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**Hifiman HE-400 Impressions and Discussion Thread** - Page 5

post #61 of 17747
Thread Starter 

Just post back with your impressions of the he400 if you decide to go with it.

 

 

thanks...

post #62 of 17747
Quote:
Originally Posted by MattTCG View Post

Nice post and thanks for sharing your thoughts. I think the he400 may end up regarded with an elite group of hp's. 

 

I've found that with another 5 days of use, nearly constant, the sound on my he400's continues to improve in small ways. Bass is a touch more impactful and tighter. Soundstage and instrument clarity is off the charts. I've always liked to keep a set of complementary hp's on my desk to listen to different types of music. I can't imagine the he400 not being one of those. 


I'm not sure if it'll be regarded with an elite group of "mid-fi" (a word abused as much as "presence") headphones next to HD650, K70x, DT880, or if it will be regarded with the truly elite (HE500, HE6, LCD2, T1) but I agree, I think, as long as Fang gets out of his "I need to make a new headphone every week" OCD long enough to make a long steady run of the HE-400, it may go down in Head-Fi legend along with the classics, once it gains momentum. 

 

What I'd really like to see is for people to stop using the word "mid-fi" for former flagship headphones and any hi-fi set under $1000 regardless of sound. rolleyes.gif  I mean, seriously, in 5-10 years everyone on H-F will rave that LCD3 & HD800 are great mid-fi options if you don't want to step up to hi-fi prices.  The fidelity of the headphone doesn't decrease just because new tech exists to make something even higher-fidelity.  By that standard, so called "Hi-Fi" in the 60's was really just low-fi and entry-mid rolleyes.gif  I'm not sure how "normal hi-fi" shot up in a few years from the $500 range to the $1000 range and beyond. Maybe because the Beats & Skullcandy lines redefined the price point of low-fi to be the $400 mark for dollar store quality angry_face.gif

 

I haven't noticed any effects of burn-in, but I can't say there aren't any, I just haven't noticed it.  My feeling is that my brain is burning in more than the headphones, and maybe the pads are settling down.  A lot of HiFiMan owners have commented on positive burn-in across all models, so I don't doubt the effect is true.  And that could be contributing to my enjoyment, but I think that adjusting my brain from a lifetime of dynamics is more significant than the rate of burn-in in this case wink.gif  Maybe in the first 4 or 5 hours there was some random funkiness that has fleshed itself out, but I never found anything lacking in staging, clarity and detail from the beginning.

 

Oh, and an update on my comment about "sometimes there's too much bass", it's really recording dependent.  It really is there only when called for.  Classical choral for example, the bass is quiet but present periodicaly just as it should be.  No boomy bassy vocals appear, and the double basses never rose above where they should.  It's all in the recording.  I continue to be more impressed with them.  That wasn't the best album for them, IMO but it demonstrated some of the technical aspects for me well.  (Berlioz: Requiems op 5, Telarc.)  Telarc is a great classical publisher, but in that album, something was off about the microphones.  The tenor sounds like he's across the parking lot no matter what speakers you use.


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Katun View Post


Exactly what I was thinking.


Yeah, they're in a really wierd slump.  They spent a long time churning out consumer mass market stuff that didn't live up to the name, but was better than the low end.  The HD650's dropped to $350 years ago, stagnated there for years, and now are suddenly back to $500.   They released the HD800 at a jaw dropping $1500.  I'd have predicted failure, but it has its niche,  it's the only place you can get the ring driver, and if you want it, you'll pay for it.  Ok, I get it, maybe it's a wise move to have a product placed there.   But the HD700 is both puzzling and disappointing.  When the rumor mill said it was a lower end ring driver for 1/3 the price, it was exciting.  "Wow, the HD800 tech is going to start propagating, slowly, into affordable headphones, it's the beginning of a new era.  The early previews said it had a lot of the HD800 going for it too!, the expensive prototype is now getting refined and moving mainstream!"  Then when we found out it was a plain dynamic that doesn't build on  the 6xx line's sound, but acts only as a cut down dynamic implementation of the 800's ring, without the stark treble (the 800's selling point.)  And then saw that the thing looks like it was cut from their DJ line, I couldn't help but think "they want me to pay $1000 for that?"  And then the HD650 went up to $500. Maybe to cover for the let-down of the HD700 so it doesn't seem like a ripoff. 

 

It's not that I doubt that HD700 is a very capable headphone, it's that the pricing doesn't jive, at all, with what it is.  And jacking up all their other prices back to their 10-year-old initial release price to make it look like it's in line is nuts. Imagine Fang selling HE-6 for $1300 in 2022? I don't buy it.  At $1000 there's a LOT of competition.   Competition that boasts new tech and claims the top crown in their category.  HE-500 (less), HE-6 ($1300), T1, T5p ($1300), for that matter HD800 ($1500), and D5000, D7000, the list goes on.  Plus Audeze.  Lets face it, for someone willing and able to spend $1000 on a headphone, spending $1500 on a headphone isn't going to break the sale. And Senn's big new $1000 toy is a refined normal dynamic that's biggest claim of success is it has similar sound to the flagship without all the benefits like angled drivers, planar sound waves, and sparkly ultra detailed treble.  Technologically it's the same tech as the HD650 that sold for $350 for years, just tuned and tweaked differently and I'm sure with refinements to the driver tech.  If it cost them half a decade and $650 more per unit to R&D that, there's something horribly wrong in their R&D department.  I suspect maybe more importantly they tried to cut the ring driver tech down, couldn't make it work at the price, and after two years of delays decided "lets just tune a dynamic driver to the 800's tone."

 

When small companies like Audeze and HiFiMan and get their new tech up and running in a few years and refine the process down to cut the price by 2/3 in that time and move their tech mainstream, one would think a company with the resources Sennheiser has could do the same, and crush them in the process.   Watching them stagnate and fail to make their tech more cost effective and at the same time raise their prices is very odd.

 

Unfortunately I think they're trying to "reposition the brand" to make it an elite "lifestyle brand."  Their mentions of designing phones after the look of German luxury cars says it all.  They want to position themselves as a designer product like BMW & Mercedes, and part of that proces is charging way more than the product should sell for and convincing people the name makes it worth it wih its luxury appointments. 

 

Unlike cars where people like using them to flaunt status, outside Germany (and away from Monster/Beats in the US) that won't fly with headphones, and (non-Beats) headphones are no status symbol outside headphone communities such as this.  It's a strategy doomed to fail.  When it backfires (and it will), I suspect we'll either see massive price cuts or a brand new affordable ring.

 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by choC. View Post

I had my eyes set on the HE-500s but now I'm in two minds.

I understand that the HE-400s are quite a bit darker and therefore not as accurate, however I listen to a lot of EDM (Particularly Trance, Tech-House, Minimal and Drumstep). As such I'm thinking the sonic signature of the HE-400s may actually suit my tastes more so than the 500s...

 

My library is not exclusive to EDM though I also like to listen to quite a bit of alternative rock, lounge/chill music and psy.

 

So confused!

 

I'll be using a Xonar Essence STX as a source and the Matrix M-Stage for amplification.


I'm still not certain I agree with "not as accurate."  I've heard that often, and I haven't listened to HE-500, so I can't say objectively what is true.  However listening to the accuracy of detail, the revaling of recording flaws, and the surprisingly even FR, of HE-400 I somehow suspect that if they are less accurate, they're not less accurate to the point of making an issue out of it.  I also supsect if they were both $700 we wouldn't be hearing the words "less accurate" very often wink.gif

 

Between HE-400 and HE-500, for electronica, dance, chill, the HE-400 is where you want to go without looking back, IMO.  The bass presence of HE-400 is fantastic, as is its accuracy and extension.  From all accounts I've heard, HE-500 does not have as present a bass (by design.)  The HE-500 in Fang's own words has the "polite" sound of British speakers.  Read: HD650, B&W, etc.   Now maybe you like "laid back" sound, which means generally a boosted focus on mids, and a roll-off of the treble and bass.  For many genres that works beautiflly, but electronic and dance are usually not among them.  I like electronic/chill on HD650 (laid back) more than K702 (analytical/flat), but I like it on HE-400 more.   HD650 (and by extension, HE-500) shines for vocalists, singer-song-writer and a lot of rock if you like your rock laid back.  It also does very well for jazz, & crooners, swing/big-band, and some classical).  It's very good for percussion, and surprisingly good for electronic, but not HE-400 good.  K702 is great for live jazz, classical (amazing for classical), and solo instruments, but doesn't excel for other things with much rhythm. 

 

For your debate, I'd forget the "accurate" part, that's not a critical part in comparing these two for your genres.  The HE-400 should be the strong winner for your electronic, and is an able performer for everything else including rock, unless you explicitly prefer a laid back sound for ether of those genres.  Think instead of both sets as the same price, think of them as equally accurate (true or untrue), and think of the HE-400 as dark, dynamic, smooth, and with rich, detailed bass.  Think of HE-500 as warm, brighter (but I doubt by any means "bright"), mids-centric, agile, but more mellow (less dynamic) in tonality.  Some call it "more refined", some call it "boring".   Or "alive and exciting" versus "clean and relaxing" (which would also work for chill/lounge.)  Pick the sound signature that suits your tastes.

 

Personally the images that come to mind with the laid back sound (HD650, HE-500) are:

Sitting in a "contemporary" designed up-scale apartment/house, in some fairly high-end or exotic place in front of a warm fire (in an art deco fireplace), sipping [insert beverage of choice] in a leather chair under halogen mood lighting listening to (very expensive) speakers on a snobish audio rig.

 

Or maybe listening from a distance to some street music while dining outdoors at a street cafe.  

 

It's a warm, refined, luxurious sound. 

 

The "alive" sound (HE-400, JBL speakers (as Fang compared them to):

At a live event listening to live music, not up front but "in the crowd" or in the middle or back of the hall for classical or mid-bar/restaurant for jazz. The idea here is recreating live music in a direct music presentation.

 

For electronica it's synthetic by nature, so there's no "natural" habitat for it.  Go with how you enjoy it or how your favorite venue voices it.

 

Though, If you want more bass than HE-400 I think you'll have to go to LCD-2 or Denon D7000

 

 

Edit: I think I really should have made this three separate posts! biggrin.gif


Edited by IEMCrazy - 4/12/12 at 9:33am
post #63 of 17747
I'm not quite sure about the HE-400 vs HE-500 for bass thing. After reading lots of imrpessions and reviews comparing both the HE-400 and HE-500, it seems as though HE-500 still has the better extension, and it's still using the velour pads. What would be really interesting to know as if HE-500 has the same quantity and even more extension with the pleather pads.
post #64 of 17747

I really hope Amazon will sell the HE-400 soon. I really need to buy one. But I'll have to buy velours.

 

While I love my Q701, I just need more richness and a heavier bottom end. I would love the HD650's bottom and top end, with the Q701's midrange. I think something like that would be perfect for me.

post #65 of 17747
Thread Starter 

I did not find the 500 to have more extension or impact than the 400. In fact it was just the opposite. Although I did not own them at the same time and am judging from memory. MalV has both currently and maybe he will chime in.

post #66 of 17747

From my experience with both headphones, using high quality source material and good amplification for both, the HE-500 simply does everything better that the HE-400 -- and by quite a wide margin. Lacking the prerequisite equipment, the HE-400 is the more practical choice and is really very pleasant sounding.  Different horses for different courses.  

post #67 of 17747
Also comparing HE-400 with pleather vs HE-500 with velour is apples to oranges as well. Pleather's nearly always going to give more bass quantity.
post #68 of 17747
Quote:
Originally Posted by TMRaven View Post

I'm not quite sure about the HE-400 vs HE-500 for bass thing. After reading lots of imrpessions and reviews comparing both the HE-400 and HE-500, it seems as though HE-500 still has the better extension, and it's still using the velour pads. What would be really interesting to know as if HE-500 has the same quantity and even more extension with the pleather pads.


I can't say about extension of course, presence is a big part of it, and by spec HE-500 does go 10Hz lower, but wouldn't either larger presence or larger extension entirely defeat the nature of a laid back mid-centric sound?  It's the rolled treble and rolled bass along with the dip in the upper mids that creates a laid back sound, after all... I'd think though it may extend lower, it probably rolls off earlier and more steeply as well. You'd have to have it pretty cranked up to hear that additional 10Hz-20Hz range if so.

 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Katun View Post

I really hope Amazon will sell the HE-400 soon. I really need to buy one. But I'll have to buy velours.

 

While I love my Q701, I just need more richness and a heavier bottom end. I would love the HD650's bottom and top end, with the Q701's midrange. I think something like that would be perfect for me.


Amazon doesn't sell any HiFiMan gear directly, it's usually Kraft Street that has some through their fulfilment, so you may want to check with them.  They don't have their own web presence, but you could probably call their shop and see.   I know from another dealer that some shops it seems aren't getting shipments from HiFiMan of the 400's for some reason even though they've had them on order.  I think production is still a little backed up so direct customers get first priority probably followed by a handful of close retail partners.  It'll happen eventually, but HiFiMan itself is likely the bottleneck still.  

 

HD650's bottom end isn't very bottom, it's all mid-bass.  If you look at the FR charts AKG 70x actually has more sub-bass presence than HD650, but HD650 has that mid-bass hump right before it rolls the bass off a cliff that gives it that psychoacoustic feeling of more bass.  70x actually has a nice deep, solid bass.  It just doesn't have much presence with its mostly flat curve compared to something like HE-400. For me HE-400 is the best of HD650 and K702, though not quite in the order you're looking for.  It kind of has HD650's rolled top, but not quite as rolled, 70x's mids & upper mids, and a little into the treble (but rolls off faster than 70x), it has 650's lower mids, and a low-end like neither.  It's a pretty likable signature, and definitely richer than the analytical 70x and the warm soothing 650.  Though I imagine HE-500 is as well.

 

 

post #69 of 17747
Quote:
Originally Posted by Il Mostro View Post

From my experience with both headphones, using high quality source material and good amplification for both, the HE-500 simply does everything better that the HE-400 -- and by quite a wide margin. Lacking the prerequisite equipment, the HE-400 is the more practical choice and is really very pleasant sounding.  Different horses for different courses.  


 

I'm usually cautious with statements like "does everything better" for two headphones voiced completely differently.  For example, it can't do HE-400's sound signature better, because it doesn't have HE-400's sound signature.   Fang was very clear about where he intended the signatures to be on each.

 

Comparing HE5LE to HE500, sure that statement is logical since HE500 is effectively the upgrade of a similar sound from HE5.   Same for HE-4 to HE400.  Each represents mostly a refinement of the previous, so I can see that kind of comment being accurate there. 

 

But in this context it's back to the "K702 does everything better than HD650, HD650 does everything better than DT880, DT880 does everything better than K702" circular argument.  They're very differently voiced headphones by design so they can't be directly compared as doing everything better.  They certainly probably do some things better, and you may like the things it does better as a listener.  But it could be a misleading comparison.  Someone looking for one sound signature or the other probably won't be thrilled with the other.

 

I generally understand what you mean, but like the 650/880/702 argument, personal preference plays a huge bias into what one considers "superior performance" from a handful of very different equally or near equally competent headphones. I'm not saying it may not be true that the HE-500 is "better" technically, but HD800 is better, technically, than many other headphones, but lots of people run screaming from them, and even many that swear by them wouldn't use them as their main headphone. eek.gif  Matt found the HE-500 boring with their more laid back sound.  As an HD650 fan, I understand why he and others may be bored by that tone, sometimes I wanted more excitement out of HD650 as well.  Which is probably why Fang wanted to cover the more exciting sound with the HE-400, IMO he did  so marvelously in a way that a laid back can couldn't overshadow if one isn't looking for laid back.

 

Headfonia's conclusion was that HE500 & HE6 were technically superior, and had more wow-factor, but HE-400 were the preferred choice for everyday listening.  Sound and Vision's dual evaluation resulted in the comment I mentioned earlier of "I think HE-500 is superior, but if you said HE-400 was superior, I couldn't disagree."  Those are evaluations from folks who's job it is to compare audio equipment, and their objective result was a far cry from "x does everything better."  I don't always agree with the jaded critics (6 Moons rolleyes.gif) but when they seem to form a consensus, it's an interesting pattern.  I'd say it's a good indication that HiFiMan is doing something very right in their lineup.

 


Edited by IEMCrazy - 4/12/12 at 1:15pm
post #70 of 17747
Quote:
Originally Posted by IEMCrazy View Post

Amazon doesn't sell any HiFiMan gear directly, it's usually Kraft Street that has some through their fulfilment, so you may want to check with them.  They don't have their own web presence, but you could probably call their shop and see.   I know from another dealer that some shops it seems aren't getting shipments from HiFiMan of the 400's for some reason even though they've had them on order.  I think production is still a little backed up so direct customers get first priority probably followed by a handful of close retail partners.  It'll happen eventually, but HiFiMan itself is likely the bottleneck still.  

 

HD650's bottom end isn't very bottom, it's all mid-bass.  If you look at the FR charts AKG 70x actually has more sub-bass presence than HD650, but HD650 has that mid-bass hump right before it rolls the bass off a cliff that gives it that psychoacoustic feeling of more bass.  70x actually has a nice deep, solid bass.  It just doesn't have much presence with its mostly flat curve compared to something like HE-400. For me HE-400 is the best of HD650 and K702, though not quite in the order you're looking for.  It kind of has HD650's rolled top, but not quite as rolled, 70x's mids & upper mids, and a little into the treble (but rolls off faster than 70x), it has 650's lower mids, and a low-end like neither.  It's a pretty likable signature, and definitely richer than the analytical 70x and the warm soothing 650.  Though I imagine HE-500 is as well.


Oh yes, that's what I meant. I just want the two-day shipping and ease of returns! biggrin.gif

 

Regarding bass, I thought the HD650 gave a good "meat" to the sound, although it's bass wasn't the deepest extending or clearest. I really like the Q701's bass, but you can definitely tell it's the undermining spectrum of the sound. I just want something that absolutely does not sacrifice the midrange, but has a really nice bass to boot. And by "really nice", I guess I mean a real weighty and rich bass, that extends low and doesn't render some music as "too bass light". From what I can remember, the HE-500 did that spectacularly well, but the HD650 did alright too. I just remember thinking back then that the HD600 was the Q701 "fix", and the HD650 was the HD600 "fix". Loved the HD600's midrange, but ultimately liked the heftier sound of the HD650. Give me the bets of both worlds, and I'll have one heck of a headphone. So basically, I think I've worked myself into a corner, surrounded by the HE-400 and HE-500.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by IEMCrazy View Post

I'm usually cautious with statements like "does everything better" for two headphones voiced completely differently.


Agreed. "Better" can be a difficult word to use, because there are too many factors that rely upon opinion and preference.


Edited by Katun - 4/12/12 at 2:01pm
post #71 of 17747

Double Post.

post #72 of 17747
Quote:
Originally Posted by IEMCrazy View Post

Comparing HE5LE to HE500, sure that statement is logical since HE500 is effectively the upgrade of a similar sound from HE5.   Same for HE-4 to HE400.  Each represents mostly a refinement of the previous, so I can see that kind of comment being accurate there. 

 


It really depends on who you listen to when you regard the HE-500 an upgrade to the HE-5LE.  Both headphones are still avilable and sold by HifiMAN for $699.  When the HE-500 was released, it was listed at $899, but dropped down to $699.  The HE-5LE has always been at $699, as far as I know.

 

The HE-4 and HE-400 can't be really even compared properly.  I don't view the HE-400 as really an upgrade to the HE-4 as much as I see it as a replacement in the line-up numbering slot.  Considering the H-4 featured only half a magnet and the HE-400 is comprised of drivers that were easier to manufacture led to lower costs for that model.

 

Again, though, this is just my impression on the situation.

 


 

 

post #73 of 17747
Thread Starter 

I'd like to try some of the velour pads on the he400. I can guess at the change but would like to see and listen for myself. Anyone try them on the he400 yet?

post #74 of 17747
Quote:
Originally Posted by IEMCrazy View Post

I can't say about extension of course, presence is a big part of it, and by spec HE-500 does go 10Hz lower, but wouldn't either larger presence or larger extension entirely defeat the nature of a laid back mid-centric sound?  It's the rolled treble and rolled bass along with the dip in the upper mids that creates a laid back sound, after all... I'd think though it may extend lower, it probably rolls off earlier and more steeply as well. You'd have to have it pretty cranked up to hear that additional 10Hz-20Hz range if so.

Well I'm not talking about the actual specs of the headphones persay, but how even their bass is on a say +/- 3db scale and how low it can go without rolling off too much. I don't think it would affect any sort of 'laid back' sound, it just means the headphone can dig deeper whenever a song calls for it. If I remember correctly, HE-500 does have bigger drivers, meaning they can move more air and thus dig deeper. A couple reviews also say they extend both lower and higher than the HE-400.
post #75 of 17747
Thread Starter 

Sorry. Somehow I missed this thread:

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/572327/mission-replace-the-hifiman-ear-pads-with-other-brand-ear-pads

 

All answers about pads changes are here.

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