Originally Posted by mogulmaster
Can CIEMs rival the SQ of the he 400? I'd like to save up for a pair bc portability and plugging into my iphone as well as isolation are VERY attractive to me.
Separation and the bass of the 400 is what is most appealing to me.
My R-50 with custom-tips (CIEMs) are on another level in terms of isolation, usable everywhere including planes or subways. I am pretty disappointed with the HE-400 in this respect, as the only place where I can use them comfortably is at home. Perhaps at work, but you better have your own room and not work in open space. Generally, not only you hear almost every noise but also your environment can hear your songs pretty clearly. But this is expected, as these are open cans and thus nothing really to complain about.
My real disappointment so far is clarity and transparence, but I should not reach final conclusions yet as my HE-400 has only 60 hours of burn-in. So I'm waiting and hoping for an improvement.. Thus far bass is powerful, imaging and soundstage are great, but the clarity is not (yet?) on par with IEMs.
I've been thinking that my headhone amp is not powerful enough, but its WM1811 from Wolfson, "5.3mW total power for DAC playback to headphones". With unblocked volume I can only go as high as 20-30% without pain. So it seems powerful enough.