How much does appearance affect your opinion of a headphone?

I will say straight off the bat that if it sounds great and it’s not entirely uncomfortable, I really don’t care what it looks like. But I just got my Hifiman HE6se today, and they look almost identical to the HE4XX aside from the headband. I paid $700 for them, but the list price is $1800, and yet they would be otherwise impossible to differentiate from a headphone with an msrp of $180 currently selling for $130. I, and many others, have issues with Hifiman, but this cosmetic lack of difference kind of rubs me the wrong way. I know that it’s overall the least important aspect of a headphone, and the price difference comes down to the improved drivers and tuning more than anything else, but it’s easy to look at the two side by side and superficially wonder what that extra money was spent on.

If the innards are different, it’s really just an aesthetic preference, and low on the priority list. But I will credit Sennheiser, Focal, Fostex, and even Audeze for at least trying to use different color schemes to make each model feel unique even if they are otherwise mostly built of the same parts. I think ZMF does the best job of anyone. I’m sure all his headphones could use the same wooden cups for the most part, but even the Atticus and Eikon that do use the same cups have different wood/stain choices should you opt for that, and that goes a long way for me to separate the two. I like having a lot of different headphones, but I wouldn’t if they all didn’t have their own unique look and feel to set them apart. Am I crazy, or does anyone else feel this way? Pics below for examples of the HE4XX (left) vs the HE6se (right):



Lol yeah, the he6se ain’t the nicest looking and feeling things for the price. Personally I value function over form, but if something looks horrible to me I might not like it

At least the HE6 and maybe the first run of the 6se looked to have a purple-ish kind of tone to them. Not that I love that, but at least they look different. The HD 600s look kind of tacky-almost like fake linoleum, but I always can tell them apart from my 6xx and 660s

Now look at pictures of the Sundara, heh. That’s like when the new Supra was announced… It looks a lot like the very, very rare (500 only in the world) Lexus LFA.

Not the best way to do business.

Exactly my point. I will know the difference, but if I showed the two headphones to someone not in this hobby they would think I was crazy to spend the extra money on the HE6. Still waiting on my speaker amp adapter to come in, but I’m reminding myself why I swore off of Hifiman headphones 3 years ago

Meh. “Clothes do no make the man”, “Don’t judge a book by its cover”, etc. :wink:
But yeah I get it.

just wear slightly different clothes is all I’m asking

None at all. I dont care if a headphone came designed for Bongo the clown. if it sounds great its going on my head.

I really hate this industry padding the look of their headphone then the price. Make it all in cheap plastic and cheap pleather and keep the price down.

Although i heard that headphones with wooden chambers seem to sound better, which looking at acoustic guitars, it seems to make sense. just use balsa wood and keep the prices down!

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I’m more talking about the difference between headphones from the same manufacturer in my specific example, but point taken. But I will disagree emphatically that wood is wood when it comes to ear cups having owned several Fostex variants. This is a pseudo scientific breakdown from ZMFs page that I won’t say I agree with entirely, but the general view that soft woods sound different than hard woods is not up for debate:

My point is that they are padding the price between models anyway. If they are doing that I at least want them to make them visually distinct

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With some of the Chifi iem’s you can customise the colour etc of your preferred driver…is that too much to ask of a boutique US brand if you’re willing to pay?

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As long as they don’t feel like cheap garbage and sound great, looks don’t really matter. Especially for headphones when nobody is seeing me in public wearing them.

My main outdoor headphones are the KSC75 and my top-level/critical-listening headphones are the Verum 1. I hope that answers your question. :grin:


Well said lol :smile:

How would you compare the Verum 1? Also i heard there where QC problems with it

As far as use goes, looks generally mean little to me. That said, I have a craving for over ears made with wood. I have to dial it back when I see a set that appeals to me in that way. It can make me long for sets that I otherwise wouldn’t want. There has been the rare iem that appeals to my eye, but I’m not sure if they would sound good to me. Once again, have been able to practice patience with those as well. But it’s not easy when I do have extra spending money.

aethtics and build affects me initally and use case If Im going out in public I Use something discreet like an IEM or comething that looks good or fits my aesthetic that day. seen a guy pull off a akg k240 on the bus looking elegant as shit

I don’t care in the slightest.

That said, I want to try the beyerdynamic DT-150’s because of how they look.

I don’t really care that much, but of course some look nicer than others. However, if i had a headphone that sounded amazing i wouldn’t care how it looked. You dont really see the headphone while using it anyway :wink:


That’s another thing too, l really don’t take a lot of headphones out in public, so I don’t really care