Recently, HiFiMAN has been making revisions to some of their popular planar headphones. I reviewed the Arya V3 stealth, and definitely saw the use for this new type of driver technology, as it brings different characteristics to an already stellar sound. Now, HiFiMAN has released a new version of one of their Bluetooth planar headphones, the DEVA, with its new pro edition. This features the same stealth magnet design of the Arya V3, aiming to provide its advantages to a Bluetooth-accessible headphone.
What You Get
- Deva Pro headphones
- Bluemini R2R Bluetooth adapter
- 3.5mm balanced cable
- Quarter-inch jack
- USB type C cable
Look and Feel
If you’re familiar with the original Deva, then you’ll find that the pro isn’t too out of the ordinary. The pro version ditched the original beige-colored headband and earpads and opts for a more traditional black. Its silver yokes and outer shell are still the same. Aside from an aesthetic difference, you’ll still get the same level of comfort from Deva Pro as you did the original. That lightweight HiFiMAN fit works great here, even if I prefer their suspension headband to their solid ones.
One of the reasons to even make a new version of the Deva is to implement HiFiMAN’s new stealth magnet technology, which is meant to significantly reduce interference for a more pure signal. The driver uses a supernano diaphragm that is 80% thinner than most of their designs, resulting in faster transient response.
One of the Deva’s most unique features is its Bluemini wireless adapter. Not only does this give the Deva Pro Bluetooth capabilities, but it also supports its own DAC. The Himalaya R2R is a low energy-consuming DAC that also supports a high sample rate from improved fidelity. Wirelessly, you’ll be able to use high-end CODECs like LDAC and aptX HD with Bluetooth 5.0 through the Bluemini’s Qualcomm chipset.
When approaching the soundstage of the DEVA Pro, I had to take into consideration its wireless and stealth magnet characteristics. In terms of Bluetooth, it should be impossible how well the imaging translates over wireless CODECs. The width and spaciousness are almost as dazzling as it is wired. Only certain elements like reverb tails and distance are somewhat reduced in Bluetooth form, but otherwise, this is going to be one of the best soundstages over wireless. This is also the stealth version of this specific model, and that comes with a few different connotations.
Listening to the DEVA Pro, I felt that while the width was expansive, the spatial imaging felt a little closer to your head than in the previous model. I also felt this way with the Arya V3, feeling like the sound was coming from speakers closer to your ears rather than pushing the sound outward as other open-back planar headphones do. The same is felt with the DEVA Pro, as though the layering and separation are still up to HiFiMAN’s standard, the imaging wants you to give closer attention to the stereo field. It’s less airy, giving the sound elements a harder and more accurate position in the mix.
For the bass frequencies, the tone is kept even and flat across the spectrum but receives a bigger boost from the sub-bass. It creeps up more than it does punch, but the response as a whole still feels impactful and resonant without succumbing to boominess. Their timbre is sharp and clean, performing with consistent clarity and accuracy. The mid-bass starts to smooth out in certain ranges but always feels lively and kept me constantly engaged by its timbre. It is picky when it comes to genre, as I wouldn’t choose the DEVA Pro for a punchy metal mix, or heart-pounding electronic banger, but slower ambient drones and soundscapes seem to possess the most character with these lows.
The midrange is as smooth and textured as the low-end, bringing a balanced response to a spacious timbre. You get a ton of layers with the mids, focusing on clean separation and transparency throughout. There’s a neutralness to its tone but doesn’t lack energy in vocal, which tend to sit above you and spring forward faster than most other ranges of frequency. Low and upper-mids are a little too underemphasized, but don’t show too much recession. Instrumentals are still clear and lightly textured, but not consistently. Bright acoustic guitars sound colorful, but lower strings are flatter.
For the treble region, I felt more mixed on certain regions of the timbre. On the one hand, the frequencies showcase the most texture and coloration out of the entire frequency response, bringing flavorful details that stick out within the sound signature. On the other hand, there seems to be a ringing sensation in some upper treble regions, making the timbre bright and for some, it will be harder to consume. Sometimes it can sound quite nice with the right tone, but other times it can be distracting, especially when it becomes dominant over the midrange.
If you’re not into what stealth magnet drivers are doing right now, then obviously the Deva Pro won’t interest you, but for those who are curious, this is a rather inexpensive option that will show you what it’s all about. The Blumini adapter is a great inclusion as well, making this one of the best sounding wireless headphones to date. With the stealth magnet’s properties, it adds a different characteristic to the sound than what you might hear from the Sundara’s or even the original Deva, and that will make it worth it to those who are seeking it. At $329, HiFiMAN has brought high-end tech, to a more economical headphone, and for that, it makes the Deva Pro a worthwhile experience.
The HiFiMAN DEVA Pro is available at Audio46.