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From a basshead's point of view

A Review On: HiFiMAN HE-400

HiFiMAN HE-400

Rated # 14 in Over-Ear
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Recent Pricing:
Review Details:
Audio Quality
Comfort
Design
Value
Purchased on:
Price paid: $335.00
RoMee
Posted · 2566 Views · 8 Comments

Pros: Everything not in cons

Cons: Long and stiff cord, bass is a bit lacking

I've been wanting a bassy open headphone for a while and after a bunch of research I decided on the HE-400. I normally have no interest in high end headphones because they lack bass, but from what I've read the HE-400 will give me a decent amount.

This is a quick impression from a basshead's point of view since there's already plenty of reviews, but most reviews are from audiophile who don't normally use and listen to bassy headphones.

I used the new FiiO E12 (the no bass version) for this impression with flat EQ on my iPod video 5.5G.

I use this set up because I have multiple listening spot in my house.

 

Value:

Definitely worth the $400, I got mine from Justin @ headamp.com for $335 shipped, factor in the sound and build and it easily worth more than $400.... If you're an audiophile. For bassheads it would depend on how much bass you're looking for.

 

Audio Quality:

I love the sound of the HE-400 but I do wish there was a bit more rumble, but I wasn't expecting it since it's an open audiophile headphone. The sound quality wasn't the leap in sound I thought it was. It's better than what I previously had but it wasn't that much better it's more of a different better. To my ears the HE-400 kinda sound like the portapro (which I love btw) but better everything. The mids are great and highs are nicely details without piercing my ears like most audiophile headphones. Vocals are nice and clear. 

Now for the bass. It's good bass, clean, fast and just loud enough but no way is it basshead level.

For audiophiles who don't normally listen to bassy music or use basshead headphone will call the HE-400 bass heavy. For us basshead it's not even entry level. It's nice bass but lacking in quantity even with a bass boosting amp. The FiiO E12 with it's weak bass boost did not do much in uping the bass quantity. The quality of bass is great though.

 

Design:

I love the design of the HE-400, it easily one of the best looking headphone I've used. Build quality is solid too. The cord is the only issue I have, it's too long and too stiff.

 

Comfort:

I personally did not have any issue with comfort. I had mine on for 3 plus hours without any discomfort, but I don't normally have issues with uncomfortable headphones (except the V-Moda crossfade and Shure SRH750DJ) so take what you want from that. 

 

Overall:

I am a basshead but my demand for bass is not what it use to be. I don't want bass all the time, but when I'm in the mood for bass I want a lot of it. The HE-400 is good enough for normal listening session, but when I'm in the mood for some serious bass I usually skip the HE-400. When I first started here I got a lot of recommendation from audiophiles saying this and that has a lot of bass, but when I buy them they lack bass big time, I realized most audiophiles have a very different view on bass. What's lacking to bassheads are a lot to audiophiles. The HE-400 falls into this category.

Overall I'm happy with the HE-400. It sounds great and even though it's not basshead level, the bass is good enough.

I'm currently looking into other amp that will max out the HE-400 so I might update this later, but for now the E12 is not doing the job I bought it for so back it goes and will be replaced by the C5.

 

 

EDIT:

[02/20/2013] Today I decided to use my E07K, I max out the bass(10) and gain(12) and the HE-400 gave me a good rumble, but once I up the volume to about 40 (65%-70%) it started to distort. 

At least now I know the HE-400 can give me a bit more bass quantity with the right amp. The E07K is not the right amp, SQ suffers when using this amp.

I have come to a conclusion, this headphone will never truly satisfy a true basshead

8 Comments:

You might like the X1, they have a nice tad of bass and they are VERY easily eq-able. Oh my god what was I pleased listening to some bass heavy music with the fiio e10's bassboost on and the software eq on foobar to +10db. That [u]literally[/u] made my ears tremble.
But eq isn't going to work with your iPod. :P
I used a sine wave generator with these, put it at 25Hz and cranked the knob on my Lyr... my head was vibrating. These cans go so low it's not even funny. Sure, they might not punch or rumble like Ultrasone 900s or any of Sony's XB series, but the bass is very quick, textured, and accurate. They definitely aren't basshead cans, they're more audiophile cans in my experience. I found the treble to be a bit hot and I experienced a lot of tinnitus/ear ringing during the time I had them (~3 weeks cumulatively -- I had the flawed 3rd revision and had to send them in for replacement) so I couldn't fully enjoy them. In comparison, my DT880/600s have no treble peaks like these do. I also find the mids to be much smoother and natural on the DT880s. If you have a decent EQ, software or hardware, you can make the HE400s rumble, but they will never be like that with their stock sound. Even with an amp like the Lyr, these will never satisfy bassheads, but those looking for an airy, accurate, textured sound will enjoy them. Unfortunately the treble peaks combined with the comfort issues (I found the velour pads to be very stiff and they left my head feeling strangely compressed) I had to return them. I'm glad to have experienced planar technology but it wasn't for me. Good luck in your quest.
If you have a lyr, you won't ever hear more powerful bass on the 400s
Thanks for the tip. I will look into the lyr. I'll probably leave HE-400 stationary if I pick up something like the lyr.
It's a great amp even with the stock GE tubes. If you get yourself some Amperex Orange Globes or Orange PQs it's even better. A bit more tube-y sound but it's so smooth it should be criminal. That's an extra $50 on top if you choose to go with them later. Personally I'd say stick with the stock tubes for a while and get a feel for them, then in a few months if you feel like changing it up, go to eBay and grab some.
Lack bass? which one ?
the upper bass, mid bass or sub bass ?
The Yulong d18 & A18 has wicked synergy with the he400. Very musical
aren't these not consider bass head cans? Oh well. I listen to the D2000 all the time and are my other main full size and I can say that I am satisfied with the bass, sure it does hit as hard or rumble like the D2000, but never the less good enough to achieve what it needs to.
Hope you will find what you are looking for and good luck!
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