Hey there, another happy HE-400 owner, just got them today.
Out of the box, I was disappointed. I was like wut, where's the hype. Why does everything sound so MUDDY?
Then I realized I was listening to indie rock with the Fiio E17's bass boost turned up 6 steps. Whoops.
(Question to those using the HE-400/Fiio E17, what gain setting are you using?)
Turned off the bass boost, restarted the song. Things are sounding pretty good. In fact, with Grizzly Bear - Two Weeks (my go-to first listen for any new headphone) I definitely was hearing astonishing clarity in Ed Droste's voice like I never heard before.
I tried the velours. Didn't like them comfort wise, and didn't hear a difference in the sound. Oh well, with less than an hour on them I didn't think I would be able to anyway. Put the comfies back on and I'm chillin.
Two hours later, I'm starting to get acclimated to these. Jigsaws are falling into place, to use a Radiohead reference. In fact, I put on "Paranoid Android" and I was pleased with how smooth the sound was. Loving the midrange that virtually everyone has raved about.
Dream Theater - Stream of Consciousness floored me. (that is a spotify link) I'm not much of a metal fan or a Dream Theater fan, but that song and the HE-400's got along so nicely, that after 11 minutes went by, it felt closer to 4 or 5 minutes instead.
Definitely satisfied with the $400 I paid for these. And I'm sure they will open up even more the more I listen to them.
I have been using them for a bit over a month and i plan to get a better amp/Dac. The Fiio E17 is powerfull enought for those, but wont give you all the detail they can bring.
Let me Put it this way:
When i first listened to them from my Cowon i9 + Fiio E17 in the store before buying them, i had mixed feelings (with 0 treble, 0 bass). Then i plugged them into the shops "high end" equipment (a 2k dollar cd player amped by an nuforce amp, i think it was the Icon HDP), and listened to Tubular bells and knew in about 30 seconds that they were worth it.
Since i did not have the cash and still dont have for that much of an expense, i use the hifiman primarly with gaming on my Laptop fueled by the Fiio E17 from USB, and i can honestly say its better than from the cowon (hell, even youtube sounds better than my FLAC on the cowon+Fiio E17), but worse than my expirience in the shop ( i will be going back there as soon as i stop beeing sick to confirm it, and get myself a better amp, either the E9, or more probably the schitt Valhala).
These headphones scale definitly well, just dont know "how" well as i have nothing to compare them to. Also when i contacted Hifiman directly about this, they told me that Orthodynamics "should" get at least 2 Wats per channel to work to their full potential (i was specificly asking about the HE-500, but also mentioned the HE-400).
My personal guess is that they dont want say it straight, but even the HE-400 with their good efficiency require a good amount of power to wor well.
After all, those damn drivers are bigger than the driver from my logitech Z-320 speakers...
So after all, ill probably gradually move up from the equipment i got now to some better amps, better headphones, etc.