HiFiMAN HE1000

Lead DesignerCarol Catalano
Designer Dr. Fang Bian
PrizeSilver in Media And Home Electronics / TV, Video and Audio Equipment

In high-end headphones, planar magnetic technology offers incredible sound quality. Historically though, this technology burdens products with high weight and poor ergonomics making planar headphones uncomfortable to wear for long periods of time. High-end audio company, HiFiMAN, already recognized for outstanding sound quality, wanted a headphone with style and comfort, commensurate with its sound. When HIFIMAN set out to create this flagship product, their goal was to create the best headphone in the world. As the designer, our goal was for the HE1000 V2 to represent a new pact between HIFIMAN and the audio world: to embrace a commitment to beauty, comfort, and manufacturing quality as well as groundbreaking sound.   Careful ergonomic study and iterative testing comprised the foundation upon which we built key aspects of the design. Our study of the skull and ears led us to design the asymmetrical form of the ear cup, which we developed to create an even seal around the ear while providing a large surface area for the planar magnetic driver. The goal for the headband design was to set a new standard for comfort in large planar magnetic headphones. We created a generous area of contact to distribute weight evenly and eliminated all unnecessary parts to create unparalleled comfort for the headphones which are often worn for hours on end.   We employed manufacturing techniques for molding high quality plywood in the furniture industry to produce the lightweight durable wood rings for the ear cups that encase the drivers. The window shade grill system was designed to provide both driver protection, and greater openness for the open back design that yields the best possible sound quality. Finally, the overall physical structure of the assembly took on a minimalist design to save precious weight, reducing the piece to its essence.