You could be excused for assuming that wired headphones were becoming obsolete given everyone’s apparent fixation with wireless headphones, especially at the more cheap end of the market. However, we’d be shocked if those ideas ever came up in the Vienna headquarters of Austrian Audio. With its first-ever line of wired headphones, Hi-X, the company, which was founded by former AKG employees, has made a strong first impression. The more costly Hi-X55 headphones have been heard, praised, and given five stars.
The Austrian Audio Hi-X15 is the first model we’ve heard from the company that we’d consider to be a true affordable option. With the Hi-X15, Austrian Audio hopes to make the sound quality of its headphones accessible to those on tighter budgets. What concessions buyers must make in terms of delivery scope, technology, handling, or sound is demonstrated by our test. Because the headphone already implies by virtue of its name that it will be among its much more expensive and larger sisters.
The matte plastic of the arms is a good alternative to glossy plastic, and the black, red, and silver color scheme makes them stand out on a desk. Housed in each earcup are a 44 mm driver and a ring magnet system with a copper-coated aluminum voice coil. Included in the package is a 1.4-meter headphone cable with a 3.5 mm jack and a 2.5 mm connection.
This connects to the left earcup (a 6.3 mm adapter is included in the package). The next step is to twist it and lock it in place. When wearing the headphones, the grip is perfectly calibrated, with just the right amount of pressure to keep them from moving around on your head.
The Hi-X25BT and Hi-X15 headphones are both rather lightweight when worn, weighing 270g and 255g, respectively. There won’t be any hot spots on top of my head while I wear the headphones thanks to the foam on top of the headband. The articulation of the earcups and the spring steel inside the headband themselves ensure that they fit comfortably and remain secure.
According to the specifications, the Hi-X25BT is only compatible with the SBC codec, the industry standard that prevents the transmission of high-resolution data. With a wall between me and my phone at a distance of 9 meters, the Hi-X25BT is able to effortlessly maintain a stable connection.
Generally speaking, phone calls are stable as well, and they can hear the person on the other end of the line. we astonished at how steady and quiet the Bluetooth implementation ends up being, given that the Hi-X25BT didn’t use any sophisticated Bluetooth codecs or noise-cancelling technology. Despite employing the SBC codec, there is no discernible lag when watching videos.
Once they have settled, the Austrian Audios sound so transparent and mature that their relatively low price seems incongruous with them. Instead of just connecting them into a smartphone, we advise pairing them with a DAC/headphone amplifier like the DragonFly Red to get the most out of them (though they will still sound good). In fact, the Hi-X15 would function just as well with a pricier device like a Chord Mojo. Given their close-backed construction and the fact that any shoddy recordings are mirrored in how the music is transmitted into your ears, they have a big advantage over competitors.
The Hi-first X15’s impressions are not favorable. These headphones sound overly cheery when initially removed from their package. They come off as being overly enthusiastic and direct. But even though you only get one chance to create a good first impression, the Hi-X15 are definitely worth sticking with. Although the idea of headphones “running in” is not unheard of, it has been a while since we heard a pair that drastically changes its auditory character after only a few dozen hours of use.
Long-haul trips are no problem for the Hi-X25BT because of its excellent 30 hours of battery life, which translates to being able to run for one whole day and more. In my tests, I think the HI-X25 can maintain the promised battery life, in part because the SBC codec has more moderate battery consumption requirements.
Your headphones are here if you want a detailed, uncomplicated, and totally engaging musicality, as well as a generous helping of seamless dynamism, and you don’t want to spend an arm and a leg achieving it. The Austrian Audio Hi-X15 are incredibly affordable and have an excellent sound quality.
The Hi-drawbacks, X15’s if any, are more related to the amount of colors used to make up the frame and the length of the cable they are connected to than the sound they produce. The good news is that after you get over these minor issues, these are some of the best wired headphones you can buy on a budget.