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Hifiman Edition X

Discussion in 'High-end Audio Forum' started by jozurr, Oct 2, 2015.
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  1. conquerator2
    I am sure my reply came off as rude so I do apologize for that.

    I am sure you're doing the best you could where Hifiman didn't and I agree these mods are much better then EQ.

    Is there a particular cable you recommend? I was actually looking at OCC copper because silver played copper is apparently not great. Pure silver cables tend to be expensive.

    I also appreciate the clarification! I think our tastes differ quite a bit so that'd be integrating. I do listen to lots of dynamic music :)

  2. bagwell359
    See my sig for the cable I was able to locate which works. My HEX v2 came with OCC copper (Arctic Cable using Cardas) - much better than the stock cable (all HFM stock cable seems to suck). I theorized that I'd get more sparkle/def in the highs with silver and I was correct.

    I'm not sure our tastes are that different. I love the HE-6 and HE-500. As for the 4xx vs the HEX v2 - I can see that some old flat recordings might be more pleasing with the 4xx - ones that need punch (a tone control). But make no mistake the HEX v2 will present the music much closer to whats on the recording then the 4xx.

    The one description I haven't given is that the HEX v2 doesn't add editorial content - like say "fun" cans like the Audeze LCD-2, however compared to the 800S or the 007 lovers they will say its missing some detail. It's not a SoTA can, considering it can be had for about $675 used, it shouldn't be expected to be one.

    Now you started this by talking about the Utopia. The HEX v2 is quite a bit different. I don't like ultra def cans like the 007, 009, 800S. I don't find music in acoustic settings - BSO, Carnegie, Mechanics Hall, or my own treated listening room (alas sold off) to be that etched. I find real music to be more like the MrSpeakers Voce, and I assume the E2; speakers would include ML CLS IIz, Verity Parsifal, a number of ribbon speakers (Raal) - these all have extended treble (not the CLS), but a softer more ethereal feel. The HEX isn't quite capable of that performance, but that's the vector it is on (the Parsifal is over $20k these days, and no, the HEX v2 isn't that good). In fact the HEX v2 could be compared with a Maggie 1.7i - except the HEX v2 goes down to about 23 Hz, not 55 Hz like the Maggie. Maybe a little short of shimmer in the highs. Images not etched, but a large soundstage, with instruments correctly placed in space. Yes, it's a good comp.
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2019
    conquerator2 likes this.
  3. bagwell359
    On another note mods:

    The top of the headband (metal) is quite microphonic. Go ahead and ping it with your fingers while listening. I think a thick sort of tape along the top would help quell that. Problem is keeping it out of the holes for setting position. I think dynamat would shut it up the best, but where to put it - perhaps under the tape.

    I moved the blutack "balls" to fitting into the 5th from the top open slot - 4 pretty close but allowing some gap, that actually sounded decent. Gotta measure placements to be sure.

    Just realized I started my audio modification journey 45 years ago this month. It was tone arm damping using thick oil, paper clip, cut the bottom of shampoo bottle for the oil. Dual 510 with an AT 14S (shibata), really softened the hard highs and allowed more subtle things to happen. ADS 710's, SAE 31B, PAS 3X. Eventually ended up with two pair of ADS 810, and two SAE 31B (vertical). Good for the time. Went to the ADC XLM, which was good, then the Sonus Blue (which was bad - for longevity)... ahhh the old days.
  4. conquerator2
    Thank you! That sounds promising ☺
  5. conquerator2
    I've finally placed an order on a well-maintained HEX V2. I am excited to have it in a week or two and will certainly report back.
    I am intending to also compare it against my trusty HE4XX and a nice OCC cable I bought against the stock one.
    Good times :)
    knopi likes this.
  6. bagwell359
    Please do! I must say that lately I have noticed that the HEX v2's really remind of the classic Maggie 2167 aka MG II - except with bass extension way beyond the Maggies. They are look alike in detail, coherence, stage, depth, and lack of dynamic slam.

    But every headphone except the most expensive (and sometimes not even those manage to get away from it) is trying to seduce with one set of traits or another. Most panel speakers lack dynamic slam, some have piston subwoofs, others sell it with quick and tonally correct bass under a broad and alive mid. You've got to spend a lot on a speaker to get the balance and coherence of the HEX v2, it's really quite impressive.

    Still like to hear the MD XX at some point.
    conquerator2 likes this.
  7. Sonic Defender Contributor
    I completely agree, the HEX2 has an ability to present the music in a very speaker like way, but with a softness about it that just makes it a seductive listen to fall into. I would agree that the dynamic slam does suffer a little, certainly as compared with a dynamic driver, but the overall coherence and musicality of the HEX2, for me more than compensates. I have other headphones (dynamics) that provide me with the slam, which I do gravitate to, but it is the rich musicality and tonally dynamic HEX2 that I find myself wanting to listen to the majority of the time. I also simply love the sound field it presents, wonderful imaging and separation, IMO.
    Toby Joe and conquerator2 like this.
  8. cavedave
    I have not wrote any thing on here in quite awhile. But in light of the talk about cables here goes. I have the edition x first run. I also have a cardas headphone cable for them like others I did not really care for the stock cable. The only difference I also did was to replace the wires inside the headphones you see what they use is the same wire you did not like in the cable on the inside also. There are two wires that go from the 2.5mm connector to the speaker assembly. I desoldered the old wire and put in two pieces of cardas wire like in the headphone cables it self. The change is more then drastic these run on a par with most any world class phone any where near this price point and even much higher. Easily better then the hifiman 1000. I am just sharing for those who are looking for what I believe is a easy upgrade and one that really puts this headphone over the top. These now have slam and detail that is really nice and truly unbelievable.
  9. Sonic Defender Contributor
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2019
  10. bagwell359
    So, you mean from the plug on the underside of the cup to the drivers? I haven't taken apart the HEX, but have taken apart about 6 other planars and the final solder point to the driver assembly seems pretty delicate. Any pics or other tips?

    I've added the nuggets and some very nice silver cable to improve the sound. I'd like to get a bit more detail. If I could go direct from the cable end to the driver that would be ideal as long as I can work in a strain relief.
  11. cavedave
    . I sent you a private message
  12. conquerator2
    Mine arrived today. Will do some listening after work. Excited! :)
    Sonic Defender likes this.
  13. conquerator2
    So day one of HEX impressions.

    Admittedly, it probably wasn't a good idea to set off to compare the HE4XX and HEX after a long and demanding week, but it was likely the best way to make a solid first impression, I guess.

    Frankly, initially I found the headphone sounding a lot unlike the 4XX; or at least a lot less alike than I expected. It took quite a bit of time to understand what I was hearing and what set these two headphones apart so far and why the EdX is not s super-sized 4XX.

    In particular, it comes down to the very unique combination of sound characteristics that the Edition X exudes - it is incredibly smooth but very spacious. It images extremely well, with very intricate layering, but doesn't throw the details at you; instead, they are presented in a very effortless manner.

    Soundstaging in particular deserves special mention because of how different it is compared to the 4XX. The 4XX images like a regular headphone and what I would consider a decently wide, mid-sized stage that is not particularly deep and can get a little smeary in busy passages. The HEX though, really does stage much more akin to a speaker, throwing a much more holographic soundstage where it can expand (or shrink) depending on the song. The HE4XX sounded wider initially and given that is what the typical headphone soundstage usually does, it felt much more at home to me. Once I got used to the EdX though, it became clear it handily outclasses the 4X in this aspect by being more accurate, expansive and better layered.

    Which brings me to the next trait the HEX absolutely excels at; female vocals. I think those are easily the best female vocals that I've heard yet. Maybe they are not the most accurate in their presentation, but they have a very life-like quality and presence that instantly fills a scene with a beautiful, breathy and incredibly smooth vocal performance. Listening to ballads or tracks that extensively feature vocals was utterly blissful and incredibly satisfying. The fact the vocals always stayed smooth and never, ever got harsh is all the more impressive.

    Now, what I am a lot less impressed with is the overall dynamic capability and the timbral effect that has on some instruments. To a certain degree, this is the one defining characteristic that makes the HEX so impressive as it is very technically capable yet incredibly relaxed sounding. On the other hand, it makes the HEX almost completely devoid of dynamics and attack. This manifests in a couple of issues. For one, countless tracks rely on dynamics and energy in order to portray effective transitions from verse to chorus and back. What this means is that the chorus often actually is a lot more compressed because there is a lot of going on and that leaves a lot less headroom to play with (as a hobbyist composer, I think I have a decent grasp of how this works). This means that there have been quite a few songs where I felt that the chorus (main part) actually sounded less exciting and softer than the intros and verses. This is because the EdX fails to portray the energy and presence a chorus needs and given it further emphasizes the compression that is already there, it presents a chorus that sounds smaller than it should and is outshined by the rest of the song. I find this very difficult to get used to as even the 4XX, which isn't supremely dynamic sounding to begin with, still manages to convey the differences between different sections much better, even if it falls behind in the things mentioned above.

    Moving on to bass, I think this area is actually a lot closer and less divisive. The EdX offers a different taste of bass; one that is a lot more enveloping but softer, whereas the 4XX offers a more punchy but overall less solid bass response. This will largely come down to preference and tracks but it is still definitely worth pointing out that the EdX sounds considerably softer but with a superior texture that is better integrated within the rest of the soundscape.

    In terms of mids, treble and the linearity of both, the HEX handily wins. It is not just more linear across the board though; it also reproduces each instrument a lot more distinctly and with more detail. For instance, it is much easier to tell apart different vocalists, pianos, guitars, drum kits and the mixing intentions of a mix as the EdX conveys the timbral differences much more easily whereas the XX makes it considerably harder to distinguish these things.

    As I said, the overall softness does affect the overall energy of some instruments more noticeably. Those instruments lack proper leading edge (attack) and presence in the mix, perhaps most apparent in percussion (notably drums, from kicks to snares and auxiliary percussion, such as hi-hats, while cymbals actually sound very good and have a great mix of presence and smoothness to my ears). Bass for instance, sounds great and so do strings but guitars, both electric and acoustic, lack the twang and driven distortion, resulting in a pleasingly smooth but bite-lacking presentation. As outlined, vocals and instruments that do not require significant transient attack sound superb, and those instruments that do still exude a sense of detail and timbral richness.

    All of these things make the HEX a magnificent sit-back-and-relax headphone, where you can keep your eyes closed yet enjoy countless nuances the 4XX simply does not present. On the other hand, it is not designed to bring significant energy and dynamism to the table and while the 4XX is definitely not the punchiest headphone out there, it handily outclasses the EdX in its portrayal of dynamics. However, the EdX wraps a spacious soundstage, copious detail retrieval and spectacular vocal presentation into a layer of soothing smoothness which results in something truly spectacular and if those aspects are important to you, you will definitely enjoy these for quite a while.

    In conclusion then, I'd say the HEX is a lot more polarizing than the 4XX. In a single day, it created some truly spectacular soundscapes that I haven't enjoyed to this degree in a long time, but it has also let me down when I wanted some serious dynamic punch in my music.

    I'll certainly update these impressions as I get better accustomed to its sound and when the headphone's had time to properly burn-in, without being compared to the 4XX all the time (which is already fully burned-in and accustomed to).

    It'll take a lot of time to decide whether I'll keep these or not so I am definitely far from being done with them but I am definitely sad the impressions aren't as one-sided as I'd hoped they'd be.

    For the time being, the HEX will be my daily driver and I'll report back in due time.

    Thanks for reading and I hope you found this somewhat enjoyable and useful! :]
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2019
    rendyG and volly like this.
  14. Sonic Defender Contributor
    Give it time, and I use the slight EQ adjustments that Tyll detailed in his review of the original Edition X. They helped. Yes, as I said several times, there is a softness that diminishes some dynamics, but the trade off is that silky easy to listen to. And as you noticed, the layering and imaging is pretty spectacular so with what you need to give up, for me, the trade-offs were well worth it. Anyway, do give it some more time and see what you think after a week or so. Enjoy and let us know how it ends up for you. Cheers.
  15. conquerator2
    I certainly won't give to much stock in first day impressions.
    I'll definitely amend the review should things change and I'll keep ya'll posted :]
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