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HiFiMan Edition XS Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.5
Reviewed Mar 17, 2022 at 10:36 am
HiFiMan Edition XS Picture
8.7
Neutral Sound
3.5
Commute/Travel
5.0
Sports/Fitness
4.2
Office
4.7
Wireless Gaming
6.8
Wired Gaming
1.5
Phone Calls
Type Over-ear
Enclosure Open-Back
Wireless No
Transducer Planar Magnetic
Noise Cancelling No
Mic No

The HiFiMan Edition XS are open-back planar-magnetic headphones and are the next generation of the HiFiMan Edition X. Unlike their predecessor, they have a more conventional headband and use a thinner diaphragm to help the reproduction of details in tracks while keeping distortion low. They also have the manufacturer's 'Stealth Magnets' design to improve their sound quality. The result is a fairly neutral sound profile with present, bright vocals and lead instruments, making them versatile enough for most audio content. Their passive soundstage also feels wide, natural, and spacious. However, the headphones themselves are large and may not fit your head comfortably if you have a small head.

Our Verdict

8.7 Neutral Sound

The HiFiMan Edition XS are excellent for neutral sound. They have a very neutral sound profile that's suitable for a variety of audio content. Thanks to their open-back design, they have an outstanding passive soundstage performance that seems immersive, wide, and natural. They also reproduce sound very consistently and have a comfortable fit suitable for long listening sessions.

Pros
  • Outstanding passive soundstage performance.
  • Deliver audio very consistently.
Cons
  • Frame is a bit large and may not fit small heads well.
3.5 Commute/Travel

The HiFiMan Edition XS are poor for commute and travel. They're open-back audiophile headphones that don't block out any background noise and leak audio, which can bother other commuters around you. They're also bulky and don't come with a carrying case to help protect them when you're on the go. That said, they have a comfortable and well-built design.

Pros
  • Well-built design.
Cons
  • Don't block out any background noise.
  • Leak a lot of audio.
  • Frame is a bit large and may not fit small heads well.
5.0 Sports/Fitness

The HiFiMan Edition XS are disappointing for sports and fitness as they're not designed for this. They can fall off your head with moderate movement, and their audio cable can snag on something and pull them off your head. That said, they have a comfortable fit and feel well-built.

Pros
  • Well-built design.
Cons
  • Can fall off with your head with moderate movement.
  • No IP rating.
  • Frame is a bit large and may not fit small heads well.
4.2 Office

The HiFiMan Edition XS are poor for office use. They have an open-back design, meaning they won't block out any ambient chatter or AC noise around you. That said, they have a comfortable design.

Pros
  • Well-built design.
Cons
  • Don't block out any background noise.
  • Leak a lot of audio.
  • Frame is a bit large and may not fit small heads well.
4.7 Wireless Gaming

The HiFiMan Edition XS are wired headphones, and you can't use them wirelessly.

6.8 Wired Gaming

The HiFiMan Edition XS are alright for wired gaming if you don't need mic support. These headphones have a neutral sound profile that ensures that dialogue and lead instruments are clear and natural, and their open-back design ensures an immersive passive soundstage performance. They also have a comfortable fit suitable for long gaming sessions.

Pros
  • Outstanding passive soundstage performance.
  • Deliver audio very consistently.
Cons
  • No mic.
  • Frame is a bit large and may not fit small heads well.
1.5 Phone Calls

The HiFiMan XS don't have a mic, and you can't use them to take phone calls.

  • 8.7 Neutral Sound
  • 3.5 Commute/Travel
  • 5.0 Sports/Fitness
  • 4.2 Office
  • 4.7 Wireless Gaming
  • 6.8 Wired Gaming
  • 1.5 Phone Calls
  1. Updated Mar 17, 2022: Review published.
  2. Updated Mar 11, 2022: Early access published.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The HiFiMan XS come in one color variation: 'Black' and you can see our model's label here. If you come across another variant of these headphones, please let us know in the discussions, and we'll update our review.

Compared To Other Headphones

The HiFiMan Edition XS are the successor of the HiFiMan Edition X. Unlike their predecessor, they have a more typical headband design that feels a bit heavier than the manufacturer's ski band headband design. However, their frame is quite large, so if you have a small head, the bottom of the ear cups may reach your jaw. They have a very similarly neutral sound profile to the HiFiMan Ananda, making them suitable for a variety of audio content. Their fantastic passive soundstage performance also helps immerse you in your favorite audio.

Check out our recommendations for the best audiophile headphones, the best open-back headphones, and the best headphones for music.

HiFiMan Sundara 2020

The HiFiMan Edition XS are better audiophile headphones than the HiFiMan Sundara 2020. The Edition XS reproduce audio more consistently, have a more neutral sound profile, and their passive soundstage seems more immersive.  However, the Sundara 2020 have a ski-band headband design that's more comfortable.

HiFiMan Ananda

The HiFiMan Edition XS and the HiFiMan Ananda are both great headphones for neutral sound and depending on your preferences, you may enjoy either one. The Edition XS have a typical headband design, are able to reproduce sound more consistently, and have a more neutral sound profile as they deliver a bit more bass. Their treble response is also slightly brighter, which you may prefer if you want to focus on details in your tracks. However, the Ananda are better built and have a ski-band headband design that's more comfortable. Their passive soundstage creates a more out-of-head audio experience too. 

HiFiMan Arya

The HiFiMan Edition XS and the HiFiMan Arya are both excellent audiophile headphones with slight differences. Both headphones have a similarly neutral sound profile but the Arya have a ski-band headband design, are more comfortable, and feel better-built. On the other hand, the Edition XS have a more standard headband, which some people may prefer.

Sennheiser HD 800 S

The Sennheiser HD 800 S and the HiFiMan Edition XS are both excellent audiophile headphones with slight differences. The Sennheiser headphones have dynamic transducers, are more comfortable and well-built. They also have a slightly better mid accuracy, which ensures that vocals and lead instruments sound clear, accurate, and natural, while their passive soundstage creates a more out-of-head audio experience. In comparison, the HiFiMan are planar magnetic headphones. Thanks to their design, they're able to reproduce bass more accurately. They also deliver audio even more consistently than the Sennheiser.

Philips Fidelio X2HR

The HiFiMan Edition XS are better audiophile headphones than the Philips Fidelio X2HR. The HiFiMan have much more consistent audio delivery, they can reproduce bass more accurately, and their passive soundstage is wider and more immersive. However, the Philips are more comfortable.

HiFiMan Edition X

The HiFiMan Edition XS are the upgraded variant of the HiFiMan Edition X, but both are excellent picks for neutral sound. Both headphones have a neutral sound profile with a wide and immersive passive soundstage. Unlike their predecessor, the Edition XS have a more typical headband design, which may not be as comfortable for some users as the headphones are quite large and may not fit small heads well. Still, due to their design, they can reproduce audio more consistently. They also have a thinner diaphragm, which helps the reproduction of details in your audio, and their mid-range is more even.

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Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style
Type Over-ear
Enclosure Open-Back
Wireless No
Transducer Planar Magnetic

The HiFiMan Edition XS look a bit different from other headphones in the manufacturer's lineup. They have a typical headband rather than a ski-band headband design. That said, the headphones are large, and we have to put foam underneath our unit's headband so that it better fits our dummy head's ears. There have silver grilles with an elongated ear cup design that rests around your jaw. That said, they come in only one color: 'Black'.

7.5
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.93 lbs
Clamping Force
1 lbs

These headphones have a comfortable fit. They're well-padded, and the headband material feels nice. However, the headband feels heavier than other headphones in this manufacturer's lineup, like the HiFiMan Edition X and HiFiMan Arya. The headphones are also quite large and can be too big if you have a small head.

0
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
No Controls
Ease Of Use No Controls
Feedback No Controls
Call/Music Control No
Volume Control No
Microphone Control No
Channel Mixing
No
Noise Cancelling Control No
Talk-Through
No
Additional Controls No
5.2
Design
Portability
L 9.1" (23.1 cm)
W 6.5" (16.6 cm)
H 4.3" (10.9 cm)
Volume 255.06 inยณ (4,179.70 cmยณ)
Transmitter Required No

These headphones have sub-par portability. They're big, bulky, and can't fold into a more compact form to help save space. While they can fit into a large bag, they don't come with a carrying case to protect them when you're on the go.

0
Design
Case
Type No case
L N/A
W N/A
H N/A
Volume N/A
7.5
Design
Build Quality

These headphones have a good build quality. They have a mostly metal design with silver grilles. There's faux leather padding on the ear cups and headband. However, the plastic hinges feel cheap and can be prone to damage over time.

6.0
Design
Stability

The HiFiMan XS have mediocre stability. They're big, bulky, and not designed for sports use, so they can move around and fall off your head with moderate movement. They'll stay in place while you're listening to audio at your desk.

Design
Headshots 1
Design
Headshots 2
Design
Top
Design
In The Box

  • HiFiMan Edition XS headphones
  • 1/8" to 1/4" adapter
  • Detachable audio cable
  • Manual

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
-1.68 dB
Treble Amount
-0.65 dB

The HiFiMan Edition XS have a fairly neutral sound profile, suitable for a variety of audio content. They lack low-bass, which is normal from open-back headphones, but they can still deliver more thump and rumble than the HiFiMan Ananda. Vocals and lead instruments also sound clear and present, making them a solid choice for genres like classical or folk.

Note: The headphones are quite large, even when compared to other HiFiMan products like the HiFiMan Arya. We had to put foam under our unit's headband in order for them to fit on our dummy head. That said, there isn't much of a difference in frequency response with or without the foam in place.

9.0
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
0.2 dB

These headphones have outstanding frequency response consistency. Once you achieve a good fit, expect consistent bass and treble delivery. However, this may be tricky if you have a small head as the headphones are large.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
8.6
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
1.84 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
35.64 Hz
Low-Bass
-3.27 dB
Mid-Bass
-0.7 dB
High-Bass
1.57 dB

The HiFiMan Edition XS' bass accuracy is excellent. They have adequate punch and warmth that shouldn't overwhelm or muddy the rest of your tracks. If you're a fan of thumpy, rumbly genres like EDM and hip-hop, you may find their sound a little lacking.

8.7
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
1.71 dB
Low-Mid
1.03 dB
Mid-Mid
0.23 dB
High-Mid
-2.19 dB

These over-ears have amazing mid accuracy. The response is fairly flat, so vocals and lead instruments like Lionel Richie's voice in the chorus of Hello sound clear and present. A dip in the high-mid slightly weakens these sounds, though.

8.6
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
2.16 dB
Low-Treble
0.18 dB
Mid-Treble
1.19 dB
High-Treble
-4.26 dB

The HiFiMan Edition XS have excellent treble accuracy. Just over midway into the song Static by Godspeed You! Black Emperor, strings, and guitars are clear and detailed but not harsh. Sibilants like cymbals are also bright without being too piercing.

8.2
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
1.23 dB
Dips
0.88 dB

The HiFiMan XS' peaks and dips performance is great. There's a small peak in the high-bass, which adds a little extra warmth to audio, while a dip in the high-mids weakens vocals and lead instruments while a peak in the low-treble makes them a bit harsh. Another peak in the mid-treble turns sibilants like S and T sounds piercing.

8.9
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.13
Weighted Phase Mismatch
2.68
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
0.6
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
1.55

The HiFiMan Edition XS have an amazing imaging performance. The group delay falls below the audibility threshold, resulting in tight bass and transparent treble reproduction. The L/R drivers are also well-matched in phase, amplitude, and frequency response, which results in the accurate placement and localization of objects like footsteps in the stereo image. That said, imaging can vary between units and can indicate a manufacturer's quality control and ergonomics.

9.0
Sound
Passive Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
2.57 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
5.32 dB
PRTF Distance
12.78 dB
Openness
9.7
Acoustic Space Excitation
10

The HiFiMan Edition XS' passive soundstage performance is outstanding. The soundstage seems fairly natural, wide, and as if sound is coming from speakers placed in the room around you rather than from inside your head. The soundstage also seems open and spacious.

0
Sound
Virtual Soundstage
Head Modeling
No
Speaker Modeling
No
Room Ambience
No
Head Tracking
No
Virtual Surround
No App
7.5
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.195
WHD @ 100
0.213

The weighted harmonic distortion performance is good. There's some distortion present in the high-mid, which is more present in the right driver at high volumes. However, this can be hard to hear with real-life content. Most frequencies are within good levels, resulting in fairly clean and pure audio reproduction.

Sound
Test Settings
Firmware
No Firmware
Power
Passive
Connection
Wired
Codec
PCM, 24-bit, 48kHz
EQ
No EQ
ANC
No ANC
Tip/Pad
Default
Microphone
No Microphone

These are the settings used to test the HiFiMan Edition XS. Our results are only valid when used in this configuration.

Isolation
0.7
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-1 dB
Noise Cancelling No
Bass
0.15 dB
Mid
0.99 dB
Treble
-3.96 dB

The HiFiMan XS have a bad noise isolation performance, which is normal from open-back headphones. They won't block out the low rumble of bus and plane engines nor ambient chatter.

0
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
69.88 dB

These headphones leak audio by design. If you're listening to audio near others, they can hear it, even if it's at a moderate volume.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
No
In-Line
No
Boom
No
Detachable Boom
No
Mic No
0
Microphone
Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
N/A
LFE
N/A
FR Std. Dev.
N/A
HFE
N/A
Weighted THD
N/A
Gain
N/A
0
Microphone
Noise Handling
SpNR
N/A
Noise Gate
No
Speech + Pink Noise Handling
N/A
Speech + Pink Noise Audio Sample N/A
Speech + Subway Noise Handling
N/A
Speech + Subway Noise Audio Sample N/A
Active Features
0
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
No Battery
Continuous Battery Life
N/A
Additional Charges
N/A
Total Battery Life
N/A
Charge Time
N/A
Power-Saving Feature
No
Audio While Charging
No
Passive Playback
Passive Headphone
Charging Port None
0
Active Features
App Support
App Name No App
iOS No
Android No
macOS No
Windows No
Equalizer
No
ANC Control
No
Mic Control No
Room Effects
No
Playback Control
No
Button Mapping No
Surround Support
No
Connectivity
0
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
No Bluetooth
Multi-Device Pairing
No
NFC Pairing
No
Line Of Sight Range
N/A
PC Latency (SBC)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX HD)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX-LL)
N/A
iOS Latency
N/A
Android Latency
N/A
0
Connectivity
Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line Of Sight Range
N/A
Non-BT Latency
N/A
9.5
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
Yes
USB Audio
No
Detachable Yes
Length 4.76 ft (1.45 m)
Connection
1/8" TRS
Analog/USB Audio Latency
0 ms

These headphones come with a detachable 1/8" TRS cable and a 1/8" to 1/4" adapter if you want to use them with an amp or other audio equipment.

Connectivity
PC Compatibility
Analog
Audio Only
Wired USB
No
Non-BT Wireless
No

The HiFiMan XS can only receive audio when connected to your PC via an analog connection.

Connectivity
PlayStation Compatibility
PS4 Analog
Audio Only
PS4 Wired USB
No
PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No
PS5 Analog
Audio Only
PS5 Wired USB
No
PS5 Non-BT Wireless
No

These headphones can connect to PS4 and PS5 consoles by plugging their analog cable into your controller. However, you can only receive audio as they don't have a mic.

Connectivity
Xbox Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
Audio Only
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Non-BT Wireless
No
Xbox Series X|S Analog
Audio Only
Xbox Series X|S Wired USB
No
Xbox Series X|S Non-BT Wireless
No

These headphones can only receive audio when connected to your Xbox console's controller via analog.

0
Connectivity
Base/Dock
Type
No Base/Dock
USB Input
No
Line In
No
Line Out
No
Optical Input
No
RCA Input
No
Dock Charging
No
Power Supply
No Base/Dock

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