Austrian Audio Hi-X headphones: Which is right for you?
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Austrian Audio Hi-X headphones: Which is right for you?

Austrian Audio pride themselves in electronic engineering for professional audio production. We've witnessed this in their range of modern microphones - the OC818, OC18, OD505 and so on. But did you know they've also taken it upon themselves to resolve all the typical challenges that building a great pair of headphones means mechanically, ergonomically, and acoustically?

Meet the Hi-X Headphone range - consisting of 6 different models, each with a different combination of features. They all feature the a 44mm high-excursion driver design; rugged metal hinges and foldable construction; as well as the same slow-retention memory foam ear pads. 

In this blog, we are going to take a look at the entire Hi-X range to help you determine which will best suit your headphone needs!

The Hi-X range is designed & engineered in Austria, with the Hi-X50, Hi-X55, Hi-X60 & Hi-X65 all manufactured in Austria too. Custom-designed for this new range of headphones, the new 44mm Hi-X (High Excursion) drivers strike the perfect balance between moving enough air and eliminating wobble/unwanted resonances. 

When we asked Austrian Audio what made them choose a 44mm for the driver for their Hi-X headphones, they told us:

“Bigger is better, but there is a limit to that. A membrane has to move like a piston and closed back design has an impact too. We have built a lot of drivers in the past, so we did not have to go trial and error with the design of the Hi-X driver...”

- proof that practise makes perfect and a small glimpse into the amount of knowledge and expertise that was poured into these headphones.  

So which model is right for you?

Hi-X65 | Open Back | Over Ear

Pro Mixing, Mastering, Audiophile Listening

First of all, lets look at Hi-X65 open back, over ear headphones. These headphones are at the top end of the headphone range.

The 44mm high excursion driver with an open back enclosure creates a natural and spacious sound stage, with precise stereo image and extremely low THD. They truly bring out subtle nuances of the music when mixing and mastering at a professional level. They’re also perfect for those who enjoy listening to high fidelity audio in a proper setting.  

Hi-X65s also feature premium memory foam ear pads– creating a seal over the whole ear for maximum enclosure and comfort. They are designed for maximum comfort over long listening sessions, even if you wear glasses.

As they’re open-back, they rely on an optimised listening environment, as they don’t isolate you from external sounds. If you’re looking for headphones which give you can use outside of these ideal conditions, such as remote mixing or monitoring whilst tracking, you should refer back to the Hi-X55s for a similar level of performance with a closed-back design.

Hi-X60 | Closed Back | Over Ear

Pro Mixing, Mastering, Live Sound

The Hi-X60s are on par with the Hi-X65s, delivering ultimate precision and performance. However, unlike the Hi-X65's they're close back. This makes them far better suited for louder environments, whilst retaining the same open & natural sound of their open back equivalent.

They also use the same memory foam ear pads, which you will in fact find on all of the Hi-X range of headphones. The Hi-X60 are designed with a sleek, black exterior with red detailing, which makes them stand out from the rest of the range.

If you're looking for a pro headphones voiced more like an open-back set, to accurately reference a mix where external sound is prevalent - such as when working front of house - these headphones could be right for you.

Hi-X55 | Closed Back | Over ear 

Mixing, Mastering, Monitoring 

The Over-ear design of the Hi-X55 is one that will appeal to purists as well as those looking for headphones during critical monitoring tasks such as mixing and producing. They encase your full ear for maximum comfort but with increased ear cup-page comes increased size.  

The neutral tuning combined with the unique “wobble-free”, high-excursion driver means that not only is the frequency response flat from 5Hz to 28kHz, but the distortion is kept to a minimum thanks to its considered 44mm diaphragm size - less distortion means more neutrality, and with the Hi-X55, that’s the aim of the game. 

If you're in need of professional headphones for critical listening & accurate monitoring in challenging sound environments, the Hi-X55s are for you.

Hi-X50 | Closed Back | On-ear

Tracking, DJ, Live Sound

The On-ear design of the Hi-X50 is one that will appeal to mobile musicians, gigging DJ’s, and live sound engineers - those who need a smaller, lighter, and more portable package. Due to its on-ear design, the ear cups are a bit smaller which saves weight and size during transport.

The Hi-X50 has been tuned with slightly more emphasis on the low-end to satisfy users in less-than-ideal environments such as on stage, side stage, or at FOH or users who prefer to enjoy music rather than analyse its tonal balance!

The Hi-X50's are also 7% lighter than the Hi-X55’s and their on-ear design means that fit securely on the user’s head and ears - perfect for a jumping DJ, or an exuberant head-banging FOH engineer. The Hi-X50's are also great for tracking as the low-end response is a bit more inspiring.

For those in need of a light, 'vibey', but accurate set of headphones for monitoring in challenging environments, the Hi-X50s could be the pair for you.

Hi-X25BT | Closed Back | Over Ear

Listening, Mobile, Rehearsing

Now we come to the entry level headphones for the Hi-X range, starting with the Hi-X25BT - 'BT' stands for BlueTooth. They feature wireless listening, external volume control and built-mic for phone calls. The soft memory foam ear pads do an excellent job of passive noise isolation, so these headphones are perfect for the morning commute, as well as working with audio.

Wireless listening means an internal battery, and the Hi-X25BT battery can last up 30 hours on 1 charge - that's a lot of listening hours! These headphones are charged using a USB-C cable, which also allows you to listen to audio direct from your device.

If you still need the option to input analogue audio, the Hi-X25BT still has a headphone cable input socket, ideal for when you need these headphones for recording & editing music.

If you're after a set of hybrid headphones that allow you to listen to audio wirelessly on the go or plugged in at work / in the studio - the Hi-X25BT could be the ones for you.

Hi-X15 | Closed-Back | Over Ear

Listening, Tracking, Monitoring & Rehearsing

The Hi-X15 maybe at the lower end of the Hi-X range, but it still boasts accurate and powerful performance. These headphones are designed and engineered in Austria, but assembled in China to provide a better budget option.

These headphones are a closed-back and over ear design, providing excellent comfort and passive isolation for external sounds. This makes them ideal for tracking, rehearsing, and listening in loud environments. They also feature the 44mm Hi-X driver design, which give exceptional performance.

The Hi-X15 are also robust, retaining the metal hinge design and tough materials to withstand tough knocks. They fold down to a compact size, making them ideal for travelling & touring as well. 

If you're looking for budget headphones without compromise on sound quality, the Hi-X15 could be for you.

PG-16 & PB-17 | Closed Back | Over Ear

Professional Gaming & Business Headsets

One final mention from the Austrian Audio headphone range is the PG-16 & PB-17 headsets. Not strictly speaking in the Hi-X range, these headsets adopt the design of the entry level Hi-X sets with added headset capabilities for gaming and for office working. We'll talk about these headsets in more detail in a separate blog, but if you need top quality sound when working or gaming, these headphones could be what you need!

Irrespective of which headphone is for you, the Austrian Audio Hi-X range are modern classics that will be at home in your studio, in your backpack, or on stage. With over 350 years of cumulative engineering experience between all members of the Austrian Audio team, whichever model you put on your head – you will hear what that level of experience sounds like.

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This new blog is presented by the team at Sound Technology Ltd, a leading distributor of musical instruments and pro audio equipment in the UK and ROI.