HEDDphone Two

The HEDDphone TWO is a successor to a highly popular HEDDphone ONE. It uses a full-range AMT driver and it's priced at $1999.

Introduction to the HEDDphone Two Review

HEDDphone Two review, photo of the headband holder.

HEDD Audio is a German company that specializes in manufacturing studio monitors, and more recently – also headphones. After releasing their HEDDphone One model they gained some well-deserved recognition among headphones audiophiles.

This was by no means a perfect product, but it was like a breeze of fresh air among flagship headphones in recent years. Most of the current TOTL offerings are based on planar-magnetic drivers, with some exceptions such as electrostatic, ribbon, and dynamic drivers.

However, HEDD Audio introduced yet another driver technology – a full-range AMT driver. The Original HEDDphone offered a truly unique approach to sound reproduction. It just sounded like nothing else on the market, and its timbre just suited me fantastically.

As I said though, it wasn’t perfect. The main issue of the HEDDphone was its comfort, mainly due to its behemoth-level weight and the lack of both good weight distribution and suspension strap headband.

This all resulted in a headphone that you’d love to listen to for hours, but you would only be able to do it for an hour maximum, at least in my experience. Sure, taking some breaks every now and then isn’t a deal breaker for me, but it surely was for many people.

HEDD Audio decided to launch the successor to their HEDDphone One, called…the HEDDphone Two (how surprising) that we review today. It is a completely new design, mainly focusing on the weight aspect, as well as the new, revolutionary headband. On top of that, the drivers themselves have also been changed, once again, mainly to minimize their weight, and further enhance comfort.

I actually knew about the new version hitting the market soon all the way back at Munich High-End 2023, where I met Freddy from HEDD. We had a brilliant chat about what is expected from the new HEDDphone TWO, as well as just some classic gossip session. That was a great experience!

The HEDDphone One is to this day one of my favorite headphones ever when we’re talking sound. It offered a unique, yet incredibly natural, enjoyable sound that has many qualities worthy of being called “TOTL”. Now, with the new model, we should be looking at a direct improvement in basically every aspect of the product. Let’s see how it goes.

Packaging

Packaging of reviewed HEDDphone Two.

Starting as usual, with the unboxing experience, which is very good with the reviewed HEDDphone TWO. They arrive in a big box that feels just as premium as you would have expected from a German brand selling a $2000 audio product.

What’s more important though is what you’ll find inside, and you’ll actually find a lot. First of all, tested HEDDphone Two now comes with a carrying case that feels premium and adds a lot of functionality to the whole package. 

The good carrying case was basically necessary with this release, as this headphone will be used by many audio engineers, who are going to carry them around to the studio and back. Being able to do so, while not worrying about the survival of your fresh $2000 headphones is a breeze compared to the original version. You’ll be able to store both the headphones and needed cables inside, which is very handy indeed.

Apart from the case, inside you’ll also find your cables. 

Everything is presented nicely and with functionality in mind. While the unboxing experience doesn’t feel luxurious, it screams “German” right into your face. Raw, quality, functional, and just secure. This will be a work tool for many customers, so this kind of approach is more than understandable. 

Overall, I’m very happy with everything related to the unboxing experience and what you’re getting with your purchase. It’s a clear upgrade over the first HEDDphone.

Design, Build and Comfort

Now we’re getting into the most exciting stuff. As I already mentioned, the biggest problem of the HEDDphone One was its overall design, weight, and ultimately, comfort.

Let’s begin with the overall quality of the build. Once again, reviewed HEDDphone Two feels German, there’s no way around it. While the materials are not the most luxurious, the overall fit and finish are both spotless. The headphone feels substantial in the hand, it doesn’t rattle, and it just feels like a premium product overall.

The earcups are significantly smaller than the ones you’ll find in the HEDDphone One. Also, gone are mini-xlr connectors, in favor of 3.5mm sockets. This was done to save some space inside the cups, as well as reduce the overall weight of the headphones. As you can see, the weight of the tested HEDDphone Two was the thing that HEDD Audio focused the most on. I’m a fan of mini-xlr connectors, but I also understand the decision here.

But, these are all small changes compared to the headband. Gone is the bulky, classic headband, as the one found in the reviewed HEDDphone Two is the most advanced headband ever…and I’m dead serious.

First of all, the base of the headband is a carbon fiber arch. Once again, weight saving, but also carbon is just widely used among other High-End headphones, so this choice was rather logical.

It’s what’s under the arch that’s the most important though. There is a material suspension strap that is attached to two different straps. One of those is responsible for adjusting the headphones up and down, just like a standard suspension strap does. However, the second strap is responsible for adjusting the clamping force of the HEDDphone Two, and this is the first time I have seen something like that in my whole life.

Cushion on the headband of reviewed HEDDphone Two

This is actually a brilliant idea that could have solved all the problems in the world. Could have…because I have a problem. Even on the lowest setting, the clamping force is just too much for me, and actually by some margin. I’m not sure if this part might have some unit-to-unit variation but with my unit…I can’t believe any normal-shaped person can use these with the clamping force set to maximum. This is just painful. And I’ve got a pretty average-sized head, maybe even on the smaller size. The headband is made out of carbon fiber, so I’m not expecting it to get looser anytime soon. 

Another thing I’m not a huge fan of is the suspension strap padding. It’s rather firm, and it’s especially inconvenient if you’re rocking a bald head like I do. All of this makes the HEDDphone TWO more comfortable than its predecessor, but I still wouldn’t call it “all-day headphones”. 

However, I’ve seen reviews and opinions on those, and apparently, the vast majority of people enjoy the comfort much more than I do, so have that in mind. I might just be one of the few. 

Other than that, the HEDDphone Two is a significant upgrade to the original one. While the HEDD One was super bulky and actually very interesting looking because of that, the overall fit, finish, and materials are just significantly better in the new version. 

As for the looks, you’ll surely be looking like an alien wearing those. While the earcups themselves aren’t really big and bulky, the headband construction makes the headband protrude from your head a lot, making you look like you’re wearing some crazy cyberpunk helmet. I don’t mind it at all, especially since the design serves a purpose here. But have that in mind if you ever want to wear those in public – you’ll be getting those weird looks from people, and I’m 100% sure about that.

The only thing i dislike when it comes to the materials is how easy these attrack oily fingerprints, and more importantly – it’s nearly impossible to wipe them off. You can probably see that they’re not the cleanest in the photos – trust me, I tried cleaning them, without success. The material of the cups has a type of coating that just attracks oils like crazy.

Overall, reviewed HEDDphone TWO has a distinct “tool” vibe into it. It’s not a luxurious, pretty pair of headphones. Everything regarding its looks serves a purpose and has been designed and engineered with you in mind. Even though it looks nothing like its predecessor, it still kinda looks like the HEDDphone. This is some serious design language legacy.

Tech

earpads of tested HEDDphone Two

The most important piece of tech sitting inside the HEDDphone TWO is of course the driver. Unlike most manufacturers who use planar-magnetic drivers in their high-end offerings, HEDD uses their legendary AMT driver, which is present in their studio monitors.

It is the newest revision of their AMT driver. It is said to be reconstructed from the ground up. It is now lighter and smaller than the one found in the HEDDphone ONE. 

One thing is going for a refined audio performance, but the other is reminiscent of everything that has been done to the reviewed HEDDphone Two – making it lighter.

For those who wonder what exactly is an AMT driver, I’m going to quote HEDD here: “The Air Motion Transformer (AMT) is an electrodynamic transducer that allows moving air significantly faster than common voice coil, planar, or electrostatic systems. Their traditional piston-like movement is overcome by a folded diaphragm that squeezes out air four times faster: A breakthrough for capturing more details in a musical recording.”

Enough with tech, let’s get right into sound description.

Sound of the reviewed HEDDphone TWO

What’s really interesting is that the reviewed HEDDphone Two got lighter both in terms of the build, as well as the sound. The original HEDDphone is one of my favorite headphones ever when it comes to the way it sounds, and I’m gonna state it right away – the HEDDphone TWO is significantly different when it comes to sound performance.

To fully understand this, we have to ask an important question first – who is this product for? I’d guess that 50% of the customers are going to be audio engineers, and the HEDDphone TWO is a clear upgrade for this type of customer.

The new model focuses on a neutral, linear, and highly technical type of sound. It is one of the fastest-sounding headphones on the market, offering fantastic detail retrieval. However, the thing I loved the most about the HEDD One was its unique timbre and a very unusual soundstage representation. 

Because of this, I’m not sure if the new model is going to be a better choice for audiophiles, at least not all of them. While the tested HEDD Two is even more detailed, faster, and more snappy than the previous model, it’s also not as entertaining and more “normal” sounding. 

However, audio engineers are going to appreciate the more raw approach to the tonality of the new model, as well as being able to use them for longer periods of time without growing extra muscles in your neck. 

To help you fully understand the sound of the HEDDphone Two, let’s split the sound description in our usual fashion.

The bass is fast, detailed, neutral, and snappy. It offers a brilliant insight into the mix, not adding anything by itself. It extends to the sub-bass well, but it might not be enough for people craving that low-bass rumble. It is definitely more of a studio-oriented type of bass response, which is not the most fun possible, but it’s just accurate to what’s there in the mix. This is a great bass response for professionals, but many audiophiles would definitely like more meat to the bone, including myself. The entire bass region has good energy and punch, sounding lively and energetic. This is a definition of a very high-quality bass, but once again – definitely not the most fun sounding.

We have to understand though, that this is exactly what the company was aiming for. The quality of the sound in general is incredibly high here, and this is the type of bass that many of you are certainly looking for. 

The midrange is very neutral sounding, but it never gets shouty or too analytical. I would describe it as a rather safe tuning that works with basically everything. The original HEDDphone had that incredibly unique timbre to its midrange, which unfortunately is absent in the new version. Because of that, it sounds more neutral but not necessarily natural. It sits on the thinner side than the original version, resulting in male vocals being less interesting and romantic. It will mainly come down to your preference. If you’re into neutral, flat tonality in the midrange, this will be an extremely good choice for you. If you like a little bit of flavor in your music, and this is the reason you loved the HEDDphone One, this is just not it. 

However, the pure quality has been improved even more with the new version. It’s even more detailed and accurate sounding. It’s easier to hear the tinniest details in the mix, and this is a type of quality that is most important in products like this. 

The treble response is once again – mainly focused on clarity and technicalities. The overall tuning of the treble is exceptional, giving you all the details (and more), without even the slightest fatigue. This is the most impressive aspect of the HEDDphone TWO when it comes to the sound. It also works great with modern genres, as it’s not prone to sibilance, yet it doesn’t sound withdrawn or simply dark. The detail retrieval is among the best in the market, so is the resolution. Once again, HEDD Audio yet again created a Summit-Fi level of technicality, in a significantly lower price than its competitors. Impressive.

The same can be said about the soundstage. It’s big and has a fantastic separation and layering. However, it doesn’t have that “uniqueness” that you could find in the HEDDphone One. It sounds more like a traditional headphone, but one that has fantastic soundstage capabilities. The original model was more “out-of-your-head” sounding, it was more unpredictable and enjoyable sounding, but the TWO is just more “correct” if this is what you’re after. This soundstage is exceptionally good with busy tracks, as the incredible detail retrieval and resolution paired with the separation and layering of the soundstage never sounds too busy. Everything is in its place, at all times.

Overall, I highly appreciate the improvement over the original model, but at the same time, I’m a little bit sad that the new revision no longer has the unique characteristics of the original model. I can understand that approach though, as the HEDDphone TWO will simply work better for audio professionals, with its improved technicalities and a more neutral sound in general. 

Comparisons

HEDDphone One


A lot has been already said about this comparison, so let me summarize.

The original HEDDphone was a very unique approach to the technical sound, making it a fantastic choice for both audio professionals and audiophiles. It offers a very entertaining, yet technical sound that made me fall in love with this product.

However, you’re able to enjoy its sound only until you feel discomfort, and this will come rather quickly. The sheer weight and poor weight distribution result in uncomfortable wear, even considering the incredibly soft and plushy earpads of these headphones.

The HEDDphone Two is more comfortable, but the clamping force is simply too much for me, even on the lowest setting. Still, I’m easily able to use the HEDDphone TWO for longer periods of time than its predecessor, mainly due to the lower weight and much better weight distribution. However, I’m going to state this again – I wish the headband strap had been less firm, as it’s a bit on the uncomfortable side for my bald head.

When it comes to the sound, the HEDDphone TWO is more correct, neutral, and even more detailed sounding than the original model. Its technical capabilities are among the best headphones on the market, which once again – is highly impressive considering the price of these headphones. 

Meze Elite

Now we’re gonna completely switch things up. These two headphones are as different from each other as it’s basically possible.

The Elite doesn’t even pretend to try giving you a neutral, reference-like sound. It’s rich, natural, welcoming, and colorful sounding. Because of that, this has been one of my most used headphones ever since receiving them. It just has that easy-going, entertaining aspect to them that makes you want to listen more and more. 

Another huge strength of the Elite is that it always sounds good, no matter the music, mastering quality, and the rest of your setup. This makes it one of the easiest headphones to just grab, put on your head, and enjoy your favorite music for hours and hours.

The HEDDphone TWO is completely different in those regards. It’s way more neutral, and flat sounding with better technicalities. It gives you a better insight into the recording, not adding anything to the mix. This makes the HEDD a better choice for sound professionals and people who really care about an uncolored, reference-like tuning.

However, all this makes the HEDDphone TWO far less universal and forgiving. If the mastering quality or quality of your setup is not on-pair, these will brutally show it without second thoughts.

This difference mainly lies in the heritage of both companies. Meze makes equipment for people who want to enjoy the music, and HEDD Audio is a company aimed at professionals. Pick your poison, I suppose.

Lastly, the build quality and comfort are both far better in the Elite. This shouldn’t be a surprise, as I stated a few times already – the Elite/Empyrean/Empyrean II are the best-built headphones that have been ever manufactured. This also makes the comfort truly spot-on, as I’m easily able to listen to those for the entire day. Something, that would have been impossible with the HEDDphone TWO, at least for me. 

It’s not easy to pick a “better” headphone in this comparison, as they are just vastly different and are aimed at different types of customers. 

Audeze MM-500

This one is quite interesting, as these two headphones are quite similar. Both are definitely aimed at professionals, offering a neutral, reference-like tuning and great technicalities.

Both are well-built, but I’ll give an edge to Audeze here. It’s slightly lighter, but also way more compact, and the quality of the materials seems to be better. Regarding comfort, they both have significant clamping force, but the headband is more comfortable with the MM-500 for me personally. The difference is not vast though, and with both pairs, I have to take a break occasionally. 

Soundwisely, the tuning is very similar, but the HEDDphone TWO elevates the technical performance even further. It’s even faster, even more detailed, and snappy sounding. The HEDDphone TWO is actually closer to the LCD-5 in terms of raw technical performance than the MM-500 is. I’m definitely not saying that the MM-500 is underperforming, as it’s not. It’s a very detailed headphone with a fantastic insight into the material. However, the HEDDphone TWO is among the most technically impressive sounding headphones on the market, regardless the price.

Because of this, I believe that it is worth paying a little bit extra for that bump in technicalities if that’s something you can afford. You’d be perfectly fine with the MM-500 though, worry not. I suggest trying both and finding which one suits you better in terms of comfort and value.

Both are fantastic at what they’re supposed to do, with no shortcomings. It’s good to see products that are supposed to do a certain thing, and they simply do that. 

Rosson RAD-0

The Rosson RAD-0 sits in between the HEDDphone TWO and the Meze Elite. It’s not as entertaining as the Elite, not as technical as the HEDD, but it does it all to a certain degree.

It has the quality to be used by studio engineers, and it has the enjoyable factor to be loved by audiophiles. It is more of a safe bet, a product that will be appealing to a wider audience in my opinion. However, it’ll be not as good for a person with very specific needs, like a potential buyer of the HEDDphone Two.

Also, the RAD-0 is simply a work of art with its fully custom design and simply striking earcups. It’s fairly comfortable, but nothing close to the Elite, sitting on a similar level to the hero of today’s review.

To summarize, people who want a sound that is very engaging and simply beautiful will probably end up buying the Elite. People who want absolute detail, resolution, and speed should definitely buy the HEDDphone Two. Those who are yet undecided, or simply want both, with some minor sacrifices would look into the RAD-0.

This should show you, how competitive this market is. Everybody will find a product that suits him, as we’re not actually speaking better/worse. They all have their flavor and strengths, and it’s up to you to decide, what you value the most.

HEDDphone TWO – summary

The HEDDphone TWO is a very interesting release. It’s been redesigned and redone from the ground up, yet it didn’t lose its DNA.

However, those who fell in love with the timbre of the original won’t find it here. It’s a very neutral, technical-sounding headphone with one of the best technicalities in the market. The detail retrieval, resolution, and speed are all among the absolute best. 

Unlike most of the people though, I don’t really find them that comfortable. I’m actually highly interested if that’s just my unit, or if I’m simply in the minority that is just ill-fitting. I’ll be sure to check another unit once I have a chance to do so.

Apart from that, the HEDDphone TWO offers a very good value in the high-end market. Technically it sits at the table with the biggest players in the market, while often costing half of their price or even less. This alone makes it incredibly impressive.

If you’re looking for hyper-detailed, neutral headphones, this could be the best $2000 you could spend on this hobby. Recommended!

Big thanks to HEDD Audio for providing us with the HEDDphone TWO for this review. I wasn’t paid or asked to say anything good or bad about this product, all of the above is just my personal, unbiased opinion.