Got my HE-400 yesterday along with the Schiit Bifrost DAC and Asgard amplifier. My first impression was that unamped, the HE-400 were kinda "quiet". While the manufacturer claims it can be used directly with the ipods of the world, methinks amplification is highly recommended if not actually required. With the combo mentioned above, my God, everything comes alive. I am hearing instruments that I never heard before.
I am a basshead but the bass on these cans is different (in an amazingly beautiful way), tight, controlled with very good extension. As an aside, as I type and listen, I think McCartney was an underrated bass guitar player! To my ear, the mids are not as recessed as I expected having read some reviews. And the treble is simply beautiful. The overall sense is one of clarity and accuracy of the instruments. The vocals are velvety and the cans laid out in stark contrast, the hard-edged voice of Lennon and the smooth voice of McCartney.
In all, I guess I am reinforcing the opinions voiced by many owners of the HE-400 that this is awesome value for the money. And all this with the pleather pads. Wayne, I can't wait to get the J$ pads (making its journey now to India) and finally when I get the guts to do it, the Jergpad mod.