1000 - 2000 euro
Studio monitor brand HEDD introduces headphones to the market with a unique, rarely used technique with headphones: an air motion transformer. Actually an airmovement transformer and the technique that has to provide this are folded ligaments. It is a technique that can provide enormous dynamics and at the same time feels very natural. A kind of golden combination of an electrostat (speed) and a dynamic driver (punch).
The HEDDphone is indeed dynamic and generous. We are treated to a broad soundstage and a beautifully accurate midrange. This shows the studio background of HEDD. The distortion we measure in the layer explains why we think this version of the HEDD phone is even better. We discard this with some hesitation, because HEDD has stuck its neck out with innovative headphones and that is very commendable.
The Arya of HifiMan: noblesse in a sober jacket. For about half the price of a Hifiman HE1000 you have the same technique on your ears. The Arya looks less impressive than the HE1000 and may not have the comfort of its legendary big brother, but you get a whole lot of listening pleasure in return. Everything that makes planar headphones attractive from an audio perspective is found in the Arya. It’s mainly the control in the bass, middle and high that impresses. The Arya can go very deep. However, it remains a ‘fast’ bass, it does not supress the other frequency areas, also the bass is light and airy. Make sure you get a good match with an amplifier that has ‘balls’.
In terms of sound signature, the Ananda is closer to the Arya than to the Sundara. This is mainly due to the bass-punch of the Ananda. The bass sounds nice and fat and full, especially for planar headphones. There is bass, and there is speed, spaciousness, timing, precision. It’s all correct. However, the bass is not a badly defined rumble in the lower frequencies. The Hifiman Ananda BT (€ 1,199) takes Bluetooth playback to the next level. But actually the Ananda BT brings even more happiness and joy with the USB DAC and headphone amplifier via USB-C cable.
Dan Clark AEON Flow 2
A comfortable and light pair of planar headphones that you can get in open and closed version. The open version sounds dynamic and fast, punchy, warm with the middle slightly pressed away and the sound signature is clear. This is also reflected in the measurements. These headphones have their own sound that distinguishes them from the other brands we are testing here.