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**Hifiman HE-400 Impressions and Discussion Thread** - Page 2

post #16 of 17908

Nice review! I'm currently poking around looking for a good "everything else headphone," my modded xb 700's as wonderful with Bass heavy electronic music, I've been reading a good bit about "Orthodynamic" headphones and I may give them consideration! I've got quite abit of Jazz and Folk that needs something more precise and natural then my current bass heavy cans!

 

Maybe this is the direction I'll go in :3

post #17 of 17908
Thread Starter 

I really didn't give my jazz material much of an audition when I was writing the review. Mostly because I don't tend to listen to a lot of jazz and I wanted to focus on the type of material that I listen to the most. 

 

Well, I just spent about an hour listening to jazz and classical with the he400. Just amazing. This hp is stunning with this type of material. First I listened to Wynton Marsalis "Standards and Ballads." Next up was Symphony No. 60 in C Major by Haydn. Both selections were phenomenal. Neither the Denon or the Beyer could compete. If jazz or classical is your flavor then don't hesitate as the he400 will not disappoint.

post #18 of 17908

Hmmm, an improved dt990, sounds like the he-400 is the successor to the old hifiman he-4. Color me interested.

 

From the pic, is the pad leather or pleather? I guess it cant really compete with the Beyer velour pad, but how's the comfort? Do they get sweaty after a few hours?

 

Anyway I guess maybe I'll wait a month to see how's the build quality holds up since I've read some horror story about the He-500 gymbals coming off blink.gif

 

 

post #19 of 17908
Thread Starter 

I would say a much improved dt990. The pads are similar to the d2k and don't sweat the ears. They are real leather afiak. I'm a big fan of the dt990, so the previous complement is quite a complement for me. 


Edited by MattTCG - 4/9/12 at 4:38am
post #20 of 17908
Quote:
Originally Posted by MattTCG View Post

I have found a flaw if you want to call it that with this superb headphone. I finally got around to listening to some older material ripped at a lower bit rate-most of my music is flac. The he400 is very detailed and revealing which did not work well with the low quality rips. I wouldn't even call that a flaw but rather something inherent to phones in this class. Just wanted to be that anyone with a library full of 128-160 kbps rips would need to look elsewhere. 



Lol they are indeed very revealing and transparent, I picked up a lot of differences between 320kbps MP3s and FLAC files in jazz and acoustic rock tracks that were nonexistent with my other cans, now lossy music just won't cut it anymore.

 

I'd call it a pro rather than a con though. Transparency is a trait amongst hi-fi gear that many respect.

post #21 of 17908

They're actually protien leather, they don't really feel much like leather to me, but they're porous enough that they don't sweat like lesser artificial leather.  

post #22 of 17908

Nice review matt, I was thinking of lower end orthos such as this and T50rp but since then I have decided to wait and save up for HE-500 :D

post #23 of 17908
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zulkr9 View Post

Nice review matt, I was thinking of lower end orthos such as this and T50rp but since then I have decided to wait and save up for HE-500 :D



If you like a fun twist to the typical neutral signature then you'll miss out :P

post #24 of 17908
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phos View Post

They're actually protien leather, they don't really feel much like leather to me, but they're porous enough that they don't sweat like lesser artificial leather.  



Hey, thanks for the info. Now it's time to look at some velour pads for this beast. Has anyone tried them on the he400?

post #25 of 17908
Quote:
Originally Posted by jerg View Post

If you like a fun twist to the typical neutral signature then you'll miss out :P


In the Sound and Vision review of the HE-400s and the HE-500s, the great doctor of HifiMAN was quoted as saying:

 

  • The HE-500 signature was a bit polite, and was attempting to mimic that of a British speaker, such as the B&W.
  • The HE-400 signature, on the other hand, was designed to mimic the likes of an American speaker, such as something from JBL.

 

 

post #26 of 17908

Uhh, the first half of my post got lost when I hit quote...grr.  I'll rewrite it here:

 

As a new HE-400 owner, I agree with almost everything in your review.  They're very obviously darker than even HD650, and there is sometimes a timbrally "off" signature to the lower mids.  Orchestral strings for example can at first try sound somewhat wrong, too dark.  And yet every time I wear them, I find they grow on me more and more.  Despite being darker than 650, in some ways they combine the warm, non-fagiguing easy to listen to sound of the 650 with the highly detailed K702's treble and level of engagement and "alive" feel. 

 

I'm almost tempted to give HE-500 a try, since everyone seems to rave about how they're a whole different class of detail and neutrality and soundstage.  I keep thinking, if these are this good, what must HE-500 be like?  And yet the soundstage on the 400 seems as big as, if not bigger than my K702 which is famed for being too big (not to me, but to many.) And I fear the HE-500 could end up as fatiguing or more fatiguing than K702 since it's often described as "sparkly" and "treble first." The 400's have a very cavernous feeling at times like I'm listening to the quartet from the back of a large, empty, concert hall in part from the darkness.  How could it get bigger?

 

Also the comments on how revealing they can be seem to run contrary to the "dark" sound, not in a bad way, and also make me think that despite everyone claiming them to be "mid-fi" compared to their bigger brothers, they're mid-fi in nothing but price. 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by wje View Post


In the Sound and Vision review of the HE-400s and the HE-500s, the great doctor of HifiMAN was quoted as saying:

 

  • The HE-500 signature was a bit polite, and was attempting to mimic that of a British speaker, such as the B&W.
  • The HE-400 signature, on the other hand, was designed to mimic the likes of an American speaker, such as something from JBL.

 

 


What intrigues me in addition to this comment, is that Bian hasn't gone out of his way to promote "HE-500 as superior" or "HE-400" as "a new lower cost, lower end planar" but instead promotes HE-400 as being more sensitive, and promotes the new manufacturing process that makes HE-400 so affordable.  It makes me think that if HE-500 were made the same way and the silver cable, spare pads, and hard case were removed, they'd be able to compete at roughly the same price, just with two different signatures. 

 

Though that may explain what I find oddly enjoyable about them.  I've never owned B&W or other British speakers, but I have two JBL setups, and I love those Studio-L models for the money biggrin.gif  They don't sound exactly the same, these are definitely warmer/darker in the lower mids, but perhaps they do both have similar signatures.


Edited by IEMCrazy - 4/9/12 at 7:54am
post #27 of 17908
Quote:
Originally Posted by IEMCrazy View Post

Uhh, the first half of my post got lost when I hit quote...grr.  I'll rewrite it here:

 

As a new HE-400 owner, I agree with almost everything in your review.  They're very obviously darker than even HD650, and there is sometimes a timbrally "off" signature to the lower mids.  Orchestral strings for example can at first try sound somewhat wrong, too dark.  And yet every time I wear them, I find they grow on me more and more.  Despite being darker than 650, in some ways they combine the warm, non-fagiguing easy to listen to sound of the 650 with the highly detailed K702's treble and level of engagement and "alive" feel. 

 

I'm almost tempted to give HE-500 a try, since everyone seems to rave about how they're a whole different class of detail and neutrality and soundstage.  I keep thinking, if these are this good, what must HE-500 be like?  And yet the soundstage on the 400 seems as big as, if not bigger than my K702 which is famed for being too big (not to me, but to many.) And I fear the HE-500 could end up as fatiguing or more fatiguing than K702 since it's often described as "sparkly" and "treble first." The 400's have a very cavernous feeling at times like I'm listening to the quartet from the back of a large, empty, concert hall in part from the darkness.  How could it get bigger?

 

Also the comments on how revealing they can be seem to run contrary to the "dark" sound, not in a bad way, and also make me think that despite everyone claiming them to be "mid-fi" compared to their bigger brothers, they're mid-fi in nothing but price. 
 


What intrigues me in addition to this comment, is that Bian hasn't gone out of his way to promote "HE-500 as superior" or "HE-400" as "a new lower cost, lower end planar" but instead promotes HE-400 as being more sensitive, and promotes the new manufacturing process that makes HE-400 so affordable.  It makes me think that if HE-500 were made the same way and the silver cable, spare pads, and hard case were removed, they'd be able to compete at roughly the same price, just with two different signatures. 

 

Though that may explain what I find oddly enjoyable about them.  I've never owned B&W or other British speakers, but I have two JBL setups, and I love those Studio-L models for the money biggrin.gif  They don't sound exactly the same, these are definitely warmer/darker in the lower mids, but perhaps they do both have similar signatures.



If you do a sinewave frequency sweep you'd probably notice the big hump at ~2kHz as well, that's probably what's causing the off-timbre. A bit of a shame really, if that hump is gone I wouldn't have anything else to complain about em lol.

 

Edit: yeah very sharp observation on the nature of the HE400's treble. In the beginning I was convinced that they have hot treble, but after a dozen or two of head-time I too noticed that they are actually quite dark (especially notice that when watching a few films), but yet hold a lot of treble detail, way more than the treble-happy Audio Technica M50's. Very peculiar indeed. I used to think I was a treble-lover but this is much nicer...being able to hear everything up high without getting any fatigue or sibilance is great.


Edited by jerg - 4/9/12 at 10:54am
post #28 of 17908
Quote:
Originally Posted by jerg View Post



If you do a sinewave frequency sweep you'd probably notice the big hump at ~2kHz as well, that's probably what's causing the off-timbre. A bit of a shame really, if that hump is gone I wouldn't have anything else to complain about em lol.


 

I don't think the ~1-2 kHz spike/dip is related to the timbral tonality.  That's purely voicing not frequency peaks/dips.  I suspect it sounds that way because it's supposed to sound that way, but it would be nice if it were more natural sounding right at that spot.  That dark timbre seems to be lower frequency than that.  The whole treble range actually seems quite natural to me.  It's the mids right above mid-bass but below "mid" that seem to have the funny timbre.  I can't say that, say, LCD2's which these are supposedly voiced similar to doesn't have the same timbral funkiness as part of its dark(er!) signature.  I haven't tried them.

 

I still get curious about HE-500....but on the other hand, Head-Fi-ers and even Headfonia/Soundandvision commentators aren't always the most reliable for trusting the ravings of people.  Hyperbole (H-F?  Shocked!) may claim they're in two different classes, and yet I find myself still wondering, what actually gets "improved" in the others, and how can you tell if they're voiced entirely differently?  Neither is popular enough to have enough data to filter preference from fact, and aside from the 1-2kHz peaks, the response curve is VERY similar for both. 500 has a smoother response curve, but that seems to be by design/voice.

 

Some could say 500 is more detailed and accurate...but the comments here that 400 is also highly revealing seems to negate that. 

 

What really gets me is the commentators that claim, interchangeably that the 500 is more sparkly, the 500 is more laid back, the 400 has more natural mids, and the 500 has more natural mids.  It's like cut & paste editorial! I don't know how one can deduce "better" between two headphones from the same company in the same build with different drivers of the same tech that are voiced entrely differently.  And in this case especially price may mean nothing since the whole point of the price is a new fabrication process not used on the 500s.  I'd love to see what 400's would have cost if they were built via the old fab and included silver and a box for the true comparison.

post #29 of 17908
Quote:
Originally Posted by IEMCrazy View Post

What really gets me is the commentators that claim, interchangeably that the 500 is more sparkly, the 500 is more laid back, the 400 has more natural mids, and the 500 has more natural mids.  It's like cut & paste editorial! I don't know how one can deduce "better" between two headphones from the same company in the same build with different drivers of the same tech that are voiced entrely differently.  And in this case especially price may mean nothing since the whole point of the price is a new fabrication process not used on the 500s.  I'd love to see what 400's would have cost if they were built via the old fab and included silver and a box for the true comparison.


 

While I don't own the HE-500s, nor have I ever tried them, that is how I equate the sound of my HE-5LEs to the HE-400 sound.  Even the HE-5LEs are "laid back" and are just sick to sit back in the dark and listen to.
 

 

post #30 of 17908
Quote:
Originally Posted by wje View Post


 

While I don't own the HE-500s, nor have I ever tried them, that is how I equate the sound of my HE-5LEs to the HE-400 sound.  Even the HE-5LEs are "laid back" and are just sick to sit back in the dark and listen to.
 

 


Yeah, I know HE-500 and HE-5LE are sort or in the same trend of voicing, though I do imagine they're not quite voiced the same so it's probably not a fair comparison.  The reviews comparing 400 to 500, and especially 500 have a habit of being self-contradictory in the description of terms, or directly conflict with each other.   A headphone that is described as both bright and sparkly, can't possibly be laid back.  "Laid back" is a statement directly stating it's not bright and sparkly.  Yet some of these commentaries do say so. 

 

I realize HifiMan has lots of contradictions, I'd describe the 400 as both laid back and lively, but in no way sparkly.  The low end is a little laid back the mids are neutral-forward and the highs are slightly rolled off so as not to be fatiguing while still being detailed.  Ok, I can get that.  But bright & sparkly & laid back? 

 

It's not the HE-500 I'm ridiculing, just to be clear, it's the reviewers covering them with contradictory terms as though they're not quite sure themselves what makes the difference in sound presentation. I've heard HE-500 mentioned a lot as a defacto HD650 upgrade.  And from the description of "laid back" that would be about riight.  And yet, the HE-500 is supposedly brighter than HD650, while HE400 maintains the darkness (darker even) of HD650 while bringing the treble to life a little more. It's hard to keep track when comparing such differently voiced cans.

 

One thing I found interesting in common with all the reviews though was that everyone, despite self-contradictory descriptions, seemed to conclude that they like the 400 more for every-day use, and even though the 500, 6 are better for the "wow" factor, are lease pleasant for every day listening.  Reminds me of HD800 descriptions. And makes me wonder "why would I pay more for something I'd listen to less? :)

 

But of course, curiosity killed the Head-Fier... wink.gif

 


Edited by IEMCrazy - 4/9/12 at 12:26pm
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