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The Massdrop x HIFIMAN Edition XX Headphones will be our fifth collaboration with HIFIMAN and the most advanced. The lineage of these headphones should be apparent to fans of HIFIMAN as they use the same ear cup shape as the flagship headphones HE-1000 and Edition X. Never one to rest, Dr. Fang Bian has continued to iterate on planar magnetic drivers for years now, pushing the boundaries of magnets and membranes. The new drivers have a thickness of only 1 or 2 microns resulting in improved clarity and resolution.
What’s 1-2 micron thickness? Below is a 6 micron carbon strand set against a 100 micron human hair:
After the success of the HE-4XX we wondered what the next step up should be. The next headphone needed to be a flagship in terms of performance while maintaining the established value inherent in our Collaborations.
Here are some of the features we are most excited about:
New Neo Super Nano Driver (NsD) with a thickness of only 1 or 2 microns resulting in improved clarity and resolution. This is an 80% thinner diaphragm compared to previous designs. For example a human hair is around 50 microns thick. New symmetric magnet structure is more efficient to manufacture.
Easy to Drive
Uniquely low impedance of 20 ohms which allows the headphones to be driven without a dedicated amp. Get excellent sound from a laptop or portable listening device.
New cable with more robust all metal connectors to the cup and an all-metal high quality plug.
Uses the same headband as the HE4XX.
Same ear pads as Edition X V2: hybrid with fabric and synthetic leather.
HIFIMAN flagship drivers at a more accessible price point.
As you can see in the comparison graph, Edition XX tuning follows in the footsteps of the HIFIMAN Edition X V2. What makes the sound special is the balanced and extended tonality (bass/mids/treble/air) PLUS resolution of the room details and space between sounds.
Solid Black Line = Massdrop x HIFIMAN Edition XX
Dashed blue line = HIFIMAN Edition X V2
Dotted red line = HIFIMAN Edition X
Dr. Fang Bian and HIFIMAN are known to the community for innovation, performance, and great value.
Our collaboration with HIFIMAN exemplifies each of these virtues and we’re more than proud to make this headphone available to our members and the audiophile community for the first time today!
I have the Edition X's (1st gen), fantastic sounding headphone! I'd imagine this colab to be something very special!
How can you tell if you have a V1 or V2?
Edition X V1 has plastic hinges and velour/pleather pads, Edition X V2 has metal hinges and velvet/pleather pads.
If the pads are velour or cloth.
What will the cost of these headphones be?
$599 from what I have heard from sources.
Welp, there go my plans to not purchase anything else hifi for the year I'm, like, way over budget.
Can relate dude, spent so much on headphones and stuff this year. Going to have no savings soon :( if this is a really good deal wothout a 6 month wait time i may jump on
purely speculative as no one has a copy of these yet.
agree...aside from the marketing hype over being close to xv1 and with those graphs, that stuff means little to me....instead i prefer to get impressions from actual critical listeners.(and no that doesn't mean jude and his marketing hype machine, either)..but hey i might spring for these anyway...or focal clear....or will probably await for the reviews once they're in the hands of actual owners...hear of the sq and qc issues....2nd drops are often cheaper, too.
Rycan- What cjeong said, plus, I believe the pads are angled on the V2?!
Also, it should be labelled on the box somewhere! :D
The specs says its signal-to-noise ratio is 93 dB. What does that mean for headphones? Is it the same as sensitivity?
And V2 has different cables if I am correct. Transparent hose type of things. Quite horrible actually.
Can you give us any more detail on the thought process behind this drop? Eg. Is there any difference in tuning versus the Edition X and how you're able to offer these at such a discount price? Are the we looking at B stock drivers with slightly worse distortion (see the graphs) and old stock headbands. Also why the decrease in sensitivity compared to other Edition X models? Does this make them sig. harder to drive?
Can anyone give me the basics for reading Frequency Response graphs? I understand the response output vs frequency, but why are no drivers even across all frequencies? Would it sound bad if a driver could do that? What are the audible effects of dips or peaks in the high end? I know a lot of this comes to preference, but I'd like to translate these graphs into laymans terms for what I'd hear or sound color.
Basically this is because we can't properly model the human ear to do our measurements. These graphs use a standard, imperfect human head model which allows apples to apples comparisons, and that's as good as we can physically manage at this moment. Which is why essentially all of these headphone frequency response curves tend to have comparisons; there is no true gold standard.
exactly...you get what you pay for...so if these cans are going at this price, despite being discounted on massdrop, i'd like to know more specifics
You get what you pay for within a specific business model framework. The idea that your $600 on Massdrop is the same as $600 on standard retail is where the logic needs to be examined.
It's been interesting to see all the headband posts. Traditionally the biggest feedback around HIFIMAN headbands is that they're uncomfortable, you look like an alien, and the build/materials are less solid.
We worked with HIFIMAN to create this new revision of their original design to address all of those issues. Given the positivity around the 4XX, this headband achieves those goals. Support request numbers for HE-350 headbands vs 4XX headbands support this as well.
Design preference is a little more subjective, though this style more closely conforms to what Dieter Rams would consider better design principles (plus Ives and many other respected industrial designers by extension).
Hopefully that gives some useful information to you and the others discussing headbands.
There are a couple of ways that we were able to offer the Edition X V2 tuning. These are newer drivers (not B-Stock) that have symmetrical magnets and are more efficient to produce and match. We're confirming sensitivity, these are supposed to be easier to drive.
Thanks for the clarification. Personally I don't mind the 4XX headband, my friend has a pair and they are comfortable, just not sure how it would go with the massive cups of the Edition X, they really are huge.
I'll be interested to hear HiFiMANs reply re: the sensitivity given these are thinner and newer drivers. But good to hear it's not a quality issue.
It's two completely different business models. In the standard model the manufacturer buys all the parts, creates a distribution channel and waits for the sales money to trickle in. With Massdrop the builder gets a huge number of orders, paid in advance, and can then build exactly the number of items that were sold. It's a good deal for the manufacturer and they pass that savings along to us. At the rate they're going Massdrop is eventually going to just take over a huge segment of the headphone market.
> Edition X, they really are huge.
Mr. Speakers is also guilty of this. They are cartoonish big.
I like the 4XX headband - much nicer than the original on the HE-500. But both of those headbands were designed to fit a smaller cup. This can is the new HFM standard, much larger, so there is a fit issue (those stock pics sure don't look like they fit well, and the the look is ghastly. What would it cost to get the HEX V2 band? $15 more? You think you would lose 3-5% of your market due to not getting the odd/even price? I think you would gain sales because the new can with the 'shades' is very attractive and the HFM man headbands look great with it - literally to the point of winning awards for industrial design nice. It's like an Aston-Martin with an Edsel front grille. Ugh.
"It's like an Aston-Martin with an Edsel front grille"
Well, by this time tomorrow we'll know how long we'll have to wait for these. We should do a lottery - I pick five months.
Hmm, I say End of February, so 3 months. Although something I have began to noticed with the mass produced massdrop products recently is that they are all produced before the drop goes live. Maybe not on the first drop but it does seem to happen.
Gee, I didn't realize 2019 was a quadruple leap-year.
More like surgical tubing. Yes, very horrible and bouncy. Really odd to find them on any headphones, let alone ones that are supposed to be high end.
It looks like more than 6 month, if its shipped May 31, 2019 couple weeks later you receive it in mid June.....Wow huh :(
not quite what i'm getting at, Will....just we don't know the final product yet: sound profile or build quality, esp since HFM has a bad rap for build quality.
Hi, I am enquiring about Campfire Audio products. Not long ago we talked about Massdrop team meeting Campfire guys. Did something come out of that meeting? How soon would we see another Campfire iem here on Massdrop?
Something like Massdrop X Campfire Audio Andromeda X
Yes! The Andromeda X five driver IEM by Massdrop , with the sound of CampFire Adromeda IEM and with the price tag of $599
That would be sick AND realistic, because if these could go on sale for $600, then the andromeda could too.
I'm guessing part of reduced price is from the remaining discontinued parts from previous models. We all win and HiFiMan gets to clear out it's old stock parts.
There are several reasons for drivers not being equal across all frequencies, but the main two are to do with physics making the creation of such a driver immensely difficult (this could be fixed with DSP, but many "audiophiles" have some strange aversion to DSP), and that the measurements you often see are not the actual data, but an adjusted version that compares it to a standard, with flat being matching the standard, higher being higher than the standard etc.. These standards are not universally agreed upon, nor does everybody hear exactly the same, so what is measured may not be what is heard and that is without taking into account psychological effects that can do all sorts of wondrous things to what the listener thinks they hear.
Peaks tend to do what you think they would do, they make a certain frequency band seem to pop out, which tends to be quite unpleasant, especially at frequencies beyond ~4kHz. Narrow peaks tend to be less noticeable, but they can still sometimes be audible if something falls into their area. Dips are, thanks to masking effects, considerably less noticeable, but again, certain things can bring them out, especially for music for which the listener has a very good idea of how it is supposed to sound.
In layman's terms, a general guideline is: distortion should not exceed 1% at frequencies higher than 100Hz *and* the distortion plot should be fairly smooth. Be sure to compare the distortion and frequency response plots: if a spike in the distortion happens at the same frequencies as a dip in the frequency response (see here for an extreme example), it indicates a resonance that is nowhere near as harmful to sound quality as it looks. Frequency response is, roughly, as follows (here is a link that you can bookmark for easy reference):
- A wide bump in the bass that extends higher than ~150Hz will make things sound warmer, and can make things sound like you have water in your ears if the bump is still boosting frequencies by more than a few dB higher than about 200Hz.
- The region between ~100Hz to ~2kHz should be as flat, or at least as smooth, as possible ON COMPENSATED PLOTS (for what an uncompensated plot should look like, see the innerfidelity article on frequency response, and look at the graph that shows what the human ear hears). This is where human voices land, and unevenness here is the single worst flaw a headphone can have for that reason. Problems here make a headphone sound "shouty" or "honky". Even Beats can, sometimes, get this right.
- ~2kHz to ~10kHz should be smooth, but make sure to check if the graph has had smoothing applied already since this can mask issues, especially at higher frequencies which are squished on logarithmic plots. Peaks here, especially wide ones that affect the area between 4kHz and 6kHz can make sibilant consonants (s, sh, etc.) sound sharp and piercing.
- Beyond ~10kHz, look at the general shape of the graph, since this area tends to look very choppy in measurements thanks to resonance issues and other things. Again, it should be flat, and the spikes/dips should be fairly even. Problems here can give things an unnatural sound that is hard to put into words. For me, it almost feels like the sound is tickling the inside of my ears.
I heard a pair of Edition X's (1st gen) a few weeks back at the SE Michigan Head-fi meet and they blew me away. They also blew the Utopia and LCD-4 away in my opinion. They were running out of a Schitt Rag/Yggy rig. I mean like "Holy Shit Batman!" That experience changed my whole thinking about headphones. That is why I've pulled the trigger on these Edition XX. And I guess Ananda is better still for $999.
Good job my man, that rig you heard must have felt spooky! Yeah, before I owning my Edition X's, I didn't have any inkling as to how Hifiman voiced their headphones (especially the upper end). But when I heard the Edition X's, I too, was blown away! Not what I was expecting and so pure and dare I say....beautiful!
Good luck on the drop mate, I think Hifiman and MD will deliver a stunner here!
What makes you say Anandas will be better?
@CEE_TEE are the early review samples reviewed by Metal579 and DIYAudioHeaven the final version of the Edition XX's or are they still being tweaked before shipment in May?
Unless they switch to use asymmetric magnet circuit construction used in X and X v2, you can taste the higher end sound from Hifiman. Symmetrical magnets like these in XX are for Hifiman's ancient/entry-level products.
I joined this drop and I'm a little bit concerned now. 1) I was promised to have an opportunity to ask a question and hear the answers from HIFIMAN CEO. Didn't happen. 2) I didn't get promised 10$ for my next purchase 3) I made a buying decision based on a chart comparing XX model vs X v2 and Ananda, but according to the reviews XX model has a peak at 8k that didn't show up in the measurements on the chart, as well as a they have a spike in distortion around 6k. So there were 3 promises from Massdrop and none of them seems accurate. I send a few messages to Massdrop, none of them was responded as well. Would love to hear Massdrop's feedback here in the forum.
I have these same concerns, thank you for asking this and I hope Massdrop responds. The distortion spike is really not acceptable in a 600 dollar product when you could just buy the 4xx for 179 and have THD under 1%.
I heard them recently too. Ugh. HEX V2 kills them (used $675-725 range). The Ananda is bright and unlistenable. Not a big fan of LCD's, but the 3 and 4 crush this thing. Utopia overrated but another can that steps all over this. I have a Rag myself with a Gumby and the XX is hot trash.
Hot trash? Everything you listed costs more and in some cases double when new
Yeah I recently had an opportunity to listen to the hifiman line up again... susvara is still great (but $$) and I actually enjoyed the Sundara's, but the rest of the line up kind of let me down outside of the He1000. Ananda, Arya, Jade 2 and the rest just didn't do it for me and definately were not justified in their price... from what I understand these are worse!? The 4xx oddly seems to be the best value here, and the only one to slug over its weight class.
I'm pretty darn happy right now. Doesn't sound anything like hot trash out of my amp.
Having owned the ananda and now the arya that is too bad because I thought they both were very good headphones. I prefer the arya to he-1000 and the focal clears. The Ananda is very good but it's upper midrange can be a bit much given the source/amp but definitely was a great headstone in the sub 1000$ realm. I'm reviewing the Sundara right now, and so far they are not bad
How do you know the ways of the force?
How do the symmetrical drivers (old versions) compare to the new asymmetrical magnes? You said these are FLAGSHIP HIFIMAN DRIVERS. Can you plz clarify which Flagship HiFiMan products do these match to and what can we expect more than the likes of say the Ananda or Aryas? Thanks