Edition X (v2)

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published: Jul-19-2017, updated: Jun-5-2019

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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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HIFIMAN Edition X (version 2)

Edition X

The HIFIMAN Edition X (version 2) is an  orthodynamic over-ear headphone intended to be driven directly from portable equipment.  It retails for around € 1400.- which is quite a lot of money for a headphone.
Because it has a very low impedance this headphone is designed to be driven directly from portable equipment. It isn’t really suited for commuting etc. The ‘portable’ part here is for people who want to enjoy high quality music when not being at home.
All you need is a high quality Digital Audio Player which connects directly without needing desktop amps etc.
The earpads are VERY large. But also very comfortable but 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
Driver type: orthodynamic
Pads: replaceable, slanted hybrid pleather/polyester cloth
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, 1.5m with gold plated 3.5 mm  TRS plug
+ 3m with gold plated 6.3 mm  TRS plug
Driver size: 55 x 90 mm (magnet array, the membrane is larger)
Nom. power rating: not specified
Max. S.P.L.  not specified
Impedance: 25 Ω
Efficiency: 91 dB/1mW  (107dB/1V)
Weight: 400 g.
Clamping force: low/medium
Accessories: 2 cables, 6.3mm adapter, high quality presentation box for transport.

Sound description:

The tonal balance is quite similar to that of the Ananda.
Bass is a bit low in level but fully present right down to the subbass. It won’t rattle your teeth so not suited for bassheads. The tonal balance is neutral. It has a ‘fragile’ and ‘airy’ sound to it.
There is a slight emphasis to the upper mids/lower treble which makes it sound present and clear.
The sound is quite open (has nothing to do with the headphone being open) meaning the instruments and voices are well separated and don’t mesh into a wall of sound.
It is not overly dynamic nor compressed sounding… just in the right proportions.
There is no ‘harsh’ or piercing treble at all. The treble is quite present and detailed as well as ‘airy’. But.. on some recordings the treble can have a ‘sharpish’ edge to it.
Fortunately there is a remedy for this. It is shown on the Edition XX page.


Below the frequency response of the Edition Xv2 (Left, Right)FR ed X

The channel balance is quite good as with most HIFIMAN headphones. There are some differences between 200Hz and 1kHz. The tonal balance is ‘flat’ as in neutral. It is perhaps slightly lacking in ‘grunt’ and ‘clarity’ which means it is tight in the bass and very realistic with a slight laid-back sound. It has a similar ‘8kHz peak’ as the HE 400 but at a level closer to that of the HE 560. Not likely to influence the sound in an obvious way.
The 5dB dip from 2kHz to 5kHz lowers some sense of the ‘presence’ of voices a bit. The treble response is not elevated opposite the mids and sounds well balanced and smooth.

This headphone looks the most like the HE 1000. The HE 1000 however is 2x more expensive and must be connected to a good desktop amp.
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 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.

Below the distortion measurements of the Edition X (Left 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.dist Ed X L

The distortion levels are low. Below 1% in the lows. From 500Hz to 2kHz the distortion levels increase. This goes hand in hand with the ‘jagged’ frequency response at those frequencies.  The peaks don’t exceed 0.5% which is not high enough to become sound degrading. Higher harmonics remain below 0.1%
Tyll’s plots also show increased distortion in this area so chances are this is not caused by ambient sounds during the testing.

Below the distortion plot but displayed in percentages.
dist Ed X L percent

Below the CSD of the Edition X. (Left and Right are superimposed)CSD Ed-X

Yes, this looks quite messy. Even to the point you start to wonder if this would be audible in a negative way. It looks as though the membrane loves to vibrate at a lot of frequencies and simply has so much fun it doesn’t want to stop. At 5kHz the left channel has a resonance where the right driver does this at around 8kHz. The ‘dip’ at 5kHz and peak at 8kHz are thus both resonances it seems. There is some short lived ringing around 16kHz.

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 Edition X. Spectr Ed X L.png
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 (Left channel) below shows the sub-bass is just slightly rolled-off. The resonances are short lived and not high in amplitude.  Impulse response is at the proper level and shows excellent response with 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 show the lingering discussed above.
Imp Ed X L



Fit and finish, comfort, weight (for an ortho) are very good. The Edition X 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. Perhaps leaning somewhat to bass-lean side of things. Slightly lacks in ‘grunt’ but sub-bass is still heard and impresses if recorded loud enough. Maybe slightly lacking somewhat in presence of voices compared to headphones like the HD600.  This does make the headphone sound ‘relaxed’ and ‘laid-back’. Treble is smooth, realistic and not splashy nor sibilant at all.
A very, very nice sounding headphone. It comes at quite a price though. It is great that it can be driven directly from portable equipment.
A passive in-line filter is available that addresses the 8kHz peak.

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