Originally Posted by ArmAndHammer
I'd love to see your thoughts on the HE-400 vs. TH600. I think that they might be out of my price range even if they are much better. I'd definitely have to loose the 400 and X2 before I could even think about picking up a nearly $500 headphone.
Finally getting a chance to listen to the TH600. Unfortunately I had to sell the HE-400 first to help pay for them, so I can't do a side-by-side comparison — I've been without the HE-400 for about two weeks. So I'll give my first impressions as both being relative to the HD650, which I've had throughout.
Comfort: Well, one of the main reasons I've struggled with the HE-400 is due to comfort. A lineup of Beyers and now HD650s have spoiled me in terms of comfort, so neither the HE-400 or the TH600 feel as comfortable to me. However, the TH600 is clearly lighter on the head than the HE-400 and feels much more secure when moving my head around. The FocusPad-A makes up for quite a bit, though, since I'm partial to the feel of velour, just not enough to make them more comfortable overall compared to the TH600. The best I can summarize is that, as listening time increases, I become more aware that I'm wearing the HE-400 and less aware that I'm wearing the TH600. Does that make sense?
Build: Besides the weight in regards comfort, the HE-400's feel is more solid, as it should. The TH600 doesn't feel cheap by any means, but the magnesium cups don't have the same kind of solid feel or sound when you physically tap on them. I might buy wooden TH900 cups to replace them if I get silly. But yea, light weight and very solid feel don't always go hand-in-hand. Fostex makes up for it with a much better cable. No, the cable isn't detachable, and that might be a deal breaker for some, but the quality of the cable is clearly much higher: thicker but very flexible, soft fabric sheathing, satin metal 1/4" jack housing, all very nice. And honestly, the HiFiMAN connectors are about the most frustrating I've used, so the fact that they're detachable isn't a big selling point for me. I'll include the packing in the build part. Fostex puts the TH600 in a nice black inner box with formed padding (not quite as good but similar to the HD650). HiFiMAN put the HE-400 in a cheap cardboard/plastic box you'd see hanging on a Best Buy shelf. Especially at it's original price, I always found this disappointing.
Soundstage: Surprisingly close, given my recollection. I'm sure there's some differences, but I'd really need to do a side-by-side swap to focus on the specifics. I have to say that the TH600 sounds very open for a closed headphone, perhaps even more then the HD650. That's what puts in the same general space as the HE-400. If I had to guess, the HE-400 pushes some things a bit further out around the edges, but not by much.
Sound: How to describe the difference... Basically, when I switch from the HD650 to the HE-400, I hear a little more bass and soundstage, but all the vocals sound off in comparison and treble is pushed. The HD650 bass was surprisingly close to the HE-400 with the FocusPad-A. Enough so that moving back to the HD650 to gain better comfort, midrange, and rolled-off treble was generally a no-brainer with the recordings I listened to. When I switch between the HD650 and the TH600, however, it's quite different. The bass, especially sub-bass, in the TH600 is significant. For example, when listening to some tracks off of Coldplay's Mylo Xyloto, moving from the Fostex back to Sennheiser's made the HD650 almost sound shouty in the midrange and kind of thin everywhere else. I hadn't experienced that before. I never thought the HD650 were ever deficient in the bass department while owning the HE-400. Compared to the TH600, I do. Not that I don't enjoy the HD650 anymore, I do, and I can acclimate myself to their sound after a few tracks of listening and be happy. But the fuller bass extension of the TH600 really adds enjoyment to a lot of recordings, even if there is just a bit of mids lost. Now some may say I was listening to a highly compressed modern-day pop/rock album, so it's a poor example or whatever. But it's an album I enjoy and will listen to again in the future, so I think it's a pretty good test subject personally. And I can say that The Division Bell album by Pink Floyd is currently sounding nicely weighted with the Fostex. When I was listening to this album with the HE-400, I was happy to return to the HD650. With the TH600, I'm happy they're on my head.
Mind you this is really is first impressions of the Fostex, and they're honestly in different price brackets. But when it comes down to it I'd rather have the TH600 on my head than the HE-400. The bass is really there and without sacrificing on mids or comfort, and without really loosing anything in the soundstage. If you can find some on sale or in the For Sale thread, I think they're worth looking into.
Edited by teofilrocks - Today at 9:37 am