My eagerly anticipated HE400s arrived on Friday and, after 15 hrs on and off 'burn in', I had a first listen today, with my new 'phones connected to my FiiO X5 via stock cable and pads. Tracks were from a mixed bag of Linn Studio Master classical and jazz albums.
I really hope further 'burn in' of the HE 400s makes a substantial difference because, to my ears, they sound pretty awful right now. Listening to the Brahms Clarinet Quintet, the woodwind solos sound shrill and harsh. And the strings sound like they're being strangled. (Solo cello moments conjured images of ducks being strangled and violin / viola not too dissimilar to a pair of kazoos.)
Yes, I'm trying to make light of my disappointment as I have no-one but myself to blame for this purchase. : < (
It's not a product fault with the X5 because it works well with my (admittedly easier to drive) Vmoda XS and RHA 750 iems. I'm pretty sure it's not an X5 power output issue either as volume is not the problem; it's currently playing a jazz trio and volume is set at exactly 75% on low gain. Plenty of oomph. But more ow factor than wow factor.
Fellow HE 400 impressionists; can I expect better? Soon?
I'm aware of replacement cable / pad options but doubt they could make the kind of difference needed to generate joyous listening. And they shouldn't be needed to 'fix' my phones; just changing timbre / colour, surely?