Today, we’ll be reviewing Hedd’s Heddphone AMT driven open-back headphones.
Let us first say that it’s quite rare that a piece of equipment comes along which is genuinely unlike anything we’ve seen before.
The Heddphones are just that, and they are heralding what might be the next frontier of portable audio technology.
Our verdict on the Hedd Heddphones
Overall, the Heddphones deliver a fantastic performance by virtual all measures of the imagination. The AMT transducer technology that Hedd is spearheading here has worked out in the best way possible.
However, the technology is still more or less in its infancy, and it might take a while to see whether or not these headphones will stand the test of time.
For engineers and audiophiles excited by novelty and innovation, the Heddphones may just be what you’ve been searching for.
Power and frequency response
The Heddphones have a frequency response of 10 Hz – 40 kHz as well as an impedance of 42 ohms. The frequency response favors clarity above all else, and as a result heightens detail perception by a large margin.
The sub-bass extension is excellent, with little to no roll-off as we get down to the bottom ranges of human hearing (around 20 Hz). The only minor downside is that the low-end is a few dB below the Harman curve.
Meaning that the Heddphones are great for genres such as jazz, classical, or acoustic music, but may lack the low end emphasis one might enjoy for EDM, Hip-Hop, contemporary pop, etc.
Thankfully, the Heddphones respond well to EQ adjustments, for anybody looking for some extra “oomph”. Adding a 3 dB shelf around the 80 Hz mark can make a significant difference in performance for these purposes.
As far as the mid-range and treble regions are concerned, these headphones are simply remarkable. The high-end is clear and airy, but without any harsh sibilances or abrasive emphases. Cymbals and tambourines sound extremely natural, and ‘S’ and ‘K’ sounds are present without piercing your ears.
The midrange is equally fantastic. In recent years, there has been a trend among manufacturers to recess the upper-mids and lower treble – most likely because a boost in this region can be particularly grueling within the context of modern music, as it makes guitars and vocals appear shrill and/or shouty.
The Heddphones, however, don’t do this – or not by as much. In effect, the clarity of resonant trails has been preserved, and piano hits and sustained chords ring out as they would in real life without being muted or muffled.
While some of you may be vaguely familiar with the three primary driver types (namely dynamic, planar magnetic, and electrostatic), here we see something else entirely.
The Heddphones utilize a unique type of transducer known as a full-range Air Motion Transformer (or AMT for short).
Essentially, rather than a diaphragm that produces air speed approximate to the material being produced, an AMT transducer can increase air speed up to four times that of the diaphragm’s velocity.
The AMT diaphragm is made up of a set of folds which open and close, therefore squeezing the air rather than a more commonplace transducer which acts more like a piston.
We’ll save you on the rest of the more technical details on how exactly Hedd was able to achieve such a great performance out of this type of transducer, but we will say that all of it adds a great deal of weight. Sitting well on the heavier side, the Heddphones weigh 1.58 lbs.
Interestingly enough, however, they don’t weigh down on the neck nearly as much as one might suspect. We think this is largely due to the weight distribution of the headband and the clamp force of the cups.
There’s a notch in the center of the headband, letting the two side pieces take most of the weight. This means that there’s no hot spot after several hours of use.
One thing that we found disappointing were the ear cup extensions, which are pretty scant. Larger heads might have a hard time finding a proper fit with these headphones if at, and this lack of accommodation is unfortunate.
Despite their heaviness, the Heddphones are very comfortable. The thick foam padding of the ear cups circumvent the pressure of the clamping force which otherwise might have been a nuisance.
Likewise, the weight distribution of the headband seems to justify their weight, allowing them to be worn comfortably for several hours without any strain on the jaw, neck, or head. Still, slight neck discomfort can be expected for long running sessions.
Overall, they feel fairly solid and durable, although not quite as high end as other models such as the Audeze LCD-4s.
These things are more than stable for studio use, although we wouldn’t ever recommend them for jogging or high intensity workouts.
Besides, given how chunky and heavy these headphones are, it would probably be a disservice to your workouts anyway.
Noise cancellation and isolation
These are open-back headphones, and by design aren’t meant to cancel noise or isolate in any way.
In fact, the same volume of noise seems to come out of the back side of the ear cups as it does the inside.
The Heddphones come equipped with themselves, a manual, and a mini XLR-1/4″ connector. If any of you were looking for a carrying case or something else, you’ll have to go buy it separately.
Compared to other headphones
While the Heddphones may be the perfect choice for you, here are some alternatives to consider in comparison.
Hedd Heddphone vs. Sennheiser HD 800 S
While the Heddphones are great, one of the downsides of the new technology is a difficulty in translation.
The Sennheiser HD 800 S are a favorite amongst serious audiophiles and engineers, and their validity has been time tested.
They’re both great options, but the Sennheisers are definitely the safer bet.
Hedd Heddphone vs. AKG K812
Again, while these are both great options, the AKGs might be a safer bet for those of you worried about whether or not your mixes will translate across other sound systems.
Hedd Heddphone vs. AKG K872
The main difference between the Heddphones and the K872s is that the AKGs are closed-back headphones. Meaning that they’re far more ideal for tracking than the Heddphones.
Hedd Heddphones vs. Focal Clear MG Professional
In our opinion, the Heddphones sound more open and have a far bigger soundstage than the Focal Clears.
Who are the Hedd Heddphones best suited for?
The Heddphones are best suited for professional engineers looking for a high-quality, premium-grade set of headphones for mixing and mastering work.
For those of you interested in what may be the start of a new technological standard of headphones, the Heddphones are perfect for you.
- Amazing sound quality.
- Massive sound stage.
- Extreme clarity and detail.
- Fairly heavy.
- Rather expensive.