Drop + Hifiman HE-R7DX review: these $99 headphones are worth buying

The pitch for Drop and Hifiman’s HE-R7DX headphones is fairly easy: convey the essence of audiophile-grade audio right down to an inexpensive stage. At $99, these cans should be a stable starter for budding audio lovers, promising nice audio even when you’re driving them from a regular telephone or laptop moderately than a robust DAC. In reality, Drop’s web page guarantees “wonderful isolation, spectacular particulars” and even “open-back-level soundstaging”. It appears like a profitable components, however do the HE-R7DX reside as much as their billing? We examined the HE-R7DX for 2 weeks to search out out.

The very first thing you will discover getting these headphones out of the field is the design, which is simplistic however considerably retro, with massive navy blue plastic earcups and a black, textured leather-based headband that’s develop into Hifiman’s trademark characteristic, full with small steel forks connecting the 2 parts collectively. I’ve seen some complaints that the design is maybe slightly uninspiring, however to me, there’s a sure minimalistic and refined high quality to the HE-R7DXs that make them appear much more costly. You gained’t discover something by way of further controls on the underside of the headphones for controlling quantity or the like – that’s all left to the host system – and as these are headphones moderately than a headset, there isn’t any mic included both. Connectivity is stored good and simple with a easy 3.5mm audio jack on the top of what’s fairly a chunky cable, and within the field, you additionally get a 3.5mm to six.35mm adapter to permit use with extra professional-grade audio gear.

drop x hifiman he-r7dx headphones

Admittedly, these are a few of the odder becoming headphones I’ve examined with little or no in the way in which of adjustment aside from on the headscarf. There’s no actual swivel on the earcups, aside from the pure swivel while you put them in your head. The HE-R7DX are additionally a few of the looser becoming cans I’ve used, as they merely relaxation in your head, versus clamping round your cranium. It’s a sensation that takes some getting used to however aids in making these an particularly snug match for prolonged durations of listening. They weigh in at 338g, which is heavier than plenty of the equally priced gaming headsets I’m used to, however within the headphone world, the HE-R7DXs are fairly mild, which simply aids in making them much more snug.

It will be straightforward to imagine that the unfastened match would imply they leak noise out, however in precise reality the HE-R7DXs characteristic fairly good noise isolation even with none music or audio taking part in. The sound of the rain exterior my condominium was considerably dulled down, as was the noise of development staff exterior; with that being stated although, the typing from my Das Keyboard MacTigr wasn’t drowned out until I turned the cans as much as close to max quantity.

The purpose of quantity leads me properly onto sound high quality. The HE-R7DXs sound, properly, moderately good certainly. Getting the match proper is essential although, as, with out it, you gained’t get a ok seal to expertise these cans’ powers. They supply Hifiman’s signature impartial sound profile, which implies that every a part of the frequency response is well-represented and thoughtfully thought of. They undoubtedly aren’t bass-heavy monsters, that’s for certain.

Reality be informed, the bass right here isn’t as impactful as you could initially anticipate, with an absence of thump about it. That isn’t such a foul factor although, because it permits slightly extra nuance and texture to seep via and supply extra of a rounded low finish versus one which feels such as you’ve been hit over the top with an axe. A hearken to Elvis Costello’s Watching The Detectives exemplified this completely, with the low-end tones of Bruce Thomas’ simplistic bassline offering a useful cushion for the remainder of the music to relaxation on.

The HE-R7DX’s midrange can also be properly dealt with, with a smoothness and neutrality to it that makes these sound a good bit costlier than they’re. They’re an in depth pay attention too, with loads of refined tones extracted in tracks equivalent to a reside minimize from James Taylor’s stomping Steamroller Blues that I hadn’t ever observed earlier than. It handled vocal-focused tracks equivalent to Helplessly Hoping by Crosby, Stills & Nash splendidly, with marvellous readability, in addition to with heavier decisions equivalent to Rush’s Working Man properly, too, with Geddy Lee’s nearly shrieking vocal coming throughout with wonderful element.

With regards to the highest finish, these Drop and Hifiman cans excel on their treble presentation, with strings and percussion that includes a pointy however candy shimmer to them, and a pleasant general sparkle. Neil Peart’s cymbal rides in Working Man’s instrumental part didn’t really feel harsh or overdone however as an alternative complement the present low and mid-range properly. Steely Dan’s marvellous Do It Once more has all the time been a favorite for testing the highest finish, and its opening minute of competing percussion parts doesn’t sound as in the event that they’re all on high of one another with the HE-R7DXs. Iinstead, they’re every given their very own area to breathe and sound nice within the course of.

Whereas all the frequency response vary sounds particularly nuanced but balanced with the HE-R7DXs, it’s on the entrance of its soundstage, or the width of the audio, the place issues get particularly good. For a pair of closed backs, they provide good separation, with completely different areas of the band given plenty of respiration room, aiding to extract as a lot out of a tune as attainable. Closed backs can typically sound slightly cluttered, with devices and vocals all mixing collectively, however with these cans, there’s a way of depth to the sound that’s nearly open-back like in high quality and presentation. Billy Joel’s Uptown Woman offers a implausible instance, with its opening drum beat carrying a pleasant reverb to it, in addition to the voices of the backing vocalists. As well as, the small bongo noises within the far proper nook of a pay attention of Earth, Wind and Hearth’s September sounded as enjoyable and energetic as they need to.

All of that mixes to make the HE-R7DXs a superb all-round pair of headphones to make use of for working, as a lot as listening to music and gaming. The actual fact they don’t sound too harsh or overbearing and supply fairly a ‘mushy’ profile means they cope with completely different genres of music equally properly, and sign a refinement to their audio that doesn’t seem to be it needs to be on extra of an inexpensive pair of dynamic driver headphones.

In delving into a few of the different key technical plus factors, the 16-ohm impedance is sort of low, which means you possibly can run these headphones simply even with a smartphone or a pc’s built-in audio. To be truthful, I haven’t received a flowery DAC/AMP, and I merely plugged these into the spare 3.5mm jack on my MacBook Professional, and to get such a top quality and balanced sound from one thing as low energy as that should even be a superb signal when you wished to run this on increased finish gear.

All in all, at $99 the Drop and Hifiman HE-R7DXs signify some nice worth for cash relating to extra audiophile-grade headphones. They provide a stunning and refined, nearly velvety mushy sound profile to them that makes them a marvellous all-rounder for video games as a lot as music, and a superb soundstage that plenty of equally priced closed backs could not have the ability to compete with. Their fitment will take some getting used to, admittedly, however as soon as all of it feels proper, you’re certain to have a good time with these cans.

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