HIFIMAN’s Quality Control Fails Draw Flak From Headphone Enthusiasts

User complaints on HIFIMAN's quality control resurfaces
User complaints on HIFIMAN’s quality control resurfaces

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Several users roast HIFIMAN’s lack of quality control and its impact on customer satisfaction.

HIFIMAN faces criticism for its subpar quality control as a viral Reddit post gathers similar concerns among other customers who have experienced defective products, raising questions (and jokes) about the company’s manufacturing standards.

In the post, titled “Ok Yup, I Get it Now. Piss Off HIFIMAN and Your S**** Quality Control,” the author describes their negative experience with the HIFIMAN Sundara, showing a photo of the Sundara with a broken headband strap.

Original post of Urpsurps featuring his broken HIFIMAN Sundara headband (From: Reddit)
Original post of Urpsurps featuring his broken HIFIMAN Sundara headband (From: Reddit)

He discusses how this happened in a follow-up comment, mentioning how the strap “popped right out” when he tried adjusting the headphones while wearing them.

”There’s zero need for that part of the headphones to be so fragile and held together with scotch tape and bubble gum. To say planars are fragile and extrapolate that to the headband is a reach. For $350, the headband should be more robust, in my opinion,” he says.

The post quickly gained traction in the audiophile community, with many users chiming in with their own experiences of HIFIMAN products, and some users resorting to humor to mock the brand.

User elimpoluto made some puns over the well-known HIFIMAN Stealth Magnets (From: Reddit)
User elimpoluto made some puns over the well-known HIFIMAN Stealth Magnets (From: Reddit)
As of writing, his post has already garnered 157 comments and some 801 users, or 95% of its audience ‘upvoted’, meaning, users thought of the post as relevant and relatable.

HIFIMAN’s Quality Control Issues

HIFIMAN’s subpar quality control has been a longstanding issue for the brand, with many users coming to social media to share their experiences. Here are the most common concerns found online:

Poor quality headbands

Just like the Reddit post mentioned above, one of the common problems encountered by HIFIMAN headphones owners have something to do with the headbands.

An anecdote by Reddit user ubiquitous_raven, states that the adjustment mechanism of left side of the headband wore out after only two months, making it loose and adjust automatically.

Reddit user uniquitous_raven shares expereience on HIFIMAN's QC issues (From: Reddit)
Reddit user uniquitous_raven shares expereience on HIFIMAN’s QC issues (From: Reddit)

Reddit user Ustrof also shared that he had already tried two pairs of HIFIMAN headphones, both having headband issues:

“I had a Sundara and it did make cracking noises out of the headband, so I returned it. A year later, I bought a Deva because I missed the “planar sound”, the headband look and feel is cheaper. There is nothing to complain about their quality, except from noise I get from the mount of the left earcup to the headband.”

Faulty headphone drivers

Another commonly seen problem about HIFIMAN headphones has to do with failing drivers.

For example, this Facebook user shared his experience two years ago regarding the product’s broken driver.

User complaint on HIFIMAN's quality control over a broken driver (From: Facebook)
User complaint on HIFIMAN’s quality control over a broken driver (From: Facebook)

In the post, the user says, he has tried to actually open the headphones can instead of returning the product right away, only to find a loose wire inside.

Meanwhile, user WeiOfTheGay has also encountered a faulty driver on his HIFIMAN Ananda model, which he described, “The right driver of my Ananda was slightly quieter 2 days ago and then just stopped working yesterday.” Worse is that it happened 30 days outside of the purchase’s one year warranty.

Aside from total malfunctions, some users also raise concerns about buzzing sounds, like with Reddit user, RageNukes’ Hifiman Edition XS 3.

RageNukes' complaint on the buzzing sound from HIFIMAN Edition XS 3's left driver (From: Reddit)
RageNukes’ complaint on the buzzing sound from HIFIMAN Edition XS 3’s left driver (From: Reddit)

Cable connection issues

This cable connection problem is often connected with the previous one.

One verified review from Amazon pointed out that his newly-purchased headphones were working fine until after two days, when the cable connection on the left driver stopped working.

Another Reddit user also shared how “horrible” his HIFIMAN HE-560 connectors were.

Chronos669 says, “I think I’m on my 5th cable because the connectors break off wires inside all the time.”

What Is HIFIMAN Doing?

As of writing, HIFIMAN hasn’t released a statement about the quality control concerns raised by various users.

However, some users highlight HIFIMAN’s customer service (CS) performance. For example, User Crazy_Revolution_276 advised HIFIMAN headphones owners to email HIFIMAN when problems occur.

“Email Hifiman! Where they lack in QC (Quality Control), they make up in Customer Service! Never had a problem getting a reply from them about repairs/replacements/etc,” he says.

This is directly backed by another user, thermodynasskicks, who says they received replacement pads without much hassle.

Users backing up HIFIMAN's customer service
Users backing up HIFIMAN’s customer service

However, this depends on whether or not the product is still under warranty .

On their website, HIFIMAN has provided warranty conditions that let users know the validity of their purchase. A list of different headphones models with varying warranties is also included.

“HIFIMAN will either repair the product at no charge or offer a replacement, using new or refurbished replacement,” it notes.

Since 2010, HIFIMAN has been improving its products that are meant to feature a “state-of-the-art driver technology.” The above discussions just prove that the brand’s innovations are working. However, some areas, particularly its build and quality control, need more refinement.

Now, it’s up to HIFIMAN how their claims of producing high-end headphones “highly-acclaimed by critics” will greatly manifest.

💬 Conversation: 6 comments

  1. I have owned several HiFiMan products – including the Sundara, Arya, HE-1000v2, Edition XS and the Susvara. I’ve never had a problem with any of its products.

    1. I had a 400i 2020, Sundara, 400SE, HE 5XX and Edition XS and I never had problems with quality control of the products. the only thing i had to change were the pads of the older ones, after more than 2 years of use.

  2. I had actually commented on that Reddit post that, although there are some very vocal individuals who had problems, the vast majority of people are happy with Hifiman and the ones with issues are a small minority. I figured that if even as much as 10% of the Hifiman units had problems (which would be a huge failure rate) you are still 9/10 likely to get a good pair. Of course, I was scolded and downvoted for that but I am not surprised.

  3. Bought a pair of open box Hifiman HE4XX a few years back. Left driver stopped working within a few days. I removed the left headphone pad and opened the left driver only to find small pieces of paper toweling accidentally glued to the left driver input. I removed the paper which fixed that problem.

    I wonder how many HE4XX headphones were returned for this reason, under the assumption that the driver itself had failed?

    The headphone cable is also cheaply made and at times cuts out.
    Replacing it with a better cable remedies that problem. At one point the round pieces that hold the hangers fell off, so I had to glue them back on.
    The gimbles were also so stiff that the speakers were almost impossible to adjust. Over time they loosened up and work fine now.

    Sonically, the HE4XX is an excellent sounding headphone and IMO represents the law of diminishing returns for headphones in this hobby. The parts quality is also good for such an inexpensive headphone. It’s Hifiman’s quality that leaves much to be desired.

  4. I was looking forward to my Sundaras. They came today. Left driver didn’t work. They looked poor and cheaply made and the cable was also bad quality. I won’t be buying this brand again. Shocking quality control.

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