Looking at how big Hifiman has grown over the last few years it’s not a surprise, that they’re pointing their heads towards new and interesting segments of the audio market. That’s exactly what happened when they launched their Ananda BT and the original DEVA. As far as I know, these were the first open-back, planar-magnetic wireless headphones.
Looking at how popular they were, and they were both regarded as the absolute best Bluetooth headphones on the market, it was a matter of time till they’ll launch yet another one. They just did, and boy oh boy, this is big.
First, let’s take a look at the packaging of the new Deva Pro. It’s yet another Hifiman box, their packaging has been very consistent lately, and it’s no different here.
The box is modest, basic and it does its job just about perfectly. Nothing fancy, but at this price you can’t really expect that. Inside, apart from the headphones themselves, you’ll find a 3.5mm cable, since you can use the Deva Pro in wired mode as well, which is great news. The cable included is…it’s a basic, black Hifiman cable, there’s nothing more to say about it, to be honest.
Apart from the manual and some papers, there’s also the Bluemini R2R module sitting in the box, and it is one of two big updates compared to the original Deva, but more on this later.
To summarize, you’re buying a $329 pair of headphones and you’re getting a $329 kind of experience. It is good and straight to the point, and most importantly – the box is secure enough that you don’t have to worry about the safety of your new headphones while in transit.
Design, Build and Comfort
Now into the build quality and comfort. The new Deva Pro is basically the same headphone as the original Deva when it comes to its physical aspects, apart from the colors. It is now a mix of silver and black, which looks way more universal and neutral to the eye.
I’m not gonna lie – I really like the appearance and the color scheme of the original Deva, but I know many people that found it…controversial. Even though it looked way better in person than in the photos, it still gained some attention because of that, and that’s not really desirable by the brand.
So, the actual build quality of the Deva Pro is pretty good, absolutely no complaints here. The headband regulation feels sturdy yet smooth, the weight distribution is excellent and every part that touches your skin feels pleasant. Also, they feel like they could take a beating, quite substantial in hand and not at all fragile. It feels more premium and durable than the 400se for example, as it should, considering the price gap.
As for the build of the R2R module, it is rather tiny and light. It’s made of plastic and there’s really nothing to say about it. It works, it’s comfortable, and I feel that It’ll survive a drop to the floor…but two drops, I wouldn’t be that sure. However, if you’ll avoid throwing them against the wall, I can’t see you having any problems with the headphone or the module, it’s really good.
Speaking about comfort – the Deva Pro with the R2R module attached is a very comfortable pair of headphones. It’s rather light, the clamping force feels just right, at least after a couple of weeks of use. The pads and the headband are both quite plush and soft, and I’m not having any problems with wearing them for a couple of hours. Actually, ever since I got them I have always used them while doing photos for our reviews, and having in mind that they often take hours to make, you can easily get an idea of how comfortable and convenient these are.
For the tech paragraph, let’s start with the headphone. It uses a planar-magnetic driver, but now with Hifiman’s trademark “Stealth Magnets”. I feel like it often gets overlooked and underappreciated, so here’s why it is such a big deal:
Stealth Magnets are what sets the tone for the current generation of HiFiMan cans. They came up with a new shape, that makes it easier for sound to pass through it. Conventional, rectangular in cross-section magnets create a resonance between them. That resonance will color the sound in an unwanted manner. Having the edges trimmed at a 45-degree angle strongly reduces the resonance, allowing air (and sound) to move freely. Being all technical it goes like this: moving air changes its volume as it encounters the flared magnets. The changing volume also changes the speed. Less speed means a flatter Q of the resonance. How it’s possible that nobody else does it if it’s so simple? Well, it’s not easy to make magnets in that shape that are repeatable and have very good parameters suitable for planar headphones. So you either pay a ton of money for them, or you order a train of those at a bit less outrageous price. Then you put them in every product you have. Now we have them in both HiEnd Susvara, in basic HE-400SE, and everywhere in between, except the Ananda.
Impressive things don’t end here though, as there’s one more thing that seems almost unreal (at least it seemed a while ago), and is probably the biggest deal about the Deva Pro – the new Bluemini R2R.
Yes, the new Bluetooth module for the Deva Pro uses an R2R architecture for improved sonic quality and very impressive, low energy consumption. Just look at this graph:
Okay, if that’s not impressive, I don’t know what is. The battery life is about 8 hours, and this module packs some meat, driving the Deva Pro very effortlessly and with authority. Also, it supports all the essential Bluetooth codecs: LDAC, aptX HD, AAC, and SBC. Of course, you want to use this sweet LDAC if your device supports it.
What happens if the Bluemini R2R dies? You can then use the Deva Pro wired, and you’re getting a cable in the box. That means that you’re basically getting both wired and wireless headphones in one, and that’s very convenient. Remember the Ananda Bluetooth that could only be used as wireless? Well, that was really inconvenient, luckily Hifiman has changed it. Always improving, aren’t they.
Up until now, this review was just praising the Deva Pro. Now, let’s get into the most important thing which is the sound, and I’m sorry…it doesn’t end here.
First of all – the Deva Pro is not tuned as the rest of Hifiman’s lineup, just like the original Deva. It’s slightly warmer, more delicate, and lush than the Sundara, Ananda, Arya, and so on. The tuning is actually quite similar to the OG Deva, but…Stealth Magnets and R2R dongle, oh my, what difference do those make. Let’s dive into it.
The bass is rich, full-bodied, expressive, and very well-controlled. It is definitely not a bass-light headphone, nor it’s boosted like the majority of Bluetooth headphones on the market. It feels just right, having authority and rumble that is really desirable in a Bluetooth pair of headphones. However, thanks to the Stealth Magnets and the new Bluemini R2R, the resolution and detail are on the level never seen in a Bluetooth pair of headphones…well, basically ever.
Let’s take a song called “Abraham” by Miles Mosley as an example. This track features that contrabass that is extremely well-mastered and just brilliant to test equipment on. Everything, from slight touches of the strings, to them vibrating and resonating in a quite funky and pleasant way is presented to you without even the slightest sign of hesitation. The amount of different textures and the overall resolution of the low frequencies are exceptional, considering this is Bluetooth.
The sign of a good bass response though, is that it can both be very textured and agile, but also thumpy and hard-hitting. A good way to test that is by playing the “Painkiller” by Judas Priest, from their live album “A Touch Of Evil”. Well, you all know that song, especially the beginning. The double kick drum played by Scott Travis hits fast and hard, leaving no room to breathe. It’s physical, it’s forward and authoritarian. Addictive.
The midrange is probably my favorite part. In my review of the OG Deva (here), I stated that one of my all-time favorite songs, which is A Thousand Shards Of Heaven by Lunatic Soul was presented to me in a way I’ve never heard before, despite hearing some really crazy expensive audio systems in my life. Having that in mind, I expected a lot by the midrange of the Deva Pro, and I wasn’t disappointed…quite the opposite actually.
It still got that lush, pleasant, and very natural tone to the vocals, but now with added resolution and detail, which don’t sound forced at all. It’s an upgrade that is coherent, organic, and just about perfect.
Back to the midrange, as mentioned above, it’s lush and natural sounding, but at the same time, it has a lot of air and coherence, which gives the overall sound that beautiful, romantic yet highly-resolving feeling. Mariusz Duda from Lunatic Soul sounds as beautiful and romantic as on the OG Deva, but now I simply hear more…more details, more air, more different textures.
Let’s get another example, this time it’s going to be David Bowie with his legendary “Space Oddity”, a 2015 remaster version from Tidal. The vocal on this specific version of this song sounds marvelously natural on the Deva Pro, I simply feel like I’m listening to a $1000+ pair of headphones, I’m not kidding. It sounds colorful, natural, airy, and accurate, without a sign of harshness or anything that could bother me. Brilliant.
Let’s get into the treble. It is actually a tad bright when it comes to its general signature, but thanks to great resolution and texture, it’s never harsh or unpleasant. It’s shocking how clean and detailed it sounds considering it’s a Bluetooth headphone, but yeah, I could actually say it about the whole frequency range.
So, we’re basically getting a “big boy” quality of the treble in every aspect possible, those stealth magnets are making wonders.
Let’s take a really interesting song called “Marble Machine” by Wintergatan. Definitely check it out on Youtube, it’s such an interesting “instrument”, and the audio quality is spectacular on Tidal.
Back to the sound though, the amount of details, crispy yet ringing little sounds coming from different places make this song a fantastic showcase piece to test equipment on, and the Deva Pro performs like a champ here. The whole treble response sounds exceptionally rich and engaging while being forward and crisp. It sounds like a perfect mix of technicalities and timbre that is highly resolving and very pleasant at the same time. It’s dynamic, well-extended, and basically very natural sounding, which is very, very impressive for a Bluetooth headphone. Apparently, the times of Bluetooth audio that sounded compressed, muddy, and harsh at the same time are gone, and they won’t be missed. This is a huge milestone.
This might be boring, but the soundstage is yet again…very impressive. It sounds like quality, open-back wired pair of headphones. Thanks to the overall sound being airy, very resolving, and detailed, the staging is another great thing about the Deva Pro. Fair, it’s not as wide as something like an OG Arya, Susvara, or even the Ananda, but for a Bluetooth pair of headphones…it’s absolutely bananas.
The vocals are easily projected in front of you, the imaging of every single instrument is spot-on, they don’t get lost or compressed. With very complicated music it sounds not AS accurate and spacious as many headphones on the market, but considering the price and once again, the wireless aspect, the Deva Pro plays in its own league, while all the other kids can just sit and watch.
The Deva Pro is a milestone. It’s revolutionary, well-engineered and its value is absolutely ridiculous. Thanks to the addition of the Stealth Magnets and the fact, that the Bluemini is now so much better than the original one, the Deva Pro is simply a no-brainer if you’re looking for quality, open-back headphones that can be both wireless and wired. The competitors are just left in the dust, and by a margin so big, that simply makes the Deva Pro one of the best audio products currently available on the market.
The original Deva stole our hearts back in early 2021. It offered a very pleasant, musical, and smooth tone while keeping that signature Hifiman technical performance. It has been one of our top recommendations for open-back headphones on the budget ever since. Today, it all changes, as the Deva Pro is just a vastly upgraded Deva, something I thought wasn’t going to happen in a while.
So, the overall presentation of both versions reminds somehow similar, offering a rich, smooth, and romantic tone paired with great detail reproduction. The Deva Pro however pushes the limits way further, thanks to its Stealth Magnets and the improved dongle, the resolution, detail retrieval, and spaciousness now sit in a completely different league.
This comparison shows just how good Hifiman has been lately. What’s worth noting is that the Deva Pro has a shinier and more pronounced treble, which could be a hit or miss for some people.
Just like the Deva Pro, the Dekoni Blue is a planar-magnetic headphone and it’s coming at $299 (now dropped to $249), which makes them a natural rival for your wallet. Even though their functionality is vastly different, let’s dive into the sound comparison anyway.
The first obvious difference is the tuning. Dekoni is warm, thick, and bassy, with a relaxing and smooth tone. Yet, when compared to the Deva Pro, the Blue sounds muddy and it lacks coherency and details. The technical advancement of the Deva Pro is prominent because the drivers are so much technically impressive when compared to the Blue.
That means that the detail, staging, resolution, and overall accuracy are much better on the Deva Pro. Even through its Bluemini R2R, it sounds simply better than the Blue paired with the Topping D90se + A90, and that really means something. Sure, if you’re into closed-back and bass-boosted pairs then the Dekoni Blue might be a better choice for you, but when it comes to raw audio performance, the Deva Pro is a better headphone in every aspect.
The Ananda remains one of the best picks when it comes to open-back headphones in the sub $1000 market to this day. It is still better than the Deva Pro, but it’s not as drastic as I thought it will be.
First of all, the Ananda has an upper hand when it comes to staging. The soundstage is wider, deeper, and more accurate, mainly because of the imaging. However, this is the biggest selling point for the Ananda when it comes to this comparison. Other than staging, these two sound pretty close when it comes to technical performance, with a slight edge for the Ananda. The tone, however, is more musical and fuller on the Deva Pro, with their slightly boosted treble response and smoother mids. The bass feels more impactful on the Deva Pro, though the Ananda has better control.
The biggest difference is that the Ananda might sound too analytical and sterile for some people, while the Deva Pro is everything but this. Providing a more fun, punchy and romantic sound performance while still being wireless is a surprising outcome even for me.
Thanks to its functionality and the overall sound performance, I use the Deva Pro way more than the Ananda ever since I got them, and having in mind the price difference and the fact that the Ananda itself is a very, very good headphone should tell you how I really feel about the Deva Pro.
Another day, another very positive review of Hifiman on Ear Fidelity. You’re probably starting to wonder if I’m a Hifiman employee, but of course, it’s not true. Over the years, Hifiman has proven that they are the mad scientists of the audio market. Constantly improving and pushing the value to its limits. This is just the case with their new Deva Pro, which is a spectacular product that’s a true milestone in Bluetooth, over-ear headphones market. The new improved Bluemini R2R and the addition of the Stealth Magnets make it the best Bluetooth headphone on the market by far. Absolutely magnificent.
Gear used during this review for the sake of comparison and as an accompanying equipment:
- Headphones – Hifiman Susvara, Final D8000 Pro, Audeze LCD-X 2021, Hifiman Arya SE, Hifiman Deva, Hifiman Ananda, Dekoni Blue
- Sources– Phone (LDAC), Topping D90se + A90, Little Dot MK III SE, XIAudio Broadway S