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HiFiMAN HE-400 Reviews

Positive Reviews


Exceptional yet affordable


Pros: Exciting, bold sound with great bass, engaging mids, and mostly smooth highs,

Cons: Stock cable is annoying (but easily replaced), highs can be edgy at times

  HiFiMAN HE400         By now I think most of us are familiar with the history behind the HiFiMAN HE-series headphones. What started with a single model has grown into a full lineup, with prices ranging from $1299 for the flagship HE-6 to just $249 for the entry-level HE-300. Worth noting is that the HE-300 stands apart from the rest by using a “traditional” dynamic driver. Every other model in the HE-series is based on planar magnetic driver technology.   The entry level position among the planar models is held by the HE-400. It is the most recent HiFiMAN headphone released and sells for $399, putting it in competition with some more...
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The Fed

Hifiman HE400 - The Everyman Audiophile Can


Pros: Good across the frequency range, Live Sounding, Full

Cons: Connectors - Logo Paint

When I originally got into this hobby some 2 years ago, my first run of purchases included Sennheiser HD650's, Denon D5000 and Ultrasone Pro900's. I also had a couple beaters from Koss laying around like the Porta Pros (which I LIKE!). So upon purchasing my first true head amp (a Fiio E10) I thought my journey was over.... I had an amazing closed headphone, an amazing open headphone, a decent amp/dac... nuff said. Lets close the book on this consumer business and listen to some music. From there I focused a good amount of my energy on (A) fixing up my 54 Lincoln and (B) mechanical watches..... I was in the throws of said watch obsession waiting for Steinhart to fill...
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Negative Reviews


Below- to average headphones


Pros: Good clarity, impulse response, open soundstaging

Cons: Physical discomfort, lack of mid-range, ploppy bass, cable quality

Review: HiFiMan HE-400 (revision 4)   published on October 14, 2013   (click for larger pic)   - download a printable 4-page PDF version of this review (right-click the link & save target, or just tap for mobile devices) Intro I originally got interested in the HiFiMan HE-400 due to early positive impressions by other Head-Fiers and eventually bought my own pair in November 2012, new from HeadAmp. This review contains my thoughts on the headphones, which I owned up until August 2013. Caveat: for various reasons I didn't listen to these headphones that much while I owned them and used them only for about 65-80 hours. I don't personally believe that planar...
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Pretty much one of the worst headphones I have ever heard


Pros: Perhaps the bass extension

Cons: everything else

I really expected to like this as it seemed to be an audiophile favorite here. I listened to it for a few days to ensure that burn-in could occur, whether it be my brain of the headphones themselves. The problem with this headphone is that it's super harsh, harsher than the DT990. And interestingly it sounds dark. I don't know how they pulled that one off. At least the bass is fantastic, typical of orthos, but at this point, that bass extension and slam is pretty much useless due to that massive treble spike I'm hearing around the 10K+ region.

More Reviews

Kon Peki



Pros: Sound incredible

Cons: None for the price

First things first, there is a simple trick that solves all the complaints about the cable connectors - simply rotate each 720 degrees counterclockwise to build up some torque before you screw each one on clockwise.  Since you only need to screw 540 degrees clockwise to fasten them, the extra twist remaining in the cable keeps them securely fastened without having to overtighten.   The build is nothing special.  Yes the R/L markings rub off.  Also the screw placement is oddly asymmetrical.  Materials are not luxurious, and comfort is just average (though comfortable enough that I can enjoy them for hours on end without distraction).   The bottom line is...
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My first high-end production 'Planar' (Ortho) and wow, what a start!


Pros: Balanced, Decent Bass Body, Not much Plastic

Cons: Rather Heavy, Slightly overzealous Clamp, Cable connection could be better - Not much really

This review was originally posted on my blog [ http://noblehifi.blogspot.co.uk/ ].   Disclaimer: A big thank you to Electromod for loaning me the HE-400. For those of you who don't already know - Hifiman are a Chinese company, although technically founded in New York (2006), their R&D department is in China. In just a few years they've made quite a name for themselves making high end portable audio players, amplifiers and headphones. For the latter their focus has been with 'planar magnetic' (commonly and less correctly referred to as orthodynamic, or 'ortho'), apart from their entry level model, which costs £300. The ...
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HiFiMAN's HE-400: Small Price, BIG Sound!


Pros: Solid, Taut yet Accurate Bass / Luscious Mids / Detailed yet non-fatiguing Highs / Price!

Cons: Potential Head Clamp/Weight Issues

I initially had my eyes set on the HE-500s but after some research I decided that the sound signature of the HE-400s may suit my tastes better as I predominantly listen to EDM (Tech House, Minimal, Trance, GOA, Psy). Initial impressions out of the box were quite impressive. For those of you who have yet to try a Planar Magnetic headphone - the detail and clarity are something else compared to dynamic headphones. There is no background distortion or noise at any volume as the background remains completely black.   The soundstage is adequately wide and does a great job at projecting space between instruments and vocalists, so much so in fact that I often forget I'm wearing...
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Great First Step into Planars


Pros: Natural Sound, Build Quality, Easy to Drive

Cons: Heavy

The HE400 from Hifiman is a great value. For someone looking to a.) try a planar magnetic headphone or b.) find a pair of cans that will offer excellent, natural sound at a solid price, then this is one you need to consider.    They're built like tanks! Although the amount of visible plastic is scary at first, its very obvious once you pick them up that they're going to take a few knocks before you have to worry. From the headband (very comfortable) to the metal gimbals to the shielded cable to the plush earpads, the HE400 won't make you feel timid in handling them. Also, since it comes up all the time, I've had no problems with the cable connectors. I can't say why or why...
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Best cheap planar magnetic headphones you can find!


Pros: Bass, Details, Tons of fun with a nice sound signature, Build quality (These are tanks!), comfort (with velour replacement pads)

Cons: Treble spike (You get used to it), Weight, comfort (With stock pleather pads)

There really arent much to say. Everything is good with these headphones except the treble spike.

These are outstanding headphones and one can reach Hi-End for $300


Pros: After 100 hours of break-in time they rival the big buck 'phones

Cons: Leather ear pads need to be replaced with velour pads available for $10

First off my gear is HeadRoom Micro DAC and Amp.(I don't see how people get by without the crossfeed circuit on older rock recordings) Out of the rather cheap box the high-end was brittle and harsh and the bass boomed. The midrange was just OK. I have a Ayre Acoustics system burn-in disc and after 100 hours of brown, pink, and white noise along with Zappa's G-Spot Tornado from The Yellow Shark these headphones transformed into something wonderful. The highs were tight and accurate, the bass had a lot of power, but was also accurate, and midrange vocals were something to behold. I've always been a Sennheiser/AKG man and had never listened to planars before. For $299 (plus $10 for...
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Pretty Much Life Changing (Lots of asterisks, though)


Pros: Incredibly smooth mids, stunning detail, CLEAN bass, and wonderful highs

Cons: Weight, somewhat lackluster headband, pain in the ass cable that I'll be replacing soon

My Story First of all - WOW.  This is my first set of proper Hi-fi/Mid-fi cans.  It's also easily the best sounding anything I've ever had the pleasure of listening to.  However, since I'm new to the head-fi game, take this with a grain of salt.    So where do I begin with these headphones?  I guess I should give some background on my listening history.  I wouldn't quite consider myself poor, but I'm definitely far from affluent.  This means that my listening experience has been severely limited.  Until I purchased the HE-400's, the nicest cans I've had the chance to listen to were a pair of my friend's ATH-M50's.  While quite nice,...
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Buttery and TOO relaxed


Pros: Makes all dynamic headphones sound small by comparison

Cons: Anything above 1Khz is missing

Recently i received a new set of HE-400s and took them for a spin. I never made it past the first lap, so its time for the review. I found their sound to be a combination of overly flat mids and spiky distant trebles awash in a sea of syrupy bloated bass response with a touch of darkness throne in to hide any hint of presence or clarity. I use a Woo Audio Fireflies and a ResonEssence Concero HP and a Maxxed out version of the discontinued Headroom Max as my sources, so, im not under-powering the HE-400s. If you prefer overly flat mids and thick bass, then these are your best buy. On a positive note, as i define the HE-400s sound as bassy with muddy mids, , they can also be described as...
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Solid sounding, not super comfy


Pros: cheap, planar, flatish, clear, cool looking, removable cable

Cons: pleather pads, heavy, stiff cable

The review is based on the stock pads, not based on the upgraded velour pads. The only problem with the sound quality is a weird color in the upper mids, around vocal range.  This is due to the stock pads that come with the headphones and must be replaced or modded. They sound fantastic other than that but they just are not comfortable if you're not used to planars. I expect these will grow on me, especially when I get the pads replaced.   Update: Since modding and swapping pads on these headphones I must say it unlocked the true potential for these headphones.  Jergpad mod or velour pads will significantly improve their sound.

A great introduction to high-end planars


Pros: Well-textured bass, bass extension, lower mids

Cons: sometimes sibilant, soundstage a bit closed in

My source is a 2011 Macbook Pro-->Emotiva XDA-1-->Schiit Asgard-->HE-400   *Disclaimer* I have Jerpad 2.0 modded the headphones   The HE-400 does many things well, but the star of its presentation is the bass quality.   It has very good slam for an open can, but its texturing is to die for!  Cello sounds very realistic, with a roundness imparted by its bass extension.   In terms of the mids, male vocals have a very visceral, tactile quality about them, whereas female vocals seem to be missing a little bit.   The treble is rather hit or miss.  It seems to be fairly well extended, but it has a bit of tinny-nes and definitely sibilance...
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