HiFiMan HE1000 V3 - now with Stealth Magnets


New Head-Fier
Hifiman HE1000 Stealth vs. Arya Organic
Pros: Lovely bass and midrange
Satisfying timbre
Nice aesthetics
Excellent price
Cons: Needs an excellent amplifier for optimal performance
When I first reviewed the Arya Organic, it seemed to me an incredibly impressive achievement, with its high sensitivity, incredible dynamics and soundstage, but possibly not flawless – nothing is, in the end! One thing that bothered me a little about the Arya was its absolute unforgiveness of flaws in any recording, making it really difficult to listen to some music, despite every other delightful facet. Soundstage, tangibility and imaging were clearly an experience of the highest order due to the incredible treble response, but when I was presented with the chance to review the HE1000 too, also powered by the Goldenwave Serenade for this review, I jumped at the chance to examine one of Hifiman’s other latest offerings!

Upon receipt of the box containing the latest HE1000 model, I was tremendously excited to try them, based on other reviews posted online in recent months. First impression was that the treble was less active than the Arya, in the recordings I initially checked out. Kind of a relief for someone who likes electronica, perhaps less interesting for a classical purist. In fact, I was assured by my contact at Hifiman that the Arya is designed specifically for acoustic music, which totally makes sense, considering the Arya’s amazing sound in piano recordings or, for example, plucked stringed instruments. The Arya’s ‘live’ feel is incredibly effective when listening to instrumental recordings, as the detailed and dynamic approach of these headphones is what we need to register the timbre and energy of each instrument. How does the softer, smoother HE1000stealth compare? Let’s take a look how these instruments respond to a variety of recordings.

Ravi Shankar – Mishra Piloo

At first impression, the Arya is more exciting in this classical Indian music. The incredibly fast response of the membrane really brings the subtlety of the variations in timbre of the instruments to the fore, and makes for a very engaging listen. By contrast, the darker signature of the HE1000 offers a different type of experience. The timbre of each plucked sound gives way to a warmer, more harmonic sound, which encourages an appreciation of the larger scale development of the track, as we listen to the maestro’s improvisation unravel over time. To sum up, the Arya feels like we’re actually inside the Sitar, able to analyse every minute detail, whereas the HE1000 is in the room, a little further away to enjoy the performance.

Floating Points – Les Alpx

Although the Arya’s stereo imaging abilities are more immediately brilliant, it’s a clear win for the HE1000 here, which brings a lovely analogue quality to this digital music. Its lush mid-bass and midrange lend themselves to a warm dance vibe, all the layers are in place and totally clear without being in your face. By contrast, the Arya is quite harsh in the drum machine sounds with its forward treble, and it just feels too ‘active’ to enjoy this kind of music.

Ahmad Jamal – All Of You

The Arya’s best qualities really shine in this vintage jazz recording, with the treble sparkle giving just the right kind of transparency to the trio’s performance. The decay of each piano note and bass pluck is deeply satisfying against the background of the cymbal, in a way which for jazz lovers may conjure up the feeling of being right in the club, sitting in the best seat. The HE1000 again takes a step back to listen from a distance, with a slightly richer but less transparent blend of sound. Also very enjoyable, but perhaps not quite as engaging as the Arya here.

Zoltan Kocsis – Debussy’ Images

Being a classically trained pianist myself, it’s obviously a point of interest to compare these headphones in a solo piano recording. Listening to Kocsis’ Debussy on the HE1000, the performance is infused with the HE1000’s signature comfortable warmth, giving an intimate feel the allows you to enjoy a feeling of being communicated with directly, as if the pianist has a message just for you. The Arya on the other hand, detail monster that it is, does an excellent job of showing the bell-like sound Kocsis achieves, along with splendid tonal contrasts due the highly dynamic quality of this headphone. Both great, but for me, the HE1000 is better for extended period of listening, an important factor when you’re listening to works which may be much longer than the average track.

Bob Dylan – Like A Rolling Stone

The Arya’s excellent separation abilities are at the forefront here, it being very easy to pick out each instrument and where it is placed. The guitar has a nice springy feel, however the bright treble does give a somewhat harsh and artificial feeling to Dylan’s voice in particular, which may give the listener aural fatigue after a while. The HE1000 is somewhat an antidote for this, with its smoother feel and more forgiving nature making this rather bright recording much more balanced and listenable.

Pierre Boulez, Chicago Symphony Orchestra – Stravinsky’s Firebird

The HE1000’s lush sound really does wonders for this well-recorded orchestra, and I found myself turning up the volume to enjoy the performance better here. Every instrument feels natural and melodious, a most engaging experience. The Arya’s analytical quality also works great here, with the texture of each instrument being most tangible, and an airy feel that works well to sum up a picture of the stage. Both models are super, but the HE1000 is the one I’d choose to keep listening to for its warm and inviting tone.


As I’ve tried to convey in this shootout, both headphones have qualities which work superbly in different kinds of music, and which will appeal in their own way to the various tastes of listeners. With Hifi at this level, it’s really a subjective experience. For me, the Arya is perfect for Jazz and a must try for any classical musician who needs to have a crystal-clear picture of every detail. On the other hand, the HE1000 is a wonderful all-round performer with an easy-to-enjoy lush sound and a very nice bass-response. Both headphones have detail and texture in bags. It's also worth noting that HE1000 feels as if it may perform even better with a superior amplifier, and is perhaps aimed more at audiophiles with a less-limited budget…

I myself will be keeping the HE1000, but absolutely recommend any serious listener to check both options out!

Mista Lova Lova

100+ Head-Fier
Technicalities meet musicality
Pros: - pleasant, slightly warm tuning
- huge soundstage
- phenomenal bass, both quantity and quality
- never "in my head"
- highly detailed without being shouty or dry
- cohesiveness of sound from top to bottom
- comfort
- current price (given its performance)
Cons: - still quite bright, may be too bright for some
- slightly recessed midrange, does not do intimate as well as e.g. the HEKse
- warm tuning, whilst enhancing the experience on average, does seem to prevent it from reaching the same level of details as e.g. the HEKse.
My gear
DAC - Gustard X26 Pro in NOS mode
Amp - Burson Soloist 3 XP in power-amp mode (volume bypassed) with Supercharger
Files used - FLACs upsampled to DSD512 using PGGB
My other current headphones: Focal Utopia, Hifiman HE1000se

I've had the pleasure of spending some time with these headphones recently (still have them) and wow, what a surprise (I already have the HEKse).

I would so far sum it up as: technicalities meet musicality. They are almost as good technically as the HEKse (although I am still not sure to what extent the differences are merely due to the tuning and earpads), but whatever small gap there might be between the Stealths and the HEKse, the former make up for it with the added touch of warmth, phenomenal bass (quantity and quality) and HD800-like (from memory) soundstage.

I have so far owned two Hifiman headphones - Arya v2 and the HEKse. The first spoke to my heart (I loved its presentation but could not put up with its plasticky treble in the long term), the latter still speaks to my brain (transparency and air, creating an impression that the sounds are "free", i.e. there's no ceiling). The Stealths are not perfect, but they might be my first Hifiman experience where both my heart and my brain are (sufficiently) satisfied. In a way, this is probably how I imagined my Arya would sound prior to purchasing it (sadly, it did not) Who knows, if it had sounded like this one does, maybe I would have never upgraded it (yeah, right, we all know how this hobby works...).

At their current price ($1,399 if I'm not mistaken) these are just superb. Especially for those of us who listen to a variety of music, including lots of "average" recordings, this could easily be an end-game headphone.

Hoping that this will be of some interest to the community, my take on the differences between this and the HEKse:

Overall tuning
The Stealths are warmer, more Harman-like, which makes them sound "sweeter" and more predictable as a result. They appear to have slightly less incisiveness of individual notes/transients than the HEKse, but this also makes for a more enjoyable listen in the long term.
The HEKse sound more "technical", i.e. less warm, a bit drier. This is a double-edged sword as in some cases the extra transparency comes across as possibly higher resolution, other times things simply sound a bit too shouty.

Soundstage and presentation
To my ears they sound quite different here. The Stealths remind me of the HD800 in terms of there being a slight (not as big and artificial as the Sennheiser's) gap between me and the sound, with everything appearing to be a little further away. This can sometimes appear a little unnatural, but overall it usually makes spatial cues very obvious and quite often easier to notice than on the HEKse. I would say that the main focus is on the centre image, but there is some very decent width too. Overall it's an absolutely fantastic soundstage, one of the most speaker-like I've ever heard.
The HEKse's overall soundstage is big, but the presentation is quite different as it's significantly more intimate, i.e. closer to my face. Is it a good thing or a bad thing? The answer is not so easy - when I want to be wowed by the general spatial presentation, the Stealths do this better. Especially with their gorgeous bass (see below), they're what I wanted my HD800 to be when I owned them briefly (sadly, they were not). However, what the Stealths can't quite do so well is very intimate sounds (the aforementioned "gap" between me and the music). And this is where the HEKse pull ahead, especially on very good recordings where I want some more intimacy with the vocalist - the HEKse will give me that, at the cost of the overall more in-your-face presentation).
However, on a recording that doesn't align with HEKse's tuning that well, this extra intimacy plus the HEKse's tendency to sound a bit shouty can often result in the experience not being as pleasant as on the Stealths.

Both headphones have clean, tightly controlled bass, but the Stealths just have much more of it (to my ears) and the very lowest frequencies seem to be represented a little bit better. The HEKse might be a little punchier, perhaps due to sounding more direct, but at the end of the day none of the Hifiman headphones I've heard are really punchy as such; if we instead focus on the sub-bass region, it's a clear win for the Stealths. The HEKse are very good too, but the Stealths just put a smile on my face and remind me that this hobby is about enjoying things, not just analysing and comparing them.

To my ears, the Stealths' mids are significantly more recessed than the HEKse's, which is probably amplified by their overall presentation (soundstage - the aforementioned "gap"). Vocals just don't sound as intimate as with the HEKse, which can be a good thing (e.g. Stormzy and Ed Sheeran's "Take me back to London" - the overall presentation is way more important here than the vocals themselves; the Stealths are mind-blowingly good here) or not necessarily so (e.g. Leonard Cohen's "You want it darker" sounds significantly more convincing to me on the HEKse). When it comes to instruments like guitars, they sound smoother and lusher on the Stealths whilst the HEKse are able to extract a little bit extra detail (like the plucking of the strings which is a bit more incisive), but at the cost of sounding a bit drier overall.

My opinion here is still changing as my ears are getting used to the Stealths. My initial impressions were that they were too bright, there seemingly being peaks in the treble region that on certain tracks ("My Adidas" by Run-D.M.C., "Creep" by Radiohead) were just making my ears bleed. Since then, however, I've listened to a lot of different songs and I must say that most of the time I've really had no issues with the treble. The HEKse seem to have the entire treble and air region elevated - especially the extra "air" can sound a little unnatural and even a bit splashy at times. I got used to this to some degree but it never managed to fully convince me that it's sounding "right". The Stealths, on the other hand, seem to be more "reined in" overall, with there being peaks which only become apparent on certain recordings. As such, I would say that if one finds the HEKse's timbre convincing and their treble acceptable, they're likely to enjoy the HEKse with a variety of music as that elevation yields quite predictable results. If, on the other hand, one finds HEKse's elevation unnatural and/or annoying, then the Stealths might still be an option as, in my experience, their extra brightness will only make itself known on certain tracks.

Detail, resolution etc.
I'd say that they're similar. The HEKse will make certain things more obvious because of its more analytical tuning and more intimate presentation. However, the Stealths will make certain spatial cues more obvious due to its even more grandiose presentation than the HEKse's. I would make an educated guess that both headphones are on the same level, simply tuned differently and with different earpads. Don't get me wrong - the differences are significant (at least in some areas), but the overall quality of sound is on a very similar level - it's not comparable to my upgrade from the Arya v2 to the HEKse where the latter was clearly a level above. These appear to be two different takes on the same idea - one errs on the side of technicalities and transparency (HEKse), the other on the side of warmth/musicality (Stealths).

Overall experience (so far)
When I initially went back and forth between the two headphones and discovered those areas where the HEKse was pulling ahead slightly (possibly a confirmation bias due to having owned them for a while), I thought that that was all I needed to know and I could just go back to owning the HEKse. But since then, I have been reaching for the Stealths more and more, knowing that they would give me a reliable, predictable (in a good way) and wonderfully grandiose experience no matter what music I felt like listening to on a particular day. The size of the soundstage together with the quality and quantity of the bass have been quite addictive, I must say. Yes, I must admit that there have been recordings where I missed that little bit more textural information (e.g. "Folk singer" by Muddy Waters) and I did switch over to the HEKse for that. But even then I felt like what the HEKse was giving me was a bit more of a zoom into those particular areas, whereas the Stealths still presented the song better as a whole, taking into account the overall space and bass presentation.

Perhaps it would be fair to say that the HEKse do micro a little a bit better whereas the Stealths do macro more convincingly. I'm not sure but that's possibly a good way to look at these two great headphones. And, if one can afford it, possibly a reason to own them both.

The jury is still out on what I'll end up doing in terms of my headphone collection. One thing is quite certain, though - the HE1000 Stealth are a phenomenal headphone at their current price and I wish that I'd had access to this level of audio quality at this price point when I got sucked into this hobby a few years ago.
Last edited:


Headphoneus Supremus
Blissfull Mid centric Lushness
Pros: -lush and open musicality
-mid centric tonality
-most natural timbre of any Planar HP or IEMs ive test
-gigantic headroom
-deep thumpy warm bass
-excellent sound layering
-intimate mid range with full bodied instrument
-lively yet not agressive macro dynamic
-end game female vocal
-great sens of proximity with piano, vocals, sax, guitar etc
-tactile large and dense instrument presence
-fast attack speed and control
-smooth treble that don't lack richness or fine detailing
-plenty of lower mids, nothing sound thin with those
-very comfortable even after hours and hours of listen
-great construction
-very decent sound value even with it's high price
Cons: -not the best bass separation and definition
-lack a bit of treble sparkle and brilliance
-not end game imaging
-underwhelming packaging
-so so cables
-metal headband part isn't as elegant as rest of construction

TONALITY: 9.5/10
TIMBRE: 9.6/10
IMAGING: 8.5/10


Hifiman don't need a lenghty introduction. It's an audio company founded in 2005 by Fang Bian, then named Hifiman in 2007. Their first planar headphones was the HE5 launched in 2009, then they evolve alot and create a wide variety of headphones, yet they seem to favor planar open back above dynamic driver or closed back headphones.


But Hifiman is a touch everything, and my personal story begin with their DAP in fact, the HM601 to be precise. It was a warm, bassy and very powerful sounding DAP with an construction that will make us laugh today. While DAP was an important part of their offering and R&D in the past, it seem nowadays they give greater focus to Headphones and DAC-AMP making. As well as some IEM like the very pleasant Svanar and even TWS IEMs like Svanar Wireless that push sound bundaries further with their implementation of R2R DAC-AMP in TWS shell.

In the past i've review a good amount of their Headphones which include the Ananda, Deva, Sundara and Arya to name a few. I always had a sweet spot for the Sundara musicality, the best Hifiman planar in term of high sound value in my opinion.

Today I will review their higher end headphones, the HE1000 Stealth.

Priced 1400$, the HE1000 Stealth use newest magnet with rounded shape that permit lower distortion and soundwave interference. They are double side at each side of the big planar diaphragm and offer a stable transient response.
This model is not to be counfound with older HE1000 V1 and V2, nor the HE1000se, which is pricier at 2000$.

I've tested a couple of TOTL headphone including Sennheiser HD820, Grado GS1000e, Arya Organic and Audivina, but never I've been as much impress by the musicality they deliver than with this HE1000 Stealth.

I will try to explain why in this review, while keeping my critical sound impressions sharp.




The construction of these is sumptuous and mostly made of metal and wood with few plastic part. It's quite gigantic but you barely feel them on your head and the clamping force is very smooth.
What caught the eyes is certainly the oversized cups wich you will be familiar with since its extremely similar to Arya and Ananda.


Those cups are made of CNC miled metal with a smooth hand polished finish. The grill is made of metal too and it's thick one, not light alluminium prompt to vibration that could create unwanted distortion (like the Grado grill).
Their a filter mesh to avoid any dust entering this grill too.
Then we have the piece of thick wood, it's very eye appealing and pleasant to touch when we position the cups.


Then we have the real leather headband with a brushed metal holder with an angular shape i'm not the biggest fan in term of aesthetic but it's responsible for clamping force which is light and I hope it will not loosen more since we can't headbang or move our head down too fast with HE1000 Stealth, their a risk the headphones fall. Anyway, these headphones are thinked for sedantary use since it's fully open back and leak alot, i mean ALOT of sound. In fact, i often use the HE1000 as deskop speaker since it can play louder than my laptop. Without any distortion.


Now these weight half a kilogram, as said, I can wear these for hours and hours without feeling anyn discomfort nor neck fatigue. The leather head band is hard to even feel (unless your bald I guess). It's most comfortable headphones I own but certainly not something I will use in a coffeshop or workplace. Let say the comfort upgrade is sky high compared to the Sundara I own that have harder clamping force, smaller cup and can swivel left right like the HE1K.


Under those big cups you have 3.5mmm jack, it permit easy upgrade of the cables. It made of metal and i like the bump that permit fast blind finding of the jacks so you can plug cable easily even when wearing the hadphones.


Sure, those 3 cables included are quite practical and not plain bad, but they are 3 meters long and the shorter one is made of nylon fabric that tend to keep the bent and isn't very flexible, i would have prefer same material as to other.
We have a very welcome balanced XLR cable with a plug that screen quality and have gold plated pins. It's 3 meter. Soundwise its more than OK and i dont feel an urgence to upgrade the XLR cable, yet i will most certainly order new 3.5mm braided cable sooner than later.


The packaging is extremely minimalist and well, eco friendly since the box is recyclable and even the protective foam have second life as an Headphones stand. I respect this for sure, yet i dont think it honor the elegant beauty of HE1000. The nice carrying case included with way cheaper Ananda Nano is something I feel would have been more appropriate with a flagship headphones of thise price range. But we have generous amount of basic cable as stated. Strangely no 3.5mm single ended is a bit puzzling too. All in all, while the construction of Headphones is great, i find accessories a bit underwhelming in quality. I could had say I don't care as a reviewer, but i put myself in the skin of a consumer that pay 1400$ for those, in that regard the packagin experience isn't impressive. You don't feel like a spoiled prince.



Let's begin by stating what source I test this headphones with.
Main obsessive pairing was with Hifiman EF600 as a DAC-AMP as well as a standalone amp paired with Hiby R6proII and Ibasso DX90. Then I try with SMSL SU9+R6proII and while it was cleaner and crisper on top, the dynamic was lifeless and ultra lean, bass was punch less and weight less, everything was suddenly about treble and transparency. I pair it with Xduoo XD05plus too and it was a rather potent match but the less refined in term of timbre, resolution and dynamic control wich is a bit too excite (opposite of SH9 in that regard), yet it confirm the HE1K can handle bass boost like a champ without distortion inherent to it's driver.

While this sound impression is mostly based on EF600 DAC-AMP pairing, diversify test I do confirm these are source transparent as well as scaling up with power output. I suggest an amp with good dynamic gain as well as at least 1W@32ohm. I'm not certain to understand why the SMSL SH9 lack so much dynamic heft, yet, ill say: avoid pairing those with a THX AAA amplifier, these aren't suppose to sound clinical at all.

OK, now time to dive into the sound rendering of these marvelous planar headphones. Expect a wordy because i've listen to these non stop for at least 100H and don't plan to stop any soon even if they stole the show of all my other Hifiman headphones which are Arya Organic, Audivina, Ananda Nano and Sundara.

When I receive these, I was certain they are 2000$ Headphones and i'm pleasantly surprise to see they sell in fact for 1400$, making them adequate in term of sound value. I mean, this is subjective but let say I always consider Sennheiser HD820 over priced, I don't for the HE1K Stealth.

I remember clearly the first moment with these, I was outside under bright sun and hook them to portable dac-amp Xduoo XD05plus, expecting mediocre performance...and dynamic heft, which wasn't the case at all. I was worry of slightly recessed mids like the first Arya I got since im a mid range lover that need them meaty and natural and let say i was spoil like no other here since i get both round thick punch and fowards lush female vocal of Jorja Smith, here vocal presence was wide thick smooth and enveloping, extremely natural and life like as if she was at 30cm of my face, I drown into here voice yet can shake my head on the beat too which was delivered in an holographic way, i got goosebump everywhere then make some kind of grunt eargasm yealing and barely fall from my chair. Then, since these are open back, i head a squirrel yealing at me and chase him so i can fully enjoy Jorja without distraction.

This was my first impressions, and from there: it just scale up infinately and i'm far from being done discovering new tone subtilities and spatial cue with them.

Because when I hook them up to Hifiman EF600, vocal presence stretch even more as well as headroom goes gigantic in a way your part of the soundscape, not in a concert hall way where you seated back in the row, for this, Arya is more appropriate.

So I would call the tonality as mid centric to warm balanced W shape. Sub bass isn't roll off but a hint less boosted than mid bass and lower mids, mids are fowards and offer main focus of whole musicality and the treble is fully extended in a lean way, not an agressive way yet it's far from sounding dark.
We can just say it offer a natural effortless balance too, fully cohesive that doesn't left anything behind so depending of you attention focus, their something for everyone bass, mids and treble wise.
It's perhaps the only headphones i would call: Jack of all trades, master of everything...but perhaps i'm overly enthusiast here so let's dig in more critical sound impressions.

The sub bass is leaner than mid bass here, yet dig very deep in a well controlled way with slightly densify and warmed sustaain and clean well layered release that permit both bass line and kick drum to cohabit in harmony.

These pack some weighty and authoritative punch when asked for, and it's a well rounded one, not a fast thin boom like the Arya. I love how the presence is lush yet colorful in texture subtilities. I love my bass meaty and it's what we get with the benefit of planar for proper layering even if transition into lower mid range is liquid and not sharply define.
The kick drum doesnt feel flat at all, its round and thumpy with a natural presentation, in the track Influxius by Aki Rissanen we never struggle finding the kick drum presence even if it's softed a bit in presence definition edge. So, nope, its not edgy ultra clean bass presentation here, it's a physical an tactile bass that doesn't goes muddy even in fast busy track we will feel the fast hitting drum, yet perhaps not be able to monitor it with clinical precision.
Tone fullness is favor before definition sharpness and texture is buttery, velvety, free of distracting micro details or grain that can affect musicality of a bass line or density of kick drum.

The cello sound marvelously full and natural, it's vibrant in it's release and soft in it's attack, the presence is wide and enveloping not compressed or just about dry imagie of the sound, it trrigger lot of emotional response which can be kill with a rendering that will over boost the texture of bow stroke. This texture isn't hearable in real life, and think about how non amoplify cello should sound and blossom is natural air and it's how it sound. I never mix violin with cello with the HE1000s, Anja Lechner cello has a vast, dense, rich and transparent presentation perfectly layered from other instrument, and this can deliver the vibrant abrasive grunt with long airy release when asked for too. Just magnificent.
Then the double bass is another pure pleasure to enjoy, Dave Holland bass line are vibrant and dense in debut attack then gently extend in a linear release that still move air as it should, i'm again very impress by how well layered is it's instrument in this tabla, saxo and double bass trio. It's evident hes the main focus of the tracks and we don't miss anything of it's fully bodied presence.

For electric bass, it's not as bodied and seem to magnify the attack speed which is super controled, the separation is again very easy to read and we don't miss anything, perhaps some will ask for more grunt and texture but it's not dark at all nor one tone warm, as well, as noted above it doesn't mud the kick drum which can deliver its proper dynamic heft too.
When we go to pure sub bass rumble, the HE1000s underline hes not a basshead headphones but an open back that don't boost sub bass resonance loudness, so I would not suggest those for Drum&bass or Trap Rap. For ex, I would not listen alot to IAMDDB cause the slam don't boom enough nor the rumble resonate enough, the bass of HE1000 is too well controlled to offer loud rumble release.

I've been quite wordy about the low range yet for me the star of the show is the luscious mid range of these. When an headphone can deliver full bodied presentation with natural timbre for both piano and female vocal, I know i'm into mid centric territory that doesn't forget their fundamentals harmonic hidden in lower mid range.
Because here, lower mids are plenty, and upper mids too, non shouty or overly agressive way.

I tend to call open mids when center stage is recessed and upper mids presence is boosted, this will be more appropriate for the Arya whil here it's holographic, wide near IMAX like mid range with energic and beefy dynamic. Nothing sound thin with the HE1000, nothing lack note weight, nothing sound dull or lifeless, everything from piano, to saxophone, to male and femal vocal are natural and meaty in tone, non compressed in their image, and lush in their colorfull timbre. We listen to tone, not texture here, our ears are their to listen to music, not to do audio mastering, yet we are into this miraculous audiophile realm where technicalities is on par with naturalness of tonality.
With harman tuned headphones or IEM, i often feel the piano is distant, lack roundness and note weight and is too boosted in texture grain which make it sound uneven as if the piano strings were rusted. This is an instrument I struggle alot to enjoy with most audio gear I own and I own alot. It's my favorite instrument and the one I play, acoustic piano is very complex to restitute because the finger hit the keyboard then the hammer hit the 1-2 or 3 string, then the strings release their vibrancy thrue harmonic table then this sound resonate in they air in different way depending of pedal pressed by pianist and well, room acoustic and size.

So, if treble is too boosted, it can pick up lotta noise artefact we don't want to hear in whole note release process, when their not enough, it can make the rendering blurry and abstract, or affect natural resonance clarity and sound info.
With the HE1000 Stealth, the piano is heavenly restitute in all it's tone, timbre and note weight glory, in an effortless and non offensive way. Thei no sudden high pitch peak, nor overly warmed lower register, the natural release is there too and blossom in the air widely. It's among most tactile piano presentation I've head and well, solo piano have a magnify sens of grandeur as if you where a minuscule being hide in immense piano where each note surround you from every direction in dense singular layerings. Those note hit without edgy brightness to definition, its smoothly rounded and dense in it's release that envelope the listener with colorful resonance highlining tone color with air vibrancy. It's not the type of presentation that magnify sharpness of attack speed, it weighty and mellow as well as close to the listener.

The female vocal push this lushness enjoyment to next level since I feel woodwind and vocal shine even more with the HE1000. The presence is foward and very wide, it stretch in whole headroomand embrace the listener smoothly without shouty agressivity, it's both relaxed in loudness peak and dynamic towards you. It's not dull nor recessed at all and the timbre is sweet, velvety and very dense, yet keeping enough transparency to permit proper layering with background instruments. No lipsy singing here, nor boosted details that can lead to sibilance. Whatever the range of singer I listen too, from Agnes Obel breathy vocal to soprano like Arianna Savall, I enjoy pure intimate bliss which captivate the attention and trigger high level of emotional response. Goosebumps guarantee.

When it come the the treble, it's organically balanced with rest of spectrum without any overcooked part. It have enough spice for sure and don't lack air nor minimal sparkle. Smoothly crisp with effortless attack speed and control, the highs mix in soundscape and are there to be find by the listener, it's not analytical nor vividly snappy.
It seem the highs have be tuned to don't distract from mid range instrument, especially vocal.
Does this mean acoustic guitar sound dull, dark or dry? Not at all, it's fully bodied with extra density from lower fundamental harmonic that rounded each note and we do have intricate micro details of string texture as well as crisp snap that do sparkle but not with long airy decay.
With singer songwriter playing guitar, the vocal dominate as it should yet i don't struggle to follow each line of guitar playing, which are cleanly layered.

Then for percussions, it's similar, but do underline how capable are these headphones to deliver speedy attack when needed. Complex jazz drummer with wide variety of percussions is crisply restitute and nothing get lost in the mix or can't keep with macro dynamic pace, hits hats and cymbals stay in the back as it should, and don't distract the listener unless he want too, since when you focus on them you can certainly be mesmerize by the agility and accuracy of the rendering. This treble don't lack energy, the snare is authoritative, bright and weighty, but it's not inflicting excited dynamic nervosity or screamy presence neither.

A quite hard instrument to restitute due to it's non harmonic noise artefact that is part of it's flavor is the electric guitar, and again, HE1000 show how versatile he can perform by delivering life like presentation of this instrument, without the feeling guitarist use a defective amplifier with noisy gain boost. Its not compressed or thin, dense with soft yet rich distortion and wide presence, whatever number of electric guitar it will be well layered. Just incredible.

Without being dark at all, the highs aren't vividly boosted, it's smooth and well rounded within a vast macro dynamic. If the track is clean, percussions will be restitute fastly and fully, theyr will have a tactile contour and never sound half cook or thin, nor too boosted in texture grain. I do admit I would love a bit more sparkle and air, especially for acoustic guitar which is fully bodied with lower harmonic but don't release a long brilliance. At the same time, perhaps this would affect the mid range lushness and focus.
All in all, this is an extremely refined treble that isn't agressive or harsh for long listening session.

The soundstage is another highlight with the HE1000 Stealth, the headroom is so huge that it feel like experiencing an Imax movie, in the sens it's holographic too, not like looking at small instrument within a gigangtic hall since here it's the wideness and tallness that are stretched to their max. The you are the depth, as a listener placed in the soundscape. It's this kind of 360 degree musicality that can make sound poping in the back of your head. It's not a unidirectional spatiality but if you like greater sens of freedom in term of airy spatiality, Arya should be the one, due to a more recessed center stage.

The imaging isn't bad at all due to speedy sound layering projection that only good planar can achieve, so it avoid macro resolution muddyness and your able to dig into sound layers to find instrument behind. But I would never say HE1000 is master of imaging, definition edge is a bit softed to avoid unpleasant loudness peak so the separation isn't the cleanest horizontaly, as well, since you part of the music it make it harder to precisely track instrument. You'll be able to extract everything you want, but it will not be done for you because in real life soundwave does mix togheter, including low harmonic that densify the macro dynamic, if you scoop lower mids, you can clean the air but to the cost of taking of the soul of instruments too.
And headphones with crazy accurate imaging is for monitoring purpose, not to enjoy music and here we have best of both world.


As expected with a low sensitivity of 93DB, the HE1K will scale up with amping power greatly. Yet, 1W@32ohm is a good begining and my pairing with Xduoo XD05plus was very pleasant, sure it wasn't as open and multi layered as with Hifiman EF600 that deliver crazy 5.2W@32ohm at high gain, but bass didn't distort or struggle to extend and macroi dynamic was lively. As well, it was interesting to use bass boost with these and transform them in near end game basshead planar, again, without distortion.

This mean the HE1K are heaven to EQ and can handle anything.

Yet the pairing need to be carefully choosen, I don't consider EF600 my end game choice since it's not cleanest DAC-AMP out there and how it color the sound is similar to tonal balance boost of HE1K (mid to lower mids warmth and heft).
My best pairing in term of clean clarity was the SMSL SH9 with Questyle QP2R or Hiby R6pro, yet, the ultra lean dynamic with sub bass roll off was making the HE1K sound very dull and clinical, so it was the worst in term of dynamic heft even if 2W@32ohm at high gain. I would avoid THX AAA amplifier with those planar.

Again, sound leakage is literally insane with those, so even your wife, husband, GF or BF will be super annoy if you are near them. My cats don't like me when I listen to those and change room. It's as loud inside than outside the cups. Better find a bunker for proper listening. I know that in my old appartment in Montreal, we have ''cardboard'' wall and my neighboor were always grumpy ladies that hate music and love silence, i couldn't listen to those pass 9pm I feel.

Cable upgrade or downgrade do exist with those, I try my Meze 2.5mm cable with XLR adapter and it was sounding brighter, leaner, it really trick my mind for an instance and suddenly was more similar to Arya. This is why i conclude stock XLR cable is good enough and you should give great care to the upgrade cable you choose. If i find a great upgrade cable, i will update this review with some impressions and comparison against stock cable.




The Arya are brighter, crisper and more U shape in overall balance. HE1K is warmer, more mid centric and smoother-thicker in balance. Arya sound more technical and less colored.

The bass boom faster and cleaner but is thinner, more resonance and less creamy with Arya, their less mid bass body and weight than HE1K, kick drum are less rounded but bass line are clearer and more agile. HE1K slip and thicken lower mid range more too.

The mids are leaner, slightly more recessed, brighter and more transparent with Arya, it sound more open and offer edgier definition of instrument. HE1K is lusher, offer wider more fowards vocal and mid range instrument presence, this presence is more creamy, less prompt to sibilance or texture dryness. Timbre is more natural and smooth. Piano and overall instrument have heavier not weight and more tactile body. Arya mids are more resolved and airy, less sitcken togheter with lower harmonic warmth.

Treble is quite similar, but Arya have cleaner airier presentation which permit more precise tracking of percussions, we have a hint more brilliance and sparkle but slightly thinner highs. Lower treble is more boosted and extract greater texture info than more buttery HE1K. Sens of speed is more magnify with the Arya as well.

Spatiality is notably wider and taller with HE1K but not as depth and clean as Arya, which isn't as intimate in holographic headroom. With HE1K your in middle of music scene, sometime very near instrument or vocal while for Arya you not far from stage, like in second row with clean vision.

Imaging is superior-edgier-crisper with the Arya, when vocal occur with HE1K it can affect readibility of whole scene due to extra focus of the mid range. Monitoring is easier and more accurate with Arya due to cleaner separation and edgier definition of them.

All in all, if you are timbre and tone lover and favor mid range instrument and vocal fullness and wideness as well as note weight and smooth balance, the HE1000 Stealth is the one to choose, if your more into high fidelity clarity and effortlesly analytical sound, the Arya Organic is an easy suggestion. Personaly, the HE1K trigger way more emotional response and musical immersivity to me and warmer tonality make it more versatile, while Arya shine with instrumental music mostly and less so with vocal, but even that will depend since the presence from upper mids is quite fowarded, just not as softed and a bit more desubstantialize in lower mids and fundamental harmonic.



The Audivina is notably more technical and neutral sounding than more laid back and natural sounding HE1KS. It's near dead flat, yet with little extra upper mids and ultra highs boost.

It's certainly more appropriate for monitoring music than enjoying it in a immersive way, the rendering is colder and more ''cerebral'', you an observer of the music while with HE1KS your swimming into the middle of lush layering.

The bass is cleaner, faster and leaner with the Audivina, bass line and kick separation is better and less thicken by warmth, overall bass is thinner but have more fine details in term of texture as well as attack edge. HE1KS bass is chunkier, more vibrant and dense in rumble sustain, more weighty but darker in definition and slip into lower mid range more, adding sound layers density to each other. Dynamic impact is greater with HE1KS too, tone is lusher, more juicy vibrant, it's more physical and tactile, less flat and dry than Audivina.

The mid range is brighter, cleaner, more resolved and transparent with Audivina, for those seeking pure high fidelity experience, it's certainly the one to choose. But this mean dynamic is flatter and make the vocal feel less fowards as well as less widen in warmed presence. Note weight is lighter, but edgier in stroke lead definition.
HE1KS has more lower mids fullness, presence and warmth, vocal and instrument are more bodied and foward yet less sharp in upper mids so smoother, creamier, more colorfull than hyper-realisticaly textured. The attack sustain-release of Audivina is longer and extract more sound info of natural resonance recorded even if for ex piano note don't fall as heavily, ill be able to know more easily if the pianist press sustain pedal with Audivina due to crisper center stage. Its evident HE1K offer a more mid centric sound experience.

Then the treble is sharper, snappier and sparklier with Audivina but again in a leaner way that doesn't deliver as tactile percussion and guitar dynamic. It's more speedy and controlled in attack, the percussions are easier to follow in busy track due to crisper attack edge and cleaner air when mid range instrument take the lead.
Lower treble is more abrasive with the Audivina, which will benefit electric guitar presence that is creamier with HE1K but denser and more vibrant in fundamental. This made treble of HE1KS less thin and dry sounding but less generous in micro details too.

The Soundstage is way wider and taller with the HE1KS, sens of depth is different though because your part of center stage while with Audivina your more like in small studio room with centered monitor speakers, for ex, HE1000S remind me my big Magnepan MG02A planar speaker which embrace my whole sound perception scale.

While the imaging feel more holographic and effortless in the of sound layers projection in space and dynamic with HE1KS, the imaging is more accurate and precise with the Audivina, it's way easier to separate bass line, kick drum, mid range and high range instrument even if not as spacious and this is mostly due to less bass warmth that blur silence between instrument and more edgy upper mids that boost presence clarity of each instrument while keeping it's transparency to be able to spot the positioning in both X and Y axis.

All in all, with Audivina I need to force my mind to find music immersive and musical while the HE1000 Stealth embrace me in right away and make me close to my fav singer, pianist or saxophonist. It's more colored and less neutral and technical than Audivina but unless you want to monitor your music, I don't think anybody will say Audivina is superior in tonality cohesion and musicality presentation.



If you follow me on my Eric Lab (No Borders Audiophile) facebook profile, you've seen me raving about the HE1000 V3 near everyday. This is because i can't stop listening to those and it barely never happen with Headphones because i'm mostly an IEMs guy.

In fact, last big Hifiman crush i have was with Sundara, and in all honesty, this is direct upgrade to this very tonal balance if you seek bigger headroom, superior technicalities and similar timbre but in a lest rough and even more natural manner.

I even tell everybody that i finaly found my Headphones end game, i mean, in humanly affordable price range since the Susvara might be more musical, but if its just all technical upgrade with very different tonality, it might not work for my very end game quest....which is the balance between musicality and technicality, effortless way.

And I feel this is what HE1000 V3 offer.

If you think Planar can't sound natural, think again.
If you think mid range goes muddy when we have extra lower mids warmth, think again.
If you think you've been closest to your favorite vocalist, think again since no other headphones trigger as mkuch goosebumps on me and the V3 is certainly a vocal specialist, yet it's versatile and laid back enough for great variety of music style.

It's the type of headphones i would call ''Jack of all trade, master of tone, timbre and dynamic'', and as an audiophile that don't understand the nowaday mid-range ideology which is influence by harman target and is just about thin presence boost, i found this the perfect solution for me that need full mid range restitution including the fundamental of harmony.

The piano is another big highlight of these and it's my favorite instrument with saxophone and female vocal.

Yes, the HE1000 V3 is the very best headphones i've tested yet and unless your a basshead or treble head, I highly suggest those to you.

Very Highly recommended!!!!!!!


PS: I want to thanks Hifiman for sending me this review sample. As always, i don't participate to any affiliate program, don't publish adds of Hifiman on my website, and never make read my reviews before publishing. These are my honest thoughs, only biased by my subjective hearing.

You can order the HE1000 V3 at official Hifiman store, and i suggest you to keep an eye open for open box deal too:
Last edited:


100+ Head-Fier
HIFIMAN HE-1000 Stealth - Energized
Pros: Well balanced overall
Lively and forward presentation
Technicalities upped a notch like micro / macro dynamics
Superior imaging sharpness and placement of objects
Transients more tactile than v2
Punches and slams harder in the bass


HIFIMAN HE-1000 Stealth - Energized​

In 2015 the original HE-1000 marked the definite transition from the old world of their high end offerings, like the absolute legendary HE-6, to the new world with a change in sound philosophy and the physics to achieve it – to popular reception. Much bigger drivers than ever before, in huge oval cups allowing the eye to somewhat see through the headphones (hence "window shade grill") to reduce acoustic impedances. Refractions, reflections to a minimum, in favor of more openness, transparency, clarity and thus allowing bigger images to be rendered within a much bigger space than any previous installment or actually throughout the industry’s competitors. The HD 800’s famous soundstage, for instance, now found its superior. The thinner, more nimble drivers now also added more speed and definition and a good eye for detail. A comprehensive package for all the genres you’d throw at it, albeit with its very own approach – a lust for slight warmth, a relaxed, laid back vision of how to project sound onto the listener.

About a year later the v2 iteration saw the light of day, improving upon the shell and overall build to add refinement to that vision, like angling the pads slightly, narrowing the cups to reduce acoustic impedance even further and allow for the sound to pass through even more effortless. Details emerged and appeared better now, cleaner with more resolve in their finer, delicate parts. The HE-1000v2 improved upon the formula manifesting itself as a unique headphone that stood faithful to the OG’s soul.

Now if you’re not familiar with the HE-1000v2, let me readdress that vision.


The HIFIMAN HE-1000v2​

The overall character of the HE-1000v2 can be described as well-extended into both directions of the frequency response, where they are also slightly boosted. It’s not necessarily v shaped in a stronger sense but it’s definitely pronouncing both ends relatively more than its midrange, yet at the same time maintains a slight warm aspect despite the sparkle in the treble that helps illuminate the overall picture. A HD 650 or 600 it definitely is not if that is more your jam. However, the way it portrays the mids is nothing short of breathtaking and definitely among the best in its range. Vocals, instruments are clear, open, spot on in timbral aspects, projected in front of the listener’s eyes with an emotional aspect that you easily connect with and bond. There are still very few headphones that manage to transport you in such a way when it comes to rendering vocals.

The laid-back nature or the "drive" as in perceived macro dynamics add to the slight warmish aspect of the overall sound character that is especially carried through the enveloping, rather voluptuous bass presentation. Let’s say compared to a HE-6 which is notably more powerful, aggressive and forceful in that regard. HE-1000v2’s bass is toning down that impact and going for more volume, grandeur, finesse, bass line separation and texturing. Overall, detail and resolve are on such a good level that this laid-back approach is never in need to forward these aspects during the presentation with the means to show off or distract. It’s more about cohesion and fluidity throughout the whole range. The lack of disjointment or segmentation goes hand in hand with the overall composure of its driver. It never runs out of steam when things get heated, complex or wild. The HE-1000v2 maintains its vision through and through. It never doubts itself.

Staging and imaging are simply GRAND. GRAND as in tall, deep and wide. Again, in front of the eyes, layered with such finesse that not only the relative positioning of instruments, singers or objects can be perceived, but also the actual depth between them. This is where holographic presentation comes to mind. The feeling to sit in front of everything and almost being able to reach out.


Onto the HIFIMAN HE-1000 Stealth!​

Now how does the HE-1000 Stealth improve upon that, or how do they compare to each other? Let me spoil it for you: They are different, both in their technical merits and how their presentation aligns with your very own taste.

Let’s start with the technical evolution.

Those Stealth magnets again!

We simply cannot escape Stealth Magnets, can we? As can be noticed in my previous reviews but also in those of others, there is a pattern that so far never broke. When you're so far favorite HIFIMAN headphone gets a Stealth Magnets update finally, the technical foundation changes or shifts in the very same aspects to any other previous update of a certain model. Take the Arya v2 and v3 for example. You can find the review here:


Let me reuse a paragraph from that review to quickly explain the advantages of Stealth Magnets:

When sound waves pass through the magnet structure via the diaphragm, they are prone to interferences and diffraction with conventional designs as air is moved through them. The Stealth structure ensures this to happen to a minimum for more precision, clarity and imaging precision. In the same vein a stealth bomber’s shape and form which is not a random or artistic choice at all, and ensures deflecting or bouncing off radar waves and becoming unnoticed, HIFIMAN’s stealth system ensures magnets not being in the way of the sound as good as possible.


Now we are good to go:

Overall character and differences:​

The HE-1000 Stealth throws laid-back and softness a good bit out of the window. It’s not a very radical departure from the HE-1000v2 but one that will make you think whether you trade the laid back nature for a notably improved technical foundation that is underlined by a notably more aggressive and dynamic nature – or ultimately just have both in your inventory.

The HE-1000 stealth takes no prisoners in comparison once you start it up the first time after having given it a good degree of burnin. It’s more explosive, sharper, forceful in nature. The Bass hits and kicks harder; the transients are more tactile and slightly less rounded. It’s not dry by any means. Cohesion and fluidity are still in the DNA but everything is more tight and forward in the presentation. The Stealth went Muay Thai on all fronts. The previously noted slightly v-shape nature has taken a slight turn and pushes the midrange more forward now.

The large protruding soundstage of the HE-1000v2 that is emanating in front of you is smaller now, tighter packed, but far more sharper in how everything is rendered within it and never blurry or similarly diffuse. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? That’s the pattern. Smaller in the overall presentation but quite a big step forward in accuracy and sharpness. This is especially benefiting genres like metal, rock or Hip Hop. This headphone throws itself at you now, with more power and macro dynamics compared to the HE-1000v2, now with more finesse and agility.



The HE-1000 Stealth Bass does away with the large footprint, enveloping, rather pillowy nature and counters with tightness, boldness and decisively more heft and kick – certainly very welcome for a lot of popular genres, especially as the dynamics are improved as well. It still maintains all the qualities of the HE-1000v2 bass. There is no glossing over with all the added speed at all. In fact, it’s arguably better in this regard now – on a technical level, at least as the romantic, rather soft nature you might have fallen in love is gone now. Bass lines are as easily resolved as before and the ability to separate them is actually a notch better now.



The change of nature is especially clear in the midrange thanks to the more forward and micro / macro dynamically enhanced presentation now. The romantic nature makes space for a livelier, playful sense of aggression to the benefit of many plucked string instruments, e-guitars or simply: the attack of a piano. There is more bite now, less rounding and softening, more tactility or physicality in the transients. The HE-1000 Stealth doesn’t have the HD 800 squareness, it stays faithful to its foundation, but there is no relaxing anymore. Vocal presentation is as beautiful as ever. Open, clear, high in resolve and in its nuances.



Here we find the HE-1000 Stealth to turn things up again, closing the door to any „hope“ of not being such a departure of the V2’s vision. The treble is not only quite a bit more forward, there is also again, more bite, more micro-dynamics, more liveliness. This makes amp pairing more crucial than the V2 which keeps the treble emphasis more subtle, less in your face.

The Stealth definitely benefits from a warmish amp or any kind of technically proficient tube amp or tube hybrid.

Whereas the V2 had a slight sparkle that mostly maintained its balance, the Stealth is definitely overall a step brighter, more forward. It doesn’t shy off with its barrage of details. Where the HE-1000v2 was rather laid back in throwing details at you in this frequency range, the HE-1000 Stealth takes no prisoners. It’s an assault in comparison. Truly spectacular for this price range.



As you will have found out by now the HE-1000 Stealth is not an upgrade per se in my opinion as its change of nature contrasts itself with the HE-1000v2 in such a way that those two ultimately are different headphones for different purposes or tastes. The rich, inviting, laid-back romantic nature of the V2 that transports you with every listening session deep into the night for the detriment of your sleep vs the ever so attentive barrage of attacks, the technical superiority throughout all the frequency range, the bass punch and power the and jumpy dynamics of the HE-1000 Stealth.

Personally, I find them more complimentary than the Stealth being a simple replacement, but as of now the HE-1000v2 is discontinued, making the HE-1000 Stealth the only option going forward.
Last edited:
Nice review
Congrats for the very accurate comparaison beetween the Stealth and the V2👍You really nailed it👌


Headphoneus Supremus
HiFiMan HE1000 V3 - the Stealth Magnet Version
Pros: HE1000 with bass slam Easier to drive. More pinpoint sound. Much of the previous flavour of the HE1000
Headphone Stand included
Cons: Although robust looking, cables lack the "luxury" feel of some competitors.
Headphone stand is welcome, but the same as many much cheaper HiFiMan Headphones. No case.

The legend gets Stealth Magnets

Introducing Version 3 of HiFiMan's HE1000

And in they come with stealth magnets for the 1000s. HiFiMan are interfering with a truly cherished headphone! First of all, let me justify this lofty comment. The HE1000 - this is the one - this is the striking design, the mega hyped teardrop Planar that offered to knock the HD800 off it's pedestal, the one that we all wanted, before it came to market, because we KNEW that Fang (CEO and Genius behind HiFiMan) was on to something. I cannot begin to tell you how much I wanted to get hold of one of these headphones! The unveiling happened at CanJam London in 2015. I was part of the volunteer staff, a job I have been doing for many years now. I was placed on the front table for Saturday afternoon by Ethan, which meant I would be able to take a look around for the start of the show. Needless to say, I got up early.... I was at the start of the queue and got to HiFiMan before anyone else. I am not ashamed to say that I was shaking when I saw that the stand had several HE1000 V1s. This was the scoop of the show - have no doubt about it. I was about to hear for myself what the fuss was all about. Even back then, I was the owner of several pretty posh headphones; an early HD800 and an Audeze LCD2.2 were among them. Despite this, the anticipation was high, the tension electric. The HE1000 did not disappoint. I was enthralled, envious and wistful - 3 powerful emotional reactions in almost as many seconds. Believe me when I say that THIS was THE headphone that every headfier wanted. I set my heart on a draw that Headfi did - the top prize was an HE1000. It was a hopeless dream. I convinced myself that I could win this. If I did succeed, of course, no question, I would sacrifice my soul at whatever crossroads the devil ordered me to head to, or never do a bad thing again, or ANYTHING in fact that it took to put a pair of those in my hands. I'm not proud! Or at least, not back then.

The HE1000 V1

My journey has brought me many incredible experiences in the Audio World. I have heard them all; the Shangri La Snr - the finest headphone system ever made, and a headphone that was in my comany for 4 unforgettable months; a morning at Harrods with the Sennheiser HE1 - the 3rd finest headphone system ever made, and several other listens to said heapdhone and amp. The Sennheiser Orpheus, serial number 001, before that particular headphone was cruelly stolen from the back of a vehicle at an audio show. I have listened to the Orpheus and it's exquisite effortlessness for a grand total of 60 minutes, over a course of 3 listens, and I know that I am extremely fortunate to have done all these things. Let me tell you; that listen to the HE1000 ranks with those moments. If you share this hobby with the passion I have, then I know that you can relate.

Showing some age now

So what was/is so special about the HE1000? The sound - the most important part of an audio product always being whether what comes out is digestible after all, is world class. The HE1000 has a character to it's sound. The personality is that of a smooth operator. A rich, tonal sound that has enough width to awe and enough presence to ground you, without the edginess or artificiality of some of it's competitors. A striking teardrop design that dared to rest the earpad against the cheekbone was/is a strange sensation that takes some getting used to. To add to the uncompromising appearance of this bright new star was a 2 part headband. With 1 part leather resting against the head, the metal piece that holds this in place makes the HE1000 look like a curious crown. Obviously far nicer than a crown, but there it is. For the non believers you could be accused of looking rather eccentric. For you and I, we know beyond a shadow of doubt that every millimetre of the HE1000 cannot be compromised. Therefore, we don't care what they all think. We wear it loud (cos it's incredibly open) and proud.


I have been so lucky to have HiFiMan products sent to me over the years. Not all have been a success, not all have made me wowed. But....in the main, the HiFiMan sound, for me, as a discerning reviewer, is the signature that will deliver music in a way that can be enjoyed in pretty much every area of the market, and for full size Planar Headphones, they boss it. The HE1000, as much as I adored them, have been bettered. The HE1000SE, owned by myself, and the Susvara, of which I have a pair, have pushed Planar tech even further. And that's not forgetting what they can do with Electrostats, particularly the Shangri La Jnr and Snr. The HE1000 is the one that started it all. Let us not forget that. I am lucky to have acquired 1 of the HE1000 V1's. Would you expect any less, dear reader? Let us now take a look at the 3 different versions.

V1 & V3

V1 - the start of it all. V1 needs 2.5mm terminations and is not particularly sensitive. It has the teardrop shape, a nanometer thick diaphragm and a veneer covered earcup. The pads are not thick. The earcup width and the earpads combined put the driver mesh very close to the ear when worn. There were a few murmurs about this which led to the V2 - a version which added thicker earpads made with better materials and a thinner earcup design, which attempts to marry the same sound stage with a less claustraphobic feel. Not that I have a problem with my V1s, but yes, the V2s were worth doing and do improve on the issues raised by the one that started it all. And now, 8 years on, we have arrived at a V3, and this one IS different.

Showing Width variation and pad thicknesses

From 2015 to 2023. This is how long is has taken for HiFiMan to dare to radically change the HE1000. I can only speculate as to why it has taken so long, other than for the obvious, commercial reasons, but the HE1000 has been given the Stealth Magnet treatment. Given that this trickle down tech, first introduced with the Susvara Flagship, I have been expecting this for some time now. I have been sent a set of HE1000 V3 by HiFiMan - no palms have been greased, no platitudes demanded, simply my opinion to be brought to you through this medium and in the spirit of honesty and integrity.


What does a stealth magnet do to a HiFiMan headphone? I have a few, as is evident in my reviews of Susvara, HE400, Sundara Closed, and Arya. There are 3 differences I have found in every Stealth Version when compared to the original. The bass changes it's shape. The bass has more presence. It forces the listener to sit up and take notice; it is no longer a passenger - it is the vehicle. Expect more sub bass and more bass slam with a stealth magnet. The second is that sounds are closer to the ear. The width is pushed slightly in, creating a less airy sound. The 3rd is that, in each case the sound appears louder at the same volume than it's older sibling. Whether this is an inevitable consequence of the stealth magnet is somthing I am not 100% sure about, and I will leave that to discussions from people that have thrown their hats into the ring and are willing to fight it out in engineering terms. Does the V3 have the same characteristics? More importantly - is the V3 an improvement on the non Stealth? If you're expecting a V2 to arrive in the post, what should you do if you get a V3 Stealth Edition? Fear not, dear reader. I shall provide you with all the answers in this next paragraph.


This is a radical change for the HE1000. The Stealth Magnets did things to the sound in exactly the way I have alluded to in the previous revisions of the Arya, Sundara and HE400 Headphones. The HE1000 V3 IS different from the 1 and 2 version. It is still an HE1000. The wide sound is still there, just slightly less. The forgiving nature of the signature, which allows lo fi and older to be heard in a lovingly nostalgic way is still there, albeit with just a smidgeon less compromise. The V3 needs plenty of power, but perhaps not so much as it's predecessors. The Stealth Magnets have given a less airy feel to the HE1000. They are still smooth. There is a tonal richness that still remains, but there are elements of being closer to the micro effects, there are more edges to the sound brought about by the magnets, that were previously smoothed off and polished. The boldness of the low end response is, of course, the 1st thing that anyone coming from an original HE1K will notice. One could be forgiven for thinking that the overall sound has been compromised at the expense of producing bass slam when listening to the 2 side by side for a few seconds. In reality, the balance of producing bass without destroying the qualities of the HE1000 can be evidenced - it just needs a little time and reflection for it all to sink in. The Stealth Magnet does make for a technically better sound, retaining some of the character that gave the HE1K it's reputation but adding an easier to drive, more linear signature. It is not an easy thing to mess with a tried and tested design. The bass on a non stealth magnet HiFiMan never really seemed like it was missing much, did it? However, Planars are renowned for the mids and highs and are often thought of as lacking the slam of a dynamic driver, so why shouldn't you be able to have all 3? Think of the new HE1K as being the old one, but with more bass, and, give or take some minor points, you have, in summary, my description of the Stealth HE1000. If you ordered the old one and, knowing nothing about this new one, end up with the Stealth version, and come across this article in a desperate search for the truth, or you are sat on the fence and wondering which one to get, here is my advice. No one likes change. Like the passing of the seasons and turning of the tide, everything changes, and everything has to change. It takes time to come to terms with change. Live with them for a while. You will love them.


Equipment used -
HiFiMan EF400 Desktop Dac Amp
Balanced & unbalanced standard HE1000 V3 Cables
USB Audio Player Pro

They're all different
When was the Hifiman he1000 stealth first released ?
would you say that the hek2 stealth scales with better equipment i compared with 2 systems
one wy more expensive with little or no difference in sound quality ?