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Hifiman HE1000 Planar Dynamic Headphone

Discussion in 'High-end Audio Forum' started by jelt2359, Dec 30, 2014.
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  1. RCBinTN
    Awesome - the speakers must sound Great.
    About the HP's - IDK if the HD1K will beat out your Stax??
  2. negura
    I surely hope they will be close enough in transparency/treble refinement/mid depth while retaining a good amount of the planar body weight. If not, I may be doomed to buy the Abyss to satisfy my planar lust burts, which I don't want to do, at the current pricing as I find it outrageous for what they offer.
    Or just keep on hanging onto the HE-6s /speaker amp combo as a satisfying average to all things.
    That said this is hoping the HE1Ks won't be dumped into the market at anything remotely close to the silly pricing of the Abyss. In that case I'll probably ignore them.
  3. gatorengineer64
    This thread on price speculation is funny, the man is a businessman, and he is carefully watching this thread.  There aren't that many folks buying Abyss headphones, globablly I would be surprised if total sales passed 1000 units.  A product like the HE-500, I would just guesstimate is probably around 10,000 units.  I would imagine that if you graphed the price of something versus the units sold in audio there would be an inverse  hockey stick type curve quickly dropping  off after a point.  Being a businessman he will try to maximize profits.  Being an HE-500 owner and understanding chinese production costs of electronics, I would be shocked if the HE-500 cost much more than $100-150 to produce, this new unit not much more.  I think the sweet spot will be in the 1000-1400 USD range, with a like price in Euros... Just my guess.  Depends on the real in wild reviews, of which there arent many.
  4. figaro69
    I would have no problems - at least financially speaking - buying the HE-1000s even if they cost $5000; on the other hand, that does not mean that I will spend that kind of money on them or any other pair of headphones.  When it comes to headphones, my tops is $2,500 (and they better get great reviews across the board...if they get mixed reviews, this little fly is staying away from that big, expensive turd, just like I have stayed away from the Ultrasone Edition 5s).  That's the reason why I haven't bought the Abyss or the SR009s.  There comes a point when one must draw the line in the sand...and my line has been drawn at $2,500...I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I were to pay more than 2.5K.  Paying more than that amount for a pair of headphones is, at least as far as I am concerned, obscene and self indulgent.
  5. Kyno
    I'm in the exact same state of mind, although my line is closer to $1,500 new, which actually meant $900 for a few months used HD800. Since I'm already enjoying it, same with the HE-560, I could see myself buying a used HE-1000 for two times the price of an HE-560 it if was significantly better, hence $1,200-1,300, but I'd be out higher than that.
  6. troymadison
    I think a bottle of cough syrup can make almost any headphone sound like a $2000 pair...
    Redcarmoose, guerillaw and Butler like this.
  7. prot


    Fully agree with your approach. The only diff is that my price-limit for HPs is in the $1000-1500 range. More or less the price of Senn 800 ... those are imho overpriced too but nowadays they almost look like a bargain.
  8. catspaw
    The way I see it, when there is a price increase from 10 buck to 20 buck, you dont need to expect a high audio increase in quality, because both are rather cheap.
    Same goes for 100 buck to 200 bucks, because 200 is still rateher cheap.
    If we move to 500 becoming 1000, we get to some interesting area: 500 gets you... HE-400i, mad dogs, HD-650, almost HD-700...
    1000 gets you HE-560, Audezee LCD 2, audezee EL-8, HE-500, etc.
    I think we can all agree that there is a rateher consequential increase in quality from 500 models to 1000 models, yet its not as high as from 300 to 600 dollars.
    So, can hifiman even get a increase noticible enought to warrant an increase of double of a sennheiser hd800? 1500 to 3000?
    Also note, each time we increase the amount we double, it should mean the difference is MORE noticible, since each time the increase itself in simple dollars becomes higher, yet in most cases its the opposite.
    So, my guess is that the price that people WILL be able to pay and WILL be willing to pay would be from up to 2500. Id say anything above that, and people will say "yeah, its better but its not 1500 dollars better than a HD800".
    This has happened before, there is a reason the HD700 exists.
    Its an almost instinctive way of thinking for humans, to value things. Unless its is an Orpheus type of headphone, a price of over 2500 will most likely make it another Abyss.
    And please note that Orpheus was a crazy good item, but the abyss... its debatable, so its a iPhone type approach.
    While reading this thread I noticed a post saying that a 3K price is possible.
    It that is the case, I dont think it will be a great sale. For that price you can get a HD800 AND a LCD-X.
    THe HE-1000 would have to be significantly better than either to make it worth while (mostly because having two HPs is rather great, if you consider that you can switch at will and if anything breaks, it will be in one of them, not both at the same time). 
  9. sizwej
    At this point, Im not concerned about how much they cost. I won't be buying them. I don't like the way HiFiman have gone about this. I resent this forum being used by them to ( presumably ) gauge how much they can charge. Imagine walking into a store to preview a new product. You ask the rep how much it costs. His response is.."how much are you willing to pay". I find that insulting. I expect that from a flea market, Not from a well structured legitimate organization.

    Yes, I know this is nothing new in the world of consumer goods. But it doesn't mean I have to like it. And when it's done as blatantly as this, I reserve the right to call them out..
    Wilashort, preproman and Sorrodje like this.
  10. Sorrodje
     @sizwej : reflects my own impressions. 
  11. wink
    What a load of rubbish.
    Fang Bian did not start this thread.
    All he did was reserve the right to price the phones when the development was finalised and they were officially released.
    This thread is all speculation, innuendo and blatant guesswork.
    Take it for what it is, but don't make Fang or Hifiman as being devious about the future price of the phones.
    Get a grip, dudes..................[​IMG]
    hifiman-us, money4me247 and web123 like this.
  12. potkettleblack
    It's good to see that this subject hasn't yet been milked to death.....
    I'm glad my life is that bankrupt of activity that I can keep revisiting this thread and not only repeat myself (speculating what the price of HE-100's will be) but I can shoe-horn everyone else's predictions into an excuse to speak about my $10,000 speakers and how no headphone can match them, ya know, just to stay pertinent.
    It would be nice for more people (ones that have actually seen it) to mention the build quality - because from what I've seen the quality of the leather and metal used is atrocious. Just like all of the other Hifiman offerings.
  13. Articnoise

    The HE1000 will be shown at Stereo Exchange March 19. We will maybe know more about the build quality, price and SQ after that, or not.

    potkettleblack likes this.
  14. jude Administrator
    Yesterday, Fang Bian stopped by Head-Fi HQ to give us an early listen to a version of HiFiMAN’s upcoming flagship HE-1000 that's closer to production than the one they were showing at CES. (CLICK HERE to see what I thought about the HiFiMAN HE-1000 CES prototype(s).) When Fang told me they'd improved the HE-1000 since CES, I was a little concerned, as two of the three CES units I heard were outstanding as they were.
    As he pulled the HE-1000 from his bag yesterday, though, I was encouraged from the start, even before hearing it. The HE-1000 he brought to our office yesterday is gorgeous. If you thought that the prototype they had at the Las Vegas Convention Center was too gauche, stop worrying. If you thought the one they were showing at The Venetian was an improvement (over the Convention Center unit), but still a bit gaudy, stop worrying. This latest pre-production version--for a headphone that has to be so large, by virtue of its driver size--is very tastefully styled, and a solid dose more subtle than its Las Vegas predecessors.
    One very important visual improvement is the outer grill, which now sports horizontal bars, versus the vertical ones on previous prototypes. The vertical bars made the tall earpieces look even taller than they are--it may not seem like a big deal, but if you saw them side by side, you'd get why this is a significant aesthetic improvement.
    HiFiMAN-HE1000_DSC_9071.jpg   HiFiMAN-HE1000_DSC_9072.jpg
    Also, all metal parts are now brushed (not mirror-gloss), and there's no gold-colored metal parts anymore--the appearance of the newer HE-1000's metal is a vast improvement. The only colors on this latest version of the HE-1000 are the attractive, natural colors of the suede comfort strap, and the wood on the earcups. The metal chosen for this latest HE-1000 has a warm tone--definitely less cold than my stainless steel watches--looking almost like it's been aged a bit. In short, in terms of its physical appearance, the HE-1000 went from Las Vegas lurid to sophisticated siren since CES. Its Las Vegas look is one thing that happened in Vegas that I'm glad stayed in Vegas.
    HiFiMAN-HE1000_DSC_9073.jpg   HiFiMAN-HE1000_DSC_9080.jpg   HiFiMAN-HE1000_DSC_9081.jpg
    In terms of its sound now, let me cut to the chase: The HE-1000 has indeed improved, which, outstanding as it already was, was a very tall order. My fears of the HE-1000 taking any turns for the worse have not only proven unfounded, they've been trampled on, left behind, and all but forgotten. The latest pre-production version of the HiFiMAN HE-1000 is--and I can say this very comfortably--the best sounding non-electrostatic headphone I have ever heard. My Stax SR-009--a model considered by many (myself included) the best electrostatic headphone currently made (especially when suitably amped)--is in California right now being fitted for an amp, which is why I'm qualifying it this way (pending a comparison).
    NOTE: The system we used at my office was my MacBook Air (as transport)-->Schiit Audio Wyrd (USB power isolator)-->Schiit Audio Yggdrasil (DAC)-->HiFiMAN EF-6 (amp). (The Wyrd was used because the pre-production Yggdrasil doesn't seem to get enough power from my Air's USB ports, which the Wyrd solves.)
    Versus my recollection of the Vegas prototypes, the current HiFiMAN HE-1000 is even more open sounding, airier. This is probably due at least in part to the visibly reduced obstructions between the diaphragm and the world around it. HiFiMAN decided that some of the protective elements they put in place on the prototypes for CES could be stripped away without compromising durability in normal use. Just holding the headphone, one can now clearly see the diaphragm and the traces through the outside grill.
    One of the first tracks I played was the Firebird finale (Eiji Oue, Reference Recordings), and I don't think I've ever heard such power and physicality from any headphone prior. It is the closest to putting me in the charged acoustic of the performance space as I've ever experienced from a headphone. I just about fell out of my chair. I called @joe over to listen to it. His eyes were saucers, his jaw literally--literally--fell open. I called local Head-Fi friend @musicman59 to see if he was available for a visit. I asked him to start his HE-1000 demo with the same track while I stood behind him. He looked like he was imitating a startled owl responding to a threat behind it when he turned his head to greet me with the same expression Joe had on his face (and that I likely had on mine the first time).
    From triangles down to the deepest bass my ears can discern (and that my head can literally feel from the diaphragms), the HE-1000 (with recordings that supply it with such information) conveys the sense of a physically energized acoustic at least as well--and probably more--than any other headphone I've heard. Of course, it can't place my body in the space, but it can place my head there. It's uncanny. The bass, for example, doesn't sound to me like it's coming from drivers, but that my head is in the acoustic, experiencing the sound's physicality as if there. musicman59 and I were struggling to put the sensation into words, but what I've said above is pretty much what we were saying.
    What accounts for this? I don't know that there's an easy answer. The drivers are perhaps the largest I can recall seeing on any headphone--the diaphragms are huge. The base diaphragm material is less than a micron thick, making it the thinnest diaphragm material in any headphone I'm aware of, including Stax's SR-009. In fact, if I'd never experienced the HE-1000 before, and you'd blindfolded me for a listen, I'd swear up and down it was a an electrostatic headphone.
    By the way, in case you haven't seen the video of Fang dropping the HE-1000's diaphragm material--which takes a good long time to float to the ground--here it is:
    HiFiMAN-HE1000-nanometer-thickness-diaphragm-falling-animation.gif I suspect a significant part of the magic we're hearing is Dr. Bian's increasing ability to successfully ply his knowledge of nano material technology (it was the focus of his PhD) in his pursuit of making better headphones. Again, with the HE-1000, the sensation of listening to the acoustic itself--versus listening to drivers recreating it--is more convincing than I can recall any other headphone in production being. I think Fang is attempting to approach the asymptotic ideal of a massless radiating element that disappears in the sound its reproducing, and, to my ears, is perhaps closer than anyone else at the moment.
    Of course, not every recording is engineered by Keith Johnson of Reference Recordings, but the HE-1000 will be a tremendous, huge window into any recording. It's at least as revealing as any other headphone I can recall hearing, but it doesn't make me think of the word "ruthless" at all when describing it. The sound captured on the recording is just...there...and the rewards are of course most ample on recordings of music one loves that also happen to be high-quality recordings. Even on less-than-ideal recordings so far, though, I've still found the HE-1000 immensely gratifying.
    We're working on the CanJam Preview Videos all day today, so I don't have time at the moment to say much more than this right now. I do have time, however, to answer one question that I and so many others have been asking since the HE-1000 was announced: What is the HE-1000's price? The HiFiMAN HE-1000 is expected to be priced at $2999. Do I think it's worth it? If HiFiMAN would let me buy this pre-production unit for that price, I'd pay them now. To me, it's like having the performance of an outstanding electrostatic headphone that I can plug into all of my good headphone amps, but without the need for (nor the extra expense of) a purpose-built electrostatic amp.
    If you can make it to New York on Thursday, March 19, 2015, you will have a chance to hear it for yourself at the Stereo Exchange event. HiFiMAN will be bringing HE-1000's to the event, and I think at least one of the prototypes of their upcoming EF-1000 flagship amp (which, in theory, should be better than my EF-6 that I've been using so far here). Here's the event's time and place:
    Stereo Exchange
    627 Broadway
    New York, NY 10012
    (212) 505-1111
    Thursday, March 19, 2015
    12:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. (EDT)
    If you enjoy classical music (perhaps even if you don't, and just want to experience the spectacle of the demo in question), buy and download the following track or albums before you go to the Stereo Exchange event:
    1. Tutti! Orchestral Sampler, Track 5.
    2. Stravinsky: The Song Of The Nightingale, The Firebird, Rite Of Spring (in 24-bit/88kHz) (I think the above Tutti! track is excerpted from this Firebird performance. I'm buying this album after I post this to be sure.)
    I will have this HE-1000 on hand until it's needed at CanJam SoCal, where all available HE-1000's will be on duty. Until then, I'm looking forward to trying it in at least a few other rigs. I have a feeling @musicman59 may be stopping by Head-Fi HQ again before CanJam , and I hope he shares some of his initial thoughts here, too.
    HiFiMAN-HE1000_musicman59-listening_DSC_9095.jpg   HiFiMAN-HE1000_musicman59-listening_DSC_9089.jpg   HiFiMAN-HE1000_musicman59-listening_DSC_9088.jpg
    (Above) @musicman59 listening to the HiFiMAN HE-1000.
    If you can make that event at Stereo Exchange, you really should. And, again, it would be fun if you'd download the demo track I used as the intro to this HE-1000. (Of course, I've since heard many other tracks and genres through the HE-1000 since yesterday, and have continued to be amazed by it, but that Firebird finale is such a dramatic way to start with it.)
    (Above) The HiFiMAN HE-1000 (right) compared to the HE-560. The HE-1000's diaphragm is
    approximately the size of its entire grill opening.
  15. money4me247 Contributor
    lol finally end of wild pricing guesses.

    $3k as expected. fair for the previous more protoype version i heard before.

    i personally liked the vertical bars better, but i am just glad they are no longer a gold color.
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