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**Hifiman HE-400 Impressions and Discussion Thread** - Page 6

post #76 of 17943
Thread Starter 

Here are some nice impressions of pad changes across the hifiman products:

 

http://www.headfonia.com/new-hifiman-cable-and-pads/


Edited by MattTCG - 4/13/12 at 7:24am
post #77 of 17943
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katun View Post


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.

 


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


Yeah, I often check Amazon first as well.  But I couldn't wait after my 650's fried wink.gif  A was all set to get the HE-500 until the comments from a few people I usually agree with in terms of preferences told me that the HE-400 is more suited to what I was looking for.  They weren't wrong.

 

If you think HD650 gave "meat" to the sound, you haven't heard anything yet.  That's not to imply I dislike HD650 now, they have their place when looking for a laid back sound.  The mids are definitely less emphasized on the HE-400 compared to HD650 (where the mids on HE-500 would be fuller like with 650.)  That doesn't mean midrange is "sacrificed."  It's very natural, more natural than 650 which has an emphasized midrange.  And I may have spoken too soon, it may be more detailed than HD650's mids, but less pronounced.  It has the weighty and rich bass you're looking for, though, absolutely.  You will never be thinking "bass light" with HE-400, but it also is tight bass that doesn't bloom out of where it should (which HD650, in fact, sometimes  does...).  I like the AKG bass (K702) as well, it digs much deeper than HD650, and integrates into the mids better, but it has very little presence comparative to the mid-bass hump on HD650.  HE-400 takes the ENTIRE bass, puts it on a level near the mid-bass hump of HD650, and keeps it from blooming or bleeding similar to AKG.  HD600 midrange, HD650 mid-bass and upper-mid-treble, plus a little 70x bass control (with more presence) and a bit of the 70x treble (without dipping into fatiguing sparkle.)....sounds a lot like HE-400 to me! Not exactly of course, it has its own character....but that's the general vibe I get from them. It may not be exactly those criteria of course.

 

It's a headphone that always surprises because nothing is what it seems.  Just when you want to say they're bass heavy and a bit dark, you change your mind.  I put on a Telarc recording of Handel's Music for the Royal Fireworks & Water Music (Boston Baroque) on period instruments.  Very little bass, at all, ever, on the recording, all mid & treble with some midbass, and lots of fast counterpoint of 16th & 32nd notes (It's baroque after all...) and what struck me was now warm-neutral the headphones seemed.  Certainly darker than AKG's cold and analytical airiness, colored in that sense, but overall neutral and remarkably detailed.  It's a graceful yet energetic headphone, not not colored in the ways you'd initially think.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by wje View Post


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.

 


 

 


Yes, both the HE-5LE and the HE-500 are still available at the same price, but from most of what I've heard they embody the same general signature and share the "5" slot in the lineup. If anything I liken it to Beyer's "250 vs 600 ohm" setup.  Same general headphone and sound, but with tweaks one one model for bigger amps (HE5.) But the HE-500 seems to contain the newer designs, so it may well be an upgrade, even if it's a slightly different upgrade. I imagine they do sound slightly different due to the gold vs. aluminum difference alone.  But they are variations on a theme from my understanding.

 

HE-4/400 though I agree.   What they share is that they're the lower cost option, and they both share the position of being the more "fun" sounding can in the lineup.  They still sell the HE-4 as well (for more money due to the old manufacturing process.)

 

I wonder what the HE-600 will cost? :P

 

 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MattTCG View Post

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?


Headfonia seemed to think the velour, like the silver cable made the treble too harsh, though it made the lows & mids more neutral and detailed.  Then again, Headfonia thinks HD650 has a bigger soundstage than K701 rolleyes.gif

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by TMRaven View Post


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.


Right, but both the deeper and higher extensions is printed right in the spec, so there's nothing surprising about that.  5Hz deeper and 15kHz higher.  Of course that higher range is all in the UHF and well beyond both human hearing and Redbook audio, but it gives us an idea that the audible part probably extends to a higher frequency utilization.  And 5Hz depth is definitely perceivable.  However, the rolloff for the laid back sound should still roll a bit more sharply, at both ends, otherwise it wouldn't have the "polite" sound it is intended to have.

 

The K702 can dig deeper than HE-400 in terms of FR as well, but in terms of quantity is still bass shy next to HE-400.  That doesn't mean it doesn't have great bass, it does contrary to popular AKG myth, but it's not as present. 

 

It's not the capabilities of FR that I doubt in HE-500, but the utilization across that frequency range would have to be reduced in order to maintain the intended sound signature.  It's not a strike against the HE-500 in any way, It's just part of what is needed to create the "laid back" sound signature it's supposed to have.

 

post #78 of 17943
Quote:
Originally Posted by MattTCG View Post

Here are some nice impressions of pad changes across the hifiman products:

 

http://www.headfonia.com/new-hifiman-cable-and-pads/



I'd love to see more information beyond just Headfonia about velour on the HE-400 specifically.  If you give it a try, let us know!   I have a suspicion that the HE-400 was designed explicitly for pleather pads and the drivers are tuned accordingly.  I also suspect that's what the spikes on the FR are all about, compensating for the pleather damping in a way that would sound harsh if you then removed the pleather damper. I imagine LCD-2 is the same, tuned for the effects of the leather pads, and would sound very wrong without them.

 

But it would be cool if you found they reacted well and changed the sound in a likable way.  I'd swing $10 for a "second headphone sound" smily_headphones1.gif

post #79 of 17943
Quote:
Originally Posted by IEMCrazy View Post

If you think HD650 gave "meat" to the sound, you haven't heard anything yet.  That's not to imply I dislike HD650 now, they have their place when looking for a laid back sound.  The mids are definitely less emphasized on the HE-400 compared to HD650 (where the mids on HE-500 would be fuller like with 650.)  That doesn't mean midrange is "sacrificed."  It's very natural, more natural than 650 which has an emphasized midrange.  And I may have spoken too soon, it may be more detailed than HD650's mids, but less pronounced.  It has the weighty and rich bass you're looking for, though, absolutely.  You will never be thinking "bass light" with HE-400, but it also is tight bass that doesn't bloom out of where it should (which HD650, in fact, sometimes  does...).  I like the AKG bass (K702) as well, it digs much deeper than HD650, and integrates into the mids better, but it has very little presence comparative to the mid-bass hump on HD650.  HE-400 takes the ENTIRE bass, puts it on a level near the mid-bass hump of HD650, and keeps it from blooming or bleeding similar to AKG.  HD600 midrange, HD650 mid-bass and upper-mid-treble, plus a little 70x bass control (with more presence) and a bit of the 70x treble (without dipping into fatiguing sparkle.)....sounds a lot like HE-400 to me! Not exactly of course, it has its own character....but that's the general vibe I get from them. It may not be exactly those criteria of course.

 

Well, I was comparing the HD650 to the HD600 and Q701 directly. But from your description, the HE-400 sounds like my type of headphone! I'm still lured into all the HE-400 vs HE-500 comparisons, because their seems to be a base in both camps. It's been quite awhile since I tried the HE-500, but I loved it's sound more than anything else. Quite possibly I'd appreciate the HE-400 even more though. Guess I would never really know unless both came on Amazon and I did a side-by-side comparison. Regardless, I'm sure I'd love either one.

 

Do you use pleather pads with your HE-400? Have you tried velour before? I tried both on my old HE-300, and found I like the comfort of the velour much more.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by IEMCrazy View Post

I wonder what the HE-600 will cost? :P

 

That and the HE-7... tongue.gif

post #80 of 17943
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katun View Post

 

Well, I was comparing the HD650 to the HD600 and Q701 directly. But from your description, the HE-400 sounds like my type of headphone! I'm still lured into all the HE-400 vs HE-500 comparisons, because their seems to be a base in both camps. It's been quite awhile since I tried the HE-500, but I loved it's sound more than anything else. Quite possibly I'd appreciate the HE-400 even more though. Guess I would never really know unless both came on Amazon and I did a side-by-side comparison. Regardless, I'm sure I'd love either one.

 

Do you use pleather pads with your HE-400? Have you tried velour before? I tried both on my old HE-300, and found I like the comfort of the velour much more.
 

 

That and the HE-7... tongue.gif


It's hard to say which you'd like better between HE-500 & 400.   If you know you really like the 500, it could end up being the winner.  But if you're looking for something a little more "exciting" or something more dark (650's are darker than 701, and presumably darker than HE-500.  HE-400 is darker than 650, as a point of reference) you could easily like the 400's even more. 

 

It's so easy to get lured into the 400 vs. 500 debate.  I'm certainly sucked into it.  It's the worst kind of headphone debate (best for customers, worst for trying to win the argument) because there's no actual winner when comparing two radically different sound signatures.  All the technological aspects may well be entirely superior on HE-500.  But technologically superior doesn't always mean more preferable.  There's not a better HE-400 sounding headphone than HE-400, I'm sure.  I doubt a Grado fan would really dig LCD-3, despite their substantial technical superiority, for example. I think it comes down to how each individual listens to their music. I think your last sentence summed it up: you'd probably love either one!

 

I do use the pleather with the HE-400.  The 400 in fact only ships with the pleather, where HE-500 ships with both.  Like I said above, Headfonia tried both and found the treble became harsh on 400 with the velour, and I suspect the odd looking FR chart for HE-400 involves tuning them around the pleather pads to get the bass & mid emphasis pleather gives while spiking the upper mids so they're still crisp and balanced after the pleather is done attenuating it.  I'd think if you change out the pleather, you're really changing the damping the driver was tuned for to achieve the unique "dark lows with neutral mids & highs" sound.  HE-500 works with either because it's tuned for that mids-centric neutral tone. 

 

I'd be curious to try the velour though for myself...they're only $10 when you can find them available... I have heard the velour uses harder foam so I imagine the comfort would be like AKG: uncomfortable at first, very comfortable when it heats up.   The pleather is very comfortable at first, but where it makes skin contact I do have to move them around a few times over the course of an album.  

 

 

Edit: HE-7 is soooo 2013, we all know HE-900 is where it's at! wink_face.gif

 


Edited by IEMCrazy - 4/13/12 at 10:26am
post #81 of 17943
Quote:
Originally Posted by IEMCrazy View Post

It's hard to say which you'd like better between HE-500 & 400.   If you know you really like the 500, it could end up being the winner.  But if you're looking for something a little more "exciting" or something more dark (650's are darker than 701, and presumably darker than HE-500.  HE-400 is darker than 650, as a point of reference) you could easily like the 400's even more. 

 

It's so easy to get lured into the 400 vs. 500 debate.  I'm certainly sucked into it.  It's the worst kind of headphone debate (best for customers, worst for trying to win the argument) because there's no actual winner when comparing two radically different sound signatures.  All the technological aspects may well be entirely superior on HE-500.  But technologically superior doesn't always mean more preferable.  There's not a better HE-400 sounding headphone than HE-400, I'm sure.  I doubt a Grado fan would really dig LCD-3, despite their substantial technical superiority, for example. I think it comes down to how each individual listens to their music. I think your last sentence summed it up: you'd probably love either one!

 

I do use the pleather with the HE-400.  The 400 in fact only ships with the pleather, where HE-500 ships with both.  Like I said above, Headfonia tried both and found the treble became harsh on 400 with the velour, and I suspect the odd looking FR chart for HE-400 involves tuning them around the pleather pads to get the bass & mid emphasis pleather gives while spiking the upper mids so they're still crisp and balanced after the pleather is done attenuating it.  I'd think if you change out the pleather, you're really changing the damping the driver was tuned for to achieve the unique "dark lows with neutral mids & highs" sound.  HE-500 works with either because it's tuned for that mids-centric neutral tone. 

 

I'd be curious to try the velour though for myself...they're only $10 when you can find them available... I have heard the velour uses harder foam so I imagine the comfort would be like AKG: uncomfortable at first, very comfortable when it heats up.   The pleather is very comfortable at first, but where it makes skin contact I do have to move them around a few times over the course of an album.  

 

Edit: HE-7 is soooo 2013, we all know HE-900 is where it's at! wink_face.gif

 

Yeah, I haven't got the slightest clue. From what I've read, I may just like the HE-400 more. But again, I probably couldn't go wrong with either one, and the price tag on the HE-400 is definitely easier on the wallet. It's about time I get back into magnificent orthos again. Still remember back when I got the HE-4. Good times. (I was amazed at how horrible the HD598's bass sounded in comparison). But then again, I should probably expect them to release yet another contender soon, to complicate things even further. Personally, I think they may re-touch dynamic driver, and make a superior version to the HE-300. Or maybe they'll create a new series, like the *000 series. Either way, hopefully they pop up on Amazon soon.

 

I personally find AKG's foam the most stiff. From what I remember, the HE-4 and HE-500 velour I used was in-between AKG and Beyer for softness and comfort. Can't speak on their newest velour though.

post #82 of 17943
Thread Starter 

When they were on amazon, were they full retail or at a discount? I do like the amazon return policy smile.gif

post #83 of 17943
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katun View Post

 

Yeah, I haven't got the slightest clue. From what I've read, I may just like the HE-400 more. But again, I probably couldn't go wrong with either one, and the price tag on the HE-400 is definitely easier on the wallet. It's about time I get back into magnificent orthos again. Still remember back when I got the HE-4. Good times. (I was amazed at how horrible the HD598's bass sounded in comparison). But then again, I should probably expect them to release yet another contender soon, to complicate things even further. Personally, I think they may re-touch dynamic driver, and make a superior version to the HE-300. Or maybe they'll create a new series, like the *000 series. Either way, hopefully they pop up on Amazon soon.

 

I personally find AKG's foam the most stiff. From what I remember, the HE-4 and HE-500 velour I used was in-between AKG and Beyer for softness and comfort. Can't speak on their newest velour though.


Eh they still have a-ways to go in the * and *00 series (7, 8 and 9 are not taken yet), no hurry for them into the thousands series.

 

As for dynamic drivers, I'm sure Hifiman knows by now that there's a much bigger competitive field for those, so I doubt they'll invest too too much more thought or development into them presently. Could be wrong though.

 

post #84 of 17943
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katun View Post

 

Yeah, I haven't got the slightest clue. From what I've read, I may just like the HE-400 more. But again, I probably couldn't go wrong with either one, and the price tag on the HE-400 is definitely easier on the wallet. It's about time I get back into magnificent orthos again. Still remember back when I got the HE-4. Good times. (I was amazed at how horrible the HD598's bass sounded in comparison). But then again, I should probably expect them to release yet another contender soon, to complicate things even further. Personally, I think they may re-touch dynamic driver, and make a superior version to the HE-300. Or maybe they'll create a new series, like the *000 series. Either way, hopefully they pop up on Amazon soon.

 

I personally find AKG's foam the most stiff. From what I remember, the HE-4 and HE-500 velour I used was in-between AKG and Beyer for softness and comfort. Can't speak on their newest velour though.


While it's anyone's guess, it seems to me their main focus right now is getting prices down to affordable levels, getting power requirements down, covering all the sound signatures and price points, and ramping up production.  Given feedback from critics and customers I think they'll probably slow down on the "new model every few months" mentality.  I do expect to see something in the extreme budget range at some point to keep in line with their IEMs.  I don't think we'll see another $1300 behemoth.  I imagine we'll see an HE-600, but on the new fab at much less cost,  Maybe an HE-7 to fill the $1000+ range.  I imagine an HE-501 or 550 will eventually come out on the new fab, similar-to 500 at a lower price.  I would think now that they have the first mass production ortho line, at least since Yamaha in the 80's, they're going to try to take full advantage of that.

 

HiFiMan's strength right now seems to be getting the next-gen tech out at prices that were seen as reasonable a few years ago.  While Audeze is content being a low volume two-trick-pony with boutique refinement (wood & genuine leather) that sells to the exotic crowd, HiFiMan seems to be trying to go the other way and ramp up to a more "mainstream" (well, "mainstream" as it relates to audiophiles, anyway) brand.  I'm guessing they want to try to achieve some form of market dominance in the audiophile sector before the big names start moving their new tech down the price ladder at some point (Beyer's Teslas, Senn's ring drivers, etc.)  They probably have several years to do that.

 

It's just my completely unscientific analysis, but a logical one, and the direction I'd be going if I had the first high volume planar factory in existence....

 

 

I've heard the newer HiFiMan velour is indeed more comfortable than the old ones, but I can't say from personal experience.  I think I'll wait for someone else to try it.  I kind of like the feel of the pleather, believe it or not.

 

post #85 of 17943
Thread Starter 

I have never been a huge classical fan. Occasionally I'll listen to Mozart of Bach, mostly to be educated about the genre of music. But I haven't really enjoyed it until I listened with the he400's. I believe the realism of the instruments and the sound stage that these headphones produce is what's made the difference. I've listened to more classical in the last week on the he400 than I have in the past six months easy. 

 

Today it's Haydn. The sound of the orchestra is so life like and transparent that the experience itself changes altogether.You can close your eyes and you're there. I do not get this experience or enjoy this genre the same way with Denon or Beryers. The stringed instruments, particularly the violin is incredible. You an feel the passion being expressed through the instruments. Truly incredible. 

 

If you are a Haydn fan or a fan of classical and have the he400, you really need to give "Symphony no. 60 in C Major" a listen.

post #86 of 17943
Quote:
Originally Posted by jerg View Post

Eh they still have a-ways to go in the * and *00 series (7, 8 and 9 are not taken yet), no hurry for them into the thousands series.

 

As for dynamic drivers, I'm sure Hifiman knows by now that there's a much bigger competitive field for those, so I doubt they'll invest too too much more thought or development into them presently. Could be wrong though.


True 7, 8 and 9 aren't taken; but how many models "above" the HE-6 do you think they could possibly go?

 

Good point. Maybe they'll end up making orthos below $300. Look at the T50RP -- I know it's possible... rolleyes.gif

post #87 of 17943
Quote:
Originally Posted by IEMCrazy View Post

 

It's just my completely unscientific analysis, but a logical one, and the direction I'd be going if I had the first high volume planar factory in existence....

 

 

I believe Fostex already might have that base covered.  Any bets on when Skull Candy releases a planar headphone? wink.gif

post #88 of 17943
Quote:
Originally Posted by wje View Post

Any bets on when Skull Candy releases a planar headphone? wink.gif


Yeah, when Monster releases an electrostatic and markets it under Willow Smith...

post #89 of 17943
Quote:
Originally Posted by IEMCrazy View Post


Right, but both the deeper and higher extensions is printed right in the spec, so there's nothing surprising about that.  5Hz deeper and 15kHz higher.  Of course that higher range is all in the UHF and well beyond both human hearing and Redbook audio, but it gives us an idea that the audible part probably extends to a higher frequency utilization.  And 5Hz depth is definitely perceivable.  However, the rolloff for the laid back sound should still roll a bit more sharply, at both ends, otherwise it wouldn't have the "polite" sound it is intended to have.

The K702 can dig deeper than HE-400 in terms of FR as well, but in terms of quantity is still bass shy next to HE-400.  That doesn't mean it doesn't have great bass, it does contrary to popular AKG myth, but it's not as present. 

It's not the capabilities of FR that I doubt in HE-500, but the utilization across that frequency range would have to be reduced in order to maintain the intended sound signature.  It's not a strike against the HE-500 in any way, It's just part of what is needed to create the "laid back" sound signature it's supposed to have.


I don't think you're quite understanding. The actual published specs mean very little in terms of actual, usable extension. Besides the obvious point that humans don't hear above 20khz or below 20hz well, and that headphones don't push near enough air to give visceral feeling of sub 20hz content, I've never seen headphones measured the same way speakers are, which are measured on a +1.5/-1.5db reference level of linearity often times to determine extension in frequencies. I've never heard an AKG701 in person, but judging by both FR and many people's opinions, I seriously doubt it digs deeper than the HE-400 with usable bass. I seriously doubt frequency extreme rolloffs have anything to do with giving a laid-back sound or not.
Edited by TMRaven - 4/13/12 at 12:42pm
post #90 of 17943
Thread Starter 

Quick update. I decided to do an opamp change on my audio gd and found the flavor the he400 took liking to. The he400 now sounds even better through it than through the fiio. Bass is more present but doesn't loose any impact or get muddy. Now there is more than enough volume headroom. The fiio could be turned up all the way. I can only go about to the 12:00 position now with the he400 and audio gd.  

 

So it seems to scale pretty well with a nicer amp, although it is efficient enough to run on about anything.

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