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Austrian Audio Hi-X65 Headphones – A Real-World Review

Austrian Audio's Hi-X65 Professional Open-Back Over-Ear Headphones are designed to provide a clean, uncolored listening experience.

Since it was founded in 2017, Austrian Audio has steadily introduced a strong line of microphones and headphones, and its Hi-X65 Professional Open-Back Over-Ear Headphones are the latest offerings, having been released this past July. Intended for both engineers and audiophiles, the Hi-X65 headphones are designed to provide a clean, uncolored listening experience while remaining light enough that they can be worn for extended periods without fatigue. In both these cases, the headphones nail it.



Right off the bat, the red and black package stands out for being sustainability-minded, as it is mostly paper and cardboard, with only two fitted sheets of foam protecting the X65s in transit. While sustainability isn’t usually a factor when it comes to choosing headphones, seeing it clearly incorporated by the company lends some insight into the thoughtfulness behind the product before you even open the box. Along those lines, the box itself is wrapped shut by a Velcro ribbon that, the Quick Start Guide points out, can be cut and repurposed as cable ties. Inside the box, besides the Hi-X65s, you’ll find a fabric carrying bag, a ¼” adaptor and both 4’ and 9’ cables that terminate in 3.5 mm plugs.



Pulling them from the box, the headphones make a great first impression, sporting a sleek, modern design. Weighing 310 grams (about .7 lbs.), there’s a nice sturdiness and solidity to them, no doubt aided by the use of mostly metal parts, most notably on the bow and hinges (the headphones can fold to a flat position when not in use). The ear cups are positioned at an angle to the bow, so that the vented bow pad doesn’t sit on the very top of your head; instead, it rides a bit forward, making for a far more comfortable listening experience. The cups’ adjustability is simple, too, sliding into detentes on the bow so that they stay where you set them without slipping out of position over time. That, in turn, ensures that once you find a positioning that you like, it will be easy to find that position again in the future—three detented clicks on each side worked for me.

Once you get the headphones on, the soft memory foam of the bow pad keeps things resting comfortably on your noggin without getting irritating over time; the headphones don’t have much heft, but what little there is, is well-distributed so that neither your skull or ears bear too much weight. The earcups, which also have memory foam on their pads, are comfortable without being claustrophobic. To be fair, the X65s are open-backed, so there’s little isolation from external sounds, but it also means air passes through from behind the drivers and there’s no low-frequency build up within the earcups.

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Speaking of those drivers, Austrian Audio uses what it terms to be a proprietary High Excursion technology (hence Hi-X65) based around a 44 mm driver in a ring magnet system. According to the company, the ring magnet, combined with a copper-clad aluminum voice coil, reduces the weight of both the voice coil and the membrane, resulting in a more responsive impulse reaction from the membrane, aiding detailed response.

For critical listening, I listened to some familiar, meticulously recorded albums such as Love And Money’s Strange Kind of Love, produced by Gary Katz (Steely Dan), and Thomas Dolby’s Aliens Ate My Buick, produced by Dolby and Bill Bottrell (Michael Jackson, Sheryl Crow). In each case, the X65s served up reasonable airiness and accurate low end that made the most of complicated, bass-oriented tracks like “Jocelyn Square” (the former album) and “The Ability to Swing” (the latter album) while still reproducing high frequencies with detail and smoothness. In keeping with Austrian Audio positioning the X65s as suitable for professional use, the headphones were amicably neutral, dutifully replicating source material as-is, but without creating a harsh, wearing listening experience in the process.

With a street price of $429, the Hi-X65s are not cheap, but for pros who need to work with headphones on, they present a very reasonable, aurally reliable option for getting things done.