Bluetooth + Wired Open-Back Headphone.
PROS: Very good value wired + wireless open-back headphone, Bluemini R2R module is really good, easy-loose-comfortable fit, natural neutral-warm well-balanced sound signature, good midrange tuning with natural tonality, well balanced, sparkly and resolving treble tuning.
CONS: Fit is on the loose side because of minimal clamp force, sub-bass roll-off below 55-60Hz, no carry case included.
The product was provided to me free of charge for the review in exchange for my honest opinion. I covered custom duty to import the product into the country.
Does HifiMan really need an introduction? But for people who’ve been living under a rock – HiFiMAN Electronics is a Chinese manufacturer of audio products including headphones, amplifiers, and portable audio players. Founded by Fang Bian in late 2005, Bian started a web-store called Head-Direct. He began use of the HiFiMAN brand in 2007. In 2010, he started two small-sized factories in China and moved the headquarters to Tianjin, China in 2011. HiFiMAN is best known for their planar magnetic headphones but the company also manufactures in-ear drivers. They’ve some of the world’s most popular planar magnetic driver headphones such as Sundara, Ananda, Arya and the TOTL flagship – Susvara.
- Frequency Response: : 20Hz-20kHz
- Impedance: : 18Ω
- Sensitivity: : 93.5dB
- Weight: : 360g
Bluemini R2R Bluetooth Module Specifications –
- Bluetooth version: Bluetooth 5.0
- Bluetooth chipset: Qualcomm QCC5124
- DAC: HIFIMAN HIMALAYA
- Frequency response: 20Hz – 20kHz
- Signal-to-noise ratio: 114dB
- Battery life: 8 hours
- Net weight: 25g
- Transmission codecs: LDAC, aptX-HD, aptX, AAC, SBC
HifiMan Stealth Magnets Design Technology.
Unlike the sound waves created by a conventional magnet, the special shape of Stealth Magnets enables the waves to pass through the magnets without generating interference. HIFIMAN’s advanced magnet design is acoustically transparent, dramatically reducing wave diffraction turbulence that degrades the integrity of the sound waves. The reduced distortion yields pure sonic output that is accurate and full-range.
Build Quality and Design.
I like Deva Pro’s understated simple design but the build quality is quite average – which is neither great nor too bad. IMO, Deva Pro’s build is a couple of notches below HifiMan Sundara’s. There are some things I like, like the comfortable headpad design and the big roomy earpads which engulf the whole ear but the yoke and fit adjustment design feel cheap and flimsy, and the clamp force is quite loose too. Even though Deva Pro uses more metal, Sennheiser HD6XX, which is majorly plastic, feels much better built and designed.
Bluemini R2R on the other hand is designed quite well and works like a charm. It plugs into the left ear and clips on securely. No complaints there!
Cable – Oh thank the heavens! HifiMan has finally gotten rid of their cheap plasticky cables. This cable is nothing spectacular but man is it much better than the cables budget HifiMan headphones previously came with. It is a no-BS, rubber sheath cable which does it job well, has L & R markings and a decent right angled jack. No complaints for now.
Fit and Comfort.
The headphones are light, the ear pads cover my whole ear and are padded enough for my ear to not touch the driver assembly. The clamp force on the other hand is on the loose side and makes for a loose-ish fit, so much that I always worry about the headphones falling off if I shake my head too hard. They don’t really but I would definitely liked a bit more clamp force, for a more reassuring fit. But nevertheless, the headphones are extremely comfortable for long sessions and never create any pain hot spots on my head.
Drivability – Wired Deva Pro is a fairly easy to drive headphone and can be easily driven by a phone too. What amazed is the Bluemini R2R, which packs a lot of power, making Deva Pro one of the easiest to drive, loudest Bluetooth headphones in the market.
Sound summary – Deva Pro has a mostly neutral signature which loosely follows Hifiman’s house tuning but has slight inclination towards the way Sennheiser HD600 series are tuned. It has a bit of sub-bass roll-off below 55-60Hz, slightly more neutral mid-bass region compared to HD6XX, slightly north of neutral bump in the 800-1kHz region of lower-midrange, lesser ear gain/upper-midrange forwardness than HD6XX and sparkly mid-treble tuning. Even though the overall signature is quite neutral and tonally accurate, it has slight honk added in because of the bump in the 600-1.5kHz region. Where Deva Pro excels more than most headphones is its bundling with the excellent Bluemini R2R bluetooth module, which makes it a ‘wireless open-back headphone’ – which are extremely rare to come across and extremely convenient if you don’t like being dragged down or restricted by cables. What adds the cherry on top is that Bluemini is monster of a bluetooth module, which not only sounds really good but has a lot of power too. More on this in the ‘Bluemini R2R’ section below.
Let’s dig in deeper…
Bass – Deva Pro’s sub-bass rolls off around 55-60Hz, so don’t expect much rumble here. Besides that, the bass tuning is very well done. It has very neutral-reference style clean presentation post 60Hz, something that HifiMan has mastered in their house tuning. Bass in general has good clarity and resolution with no bleed into the midrange. Bass transients are fairly quick and it has a fairly natural reference tonality.
Mids – Deva Pro has ear gain (forward upper-midrange) on the easier side on most HifiMan headphones I’ve tried as well as the Sennheiser HD600 series. This makes it a warmer listen than most other HifiMans. In general, the midrange has good resolution and is well layered. Lower-midrange is fairly neutral except for that tiny bump in the 600-1.5kHz region, which adds a bit of honk in the signature. You might not notice it when you listen to Deva Pro in isolation but if you listen to it back to back against a more neutral headphone in the region like the HD6XX, it’s more noticeable. But does it ruin the overall tonal accuracy of the otherwise fairly neutral headphone? Nope, definitely not in isolation at all. It too has the signature HifiMan 2kHz dip in upper-midrange but isn’t as prominent as in other HifiMan headphones like pre-2020 Sundara, Ananda and Arya. Deva Pro in general comes across as a fairly pleasing headphone to listen to, especially in the midrange.
Treble – Deva Pro has easier lower-treble, sparkly mid-treble with a focus in the 10.5k-12kHz region, good neutral-airy upper-treble and fairly good extension up top. It’s a warmer sounding headphone than HE400SE as well as Sundara 2020 but has enough sparkle to not keep things sounding interesting and come across as a well-balanced headphone overall. It has good clarity but is no way a clinical sounding headphone, which a lot of HifiMan headphones tend to sound as.
Technical performance – Deva Pro has pretty good resolution and detail retrieval for its slightly warmer than usual HifiMan neutral tuning as well as its price segment. Deva Pro images and stages better than Sennheiser HD600 series of headphones, with wider width as well as deeper depth.
Bluemini R2R is a monster of a BT module! Not only does it sound great, it also has a ton of power, much more gain on tap than most BT headphones and TWS earphones. Deva Pro + Bluemini R2R make for one of the best sounding wireless headphones and the open back design adds the cherry on top. Sure, you can’t really use it on the go but if you like sitting back on a chair after a tiring day to listen to music and prefer a BT headphone over a wired one for ease, this combo makes for an excellent pair!
For sound comparison, I tried Deva Pro wired with my OnePlus 7 Pro + iBasso DC05 and wireless with the Bluemini R2R. There was definitely a difference in overall performance between the two, with it performing better wired to the DC05, but it was so little that I personally wouldn’t care for it as much for the added convenience of the wireless design. Deva Pro with iBasso DC05 did stage better with taller, better defined boundaries and deeper depth but Bluemini R2R didn’t lag behind by much. Bluemini R2R had a bit more bass punch and sounded slightly airier up top in comparison. Resolution and clarity wise Bluemini performed almost at par with DC05. As for battery life, HifiMan claims 8 hours in ideal conditions whereas I averaged 5.5-7.4 hours with varied usage.
HifiMan HE400SE – I like HE400SE’s snugger and more secure fit more than Deva Pro’s loose fit. HE400SE too follows HifiMan’s signature house tuning but is a slightly brighter and airier sounding headphone compared to Deva Pro. It has a similar sub-bass roll off as Deva Pro around 55-60Hz and similar neutral lower-midrange tuning but very little bump around the 800-1.3kHz region and as a result, no perceivable honk. It has deeper signature HifiMan 2kHz dip relatively but a bit more ear gain/upper-midrange forwardness in the 3-5kHz region. It has better and more neutral lower-treble tuning up till 10kHz but is slightly brighter in mid-treble as well as airier up top. They both stage fairly similarly, with similar width and depth boundaries but HE400SE has a leaner and cleaner presentation overall because of its brighter tuning. I personally perceive HE400SE slightly better at detail retrieval and resolution and also like HE400SE more tonally for its slightly energetic-vivid presentation and engaging musicality. Deva Pro on the other hand is the relatively more laid back warmer headphone, which has a massive added advantage of turning into a wireless headphone with the excellent Bluemini R2R bluetooth module.
Sennheiser HD6XX – IMO, headphones priced around $300 always call for a comparison with the legend and segment king – HD6XX. Keeping it short, where HD600 series of headphones have a rather intimate soundstage presentation, Deva Pro images and stages better, but falls behind them in overall tonal accuracy, instrument definition and resolution in comparison. Both have a sub-bass roll-off by Deva Pro rolls off even quicker at 55-60Hz, whereas HD6XX does so around 40Hz. HD6XX has a tiny boost around mid-bass whereas Deva Pro is more neutral in the region. HD6XX has the more neutral lower-midrange whereas Deva Pro has a tiny bump in the 600-1.5kHz region which adds a bit of honk into the signature. HD6XX has more ear gain/upper-midrange forwardness, which sounds more tonally accurate to my ears. Both are warmer in lower-treble in general but Deva Pro is brighter in mid-treble around 10.5k-12kHz region whereas HD6XX is airier up top in upper-treble around 15-16kHz. Tonally, HD6XX sounds more accurate overall to me but Deva Pro’s stage has better imaging and is a bit more spacious.
Deva Pro is no brainer of a headphone, especially if you’re looking for an audiophile grade open back headphone that doubles up as a wireless headphone too, which are extremely rare to come across in the market. As a wired headphone, its similar priced older sibling Sundara is probably the better buy but the Bluemini R2R bluetooth module adds on greatly to its VFM pricing of $329 and makes it a better value proposition if you highly value the added convenience of wireless design. What’s even better is that the Bluemini R2R has lots of power and sounds really good too, close to how Deva Pro performs wired. Yet, there are some things that I wish HifiMan had paid attention to which would’ve made Deva Pro an even better product – particularly the sketchy build quality in some places (yoke and headband adjustment) and the looser than ideal fit. Also, I personally would’ve liked it if they would’ve just painted it ‘all black’ because the silver paint doesn’t look that premium. Regardless, Deva Pro is an easy recommendation for people who want a jack of all trades headphone for a very affordable price. Definitely give it a shot!
Gear used for testing and review.
- DAPs – iBasso DX240 | HiBy R5 Gen II | Lotoo PAW6000
- Phone – OnePlus 7 Pro + iBasso DC05
- Audio Interfaces – Universal Audio Apollo + DROP THX AAA 789 Amp
Artists I like and listen to.
- Rock – Foo Fighters, Linkin Park, Switchfoot, Imagine Dragons, Daughtry, Green Day, MuteMath, X Ambassadors, Dave Matthews Band, Vertical Horizon, Our Lady Peace, Lifehouse, Fall Out Boy, Breaking Benjamin, Muse, ACDC, Audioslave, Rage Against the Machine, Biffy Clyro, I Am Giant, Normandie, Paramore, Slash & Guns N Roses, 3 Doors Down.
- Pop Rock – John Mayer, Coldplay, Paul McCartney, James Bay, Hunter Hayes, Niall Horan, Keith Urban, The Bros Landreth, Bryan Adams.
- Progressive Rock/Metal – Porcupine Tree/Steven Wilson, Karnivool, Tool, Dead Letter Circus, Periphery, Lamb of God.
- Pop/Soft Rock – Ed Sheeran, Adele, Taylor Swift, OneRepublic, The Script, Gavin James, Magic Man, Maroon 5, Bruno Mars, Charlie Puth, Dua Lipa, The Weeknd, Oasis, Panic! At the Disco, TwentyOne Pilots.
- EDM – Chainsmokers, Zedd.