Originally Posted by Clemmaster
So, I spent 1 hour listening to vocals with the HE-400 yesterday.
I stand by my first impression: the sound is dull with male vocals (especially lower registers like Leonard Cohen). The recess in the mids (right after the lower-mids region, I suppose) make the overall voice lack clarity.
Fascinating. My impressions (with male vocals in particular) are exactly the opposite of yours. I spent a few hours myself A/B ing the he-400 and he-500 and Lenard Cohen sounds absolutely, unequivocally amazing, and in no way does he or any other male with a commanding voice sound in the least bit dull. It's the same with Nick Cave, Beck, Brenden Parry (Dead Can Dance fame), Lou Reed, Danzig, Tom Waits, and even Andrew Bird and Tom Yorke. All these guys to varying degrees sound fully realized, alive, nuanced and crackling with energy--and that's a wide rage of male voices too. And yes, the he-400, to my ears at least, genuinely outperforms the he-500 with regard to most male vocalist but falls far short with female vocalist almost every time. Now maybe my gear isn't expensive enough to tease out the differences in the low and mid-low frequencies between theses headphones, but I do have 3 amps: the fiio e9, the Little Dot MkIII, and a vintage Kenwood receiver, and none of these amp choices can change the he-400's or he-500's low-end and low midrange reproduction, especially with male vocalist. Also, (I've mentioned this before) the he-400's sound-stage is more holographic and coherent to my ears. Now, I'm in no way saying the he-400 is better than the he-500 (it certainly is not), but to my ears, the he-400 excels in a few choice areas, while the he-500 does everything right at the expense of excelling in one or two focused areas. Different folks, different ears, I guess, but the disparity between our impressions is rather dramatic. Maybe I have a special he-400 after all. (I still have my rev 3 btw ) Or maybe this is just another headphone mystery.