Review: Austrian Audio Hi-X15 and Hi-X25BT — Budget-Friendly Aural Excellence
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The Review: Austrian Audio Hi-X15 and Hi-X25BT — Budget-Friendly Aural Excellence
This relatively young company, founded by ex-AKG employees, launched their range of high-quality professional headphones last year. Their two latest models share the same style and performance, although one offers wireless Bluetooth connectivity. Impressively, both are brilliant professional headphones for music makers on a tight budget, both offering exceptional sound and comfort for the money.
Review: Rupert Neve Designs Master Buss Converter – Making Conversion Creative Austrian Audio’s new headphones are closed-back circumaural (over-ear) designs and, like the company’s more expensive models, feature their High Excursion Driver technology. The build quality is exceptional for the price, with strong all-metal hinges and soft slow-hold memory foam ear cushions. Foldable for portability, they come with a fabric carrying case and are housed in a fairly sturdy cardboard box.
Bluetooth connection set-up of the Hi-X25BT is simple and the built-in battery provides 30 hours of wireless playback. This model too features volume control and an integrated microphone for taking calls.
Austrian Audio Hi-X15 The Hi-X15 – the wired version – costs just $119/£89. Both headphones come with analog connecting cords and the wireless version also has a USB-C cable for charging, which can be done while in use.
Sonically, there is nothing between these models; they sound identical with an impressive frequency range of 12 Hz – 24 kHz. There is no misunderstanding about this ‘phones for everything but professional surveillance equipment. Like many studio monitors, they don’t provide a warm, cozy or flattering listening experience. And all the better, because they encourage you to focus on getting your mixes perfect, so they translate well when played on good quality monitors.
Austrian Audio Hi-X15
Rock solid Their broadband sound allows you to dig deep and when listening to familiar recordings, attention is drawn to the rock solid, well controlled bottom end, which is punchy, tight and deep in equal measure. Further up the frequency spectrum, treble is presented explicitly, with a cool, tight sound that spotlights the high mids and accentuates the mood and atmosphere.
While we wouldn’t go so far as to say that the lower mids have been scooped, there is a slight lack of warmth, which tends to draw attention to the highs or lows. This tonal balance is quite common in pro-audio monitoring as it reduces the chances of being immersed in an overly lush, relaxing ‘hi-fi’ listening experience and helps focus the mind on the work at hand.
Austrian Audio Hi-X25BT In addition to providing Bluetooth wireless audio (SBC codec), the Hi-X25BT can also receive analog audio via a 3.5mm input and digital audio via the USB-C connection. While not hi-fi as audiophiles perceive home headphones, the new Hi-X models offer everything but low-fidelity sound. Treble details are finely etched with clear transients and fine extension to the upper frequency range. As such, percussion comes with sparkle and snap, while you can hear reverb effects in proportion with plenty of sparkle.
Vocals and other lead instruments can sound a little thin at times, in absolute terms, but the highs remain high; there’s nothing harsh or raspy about these headphones.
We’ve been extremely impressed with the performance and comfort of these affordable headphones, and the build quality is class-leading. Your only decision is whether or not wireless connectivity is important. We would have liked longer analog leads, especially for the Hi-X15, as 1.4m could be fine if you’re playing from a laptop, but may be insufficient for tracking purposes. And that’s our only complaint; they represent great value for money.
Wrap up Review: Austrian Audio Hi-X15 and Hi-X25BT — Budget-Friendly Aural Excellence
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