We’re no strangers to HiFiMAN here at MobileTechTalk, we’ve reviewed some of their headphones in the past, I’ve personally reviewed the DEVAs and the TWS200 earbuds, so when a package arrived at my house with the HE-R10P’s, I was shocked, as when they said they wanted to send me something, I opted not to ask them, I wanted to be surprised, and, well that was an understatement.
- Beautiful sound
- Wide soundstage
- Warm sound
- Impeccably built
- Great packaging
- Low impedance
- They're $5499
The HiFiMAN HE-R10P are the planar magnetic version of the highly acclaimed HE-R10 headphones from HiFiMAN, these $5499 closed-back Over-ear headphones are CNC milled from aircraft-grade aluminium and wonderful hardwoods to give depth, space and warmth to these closed-back pieces of art.
Each ear cup has a few degrees of freedom to swivel to account for different sized heads and different ear positions, as well as a ratcheting ear cup height adjustment with 8 discrete steps, these feel nice and strong without requiring too much force that they feel like a robot torqued them at the factory within an inch of their life.
The headband is a bit stiffer than I felt comfortable with, especially considering the 460g mass of these beasts, but it wasn’t uncomfortable to wear for an hour or two, but may get that way after a while. The ear clamping force was also spot on, at least for me, there is no slip up and down but not crushing my skull either. The earcups perfectly enveloped my ears to create a passive seal that was lovely.
On the underside of the left earcup is the balanced 3.5mm audio jack, which can be plugged into any of the three exquisite cables included in the box, a 1m 3.5mm terminated one, a 3m Balanced XLR cable, and a 1.5mm ¼” (6.35mm) balanced cable, or how I was using them, attached to the Bluemini II DAC and amp. With 30Ω of impedance, these aren’t the hardest headphones to run, in the high-end audio sphere 30Ω is remarkably low (the Sennheiser HD600s are 300Ω, but I wouldn’t be running these directly out of your MacBook’s headphone jack. You can, and it’ll work, but it seems like a remarkable waste of $5499.
I have been using the HE-R10P’s with the Bluemini II DAC and whilst it does mean I can use these as USB headphones, you do limit the acoustic prowess of these guys. Whereas with a proper amp and DAC these has a frequency response of between 10Hz and 60Khz, Using the Bluemini II limits that to 20Hz and 20Khz.
- Frequency Response 10Hz-60Khz
- Impedance 30Ω
- Sensitivity 100dB
- Weight 460g
- Socket 3.5mm balanced output
Audio & Use
In Mechanical keyboards, there is a term called Endgame, wherein you have your end keyboard, it does everything you want, the way you want and is perfect for, and honestly, these are as close as I have ever come to Endgame headphones, and the thing is, I don’t even feel worthy to use these.
I’m always shocked at how amazing Planar magnetic headphones sound when I’ve been using dynamics for a while and even coming from my DEVAs, which are open-back planar magnetic cans, these are next level. I had to bust out my biggest guns here, I own the Hamilton soundtrack, the TRON: Legacy soundtrack and the Black Parade in lossless, as well as a few other albums, and I knew that these were the cans if ever there were any to use these tracks for, strangely I didn’t think streaming music on Youtube or old 96Kbps MP3s would suffice here.
I don’t cry often, it is just not something my body likes to do, but listening to “Dear Theodosia” got me pretty damn close and sent shivers down my spine. Any pair of headphones that can elicit an emotional response to a song you have heard hundreds of times is something to be enjoyed. I listened to the Black Parade album from start to finish on my couch with an eye mask on and the time flew by, goosebumps and the depth of these closed backs was wondrous. I have to admit that I was sceptical when I read the reason that the wood was chosen was “to bring sufficient space and breathing room to the driver” and you know what, I think they’re onto something here. The earcup resonance was low, it didn’t feel hollow and echoey. They obviously don’t have the soundstage that some open-backs do, but they come damn close to some that’s for damn sure, but you also get the passive noise cancellation, I mean I had a dog barking in the room next to me and didn’t notice until I took these off.
These to me seem like they’re tuned relatively flat, they get stupid loud, uncomfortably so, but everything feels really balanced, I can still hear Bowie perfectly clearly in Space Oddity over everything else that is going on, and in “Just One Yesterday” Foxes and Patrick Stump isn’t overpowering the rest of the instrumentals.
One thing I was worried about with these being closed is that the bass would be too loud and overbearing, and that couldn’t have been farther from the truth. Whilst it was prominent and noticeable, it was always in step with the rest of the music, none of the sub-bass felt like it was going to make my eardrums melt out, which after testing a pair of Skullcandy’s, was nice to hear.
I have been listening to a lot of pianos and classical music lately and these headphones have made that much more intriguing, I have been listening to songs over and over again and hearing keys linger for more than I was on other buds/cans/speakers, and obviously, that was always there, the track hasn’t changed, but I’m only just hearing it, and it’s making me smile more and more.
I recently also started using DankPods’ testing playlist because it is a wide range of different tracks from someone who has forgotten more about audio than I will ever know, and he’s right, once you hear the bongo man in the right earcup, he’s always there, and we like a bongo drum.
It’s not surprised that these are absolutely stunning headphones, as they should be for $5499, these sounded perfect no matter what I threw at them, even just podcasts sounded better with these, the problem is, I don’t feel worthy to use these, and it is not a problem with the cans, it’s a problem with me.
The HE-R10P’s deserve someone who has a block in their calendar to sit down and listen to music with a lovely amp, a glass of their favourite drink, and maybe a great record player with their favourite LPs, or a DAP (digital audio player) full of FLACs. That is not me, whilst I do enjoy sitting down with a glass of scotch listening to TRON: Legacy, most of my listening to music is on a PC or phone via Bluetooth, with compressed music through YouTube Music. These are too good for me, and yet I really don’t want to send them back.