HE1000 V3, also known as HE1000 V2 Stealth, is the latest version of HiFiMAN hi-end headphones. The highlight of the program are, of course, the improved planar transducers with acoustically neutral Stealth Magnets.
A month ago I described the great Anands , the latest version of mid-range HiFiMAN headphones, in which the Asian manufacturer replaced the magnets. This is the leitmotif of almost all my tests of this brand’s headphones, because HiFiMAN is gradually updating its portfolio. It was no different with the more expensive Arya V3 or the basic HE400se . It was the turn of the HE1000 V2, i.e. high-end open planar headphones, which also received new, acoustically “invisible” magnets.
Surprisingly, the new HE1000 V2 variant debuted quietly – the refreshed headphones still do not have a subpage on the official website, and people ordering this model unexpectedly received its latest iteration. I’m not even sure what the official name of the headphones is, because the box only shows the enigmatic “HE1000”. On the Internet, the headphones are known as both HE1000 V2 Stealth and HE1000 V3. I decided to use the latter name in the following test to be consistent with the Arya V3 model.
I was interested in how the HE1000 V3 compares to the Arya V3, technically phenomenal and at the same time much cheaper headphones with a similar design. We are talking about models priced at Euro 2650 and Euro 1700, which have a lot in common – after all, both headphones are open, based on a similar design, and their specifications are almost dot to dot. It soon turned out, however, that the similarities are only apparent, because the HE1000 V3 definitely raises the bar. Only, is the progress worth the extra 950 Euro?
- cable 2x 3.5 mm > 3.5 mm (length 291 cm);
- cable 2x 3.5 mm > XLR 4-pin (length 291 cm);
- 6.35mm adapter;
- headphone stand.
Accessories evoke mixed feelings. It’s great that the set also includes a balanced cable with an XLR plug, which the Arye V3 does not have. However, the wiring looks average, because the braid was saved, and the insulation is not semi-transparent this time. So I am not sure if the conductor has not changed, because the cables in the HE1000 V2 were made of pure and silver-plated copper.
The set also includes a stand, which is no different from that of cheaper models, because it is a foam mold for headphones with a plastic base. Although I appreciate this upcycling, at this price I would expect something better. I would also not despise a case in the style of the Meze Audio 109 Pro or even a simple headphone cover.
There is no doubt that the HE1000 V3 are positioned higher than the Arya V3 or Ananda Stealth. This time, the design is more luxurious, as evidenced by the perforated leather band and woodgrain veneer. Although I prefer darker colors and I am not entirely convinced by the bright (and suspiciously homely) color of the veneer, I must admit that the HE1000 V3 have something in them – it’s nice to keep an eye on them.
There is also progress in the quality of workmanship – the plastic is replaced by aluminum, and the individual elements are finished with greater precision and additionally polished. I immediately noticed that the edges of the grille and spades were rounded, because unlike the Arya V3, they are not sharp to the touch. I was hoping for better earmuffs, because they basically do not differ from the pads of other HiFiMANs. The pillows are again angular and hybrid, because they are made of uniform and perforated artificial leather, as well as polyester mesh.
Other elements do not require elaboration – the suspended band moves in the range of nine, precise jumps, and the earcups again rotate both vertically and horizontally, i.e. identically as in the Arya V3. Moving parts offer a lot of resistance, work smoothly and are free of play, so the structure of the HE1000 V3 does not feel rickety. There were also universal 3.5 mm sockets on both shells or “louver” grilles.
Ergonomics and use
The HE1000 V3 are the most comfortable HiFiMAN headphones I’ve ever had on my head, and I’m not exaggerating when I say that they are one of the most comfortable headphones among all the models I know. Theoretically, there should be no difference from the Arya V3, but it turns out that the pressure of the HE1000 V3 headband is less – the headphones still perfectly stick to the head, but do not compress the contact of the jaws. During many hours of listening, I did not feel any discomfort, which is also due to the large and capacious pads and the optimal size of the headband, because the fourth position out of ten was enough for me.
The HE1000 V3 are big and massive, weighing 458 grams, which is over 50 grams heavier than the Arya V3. Interestingly, the weight is not noticeable at all, because it was evenly distributed. This is largely due to the elastic headband, which perfectly adapts to the shape of the skull and does not compress the top of the head. I was only afraid of additional “ventilation”, i.e. holes on the band. I have a trauma with the Audeze LCD-2 Closed Back, whose headband was a real torture tool for me. Fortunately, in this case, the perforations are not noticeable, because the band is properly suspended under the headband, so it does not lean against it, which is the case in the Audeze project.
The wiring looks average, but in practice it does not disappoint. The cables are flexible and heavy, so they fit perfectly. The manufacturer did not save on the length either, because both cables are about 3 meters long. This can be assessed in two ways – listening from a couch or armchair will be comfortable, but excess cable can be irritating at a computer desk or when using a mobile music player. If necessary, however, there will be no problem with replacing the cable – the 3.5 mm sockets are devoid of locks or guides and have not been inserted into the shells.
- construction: open, circumaural
- transducers: planar
- frequency response: 8Hz-65kHz
- sensitivity: 93 dB
- impedance: 32 ohms
- cables: 2x 3.5 mm > 3.5 mm + adapter 6.35 mm (approx. 300 cm) and 2x 3.5 mm > XLR 4-pin (approx. 300 cm)
- weight: 458g
I spent two months with the HE1000 V3, checking various configurations and listening to a lot of discs. I have the impression that I got to know the headphones through and through, and yet the description of their sound was a challenge for me. For two reasons. First of all … I didn’t want to test them at all, I preferred to just listen to music – the headphones met my taste perfectly and met all my requirements, because they are neutral, musical, impressively resolving, incredibly spacious and pleasant to listen to. Secondly, I was afraid that I would not be able to convey the character of the HE1000 V3 in writing, that I would not pay them due tribute and would not be able to refrain from emotions that I usually avoid. But I couldn’t delay any longer.
The bass is great! It has a linear character, as befits planars, but there is a bit more of it than usual with the HiFiMAN. I don’t want to scare anyone – the dose of bass is still within the normal range; The HE1000 V3 are certainly not bass headphones. It’s all about the resolution and dynamics of low tones: tight, springy, punctual and extremely precise. The biggest impression is made by the speed and attack of the bass, because there is a lot of energy in the music – the kick drum or the bass guitar hit hard and violently and immediately fall. The effect is so impressive that in the right repertoire the bass can be felt, not just heard. In addition, the headphones transmit the saturation of the low registers and perfectly differentiate shapely instruments. As an ex-bass player, I was really charmed by the quality of the HE1000 V3’s lower registers.
The bottom of the band smoothly turns into the midrange, neutral, close and colorful. There is no conflict between the lower and upper midrange – the subranges support each other, so you can count on both warmth and massiveness, as well as outline and clarity. Thanks to this, low vocals sound deep and vibrant, higher ones are free and clear. Guitars, wind instruments, keyboards and strings do not disappear in the background, they are close and presented strongly, but not insistently. The HE1000 V3 perfectly outline the sound contour, sound hard and keep the music in check, but paradoxically they are also smooth in transmission. Thanks to this, the headphones deserve to be called musical – despite the high resolution and the abundance of details, the HE1000 V3 does not tire. However, it is still difficult to make the music a background, the sound is completely addictive.
The highs are in the style of HiFiMAN, but they have been slightly tempered. We are still talking about a bright, strong and free soprano; the treble is still stretched and crystal clear. For this reason, the other bands are perfectly illuminated, there is absolutely no question of dimming or veiling the sound – everything is presented as directly as possible. Therefore, a properly recorded repertoire is recommended, because the headphones will not save razor-sharply mastered discs, songs with screaming upper registers or with truncated bass. However, somehow the sound is not aggressive, the HE1000 V3’s treble is assimilable even in less favorable configurations or more clearly realized tracks. The exception is metal music – worse recordings may require appropriate synergy, to which the headphones are most sensitive. But more on that in a moment.
The soundstage is the icing on the cake. It is ellipsoidal and impressively wide – the sound extends far to the right and left, but the depth or height of the stage is not affected, because the instruments are still positioned at various points around the listener. Holography does not disappoint, as the HE1000 V3 generates shapely, three-dimensional and large instruments, which only enhances the natural character of the headphones. Nobody will lack air, because there is a lot of freedom in space, the instruments are distanced from each other, so the separation of sounds is perfect. The HE1000 V3 breaks down the music for us, presenting each melodic line independently and layered. Nevertheless, the message is still coherent, you can perceive music both by separating individual tracks, and as a whole.
HiFiMAN HE1000 V3 impress in almost every respect. They are well made, solid and aesthetic, despite the rather specific colors. I can also describe ergonomics in superlatives, and probably not only me, because you can’t fault anything. I was also positively surprised by the cables, inconspicuous, but long and flowing, so comfortable. The presence of a balanced cable in the set must also be considered a plus, because nowadays it is not a certainty. The sound is phenomenal in my opinion – HE1000 V3 romance with balance, but they do not lack colors or bass. The headphones also show off the dynamics and overall resolution of the sound, but they are also musical. The wide and three-dimensional soundstage is also fantastic.
It is a pity that the HE1000 V3 are not more “premium”, that we do not get something extra. I mean the equipment, i.e. the stand, cables and earmuffs – at this price I would expect a more durable tripod, braided cables or more solid pads, as well as a case or even a cover. The general similarities to the lower positioned models slightly spoil the effect.
HiFiMAN HE1000 V3, or HE1000 V2 Stealth, It is difficult to recommend them to everyone, but I have no doubt that these are the best quality headphones from this manufacturer that I have dealt with. If the price did not play a role, I would gladly choose them and thus pay extra to the Arya V3. However, if we prefer a more technical/transparent sound and prefer a deep rather than wide soundstage, the Arya V3 may be better.
+ balanced cable included
+ solid workmanship
+ aesthetic design
+ high ergonomics
+ even balance
+ successful headband
+ wide size adjustment
+ long and flexible cables
+ balanced sound with masterful bass, saturated midrange and clear treble
+ wide, holographic soundstage sound with a lot of aeration
– no case included
– accessories of average quality
– visually not very versatile