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**Hifiman HE-400 Impressions and Discussion Thread** - Page 1003

post #15031 of 17024
A week ago, I received my first ever pair of audiophile headphones, purchased from fellow Head-Fier mvrk10256. (Thanks, mvrk!) They are, of course, the HiFiMAN HE-400.

I suppose it's strangely appropriate that I am running the HE-400 (a comparatively inexpensive planar magnetic) from a very budget-oriented setup. I'm all about bang-for-buck. An old portable CD player, the Panasonic SL-SX469V that I've had since I was, oh, ten years old, feeds via line out a JDS Labs Objective2 "portable" amplifier I picked up below MSRP on eBay. Into this amp plugs our succulent HiFiMAN orthodynamic.

The first thing one notices about the HE-400 is its physical character. The HE-400 looks and feels high-end in just about every way. From the robust 3-meter cord to the leather-ensconced headband, to the tight, sturdy hinges and the big navy blue-accented earcups, everything is constructed of the sturdiest materials and to the finest tolerances to create a beautiful whole. These are headphones that feel like they could take a beating, but due to their subtle class, beg not to. They are the first cans I've owned that cry out for a stand; to be an object of decor, and not just a tool. Add a pair of velours, and these are real stunners.

All that said, the first thing I did upon receiving the headphones was plug them into a hole and listen to "Varúð" by Sigur Rós. Listening to "Varúð" on the HE-400, one feels Jónsi's unearthly falsetto float out from a short distance ahead, and one can't help but quiver with the force of its beauty. Not because the voice is different than before, but because it's as if it finally exists somewhere in this world, like an hallucination becoming material. And in the crescendoing final passage, when the song can seem busy and muddled within my Shure SRH-750DJ, the HE-400 renders each detail, instrumental and vocal (including the grungy noise of the severely distorted guitar) with ease, thus translating the power of the moment. The Shures, by comparison, allow the sheer number of coinciding sounds to overwhelm the music.

Having bawled at Jónsi's genius, I decided next to throw on one of my favorite albums of the past year, Mumford and Sons' Babel. From the eponymous opening track, it was apparent that I was in the big leagues with these headphones. It was as if I hadn't really heard Marcus Mumford wax vaguely poetic before. His raw rasp hit me almost as if he were personally serenading me, so present and lifelike he was rendered. But where I was really taken aback was with the authenticity of all those throatily twanging strings. The acoustic bass in particular is a joy to hear through the HE-400.

The XX is not a band one would reckon should benefit greatly from an audiophile headphone and its easy detail or precise soundstaging. The soul of the music is in the intimate, whisper-quiet, minimalistic musicianship. So it should come as no surprise that the HE-400 does precisely nothing for this music. Coexist sounded almost flat. This is one example of where a much less resolving headphone, provided it has the right sound signature (preferably punchy) can sound every bit as good as the HE-400.

Arcade Fire is another story. Funeral was my next listen, and... wow! A great big, shuddering wo-o-o-o-ow! This album comes alive! It shimmers, it sparkles, it dances, it makes itself dizzy, it pukes up glitter and rainbows! Holy wow, unicorn horn! Yay!

Perhaps I'm not doing justice to the tasteful subtlety with which these cans operate. They don't seize on the bass, for instance, and crank it up to 11. They don't spike the treble for the illusion of resolution. They do, however, open up a whole new world within well-layered recordings.

Listening to Funeral, cliché though it may be, I actually did hear things I hadn't heard before. Minor details popped in a new way compared to the Shure SRH-750DJ. Mostly, though, everything just sounded... better. From the crunch of the bass guitar on "Neighborhood 3" to the fuzz of the opening seconds of "Une Année Sans Lumière", to the sound of fingers sliding over guitar strings from note to note on "Neighborhood 4", to the growling bass lines in "Wake Up", the sounds were simply layed out before me, crystalline in their clarity.

Listening by the HiFiMAN HE-400, music is liquid smooth, just there to float about in, picking out the little details or taking in the whole as one chooses. And there's nary a false moment to be found. It's delightful.

*****
Edited by applaudio - 12/7/13 at 1:48pm
post #15032 of 17024

Great impressions, applaudio! Glad you enjoy them, and now that you've had a taste of high quality headphones there's no turning back!:beerchug:

post #15033 of 17024
Quote:
Originally Posted by dxanex View Post

now that you've had a taste of high quality headphones there's no turning back!beerchug.gif

This is sooo true. You've chosen the red pill.
post #15034 of 17024
Well, let's hope for my wallet's sake that the rabbit hole ends here.
post #15035 of 17024
Quote:
Originally Posted by applaudio View Post

Well, let's hope for my wallet's sake that the rabbit hole ends here.

It wont.

post #15036 of 17024

That's what makes it a rabbit hole. 

post #15037 of 17024
Just got my Black Friday pair today. It's the most expensive pair I've owned, and the best. I'm having no trouble with sibilance or harsh treble spikes. I'm sourcing both digital and vinyl through a Little Dot 1+, with the stock pleathers. I've been on a buying jag recently, but these are going to keep me happy for a while.
post #15038 of 17024

Anyone here who ordered from HeadAmp get their HE400 shipped yet?

post #15039 of 17024
Quote:
Originally Posted by Za Warudo View Post

Anyone here who ordered from HeadAmp get their HE400 shipped yet?

I ordered on Black Friday and got it on Wednesday.
post #15040 of 17024

For all the new owners- you really, seriously should invest 10 bucks and get velours. I thought they were great with pleathers, but damn once I put the velours on I haven't touched the pleathers since. In fact, I think I may have lost them.

 

I wouldn't say they transform the HE-400s into a whole other headphone ...but they do seem to tighten up the bass and create a greater sense of airiness (my guess is they are more firm and push them further away from your head) They are also certainly more comfortable than the pleathers too. And that's well worth the price.

 

Just my 2 cents, I know the pleather/velour/jerg discussion will never end. BTW, I wouldn't mind trying out some jergs, I'm just too lazy to make some. If someone wants to sell me a pair PM me! :D

post #15041 of 17024
Mine came with both pleathers and velours. I prefer the pleathers a lot more. Wasn't close. But I'm giving at least 150hrs burn-in before giving the velours another chance.
post #15042 of 17024

Sure, that's just my opinion. My point is for $10 bucks, it's a really good investment. If you don't like them, your not out much. Not like a $100 pair of vegan pads...which is absurd, IMO.

post #15043 of 17024

Pleather won't require a piece of tape every couple days either.

post #15044 of 17024
Quote:
Originally Posted by TMRaven View Post
 

Pleather won't require a piece of tape every couple days either.

why does the velour require tape?

post #15045 of 17024
Quote:
Originally Posted by money4me247 View Post
 

why does the velour require tape?

for people with really bad dandruff :tongue_smile:

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