The market for quality headphones is still growing by leaps and bounds, so there are lots of new brands getting into the game.
When Hifiman introduced the HE-5 headphone in 2009, I was so impressed I compared it with $1,000+ models from Audio Technica, Denon, Grado, Sennheiser, and Ultrasone, and the upstart company's headphone model more than held its own.
More recently I looked at the Hifiman HE-500 headphones ($699), and compared them with one of the best headphones in the world, the Audeze LCD-2 ($945). That one's low bass felt more solid and had superior impact, but the HE-500's midrange and treble were more detailed and present.
The HE-300 ($249) shares the HE-500's styling, but uses more conventional driver technology. It's lighter in weight (270 grams), has a leather headband and soft velvet earpads, and comes with a user-replaceable 9-foot-long cable terminated with a 3.5mm plug (and there's a 6.3mm adaptor). The long cable is bulky and a little stiff, but since it's user-replaceable, HE-300 owners may find shorter, more flexible alternatives. The headphone comes with a sturdy padded storage case. Comfort over long listening sessions was good, but not up to full-size Sennheiser headphone standards. That company has a real knack for making comfy headphones. … Read more