By Richard / $1000+, HIFIMAN, Review, Planars / April 24, 2023

HIFIMAN HE1000se Review

HIFIMAN HE1000se Review's image

The reviewer is giving his honest experience with the product and was not paid to write a favorable article. The gear was purchased due to interest and enjoyment in sound quality and in pursuit of gaining more technical knowledge.

Tonal Balance / Neutrality9.6
Price / Performance Ratio9
Sound Fidelity9.8
Build Quality9.8
Bass Extension9.4
Bass Balance9.6
Lower Midrange Balance9.8
Midrange Proper Balance9.8
Upper Midrange Balance9.8
Treble Balance9.7
Treble Extension9.8
Bass Control9.8
Tone Density9.6
Macro Dynamics9.7
Micro Dynamics9.7
Sound Stage Width9.7
Sound Stage Depth9.8

The HIFIMAN HE1000se is a multi-award-winning, stealth magnet, breakthrough technology headphone introduced in September 2018. Working with the highly challenging, advanced material, “Nanometer Thickness Diaphragm”, HIFIMAN created a first-of-its-kind headphone with the incorporation of this film as the HE1000se’s planar driver.

The HIFIMAN HE1000se also uses acoustically invisible stealth magnets, which act on the headphone to make it acoustically transparent and reduce wave diffraction turbulence which degrades the integrity of the sound waves. The result is that distortion is reduced, and produces a purer, more harmonious sound.

I decided on the HIFIMAN HE1000se while trying to find a headphone that could go with the ampsandsound Kenzie OG Rev 2. Since the HE1000se was also a recommendation to me from a trusted professional in the industry and since I was wanting to experience a top-of-the-line headphone, I picked up the HE1000se.

HIFIMAN HE1000se on a Woo Audio headphone stand next to a garden with pink flowers

During this time when I was still trying out what I could, I also picked up different headphones like the HIFIMAN HE-560 V4, the HIFIMAN HE6SE, and the ZMF Verite Open Stabilized.

Having had these headphones for a while now, being a consumer who appreciates value, I ranked the headphones according to the price and the sound quality. I found that I like the HE-560 V4 a lot for its wide imaging, bass quality, and resolution.

The HE-560 V4 is a great, resolving headphone. The Arya is also a great headphone, but there was some missing clarity and resolution, and I ultimately didn’t find it to be a good all-rounder, that something was lacking.

The HE1000se is actually ten-fold the price of the HE-560 V4, however, over time, after comparing different headphones, I’ve found that it’s a headphone that I’ve decided I want to keep as part of my stable. 

The HIFIMAN HE1000se is constructed using a metal frame with wood mixed in toward the inner side of the cup. It’s a beautiful headphone with a unique look and definitely makes a statement. It has a solid construction, and its sonic qualities are somewhat intimated thru the appearance of the metal frame.

The HE1000se is one of the best headphones I’ve heard to date. It’s a neutral headphone that allows you to hear the details but also has great bass quality and clarity that sparks engagement while being highly resolving.

HIFIMAN HE1000se on a Woo Audio headphone stand next to a garden with pink flowers

In other headphones like the HIFIMAN HE6se V2, you get a lot of detail and a more tamed treble. The HE1000se gives fuller clarity and presents a more intricate and dynamic sound, retrieving more details in its presentation. But keep in mind that the HIFIMAN HE6se V2 is a beast that actually complements the HE1000se with its softer take on neutral, however, the HE1000se is also a definitive upgrade from the HE6se V2 because of its detail.

The result of the speed and clean notes in the HE1000se is a headphone that delivers an incredibly accurate listening experience. The notes have a lean and crisp quality which cannot be seen in the HIFIMAN HE6se V2. Though the HE6se V2 has excellent bass quality and extension; after spending some time with the HE1000se, the HE6se V2 doesn't get into full nuance like the former.

The HIFIMAN HE1000se has a classic, reference sound. The technology that the HE1000se uses is wholly reflected in the sound playback. The way the notes mix with each other creates an elegant, life-like sound that is characterized by quality and delicacy.

It's a 3D playback-like experience because the notes have the body and the space helps to create a beautiful scenery. The resolution is also top-notch and is one of the best qualities of the HE1000se. 

With the HE1000se, the bass quality and bass quantity are top-notch and make the music very engaging. The bass quality also has the inherent resolution that is a staple characteristic of the HE1000se. The playback collectively is very special because the bass meshes with the highs and mids with authority and definition.

HIFIMAN HE1000se on a Woo Audio headphone stand next to a garden with pink flowers

I would recommend the HIFIMAN HE1000se to anyone that is wanting to upgrade to a top-of-the-line headphone. If you're more value-conscious and are making a first-time headphone purchase, the HE-560 V4 and HE6se V2 are excellent headphones with the HE6se V2 being the more resolving headphone with better bass quality and extension. Both the HE-560 V4 and HE6se V2 are similar to the HE1000se as far as having the HIFIMAN house-sound resolution and dynamics, however, of the three, the HE1000se has a most accurate, life-like presentation. 

The sources I used were the Topping D90SE, Audio GD HE-7 MK I, and the amplifiers were ampsandsound Kenzie OG Rev 2 and ampsandsound Nautilus. I found that no matter the gear, the HE1000se managed to sound great, however, the more powerful the equipment, the more the HE1000se scaled and sounded better.

To me, the HE1000se is the definitive upgrade to my mid-fi gear like the Sennheiser HD 600, HD 650, and HIFIMAN HE-560 V4. It's also an upgrade from and makes a good complement to the HE6se V2 as a headphone with better quality of retrieval, dynamics, and balance. The HE1000se is a truly remarkable headphone for serious listeners who want a more balanced yet fun sound. 

Product link:

Cables: Worlds Best Cables (RCA Neutrik, RCA Amphenol)

Sources: Audio-GD HE-7 MK I, Schiit Modi Multibit, Topping D90SE

Amplifiers: ampsandsound Nautilus, ampsandsound Kenzie OG Rev 2

USB: Matrix Audio X-SPDIF 2, Singxer SU-6


About the Author


Software Engineer by trade, always loved music, but discovered Hi-Fi in 2012. Decided that since interest in sound quality was growing, could share experience with different products.


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