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**Hifiman HE-400 Impressions and Discussion Thread** - Page 732

post #10966 of 17981
At 15, i got he-400 smily_headphones1.gif
post #10967 of 17981

I'm starting to feel old at 22!

post #10968 of 17981
Quote:
Originally Posted by OmsJtmz32 View Post

At 15, i got he-400 smily_headphones1.gif

 

I could only afford Sennheiser EH150's when I was 15. . .frown.gif

 

. . .then again I was way too busy playing baseball to even consider having a job, ha.

post #10969 of 17981
Quote:
Originally Posted by jerg View Post

It's actually an artifact of vocal recordings that gets amplified into excess tizziness via HE400s. Especially with female vocals, throaty / raspy harmonics turn into noise in the 10-15kHz region with the recording process in a lot of cases. That plus HE400s being emphasized in that region means any tizz (which arguably then is a fault with recordings) becomes nasty.

How are these artifacts created? I know that file compression can create some of them, but lets pretend I'm using FLAC for everything (still have quite a bit of sibilance on some of my FLAC albums). If someone has a good article/resource to link me, I'd be more than happy to read into it.

post #10970 of 17981
Quote:
Originally Posted by jerg View Post

In the end planar magnetic is still a "hack" compared to modern planar electrostatic headphones. Instead of stats which have a perfectly even and ultra-thin diaphragm, sandwiched between finely-designed plates that have very little interference on sound, you get orthos which have thicker diaphragms that are uneven due to the metallic patterned tracings adhered onto them, sandwitched between dozens of bar magnets on plates that cause unwanted reverbs and distortions before the sound even escapes the drivers.

 

Of course orthos are attractive because they are a great compromise between stats and dynamics in terms of sound and amp requirements, but the one saving grace they have in terms of sound is  that characteristically they always seem to have the thick, lush lower end that neither stats nor dynamics can capture as well. Some might hate that quality though, as it's more of a musicality preference than straight-up SQ superiority.


Your assessment makes me sad. But even with all the imperfection of the magnetic planars, they still have been utterly superior to anything else I have heard yet. I would love to hear some planar speakers. Also, don't electrostatics all require a constant charge just to stay ready to play? I wonder at the basic efficiency assumed and possible from different driver technologies. I get that internal reflections and resonance are an issue, but that can be said of all speakers especially with listening environments/enclosures included. All dynamic speakers have cast baskets and other stuff behind them that preclude a truly unobstructed sound. So, the quality is always come from the compromise(s) made!

post #10971 of 17981
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thujone View Post

I keep seeing this over and over again, so I will finally ask the question. What do you piercing highs and female vocals have anything to do with one another? The highest note ever sang by a human being is somewhere around 2000 Hz. The piercing highs on this headphone come from the 8000-10,000 Hz region. If you have a man or a woman make a "sssss" sound, it will be in the highs region (5000+ Hz) regardless - but that isn't considered a note being sung because it doesn't use your vocal chords. That being said, all this talk about female vocals being piercing seems to me like placebo is taking its toll. When I first tried to tackle the question of what mids, highs, and bass were in terms of frequency, I was initially under the impression that sopranos would be considered in the highs category based on several sources on the internet. Then, I found sources with concrete frequency ranges to describe the three, and I found that the "highs" are well above any note that can be produced by any human or normal instrument with the exception of cymbals and artifacts created by the human voice (whether man or woman) such as "ss", "th", "f", etc. Yes, I will admit that timbre of some instruments (snare drum comes to mind) is dependent on the driver's treble extension (ie more pronounced highs brings more crispness to a snare drum), but I still think piercing highs and female vocals have nothing in common. I have plenty of male vocal recordings that are insanely sibilant and other female recordings that aren't... Am I missing something huge that needs to be considered?

Yes -

 

Primarily that the human ear is naturally sensitive to frequencies centered around 1 khz (sort of how our eyes are 'tuned' to the color yellow and we tend to be more sensitive to it). The HE-400s 'bump' in frequency response in the 1 khz area, followed by a deep recession through to about 6 Khz may be accentuating a frequency that makes them seem a bit 'hot' compared to more neutral headphones. If you add to that modern recording styles, which can be heavily compressed and include over-pumped up vocals, you get a really bad combination. In my experience, clipped recordings give off a slight 'static' sound with the HE-400s. Once you notice the static, that is more grating than anything else (I thought my phones' were failing at first, then I started looking at waveforms using waveform seekbar in foobar). Also in my experience, audio engineers appear more willing to screw around with female than male vocals, given that women are not only better looking, but usually have much much prettier voices. wink.gif Notice how many female vocalists are the central focus in many pop recordings that feature a female-lead. They are also 'hot'. Florence and the Machine are my favorite example - her voice and music is lovely but the recording is hot to the point that it is fatiguing even on my lower-fi equipment.

 

I agree with everything you have said, because I too have complained that those irritated by 'sibilance' a) need to separate sibilant recordings from sibilant speakers and b) need to stop blaming upper treble for sibilance when, in all liklihood, the majority occurs in a much narrower mid-range, not treble band. Hence tweaking response up to about 4 khz might be more effective than 10 khz. On the other hand, cymbals and other percussion make lots of 'ssss' sounds as well, so some folks may be conflating sibilant voices with other sibilant sounds. That is not the same thing to me and should be part of different discussions, but I can see how such confusion would cause people to stress focus on much much higher frequencies with apparent disregard for physical reality.

 

It seems true that 'audio artifacts' (such as with a female voice) in recordings may bleed into higher frequencies - making vocal sibilance in higher frequencies a 'digitally' if not physically possible phenomenon. You could, for example, just record yourself singing and will likely see audio information in frequencies both higher and lower than you expect. However, this can be misleading. The reason is, most record artists will want to filter out unwanted frequencies (to take out voice 'boom' and vocal sibilance). But also, if the high frequency response were, say, 3 dB lower than the 1 khz response, the frequencies we would expect to hear would be 'twice as loud' as the ones we didn't expect to hear. In other words, sure, they are there, but they are drowned out. The presence of artifacts is not, in other words, proof that all irratating sound is in the upper treble (no one ever seems to cut the bass using the reverse logic, for example, but heavy bass is also fatiguing).

 

Finally, I do not see the HE-400s as really 'peaking' in the upper treble range, for 2 basic reasons. First reason is that our ears are less sensitive to those frequencies - so boost is expected if you are seeking something approximating 'nuetral'. I think this is true even in the headphone world (which is admittedly very different than the speaker world). Second reason is that, when looking closely at the frequency response curve, if we were to center at 1 khz, the upper treble never actually significantly exceeds the other 'peaks' in response. If anything, the upper midrange frequencies which I would think are more irratating are the most deeply recessed.

 

As I continue to ponder these headphones, I have recently decided that part of their 'real' issue is that they are quite unforgiving. If you have a bad recording, they will be sure to tell you! If you have a really great recording, they will sound great! A lot of new music is unfortunately pretty badly recorded, IMHO. I read the article about HD-650s wherein the designer of the O2 argues that they are a lot like 'polarized sunglasses' - doing a lot of filtering on their own to reduce fatigue and sort of 'improve' on recordings. I would now love to try them out to see if that seems true in a back to back comparison with the HE-400s, since my other Sennheisers, in doing a little of that, ultimately seemed more veiled than anything else on an initial listen.

post #10972 of 17981
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ze_Blitzkrieg View Post

 

I could only afford Sennheiser EH150's when I was 15. . .frown.gif

 

. . .then again I was way too busy playing baseball to even consider having a job, ha.

My dad used to give me about 50 Euros a month for my needs (mostly it went on food), so i saved up untill i could get my decent headphones :D.

 

Nowdays i got enought to get myslef the HE-6 but i want to save up just in case. \

Plus, im already very happy with the HE-400, no need to spoil myself that much if i can be happy with the HE-400 :D.

post #10973 of 17981
Thread Starter 

Nice allowance!! The he500 might be a more natural upgrade from the he400, should you feel compelled to upgrade. The he-6 will require a beast of an amp. wink.gif

post #10974 of 17981

..... No sound on the right side..

Edit: Manage to get some sound out of the right side but it is softer then the left side. Is it the cable or the driver problem?
Edited by OmsJtmz32 - 6/18/13 at 4:45am
post #10975 of 17981

I picked up these headphones and gave them a try, but ultimately they were not for me.  They do seem like nice headphones, I will not deny that, but the sound signature was just not quite what I was looking for.  The bass was nice, and on that end of the spectrum, it appeared to be what I was looking for it seems, but from there up it never felt "right" to me.  The mids seemed fairly weak (clarification: very clear and defined, just somewhat recessed), while the highs. . .well the highs just were too. . .eh. . .sparkly?  I know that the majority of my music is not sparkly itself, although there are obviously some recordings that just are sparkly by nature (and those were ignored, ha).  If it were not for an EQ, I could not even use these headphones personally. . .at least not with any sort of satisfaction, simply due to the highs.  Overall though, I was impressed by the resolution and clarity in these headphones. . .enough to make me almost feel that "wow" factor from that alone. . .but ultimately that was obviously not enough to justify their cost/purchase in my current rotation.

 

Based and what I have read throughout this thread however, the HE-500's sound a little more up my alley.  The only problem is that they are a good stretch beyond of my limitations (can't mentally justify $700 for a pair of headphone at this point, and the HE-400 was already stretching it, ha).  Perhaps down the road (in a couple/few years) I will give the 500's a shot (or whatever else might come out to best it from HiFiMAN.

 

As a side note, I liked the HE-400's at first sight, as the color is almost a perfect match to my car (Kona Blue). . .I wanted to keep it almost just because of that reason, haha tongue.gif

post #10976 of 17981

I will do a writeup of the HE-400 compared to Mad Dog 3.2 in a week or so just as I did with the HE-400 vs LCD2.

 

 

Also this thread has grown to be massive, and that's an understatement.  Often times I hear people commenting that this topic is too large to scan through properly.  Having said that I think it would be great if we could do like a couple other topics and have links to the major reviews,comparisons,impressions found within the topic on the very first post.


Edited by TMRaven - 6/18/13 at 6:02am
post #10977 of 17981
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ze_Blitzkrieg View Post

I picked up these headphones and gave them a try, but ultimately they were not for me.  They do seem like nice headphones, I will not deny that, but the sound signature was just not quite what I was looking for.  The bass was nice, and on that end of the spectrum, it appeared to be what I was looking for it seems, but from there up it never felt "right" to me.  The mids seemed fairly weak (clarification: very clear and defined, just somewhat recessed), while the highs. . .well the highs just were too. . .eh. . .sparkly?  I know that the majority of my music is not sparkly itself, although there are obviously some recordings that just are sparkly by nature (and those were ignored, ha).  If it were not for an EQ, I could not even use these headphones personally. . .at least not with any sort of satisfaction, simply due to the highs.  Overall though, I was impressed by the resolution and clarity in these headphones. . .enough to make me almost feel that "wow" factor from that alone. . .but ultimately that was obviously not enough to justify their cost/purchase in my current rotation.

 

Based and what I have read throughout this thread however, the HE-500's sound a little more up my alley.  The only problem is that they are a good stretch beyond of my limitations (can't mentally justify $700 for a pair of headphone at this point, and the HE-400 was already stretching it, ha).  Perhaps down the road (in a couple/few years) I will give the 500's a shot (or whatever else might come out to best it from HiFiMAN.

 

As a side note, I liked the HE-400's at first sight, as the color is almost a perfect match to my car (Kona Blue). . .I wanted to keep it almost just because of that reason, haha tongue.gif

 

 

Funny enought i have the HE-400 and the Beyerdynamic DT-660.

The beyer works really good for classic / intrumental, but in almost everything else is a fail compared to the HE-400.

 

I am very interested in the LCD 2 but at this point i also cant justify spending more. Especially since i found out about planar magnetic speakers from magnepan.

post #10978 of 17981
Quote:
Originally Posted by TMRaven View Post

I will do a writeup of the HE-400 compared to Mad Dog 3.2 in a week or so just as I did with the HE-400 vs LCD2.

 

 

Also this thread has grown to be massive, and that's an understatement.  Often times I hear people commenting that this topic is too large to scan through properly.  Having said that I think it would be great if we could do like a couple other topics and have links to the major reviews,comparisons,impressions found within the topic on the very first post.

 

That's something I'd be very interested in reading. What's your initial impression of the MD?

post #10979 of 17981

Just a heads up guys.

 

Recently I've bought the Mad Dogs (v 3.0) with AP and I gave it most of my dedicated listening time sessions.

After I went back to HE-400, I noticed how the HE-400 really fits my genre needs more than the MDs.

Although there are "sparkly" notes that might be overbearing (does not affect me much), you can't beat its fun factor and soundstage for the price.

 

Don't get me wrong the MDs are surely a keeper since I love listening to it while relaxed, it's just that when I am going to upgrade sometime in the future I want the headphones to have the characteristics similar to the HE-400.

post #10980 of 17981
Quote:
Originally Posted by catspaw View Post

 

 

Funny enought i have the HE-400 and the Beyerdynamic DT-660.

The beyer works really good for classic / intrumental, but in almost everything else is a fail compared to the HE-400.

 

I am very interested in the LCD 2 but at this point i also cant justify spending more. Especially since i found out about planar magnetic speakers from magnepan.

 

There were a few things where I could sit back and listen and it would make me just nod my head, think, "yes, these help this sound better" (As I Lay Dying for instance). . .but again it had to be EQ'd to get to that point, and the limited number of instances where this was the case I just could simply not justify having them.  If they were half the price I could consider having them sitting around as a secondary can of sorts to match up to specific songs/bands/mood I'm in, but at $400 I just couldn't consider it.  I listen to a wide range of music from Bach/Mozart/etc, to 70's rock (they did really well for this - Boston, Deep Purple, etc), 90's Alternative, all the way up to Rammstein, Metallica, etc.  If they were better matched for use across the board (again, just my opinion) they could easily justify them. . .but not for spot use at best.

 

(As a side note, yes I tried various pad configurations, and yes I saw marked improvements with velours)

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