HE 1000

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NO SMOOTHING is applied to the shown plots. Most measurement sites have some smoothing applied which ‘irons flat’ sharp peaks and ‘wiggles’. I do not use smoothing because some info about sound quality is lost when plots are smoothed.

Aside from a small correction of the microphone itself also some correction in the lowest frequencies is applied to the plots to compensate for the perceived loss of bass when using headphones. This is described HERE in more detail.
A ‘horizontal‘ frequency response curve on the shown frequency response plots on this website thus indicates a perceived ‘flat’ tonal signature.

ALL measurements are made with a good SEAL on a flatbed measurement rig.
The shape of your head, bone structure, pad size, pad ‘softness,  (compliance), hair or no hair and or wearing glasses may (drastically) change the frequency response of some headphones, so… your personal experience may differ substantially from these plots.

Frequency response (tonal balance) is the most sound-determining aspect of headphones. A horizontal line shows audible neutral response in the plots on this website. Deviations in different severities at different frequency bands have an effect on the sound character.
The bigger the deviation the stronger the effect.

Below an aid to help determining the sound character of headphones with relation to the frequency response.


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The HIFIMAN HE 1000 (version 2) is an orthodynamic over-ear headphone intended to be driven directly from desktop equipment.
It retails for around € 3300.- which is quite a lot of money for a headphone.
For this you do get a smart looking (and great sounding) headphone made using fine and well machined parts and a very thin membrane driver. The wood veneer looks nice in combination with the metal and leather headband.
The earpads are VERY large, and also very comfortable. The out- and in-side is made of pleather (fake leather) and has cloth on the parts that touch the skin. This is an improved version on the original HE 1000. It sits on the head quite different from other headphones. The headphone is not very lightweight but also not the heaviest around.
Everyone around you can hear what you are playing and you can hear all ambient noises unattenuated.


Type: Over ear, open
Usage: Home (portable with a powerful DAP)
Driver type: orthodynamic
Pads: replaceable, slanted hybrid pleather/polyester cloth
Inner Pad dimensions: depth = 22mm, height = 85mm, width = 50mm
Collapsable: No, but can rotate the cups in a flat position.
Headphone connector: 2,5mm TRS (marked L and R)
Cable entry: double sided
Cable: replaceable, 1m with angled gold plated 3.5 mm  TRS plug
+ 3m with gold plated 6.3 mm  TRS plug
+ 3m with 4-pin XLR plug
Driver size: 65 x 100 mm
Nom. power rating: unknown, assumed 2W
Max. voltage: 8V (assumed 2W)
Max. current: 240mA (assumed 2W)
Max. S.P.L.: 122dB (assumed 2W)
Impedance: 35 Ω
Efficiency: 90 dB/1mW  (104dB/1V)
Weight: 420 g.
Clamping force: low/medium
Accessories: 3 cables,  high quality presentation box for transport.

Sound description:

The overall sound description is ‘very realistic’ and ‘open’ sounding as in there is no obvious veil. It is a bit more forward than the Susvara or when looking at it from another angle less ‘laid back’ than the Susvara. Comes down to personal preference mostly.
Bass quality is excellent. So is the separation between instruments etc. It is thus really easy to pinpoint where instruments are in the stereo image.
The HE1000 does have a slight ‘edge’ in some recordings. This becomes most obvious with (snare) drums standing out a bit too much. Treble itself is smooth and highly detailed. Flagship worthy treble response which can be slightly ‘hot’ with not so well made recordings.


Below the frequency response of the HE 1000 (Left, Right)HE1000 FR

The channel balance is excellent as usual with most HIFIMAN headphones. The tonal balance is ‘flat’ as in neutral. It has an ‘8kHz peak’ just like the HE-400S, HE400i and Edition X but smaller at a level closer to that of the HE-560. Not likely to influence the sound negatively in an obvious way.
The 5dB dip around 2kHz isn’t really obvious. The treble response is just slightly elevated and sounds well balanced, smooth and highly detailed.

This headphone looks the most like the Edition X. The Edition X however is half as expensive and can be connected to as good as any portable device. They do not sound exactly the same though.
Because these headphones have so much in common a comparison between these two expensive higher end models is shown below, HE-1000 vs Edition X (left channel)
FR Edi X vs HE1000.png

These two headphones have a LOT more in common than just their looks.
The tonal balance differences are shown more clearly in the 1/3 octave smoothed plot below. HE-1000 vs Edition X
Tonal bal dif ed X vs HE1000

The HE-1000 is a bit more ‘linear’ and has a bit more clarity/presence and sightly more treble/detail and has maybe slightly more ‘air’ and refined. The question for some will be if that’s worth double the money and loose the ability to play it from almost any portable source. One must realise that 2dB difference between 200Hz and 600Hz is quite audible adn the 4dB difference around 5kHz most certainly is as well. So despite the plots looking very similar the differences are more than big enough to be audible.

Below the distortion measurements of the HE 1000 (Right channel).

Note that this headphone was measured at ears-unlimited-logo where background noises were present in the demo room. As this is an open headphone the distortion levels and spectrum plot performance may thus be better in reality than as shown on the plots due to ambient sounds being measured along with the headphone.HE1000 DIST R

The distortion levels are very low. Below 0.5% in the lows is excellent.  The peaks around 4kHz doesn’t exceed 0.5% which is not high enough to become sound degrading.
Tyll’s plots also show increased distortion in this area. It should be noted that Tyll’s measurements are of the original HE-1000

Below the distortion plot but displayed in percentages.HE1000 DIST R percent

Below the CSD of the HE 1000. (Left and Right are superimposed)CSD HE1000

At 4.2kHz the left channel has a resonance where the right driver does this at around 5kHz. Around 3 to 4kHz ringing isn’t very problematic as the ear-canal resonates at that frequency as well. here is some short lived ringing around 10kHz. For an orthodynamic headphone this CSD looks pretty good.

output resistance / damping-factor

As this is an orthodynamic headphone its impedance is as good as ruler flat so a higher output resistance amplifier will have no consequences for the frequency response/tonal balance/damping. So… no plots as it would only show one green line.

Below the spectrum plot of the HE 1000.
Spectr HE1000 R
Well, this looks like a mess where one wonders how audible this all is. The observant folks amongst us will notice that the green parts are down -20dB and the blue parts are already -40dB down. This means that the signal doesn’t die out as fast as with dynamic headphones. This behavior is seen with a lot of ortho dynamic headphones.
In some circles people find ortho headphones (including electrostats) have compressed dynamics in the sense that the decay of instruments isn’t as good as that of dynamic headphones. Well.. this could be the smoking gun for that theses.
It looks like these large membranes that have little to no acoustical/mechanical damping  simply LIKE to vibrate at almost all frequencies once a signal has stopped.

The step response (Right channel) below shows the sub-bass is just very slightly rolled-off. The resonances are short lived and not high in amplitude.  Impulse response is at the proper level and shows excellent qualities with a only a slight emphasis in the treble. It thus sounds very clear and articulated and smooth. You can still see some medium frequency wiggles in a low amplitude on the horizontal trace which shows the lingering discussed above around 4-5kHz.
Imp HE1000R



Fit and finish, comfort, weight (for an ortho) are top notch. The HE 1000 looks really great. It is a bit on the large side from top to bottom. Not everyone will be enamored by those very large pad and how they sit on the jaws.  The sound signature is ‘clean’ and ‘realistic’. Slightly lacks in ‘grunt’ but sub-bass is still heard and impresses if recorded loud enough. Treble is smooth, realistic and not splashy nor sibilant at all and very detailed. Comfort is excellent but not as good as the HD800 in that aspect.
An excellent (perhaps exemplary) sounding headphone. It comes at quite a price though but you get a great looking and sounding headphone in return.

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