They were, at the time, the best pair of headphones that I had ever heard and still remain amongst a handful of reference headphones that I would consider my all-time favorites. Ever the busy little bees that they are, the engineers at HiFiMAN have not seen fit to leave well-enough alone and recently released a “Version 2” model of the HE1000.
“So, what is the difference?” you may ask. Well, at first glance, the changes seem mostly to do with structural adjustments in the head band, earcups, earpads and the wiring. I am in the process of finding out if there are any technical changes to the drivers themselves.
Admittedly the structural changes seem rather subtle, that is, until you take a closer inspection and then actually put them on. The headphones are nominally lighter although I never found the originals to have an uncomfortable weight to them. The headband’s range of adjustment has been notably increased allowing for a wider range of head sizes. The earcups themselves are about 3 mm thinner on the V2 model which probably accounts for the bulk of the weight reduction.
Conversely, the beveled earpads are thicker with a more pronounced angle to the bevel, and are made of a different material. The new shape of the pad is said to improve bass response and soundstage while the new material is described as aiding in increased transparency. The new cable design is the most obvious change as it has gone from a two-core to three-core design that is now sheathed in a translucent rubber material versus the old woven design.
Initial impressions are that the HE1000 V2 are just as beautiful to look at and comfortable to wear as the originals. The additional adjustment range, in particular, is welcome and makes it easier to get these cans seated just right. I am giving ourselves a little time to get “acquainted with each other” before I make any definitive comments on the sound quality but initial listening has proved very promising!
MSRP for the HE1000 V2 is $2999.00 and expect a complete review on our website in the near future.