This Hifiman HE -R10D is a high end headphone that stands out somewhat from this brand’s usual fare, both in terms of sound and design. The look, build and signature are unique, but how do they stack up with the more storied models from this reliable brand?
What’s in the Box?
The box here makes quite the impression the right way, with a large faux leather exterior and gigantic shiny metal nameplate on the front. The metal latch on the side to open is also a nice touch.
The interior presentation is very simple, and contains your headphones swaddled in an ultra soft cloth cutout. In the plastic bag on the top is a 3.5mm ended cable that is 1.2m long and covered with a nice braided fabric. These also come with additional cables that include quarter inch and xlr connections, in order to ensure that these will effortlessly slot into any listening configuration.
Design and Fit
The first thing to be addressed when it comes to the look of these is their size. When you pop these out of the box, it is clear just how large the earcups are. They stick out quite far from the head, almost comically so. In addition to this, the fairly bright orange color of the wood housing means that these are not low profile cans by any means. Needless to say, these are not going to be the most ideal set of cans for lugging around or wearing on the go.
Now, there’s very good reasons for the size, which we will get into in just a bit. The good news is that the housings are mostly hollow, and therefore there’s are pretty light, coming in at a total weight of just 337g. The earpads also go a long way in making these much more comfortable than they might have been. They’re made from a leather type material on the outer layer, with some fabric on the inside. They are also easily replaceable, coming on and off with simple velcro.
The yokes are metal here and feel pretty sturdy. The headband isn’t the softest, but it’s padded enough to make these overall very comfortable for the size.
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Drivers and Output
As I mentioned before, these huge housings are not just for fun - and are in fact designed this way to support the unique driver system employed here.
The HE-R10D utilizes a 50mm driver that includes what hifiman is calling a topology diaphragm. Essentially, this means that the diaphragm is covered with a special coating applied to its surface, resulting in a more natural and detailed effect on the sound signature. The large housing is designed to give lots of room for resonation and outward projection, and I have to say it is fairly successful in this regard.
In terms of output, these are fairly low impedance, coming in at just 32 ohms. Using these plugged right into my phone honestly sounded better than your average headphone, but there is certainly a lot more to be drawn out of them when using an amp. And with the amount of connection options included here, there’s no reason not to go that route.
With the drivers having as much space as they do to project outward in this unit, the image is very clear and has a great amount of size to it. However, I would say that what this headphone achieves in scale and vertical height is not quite equalled in terms of the width of the stereo field. Separation and layering isn’t bad by any means, it just leaves a tad bit to be desired given the big size of these cans. However, most genres of music will still sound nice thanks to the big projection and overall clarity here.
On the other end of the spectrum the bass frequencies are an absolute win here. Low end has a great amount of resonance that really fills in the bottom of these headphones without ever becoming overbearing or bleeding into other areas. It has depth and impact, as well as some nice versatility. Whether it’s a rumble, a growl or a punch, these will reproduce that sound with high fidelity and accuracy.
The mid range here has a nice amount of clarity, but lacks some of the fullness of the other frequency bands. As you climb higher up the ladder, some of the frequencies are given a nice boost that will make vocals and higher range instruments jump out nicely. But overall, these mids are fairly scooped, and the huge resonating space of the housing leaves them feeling just a tad bit hollow here.
The high end here definitely leans toward the side of sizzle, so if you like some really sharp attacks, then these might be a nice finishing touch on the sound signature for you. Cymbal crashes, whaling guitar solos and belting female vocals will have a lot of shimmer on them that provide a nice amount of color, but do blur out the finer details at the edges just a bit. If you’re hypersensitive to sibilance, then you may want to look elsewhere.
Overall, this is definitely a standout addition to Hifiman’s line of high end headphones, but whether or not that’s for better or for worse will be up to you. It has strong choices in build, design and sound, but if these seem intriguing to you, they may be very worth trying out yourself.
Order HIFIMAN HE-R10 at Audio46.