HIFIMAN Deva Pro Review: These Wireless Planar Magnetic Headphones Are Wondrous!

HIFIMAN Deva-Pro Over-Ear Full-Size Open-Back Planar Magnetic Headphone with Bluetooth Dongle

$329.00
HIFIMAN Deva-Pro Over-Ear Full-Size Open-Back Planar Magnetic Headphone with Bluetooth Dongle
8

Build

8.0/10

Features

8.0/10

Sound

8.0/10

What We Dig

  • Great Build Quality
  • Warm, Natural Sound
  • Class Leading Wireless Connection

What To Think About

  • Sound lacks just a little depth

TL;DR

If you’re looking for wireless audiophile headphones for less than $500, you won’t do better than these.

Intro

Back in 2020, when Hifiman released the $299 DEVA, a set of planar headphones with a BT dongle, I must admit I found them to be an inelegant wireless headphone option.

I’ve never been a fan of Bluetooth dongles for headphones, as I always thought they looked goofy and didn’t sound good most of the time. That said, when I got ahold of the DEVA at a retailer, while I still thought they looked a little weird, I liked how they sounded.

I also got used to the idea of being able to swap out the dongle for wired listening. By having a dongle, I didn’t have to worry about the weight of the additional wireless circuitry when using a headphone cable to listen, which was nice.

Moving on to 2022, we now have the $329 DEVA Pro, which upgrades the original with some of Hifiman’s newest developments like their Stealth Magnet Technology and a new Bluemini Bluetooth Dongle with their Himalaya R2R DAC circuitry.

I wish I had the original DEVA to make an A-B comparison, but as I don’t, I’m going to go over the new DEVA Pro and let you know if it’s worth the cash!

Disclaimer: This unit was sent to us by Hifiman in exchange for our review. No outside input was given or promises made regarding the content contained therein.

Specs:

Headphone Specifications:

  • Frequency Response: 20Hz-20kHz
  • Impedance: 18Ω
  • Sensitivity: 93.5dB
  • Weight: 360g
  • 3.5mm balanced sockets

Bluemini R2R Specifications:

  • Bluetooth version: Bluetooth 5.0
  • Bluetooth chipset: Qualcomm QCC5124
  • DAC: HIFIMAN HIMALAYA
  • Frequency response: 20Hz – 20kHz
  • THD: 0.006%
  • Signal-to-noise ratio: 114dB
  • Battery life: 8 hours
  • Net weight: 25g
  • Transmission codecs: LDAC, aptX-HD, aptX, AAC, SBC

Build/Features

As stated above, the Deva Pro is based around Hifiman’s new Stealth Magnet technology, which uses a specially shaped magnet array. These magnets are supposed to let sound waves pass from the Diaphragm to your ear with less audible distortion than other magnets.

It also uses Hifiman’s new “supernano” diaphragm, which is 80% thinner than past versions. This is supposed to result in faster response and more detail.

The driver enclosures are made of sturdy hard plastic, and the grills on the outside of each driver are made of solid steel, making them both rigid & protective. The yokes are completely made of metal (aluminum), and they slide pretty smoothly into the memory foam-covered headband.

For the most part, the fit is comfortable, as the DEVA Pro doesn’t weigh much (even with the Bluemini), the clamp is light, and the memory foam headband is supportive.

If I had any issue with wearability, it would be at the earpads. To me, they’re a little shallow, hard, and not the most comfortable. I wish they were a little softer and deeper. On the other hand, they have plenty of room inside for your ears. They’re also replaceable, so you can swap them out if you wish.

That said, overall, the build quality is solid, on par with their other recent designs like the Edition XS (which we reviewed a few weeks ago).

When it comes to connectivity, input options are plentiful. For one, you have Bluetooth 5.0 Wireless input via the Bluemini dongle, which is the hallmark of the DEVA headphones.

The DEVA Pro dongle houses Hifiman’s miniaturized (a little smaller than a quarter) HIMALAYA R2R ladder-resistor DAC, designed to be more energy-efficient than competing oversampling chip DACs. It’s also designed to produce less distortion.

The dongle connects to the 3.5mm input on the left earcup and provides 200 mW per channel to the headphones. It drives the DEVA Pro to loud volumes. It also supports many Bluetooth Audio codecs, including high-resolution options like LDAC and aptX-HD, along with aptX, AAC, SBC.

With BT 5.0, paring is automatic and quick. I was able to connect to my smartphone in less than a minute. However, I wish the voice prompts for pairing and power on/off weren’t so loud. As it is, I had to make sure I wasn’t wearing the headphones when I turned them on because the prompts hurt my ears.

It’s unfortunate because I like the fact they announce the connection status as you’re pairing. I especially like the prompt regarding the BT Codec being used since most headphones don’t provide that info.

Another input option is a wired USB connection through the Bluemini dongle. You can connect the DEVA Pro to a laptop or smartphone by running the included USB charging cable between the connected Bluemini dongle and a USB on the PC.

On top of the wireless and digital connections, you can also use the included double-sided stereo headphone cable as a good old-fashioned wired option. It connects to the aforementioned 3.5mm jack on the left earcup and an identical 3.5mm jack on the right side.

This lets you connect the DEVA Pro up to the DAC/Amp or Digital Audio Player of your choice. Hifiman recommends this option for the best possible sound quality, assuming you have a quality amp/source.

By the way, I really dig the included cable; it’s thick yet pliable, so you don’t have to fuss with it while listening. It’s not a curly mess like the cable included with the Sundara.

In addition, the Bluemini dongle has a built-in mic for taking phone calls, and it can also start/stop the music via the multi-function button (also handles power on/off) on the bottom. The rechargeable battery inside is rated for up to 8 hours of playback.

When it comes to accessories don’t expect much past the headphone cable, charging cable, and Bluemini module. There’s no case, not even a carrying bag, but the box is lined with Satin, which should help keep the headphones looking nice.

Sound

When it came to Sound quality, I found the DEVA Pro quite enjoyable, no matter which connection I used.

I connected the DEVA Pro to my Fiio M11 Plus LTD via LDAC and aptX HD Bluetooth, and I didn’t hear much difference between wireless and wired output. Over the wire, there was a slight edge in separation and detail, but not enough to declare it an outright winner over the wireless connection.

As I said earlier, I’m usually not a fan of Bluetooth dongles on a headphone, but in this case, I found myself being drawn to the convenience, especially since the sound was quite comparable to the wired connection.

If you do decide to run the DEVA Pro with the included cable, they’re relatively easy to drive, but I do recommend a source with a decent amount of power (like the THX Onyx or Shanling UA2 or desktop amp) to really open them up.

Listening to TIDAL via LDAC, I found the DEVA Pro to have a pleasantly neutral tonal balance. They don’t have the pumped-up highs or boosted bass you hear in many headphones nowadays, which was satisfying.

Despite this, the DEVA Pro avoids sounding boring. They still have a nice depth to the bass and a nice clean midrange. They are a little rolled off up top, but not to the point of being overly dull or muddy. That said, if you like a lot of sparkle in the presence region, you may find them a little dark.

In addition, they lack a little mid-bass punch, something which is par for the course with Planar headphones. Planars will probably never compete with dynamic headphones in this area.

For me, I could’ve done with a touch more emphasis in the presence region, but I think I may prefer it to the slightly higher upper mid tuning in the Sundara. YMMV.

On the other hand, I wouldn’t say the DEVA Pro is on the same level as the Sundara in terms of detail, mainly due to the treble roll-off. That said, there is still some good detail in the central mids down to the midbass, so these headphones still manage to be engaging on many levels.

For example, listening to Carey Bell’s “Sweet Little Woman,” I liked the air in the presentation, along with the clarity of the vocal. I also liked the naturalness of the guitar and harmonica. While the soundstage isn’t very wide, it’s spacious, and the imaging is credible. The placement of instruments are nice.

Conversely, I didn’t hear a remarkable amount of depth or resolution in these headphones. Still, it’s the best I’ve probably heard in a wireless headphone outside of Hifiman’s own Ananda BT, which is truly remarkable in terms of Bluetooth headphones. While the Sundara isn’t as smooth as the DEVA Pro, it bests them in these two categories.

The DEVA Pro’s dynamics are also a little bit softer than the Sundara. Drums just don’t hit as hard, nor do you get the transitions from loud to soft as you do on the older headphone. That’s not to say the DEVA Pro’s dynamics are bad, as they do drive the rhythm sufficiently well, but just not as well as their stablemate.

The Wrap Up

In conclusion, I really liked the Hifiman DEVA Pro. It’s a well-built set of cans that are relatively comfortable, sounds decent, and is very flexible when it comes to connectivity.

Even though they come in around the same price as the Hifiman Sundara, the Sundara is a more detailed and resolving headphone with a bigger soundstage. But that makes sense when you figure in the cost of the DAC/Bluetooth module, which is included in the box.

That said, some may prefer the DEVA Pro’s sound since it’s more laid back in the upper midrange. At the end of the day, the DEVA Pro is the best wireless audiophile headphone I’ve heard outside of Hifiman’s own ANANDA-BT, which is bulkier and more expensive.

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