Hifiman Deva Pro Impressions

As many long-time readers know, I have a particular keen attraction with Hifiman and their line of planar magnetic headphones. I've been a long-time user of a variety of their headphones over the years -- with HE400S, HE560, HE6, HE400SE, Arya, Sundara, Susvara, and others in my collection or enjoyment through loaners or what nots. For the most part, I enjoyed each and everyone. Today, I will give a quick set of impressions on one that I do not like -- in that, it's still a decent set, but fails to live up to my sound quality level I expect from Hifiman.

This headphone is the Deva Pro. It's Hifiman's relatively budget planar set that also can come with their Himalaya R-2R DAC Bluetooth amp module that attaches to one cup and makes this headphone wireless. Unfortunately, I had bought a used set, and it was mislabeled as the bluetooth edition, but I ended up getting a wired-only version -- so despite all things, it's going back to returns regardless.

But, I am still able to test it with R-2R DAC sound -- as I've been listening to this primarily on my Spring 3 KTE DAC, as well as the Cayin RU-6 portable DAC/Amp -- both custom R-2R DAC implementations.

The Deva Pro has the same frequency response range that most all Hifiman planars do, and that's a good thing. What is a bit disappointing is that it lacks some technical qualities that I always find Hifiman excel at. It seems to even fall flat against the much cheaper, and super entry level HE400SE, which I use at work daily.

The Deva Pro is a little more resolving than the HE400SE. It has just a smidgen more resolution, and it's transient response is maybe a hair faster. But it is just very forward in its sound. Perhaps this makes things sharper and clearer -- but it really lacks any soundstage, and that's one of Hifiman's signature things. Big soundstage. The Deva Pro does not, at least not by Hifiman standards.

It also has very flat dynamics. Everything is loud and thrown at you, and it gets progressively worse the louder you turn up the volume. There's also a roll-off in the subbass that even the HE400SE doesn't have a half the cost. 

So what makes the Deva Pro special-er at the price point that is higher than HE400SE? It's likely the bluetooth module. Unfortunately, I don't have it to test out...