Originally Posted by nicholars
Thinking of swapping my HD650 for a pair of HiFiman....
I was just wondering a couple of things that I cannot seem to find an answer to from search....
How do these differ in terms of sound signature?
Which is the brightest treble?
Which has the best bass?
Are these differences significant?
One thing worth thinking of is when choosing between HE-400 and HE-500 whether you plan on replacing your HD650 or using it as a complement. HE-400, IMO, is an excellent complement to the HD650, they two have very different presentations. Most of what I've heard of HE-500 (I don't own them) is that its voicing is much more alike that of HD650, meaning somewhat laid back and smooth-mids centric. So if you love HD650 but wanted a higher resolution replacement as an upgrade, HE-500 may be the logical path to go. If you want to keep HD650 or wished HD650 was more "fun" sounding instead of even and laid back, HE-400 may be worth a look. From what wje and others have said, it's not a night and day difference, but it is a difference, and it's probably wisest to choose based on how similar or different you want to go from HD650.
For me, HD650 was the can of choice, but since getting HE-400 I've spent more time using those than HD650 and I believe they have become my favorite. However after a time when I go back to HD650, I really appreciate their sound again. The two are nice complements.
Originally Posted by brokenthumb
I went from the HD650 to the HE-500 and they are a clear step up to me. If your looking to extend your HD650 treble and bass while taking out the mid bass hump the HE-500 will do that. They will also increase the resolution and air between the instruments so you can follow individual instruments better.
Give them at least a week worth of listening so you have enough time to really start appreciating the differences between them.
I don't know if "air" is the right word to use with any planar. It is my understanding that HiFiMan, and even Audeze don't quite have the "air" that HD650 or other dynamics have. One of the HE-500 threads concluded with someone deciding that while they thought HE-500 sounded better, they personally preferred the open airy sound of HD650.
I agree about instrument separation, even on HE-400 though. I mentioned on the other thread that HE-400 is better at separating instruments, however HD650 is better at integrating the instruments into a whole. Two different styles.
Originally Posted by nicholars
So is the HE500 brighter and less bass than the HE400?
I prefer a more bassy sound with less treble.... I am looking for similar/slightly more treble than the HD650 (but less than the D2000) and also more/better bass than the HD650 (more sub bass)
Do you think the HE400 would suit this requirement?
If you're looking for another dark headphone (HD650 is dark) you want HE-400. HE-500 and HE-6 are known as brighter than HD650, HE-400 is known as darker, and LCD-2 is known as much darker. While both HE-500 and HE-400 have some rolloff in the treble before the ultra fatiguing K702 or even Dxxxx, He-400 rolls off a bit sooner and has a dip at the most fatiguing frequencies. They're not as treble-shy and fatigue-proof as HD-650, nothing is, but they're as close as you'll get. Slightly more treble than HD650, but less than Dxxxx with better bass than HD650, more sub-bass and less midbass hump is a pinpoint description of HE-400. HE-500 is known for less bass presence but more bass extension than HE-400, and highs that extend farther.
Looking at the FR graphs, HE-500 is more flat and linear like HD650 through the mids, where HE-400 has that VERY slight smile (or smirk, a one sided smile) curve with flat mids, and an elevated bass, and slighty elevated low-treble. Where HD650 is effectively flat, HE-500 should be effectively flat, HE-400 has a very thin smile or smirk, and D2000 has an all-out deep V.
Switching back to HD650 after a month of HE-400 made the HD650 feel all out bright in contrast. It wasn't treble happy, 650 doesn't do bright treble. But the overall tonality was just "sunnier" than the heavy sounding HE-400. But I don't mean to imply either that HE-400 is unpleasantly dark or that HD650 is actually bright. They, combined, are my two favorite headphones, followed by D-5000 (for certain genres.)