HiFiMAN Electronics is a designer and manufacturer of audio products including headphones, amplifiers, and portable audio players. Hifiman is known for its high-end audio products initially made under the brand Head-Direct but now only as HIFIMAN. Its most popular products include the HE-400 which are full sized open back headphones and the RE-400 which is an IEM (In Ear Monitor). Both of these products are critically acclaimed for their sound quality.
Founded by Dr. Fang Bian in late 2005 while he was living in New York City, Bian started Head-Direct, both a web-store and Head-Fi sponsor. He began use of the HiFiMAN brand since 2007. In 2010, he started two small factories in China and moved the headquarters to Tianjin, China in 2011.
Early Products and Development
One of the company’s early planar headphones was a model called the HE5. To avoid the high cost of tooling and because quantities were small in those days, it was decided to make HE5’s ear cups out of wood. Wood was also considered a sign of quality and would help establish HIFIMAN HE5 as a higher-end headphone. Response from the market to the HE5 was wildly enthusiastic both in consumer demand and critical acclaim. HIFIMAN found themselves having to quickly ramp up production, however its “DIY” nature made that costly and difficult. To make matters worse, the wood ear cups began cracking when subjected to temperature and humidity extremes.
HE5 was replaced by the HE5LE where the wood ear cup was replaced by plastic. This design proved to be successful and was an early forerunner of HIFIMAN planar phones to come. As a key part of the chain, the low sensitivity of planar magnetic headphones (HIFIMAN included) demanded high powered amplifiers. Since few amps like this were on the market at the time, this made it challenging for some listeners to fully realize the potential of HIFIMAN HE headphones. As a result, this spawned the company’s efforts into making higher performance amplifiers such as the EF5 and ultimately the robust HE6.
HiFiMAN designs and manufactures high-end headphones and portable audio products like the HE-5, HE-5LE, HE-6, HE-500, HE-400 and a range of earphone’s or IEM’s ( In Ear Monitors) such as the revelatory RE-0, to the RE-252 and to the latest RE2000. In 2009, HiFiMAN released the HM-801, marketed as the first true high-end portable music player and have continued with the slimline Supermini and the more chunky HM series running up to the top end HM901S. HiFiMAN has been one of the foremost companies in attempting to normalise the availability and use of a 3.5mm Balanced output on their players and use for ear and headphones too.
HiFiMAN is still best known for their Planar-Magnetic headphones that feature advanced driver technology but the company designs and manufactures in-ear drivers, which have also garnered a variety of awards.
Such as their HM-700 and HM-901, full-size headphones like the HE-560 and HE-400i, earphones including the RE-400 and RE-600/RE-600s, amplifiers such as the EF-2A and EF-6.