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- productHiFiMAN HE-400tagged by System, 10/31/12
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**Hifiman HE-400 Impressions and Discussion Thread** - Page 1004
Gear mentioned in this thread:
lol, I wasn't singling out anybody but yeah, I suppose that's one drawback of the velours...they do get dusty from time to time, but a few flicks with my finger usually takes care of any visible specks pretty easily. No tape required.
Pretty much. I just cut the holes on the inside and didn't do any of the other parts. I might get around to doing the velour outer layer part at some point, since having holes on the outside too seems like it could make a difference. I just haven't really felt the urge to sit down and do it yet.
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.
I think that based on your description you may have accidentally gotten the lcd3 by mistake. I kid of course. Seriously, your seductive description of the he400 begs one question...would you write a poem for my wife and let me pass it off as my own? Come on, still kidding. (not really pm me with that poem stat)
I'm glad to hear that the he400 has struck a chord with you. It's unnecessary to chase totl expensive amps and dacs that only the likes of Labron James and now Robinson Canoe can afford. Just feed it a good source and it will reward you. The jergpads are the must have accessory for this HP IMO. Other than that just enjoy them.
I hope my ears hear the same thing yours did because everything else about them is awesome. HE400s with these weird pads/mids are like a supermodel with a giant zit in the middle of her forehead. :)
Hmm my modded pads fell apart today, think I cut too many holes, now the whole thing has split... Don't cut too many holes or too close or the pads will split! Is it possible to mod the velours? Or does it only work with the pleather?
My understanding is that velour modding was not a good idea.
Sucks that you lost your pads. When you flip them inside-out, you should take note of where the seam is and stay away from it. I found it was pretty easy to pinch as little bit of pleather, snip it, and then work the scissors in just enough to snip out a circle / square / triangle.
As I listen to my now modded pleathers, I have to say, they seem fantastic. I think having the ear a little closer to the drivers is a net bad for bass extension / impact. There is still some fatiguing treble energy - maybe more fatiguing than the velours. Finally, I seem to be turning the volume dial up higher and higher - is that the smoothness of the response fooling me into going higher, or a consequence of better damping?
I think the pleathers are $20 bucks, so it would be worthwhile to try again!
I suppose it's possible to mod the velours (e.g. cut holes in them), but I don't think there'd be any point to it. The goal of cutting holes in the pleather is to increase damping, and the velours already have plenty of that. Cutting holes in the velours would probably change their sound though -- who knows, you might like it. But IMO you should just order new pleathers and use the velours stock while you wait.
- **Hifiman HE-400 Impressions and Discussion Thread**
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