With the Austrian Audio Hi-X65, the successor to AKG in Vienna present their first open headphones. These are aimed not only at demanding professional users from the recording studio sector but also at fans of audiophile listening pleasure.
Elegant and futuristic
In addition to the headphones, the elegantly designed cardboard box contains two connecting cables, 1.2 metres (HXC1) and 3 metres (HXC3), both gold-plated for corrosion protection. There is also a gold-plated screw adapter for the 6.35 mm jack format and a cloth bag with a drawstring.
The in-house design style is clearly recognisable. If it weren’t for the different colour schemes of the models, they would be difficult to tell apart. I like the elegance and futuristic look of this brand’s headphones. The basic colour black is mixed with grey elements. Sensitive construction elements like the headband and the headband arms are made of metal, less stressed parts are made of plastic. Headband pads and ear cushions are made of or contain memory foam. The arms of the ear cups can be unscrewed for easy servicing.
As with the Hi-X50 and Hi-X55, the Hi-X drivers with 44 mm diameter that have been developed in-house are used. As a result, the Hi-X65 benefit from a comprehensive frequency response (5 Hz to 28 kHz) with an extremely low distortion factor of less than 0.1% (according to the manufacturer’s specifications), which bodes well for distortion-free, clear sound. Thanks to the low impedance of 25 ohms, the test unit can easily be used with less powerful headphone amplifiers and, thanks to the sensitivity of 110 dB SPL, still provide plenty of power to the ears.
The exterior appearance is already impressive: the Hi-X65’s ear cups can be rotated and easily swivelled to adapt to the shape of your head. They can also be folded in to save space. The earpads are attached using a snap-in system and can be replaced. Their shape and size make the Hi-X65 suitable for larger ears. Large printed letters make it immediately clear how the headphones should be put on.
The interchangeable connection cables are secured against slipping out by a plug-and-swivel mechanism and are each routed on one side. This means that the user is not disturbed by dangling cables. There are no weak points when passing the cable from the left to the right earcup. If you want to use these headphones for listening on the go, the shorter interchangeable cable is the ideal length for stowing under your clothes. For studio use, the 3-metre version might be more suitable, as it provides sufficient freedom of movement in the control room.
The soft ear pads and the super-soft padded headband result in a high level of wearing comfort that is maintained even during longer sessions. The low contact pressure also contributes to this, but conversely is also responsible for the headphones’ tendency to slip when the head is moved quickly.
Wide soundstage – detailed sound
When listening to my reference tracks, I immediately notice the open sound and the wide soundstage. The perceived depth gradation is differentiated. The stereo width was so wide that, for me, the tonal centre was lost in some productions. Bass and bass drum play more “in the head” than in front of it. The entire reproduction appears uncompressed, and the sound correspondingly dynamic and lively.
In the bass, the Hi-X65 is restrained. This is often the case with open headphones due to the reduced compression effect of the ear cups. However, if you slightly boost the bass frequencies via equaliser, you’ll notice that these headphones have enormous reserves at the lower end of the spectrum that extends into the really low bass. The mids are reproduced finely and with differentiation. The intelligibility of vocals and speech is excellent, with no unpleasant sibilance. In the treble, the sound is wide and open without sounding sharp. It is characterised by naturalness without exaggerated warmth, from which classical and jazz recordings benefit.
As an open design, outside noise is audible through the ear cups, and the output sound is likewise perceptible from the outside. But fortunately, this is usually irrelevant when assessing recording signals and mixes in the recording studio.
These open, circumaural headphones, the Hi-X65 from Austrian Audio, impressed us with crystal-clear, detailed sound. Their wide frequency range extends from clearly defined sub-basses to impressively detailed mids and fine, brilliant highs. At the same time, these headphones are comfortable to wear and offer a truly functional combination of features and handling. If you want to use top-sounding headphones with a short cable for real hi-fi enjoyment when you’re on the move and perhaps even transport them folded up, the Hi-X65 are the perfect choice. Likewise, these headphones can be used anywhere in the studio where detailed, unpretentious sound is needed in the assessment of audio signals and the open sound-permeable construction is not a problem. With their high sound quality, the Hi-X65 seamlessly join the ranks of Austrian Audio’s impressive headphones and, with an RRP of around 350 Euros, they also score points with a good price-performance ratio compared to the competition.
- Ear couplingOver-ear
- Transducer principledynamic
- Frequency response (headphones)5 - 28.000 Hz
- Impedance25 ohms
- Sound pressure level (SPL)110 dB
- Weight without cable308 g
- Cable length300/120 cm
What's in the box
- Cable, 3 m (exchangeable)
- Cable, 1.20 m (exchangeable)
- 6.35mm stereo jack
- Carrying pouch
- Handwritten quality certificate
- Warranty extension upon registration
- Quick start guide
- Sticker with manufacturer logo
Since Carsten Kaiser is not a Mixing engineer nor a mastering engineer in the tops, i will judge this review as a Audiophile’s/music lovers, this headphones might sound spectacular but don’t confuse this as mixing headphones since they are created to sound great they are useless in a studio exept for tracking.
Well, Mr. Carsten Kaiser is an mixing engineer …
Agreed. It looks like Herr Kaiser spends most of his time in the studio:
It seems that you’ve not done your homework Max.