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HiFiMAN HE-400 Reviews

Positive Reviews

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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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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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 (target goes to a location on my Dropbox) 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 magnetic headphones burn in either,...
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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


The Late Game: HE-400 Review


Pros: Great bass impact for an open-back planar. Unique sound signature.

Cons: It's strengths are a conditional double-edged sword.

  As of September 2014, the HE-400 has been discontinued, and it's successor, the HE-400i is being sold in its place. So why publish, or even read, a review now? First, there are many used HE-400s in the market and are being considered for purchase. Second, many retailers still have new stock of the now heavily discounted HE-400, and these are the latest versions with no risk of future revisions. Third, based on 3 days of listening to the HE-400i, I've concluded that the new 'i' version is not an upgrade to the HE-400. It's a different sound signature. Asides from the considerable cost savings, I can see how someone could prefer the sound of the original HE-400 over the...
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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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Kon Peki

Great value


Pros: Exceptional bass

Cons: Not the most neutral headphones, heavy

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).  They are somewhat...
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As good a value as exists in the world of audio.


Pros: Spectacular bass, rich, engaging mids, great soundstage depth, and excellent detail retrieval.

Cons: A bit hot in the upper-most treble, and some upper-mid coloration

After using IEMs almost exclusively, I decided that it was about time to step into the realm of full-sized cans. I wasn't about to spend $1000, but I still wanted better than mid-fi sound. My options were pretty limited, and it came down to either the HD600 or the HE-400. In the end I decided that, despite the HD600's more refined sound, that the HE-400 had what I was looking for (tight, linear bass, excellent detail, and a 3D image). So I pulled the plug on the HE-400 (and a pair of velour pads), and never looked back.  My first impression was a good one, and they sounded exactly as I expected them to based on measurements and first-hand accounts. Bass I'm not at all a bass-head....
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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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A Fantastic First Step into the World of Hi-Fi


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

EDIT:  My opinions and views on this set of cans has changed a fair bit after more extensive listening.  Please see the link below for my updated opinions on these headphones. http://www.head-fi.org/t/755367/shootout-entry-to-mid-range-full-size-cans-feat-ath-m50-hd-558-and-he-400   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. ...
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Endgame sound quality for $400


Pros: Price, stellar sound reproduction, fairly easy to drive, very snug

Cons: Headband is the chokepoint in the price, it's just ok. fairly heavy cans, and they are completely open

The title is not exaggerated either, but of course to get the HE-400s to that level you need at least a decent DAC and a tube or hybrid amp like the Schiit Lyr to even hear what they truly can do. Otherwise most amps will will work just fine with them! I have tried them with my Schiit Asgard solid state amp for weeks, but felt they need more that 1watt per channel (the Lyr has 6!). The gain in sound quality is extreme enough for most people probably, but as you get to really appreciate these cans, you will want to get everything out of them. Simply put (without resorting to headphone comparisons which I did against the HE-400 which can be seen here: ...
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Best Headphones Owned


Pros: Excellent Bass, Amazing Sound Stage, Great Price, Comfortable

Cons: The Highs are a little to amplified, sometimes painful

These are amazing, especially when paired with the EF-5 amplifier. Would recommend to people looking at headphones under $500. The quality and soundstage is unbeatable, works wonderfully with all types of music.

Best sound is EQed correctly at its price, it actually sounds better than both 400s and 400i if EQed right.


Pros: best sound at its price for sure, annoying treble spike can be EQed, soundstage, isolation, detail, instrument separation, detail

Cons: EQ is off but if you tweek it, lower 8k-16k range by -20db, (and possibly raise 2-4k by 5db) problem solved, not too comfortable

Most people hate this headphone because of annoying treble spike and low mid treble but if just need to tweek EQ to see its potential.

Great, versatile headphones for the price


Pros: Almost even tonal balance, just the right amount of bass (and decent depth)

Cons: Annoying frequency reponse peak at ~1KHz

I'll start by saying that I have not owned a great deal of various pricey headphones. These are my best cans so far, but I've listened to a couple other comparable headphones that I'll mention later. Also, I'm not aiming to write a comprehensive review - some others already did a much better job at that than I will ever be able to. What I aim to do is point out the only fatal flaw I've found in these headphones that I didn't see anyone else mention, along with some other impressions.   My background: I listen to a whole lot different styles of music (from folk to IDM to ambient to jazz to blues to rock to pop to rap, just to give an idea). Over the years I've realized that the best...
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