2015 was a very special year for personal audio. Not only did we see and hear some extraordinary gear come our way, we also celebrated Headphone.Guru’s second year of publication!
As our industry continues to grow, we hope to thrive with it, and will continue to report on the very best personal audio gear in the world. We hope that you will join us on this journey.
In the meantime, let us celebrate the gear that has brought us joy this year, as we present Headphone.Guru’s Products of the Year (and Writers’ Choice Awards)!
2015 Headphone of the Year: HiFiMAN HE-1000 Full-Size Planar Magnetic Headphone
The HE-1000 took the market by storm. offering a new level of sound staging previously unavailable in any planar headphone. The HE-1000 has a magical midrange making vocal recordings a startling listening experience.
The treble is pristine and bass is tuneful and has excellent definition and texture. What makes it so special is it ability to give the listener an out of your head experience. The striking design is beautiful to look at and most comfortable to wear for extended listening sessions. Fang Bian’s design while not inexpensive offers the listener non compromised reference quality sound rarely found in any headphone. The HE-1000 earns our Product of the Year for best full size headphone for 2015.
Chris Currell: HiFiMAN’s HE-1000 Full-Size Planar Magnetic Headphone
It was tough for me to decide what my writer’s choice would be, but after much deliberation I have to say that the HiFiMAN HE-1000 headphone is my overall pick. This headphone is simply amazing! I was very impressed with it’s pin-point spatial resolution and accurate sound reproduction! I have to say that each year, it becomes more difficult to make these choices because all manufacturers are making better and better products. Thank you all for your great work!
Bowei Zhao: HiFiMAN’s HE-400S Full-Size Planar Magnetic Headphone
The HiFiMAN HE-400S is my choice headphone for 2015. It’s quite possibly one of the best budget flagship you can buy one the market at the moment in my opinion. The AKG Q701 has held the title of the headphone everyone on a budget should buy for a few years now.
The introduction of the HE-400S wasn’t a ground breaking as the HE-1000 and it certainly isn’t the best sounding headphone in the world. But the effect it can have on the headphone market at large, most of which are in the sub $300 range, can be astronomical as the HD600, Q701, and former HE-400 has shown. These headphones represent the large group of consumers that prowl Head-Fi and are the end-game for many of those people. The 400S is incredibly balanced and tonally complete with a fantastic bite to its treble range. Couple that with the friendly detachable cable and planar magnetic technology and it isn’t hard to see the HE-400S becoming a common recommendation and purchase. Many other headphones in the range can do some specific elements better, but the Hifiman HE-400S, in my book, trumps them by being so good at pretty much everything that making it a recommendation is easy. Move aside HD650, Q701, DT990, and Mad Dogs, I’ll need some room to plug the 400S into my amp.