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 lush, rich, incredibly thick and wide, and very very warm......like a bear hug of low mids around your ears.
Sound-stage is impressive.
One thing is for certain, after you use the HE-400s for a while then change to any other headphones you own, your other headphones will ALL sound smaller.
So, consider that as the other impressive caveat that the HE-400s can truly offer you along with the very nice sound-staging.
Do they sound bad?......No, not at all.......they just sound thick, flat, and wide.
Another way to think of their sound is if tubes in a headphone amp are very old and worn out and soft sounding..., that would be a way of describing the sound of the HE-400s...... very soft, very smooth, very round, very old analog.
You keep thinking, "wow, these could be so great if i could just add some upper mids and some treble".
And somehow the HE-400s are able to make their flatish - thickish- soft and round type of EQ tonality work, ,,,but that does not mean you have to like it.
I suspect that as these phones need power to make them speak, that many of the reviews you read whereby they are described as "bright" or "shrill" can be explained by the user trying to power these with an Iphone or some similar type device
which is starving the HE-400s and in that state they are going to sound brittle, especially at the top end.
However, if you give them the power they need and crave so that they can produce as they should, then you are will discover that they sound quite buttery smooth and very warm and thick and dark.
I like them, and i appreciate their sound, but my particular need is for more clarity in the mids and upper mids so that the music does not sound laid back and creamy smooth.
The HE-400s are nice cans, and worth the money, but be certain you are looking for their sound, which is nothing at all like a set of good dynamic open back headphones like the wonderful Sony MDR -MA900s.