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**Hifiman HE-400 Impressions and Discussion Thread** - Page 8

post #106 of 18339
Quote:
Originally Posted by planx View Post


Oh.. Well then.. Is it just the stock tubes that doesn't pair up nicely? I'm not sure if the HE-400s are right for me. The Shure SRH1840 are keeping me very interested, yet they are double the price of a HE-400... Price...


I'm using the stock Chinese tubes with my EF-2A.  However, I do guess that one could get into some tube rolling if a desired change in the sound was needed.  But, the stock tubes do well with my Fostex, so I don't want to use another set at the moment.

 

I'm not trying to imply that the EF-2A doesn't mix with the HE-400 in a horrible way.  I am implying that while HifiMAN has coined these headphones as efficient orthodynamic headphones - which they are when compared to the others in their lineup, I think the HE-400 really reaches its potential with a more gutsy amp and source plugged into it.  The EF-2A sounds good with the HE-400s and my iPod classic with a LOD cable.  However, when connected to an amp or receiver with speaker taps ... is where the fun really starts.  Also, don't poo-poo the HE-400s because of my response and experience.  Believe me, I do like mine and hopefully, will like the new pair that HifiMAN sends me as replacements in a week or so.  

 

I believe almost any headphone will sound "good" with nearly any amp.  However, in order for the headphone itself to reach its best potential, then the source and amp have to be considered for proper "great" sound.

 

Enjoy!

 

post #107 of 18339

I just ordered my HE-400s, can't wait to give it a go.


My setup will be: Xonar Essence STX -> Matrix M-Stage -> HE-400s

post #108 of 18339
Quote:
Originally Posted by MattTCG View Post

I have never been a huge classical fan. Occasionally I'll listen to Mozart of Bach, mostly to be educated about the genre of music. But I haven't really enjoyed it until I listened with the he400's. I believe the realism of the instruments and the sound stage that these headphones produce is what's made the difference. I've listened to more classical in the last week on the he400 than I have in the past six months easy. 

 

Today it's Haydn. The sound of the orchestra is so life like and transparent that the experience itself changes altogether.You can close your eyes and you're there. I do not get this experience or enjoy this genre the same way with Denon or Beryers. The stringed instruments, particularly the violin is incredible. You an feel the passion being expressed through the instruments. Truly incredible. 

 

If you are a Haydn fan or a fan of classical and have the he400, you really need to give "Symphony no. 60 in C Major" a listen.


Very nice.  I happen to be a huge classical fan in general, and have listened to a lot of classical on a lot of speakers, and can definitively say that these are my favorite in that genre now as well (which is the one genre I expected to never use them with when I bought them!)  Previously K702 was my favorite for classical since it does a lot for the high end what HD800 supposedly does.  I still do like what K702 does for the genre, it's great for critical analysis of the music, and gives a very dry observational overview of the sound for when I'm interested in the technicalities of a given performer, or the subtleties of a certain orchestra's rendition of one piece or another.  But when I want to just listen, which is the majority of the time, the HE-400 is it.  It renders everything beautifully.

 

You mentioned Hayden, I'm curious, was your recording a modern orchestra or a period ensemble?  These headphones do amazing things with period instruments and staging, which is a very hard sound to get right! Violins, for example, were fewer in quantity, individual volume, and had a slower resonance on the true gut strings giving them a more whiny, but gutteral sound versus the smooth modern orchestra.  Not that these aren't fantastic for modern orchestra, but the point is it's harder to find a good can for period than it is for modern.  These do great with both!

 

Only catch to modern orchestra (Hayden's "Surprise Symphony" excluded as a period piece (if you're not familiar with it, he basically was ticked at his patron and audience for falling asleep at his performances, so he wrote the "Surprise Symphony" to get quieter and quieter, lull them into a sleep, and then "SURPRISE" he'd blast them back to attentiveness tongue_smile.gif.  Probably the only symphony written for sheer spite, and we headphone enthusiasts pay the price....it has all the dynamics of a modern score. wink.gif ) Is orthos are quite dynamic.  And I'm running it on Lyr which is quite dynamic.  The lows are at times barely audible, and the highs can be ear shattering, so for classical I keep my hand near the volume dial.  Some of these recordings use the full 92db DR that Redbook has to offer...

 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Katun View Post


True 7, 8 and 9 aren't taken; but how many models "above" the HE-6 do you think they could possibly go?

 

Good point. Maybe they'll end up making orthos below $300. Look at the T50RP -- I know it's possible... rolleyes.gif


As I see it, I suspect once the new fab is fully running for the successors to HE-500 & HE-6, those will both move down in price range.  I'm guessing HE-400 and HE-500 (or the future equivalent of each) will run basically together at the same price point, with 500 maybe $50-100 more, like HD600 & HD650, HE-6 will move down to HE-500's price point, and that will leave the $800-1500 price range open for new state of the art models.  That's my guess for the long-range future, but Fang likes to throw us curveballs it seems, so he may come up with a model from some entirely different direction.  He's a tough one to predict!

 

I think "laid back" tuned headphones tend to sell for a premium simply because it's a sound signature that is mostly dedicated to a relative niche of fans of the sound, so they're willing to pay for it. biggrin.gif
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Katun View Post


Yeah, when Monster releases an electrostatic and markets it under Willow Smith...


So, 2014, then?

 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TMRaven View Post


I don't think you're quite understanding. The actual published specs mean very little in terms of actual, usable extension. Besides the obvious point that humans don't hear above 20khz or below 20hz well, and that headphones don't push near enough air to give visceral feeling of sub 20hz content, I've never seen headphones measured the same way speakers are, which are measured on a +1.5/-1.5db reference level of linearity often times to determine extension in frequencies. I've never heard an AKG701 in person, but judging by both FR and many people's opinions, I seriously doubt it digs deeper than the HE-400 with usable bass. I seriously doubt frequency extreme rolloffs have anything to do with giving a laid-back sound or not.


 

70x can be surprising of you listen. There's crazy extension there, but it's unfortunately so very flat and thin that you don't notice it unless you're looking for it.  It's both one of the strengths and weaknesses of 70x.  it's so flat no part of the spectrum is extremely tangible at any time.   I agree that the printed spec doesn't tell us all that much direclty, but between the lines it does.  Usually when a headphone has a smaller range, especially smaller than common, it tells us that range was not the priority in the design, and less than what is stated is probably lesser.  Not always but it appears true more times than not.

 

But extreme frequency rolloffs (and more to the point, rolloffs before the extreme) have much to do with laid-back sound.  That's most of the laid back sound.  That's not to say it doesn't still produce a lot of information at the poles, but by definition it has to be very subdued at those poles in relation to the mids.  Otherwise it wouldn't sound laid-back, it would sound energetic or forward or both.


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MattTCG View Post

Quick update. I decided to do an opamp change on my audio gd and found the flavor the he400 took liking to. The he400 now sounds even better through it than through the fiio. Bass is more present but doesn't loose any impact or get muddy. Now there is more than enough volume headroom. The fiio could be turned up all the way. I can only go about to the 12:00 position now with the he400 and audio gd.  

 

So it seems to scale pretty well with a nicer amp, although it is efficient enough to run on about anything.


I still haven't tried it on anything less than my Lyr yet.  One day I'll give them a shot on my Headroom Micro as well.

 

post #109 of 18339
Quote:
Originally Posted by jerg View Post



I listen to AKFG and Gazette too, among a few other Japanese musicians/bands. They perform exceptionally well for Japanese rock. If I gotta nitpick, then for certain Jpop / Jballad they are a bit too lean for my taste, since these recordings tend to be slightly recessed in the mids, and IMO need a more "lush" headphone to equalize that difference perfectly. On the other hand, it is hard to find lush cans that have the bass kick and extension of these, not to mention the realism in the mids and non-fatiguing yet non-recessed treble (important point, since many female Japanese vocals tend to be a bit harsher than others).


Interesting you'd say that.  I'm guessing you have a different view of JPop than the Japanese.  Audio Technica's cans are voiced with the classic Japanese speaker voicing.  That is, they're all in the high end, lean, clear, and not full at all, with clean but often non-present bass. confused.gif

 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MattTCG View Post

I'd like to hear what amp/dac is being used by those who own the he400.

 

thanks..


For me, Schiit Lyr & Bifrost fed by S/PDIF coax for a Squeezebox Touch.   Beautiful combination so far.   I'm fond of the stock GE's with all my cans, but I'm having some reliability issues with them making me reconsider a venture into the tube rolling thread to see what may have better reliability but still be neutral and clear.  I've had two pairs of those tubes falter with less than 400 hours use despite the 5,000 hour rating, and both became very microphonic sooner than that.  They're cheap (for tubes) so it's not a crisis, but it's irritating buying 2-3 to get one good one. Even if doing so is still cheaper than half of the more famous tubes out there for a single set.

 

It's funny, I started looking at orthos mostly because I had an amp designed for crazy ortho power delivery, so "why not?"  And I end up buying the only ortho that doesn't need that power tongue.gif  Like the HE-400, the Lyr & Bifrost rarely dissappoints. The fact that with the right tubes it's popular with HD800 owners says something. That's the pickiest can on the planet. Well, when it blew apart my HD650s it dissappointed, but that's a different matter (and it's a matter that I'm starting to discover may have been more tube related than amp related, but I need to conduct some experiments first.)  I still wouldn't trade my Lyr for anything under $1000 smily_headphones1.gif  And Bifrost via S/PDIF anyway, is quite a clean DAC, especially for the money.  The combo is very neutral, or slightly bright of neutral, which is a fantastic match to the dark HE-400.  It was designed strongly with LCD-2 in mind....so it's a great pair for dark cans.

 

I have a Headroom Micro around, but I haven't tried HE-400 on them yet.  I was never pleased with it for HD650, also dark, but I've heard it's good for K702.  I do suspect Headrooms are a better match for inefficient low-impedence headphones more than high-impedence 650s.  HE-400 may be efficient compared to HE-6, but they're still fairly inefficient headphones.  Moreso than K702 which is relatively inefficient on its own.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aaron1006 View Post



What he said ^ xD. These two are my only 'phones currently and not looking for anything else as far as full sized goes!

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by jerg View Post


 

Ditto on the second part...seriously I get an overwhelming feeling of not-needing-to-upgrade every time I listen to em. That is not good news for the hobby, I didn't spend enough money to warrant that feeling yet!!!


+2, both.  That's exactly what I've been thinking.  I keep thinking maybe, someday, I'll add HE-500 to see what the buzz is about, maybe I'll have to....maybe I'll...maybe....no.....no these are perfect.

 

I'm curious about the others, but I have a hard time thinking about paying 2-3x more for a headphone I'd use 70% less often!  My K702 are already collecting dust (but I'd never ditch them), and my HD650s, I'm almost thinking of not buying replacement drivers for.  I can't imagine often using them.  I may still do it, but these are just so addicting.  I think I would use these 70-80% of the time and switch out only for something different.   Unlike other headphones I can't swap these out and say "for this type of recording I have to use the other headphones".   I've yet to find a genre they don't render better overall than both 650 and 702.  Previously I'd use 650 when I had something more vocal or percussion/bass filled (chill, worldbeat, jazz vocals) , and K702 for classical, live jazz, etc.  Now...this is my first choise across the board, and the other two are only for if I want a different presentation overall. 

 

I agree entirely, the biggest feeling is the feeling of not needing an upgrade.  Not finding expected faults or irritants.  Maybe these really are the upraditis cure.  We think of upgrades, put them on, then think of not needing an upgrade.

 

Perhaps, this time, we're sorry about your wallet, Head-Fi & sponsors! atsmile.gif

 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MattTCG View Post

Well, I decided to parse down my collection as I like to keep only two pair of hp's on my desk and one pair of cheapies that I can take outside and such. Never thought I'd do it but I sold my beloved and most comfortable Beyer dt990. I always appreciated the sound signature and comfort. But after listening to the he400's non stop for about two weeks, the Beyer was just a let down tbh. They will ship out on Monday and I'll miss the comfort.

 

The issue with comfort mostly goes away after about 5 minutes of listening to the he400. I'm thinking of trying a new cable with it. Not sure though. I hear the silver cables may make the high's too bright. Ordering the Senheiser headband though. Will report back on that.


I'm still working on the comfort thing.  One thing is certain, the headband needs to be stretched, loosened, and shaped.  I'm working on that, and it does wonders both for comfort and for sound (less pressure means the foam compresses less which means the drivers sit a hair farther from the ear: more sparkle, wider stage, and dare I say, a little lower reach as well, at the expense of a slightly drier midrange!)  The only trouble is the metal band always wants to mold back to its old shape, so when I pick it up again it's compressing again.  And I don't want to actually weaken the metal by trying to stretch it too often...it takes a good bit of abuse to try to shape it so I'm not too fond of re-trying.

 

I'm thinking leaving it stretched over a wider object for a few days instead of hanging it from the stand may train the metal better.  Once thats done I'm thinking they may become one of the most comfortable cans in the collection if the early stretching results are any indication.

 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by wje View Post


Actually, the EF-2A doesn't do quite as well with the HE-400s at bringing out their potential.  However, do keep in mind, the EF-2A was also developed earlier than the ortho headphones from HifiMAN.  Though, against the HifiMAN's suggestion, the HE series of planar headphones sound best when used off of speaker taps from an amp or receiver.  The HE-400 and HE-500 headphones should not be connected to the taps, due to their better efficiency.  However, if one is careful, this should not be a concern at all.  Nothing like living on the edge for the best sound possible.

 

 


I can see it for HE4, 5, 6.   But even then, and especially with 400 & 500, if an AVR has better amplification performance than your headphone amp, I think it's time to invest in a better headphone amp wink.gif   My AVR is nice, but my Lyr runs circles around it in terms of total performance (obviously, not for total power.)   That's a lot of attenuation to be applying to the gain to get it down to <2W output.

 

post #110 of 18339

Great review dude, was interested in getting a pair of hifiman's so reading this was very helpful

post #111 of 18339
Quote:

Originally Posted by wje View Post


  I am implying that while HifiMAN has coined these headphones as efficient orthodynamic headphones - which they are when compared to the others in their lineup, I think the HE-400 really reaches its potential with a more gutsy amp and source plugged into it.  The EF-2A sounds good with the HE-400s and my iPod classic with a LOD cable.  However, when connected to an amp or receiver with speaker taps ... is where the fun really starts.  

 

I believe almost any headphone will sound "good" with nearly any amp.  However, in order for the headphone itself to reach its best potential, then the source and amp have to be considered for proper "great" sound.

 

Absolutely.  When you look at the spec and the reality of them, an "efficient ortho" is not really the same thing as an "efficient headphone."  The K70x is already known as a pretty inefficient can that really sings when you give it a lot of power.   I seem to have my volume dial set up higher most of the time for similar volume with HE-400 than K702. 

 

I think people get caught up in the "drives it loud enough" argument to miss the "does it drive all frequnecies loud enough" argument.  Almost anything can get anything "loud enough" but non-linear response curves means that while it may be loud enough, the ends of the spectrum may be dropped off a cliff in the process, and the impulse response control with it.
 

It's nice to have the ability to drive it off an iPod as an option in case I wish to use it that way, but they aren't IEMs, they're huge magnet arrays. They need real power, and even if an iPod can drive it, it'll sap the battery in a very brief time.

 

And even for IEMs, TF10 for example, they sound very good out of an iPod, but when I first tried them on an E11 I was astounded, the detail and stage really opened up.  That probably has more to do with output impedance, but it's no less important.  SE535 on the other hand doesn't have as much difference on E11, and picks up quite a bit of hiss.

 

Still, speaker spades on HE-400 seems like overkill.  Heck, Lyr is overkill, power-wise.  wink.gif

 

Quote:

Also, don't poo-poo the HE-400s because of my response and experience.  Believe me, I do like mine and hopefully, will like the new pair that HifiMAN sends me as replacements in a week or so.  

 

I missed the story of yours, were they the first batch with the driver fuzzing out issue?

 

I can sympathize with your fear of warding others away from a good product due to a bad experience.  My "Lyr killed my 650's thread" turned into a "lets bash those dangerous Lyrs" thread in short order.  As though anyone is unaware that a manufacturing defect of a severe enough nature on a 6W amp wouldn't have the capability of breaking something any less than your speaker taps. Fact of the matter is, it's still an awesome amp with impeccable sound and robust build.  A handful got out with some lurking bad components (or maybe just bad tubes, still doing some tests for a week or two.)   I still have faith in the product (my second one is just fine, always has been, other than a tube that went noisy), and still recommend it.  Much like you and your 400's no doubt.

post #112 of 18339
IEMCrazy,

If you get a chance, I'd be very interested to know how the Headroom Micro amp copes with the HE-400 - I have the amp already, and I'm thinking of looking at some orthodynamics, and the HE-400 is currently top of my list.

Dave.
post #113 of 18339
Quote:
Originally Posted by IEMCrazy View Post


I think people get caught up in the "drives it loud enough" argument to miss the "does it drive all frequnecies loud enough" argument.  Almost anything can get anything "loud enough" but non-linear response curves means that while it may be loud enough, the ends of the spectrum may be dropped off a cliff in the process, and the impulse response control with it.

Doesn't the HE-400 and most other planar magnetics have dead even impedance response?
post #114 of 18339
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitaldave View Post

IEMCrazy,
If you get a chance, I'd be very interested to know how the Headroom Micro amp copes with the HE-400 - I have the amp already, and I'm thinking of looking at some orthodynamics, and the HE-400 is currently top of my list.
Dave.


Sure! It maybe a few days (or weeks) until I get to it but I'll give them a spin the next time I'm sitting at that rig while ripping CDs!  I imagine it'll be a better match than HD650 was (impedance), though it could still be slightly dark. 

 

My Micro is the "desktop" configuration from the original series about 5 years ago or so.  So if you have the portable (9v) configuration of that older series, it may be different.  The newer portables are different with a Li-Ion battery.
 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TMRaven View Post


Doesn't the HE-400 and most other planar magnetics have dead even impedance response?


Unlike most dynamics, yes.  But that doesn't mean the current draw or even voltages are constant across the spectrum.  After the reports that on a selectable gain amp, the HE-400 sounded more anemic at the lower gain setting than the high gain setting, at the same volume output, I'd say there's probably a surprising voltage swing requirement for a low impedance headphone.

 

post #115 of 18339
Quote:
Originally Posted by TMRaven View Post


Doesn't the HE-400 and most other planar magnetics have dead even impedance response?


I haven't measured my HE-500's but I have found full range planar speakers to be very even in terms of impedance, albeit they present a challenge for amps due to consistently low impedance.  Add a ribbon to the mix and there are significant impedance swings, but not nearly as wild as ESL's.  An educated guess bets that planar headphones must be pretty even.

post #116 of 18339
My Micro is also the desktop version (I also have the Micro DAC to go with it), from about 4 years ago, so should be similar enough to yours, if not the same.

Thanks,

Dave.
post #117 of 18339
Quote:
Originally Posted by IEMCrazy View Post

Still, speaker spades on HE-400 seems like overkill.  Heck, Lyr is overkill, power-wise.  wink.gif

 

 

Actually, I implemented the speaker taps to drive my HE-5LEs.  Since they did so well, I'm now running to HE-400s through the same cables when I want to use that pair (using a bit less volume and power, of course).

post #118 of 18339
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by wje View Post

 

Actually, I implemented the speaker taps to drive my HE-5LEs.  Since they did so well, I'm now running to HE-400s through the same cables when I want to use that pair (using a bit less volume and power, of course).



Could you post a pic on the actual connection?

 

 

thanks...

post #119 of 18339
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitaldave View Post

My Micro is also the desktop version (I also have the Micro DAC to go with it), from about 4 years ago, so should be similar enough to yours, if not the same.
Thanks,
Dave.


It should be the same one, I don't think they changed it until after that.  I never had the Micro DAC, I use an EMU-0404 on ASIO drivers with it. I seldom use the PC rig anymore for listening after getting the Squeezebox/Bifrost/Lyr setup.   But I'll definitely give it a run.

 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by wje View Post

 

Actually, I implemented the speaker taps to drive my HE-5LEs.  Since they did so well, I'm now running to HE-400s through the same cables when I want to use that pair (using a bit less volume and power, of course).


Ouch.  Live dangerously.   HE-400 may not be efficient in any real way (despite it's claims relative to HE-5), but it's still pretty darn efficient compared to a power amp's output!   My amps drive my 30W+ speakers.....and people mock Schiit with their 6, and now 12W amps :P

 

post #120 of 18339


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by IEMCrazy View Post

Ouch.  Live dangerously.   HE-400 may not be efficient in any real way (despite it's claims relative to HE-5), but it's still pretty darn efficient compared to a power amp's output!   My amps drive my 30W+ speakers.....and people mock Schiit with their 6, and now 12W amps :P

 


I realize that.  However, the current headphone stages of new integrated amplifiers and receivers are quite horrible.  The sound gets too watered down and sounds nothing near the output that one can garner from using speaker taps.  I do have my wire-wound resistors that I have to install on the positive leads, which I'll take care of this weekend.  This will perform a benefit by protecting my receiver / amp as well as the headphones.

 

Edit: Since I use a Squeezebox for my player device, I do desire some control over the music tone.  Having the access to the bass, treble and variable loudness control that the Yamaha offers, puts me into quite a good sound category, and I'm probably still a few bucks less than some of that other Schiit costs. 


Edited by wje - 4/18/12 at 4:26am
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