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**Hifiman HE-400 Impressions and Discussion Thread** - Page 149

post #2221 of 18107

I'll throw my 10 cents in -

 

My first impressions of the HE-400 are that they are quite "lean" sounding, but spacious and very accurate. I too expected a "recessed" mid-range, and was concerned that they might be too laid back to really like. Right off the bat I noticed a lot of texture, especially in bass lines. They were not "bright", either, but I certainly wouldn't call them warm. My HD595s were considered "bright" for Sennheiser, but what that amounted to was a slight bit more treble emphasis.

 

I listened to them for days and this impression started to fade - they became more "aggressive" sounding to me, with a "subwoofer playing that I can't turn up".

 

Then I got my little O2 amp to see what more power might do. I now think I was on crack.

 

If there is a "recessed midrange" I don't hear it - these babies translate lyrics for me I could never make out before. They are very vocal-forward, and by that, I mean the midrange seems like it has no issue keeping up with bass/treble lines. If the bass was contributing to my "lean" impression before, that is gone. Amped up a bit, the bass is strong, punchy, and very deep (track providing). Any "mid bass" it was lacking in comparison to my old phones has gone missing. Better yet, it is still wonderfully textured. The treble, which seems problematic for some, is still comfortable for me. 

 

In short, don't let the weird frequency response chart throw you - the sound these present SEEMS flat (even if it isn't). By that I mean bass, midrange, and treble seem to have a very deliberate and pleasing balance. If anything, the HE-400 tilts toward my idea of "bright" (where bright = justice for rock type music, enough edge to be fun, not enough to be annoying). The power of the sound and the ease with which it is presented has been a revelation for me, though I've got to stop cranking up for the sake of my ears.

 

That said, its the music you listen to that is the last ingredient. The only thing these phones seem to do is kick butt on whatever I give them - pop, classical, jazz. They love vocal and non-vocal music. Its a great balance, especially for me - I love the comfort of Sennheiser, but find them too damn polite at times.

post #2222 of 18107
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrMateoHead View Post

I'll throw my 10 cents in -

 

My first impressions of the HE-400 are that they are quite "lean" sounding, but spacious and very accurate. I too expected a "recessed" mid-range, and was concerned that they might be too laid back to really like. Right off the bat I noticed a lot of texture, especially in bass lines. They were not "bright", either, but I certainly wouldn't call them warm. My HD595s were considered "bright" for Sennheiser, but what that amounted to was a slight bit more treble emphasis.

 

I listened to them for days and this impression started to fade - they became more "aggressive" sounding to me, with a "subwoofer playing that I can't turn up".

 

Then I got my little O2 amp to see what more power might do. I now think I was on crack.

 

If there is a "recessed midrange" I don't hear it - these babies translate lyrics for me I could never make out before. They are very vocal-forward, and by that, I mean the midrange seems like it has no issue keeping up with bass/treble lines. If the bass was contributing to my "lean" impression before, that is gone. Amped up a bit, the bass is strong, punchy, and very deep (track providing). Any "mid bass" it was lacking in comparison to my old phones has gone missing. Better yet, it is still wonderfully textured. The treble, which seems problematic for some, is still comfortable for me. 

 

In short, don't let the weird frequency response chart throw you - the sound these present SEEMS flat (even if it isn't). By that I mean bass, midrange, and treble seem to have a very deliberate and pleasing balance. If anything, the HE-400 tilts toward my idea of "bright" (where bright = justice for rock type music, enough edge to be fun, not enough to be annoying). The power of the sound and the ease with which it is presented has been a revelation for me, though I've got to stop cranking up for the sake of my ears.

 

That said, its the music you listen to that is the last ingredient. The only thing these phones seem to do is kick butt on whatever I give them - pop, classical, jazz. They love vocal and non-vocal music. Its a great balance, especially for me - I love the comfort of Sennheiser, but find them too damn polite at times.

 

"The sound-signature with no name"

 

 

1000

post #2223 of 18107
Quote:
Originally Posted by jerg View Post

 

"The sound-signature with no name"

 

 

1000

 

LOL

post #2224 of 18107
Dunno why anyone would say they are lean sounding... just... no.
post #2225 of 18107
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mad Lust Envy View Post

Dunno why anyone would say they are lean sounding... just... no.

I'm inclined to agree too that 'lean' is somewhat correct in describing HE400's voicing, this is very apparent in vocal music, where the laid-back upper mids prevents the "bloom" effect you'd hear in more neutral cans.

post #2226 of 18107

He only described them as lean without the O2.

post #2227 of 18107

This is weird issue I'm having.

 

Today all of a sudden, my left channel stops working randomly. I can't reproduce this effect whenever I want to. It just happens totally in a random manner. I checked the input plug but there is nothing wrong, at least to the naked eye.

 

There is a little "blup" kind of sound and left channel completely goes dead.

 

Any idea as to what may be wrong?

post #2228 of 18107
Sounds like its time for Hifiman to rethink using those plugs and get something better, like mini XLR, or even basic RCA.
post #2229 of 18107

What dac & amp combo do you guys use with these cans? I'm mostly interested in an amp for now and I would use my e17 as a dac. I've been thinking about the M-stage :)

post #2230 of 18107
Sounds like a good choice, if you ask me.

If I could redo my purchases, I would have gone with the Compass 2 and call it a day. I dont need all the power the SA-31 has, and I miss having a volume knob.
post #2231 of 18107
Quote:
Originally Posted by jerg View Post

Quote from the discussion:

Jerg, you should put some kind of speaker cloth or women's panties on 

Sorry, couldn't resist.

post #2232 of 18107

So, HE400 vs HD650, FLAC through a Fuze LOD and an O2, trying to put as many objective relative comments and as few ambiguous words in there as this arena allows.

 

I found that what the 400 does, it does very well, and that's clarity, detail and separation.  When you have a lot of brass and deep strings going on in an orchestral piece, the HD650 tended to let them blur out the finer-bodied instruments like flutes, clarinets and smaller strings, very slightly.  Their timbre could still be heard, but had to be concentrated on somewhat.  The HE400 on the other hand, was super-clear, with the texture of the finer instruments immediately apparent.  Unfortunately the body of the deeper instruments just wasn't there; the bass was, and it was very clear, but there was something missing (the same something that resulted in the very slight blurring with the HD650).  

 

An example of this is the guitar in the background of this song at 1:20.  It's there on every decent 'phone I have, but it's so immediately apparent on the HE400s.  Whether or not this is a good thing will depend on whether your listening style requires it or whether having detail thrust at you will cause you to focus on it at the expense of everything else.

 

When it comes to air and clarity , I think they were improved by the fact that the HE400s are more open than the 650s; the HE400 drivers (not pads) seem to cause less isolation of outside noise, which I think decreases the distinction between sound that's coming from the drivers and ambient sound.  This was the case both with music playing, and with the headphones silent.

 

When it came to less populated tracks and tracks without many deep instruments, I felt that the 650 outshone the 400.  The 400's emphasis on treble gave the impression of detail and texture, but that detail/texture was still present through the 650s, just not thrown in your face.  The smooth texture of the mids (and I hesitate to use terms like bass, mids and treble anymore because I realise I don't know exactly what falls where) was so valuable in my enjoyment of these pieces and were exactly what I was hoping for in a headphone, coming from the UM3X.  The flute at :40 in the video below is a prime example of something that was euphoric through the HD650s and relatively empty through the HE400s.  The same was true for female vocal, with a great example being the harmonising at 2:28 in the video above (which gets butchered by youtube's compression anyway, but even so)

 

 
My bass/I-don't-give-a-crap-about-timbre tracks were from Avenged Sevenfold's "City of Evil" and The Prodigy's "Invaders Must Die".  While the 400 has better extension down low, I didn't miss it while listening to the 650s, and I did miss a bit of impact that I felt was lost in the mid-bass when listening to the HE400s.  Additionally, these songs are filled with crashing symbals and other reasonably harsh sounds.  I can barely listen to them at moderate to high listening volumes with the 400s, let alone enjoy them.  I found the 650s to smooth out the harshness without dulling them.
 
Tracks incorporating a bit of both (textured acoustic instruments and  synths/heavy bass)from artists like Shpongle and Infected Mushroom were more enjoyable on the HD650.  The airiness, clarity and minute details aren't worth much, because of the recording and style of music.
 
A few random things
 
  • Build quality.  The HiFiMans look and feel like a top-of-the-line 'phone that's lacking a bit of polish and budget.  Funny, because that's pretty much what they are.  The HD650s are light and plasticky and feel like a peripheral, rather than a piece of equipment in their own right.  They don't look very durable (when it comes to abuse, not longevity) and the fit/finish is slightly below what I'd have expected from a ~$400 phone, given what I've seen of HiFiMan and Shure's offerings at this price point.
  • Price.  I don't know what the going rate is for HD650s in the rest of the world, but in Australia I'm looking at $350 online and $480 local, which is the maximum I could justify on a headphone.  Coming from my UM3Xs, it's not a matter of which costs less, but whether the HE400 has anything to offer over what I currently own.  While it has fantastic qualities for 20% of my music library, the sound sig is unusable for most of it, so it doesn't.  The HD650 does, and doesn't give a huge lot up when looking at the HE400s qualities in isolation, either.
  • Weight.  As I said a bit earlier, the HE400 gives the impression of quality in the same way a 1911 does compared to a Glock (for the shooters amongst use).  That is to say, it is not just solid and inflexible, but also heavy, which may or may not be a bad thing for you.
 
Hopefully that helps anyone who's considering the 400s and knows what sound they like.

Edited by Dragunov-21 - 11/9/12 at 11:13pm
post #2233 of 18107

Hmmm, weird...

 

I notice on my warranty/compliance card that it's marked as follows

 

[quote]2010676

2010675[/quote]

 

Reckon that makes it made in 2010?

post #2234 of 18107
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragunov-21 View Post

Hmmm, weird...

 

I notice on my warranty/compliance card that it's marked as follows

 

[quote]2010676

2010675[/quote]

 

Reckon that makes it made in 2010?


I think these were the driver serials, not sure though, but pretty sure it's not the manufacturing date.

post #2235 of 18107

That'll teach me for not reading Mandarin, I guess :P

 

Cheers, dude.

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