Dekoni x Hifiman Cobalt headphones review

A collaboration between two audio experts results in a sleek pair of headphones - but are they worth the cost? We put them to the test

Dekoni x HIFIMAN Cobalt headphones
(Image: © Dekoni x HIFIMAN)

Louder Verdict

The Dekoni x Hifiman Cobalt are, on many levels, a success. I found them comfortable and lightweight over a few long testing periods - even when worn with glasses. For musical genres that aren’t completely reliant on bass-heavy production, they’re a capable set of headphones. For rock and metal, however, you might want to consider other options. I also wasn’t a fan of the plastic earcups, although they do at least contribute to a lighter overall build. There’s plenty of competition out there headphone, but the Dekoni x Hifiman Cobalt are still worth adding to your shortlist.


  • +

    Plush earcups

  • +

    Expressive soundstage

  • +

    Detailed audio


  • -

    Plastic build

  • -

    Cable is too short

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Collaboration is a wonderful thing. Some of the world's best-loved art, technology and products result from leaders in their fields joining forces to create something more than the sum of their parts. Think Anthrax and Public Enemy, or Dave Grohl lending his talents to a host of rock and metal royalty. 

Now, you can add Dekoni and Hifiman to that list. In one corner, you’ve got Dekoni, the renowned producer of high-quality aftermarket earpads for headphones. In the other, you’ve got Hifiman, renowned producer of high-quality, audiophile-grade headphones. A match made in heaven, right? With this Dekoni x Hifiman Cobalt headphones review, we’re about to find out. 

The Dekoni Cobalt, as they’re named on the box, are essentially closed-back, dynamic driver headphones made for superior listening pleasure. They’re not targeted at streamers, runners or anyone who needs a lightweight, portable set of headphones. While technically you could use them for all these things, you’ll likely find better solutions that cost far less than the $/£400 RRP asking price. 

No, the Dekoni Cobalt are aimed at music fans who likely have a half-decent home audio setup, and want to enjoy the nuances of their favourite artists’ productions in the way the artist intended. 


For a start, these wired headphones are relatively large and bulky with the two earcups formed from hard-shell plastic which helps keep the weight profile down. Indeed, the Cobalts are surprisingly light on the head despite their size, coming in at just over 300g. While they aren't quite as light as the Sennheiser HD 660S2, listening to your favourite albums through them certainly won't cause any cricks in your neck. 

Overall comfort is aided by the wide padded headband which means the Cobalts never feel cumbersome - and the swappable earpads. The earcups are finished in an attractive shade of blue (hence the name) and look great, although I do wonder how well the plastic will stand up to scratches and scuffs. 

In the box, you’ll get a couple of different options of earpads, with our review pair offering up a soft velour set and a set of what Dekoni calls "elite fenestrated sheepskin". Swapping earpads is as simple as clicking them in and out of place, and if the two sets in the box aren’t to your taste you can find a variety of alternatives available from Dekoni.

Of the two, I preferred the sheepskin, which I found to be plush enough for a long afternoon’s listening. That’s not to say the velour set were any less comfortable, however my go-to studio headphones are a trusty set of Beyerdynamic DT990s and once you’ve used Beyer velour you can never go back. Personal preference plays a big part here though so it’s nice to have options.


Dekoni x HIFIMAN Cobalt headphones review

(Image credit: Future)

In testing, I found the Cobalts to offer a genuinely high quality listening experience across a range of genres, with only the more extreme ends of the metal spectrum proving troublesome. I still find 1997’s Entroducing by DJ Shadow to be the litmus test for a set of headphones’ bass suitability, and here the Cobalts performed superbly, with the sampled low-end on that album’s Changeling track interweaving beautifully with the cinematic melodies sprinkled on top. The soundstage was breathtaking, with the album’s signature vinyl crackle providing a bed of warmth that the Cobalts recreated perfectly. 

With heavier rock and metal, the Cobalts generally performed well, but not as spectacularly as with less frenetic and bass-heavy genres. I found albums and tracks that offer the listener heaviness interspersed with room to breathe, like Tool’s Lateralus or the superb Mariner EP by Cult Of Luna benefited from the broad frequency response. However, all-out heaviness such as Lamb Of God’s As The Palaces Burn didn’t translate so well. Having said that, the closed back design of the Cobalts did at least ensure the bass was reasonably tight and didn’t become the muddy mess you might expect.

The alternatives

For around the same price as the Dekoni x Hifiman Cobalt headphones, you’re creeping into the realms of some serious audiophile headphone royalty. For example, the aforementioned Sennheiser HD 660S2 offer a top-tier experience with superior aesthetics. 

At the cheaper end of the price range, I'd also suggest the Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro. They offer a more comfortable experience, although their flatter frequency response is perhaps more suited to audio production than straight-up music listening.

Chris Corfield

Chris Corfield is a journalist with over 12 years of experience writing for some of the music world's biggest brands including Orange Amplification, MusicRadar, Guitar World Total Guitar and Dawsons Music. Chris loves getting nerdy about everything from guitar gear and synths, to microphones and music production hardware.