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Mi Headphones HiFi Edition Review: Hi Resolution, High Expectations

Mi-Headphones

We review Xiaomi’s Mi Headphones HiFi Edition!

With photos from Richmond Tan

Aside from its truly value-for-money handset offerings and powerbanks, Xiaomi has also been making waves among gadget enthusiasts and in the tech industry for its award-winning earphones.  Its in-ear headsets, particularly the Piston v2 and v3, not only received prestigious Red Dot and iF design awards, but have gotten the nod of the most discerning audiophiles for punching well above its price class in terms of sound quality.

Xiaomi Mi HiFi Headphones 10

If these “in-ear monitors” (IEMs to sound purists) are good enough for high-resolution audio, then imagine what Xiaomi could do with a well-thought out, full-on headphone!

Enter the highly anticipated Mi Headphones HiFi Edition. Because of the success of its Piston siblings, Mi fans and budget audiophiles alike want to know if Xiaomi’s HiFi offering has the same value for money performance as their other offerings. This baby has yet to make its official appearance in the Philippine market, a few enterprising phone and audio enthusiasts have been able to source units from neighboring countries. Priced at 499 RMB (3600 Pesos) in China, it’s considerably more expensive than Xiaomi’s other audio offerings. While that’s true, it’s important to remember that the Mi Headphones – though designed with Mi mobile phones in mind – was engineered for taking on high-resolution audio. Hence, the “Hi Fidelity Edition” tag.

Xiaomi Mi HiFi Headphones 08

This marriage of mobile phone and hi-res audio use is evident in all aspects of its design, from physical build to sound quality to bundled accessories. Its defining features also speak to this duality: big 50mm Beryllium diaphragm speakers (large enough for full-blown desktop amplifiers), but with a super low 32-ohm impedance so that it can easily be powered by the smallest of mobile phones.

Xiaomi Mi HiFi Headphones 03

The sound reproduction is just about the best that can be had at its price point. It has the signature Piston v-sound configuration, wherein the high and low frequencies are given more emphasis to compensate for the human threshold of hearing, which is more attuned to the middle frequencies. While you do get booming, thumping bass and bright highs, they’re not at all overpowering, and its mids are not as recessed as in Pistons…thus putting the Mi Headphones’ sound configuration nearer to “reference” headphones, probably in deference to the preference of most audiophiles. But if you want to, you can pump up more bass using equalizer controls and the Mi Headphones will deliver without getting distorted or “sabog” or “basag” at all.

Xiaomi Mi HiFi Headphones 06

The power and beauty of the Mi Headphones, though, is best appreciated – and the true potential of its sound quality unlocked – when it is plugged into a high-resolution digital audio player and/or a quality headphone amplifier. You won’t really feel your money’s worth until you hear this baby churning out sounds from a lossless audio file played on a sweet hi-res DAP!  The next best thing we’ve found, though, is a superb hi-res audio player from Onkyo, available from the Google Play store that can be used on any Android device.

Xiaomi Mi HiFi Headphones 11

The Mi Headphones package comes with a whole bunch of options and accessories – which isn’t the case with even the priciest of headphones:  standard soft pouch AND a nice egg-shaped hard case; a 3.5mm to 6.3mm gold-plated adapter plug AND an airline adapter plug; a removable cable with microphone and receiver/music control; and last but definitely not the least, not one but THREE interchangeable ear covers. This last feature is a design coup – no longer will you have to choose if you want an on-ear (resting on your lobes) set or an over-ear one, since you get both options just by changing the ear covers. It’s a wonder no manufacturer has ever thought of this before! The over-ear cover has pleather pads, while the on-ear ones come in both pleather and cloth foam.

Verdict: Awesome HiFi headphones that Xiaomi needs to sell in the PH IMMEDIATELY

In true Xiaomi fashion, the Mi Headphone’s superb build and design touches belieits (comparatively) low price tag.  It truly is a thing of beauty in both appearance and sound. For the sound quality it produces, the Mi Headphones’ pricing is just about right.  When you take into account the impeccable physical build and the package it comes in though…that’s when you realize that Xiaomi actually has undercut competitors’ prices yet again!

 

21 Comments

  1. Bakit kasi bagsakan lang ng overstock ng ibang bansa ang Ph ng Mi.( White only Mi pad variant)
    Im interested if Mi brings this in, but im not holding my breath as Mi Ph not really keen on updating their product line up.

    1. Let me explain sir, I heard from a reliable source that our local Mi Philippines is having a hard time processing the different ICC, PS, NTC and whatsoever certificate for their products in our country. Thats one culprit. Another thing is that we are not a priority country for their expansion, India is. Thats why India gets a lot of attention from Xiaomi themselves. Mi pad is not overstocks from China, its sold across all Xiaomi partner countries also in White variant only, be it HK TW SG MY. Colored are only available in China. Reason, they dont know what will sell, thats why they only export basic White only. Thats just my two cents. you can join this group in Facebook at

      https://www.facebook.com/groups/xiaomimi3ph/?ref=bookmarks

      There are friendly local distro of Xiaomi bringing in the good stuffs. 🙂

      1. Thank you so much for filing me in.
        Yes i know govt red tape is hell to deal with and with strained Ph n China rel i think ph market is obviously not going to be their priority.lol

        Really love ur Mi reviews too kaya sana soon Mi will be more aggressive in the Ph.
        Gaganda tlaga ng products and price is very attractive syang.

  2. Disappointed in this cans, Creative Aurvana Live sounds better and is cheaper compared to these. Only advantage is the option to switch from on-ear and over-ear.

    1. Sound preference is, of course, very subjective. And the Aurvana Live is a closed-back unit, whereas the Mi is semi-open, so definitely preference would come into play there. But the build quality on the Mi is really impeccable, and I suspect it would last longer: silver-plated straight wire with kevlar fibre cable and braiding; metal & cloth materials (with some minimal plastic parts, but those aren’t flimsy and look to be premium quality as well).

    1. I think there’s a limited edition white with red accents, but that’s quite hard to come by, even in China. But you have to really see the gold & black unit live, maganda kasi talaga sa mata, and can match most anything. It looks macho with mountaineering stuff and blends in beautfully during dark goth gigs. Though, yes, it can look geeky if you want it to. But I don’t really think anything will actually look “gay” if the one using is comfortable with his (or her) masculinity, unless that’s the real look one is going for. 😉 Peace!

  3. I heard of this headphone and I’m curious to try this out especially for a budget-conscious me 🙂
    However, some of their products are “sirain” like my Piston and MI powerbank that I got from L-z-da and needs to be replaced thrice so I’m also kinda hesitant to buy more but I still want to give this a try.

    Hope I can buy one in HK before Xmas. Di na ako aasa na ilalabas dito yan unless I have to buy sa resellers pero this might be 200-250% more.

    Nice and simple review BTW.

    1. Thanks! Hope you’re able to get one. There are a few importers in the Mi FB groups, their markups are less than 30% actually compared to price tags in HK and SG

  4. Unbox i hope u make a Mi Hi fi ed vs Marshall Major 2 sound quality comparo.
    Definitley nice way to pit each other since both are at the sub 5k range.

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