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HiFiMan Edition S Review: Interesting On-Ear Headphones

The HiFiMan Edition S is an interesting pair of headphones. They provide you with the ability to switch between an open and a closed back. While they haven't got the best sound quality across the entire spectrum, the clarity that they provide is exceptionally good.

Our Rating:

Pros

  • Exceptional clarity
  • Ability to switch between open and closed back
  • Comfortable

Cons

  • Unimpressive bass
  • Not the best sound across the spectrum

Key Features

  • Switching between open/close back
  • Detachable cable
  • In-line microphone
  • Fold-able

Disclaimer: HiFiMan provided me with a review sample of the Edition S. This does not, however, affect this review in any way. This review is my personal and subjective opinion.

Rating

Sound Quality

Build Quality

Comfort

Value

Specifications

  • Driver Unit: 50mm Dynamic
  • Rated Impedance: 18 Ohms
  • Frequency Response: 15 - 22kHz
  • Sensitivity: 113 dB

Who They ARE For

  • Those who want a versatile pair
  • Those who value clarity above all
  • Those looking for an entry headphones to higher quality audio equipment

Who They Are NOT For

  • Those who want a tight bass
  • Those who don't want versatility
  • Those who want exceptional sound at all frequencies

HiFiMan Edition S Detailed Review

Below, you'll find our detailed HiFiMan Edition S review.

Packaging and Accessories

As with many other high-end headphone brands, HiFiMan ships their products in quality packaging.

It is a black box with a beautiful picture of the Edition S on the front. It has a great feel to it.

The HiFiMan Edition S packaging

Inside the box, you'll find:

  • The HiFiMan Edition S
  • A carrying case
  • A detachable cable
  • A jack converter

Not too many fancy accessories. Their energy has clearly been put into creating a quality pair of headphones, which I think they've achieved rather well.

The carrying case is of a convenient size. The headphones are foldable, thus they don't take up a lot of space when stored.

A look inside the box

Build Quality and Design

There's no denying that the Edition S is a beautiful pair of headphones. The black headband and earpad covers compliment the silver linings perfectly.

The build quality is also in the better end of the spectrum. While the covers of the earpads are made from plastic, the inside of the pads is leatherette and is complimented by synthetic velour.

An interesting feature of the HiFiMan Edition S that I have not seen in other headphones is that the covers of the earpads can be removed.

This lets you switch between an open-back and a closed-back headphones.

Removing the pads is very easy. They are attached via magnets. To remove them, simply pull them off, and to attached them, well, place them back on.

The detachable cable is a nice touch as if it breaks you won't have to replace the entire headphones. It contains an in-line microphone and a controller.

All in all, I'm very impressed with the build quality of the Edition S. Especially as it goes for much (much!) less than some of the other headphones from HiFiMan.

Close-up of the Edition S

Comfort, Fit and, Isolation

These headphones are very light, which I find to be important in a portable pair. The ear cushions are soft and comfortable, and the headband has a sufficient amount of cushions considering the light weight.

A slight problem I've experienced is that they seem to squeeze quite a bit as I place them on my head. As soon as I put them on, they feel like they're going to be very uncomfortable, but after wearing them for 3 minutes, they become comfortable.

I don't know what is causing this, but I know that it works wonders.

The level of isolation is decent when using them as closed-backs. However, if you remove the covers, then the level of isolation drop considerably.

If you prefer the sound of the open-back, then you might consider carrying the covers around with you, allowing you to place them on if you're entering noisier environments.

The Edition S carrying case

Sound Quality

I will divide this part into two sections, as these headphones can be worn either open-backed or close-backed.

Having the covers on makes the headphones sound more closed than when having them off. They seem to focus more on the mids and treble than on the bass.

This was a slight surprise to me. I expected the headphones to be more bass heavy with the covers on.

They have an exceptional clarity with the covers on. Perhaps the weakest point is the narrow soundstage, but this is nothing new for closed-back headphones.

If you remove the plates, then the sound signature changes quite significantly. I didn't expect the difference to be this large. It is almost as if you've got two separate headphones on your hands.

The bass gets a slight boost, and the treble sounds more comfortable. The overall sound signature becomes more musical, and you get a wider soundstage.

Nevertheless, you do sacrifice a bit of clarity when you remove the covers.

All in all, I'm rather impressed with the sound. I don't think either of the cases serves the ideal sound, though. What jumps to mind is the cliche saying, jack of all trades, master of none.

Value

Here's the interesting part of this pair.

HiFiMan is known for making expensive high-end headphones. The Edition S is an attempt to make a more affordable pair that retains some of the high-quality features of the other models.

I think they've done a pretty good job here. The headphones are comfortable and offer quite a decent sound considering the price. Thus, the Edition S offers good value.

Overall Score

Should I Buy HiFiMan Edition S?

There are a couple of things to consider before deciding whether or not to purchase the HiFiMan Edition S.

The main feature of these headphones seems to be the versatility. You can choose whether or not to go with an open-back or a closed-back. If this is something that interests you, then it is a point for the Edition S.

Personally, I don't see the benefit of this feature. I'd rather have a really good close-backed or a really good open-backed pair of headphones than a pair that can do both adequately.

That being said, the Edition S offers an exceptional level of clarity for the asking price. Thus, if you're looking for a portable pair with excellent clarity, but are on a budget, then these headphone might be the right choice.

Conclusion

The HiFiMan Edition S is of medium quality. HiFiMan is known for creating high-end audiophile headphones, and the Edition S is an attempt to make a more affordable pair.

Unfortunately, the quality doesn't align with some of their pricier headphones. Nevertheless, sitting at a much lower cost, these headphones provide a decent sound quality, superb clarity, and a phenomenal level of comfort.

The ability to switch between an open and close back is interesting, but I'd rather have a tighter bass and more sparkly treble.

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
HiFiMan Edition S
Author Rating
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