Hifiman HE-1000 (v1)

The HE-1000 was Hifiman new flagship launched in 2015, succeeding to the famous HE-6. The price increase was quite huge, going from $1300 to $3000.

The HE-1000 is the first Hifiman designed with oval shaped cups and drivers. The Edition X and Edition X v2 came out a bit after. It is relatively tall, not too heavy(480g) but thanks to plush large pads and a suspension headband, comfort is solid. Sensitivity is not high (measured around 87 dB/mW, similar to the HE-500) so an amp is an absolute requirement for these.

The build isnt remarkable for the price – fake wood on the cup, metal cups and some cloth material, but the feeling is in the hands does not scream “3k$” quality.

○ Release : 2015
○ Current status : Discontinued
○ Type : Over-ear / Open-back
○ Measured weight : 480g
○ Impedance : 35 Ohms
○ Sensitivity : ~87 dB/mW
○ Average used price : $1000-1200

Sound Impression
The HE-1000 is one of my favorite headphones for pure music enjoyment. I would say the tonality is solid but not perfect. They sound slightly warm and V-shaped. The Hifiman Arya is a hair more linear in the midrange.

Bass has solid foundations and superb extension, but only average impact. The Audeze LCD, like the LCD-4, or the Hifiman HE500/HE6 have a bit more bass slam than the HE1000. Still, I am satisfied with the bass here 90% of the time. It extends as low as my hearing limit and sounds “big” and full.

The midrange is very pleasant, and definitely on the warm side. It’s a bit pushed back around 1-4khz, like the Sennheiser HD800. It might not recreates the intimacy of vocals of an HD600 or AD2000 and sometimes i’m left wanting more upper-midrange body. But I find the midrange excellent for harsh recordings like old pop or jazz music with emphasis around 3-4 khz – some instruments would sound too strident and nasal with forward upper-mids.

The treble is excellent. There is a moderate elevation around 7 khz that rarely bothers me. The treble is definitely (to me) not as bad as it is shown on measurements (where it seems to be almost as elevated as the HD800). The Sennheiser is much more piercing. The air above 10khz is well present. The highs are very refined, clean and probably the best I’ve heard (so far) in  a planar headphone. Definitely better than the etchy annoying HE-6 or the slightly dull LCD2/3s.

The staging is wide and tall, but not matching the HD800. The overall impact of the HE1000 is a bit weak ; it’s not as dynamic as the older Hifimans or the HD800. But it participates in the relaxing character of this headphone. If the HE1000 had an Audeze-like FR (more recessed energy above 4khz), it would sound too dead to me considering its inoffensive character and technicalities.

The HE1000 is a very resolving headphone, very open and clear. Totally an endgame for a lot of people, with its decent tonality and great comfort. I wish the midrange was a bit more forward. I still enjoy them plentiful. Around $1000-1300 used, i’d say these are a “good” value, even though we are in >1k territory. I don’t know if I prefer the Arya or the HE-1000 v1. I did not hear them side by side ; I am pretty sure the HE-1000 v1 is a bit more resolving, but I probably prefer the Arya midrange.


Measurements & Resources

Solid bass response, although it’s not flat below 20hz. Midrange from 200 to 1khz measures “jagged”, possible interference in the housing. Upper-mids recessed around 2-4khz. Treble is definitely elevated … but because of the soft character of the HE1000, does not sound overly harsh or sibilant.

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