The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) takes place early in January every year in Las Vegas. . My first visit as a journalist to the CES this year was an experience I wont soon forget. Drew Baird from Moon Audio was gracious enough to take me through the events and it was appreciated. The South Hall Convention Center is where most of the Headphone vendors show new and exciting products for the current year.
The show draws an enormous worldwide crowd. Manufacturers and Retailers come from all over the world .The approximate attendance was estimated to be over 125.000 visitors. The pace is fast and the walking Drew and I did in the South Hall was around ten miles the first day of the show. The aisles were lined with the latest products from industry giants in consumer electronics.
At the Venetian, in the Astrell Kern and Jerry Harvey Audio booth, they were showing their amazing joint products designed for personal listening. JH Audio was demonstrating the exciting new universal in-ear monitors designed for portable players. The new AK Layla and Angies IEM’s were attractive and had exciting and stellar sound. Andy Regan (President) of JH Audio set me up with an AK 240 portable player and both IEM models. The sound from each IEM was articulate and musical. Each IEM had a different signature and bought brought reference quality sound. The Angie was priced at 1199.00 and the Layla was $2500.00 and are currently available for purchase. The Guru reviews of both will be coming shortly.
Fang Bian CEO of HiFiman and Peter Hoagland the US distributor were showing a reference headphone and amplifier. The HE1000 and EF1000 were setup at the Venetian and were the talk of the show. Fang told me this was the best headphone that he has ever designed. The HE 1000 is a planar design that is another game changer for planar headphones. The new concept is available in a light and attractive aluminum headband with wood cups that have comfortable newly patterned pads. The pads were leather and velour. The beautiful wood enclosure was extremely light and comfortable.
The HE1000 was balanced and neutral and created an out of head listening session using the EF1000 amplifier. Fang told me they would be showing them in a weekend session in New York City at the Trump SOHO and after being so impressed with the CES session I told Fang I would make arrangements to travel to NY to hear more of them.
Spending a day with them in NY wanted me to keep on listening. The sound was incomparable to other headphone that I had experienced. The transparency was stellar. The soundstage was wide, deep and much different that prior HiFiman designs. The light and comfortable fit made me want to extend the listening time. Fang asked me to do a preview and arranged for me to pick them up at Stereo Exchange the following week to spend a few weeks in my listening room.
The HE 1000 had a soundstage that easily let me hear room acoustics in the recording. The transparency was better than any of my other reference headphones and what made them so special is they can retrieve all the detail of a recording yet never seemed to be over analytical.
The HE1000 was exceptional using the EF 1000. The amplifier gives you the best of both worlds with a tube and transistors to provide the power and bass slam. The EF1000 can also drive speakers. The hybrid can put out 150W of class AB power. The EF1000 has a separate powerful headphone amplifier incorporated onto the design,
Instrument tonality sounded so right with the HE1000. Acoustic Guitar recordings had the tone of the instrument sounding much like what is heard in live settings. Easily heard was the guitar inner body and wood tone. Recordings with vocals provided a sibilant–free experience. The sound coming from the HE1000 was seductive and had me up till the wee hours of the morning. The hours just melted away as the sound and music had me gripped to my seat for hours that went deep into the morning hours.
The HE1000 sound coming fro m the Cavalli Liquid Gold was exceptional and equally impressive; the HE1000 can be driven effortlessly from portable amplifiers. The Chord Hugo drove them both musically and with little effort. The sound was exceptional also using the Burson Virtuoso Conductor. Unlike the HE6 this headphone can be driven with any good amplifier and it will not require speaker amp power to make them sound exceptional.
The HE1000 is light and comfortable. The level of feel was better than most other planar designs in my arsenal. My first day with them resulted in a twelve-hour listening session. I was never uncomfortable nor did I ever want to take them off. The HE1000 just disappeared and never called attention to anything other than the music.
The HE 1000 is a game changing product for HiFiman. The HE1000 competes with any headphone currently manufactured. The design, with its increased transparency and articulate detail retrieval, will set a higher bar for other companies. The sound coming form the He1000 was always musical and letting it out of my listening room was painful. Fang Bian knocked the ball out of the park with this design. The finished product I am told will even better. The HE1000 is an exceptional product that merits any music lover attention. The production model will be a full review and can’t wait to get them back in the listening room. Exciting and dynamic, the HE1000 is an experience that cannot be missed.
My first Consumer Electronics show was an experience I won’t soon forget. The products coming out in 2015 will be memorable and promises to be one of the most exciting since I entered the personal audio market. The innovative designs keep getting better and there are many new offerings that will change the way we listen to music. Get out to your local meets or even better try to get to one of the bigger shows being organized in 2015. Listening is getting more personal and our community is growing at an enormous rate. 2015 indeed will be be a driving forcefor our community. Next up is the SoCal CanJam.
Frank started his journey in high-end audio in 1978 and was quickly hooked. Frank’s passion for music and great sound reproduction is stronger than ever. His main focus is with high-end headphones and portable related gear. He is a regular Head-Fi.org contributor and is a co-founder of Headphone.Guru.