Beta testing SQ impressions I now have approx 100 hours on the HE1000s, having played music 24/7 through them. These are my consolidated impressions at this point. Obviously some of this may change over further listening and I reserve the right to disagree with myself on any of this in the near or distant future. =) Firstly: Well done Hifiman! I am sure a lot of people are going to love these. Physically big cups transcend to limousine like comfort and effortless sound quality. The HE1000s produce sound in an uniquely smooth and relaxed way, with a large soundstage presentation. They have good detail, but are understated about it. Rig: please see my sig below 1. Tonal balance Rich body and very smooth sounding. Beautiful presentation. I hear these as comparatively warmer than the HD800s or SR-009s. Some are talking about the treble decay. I don't see this as an issue. 2. Detail In regard to details these headphones are almost like the opposite of the HD800s. If the HD800s could be seen as detail forward, almost necessarily wanting to show all the little garbage there is, the HE1000s can cruise effortlessly through a lot of trouble. However, I rather think the macro detail is actually mostly there, albeit a bit subdued. They also seem to have that trait that some Audeze or Stax 007s have, in making a lot of recordings sound good, but while being more technically competent than the former first. 3. DR Perhaps a result of the combination of understated detail, mostly tonally correct response and lack of effort producing big sound, this can produce an impression of big DR casually. That said, I think the HD800 are a bit better. 4. Mostly genre masters The relaxed and smooth sound presentation works quite well with all genres. I do like them quite a bit with metal music, but it's a toss with the HE-6s. I also prefer the HD800s for above averagely recorded acoustic and classical music. I prefer the HE-6s with electronic music. 5. Sound stage Mostly really digging it. Large and open sound stage, albeit more upfront than with some other headphones. Very little parallel in presentation to other headphones I've heard or own. 6. Euphonic Some of the most euphonic sounding flagship headphones. The smooth, non-aggressive presentation sounds luxurious and inviting. 9. Transients Less visceral and articulated than the HE-6s, but reasonable for a flagship. I have to admit I have a certain preference for impactful transients. So far the HE-6s are still kings, followed quite closely by the HD800s. 10. Easy to drive (relatively) Despite needing a bit of volume, even my portable RWAK gets these to sound quite well. Obviously they get quite a bit better with a better system behind. 11. Bass Good quality planar bass. I don't think it's better than the Abyss. In some ways it may be a bit better than the HE-6s? But since the transients are more impactful on the HE-6s, I am not so sure this is the case. I applied to a beta and since this is the beta thread, this is where I would prefer to see improvements: - transient attack/energy. Transients are currently softer/more relaxed/smoother/edges more undersharpened than any of the HD800s, HE-6s, LCD-3Fs. Some may have hinted the transient response is similar to Stax. I don't think it's very similar to the 009s. Perhaps more like the SR-007 MK2? I don't have the latter here to verify. I don't even know if this is possible, within the current design, big drivers etc. But it's my number one improvement to convince me to buy a pair. Example: Guitar plucks lack energy. I don't feel acoustic music is favoured by this type of sound (i.e.: Rodrigo&Gabriela). Other genres would benefit this too. Real music is more energetic imo. - soundstage depth. The height and width are exemplary, but some music ends up a bit too upfront. I wouldn't call it in your head, but you get the idea. Further angled pads? Similar depth as with the HE-6s would be great. Example: Vocals too upfront sounding. A bit more space there would be more realistic imo. - colouration. These to me sound warmer than neutral, but also very relaxed and polished sounding, which is a departure from previous Hifiman flagship sound. I'd prefer less of this. Issue: Nice sounding, but I am not in particularly looking for nice at this level. Examples: HD800, HE-6s, Abyss, SR-009. More that way for me. Less good examples: Audeze. - Velour please. This is purely preference but if it's any similar with the HE-6s, I would prefer the Focus-A type of pads, but thicker, to give the drivers some more distance and a better angle to the ear. I said that with the advent of the HE1000s I will have 4 flagship headphones at home, and as a result two will go. They are all very good, but I will try to stick to my guns. I have not decided which two will stay, but as of today I am very optimistic for the HE-6s. A few days later it may be different. Who knows. To be continued or updated.... Please for the love of all that's holy don't block quote. It's annoying to other readers!