the HekV2 pulls ahead of it in timbre. With the HekV2, it doesn’t seem to matter how much is going on in the signal, it stays calm and delivers.

What happens if you’re sitting with an Arya – a popular headphone right now – and are considering moving up? What do you gain? More bass quantity for sure, but overall more resolution and more natural timbre. Plus, you gain the ability to have a more intimate presentation when you want it, while still sounding huge when you want that too. The Arya might be right there with HekV2, maybe just a hair ahead, on dynamics and punch, but it’s noticeably behind on everything else.


The HekV2 is my headphone for the time being. I bought this one and I’m keeping it for awhile. The shallow v-signature suits my hearing and preferences well. The timbre, detail, and spatial presentation are all very impressive and enjoyable. The bass slam is arguably the only thing ‘lacking’ and that’s more in that it’s just not quite as impressive as the rest of the sonic package. The HekV2 is also quite physically comfortable and can be worn for long periods of time. The stock cables are horrendous. If you’re shopping for the HekV2 plan to sink some considerable money into high quality aftermarket cables, you’ll be glad you did.

That’s it. Thanks for reading all! Enjoy the music!
Nice writeup. Thank you for sharing what you found in comparison with the LCD-24 and Diana Phi. Those are both phones that I unfortunately am not able to audition in person currently or in the perceivable near future. Even though I already purchased a new HE1000v2, it is nice to see what the other phones may have to offer.

Also, regarding aftermarket cables. I am a recent convert to the "Believer" camp. Even to my stainless steal ears there was a difference when moving to a quality vs. budget oriented aftermarket cable. I am using a Forza Noir Hybrid and I like it very much with the HEKv2.

Not attempting to steer you in any particular direction, but if you get an opportunity to get an HE1000se to review, I for one would really like to see your take on that phone vs. the v2.


Previously known as GoldenOne
Sponsor: Headphones.com
Great, but when arya exists it's hard to justify
Pros: Fantastic detail retrieval, immensely comfy, great timbre, very pleasing overall tuning and technical performance
Cons: lowend is present but could be a bit faster, expensive
Video review here:

The Hifiman HE1000V2 is a beautiful headphone. It looks fantastic, feels fantastic, and is hands down the most comfortable headphone i've tried with the potential exception of the Arya. However this is due to the Arya having a plastic build and therefore being slightly lighter. Many will prefer to have a touch more weight in exchange for the metal construction of the HE1000v2.

The pads are angled and just the right balance of firm/soft. Absolutely cannot fault the comfort in any way at all.
The build looks and feels premium. It isn't what i'd call massively sturdy, but I'm more than happy to have a headphone that is more comfortable even if it means I cannot safely run it over with my car.

The one thing about the build I really do not like is the cable. The cable is quite frankly not what i'd call acceptable for a headphone of this price. Much less the $6000 susvara (which uses the same cable).
Its basically a rubber tube with the core materials through it, which crinkle and rattle when you turn your head. If you get these, plan on getting a custom cable.
It is nice that they just use normal 3.5mm though (older units were 2.5mm), so getting a custom cable is easy and no need to fuss with proprietary connectors.

Overall tonality:
These are a headphone that leans ever so slightly warm of neutral. Its a departure from the lower cost hifiman offerings, but not at all overdone, and I very much enjoyed it.
Its a sound signature that offers plenty of detail, technicalities, forgiveness, and doesn't at all feel overdone or as though it's trying to impress with party tricks. It simply does just about everything some level of good to great.

Soundstage and spatial presentation:
The spatial presentation of the Arya was likely my favourite thing about them, and its just as good here.
Staging is tall, wide, and layered beautifully. The combination of excellent and precise imaging alongside the very impressive layering within the stage leads to a very convincing overall presentation of space.
The one area where I perhaps wanted a little more was frontal staging. Vocals were noticeably closer on the he1000v2 than the arya, however not overly so. And I didn't find it distracting.
Additionally what I really like about the he1000 line overall is the ability to stage lowend elements properly.
Many other headphones even if they have excellent air and overall staging, can often still have lowend be 'in your head' or not quite properly distanced. That is not the case here. Listening to "contact" by daft punk, the distancing, imaging and timbre of the drums was fantastic, and not many other headphones can do it in quite the same way. Its distracting to listen on another headphone once you've heard it on something like this (or the Susvara, which does it even better).

Treble is overall very good. Its slightly 'smoother' than hifiman's cheaper headphones, and smoother than the Arya as well. Though not so far as to call it "smoothed over".
Its excellently resolving, BUT, I have to say I did encounter a few times where I was listening and thought to myself:
"This sounds great, but I know there's a little bit more that i'm not quite getting".
It seemed that whilst the Aryas offer fantastic air, resolution and overall performance, which is a blessing on a good chain, but often too much and unforgiving on a poor chain or poor track, the HE1000V2 favours the slightly more 'polite' route.
Taking a step back from squeezing every last bit of detail it can from the driver, and instead focusing on an overall more enjoyable presentation.
This is great in many situations and I never found these harsh or fatiguing, but it came with the tradeoff that sometimes I felt as if it were holding back.

These are not the most ideal headphones for ultra-critical listening. But for sitting down in the evening with a glass of whiskey and just relaxing to music. They are stellar.

The midrange here there is not all that much I can say. Because it is in a word: Beautiful.
Timbre of vocals is excellent, warm and full bodied without being forced or veiled, delicate and nimble when needed, thick and encompassing when demanded.

Midrange is indeed simply excellent and at this price there is not much more I could ask of it.
Certain headphones like a ZMF Verite might give a perhaps more "vivid" sound which many might prefer. As though someone had taken a photo and turned up the saturation. Beautiful, vivid, but not necessarily "true to source".

But in terms of going for a natural presentation without colouration, this is fantastic.

Bass is the only part of these headphones where I felt a little mixed.
Planars usually need a fair bit of power, and scale nicely when more is offered. Even the Arya, which isn't too difficult to get loud, becomes quite a different animal on a powerful amp. And the flagship Susvara I honestly wouldn't even consider the same headphone on a speaker amp vs headphone amp.

The HE1000V2 doesn't need that. The response doesn't change so long as it has 'enough'. And moreso, the signature of the amp itself plays less of a part than on some other headphones.

Headphones like the HD800, Susvara, Arya, all change massively depending on the power and sound signature of the amp they are run off. However the HE1000V2 only changed subtly when I swapped between the Asgard 3, Magnius, AHB2, Cavalli Tube Hybrid and RME ADI-2 Pro headphone amps.

This was nice as I often found myself fussing with amps too much on other headphones.
BUT, this was also in part because whilst a can like the Susvara can knock your socks off with fast, thunderous, impactful lowend when powered by the AHB2, the HE1000V2 was again a little more 'polite'.
With quite present and well extended lowend, but not massively fast or snappy.
Once again referring back to "Contact" by daft punk. On the HE1000V2 the timbre, presence and 'thunder' of the drums was plentiful, the initial snap and impact was definitely better on the Arya.

If you are a basshead or EDM fan these may not be the best choice.
But for those who prioritise timbre, these shine. Drums really do sound phenomenal on these even if at times I'd like a little more slam. The realism makes up for it.

I think the HE1000V2 are truly excellent headphones. Had I evaluated these entirely on their own, I would have absolutely no issue whatsoever saying 'buy these asap'.
But what gives me pause is that Hifiman's own Arya is incredibly similar. And I would consider it an equal, but slightly different headphone. Which for half the price.....makes it a very compelling choice.

The HE1000V2 is for those seeking a natural, realistic presentation. And at that....it does wonderfully.
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Love your reviews..

You mentioned Arya does well with warm amps, preferably class A.

I have ares2 upstream in the chain. Wondering do i get a singxer Sa1 to get the soundstage, resolution etc. or go for Jot2 for slam and macrodynamics?

Also no one out there is able to answer this conclusively but i understand hifiman demos units on totl tube amps (Auris Euterpe etc.) Im eyeing a Cayin IHA Mk2 to pair with arya (and 6xx). Wondering wud that be a better pairing with Arya than the jot2 or Sa1.
Any help/suggestions will be much appreciated!!

Keep them videos coming.. im actually holding off the SA1 purchase hoping ul do a review for that..

PS i got the Ares2 after watching yr review of it.. the way u explained the ss nuances helped me decide (given my music preferences). so thanks for that!!
Hifi DTH
Dear Sir,

I have tested the Arya and HEKv2 with the Parametric EQ from Crinacle, I even try to tune down some of the high sibilance frequency. But I still somehow feels really force or aggressive "S" or "T" sounds of any track I am listening to. This perceived from me a view of very bright and high in the treble. The treble in general sounds fine but the "S" really irritated me compare to of the Arya. I felt like they got smoothen off and lose the sharp edge somehow. Would you suggest any EQ preset to lower or at least make the sibilance less stand out and be more natural. I do not have so many options for DAC and AMP. I only owned a Topping D90 MQA and Schiit Gungnir Multibit. AMP is topping A90.
Thank you in advance!
so funny how we all hear differently. Crinacle thinks theyre almost estat speed.


Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Great sound and looks.
Cons: Difficult to drive.
HeK V2.jpg

I took some pictures of the HE1000 v2 the other day. I wanted to share them with the Headfi community, so I thought why not write a little review for it because I absolutely love them; even though, I have some issues with Dr. Bian Fang. I think he’s socially awkward, but you cannot undermine his intelligence. He is a smart dude given how popular Hifiman is in the audio world. If the Lakers can overlook Lavar Ball and draft Lonzo, we should be able to enjoy the HeK v2 purely for its sound. Lonzo may bust, but if HeK busts, you can simply return it or resell it. A little background about me. I’m a 37 year-old Bay Area father of two who suffers from serious gear acquisition syndrome (GAS). I suffer from headphone GAS and photography GAS. I find myself at time spending more time researching and purchasing gear than using them. I need help…

All pictures in the review was shot with Sony a7Rii with 16-35mm G Master f2.8 lens. Now onto the actual review…


The HeK v2 retails for $3000, and if you are an astute deal seeker, the going price on the used market is around $1800-$2000 depends on the condition. They are very popular and don’t seem to come up in the classifieds that much.

Design and Comfort:

HeK V2-2.jpg

HeK V2-4.jpg

Coming in at 420g, the HeK v2 is very comfortable and light. My head circumference is on the larger side, and I have not experience any discomfort during extended listening sessions. The wide, fenestrated leather headband provides extra stability and grip, so it doesn’t move around. Even though the HeK v2 is not built with the perfect craftsmanship comparing to some other TOTL headphones, the combination of silver metal and wood cups makes it one of the most visually striking and unique headphone. It really is a work of art. I have never tried v1; but I did have the Edition X v1 at one point which has similar earpads as the HeK v1. From pure physical appearance the thinner v1 earpads look more harmonious with the rest of the headphone, but the tip of my ear would touch the inner diaphragm, so the thicker v2 earpads is a pleasant upgrade. The pads are also slightly wedged.

HeK V2-3.jpg

In terms of cables, the v2 comes with two 3m cables terminated unbalanced 6.25mm single end and balanced 4 pin XLR. The 3rd cable is 1m long and is terminated unbalanced right angled 3.5mm single end. As with all of the new Hifiman cans, they accept 2.5mm stereo/mono plugs for attaching to the cups. All of the cables are constructed with crystalline copper/silver conductor array with a smooth rubbery outer sheathing.


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I tested the HeK V2 with AK380, Woo Audio WA8 Eclipse, Centrance Hifi M8, and McIntosh MHA100. The HeK V2 does require more power than most headphones. It takes more power to drive it to a satisfying level and further scales with better amplification. Straight out of the AK380 and WA8, the HeK V2 sounded very anemic and flat. To my surprise, the good-old Hifi M8 actually drove it to very satisfying level at high gain. You began to notice its capabilities. MHA100 took it to another level. I’m actually using the Hek v2 out of the speaker tabs of the MHA100 with banana plugs to XLR adapter following the recommendations of other McIntosh owners. My sound impression is based on the MHA100 out of the speaker tabs set up.

The HeK V2 has excellent clarity and separation with very wide soundstage. There is a laidback and non-fatiguing quality to them. I feels it’s like a balance between Audeze sound signature and Utopia, but probably more close to Utopia than Audeze. The highs are clear without bothersome peaks. The mids and vocals are present without overexposure or underexposure in relationship to the instruments. The HeK has the best bass out of all the open headphones I have tried. It extends deep with excellent volume.

I also have the Moon Audio Silver Dragon v3 and another pure copper after market cable from Edition X. I do not feel that different cables have made a significant impact on sound. The silver cable did add a hint of clarity, but it's very subtle. I would stick with the stock cables.



HeK v2 vs HD800 SDR mod/HD800s: Overall I feel the HD800 series are slightly better built even though it’s mostly plastic. I prefer the HD800 connecters because they feel more robust. The HD800 is also the most comfortable headphone I have tried beating the HeK v2 by a slim margin. I wouldn’t based my decision on these 2 headphones based on comfort. They are both great. For me, the soundstage of the HD800 is wider than the HeK v2 by about 15%-20%. It's clearly noticeable. One striking difference between the HD800 and the HeK v2 is the HD800 has a very natural presentation compared to the HeK even though it lacks the technical achievements of the HeK v2 in terms of clarity, separation and bass. The HD800 particularly has the most natural vocals where as the HeK v2 presents the vocal and instruments without bias. I love them both and this is why HD800s and HeK v2 are my only two pairs of cans right now.



HeK v2 vs Focal Utopia: I had some issues with the fit and comfort of the Utopia. One it slips of my head easily with the narrow headband. The cups are also too tight for my head. After 30 minutes, I would feel excessive compression. That being said the Utopia is the best looking headphone I have ever owned. I just want to look at it. I sold the Utopia before I got the McIntosh, so perhaps I never enjoyed the Utopia to it’s fullest. However, the Utopia suppose to be easy to drive, and Focal even used Woo Audio WA8 at shows to demo them, so I feel I had an accurate sonic experience with the Utopia. The Utopia is technical better than HeK in terms of dynamics, punchiness and clarity. However, it suffered from a very narrow soundstage for a pair of open cans. That for me led to listening fatigue. The pressure from the headbands further added to the discomfort. Have you ever dated a girl who is just so hot, but you know the personality just don’t match? Every time you want to break up with her, her beauty somehow allures you back. Similarly I struggled with the Utopia for a long time. She looks so damn good on my desk. Eventually I had to let her go so I can have both HeK v2 and HD800s .

HeK v2 vs Edition X v1: I really liked the HeX. Sonic wise, I think they are good enough to be my only pair of headphones. They are easy to drive and sound great even out of portable devices. The reason I sold them is the plastic parts and generally lesser built quality.
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The HeK v2 is visually striking and sounds fantastic. It should be on the short list of TOTL headphones if you are in the market for a pair. If I had to pick one between HD800 series vs HeK, I may lean slightly towards the HD800 because it’s half the cost. If they are priced similarly, then it’s HeK no doubt.
I think this is a really nice sounding headphone when properly driven, however I think the look, fit and finish don't suggest TOTL headphone to me especially when compared to others. If HiFiMan could nail this they would have a world beater on their hands IMHO. Maybe the V3?
There certainly more to be desired with the build quality given the cost. Where the metal meets the wooden cups, the transition line could be more polished. Where the cable connectors are situated in the cup could look better. This is something Hifiman should improve on.
MCINTOSH AMP!!!!!!!!!!!!!! DAMN! Hum, another time Hifiman construction is a little questionnable, even Susvara feel ackwardly constructed from some impressions I read....not sure it should happen at 3000 or 6000$....at this price construction should be irreprochable.
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