Today we’re taking a quick look at the Deva, Hifiman’s newest planar magnetic headphone.
What stands the Deva apart from other headphones of this style is the inclusion of the Bluemini. The Bluemini is a powerful Bluetooth module that clips into the balanced TRRS 3.5mm input under the left ear cup turning the Deva into a wireless headphone. It has support for various hi-res codecs, like LDAC, aptX, aptX HD, AAC, and SBC. It can also be used as a DAC through USB, up to 24bit / 192kHz. While completely plastic, it feels well built, although it adds a fair bit of length to some already large ear cups. Maybe not the most attractive solution, but audiophiles always brag about how much they value function over form anyway 😉
I’m an in ear monitor guy through and through, hence 90% of the content on this site. The form factor and convenience are two of the biggest draws. While a big headphone like the Deva will never be anywhere near as convenient to use as a tiny iem, cutting the cord certainly helps. A lot. Especially when compared to more traditional planar headphones. Weight is kept low thanks to the use of aluminum (yolks, grills) and plastic (ear cups), and comfort high thanks to some large, plush pads and thick, soft headband padding. This really is a joy to wear, and despite being a big set of cans, fits my tiny head perfectly on it’s smallest setting. There are a number of headphones that I’ve needed to add extra padding to to wear properly, but this ain’t one of them. If I were to levy a complaint at any aspect of the design, it’s that it does not fold. While this doesn’t seem like the type of product Hifiman intended for users to take with them on the subway (being very much an open back headphones makes that a pointless endeavor), further supporting the portability enabled by the Bluemini would have been cool.
The fantastic sound quality they output has also played what is probably the strongest part in my enjoyment of the Deva so far. The vast majority of my listening has been conducted with the Bluemini installed, connected to my LG Q70 over aptX HD. Let’s start with the low end since that’s the part I’ve been most impressed with. The Deva’s bass is thick and rich with excellent extension, besting what the Sundara can output in my opinion. I’ve read in a few places that the Sundara is the bassier of the two, but I just cannot agree after a/bing the two using Earmen’s TR-Amp. I don’t feel subbass regions lacking at all over wireless (and especially not when wired), with the Deva able to provide an addictive, visceral rumble that compliments the punchy, warm mid and upper bass presentation. It certainly does my favorite drum and bass tracks justice in a way the Sundara cannot. The midrange is clean and prominent with an upper range push that lets vocals cut through. Detail and clarity are a subtle step back from the Sundara, and the upper mids could possibly benefit from being pulled down a couple dB, but I’m totally happy with it as is. Treble is clean and crisp with well defined notes and excellent control. Upper treble is dialed back a bit, something Sundara users might remiss since the Deva lacks the same level of sparkle and shimmer, though I appreciate that it lets the Deva’s detailed presence region shine. The sound stage sits somewhere between the capacious presentation of the Sundara and the more constrained and focused Brainwavz Alara, but closer to the Sundara. Width and depth are good, with smooth channel-to-channel transitions and excellent instrument separation and layering. Haven’t tried it with gaming yet, but I suspect the Deva will do just fine, especially in wired mode.
The last 10 days I’ve spent with the Deva have been a joy. I look forward to spending more time testing it both wired and via the Bluemini’s USB DAC mode prior to the full review which I am aiming to have ready and posted by May 16th. Can tell you right now though, unless something catastrophic happens the Deva will get my complete blessing, and that’s based almost exclusively on the wireless mode. That said, a pretty darn competitive 299 USD price tag doesn’t hurt either. Hifiman was absolutely on their game when they came up with this thing.
Thanks for reading and be sure to stop back again tomorrow evening for some coverage of a new budget TWS.
If you want to check out the Deva’s full specs: https://store.hifiman.com/index.php/deva.html