hifiman deva pro review

HiFiMAN Deva Pro Review – Hands-On Sound Quality & Comparison


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Bottom Line

Even though they are less costly than most wired planar-magnetic headphones in their class, the Deva Pro is not up to par with other headphones of the same cost. On the other hand, they are superior to most wireless, closed-back headphones in terms of resolution, but they are less practical and do not include features such as ANC (Active Noise Cancellation) that many consumers desire. As a result, the Deva Pro has a hard time finding a niche as either Bluetooth headphones or wired planar-magnetic headphones. Their unremarkable sound and substandard build are the only things that set them apart.

The Deva Pro provides Bluetooth compatibility in a pair of open-back, planar-magnetic headphones. Despite the tuning, it’s not close to perfect.

When HiFiMAN shocked everyone in 2019 with the announcement of the Ananda BT, a pair of wireless, planar-magnetic headphones with open-back, they had an extremely limited application.

In 2022, HiFiMAN will release the Deva Pro, a lighter and cheaper alternative to the Ananda BT that addresses several of its drawbacks, including the absence of an analog-only mode and increased weight.

Design

The HiFiMAN ear cups are slightly different from the HE-400SE and the Ananda, in that they are not as oval-shaped as the Arya and the HE-400se, respectively.

The plastic ear cups complement the aluminum yoke nicely.

One less obvious aspect of the design is the wire running through the underside of the headband from one cup to the other. Using the BlueMini module, you can connect just one earcup so you can hear sound on both sides.

The earcups are made of a perforated cloth material on the front and solid pleather surround on the rear. The headband is foam-padded and reasonably firm, but the foam would be softer if possible. There are two 3.5mm TRRS ports at the bottom.

The headband and yoke are made of aluminum. Unfortunately, the yokes have sharp edges that can be irritating. There are no injuries likely, but the poor fit and finish are evident.

Comfort and isolation

The lightweight design, plush earcups, and low clamp force of the HiFiMAN Deva Pro

make for an excellent level of comfort. The open-back design ensures poor isolation, which is the norm for this type of headphone.

Connectivity

The Deva Pro’s greatest feature is its BlueMini R2R module (it may be purchased independently if you desire). This module allows the headphones to become a Bluetooth “pair of headphones.” It may be plugged into either earcup.

There is a Type-C port at the base that can charge the module or connect to a computer to act as a DAC-amp. The single button powers the Deva Pro on or off with a long press, while a short press disconnects it from the current device. Double pressing enters pairing mode.

On the other hand, there is a blue LED status light at the bottom, as well as voice, prompts to let you know when the BlueMini has connected, disconnected, or been put into pairing mode. A mic is also included. Even though the mic sounds compressed and has little noise cancellation, it is still serviceable.

Battery Life

While most mainstream BT headphones only last 6.5 hours, the AFR headphones last 8 hours. Planar magnetic drivers are not used in these headphones, so expect inferior performance.

The Deva Pro module offers plenty of power to reach loud levels. When connected wirelessly, the volume increases are not linear. At lower volumes, it’s too quiet, and after 50%, it gets a bit too loud for me. There are occasional Bluetooth connection drops after 7 meters.

Driver

HiFiMAN has utilized their tried-and-tested planar magnetic driver on the Deva Pro, though it has been enhanced even further this time around. The most notable changes in the latest driver revision are the stealth magnet assembly and the neo-supernano diaphragm. The round-edged magnets in the stealth magnet assembly reduce the turbulence of sound waves as they pass through them, resulting in “acoustically transparent” magnet arrays that reduce distortion. On the other hand, the neo-supernano diaphragm refers to the nano-scale thinness of the diaphragm itself, with a sub-micron voice coil traced onto it.

HiFiMAN Deva Pro Sound

In wired mode, the Deva Pro sounds brighter-tilted and bass-heavy, while in Bluetooth mode, the treble gets more prominence.

Bass

The boost in bass starts at 30Hz and becomes loud at around 40Hz. The bass is relatively flat in terms of response. In all three configurations (Bluetooth, USB, and wired) the bass sounds muted after 35Hz (see bolded portion).

The bass has a decent amount of punch and slam but lacks physical rumble. There is insufficient mid-bass texture as well. The planar drivers give the bass a fast, abrupt quality, but at higher volumes, it can also become distorted.

Midrange

Stringed instruments sound like they have enough body to their notes. The lower midrange is well-tuned with enough heft to the notes for male vocals. Keyboard and piano sounds sound light and anemic in no way.

Unfortunately, the upper middle range is rather intense. There’s no obvious frequency dip between 2 and 5kHz, resulting in a very upfront midrange. Such tuning also hampers soundstage depth and microdynamics. The lack of sub-bass and flat mid-bass.

Treble

Because of its peak treble characteristics, treble fatigue is experienced after prolonged listening sessions.

I cannot listen to cymbal hits for any long period because they have greater sizzle. The lower-treble emphasis also adds sibilance instances, although those are rare. Wireless mode reduces sibilance noticeably. While the boost near 11kHz cannot disguise the lack of resonance, instead, it makes hi-hats and crash cymbals sound unnatural and shiny.

Soundstage

In Soundstage mode, depth is poor no matter which mode you use. Instruments are difficult to distinguish in straight lines in the case of Soundstage. In wired mode, Stage width is compressed, but it fares better in Bluetooth mode. Imaging is average.

Comparisons

It is difficult to make a comparison with the Deva Pro wireless, open-back planar magnetic headphones because I have not used any other wireless, open-back, planar magnetic headphones.

The Audeze Penrose wireless headphones feature a planar magnetic driver and are closed-back, but they are also wireless. Compared to other Bluetooth headphones, the Sony WH-1000XM4 has a more refined bass and treble production and a better soundstage. On the other hand, the Deva Pro is more resolving in the bass and treble and has a better soundstage than other mainstream headphones.

They are not ideal for commuting, but the low clamp force is not good when wearing them for physical activities. They are open-back wireless headphones, so you’ll want to avoid them if you prefer a closed-back fit. The HiFiMAN Ananda BT is a similar open-back wireless headphone range, and they are priced near the premium range, making a fair comparison difficult. Because they are the only open-back wireless headphones in their price bracket, they may be worth considering in the comparisons section.

Conclusion

The HiFiMAN Deva Pro is on the lower end of the pricing range for planar-magnetic wired headphones. They have better resolution than most wireless, closed-back headphones in their price range, but are less flexible and do not include ANC (Active Noise Cancellation) features that many customers would like.