Originally Posted by hemipowered007
Definitely legit, the e17 was brand new from amazon, the he400 is from headamp. I ran only flac through them, and tracks I know very very well.
The HE-400 are, without question, 'underwhelming'. Admittedly I thought, at first, I would regret my decision to get them. After about 3 days to a week, I was baffled at the 'transformation' that had occurred in my impression.
You need "brain burn-in". When I first started listening to them, the instrument separation is what stood out. Live performances had a realism that destroyed my sennheisers. But it was the texture of bass, and the way that crowd noise / clapping sounded that stunned me (on a Jazz and then a Rock recording). On the sennsheisers, it was noise. On the HE-400, it was just real. Those 2 qualities alone were not the 'transcendent' experience I hoped for - at first.
The final negative that occurred was the frequent 'static' I started to pick up. I freaked out until I realized that, generally speaking, static was a result of compressed / hot recordings, and the HE-400s were simply hi-res enough to render the music - and the distortion. The senns had, for years, not revealed that issue to me. A good or bad thing, depending on your perspective.
After getting more familiar with the HE-400, they just got better and better. I don't notice the outright transparency anymore, as lately it is their prodigous bass performance that has been capturing my attention. But they really are amazing, and eventually I am going to get a better headband pad to boost comfort some more. And FYI, they do sound better with the Velour pads.
Most USB/DACs and the Fiio in particular are not really powerful enough, in my opinion, to exploit the HE-400s potential. They are all either battery limited or USB limited, and in most cases neither have enough sack to deliver the 1/4 to 1/2 watt or so needed to ensure excess headroom in 90% of possible listening situations. Picking up the O2 was a very good idea for those phones', and they do in fact scale on better equipment. They still sounded great on my laptop, but higher quality recordings, gaming, movies were a bit volume limited, so I went ahead and upgraded. Get a Magni or an O2 and you will have more power than you need.