Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphones (full-size) › Review of the Ultrasone HFI-2400 Headphones
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Review of the Ultrasone HFI-2400 Headphones

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

Let me start off by saying that I did not expect to find the following results as I was comparing the Ultrasone HFI-2400s to my Proline 2500s and Beyerdynamic DT-770 Pros. I had preconceived notions of the Ultrasone sound signature because I use the 2500s almost daily, but the HFIs are truly something different. The sources utilized were a 2nd gen Ipod touch and an RME ADI-2. I will be as specific as possible as I attempt to describe their sound signature.

 

The review:

 

Low end

 

This is truly where the HFI 2400s shine. The low end on these headphones rivals that of the 2500s, but there is a difference when powering these with varying sources. Take for example the Ipod touch. The iPod will drive these headphones with enough volume to please listeners, but this is only when the volume is at maximum output. When the volume is turned down to 75% or 80%, it affects the signal immensely, to the point where volume decreases dramatically.

 

I would not recommend using these outside or while commuting, mainly because they are open-back headphones and because their sound will lose its presence as it mixes with the outside noises of trains, cars, or people –although to be fair, this is true of all open-back headphones. On the other hand, if you are looking to use these indoors, their low-end does not disappoint, as it requires less juice than the DT-770s to provide excellent low-end response. It actually has better controlled bass than the beyers, and it goes deep to the point of providing a nice vibrating feeling around your ears that I really enjoy wink.gif

 

As stated in some impressions of these headphones, they sound great with clean gain from a high quality source. As I listen to these headphones through my RME ADI-2, I notice that their sweet spot lies with the gain knob at 12PM. The maximum gain they can take before distorting lies between 1PM and 2PM. Anything after that is painful to listen to and may damage your ears.

 

Mids

 

The mids of the HFI 2400s as they are driven by my Ipod compare to the mids of the DT-770s as they are driven by my RME. This sounds odd, but I get the feeling that the HFI 2400s were made with the general consumer in mind. The mids on the 2400s sound recessed when given clean gain through my RME DAC, but have a sweet and light presence when connected to my Ipod at max volume. Although many reviews online state that these headphones will allow you to hear things you “never heard before”, I personally found this not to be the case with mid frequencies.

 

Although the low-end of these headphones benefits from clean gain and can handle its own when compared to the Proline 2500s, the mids take a step back to the low frequencies. Because of this, the HFI 2400s might not be the headphones you’re looking for if you seek cans that provide in-your-face mids. This affects snares and vocals within songs. This was noticeable while listening to Track #4 "All Good In The Hood" of Jamiroquai’s Rock Dust Light Star Album. Although the bassline was punchy and in your face, the vocals hid behind the low end and failed to impress. On the other hand, while listening to the same track through my Ipod, the mids sounded like tasting light butter, although not powerful or in-your-face, they were VERY MUSICAL and I can see how regular consumers could enjoy these headphones. Their signature is very pleasant and will not fatigue your ears as it provides you with musical goodness.

 

NOTE: As I used my Blue Robbie Pre-amps to color the sound of the music I was listening to, I noticed that the vocals took a bit of a step forward and sounded sweet and creamy. I am beginning to think that the HFI 2400s might benefit from TUBE based amplifiers.

 

Highs

 

This is where the HFI 2400s fall short. The highs on these headphones have a completely different signature than that of other Ultrasone headphones. Most people describe the highs of Ultrasone headphones to be exaggerated or painful, and I think that Ultrasone might have listened to them when designing the HFI 2400s.

 

The highs are a bit rolled off on these headphones. Instead of providing extended highs, they fall short when attempting to reproduce certain instruments that require high frequencies to extend across the audio spectrum. On the positive side, anyone hesitating from buying Ultrasone headphones will definitely enjoy these, the reason being that because highs are noticibly rolled off, harsh vocals are non-existant and there is no need to pray for the headphone gods to de-ess the vocals on certain music tracks.

 

Overall

 

The HFI 2400s provide extended low end to satisfy bass-heads without losing tightness. This also makes them good candidates for users who seek controlled and punchy low end –this is the first headphone I have used that can do this. These require less juice than my DT-770s while providing even better low end, but sound less open than my Proline 2500s because they lack in mids and have rolled off highs.

 

The rolled off highs and recessed mids of the HFI 2400s when using a clean and powerful source will leave users who seek a detailed and open sound, wanting for something more. This is not the case when using an Ipod or MP3 player though, as I personally feel that the HFI 2400s were made to be used by these devices –although I would not recommend using these to commute or in noisy places. The mids have a bit more presence when being powered by my Ipod touch, and pretty much taste like light butter. These headphones might also benefit from a TUBE based amplifier, as my Blue Robbies pushed vocals a little-bit forward and made them sound creamy, never becoming fatiguing or sibilant.

 

I hope my review can help people considering these headphones and anyone that might be interested in adding another pair of headphones to their arsenal to make an informed decision.


Edited by kesslerjesus - 11/8/10 at 8:01pm
post #2 of 22

Excellent review! Thanks very much for posting your thoughts. We need more information on these headphones. Were you comparing them to the 80 ohm version of the DT 770?

post #3 of 22

I bought a pair of these for my daughter and they sounded horrible, something sounded horribly wrong, so i sent them back and upgraded to the Pro-750.  While I have been waiting i went to a local shop and realized that the drivers must have been blown on the pair i got.  I auditioned both the HFI-2400 and the Pro-750 and they actually both sounded very good at the pricepoint offered.

 

Thanks for the review.

post #4 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by priest View Post

Excellent review! Thanks very much for posting your thoughts. We need more information on these headphones. Were you comparing them to the 80 ohm version of the DT 770?


No problem, glad to help. Yes, I was comparing them to the 80 ohm version of the DT 770s. I've been meaning to try out the 32 ohm version, but probably won't anytime soon. I mainly use the 770s for tracking vocals because they isolate really well, but they're not headphones I'd see myself walking around with

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dallan View Post

I bought a pair of these for my daughter and they sounded horrible, something sounded horribly wrong, so i sent them back and upgraded to the Pro-750.  While I have been waiting i went to a local shop and realized that the drivers must have been blown on the pair i got.  I auditioned both the HFI-2400 and the Pro-750 and they actually both sounded very good at the pricepoint offered.

 

Thanks for the review.


I think that was probably the case (a defective pair). These sounded pretty good out of the box, but I would also choose the 750s or the 2500s over them because I mainly use headphones for critical listening at work. The HFI 2400s are very musical though, and I might actually keep them for myself instead of selling them. They have a pleasing and musical sound signature that won't stress out your ears after long hours of use, and are deff a "fun" pair of headphones. Plus, I think ultrasone made the Ear and Head-pads thicker and more cushion-like, so they don't hurt my head as much as my 2500s when they were new.

post #5 of 22

about the earpad, you mean that hfi 2400 and pro 2500 uses a different material for the earpad?? are the hfi 2400 earpad can be fitted to pro 2500? and did it changes the sounds as well?

 

btw thx for the review..

post #6 of 22

Hi,

 

Thanks for the review! I got myself a pair a couple of days ago. How long did you burn in your pair? 

 

I'm asking because of the recessed mids, what I already noticed on mine (I burn in using pink noise), is that the outer ends of the spectrum will calm down after some hours of burn in (already noticed it after +-20h), and thus giving the mids more room. The rolled off highs are still there indeed, but the way I see it, this is not a reference headphone, but truly an entertainment headphone. If I compare it with my 650 I can hear that very clearly.

 

Some things I would like to add

 

-The comfort is terrific on these (soft earpads! instead of those horrible things on the 780)

-Cable is screwable off, so easily replaceable and storable

-Does not come with case, but a pouch

-S-logic actually works a for me, nothing huge, but its definitely less in your face

-Give them burn-in time, the bass and high's are very exaggerated in the beginning (making the mids recessed)

 

And my main point of view (I knew this because I had owned the Pro900), -> ULTRASONE'S ARE STILL THE BEST FOR PIANO <-!!


Edited by vvanrij - 11/8/10 at 11:00pm
post #7 of 22
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by santsant View Post

about the earpad, you mean that hfi 2400 and pro 2500 uses a different material for the earpad?? are the hfi 2400 earpad can be fitted to pro 2500? and did it changes the sounds as well?

 

btw thx for the review..


The pads on the HFI-2400s is more cushion-like and comfortable when compared to the 2500s. They make the headphones feel more comfortable on your head and take away the vice-grip sometimes associated with out of the box headphones. I tried the pads on the 2500 and vice-versa (they are interchangeable), but didn't notice a change in sound when doing so. The black pads just feel nice smily_headphones1.gif, but I would not recommend using the Pro750 pads on open-back headphones like the 2400s or 2500s because I have heard that the sound is severely changed.
 

Quote:

Originally Posted by vvanrij View Post

 

How long did you burn in your pair? 

 

I'm asking because of the recessed mids, what I already noticed on mine (I burn in using pink noise), is that the outer ends of the spectrum will calm down after some hours of burn in (already noticed it after +-20h), and thus giving the mids more room. The rolled off highs are still there indeed, but the way I see it, this is not a reference headphone, but truly an entertainment headphone. If I compare it with my 650 I can hear that very clearly.

 

-Give them burn-in time, the bass and high's are very exaggerated in the beginning (making the mids recessed)



These were used for a week by a family member and I used them for 8 hours, so I'm guessing they have 30-40 hours of burn-in time. But I will deff keep these around and report back if I catch any noticeable changes in their sound signature. You're right about them being an entertainment headphone though, they have a pleasing sound signature.

post #8 of 22

Nice review. I believe this is the first ever review of the HFI-2400 on Head-Fi...

post #9 of 22

HEAD-FI has the first audiophile review of the HFI-2400!!!

Thank you so much, Kesslerjesus. Really detailed and excellent comparisons. I just downloaded that jamiroquai album too by the way, and i'm liking it so far. Especially the jazz-influenced background instrumentation, the sax is one of those instruments that really gets my head bobbing.

 

What's weird is that your impressions say that it sounds best used from a portable source, but I emailed Ultrasone about using the 2400s from my "ipod" (no one knows what a cowon s9 is) and he said that I shouldn't. Their reason? Because they have an impedance of 70 ohms. As if I didn't already know that. I'm thinking you know their product better than they do lol.

 

All in all, great review. Thanks for taking the time to do it, so people know what to expect from this former mystery of Ultrasone's audiophile line.

 

PS. About the highs - are they about as rolled off as the Sennheiser HD650s/IE8s or more than that?

post #10 of 22

One reason i didn't just replace the 2400 defective pair with another was that when i tried the Pro 750's they were almost as comfortable and they were 40 ohm.  My daughter wanted open because generally they are more comfortable for her and the 750s were close, and she listens out of the computer line out so i figured that even though the 750s were a bit more, they would work better thru with computer output.  They really both sounded very good to me.  Oh i listened to the 2200 not the 2400 but i was told they have the same driver.  The 2200 did seem more forgiving than the 750s, hopefully she will like them.

post #11 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dallan View Post

One reason i didn't just replace the 2400 defective pair with another was that when i tried the Pro 750's they were almost as comfortable and they were 40 ohm.  My daughter wanted open because generally they are more comfortable for her and the 750s were close, and she listens out of the computer line out so i figured that even though the 750s were a bit more, they would work better thru with computer output.  They really both sounded very good to me.  Oh i listened to the 2200 not the 2400 but i was told they have the same driver.  The 2200 did seem more forgiving than the 750s, hopefully she will like them.


You're deff right. The HFI-2400s are more forgiving than the 2500s and 750s. I took your advice and allowed them 42 hours of more burn-in time and the HFI 2400s have now opened up in the midrange. The highs are still similar, but that's because I'm used to the seemingly bright nature of my Proline 2500s. Over-all, the HFI-2400s are great headphones for anyone seeking good sound without the need to use external amplifiers. Their sound signature is very pleasing, which allows them to be used for long periods of time without fatigue.

 

In the end though, I will have to sell these because the audio work that I do requires headphones that don't color the sound. The HFI-2400s are forgiving of the audio source, but I just like headphones that are more neutral and, if I dare say it, less musical.

post #12 of 22
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by budgetboy View Post

HEAD-FI has the first audiophile review of the HFI-2400!!!

Thank you so much, Kesslerjesus. Really detailed and excellent comparisons. I just downloaded that jamiroquai album too by the way, and i'm liking it so far. Especially the jazz-influenced background instrumentation, the sax is one of those instruments that really gets my head bobbing.

 

What's weird is that your impressions say that it sounds best used from a portable source, but I emailed Ultrasone about using the 2400s from my "ipod" (no one knows what a cowon s9 is) and he said that I shouldn't. Their reason? Because they have an impedance of 70 ohms. As if I didn't already know that. I'm thinking you know their product better than they do lol.

 

All in all, great review. Thanks for taking the time to do it, so people know what to expect from this former mystery of Ultrasone's audiophile line.

 

PS. About the highs - are they about as rolled off as the Sennheiser HD650s/IE8s or more than that?



I have not been able to try out the HD650s or the IE8's, mainly because I have never found a good deal on them. Now regarding the highs on the HFI-2400s, they are a "bit" rolled off, which I found reduces sibilance and darkens the color of the headphones. This is not what you would want if you like clean/uncolored headphones, but this feature of the headphones allows for a musical sound signature that is not harsh on the ears.

 

Now regarding portable sources, the impedance is 70 ohms, but my Ipod touch gave them enough juice @ 90-100% gain. At 100%, you can really feel the low-frequencies that these babies push out, and the midrange has a sweet tone to it. What I did notice though, was that as the volume was decreased, even if only by 15%, the volume output dropped dramatically.

 

P.S. The new Jamiroquai album is amazing, isn't it? It really gets listeners moving, and those bass-lines are going to be fun to practice on my fender precision =)

post #13 of 22

For me amplifiers have nothing to do about volume for any of my headphones.

post #14 of 22

Well you used an amp in the review, maybe not a head-fi approved one, but an amp all the same. It makes sense that the Blue Robbie would make vocals stand out more, because isn't it a tube mic as well? So the sound signature would probably emphasize vocals by design. But yeah, if that's all the difference that you noticed between that and your ipod, then they were probably pretty well driven with a portable.

 

I wish I had more money. Lol I want these, and some Beyer DT990s, and an Asgard.

 

Hey Kesslerjesus, can you listen to this with the 2400s and tell me how it sounds?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5-3j5j5_IYY&feature=related

 

post #15 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by budgetboy View Post

Well you used an amp in the review, maybe not a head-fi approved one, but an amp all the same. It makes sense that the Blue Robbie would make vocals stand out more, because isn't it a tube mic as well? So the sound signature would probably emphasize vocals by design. But yeah, if that's all the difference that you noticed between that and your ipod, then they were probably pretty well driven with a portable.

 

I wish I had more money. Lol I want these, and some Beyer DT990s, and an Asgard.

 

Hey Kesslerjesus, can you listen to this with the 2400s and tell me how it sounds?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5-3j5j5_IYY&feature=related

 


Sounds great, Id say that type of music is pretty much ideal for these headphones.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Headphones (full-size)
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphones (full-size) › Review of the Ultrasone HFI-2400 Headphones