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HiFiman HE400 vs HE500

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 

Hi,

 

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?

 

Thanks

post #2 of 34

See the review in my signature. That will answer most of your questions. Good bass on the he400's. Wonderful treble extension on the he500's, but it's heavier and not as comfortable for me. For the money, I'd take the he400's.

post #3 of 34

You might be interested in reading this, when the 500 were priced $200 higher than they are now:

 

http://www.innerfidelity.com/content/hifiman-he-5-he-5le-he-6-and-he500-planar-magnetic-headphones

post #4 of 34

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.

post #5 of 34

Quite different, IMO. When I got the HE400, I was actually surprised with the difference between them.

 

I find the HE500's sound quality better than the HE400, but they're definately not miles apart.

Main differences are on sound signature. The HE500 is much flatter, while the HE400 has a much more present bass.

Consequently, details and instrument separation are better on the 500s, and its soundstage is larger.

 

Overall, I'd say that, money apart, the HE500 is a better option altogether.

I'm more fond towards it signature, and it trumps the HE400 in most features (except bass slam - even though it extends lower).

Also, it's mids are fantastic!

 

On the other hand, the HE400 signature is generally a more 'likeable' one, due to being slightly V curved.

Also, I wouldn't say the 500 is $300 better than its younger brother at all. But we must consider diminishing returns on this hobby - and that said, I'd go for the HE500 if I were to choose one.

 

Cheers!
Stefano


Edited by szanella - 5/16/12 at 9:10pm
post #6 of 34
Thread Starter 

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?

post #7 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by nicholars View Post

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?

 

In the last few pages of this thread, we've been discussing some of the differences between the 400 and 500.  I have both in my home at the moment.

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/586885/new-hifiman-headphone-he-400-is-out

 

I've found that the HE-400 does have a slightly heavier bass response - yet, also has some treble "sizzle" that seems to be dependent upon the amp that's used.  When I use the integrated amp from Yamaha with speaker taps, I find the sound between the 400 and 500 are more alike.  However, when using a portable amp on my portable system, I've found that the treble on the HE-400 can really reveal itself.  If you have access to a better amp, or at least some software EQ utility on your computer, if you're using the computer as your source, you could adjust some of the upper frequencies for a flatter response.  In this case, the HE-400 would be quite the value.  However, if you're a person who just wants a "turn key" headphone without tweaking with an EQ or the right amps, then opting for the HE=500 might be the best choice from the beginning, even though the cost is a bit more.

post #8 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by wje View Post

 

In the last few pages of this thread, we've been discussing some of the differences between the 400 and 500.  I have both in my home at the moment.

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/586885/new-hifiman-headphone-he-400-is-out

 

I've found that the HE-400 does have a slightly heavier bass response - yet, also has some treble "sizzle" that seems to be dependent upon the amp that's used.  When I use the integrated amp from Yamaha with speaker taps, I find the sound between the 400 and 500 are more alike.  However, when using a portable amp on my portable system, I've found that the treble on the HE-400 can really reveal itself.  If you have access to a better amp, or at least some software EQ utility on your computer, if you're using the computer as your source, you could adjust some of the upper frequencies for a flatter response.  In this case, the HE-400 would be quite the value.  However, if you're a person who just wants a "turn key" headphone without tweaking with an EQ or the right amps, then opting for the HE=500 might be the best choice from the beginning, even though the cost is a bit more.


Not to hijack this thread, but how do you think these cans compare in their requirements amp-wise? You have mentioned that portable gear doesn't necessarily do HE-400 as much good as, well, "proper" amps but given that no gear is portable to start with, how much more demanding is the HE-500? If I'm not mistaken, there is a significant difference in their efficiency.

 

I'm using M-Stage at the moment and am not planning on upgrading anytime soon. I've been looking at HE-400/500 as complementary cans for my D5000's and have heard from another member that M-Stage works well with HE-400. Would you think this would be the case with HE-500 also?

post #9 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by nicholars View Post

Hi,

 

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?

 

Thanks

 

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.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by brokenthumb View Post

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. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nicholars View Post

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.)

post #10 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oderi View Post

Not to hijack this thread, but how do you think these cans compare in their requirements amp-wise? You have mentioned that portable gear doesn't necessarily do HE-400 as much good as, well, "proper" amps but given that no gear is portable to start with, how much more demanding is the HE-500? If I'm not mistaken, there is a significant difference in their efficiency.

 

I'm using M-Stage at the moment and am not planning on upgrading anytime soon. I've been looking at HE-400/500 as complementary cans for my D5000's and have heard from another member that M-Stage works well with HE-400. Would you think this would be the case with HE-500 also?

 

If you look at the "paper" published efficiency numbers, the HE-400 appears to be the more efficient headphone.  However, the HE-500, in reality and in realistic "use" situations is quite close.  I find that when using either the 400s or the 500s, the volume level is essentially at the same position when I use them.  My previous pair of HE-5LEs were a different story, as are the HE-6s.  The HE-5LEs had to have more volume (power) applied to come alive.

 

But, I think with a good amp, the HE-400s are some great producers.  Some people think that when they see the efficiency rating of them and others who have never owned or used the HE-400s start making statements that one could drive the using just an iPod, can tend to mis-lead people a bit.  Yes, an iPod would be capable of driving either the HE-400 or the HE-500.  However, driving them to the level of getting the most potential out of the headphones is the ultimate objective and for that,  you'll need an amplifier.  If someone has the desire to jus use a pair of headphones (not earbuds) with the power of their iPod or iPhone, then I think they shouldn't be looking at $400 or $700 headphones at all.  They should be focusing on a pair of $50 Sennheiser headphones.

 

Of course, these are just my opinions based on my use cases with the actual headphones themselves.

post #11 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by wje View Post

 

If you look at the "paper" published efficiency numbers, the HE-400 appears to be the more efficient headphone.  However, the HE-500, in reality and in realistic "use" situations is quite close.  I find that when using either the 400s or the 500s, the volume level is essentially at the same position when I use them.  My previous pair of HE-5LEs were a different story, as are the HE-6s.  The HE-5LEs had to have more volume (power) applied to come alive.

 

But, I think with a good amp, the HE-400s are some great producers.  Some people think that when they see the efficiency rating of them and others who have never owned or used the HE-400s start making statements that one could drive the using just an iPod, can tend to mis-lead people a bit.  Yes, an iPod would be capable of driving either the HE-400 or the HE-500.  However, driving them to the level of getting the most potential out of the headphones is the ultimate objective and for that,  you'll need an amplifier.  If someone has the desire to jus use a pair of headphones (not earbuds) with the power of their iPod or iPhone, then I think they shouldn't be looking at $400 or $700 headphones at all.  They should be focusing on a pair of $50 Sennheiser headphones.

 

Of course, these are just my opinions based on my use cases with the actual headphones themselves.

 

Or Denons.  Those things magically take the power of IEMs to run.  Then again, IMO most good IEMs need an amp as well....wink.gif

post #12 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by nicholars View Post

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?

 

The HE-500 has a little more sub bass than the HD650.  It's not going to blow you away coming from the HD650.  If you really want well extended sub bass look at the LCD-2.  I'm currently thinking about trading up for one.

post #13 of 34

For what it's worth, the HE-400 has a lot more sub-bass than the HD650, so there's always that if you want an HD650 with more sub-bass.  Based on just the graphs alone, both the HE-400 and HE-500 are dead flat down to 30hz, so there should be no difference in their actual sub-bass extension, but there might be difference in quantity.


Edited by TMRaven - 5/17/12 at 12:04pm
post #14 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by TMRaven View Post

For what it's worth, the HE-400 has a lot more sub-bass than the HD650, so there's always that if you want an HD650 with more sub-bass.  Based on just the graphs alone, both the HE-400 and HE-500 are dead flat down to 30hz, so there should be no difference in their actual sub-bass extension, but there might be difference in quantity.

 

It was funny, a guy in my area and I were e-mailing each other about 5 months back regarding a pair of HD-598 headphones that he had available for sale.  He eventually decided to keep them as he was not getting any nibbles at his $200 or so asking price.  I think it was pretty much down to the fact that others were picking these up new for about that price, or even lower at times.  The other day I received an e-mail from him indicating that he made the leap to the HD-650s, and had the HD-598s available for $180, if I were interested.  Since I'm well vested in HifiMAN at the moment, I don't have a desire to move on the 598s to try them.  In a way, it seems a bit odd he didn't see if he could try the HE-400s of mine before jumping on the HD-650s.  Then again, I think he thought that HifiMAN didn't have an affordable offering price-wise in comparison to the HD-650.

post #15 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by wje View Post

 

It was funny, a guy in my area and I were e-mailing each other about 5 months back regarding a pair of HD-598 headphones that he had available for sale.  He eventually decided to keep them as he was not getting any nibbles at his $200 or so asking price.  I think it was pretty much down to the fact that others were picking these up new for about that price, or even lower at times.  The other day I received an e-mail from him indicating that he made the leap to the HD-650s, and had the HD-598s available for $180, if I were interested.  Since I'm well vested in HifiMAN at the moment, I don't have a desire to move on the 598s to try them.  In a way, it seems a bit odd he didn't see if he could try the HE-400s of mine before jumping on the HD-650s.  Then again, I think he thought that HifiMAN didn't have an affordable offering price-wise in comparison to the HD-650.

 

FWIW, HD650 has a very unique presentation you just can't get anywhere else.  Maybe HE-500 replicates it well enough, but if it does it's the only thing that does, and costs more.  And from what I've heard HE-500 still isn't quite the same thing since it doesn't capture the airiness of HD650 (which probably comes from what Raven referred to as snappy transients.)  So if one likes HD650, one really needs to have HD650.  If one dislikes parts of HD650, then there's more to move onto. 

 

Personally I love HD650 as much as HE-400, and even if I were to get HD800 or LCD-3, I would still keep HD650.   It's always an enjoyable choice to go back to even if it's not ones primary headphone anymore.  But the laid back rounded off sound is not going to be for everyone or for all genres.

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