Originally Posted by MattTCG
I’ll offer a brief comparison of the he400 vs he-4 for those who might be considering the he-4.
First and foremost, if you don’t have a good midgrade amp I don’t feel that there is any reason to even give the he-4 a try. Why, you say? Because while the lyr does not struggle with the he4, in my estimation it was just enough to drive the he4 properly. I’ve driven the following from the lyr/bifrost combo over the past year:
*he400 *hd650 *Maddogs *LCD2r2 *he500
And now the he4. The he4 requires notably more of the volume pot to give me a nice full enjoyable level than any of the others. And not by a small margin. I’m not exactly sure why. I speculated that the he4 and he500 would have similar amping requirements or possibly the he500 needing a little more juice. Most of the headphones that I’ve driven need about 9:00-10:30 on the clock to reach enjoyable levels for me. The he4, starts at 10:30 and needs 12:00 to get it really cranking or if you are listening to less dynamic music. This really surprised me. I’ve never needed this much volume on the lyr with any other hp. Enough about that for now.
The first thing that you notice when you slide on the he4, is that it is noticeably lighter than the he400. For me, the reduced weight simply made the he4 a more comfortable hp. There is not as much pressure across the top of my head and the long term effect was that I could wear them longer. Now, how do they sound?
It takes some adjustment coming from the he400 to get a handle on the sound signature of the he4 and to really appreciate them. When I first put them on I was somewhat disappointed. I knew that they’d have less bass, so if you like the bass of the he400 you won’t get it here. The he4 is more balanced and refined. After listening for a few hours, I had a better appreciation for the he4. What you have is a wonderful sound signature. The mids are more lush and accurate than the he400. They seem more “gifted” for lack of a better descriptor and don’t have any of the “tizzy” issues or flaws that you’ll hear from the he400 mids. The vocals sound more natural and are ultimately more enjoyable.
I was really worried about the treble and brightness. This is the very reason I decided to audition them before purchasing. I’m sensitive to bright hp’s and just can’t enjoy them. While this might be considered a “brighter” hp than those I mentioned in the beginning, it’s not what I’d call overly bright and I found that I could listen to it for hours without fatigue. The treble is very good. It extends wonderfully and naturally without ever sounding sibilant or harsh.
The bass is tighter and more in balance than with the he400. I missed the less polite bass on the he400 tbh. The he400 bass what makes it “fun” to listen to and gives it that American sound that is often referred to. The he4 bass goes as low, it just has less visceral impact. It’s refined and accurate. For me it seems to work best with jazz and classical music.
The he4 is an impressive hp. It will please you with it’s mids and treble and overall wonderfully balanced signature. With the right amp it will be spacious and airy in the very best way. The reduced weight is compelling and would be an attractive factor for those who find the he500 and he400 somewhat heavy. I think that it’s priced about $50 too high. If it were the same price as the he400, there would be more people tempted to try it. Understandably it’s a discontinued product and stock is limited. If you want to take the comparison of the hd600 vs hd650 and apply it here, it might help you decide if you’d like the he4 over the he400. If you are in the hd600 camp then you probably be happy with the he4. Hd650 fans would likely favor the he400. This is a somewhat general comparison, so take it for what it’s worth and don’t throw rotten tomatoes at me.