Atypical tuning for audiofiles within you
HIFIMAN, a Chinese manufacturer of headphones and audio equipment, HIFIMAN Sundara and their flagship Shangri-La, priced at Rs 35,99,900. Known for providing some of the best planner magnetic tech on headphones, the company has attracted some attention from the audiofile. Although the company specializes in wired, high-end headphones, they have also begun testing water in the case of wireless in-ear. The HIFIMAN TWS600 is a true wireless offer of high fidelity from the company. It features a company-owned topology diaphragm driver that promises sonic accuracy despite being wireless. Let’s see how they are.
Construction and design
To put it mildly, the HIFIMAN TWS600 earphones have a weird design feature. While most manufacturers are trying to smooth out and streamline their true wireless offerings, the HIFIMAN TWS600 looks excessively “bulge-y”. The charging case is like an elongated egg, with a metallic gray gloss and HIFIMAN logo, while the earphones are shaped like a kidney bean with an odd bulging protrusion.
The protrusion we mentioned actually leads to the angular tip of the earbud. Frankly, the purpose of the ugly protrusion may be the way patented topology diaphragm drivers are placed inside the earphones and their dimensions. But this is just speculation. In addition to the bulge, there are physical buttons on the outside of the earphones. The buttons have a transparent pattern around them that allows the LEDs inside the earbud to illuminate. There is also a small HIFIMAN logo next to the earphones.
Returning to the charging case, after opening it, you will discover a battery indicator with four LEDs that relay the amount of battery life in the case. The earphones’ LEDs glow brightly, when they are inserted into the case to indicate that they are being charged. The back of the case has a USB Type-C charging port, on the right.
The design aside, the charging case refuses to open using at least one hand for us. The best way to do this is to separate it using two thumbs, but it still takes some energy. It is relatively pocketable but if your pants are form-fitting, it will stand out significantly.
The HIFIMAN TWS600 also comes with a USB Type-C charging cable and 8 additional pairs of silicone tips, including 2 or 3, double-flanged, triple-flanged, wide-bore and more options. The result? Earphones fit snugly inside most ears and feel comfortable to wear even during extended periods of use.
Unfortunately, the control buttons on these earphones were a major pain for us. Literally, painful … Because the buttons are relatively small in size and hard to press, they dig deeper into your ear when you press them. We found that using multiple fingers to secure the earbuds position and then pressing the button was somewhat comfortable.
You can control the music playback (pause / play) and answer / reject the call by tapping the button on both sides once. Double-tapping on the right increases the volume while double-tapping on the left decreases it. The triple tap helps you find the track, the left one takes you to the previous one as the song moves forward to the right. Holding down any button for two seconds will send a call to your phone’s voice assistant. Not really quality control, but they work for the most part.
Overall, the HIFIMAN TWS600 looks quite unusual, especially the earphones themselves with the ugly bulge. Comfort and fit, nonetheless, extraordinary. Unfortunately, the comfortable fit was dealt with with some discomfort due to the physical controls and their tendency to push the earphones deep into your ears.
Source: HIFIMAN website
HIFIMAN claims that the TWS600 has an unreasonably long Bluetooth range of up to 490 feet (150m)! Sporting Bluetooth v5.0, the box, however, claims a more conservative Bluetooth range of 10m – 50m (33 ft – 164 ft). On the website, HIFIMAN claims to have achieved an astonishing 150m of Bluetooth range in an open field. Although we could not test the claims of 150 meters height (a job to find 490 feet of open space in Mumbai, friends), we were able to achieve about 80 feet in a large parking area without any gaps in the connection. However, put a few interruptions in it and you will start to hear drops and skips.
In addition, the HIFIMAN TWS600 has a total battery life of 38.5 hours. According to the company, you get about 5.5 hours in the bud and 33 hours through the charging case. In our experiment, the buds lasted about 6 hours with 40 percent volume (these earphones are too loud!) And the case was usable for more than a week, which is quite impressive. Charging time is also fairly short, the buds need about an hour to fully charge, while the case is fully charged within 1.5 hours.
Despite being an audiophile-grade earphone, the HIFIMAN TWS600 only supports SBC and AAC audio codecs. Unfortunately, there is no aptX support. The company claims that the earphones have been tuned in such a way as to ensure low latency and their claims have been proven correct in our tests. When viewing content on YouTube, Netflix, and Prime Video, there was a negligible delay between video and audio. It was almost unnoticed.
The earphones also have an IPX4 dust and sweat resistant rating. So, they are equipped to deal with light splash and sweat while you are exercising. However, swimming with it is not safe.
The sound signature of the HIFIMAN TWS600 is strange compared to other competing products in the real wireless segment. It features an ‘A-shaped’ sound graph, with a strong emphasis on the middle and upper middle, which reduces the relatively low and high sounds. However, the lower and bass reactions seem to be a little more recessed than the higher.
The bus response to these earphones is controlled and detailed, making it sound quite lazy due to the lack of drive. It takes a backseat in the middle and upper-middle. On the track All over the world By King of LeonBackground jerks sound soundless as mid-range guitars simply overwhelm them.
Voices are clear and well pronounced as seen on the track Save me By One republic. Female vocals may occasionally have some sibling, but only if you exceed 50 percent of the volume. Earphones are very loud, so it’s good to hear them in the 40-50 percent volume range. The height, somewhat irresistible by the dominant mid, is literally correct. They all have a luster and brilliance except for very tiring sounds. Whether this is the result of HIFIMAN’s unique tuning or their topology diaphragm technology or both, we cannot judge.
HIFIMAN has done a great job of flattening the mid and upper-mid focused sound signature sound. It is highly commendable to hold details across frequencies. However, the canyon could be made a little stronger.
Soundstage is where these earphones surpass most of their competitors. It is ridiculously wide, with impressive width and even some height. The music fills the inside of your head and seems to expand outside, which is what you usually see in open-back headphones. Given that these are off-back, in the ear, the soundstage is really awesome. The only other real wireless pair of earphones that come close to this is the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless.
In addition to being easily placed in the soundscape of each instrument, the imaging is excellent and the separation of the instrument is quite decent, which is an unusual example of overlap. Call quality is quite decent. At both ends, the quality is manageable. In our microphone testing, the Live Transcribing app was able to pick up most of the words we said correctly.
Overall, the HIFIMAN TWS600 True Wireless Earphones offer a wide range of atypical sound profiles. However, it manages to maintain detail across frequencies. The shaft lacks drive but still sounds very complex and precise. In addition to maintaining clarity and detail across frequencies, it also manages to sound quite euphonic. Except for loud noises that sound a bit brighter at higher noise levels.
The last row
The HIFIMAN TWS600 is a true audiofile-grade true wireless pair of earphones that boasts sonic accuracy and an unusual A-shaped sound signature. It features a so-called wireless range of 150m in an open space and a battery life of over 38 hours with a charging case. While they are not the most aesthetic or premium-looking pair of earphones, the HIFIMAN TWS600 fits a snag inside the ear. They are comfortable to wear for extended periods of use without feeling too tired. Overall, these earphones are made towards audiofiles, and those who prefer a more base-forward approach may be a little disappointed with them.