Excellent at some, good at others
HI-X55 is excellent is most parts. It has tight and precise lower end, soothing mid range and a lively and agile treble region. And unlike some competitors It fits well, is light weight and has a sturdy build quality.
Matching with sources
Value for money
If you are in the market looking for a decent headphone, there is no way you have never considered a European brand. The mid budget IEM market might be dominated by Chinese manufacturers but the headphone market is dominated by brands like Sennheiser, AKG, Philips, Beyerdynamic, Grado and a lot many brands from European origin.
Incepted by former employees of AKG, Austrian Audio (Obviously from Austria) wants to make a mark for them by offering a couple of closed back headphone in two fitting styles. The Hi-X50 is an on-ear headphone with exactly same drivers as the bigger sibling HI-X55 which is an over the ear headphone.
I am reviewing the X55 here. It comes in only one color and sells for 299 Euros or $329. X55 faces plenty of competition from handful of competitors like Ollo S4X, ATH-M50x, MSR-7B, AKG K712, 702, Sennheiser HD650 and many more.
Get one for yourself from here:
In their words:
“Made in Austria
The engineers at Austrian Audio have designed and produced some of the world’s most acclaimed headphones and drivers. When it came time to create our first family of professional headphones, we took all the time needed to create them and to exceed many of the goals and challenges that came before.
Introducing the new professional Hi-X (High Excursion) headphones from Austrian Audio. Whether you choose the Hi-X50 or Hi-X55, know that you are getting “Made in Austria” quality from a team that stands behind this all-new design. You won’t find off the shelf drivers and key components here – everything is crafted by Austrian Audio right here in Austria.”
WHAT’S IN THE BOX:
The X55 doesn’t have anything fancy in its retail package. There is a 3 meter/10ft long cable, an 6.5mm adapter and a velvety draw string carry pouch inside the box.
HOW IS THE CABLE:-
The X55 comes with a 300cm/10ft cable which is long enough to be used at studios and work stations. It would have been cool if it had a coiled (telephone like) cable which retracts when not stretched as the length feels a bit annoying when working at the PC. The cable is just hanging without any protection. Thankfully this cable has similar locking mechanism which most of the brands are using and X55 is compatible with the Sennheiser HD6 mix. So, you know which cable to get if the stock cable is not exactly comfortable.
Quality of the wire is nothing special. It is slightly on the thicker side and has a layer of rubber on it which introduces some bounciness but it does not result into much microphonics. The 3.5mm jack is on the bulkier side and does not fit into my mobile phone (LG G7) with protective case.
P.S. I would like Austrian audio to ship their headphones with a Coiled cable or ship it with another shorter cable for those who want to take this comfortable and clean looking headphone outdoors.
BUILD, FIT AND AESTHETICS:-
I have had a few studio monitors on past, I have 5 with me now and 3 of them fold flat which is convenient but that is not a necessary feature for a studio monitor. I like these headphones a lot but I won’t take most of these full size cans outside.
Thankfully the X55 is one of those few studio monitors I would like to take out with me. It has a simple and minimalistic design to it. It looks clean and classy, without grabbing unnecessary attention. I love the way it folds and lays on my collarbone without weighing down on the neck. In other words its fairly light weight and more than comfortable while on the move. Ergonomically the soft and thin walled memory pads help these headphones fully cover the ears without applying much pressure resulting into long term comfort. These cups have a bit of sideways movement too which lets it adjust to some angle created by uneven boney areas around the ears. The head band is very flexible and will fit any head without much problem. There is a bit of padding on it and it can be replaced without any problem.
Build of the x55 is excellent with mixed usage of metal and plastic. The hinge and bow are made with metal while the support on them is made out of plastic.
Due to a bit of clamping force and memory foam X55 delivers excellent isolation. Much better than any headphone I have ever used.
TECHNICALITIES AND MATCHING WITH SOURCES:-
The X55 is rated at just 25ohm and has an SPL level of 118db which makes these headphones get fairly louder without much problem. But are these easier to drive? Not really. The X55 triggers the “Quad DAC” every time I plug it into my LG phone and it take around 80% volume to sound good out of other devices. This is a professional headphone and is barely made for casual use. Yes, it sounds okay with most of the mobile phones but its advisable to use a decent DAP or USB DAC/amp to get the best out of the X55.
It does not change a lot with plenty power but it does start sounding stress free.