Originally Posted by modulor
I only ever found it fatiguing on certain songs/genres, so musical and personal preference indeed plays a role - it's all definitely up to the listener. Others feel the same as you of course, but I think a major factor for this complaint (other than ear sensitivity) is the signature of the other headphones users are coming from or comparing them to. The HE-400 is an incredibly fun signature for most things I listened to, but it is also a very different signature from most headphones I've heard (and not in a bad way at all). Some may experience fatigue either from the bass, the treble or both (I believe this happened to me from time to time with extended listening) and some may not. They really require (and deserve) an extended listen to determine whether it is right for you, and you may walk away with an endgame (at least for the time being, haha ).
Obviously everyone's "end game" headphones at various price points are going to be different. I believe you hit the nail on the head in one aspect where it depends on where you are coming from, and also about requiring extended listening. You have to "get used to" the sound. . .in that I mean you need to listen enough to where you allow your brain to switch over and start thinking "this is what it is supposed to sound like" (if that makes sense).
If I could use an analogy from my favorite sport (baseball) here, I would liken it to muscle memory. You take batting practice daily, you hit hundreds of balls off of a tee daily, all in order to form muscle memory. That way when you are in the game you don't have to think about your swing, it just happens, and it happens based on muscle memory. When it's game time you have to remove the thought process and just let it happen.
So what I mean with this comparison is you have to just listen to your music through new headphones until you don't sit there and think about what you are listening to, just let it happen and not try to analyze. When you sit and try to analyze the sonic signature you will get lost, and never really hear the can, you will only hear what you are trying to pick out. Now, obviously this is what I like to do personally, and after having allowed myself to actually get into the headphones and not analyze them up front, I start comparing back to the other headphones. Now your mind is set to accept the new headphones sound as "what its supposed to sound like", and if you start comparing it back to your old cans, you will start to hear the differences in the adverse manner as before you became used to the new headphones (this is assuming that one naturally compares initially upon receiving new headphones, ha). It is in my opinion, at least, that which time you feel there is less negatives to your ears is the resulting better can for your tastes. i.e. if can point out less negatives going from old to new, then the new can is more suited to your tastes/desires, while if you find less negative attributes going back from new to old, then your original headphone still reins supreme in your domain!
Obviously just my two cents. . .hope its not too much of a derail of the thread. . .just wanted to share my back story as to how I ultimately resolved that the HE-400's were not for my personal tastes for an all encompassing headphone.