HiFiMAN HE-500Price: $899

Website: www.head-direct.com

S. Andrea said: The HiFiMAN HE-500 is a well-engineered and well-built headphone design. Their overall neutral tonal balance, satisfying but measured bass, and big sound make them well suited to a wide variety of musical styles. They can show off many of the virtues of good recordings, but don’t render less-than-stellar recordings unlistenable. Their somewhat low sensitivity will require a very good headphone output or dedicated headphone amplifier, but is not too demanding to be realistic. While no single headphone design -- or design of any other category of audio component -- will appeal to every listener, I think that the balanced approach of the HE-500s will help them find their way into many systems.

Read the SoundStage! Xperience review.

The gist: Well-balanced headphone design from a relatively new player.

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