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HiFiMAN HE1000 Stealth Review

::Disclaimer::
This headphone was purchased by myself from Amazon. No deals were struck, no discounts.

The HiFiMAN HE1000 Stealth sells for around $1,399
HiFiMAN.com
HiFiMAN on Amazon

Frequency Response: 8Hz-65kHz
Impedance: 32Ω
Sensitivity: 93dB
Weight: 458g


How to begin? It’s been a while. I’m rusty. I haven’t written a review in years, publishing my first in ages only a few weeks ago. I dove deep into this hobby for a handful a years and burned myself out. So I moved on to other hobbies, discovered new passions.

And I’ve circled back to audiophilia. I looked at my gear and thought, “I can do better.”

I was running the review sample Topping DX7Pro as DAC and pre-amp to my Emotiva Airmotiv 4s Powered Studio Monitors, as well as pre-amp to the very first DAC/Amp I ever bought in this hobby, the Audio-GD NFB-28 (2016 model), which at this point I was only using as a headphone amp. The NFB-28 has a monstrous amp section, and is decently warm and musical. The whole system was fully balanced. So in spite of the cool, analytical Topping DAC, I had an okay setup for whatever headphones I might want.

The headphones I was using were the ZMF Atticus (review sample), and the Audeze LCD-3 Fazor, which I had bought used.

I love these headphones. But they are old, and I was itching for something new. I hadn’t bought a new piece of audio gear in years, and I was jonesing bad!

My mind went straight to the best headphone listening experience I’d had in my life: When I got to hear the ZMF Auteur from a beast of a tube amp at an audio show.

So I figured… I’m going to buy those.

But then Auteur is old news, isn’t it? And there are so many new ZMFs! After some research, I placed an order for the 2024 LTD Atrium Open in Zebra Wood.

“Wait a minute,” you might be saying, “I thought this was a review of the HE1000?!”

Have you ever ordered a ZMF headphone before? They are custom built per order. Mine had a shipping date of 4-8 weeks!

So I bought something else to tide me over. I watched YouTube videos. I read posts on the forums. And basically on a whim I bought the HE1000 Stealth from Amazon Prime 2-day shipping.

I really wanted Atrium. But I also REALLY wanted something new to play around with NOW.

Oh yes, I also upgraded both my DAC and Amp. Now I’m running the Schiit Bifrost 2/64, which I bought used, and the recent reissue to the legend, the Violectric HPA V281 Limited Edition. Did I mention I was jonesing?


Let us get the naming confusion sorted first. The HE1000 Stealth is the HE1000 V2 but with Stealth Magnets. You may find these on some stores listed as the HE1000 V3, which is wrong. Officially, there is no such thing. The Stealth is not to be confused with the HE1000 SE, which ALSO utilizes Stealth Magnets. Not confusing at all, right?

The below headphones are distinct models and should not be confused with one another:

HE1000 V1
HE1000 V2
HE1000 Stealth
HE1000 SE

In this review I will only talk about the HE1000 Stealth. So whether I call it Stealth, HE1000, or HEK for short, I am always referring to the HE1000 Stealth, and no other variant.

The packaging is right in line with what you’d expect from a premium, upper mid-range headphone. It’s nothing special, but the presentation is handsome and of sufficient quality.

There are two cables included; a standard 6.3mm Pro, and a 4-pin XLR for balanced. They are good cables, far nicer than the previous designs, lovingly coined “Catheter Cables” by the community. These newer ones have little to no microphonics or coil memory. And they sound pretty good.

Of course, upgrading cables is always recommended to get the most out of your higher end headphones. My sound impressions will be done using the Norne Audio Drausk v2, 16-wire, 17.6awg, OCC Copper Litz, which I bought used from the Classifieds for a good price.

The build quality of the HE1000 Stealth is quite good. I’m not going to say it’s amazing, but I also can’t find any faults in it. Word on the internet is HiFiMAN had quality control issues in the past, but I’ve never experienced them. I still own the review sample of the first run of the Sundara, which is just as solid as it was on day one. The HE1000 Stealth is built at least as well as that, with plenty of metal and leather, so I don’t foresee any issues down the road.

I find these headphones very comfortable, too. They’re light and low-profile and I am able to listen for hours and hours without any hot spots developing. However, they do fit differently than any other headphone I’ve used. I usually have to place the headband slightly forward to achieve optimal comfort and stability. The Stealth, on the other hand, feels awkward in that position. In fact, it’s not until I place them farther back on my head than I do for any other headphone that they find the perfect resting position. The same is true for the cups. Just a little farther aft and they feel and sound their best.

I’d say there is a learning curve, discovering exactly how the HE1000 wishes to sit on your head. But with a little experimentation, you’ll find them rather enjoyable to wear. And when in doubt, push them further back!

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ABOUT AUTHOR

Picture of Pinky Powers

Pinky Powers

Pinky is an artsy twat. Illustration, graphic design, writing. Yet music escapes him, and always has. He builds his own cables, and likes to explore the craftsmanship of others. He's a stabby one, also. At the first hint of annoyance, out comes the blade. I say he's compensating for something... in a big bad way. If we all try really hard as a collective, maybe we can have him put down.

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