The Austrian Audio Hi-X25BT are closed, circumaural Bluetooth headphones that aim to combine professional sound and wireless everyday use. In terms of sound, they are supposed to deliver precise sound down to the lowest frequency ranges with their High Excursion technology. In our practical test, we will find out if they succeed.
Is the Austrian Audio Hi-X25BT just a Bluetooth version of the Hi-X15 from the Austrian headphone manufacturer? We listen closely for you.
When you buy the Austrian Audio Hi-X25BT, they arrive in the familiar Austrian Audio box with a folding mechanism and red Velcro strap. The headphones are inside, dust-protected in plastic wrap. Two plastic shells surround the foam of the ear pads to prevent them from being damaged during transport. Foils are attached to the outside of the ear cups to protect them from scratches. A drawstring carrying pouch and a quick start guide are also included. You will also find a registration card for warranty extension and a sticker with the manufacturer’s logo. Of course, connection cables are also included: In addition to a USB-C cable with an adapter from USB-C to USB-A for charging the integrated battery, the second cable offers USB-C to mini jack, plus a pluggable adapter to a large jack. None of the connections is gold-plated and thus not protected against corrosion.
The exterior of the ear-enclosing, closed-back Austrian Audio Hi-X25BT is similar to that of their little sister, the Hi-X15. However, the Hi-X25BT lacks that model’s silver trimmings. Instead, the corresponding components are finished in black, but the striking dark red metallic of the forks is identical. This gives the headphones a look that is both classy and contemporary.
All the controls on these Bluetooth headphones are located on the right-hand ear cup. These are comprised of an on/off button, which also serves for pairing. Two LEDs indicate the status of pairing and battery charging. There is also a USB-C socket and a microphone. The ear cups are connected with a cable that is exposed on two short stretches on the inside of the arms. If the shells are tilted sharply, they press their upper edge against the exposed cable. This makes unintentional cable breakage likely when transporting the headphones.
The technology in the Austrian Audio Hi-X25BT
The drivers of the Austrian Audio Hi-X25BT have a diameter of 44 mm and are powered dynamically. The built-in High Excursion technology uses a ring system of particularly strong magnets, which, in combination with a lightweight aluminium voice coil, should enable particularly good bass reproduction and large driver excursion. In wired operation, its low impedance of only 27 ohms (averaged) plays a role. This allows it to be used with sufficient volume for the headphone outputs of smart devices and computers of all kinds.
The headphones can reproduce audio from 12 Hz to 24 kHz. In our practical test, they should be able to reproduce ultra-low basses as well as the super-high frequency range with ease. For wireless transmission via Bluetooth, version 5.0 is available, which enables high data transfer rates. It is therefore a pity that only the lowest standard, SBC, is used as the audio codec. With this standard, the audio quality is limited to 16-bit dynamics and a data rate of 345 kb/s at the most. An aptX codec or at least AAC would be desirable here. On the other hand, it is impressive that the headphones last up to 30 hours in wireless mode.
As is typical of Austrian Audio’s headphones, the protective mesh on their ear cups have a large L and an R printed on them to indicate which side is which. This makes putting them on a no-brainer for the user. Because the ear cups are slightly angled, their slightly oval shape fits the ears perfectly. And the vertical adjustment also contributes to the good fit of these headphones. Thanks to the ratcheted size adjustment of the headband, the optimum size is maintained even after the headphones have been taken off. The fit of these headphones is super comfortable. This is due to soft ear and headband pads with memory foam, but also the skin-friendly smooth surface of their casing. In addition, the contact pressure of these headphones is relatively low – thanks to the shape of the ear cups and low weight of just 270 grams without cable, they nevertheless fit securely.
Wireless or wired
A particularly convenient feature is that the headphones can be charged simultaneously via a USB-C socket while listening via Bluetooth. To control the Bluetooth headphones, a touch field is located on the outside of the right ear cup. Various commands can be given here using capacitive gesture control. Voice feedback confirms changes in Bluetooth status. It is also possible to summon common voice assistants. Starting and stopping tracks as well as the play/pause function worked smoothly and with an acceptable latency. However, changing the volume via gesture control is no fun. The latency between the touchpad and the execution of the command is too great. Another thing that I found bothersome when controlling media players was the fact that these headphones acknowledge each individual touch command with a beep.
For those who prefer to operate the Austrian Audio Hi-X25BT in analogue via cable, the additional cable supplied can simply be connected to the USB-C socket. Of course, this means that the headphones cannot be charged while in analogue use.
A quick note on the folding mechanism: thanks to this, the headphones can be transported in the included pouch to save space.
The sound of the Austrian Audio Hi-X25BT
Overall, the Austrian Audio Hi-X25BT sound just as midrange-heavy as the Hi-X15. Surprisingly, the sound of these headphones seemed rounder to me on the whole. This was also due to the bass parts in the sound of the Hi-X25BT taking up more space than I would have liked. The sub-basses also sounded more present with this model. In addition, the strong and differentiated mids lead to a high level of speech intelligibility. This has a positive effect both when listening to pop music and audiobooks, but also when watching films. Depending on the audio production, however, it can occasionally be too much of a good thing. The output signal can get a slight sharpness, but without causing hissing or “lisping” voices or vocals. Above these frequencies, the headphones sound brilliant in the highs and much more open in the super-high range than many other Bluetooth headphones in this price range. And even though the sound image is almost identical to that transmitted wirelessly, the bass components seem less compressed when using the cable connection and thus slightly more restrained. Incidentally, the playback is a little quieter in wired mode than with Bluetooth transmission. Noise from outside the ear cups is relatively well attenuated by the Austrian Audio Hi-X25BT. Likewise, quite a lot of the signal still penetrates through the closed earcups to the outside.
With the Austrian Audio Hi-X25BT, fans of a wirelessly transmitted, differentiated sound who are on a limited budget but still want a finely resolved sound and high wearing comfort will get their money’s worth. In addition to the wide-ranging frequency reproduction, the Hi-X25BT also impressed us with its long battery life. The relatively strong emphasis on the mids remains a matter of taste. Compared to the wired Hi-X15, the sound of the Hi-X25BT seems to be slightly more compressed in the bass, and the overall sound was a little warmer. With their touch control, these headphones do not need many buttons, although the latency when changing the volume takes some getting used to. This also applies to the acoustic feedback, which acknowledges every change, no matter how small. All in all, the Austrian Audio Hi-X25BT are high-quality sounding Bluetooth headphones with an attractive price/performance ratio.
- Ear couplingOver-ear
- Transducer principledynamic
- Frequency response (headphones)12 - 24.000 Hz
- Impedance27,4 ohms
- Sound pressure level (SPL)97,7 dB
- Pressure averaged from big and small head505 g
- Weight with cable296 g
- Weight without cable270 g
- Cable length140 cm
What's in the box
- USB-C to mini jack cable, 1.40m (exchangeable)
- USB-C charging cable
- 6.35 mm stereo jack
- Carrying pouch
- BT codecs: SBC
- BT version: 5.0