Hmm, guess that pretty much guarantees I'll never have a need to try the velours. I have a different pair of headphones that are more balanced in nature, and my 400s have kind of been put on bassy music detail. I think once my Fiio X5 arrives, I'll see how the 400 sounds with the E12. A more neutral DAP might bring out some qualities I haven't noticed yet. That's kind of the great and the bad thing about this hobby. Each change in your setup can positively or negatively chance the final outcome. Who knows, I might finally like classical on the 400 with the X5.
**Hifiman HE-400 Impressions and Discussion Thread** - Page 1182
Gear mentioned in this thread:
I ordered the $10 velour pads yesterday and it seems like the difference between the pleather and velour is that the velour ones have less bass, vocals and mid range are pushed back in the mix, and the upper mid range/treble is hotter. I feel like this takes away the "realism" and musicality" of the sound, the pleather ones are more musical. I'm disappointed, because I kept seeing that people were saying that the velour pads were so much better.
The he-400 with the velour pads sounds like of my dt990.
I completely agree with your assessment of the velour pads. I've found the pleather much more enjoyable and warm whereas the velour were thin to me.
A couple things I've noticed with the HE-400. I love the warmth of the sound coming from the HE-400 compared to Q701's which I thought were extremely detailed with solid mids (which I love) but very plain and dry. It was interesting in that I could hear so much but once I heard the details in the song, the song wasn't very enjoyable anymore. With the HE-400, I find my music very enjoyable and I can easily switch between genres with HE-400's. I love forward mids and was a little concerned at first with the HE-400's as the mids aren't as forward as I normally like. However, after listening for sometime, I can definitely hear the mids clearly and they are quality, they just aren't as forward as the treble or bass. I love the separation of instruments with the HE-400 and that was one of the first things a friend of mine commented when he tried them.
Earlier today, I removed the grills to see if there was any discernible difference in sound as I was skeptical there would be despite claims otherwise. I've tried different things on Head-Fi with different headphones and found that some of the dramatic changes weren't all that dramatic to me. I will say that removing the grills did make a noticeable difference though. Clarity and openness increased, especially in the treble range. I would estimate the change at 5-10%--not making a different headphone but noticeable still. I will be modding the grill on these as I think they are phenomenal headphones for the price. I wouldn't mind a different cord and slightly more padding in the headband, but no headphone is perfect.
As for amplification, I have a ELE DAC EL-D02 ($10 new on eBay) and a BSG CMOY 18V ($50) with the AD8620 op amp on a BrownDog Adapter ($20) on the low gain setting. This is a relatively cheap setup but it works great with everything I throw at it, including the HE-400's. I get increased bass, clarity, and the sound seems to even out (less piercing treble on certain songs and better vocals). Again, this is noticeable and more noticeable than the grill removal. I would estimate the increase in sound quality at 20% or so (i.e. I rarely listen to the HE-400's without amplification). I think the HE-400's sound pretty good out of my iPhone or my laptop's headphone jack, but not $250 good. I don't think you need to break the bank buying amplification to increase the performance of these headphones but you will notice a difference with an amp. I am curious what a more expensive set-up will sound like with the HE-400's as I already think they sound great with what I have.
I did try to double-amp the HE-400's from my ELE DAC's headphone out into my BSG CMOY just to see what would happen and that was a mess. The instrument separation disappeared and became muddy and confused. It sounded as if there was crosstalk or another song in the background. I've noticed, at least with my setup, the cleaner the product input, the better the result the HE-400's spit out. I can tell low res MP3's easily compared to FLAC's with these headphones whereas some cheaper phones I've tried don't make that big of a difference. I'm limited to 16/48 with my DAC, so I don't know what a higher quality DAC would do.
Anyways, just some thoughts from an everyday guy enjoying his music through the HE-400's.
(BTW, with other headphones, I've had the urge to almost instantly find something better. Not so with these. I'm enjoying the music and that's what it's all about.)
Edited by aiaosu - Yesterday at 2:07 pm
- 72 Posts. Joined 6/2013
- Select All Posts By This User
Have been listening to 400 today. I have X1 Fidelio cans and I am looking either for upgrade or closed cans or preferably both. What I liked about 400 is defined and smooth and authoritative lower end presentation and better mids.
X1 is very fun in this regard, but it is bass a bit loose, uncontrolled and wooly, and can get in a way on some classical stuff.
What concerned me with 400 is a bit of upper bite ... kind of sizzling sound which was present on some parts of test music. My rig was Fiio 07K which made sizzling highs kind of grainy and unpleasant. Big step forward was cyrus dac/amp/streamer combo (owned by shop) ... it smoothed out top end quite nicely.
My concern is I will have to upgrade amp along with the cans (I have Fioo E09K at home, but doubt that would made a big difference).
My question is are there good options up to 300$ for dac/amp combo good enough to smoothly drive HE400.
My other option is Alpha dog, but cant listen to this one ... I would have to buy it blindly. As I understand it has less bass, which I would trade of for isolation benefits ... but again maybe I would need a better amp with AD also. My target genres are vocal jazz, mainstream old jazz and classical ... ranging from hi-quality recordings to complete sh*t. I will keep X1 for funk ... electronic ... etc.
- 80 Posts. Joined 3/2014
- Select All Posts By This User
Alpha Dog is $600 and more neutral. Mad Dog is bass and mid heavy with fairly neutral treble, if I remember correctly (people like to call it a "baby LCD-2"), so if that's more your speed, its the same price as HE-400. and I believe it has equal or greater bass quantity. My friend let me try his, and I didn't want to give it back :P If there's anything specific you want to ask me about it, feel free to PM me
Edited by coletrain104 - Today at 10:18 am