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**Hifiman HE-400 Impressions and Discussion Thread** - Page 1333

post #19981 of 19995
Quote:
Originally Posted by shawtuw View Post

I received my HE-400's today. Got a used pair for $250 and they are in good condition with the white drivers. My other headphones are the AT-M50x and the Sennheiser HD-600, both of which I find very pleasing to listen to. I have to say, I was beyond disappointed by these headphones. The frequency response is actually unbearable for me.

Keep in mind, I'm coming from a TON of time on my HD-600's. I absolutely love them and I'm beginning to doubt that I'm going to find anything that I find truly superior to them. They just work so well for my purposes. I find the HD-600 through my O2+ODAC very smooth, clean, musical, and yet realistic. It sounds like I'm right there with the artists. Even the bass response is actually quite excellent with the HD-600. Bass guitars are easily picked out and very clean, it just doesn't extend really low into sub bass. That isn't a huge deal for me though, since sub bass doesn't really add much to the sound for me and rather just thumps on my ear drums. The mid range is obviously a strong point of the HD-600 and I would go as far as to call it gorgeous. When you get to the treble it's clear but rolled back just enough to not be too strident and harsh. I think I am probably sensitive to upper mids and treble.

Unfortunately, what I found with the HE-400 is that the midrange where many vocals occur sounds withdrawn and there is a very harsh sound at the frequency of the cymbals in most songs. Not only is it harsh, but it has an unnatural sound which I can't really describe, but it sounds like a digital sound rather than real (Maybe this is sibilance? It has this ringing "shhhhhh" kind of sound). It is so severe that it actually makes my ear drums physically uncomfortable. The cymbals are just clanging away right in my face in a way that I can only really characterize as harsh. This was the case both through the O2+ODAC and directly plugged into the MSi Z87-G45 motherboard (Which actually has pretty good onboard audio). The O2+ODAC seemed to make it worse actually, where I find that the O2+ODAC improves both my AT-M50x and my HD-600 substantially. I also found the HE-400 significantly more uncomfortable compared to the HD-600. There's no way I could wear those for 4+ hours like I do with my HD-600's. 

I was really hoping these would be a good addition to my collection and I was excited to try my first planar magnetic headphone, but they sound so bad that I am probably going to return them immediately. Perhaps I got a bad pair, but it's not like they lack clarity and they don't sound like the drivers are blown out. They just sound like they have a nasty spike in the frequency response curve which dominates the sound and makes it unenjoyable for me. They also lack the natural sound of the HD-600. I did mess with EQ some, but I found that it just made them sound even less natural. Even the AT-M50x's frequency response sounds superior to my ears. I will say that the bass is pretty good on the HE-400, but it is overpowered by that nasty behavior on the top end for me. Maybe I am just overly sensitive to this frequency range? On the bright side, it was a learning experience and now I know a little bit more about my own preferences. I'll be interested to hear another HE-400 on a different person's setup sometime to see if it was just a bad pair.
all that has been addressed in reviews done on the he-400 if you would have researched it. you can check the mods. And see if that helps but I find the treble spike only in certain recordings. I have numerous cans and have gotten familiar with the type of music each one pairs well with. I agree the 600 does do just about everything, but I love my 400's. Also I found the spike is not as bad a moderate volumes.
post #19982 of 19995
Quote:
Originally Posted by thewind32 View Post
 

What's wrong? Too tight, loose, heavy?


A combination of weight (heavy wise) and just general shape of the cups, I wear glasses so that could be the problem.

post #19983 of 19995
Quote:
Originally Posted by ojrobinson View Post
 


A combination of weight (heavy wise) and just general shape of the cups, I wear glasses so that could be the problem.

Check out the thread for mods to the HE-400 (or check out the pictures in this thread), there are many who have made custom headbands and changed the ear pads.  I wear glasses when at home and with the velour pads and a custom made head pad can listen to the HE-400 for long periods without much problem.

post #19984 of 19995
Quote:
Originally Posted by richard51 View Post
 

the problem is not the he 400......but the pairing with very analytical  amp and dac....o2+odac.... I had the same problem in the beginning with the Aune t 1 amp+dac... too analytical for the He 400..... Now i use the tube Ember amp ...no problem  in the higher frequencies....The he 400 is marvellous for the price and no match for my ath m 50.....:evil::redface::wink_face:

 

 

This seems accurate enough, since the Amp and DAC actually make the problem worse. I have considered picking up another ODAC and a tube amp like the Ember (Or one of the other Garage1217 offerings) to have in addition to the O2+ODAC.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by money4me247 View Post
 

@shawtuw, I would give it like a week or so of listening time to let your brain get used to the different sound signature, but at the end of the week, if you still don't like it, just return it.

 

if you want to try a planar with good mids, I would suggest the PM-3 (closed portable $400), HE-500 or HE-400i ($500ish or less nowadays), or if your budget can stretch the HE-560.(can be found as low as $600 used to $900 MSRP).

 

edit: I do agree the a nice warm tube hybrid amplifier sounds better with the HE-400, but I don't think it's worth redoing your whole set-up just to try to get a headphone sound sig to match your preferences. much easier just to swap headphones.

 

hope this was helpful.

 

I will give it some time to allow for adjustment, I think that is good advice. It's not even that I don't like bass heavy headphones or anything, but I just found the particular frequency response of the HE-400 to sound very "off" to my ears. I really enjoy my AT-M50x and it is not particularly neutral. I did look at the HE-500 and HE-560, but was hoping to get a headphone which was close to their performance without spending quite as much money. A lot of people seemed to feel that the HE-400 gets you close to the HE-500, so I figured it made sense to try that first. Now I'm thinking the HE-560 would have been the best route to take since it has the updated headband too. 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by raybone0566 View Post


all that has been addressed in reviews done on the he-400 if you would have researched it. you can check the mods. And see if that helps but I find the treble spike only in certain recordings. I have numerous cans and have gotten familiar with the type of music each one pairs well with. I agree the 600 does do just about everything, but I love my 400's. Also I found the spike is not as bad a moderate volumes.

I actually did research it quite a bit before making this purchase. My understanding of it was that this was a fairly mild spike and that many people felt that it added to a "fun" sound. I saw people discuss that it is "U shaped" on its frequency response and a lot of people also say that about the AT-M50x. I looked at the actual frequency response on Inner Fidelity and thought it didn't look THAT bad. I find my AT-M50x's sound quite fun and are not harsh. Plus, there's only so much you can gain from someone else's review of a sound, at some point you just have to try things for yourself. As I already explained my only experience so far is the M50x and the HD-600. So, it's not like I have experience with 40 different frequency responses and can readily identify exactly how something will sound based on a graph. You cannot deny that different people have different impressions of any given headphone, and I was just telling you mine. That doesn't mean I did not bother to do any research on it though.

 

By and large people seem to enjoy the HD-400. Hence comments like yours and others saying you love it, and that is fine. Those kinds of comments are why I bought it. I'm just telling you what it is like for my ears. Many people discuss the bass as though it has the most presence in the FR curve with these, but that was not my experience. Please note that my goal was not to have a headphone which was identical to the HD-600. My goal was to have a second open headphone which had a different sound signature for slightly different genres, perhaps something like an open back AT-M50x. I really wanted to hear that planar magnetic bass that everyone talks about. Plus, I am OK with "fun" sounding headphones like the M50x. My trouble is I just cannot seem to get past the spike in the HE-400's FR curve because of how prominent it is. The headphone is pretty accurate sounding in every other region of the FR curve, but that spike just drives me nuts so far. I listened to several genres and I noticed the spike in each one. Again, perhaps my ears are particularly sensitive to this region? My fiancee tried them and she did not experience discomfort, but said that to her ears the vocals sounded withdrawn and the vocals are her favorite part of the music. I would be fine with vocals being withdrawn in exchange for more bass if it weren't for that spike.

 

I also found that you are right about the spike not being as bad at low volumes, but that is a flaw that will be difficult for me to overlook. I don't like knowing that I have to keep the volume low to basically cover up something. Not that anyone should be blasting headphones all the time, but if I have to moderate the volume just to make them sound good then I consider that flawed enough that I would not end up keeping them.  


Edited by shawtuw - Yesterday at 1:01 am
post #19985 of 19995
Quote:
Originally Posted by shawtuw View Post

I actually did research it quite a bit before making this purchase. My understanding of it was that this was a fairly mild spike and that many people felt that it added to a "fun" sound. I saw people discuss that it is "U shaped" on its frequency response and a lot of people also say that about the AT-M50x. I looked at the actual frequency response on Inner Fidelity and thought it didn't look THAT bad. I find my AT-M50x's sound quite fun and are not harsh. Plus, there's only so much you can gain from someone else's review of a sound, at some point you just have to try things for yourself. As I already explained my only experience so far is the M50x and the HD-600. So, it's not like I have experience with 40 different frequency responses and can readily identify exactly how something will sound based on a graph. You cannot deny that different people have different impressions of any given headphone, and I was just telling you mine. That doesn't mean I did not bother to do any research on it though.

By and large people seem to enjoy the HD-400. Hence comments like yours and others saying you love it, and that is fine. Those kinds of comments are why I bought it. I'm just telling you what it is like for my ears. Many people discuss the bass as though it has the most presence in the FR curve with these, but that was not my experience. Please note that my goal was not to have a headphone which was identical to the HD-600. My goal was to have a second open headphone which had a different sound signature for slightly different genres, perhaps something like an open back AT-M50x. I really wanted to hear that planar magnetic bass that everyone talks about. Plus, I am OK with "fun" sounding headphones like the M50x. My trouble is I just cannot seem to get past the spike in the HE-400's FR curve because of how prominent it is. The headphone is pretty accurate sounding in every other region of the FR curve, but that spike just drives me nuts so far. I listened to several genres and I noticed the spike in each one. Again, perhaps my ears are particularly sensitive to this region? My fiancee tried them and she did not experience discomfort, but said that to her ears the vocals sounded withdrawn and the vocals are her favorite part of the music. I would be fine with vocals being withdrawn in exchange for more bass if it weren't for that spike.

I also found that you are right about the spike not being as bad at low volumes, but that is a flaw that will be difficult for me to overlook. I don't like knowing that I have to keep the volume low to basically cover up something. Not that anyone should be blasting headphones all the time, but if I have to moderate the volume just to make them sound good then I consider that flawed enough that I would not end up keeping them.  


I have the HD650, LCD2, T90, etc and I still really like the HE-400 - it didn't sound well underamped though. I have the suspicion the O2 is not the best pairing. I think you should either move on and sell it or try with a proven amp that will bring out the best of them.

Cheers,
K
post #19986 of 19995

kennerton audio has lambskin replacement pads on their website compatible with the he series headphones. part number is ecl-02. comes in three colors to choose from black,brown, & white. price is $59.00.

post #19987 of 19995
Quote:
Originally Posted by ojrobinson View Post
 


A combination of weight (heavy wise) and just general shape of the cups, I wear glasses so that could be the problem.


The suspension headband mod offered by member Lohb will seriously help with the perception of weight.  Use it on my HE-6 and honestly feel they are very comfy now.

 

The Audeze leather or vegan pads (same shape/profile) are awesome for comfort as well.  Use them as well on my HE-6. 

 

Might want to try both these mods.

post #19988 of 19995
Quote:
Originally Posted by ojrobinson View Post
 


A combination of weight (heavy wise) and just general shape of the cups, I wear glasses so that could be the problem.


See if you can get used to the weight after some time, especially if you mod the headband to make it more comfortable, such as this one http://www.ebay.com.sg/itm/190825064042

 

I wear glasses too, but do not have any problems with it. Initially, it did feel slightly uncomfortable after wearing it for a while with the stock pleather pads, but after some time it went away. Currently I'm using the focus pads (which has a smaller inner diameter than pleather), and no problems with glasses. I guess it would depend on how thick the arms of your glasses are as well.

 

Hope things work out for you.


Edited by thewind32 - Yesterday at 11:06 am
post #19989 of 19995
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oregonian View Post


The suspension headband mod offered by member Lohb will seriously help with the perception of weight.  Use it on my HE-6 and honestly feel they are very comfy now. The Audeze leather or vegan pads (same shape/profile) are awesome for comfort as well.  Use them as well on my HE-6. Might want to try both these mods.

 

@ojrobinson, if you cannot adjust to the weight after one-two weeks of usage, I would suggest returning them.

 

I got used to the HE-400's weight after a week or two and greatly enjoyed them stock (with velour earpads). The comfort does indeed improve with the addition of nicer earpads (like Hifiman's own focus pads) or the addition of a leather strap, but honestly at that point you are trying to fix a pair of headphones that don't match you. It is a lot easier to find a pair of headphones that fit you in the beginning and only modding to further improve your enjoyment. It is a lot less frustrating process that way and you won't end up ever being disappointed or regretting your purchase in the future.

 

The HE-400i and HE-560 both have suspension strap designs with the new angled velour-pleather hybrid earpads stock. They are both tuned to be quite neutral-orientated. I would suggest moving onto either of the models if you end up not really liking the HE-400s after a week or so. PM you further info.

post #19990 of 19995

Thanks for the tips guys, I will have a look into some of the headband mods. I currently use the velour pads but find they don't fit that well with my glasses, they are rather thick framed however.

post #19991 of 19995
Quote:
Originally Posted by ojrobinson View Post
 

Thanks for the tips guys, I will have a look into some of the headband mods. I currently use the velour pads but find they don't fit that well with my glasses, they are rather thick framed however.


I agree the velour are a bit stiff for glasses. If you don't mind the +$30 look at the focus/focus-a pads. I use them with glasses without issue.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ojrobinson View Post
 

Thanks for the tips guys, I will have a look into some of the headband mods. I currently use the velour pads but find they don't fit that well with my glasses, they are rather thick framed however.

 

I used the above suggested headband pad and they are very comfy but they do squish and mar, not significantly, the original head band. Another alternative that I have been using is the found at the URL below. Not better but different.

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/251720646308?_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649&var=550646756943&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

 

Seller is also very fast and I did receive 1 out of 3 defective units. She(?) sent a new one immediately without requiring me to return the original unit. Excellent customer service.

post #19992 of 19995
Quote:
Originally Posted by shawtuw View Post

 

 

Unfortunately, what I found with the HE-400 is that the midrange where many vocals occur sounds withdrawn and there is a very harsh sound at the frequency of the cymbals in most songs. Not only is it harsh, but it has an unnatural sound which I can't really describe, but it sounds like a digital sound rather than real (Maybe this is sibilance? It has this ringing "shhhhhh" kind of sound). It is so severe that it actually makes my ear drums physically uncomfortable. The cymbals are just clanging away right in my face in a way that I can only really characterize as harsh. This was the case both through the O2+ODAC and directly plugged into the MSi Z87-G45 motherboard (Which actually has pretty good onboard audio). The O2+ODAC seemed to make it worse actually, where I find that the O2+ODAC improves both my AT-M50x and my HD-600 substantially. I also found the HE-400 significantly more uncomfortable compared to the HD-600. There's no way I could wear those for 4+ hours like I do with my HD-600's. 

I had the same problem out of the box. It was the leatherette earpads. They reflected too much sound and didn't provide enough dampening which resulted in many resonance peaks and dips in the midrange due to phase doubling and cancellation. Some frequencies were twice as loud and others half as loud. I put the $10 velour pads on from Hifiman and they are stellar now.

post #19993 of 19995

^^^^^^ What he said -

 

The first thing is to spend $10 bucks for the velours.

 

Then, put on some damn good Jazz Music. The HE-400 will, I bet, blow away the Senns. It takes time to appreciate the speed and texture of the Planars - at least a couple weeks. Jazz is what revealed to me their bass texture and higher resolution, then electronic stuff with lots o' bass showed me how much the bass of the HE-400 is really in another league vs. dynamics.

 

Also, congratulations! You are now probably the 1 millionth person that has come on here "underwhelmed" by the HE-400s yo just bought. Don't worry, like most of us, you are going to see the light eventually and realize these things are actually tons of fun.

 

The HE-400 are not forgiving headphones and they have resonance issues which IMO is the worst aspect overall - the FR is fine and the "treble spike" so often fixated on is pretty moot except for the occasional track. In any case, a simple 2-3dB cut is approximately all I've ever needed to cure that little issue.

 

I use mine with the O2/ODAC and the pairing is excellent. Unfortunately most of the recordings that may be tolerable to you on lessor phones probably sound horrible on the HE-400s. Garbage in - Garbage out. Its just true - too many albums I own are awesome but unfortunately just don't sound all that great.

post #19994 of 19995

Anybody here who can give a brief comparison between these and the dt880? (ideally 250 or 600 ohm)? I have the 400, but I'm really not too in love with it. The dt880s have really piqued my interest. The 400 had too blatant of a peak, while upper mids weren't present enough for it to seem very detailed. Also would be interested on vocal performance and soundstage

post #19995 of 19995

Hi!

 

I am just throwing in some beginner questions and are btw having a great time reading all tweaks, impressions and all the other hifi good stuff!

I have started the hifi journey and are starting with LYR 2 + Bitfrost USB and ofc HE-400. Am i missing something here or should i just buy it with the next payment? Its probably a 1000 dollar budget so my next question is, should i buy other hifimans and get even better sq i general out of the bucks, or are the 400's gonna entertain me for a couple of years? I have listened to the 400's in the audiostore and was impressed but are a little afraid the audiostore used the best equipment for driving out the best sound, and it will sound different(worse) when i set up the equipment for my self. I mainly use mu pc as source. I understand that i have to buy the velours so thats a check. Again can i get even better/more crystall sound, firm/texturized bass and so on with a different hifiman's? Just so we are clear this is my first post and i am so in love with the 400's after listening to them.

 

Looking forward to your reply!

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