Hifiman Edition S
An on-ear model of the Hifiman magnetic planar headphones had been missing off the market for a while. In 2016 with founder and chemical scientist Dr Bian Fang at the helm, the company broke the silence with the Edition S. What makes this model stand out is their open/close-back capabilities, with small magnetic pads that can be snapped on or off depending on the needs of the listener and the amount of people around to annoy.
Opening those barn doors makes a considerable difference to the sound, and although it’s certainly not great for the morning commute, there’s a lot to be said for the freedom of headphones which can offer both. The headphones do accentuate detail when the back is off, but with some recordings this can reveal some cracks or tinny sounds in the high end if there’s not a lot of meat in the mids. Closing the doors gives a cosy sound, flattening the mix a little, but allowing for the bass to cut through nicely.
Alongside the Hifiman Edition S’s open and close-back capabilities, a foldable, durable design (which weighs in at 248g) and an asymmetric cup to mould to the wearer’s ear are also key features. Although it’s marketed as on-ear, the cups comfortably fit over the ears. The folding mechanism is solid and never feels easily breakable. Working with the specs of their €2,000 + headphones, Hifiman has developed the Edition S as a €299 alternative to their high-end models.
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