Austrian Audio aim to make the sound quality of their headphones available to those with smaller budgets with their Hi-X15. Our review investigates whether buyers will need to make compromises in terms of package, technology, handling or sound. After all, the name alone promises to put these headphones in the same league as their considerably more expensive big brothers. So it’s going to be exciting…
Austrian Audio Hi-X15 package
The Hi-X15 are delivered in the typical Austrian Audio box with a red Velcro fastener. In addition to the headphones, the box contains a transport bag that closes with a drawstring. A quick-start guide is included, as well as a card that promises a one-year warranty extension. To get the benefit of this, the buyer must register the headphones with the manufacturer.
Surprisingly, the headphones are not only wrapped in a transparent plastic film but the ear cups are additionally protected by two transparent plastic covers. Furthermore, the outer sides of the ear cups are protected from scratches during transport by adhesive foils. Last but not least, a sticker with the manufacturer’s logo is included.
A few words about the enclosed interchangeable cable: although it has gold-plated plugs, the adapter, which is also included in the package, does not have this corrosion protection.
Construction of the Austrian Audio Hi-X15
With their closed design, the Austrian Audio Hi-X15 are aimed at anyone who wants to isolate themselves from the outside world in terms of sound or who does not want their immediate surroundings to be exposed to sound. In order to achieve this, the headphones are consequently designed to be circumaural.
Visually, matt and satin surfaces dominate: black, silver and a dark metallic red give the headphones a modern and interesting appearance. Since the cable is plugged in at one end, the second ear cup is supplied by a partially exposed cable. This gives the Hi-X15 a nice classic look. However, on closer inspection, the top edges of the ear cups can repeatedly exert pressure on the cable during transport. This is a potential source of cable breakage if the headphones are transported frequently.
The Austrian Audio Hi-X15 uses specially developed drivers with a diameter of 44 mm. The “Hi-X” in the headphone designation refers to a technology that is particular to this headphone series. The abbreviation stands for “High Excursion” and refers to a particularly large excursion of the drivers. This should result in good dynamics and clean reproduction of the low-frequency range. To achieve this, particularly powerful magnets and a lightweight aluminium voice coil are used.
Technical values of the Austrian Audio Hi-X15
The measured values given by the manufacturer show the Austrian Audio Hi-X15 to be a good all-rounder for everyday use. Its audio frequency range extends down to a low 12 Hz, so sub-bass should not be a problem. At the other end of the spectrum, the headphones reproduce sound up to 24 kHz. This means that the range of reproduced frequencies clearly exceeds the typical human hearing range. With an impedance of 24 ohms, these headphones can easily be used with preamps that only output a low voltage. So if you want to use them with a smartphone, tablet, laptop etc., you will get a sufficiently high volume.
The interchangeable cable is easily and securely attached via a plug-and-swivel mechanism. The Austrian Audio Hi-X15’s ear cups can be rotated by 90 degrees and also folded in. This makes it easy to store in the supplied transport bag. As is typical for Austrian Audio’s headphones, an “L” and an “R” are printed in large letters on the protective mesh on the ear cups. This makes putting them on a no-brainer for the user. Because the ear cups are slightly twisted, they fit the ears perfectly with their slightly oval shape. The vertical movement also contributes to the good fit of these headphones. And the fact that the size adjustment of the headband is graduated means that the ideal size can be maintained even after taking them off. And the fit is super-comfortable. This is partly due to the soft ear and headband pads made with memory foam. The smooth surface of their casing also plays a role here. And even though the contact pressure of these headphones is relatively low, they still fit securely due to the shape of the ear cups and their low weight of just 255g (without cable).
Sound of the Austrian Audio Hi-X15
At first listen, the sound of the Austrian Audio Hi-X15 seems rich in treble and not very full. Basses are audible but discreet. Surprisingly, sub-basses clearly find their way to the ears. The Hi-X15’s mids sound differentiated, but for me, they were also superficial and had a certain sharpness depending on what was being listened to. This means that music with vocals and guitar-heavy music was dominated by a strong midrange. Due to the rest of the sound profile, the super-high frequencies are only partially convincing. As finely resolved as the highest treble frequencies were, allowing the likes of classical music an enormous spatial depth, they were overshadowed by the strongly present midrange.
Finally, let’s consider the acoustic shielding to the inside. It is not too strong and sounds from outside are still clearly perceived by the user. Likewise, the isolation to the outside is not too effective.
The Austrian Audio Hi-X15 are suitable as headphones for everyday use and offer a decent enough listening experience for urban music with clear sub-bass components. The Hi-X15 are also a good choice for those who want to hear vocals or speech particularly clearly. In addition, these headphones are easy to transport, comfortable to wear and look good. As an everyday accessory, they are therefore a good choice for a target audience who are looking for precisely this differentiated mid-range sound with low bass.
- Ear couplingOver-ear
- Transducer principledynamic
- Frequency response (headphones)12 - 24.000 Hz
- Impedance24,45 ohms
- Sound pressure level (SPL)99,31 dB
- Pressure averaged from big and small head516 g
- Weight with cable283 g
- Weight without cable256 g
- Cable length140 cm
What's in the box
- Cable, 1.40m (exchangeable)
- 6.35 mm stereo jack
- Carrying pouch