HiFiMAN Jade II Electrostatic Headphone System $2499 Review
January 10, 2020 § Leave a comment
The Jade II follows much in the sonic footsteps of the original Jade, in that it offers a carefully judged combination of transient speed, transparency, exceptional midrange purity, superb spatial characteristics, and an inviting quality of natural, organic warmth. If you were hoping for a headphone that emphasizes bleeding-edge, razor-sharp transient definition and sub-microscopic levels of detail, then the Jade II might not be your cup of tea—not because it does not possess those qualities in reasonable measure, but because it doesn’t make them the centerpieces of its musical presentation. So, the Jade II is not about creating hi-fi-centric shock and awe experiences, but more about conveying the vibrant tonal and textural richness of well-recorded music, while also capturing the always engaging dynamic shadings that help bring music alive. Also, more so than many top-tier headphones, the Jade II provides large, spacious soundstage envelopes that help keep the music from sounding as if it is trapped inside the listener’s head. Several musical illustrations will perhaps help to show what I mean.
On “Zapateados” from Pepe Romero’s Flamenco [K2HD, 16/44.1], the Jade II presents Romero’s exquisite flamenco guitar, recorded in a richly resonant natural acoustic space, juxtaposed against the striking handclaps and foot-and-heel taps of an expert flamenco dancer. Many transducers—loudspeakers and headphones alike—turn this track into a hi-fi extravaganza, which sadly redirects the listener’s attention away from the musical event and toward a narrowly focused preoccupation with sound quality. The Jade II, however, is different. Yes, it captures textural and transient sounds with exemplary clarity; yet it also captures the varied and subtle dynamic moods and the spatial cues that are so vital to conveying the “you-are-there” sense of being present at the original performance