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HiFiMAN HE-4 vs. HIFIMAN HE-400

post #1 of 72
Thread Starter 

Hi,

 

This is my first post here and I'm very happy to join to such a great community.

 

I want to buy a pair of headphone and upgrade from my AKG K240S. Hifiman HE-400 grabs my attention but when I went to head-direct I found out that it has another model that is 449 $. Can anyone tell me what is the difference between these two? and which one is a better choice?

 

HiFiMAN HE-4 (449 $)
http://www.head-direct.com/Products/?act=detail&id=95
HIFIMAN HE-400 (399 $)
http://www.head-direct.com/Products/?act=detail&id=115

 

Thanks

post #2 of 72

HE-4 is a planar magnetic with magnets on one side.  HE-400 has magnets on both sides.  HE-500 improved on the HE-5 while supposedly HE-400 improves on the HE-4.

post #3 of 72

Yeah HE4/5 were older renditions, not worth getting now that the newer HE-X00 series ones are out that have improved in every way possible, and are at the same price if not less (in this case).

post #4 of 72
Thread Starter 

Thanks TMRaven and jerg. You really saved me. I thought HE-4 is the newer version of HE-400.

 

Now that I'm here, I want to ask your opinion about DT880 pro (600 ohms). In which areas it is better/weaker than HE-400?

 

and what amp (250$ at most) do you recommend for HE-400?


Edited by labratoire - 6/4/12 at 8:22am
post #5 of 72
Thread Starter 

Any idea?

post #6 of 72

Probably would have to ask MalVeauX if you want opinion toward DT880 vs HE400 as he probably has or has had both.

 

As for amps, others have much more experience about it than me. I'm currently only driving mine off a measly FiiO E7 (since I need portability of going from home to workplace each day).

post #7 of 72

OP, what are musical tastes?  Both are very capable planars, but they have very different sound signatures.  So, it's important to find out which one is best suited for your musical tastes.  Another thing to consider is what amp you plan on using with these headphones, as the HE-4 requires a fair bit of power compared to much easier to drive HE-400.

post #8 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by labratoire View Post

Thanks TMRaven and jerg. You really saved me. I thought HE-4 is the newer version of HE-400.

 

Now that I'm here, I want to ask your opinion about DT880 pro (600 ohms). In which areas it is better/weaker than HE-400?

 

and what amp (250$ at most) do you recommend for HE-400?

 

Despite the habit of everyone tiering all the headphones by "new old, more expensive, better, etc", DT880 is a former flagship, so it's performance is also exceptional.  Some boast of how superior Beyer T1 is to 880, while others insist that while it's better, it's not a huge difference.  HE-400 is far from flagship in the HFM line, but as planar dynamics it sort of automatically joins into the higher end. So in terms of "better" both should be at least equal.

 

The big difference will be sound signature.  Beyer's house sound involves a bright, somewhat analytical treble range, with very fast/sharp transients inducing a lot of "air'.  Beyer's the way to go if you like a brighter, detail oriented sound with a lot of treble sparkle and an open airy sound.  Some, like myself find it bright/harsh.   HE-400 is a very dark headphone.  Darker than HD650, but with more treble and bass extension than it.  It has a very smooth, syrupy sound, especially when run on tubes.  It will never be "airy" but sounds very solid and tangible if that makes sense. 

 

HE-400 strengths over DT880 I'd say would be bass, timbre, instrument separation, smooth mids, "the planar sound"

DT880 strengths over HE-400 would probably be imaging/positioning, soundstage depth, airiness, treble detail.

 

If you want to go on the cheap and go the $250 route on amp, I presume you mean desktop amp?  Schiit Asgard is right at that price if you like a warmer sounding SS amp.  If you like a neutral, analytical amp, an assembled Objective 2 would do well.  I like my Lyr with nice tubes best, but the HE-400 performs admirably on my O2 when I don't feel like cycling the tubes for a brief listen.  I'd caution the necessity to use a decent DAC (such as the conveniently new ODAC.)  You can get an ODAC+O2 amp in one box for right around your budget I think.   I use a Bifrost as my DAC, but, then, I'm using S/PDIF, not USB which eliminates ODAC entirely.

post #9 of 72
Thread Starter 

Thank you Digital-Pride & IEMCrazy.

 

Dear Digital-Pride, I listened mostly to Black Metal & Doom metal and their subcategories (Black ambient, Drone metal & ...).

 

Dear IEMCrazy, your reply was really helpful. I know maybe it sounds so naive, but is there any headphone (500$ at most), which has the neutrality and detailedness, accuracy & soundstage depth of DT880, but with a better bass & sub-bass (I mean bass quality and not being heavy bass) and less fatiguing treble (strengths of a headphone like HE-400)?

post #10 of 72

Hmm, if you don't mind a closed design, I think AKG's K550 might be right up your alley.  Here's some more info on it.

post #11 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by labratoire View Post

Thank you Digital-Pride & IEMCrazy.

 

Dear Digital-Pride, I listened mostly to Black Metal & Doom metal and their subcategories (Black ambient, Drone metal & ...).

 

Dear IEMCrazy, your reply was really helpful. I know maybe it sounds so naive, but is there any headphone (500$ at most), which has the neutrality and detailedness, accuracy & soundstage depth of DT880, but with a better bass & sub-bass (I mean bass quality and not being heavy bass) and less fatiguing treble (strengths of a headphone like HE-400)?

 

So you want an open, airy, detailed, neutral, accurate headphone with a deep soundstage, and excellent sub-bass?  I can't think of a headphone for $2000 that does all that wink.gif  Some of those wishes are accoustic opposites. The closest would be HD800 at $1500 however that's still in the "bright, treble-fatigue" camp without some adjustment.   For $500, HD650 is quite neutral, very detailed, very accurate with an excellent (though not stellar in the HD800 sense) soundstage with excellent mid-bass that psycho-acoustically represents good bass.  But it lacks much sub-bass, can be too laid back for some, some confuse the laid back and rolled-off treble sound as being slow and lacking detail (which is untrue), and tends to prefer a more serious investment in source to really start outshining the HE-400. AKG K70x/Q70x may fit the bill, but it has a dead-pan flat response and while it has excellent sub-bass extension it doesn't have much bass quantity.  It's very analytical and can also be fatiguing.  That said, I do like my K702, but I use it more sparingly due to fatigue. 

 

In the $500 range, DT880 probably has the most open, airy, detailed (if over accentuated) treble, but it's also one of the brighter choices.  HE-400 probably has the most even, smooth, and evenly extended presentations short of a well set up ($$$) HD650. K702 has probably the most flat, balanced, analytical presentation around.  That's for the open-back designs anyway.  Over the $1000 range you end up basically with the same comparisons, just with another edge in performance. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Digital-Pride View Post

Hmm, if you don't mind a closed design, I think AKG's K550 might be right up your alley.  Here's some more info on it.

 

I'd agree, K550 may be a good option there.   It's essentially a closed K702.  But keep in mind it is closed, and that also mangles the soundstage, but greatly enhances bass performance.  But HE-400 (or any planar) doesn't have a huge soundstage to start with... 

 

Another option may be D5000 which can be had in that price range.  Minimal power requirements, semi-closed (not fully closed), can be bright/sparkly, potentially fatiguing but not as much as K702 , Grado, or DT880, smooth, clean mids (if a bit forward), and top notch bass.   D2000 below it (same drivers, no wood shell, voiced on a "v" curve) could fit too if you prefer recessed mids.

post #12 of 72
Thread Starter 

Wow!! what a great and friendly community. I've never thought of such a detailed and kind replies.

 

Thank you again Digital-Pride & IEMCrazy.

 

Dear IEMCrazy, yeah you are right, I'm a little bit over-expectant. I want a headphone that has all of qualities that I'm longing for and as you said it is impossible. and about your suggestions:

 

 

HD 650 :

Quote:
quite neutral, very detailed, very accurate with an excellent (though not stellar in the HD800 sense) soundstage with excellent mid-bass that psycho-acoustically represents good bass.  But it lacks much sub-bass, can be too laid back for some, some confuse the laid back and rolled-off treble sound as being slow

Yeah, they are great. But as I remember when I checked them last year and compared them to my friend's HD 600's, I liked HD 600 more. But overally their (HD600 & HD650) treble response seemed to me a little bit unnatural.

 

 

AKG K70x/Q70x:

Quote:
it has a dead-pan flat response and while it has excellent sub-bass extension it doesn't have much bass quantity.  It's very analytical and can also be fatiguing.

&

Quote:

K702 has probably the most flat, balanced, analytical presentation around.

 

Some say Q701 has better bass & mids response. Is is true? and a dead-pan flat response is a negative point or a positive one?

 

 

DT 880:

Quote:
DT880 probably has the most open, airy, detailed (if over accentuated) treble, but it's also one of the brighter choices.

Can I make them less treble-happy with amping?

 

 

K550:

 

Quote:
It's essentially a closed K702.  But keep in mind it is closed, and that also mangles the soundstage, but greatly enhances bass performance.

I've read Mike's review. It seems a little bit exaggerated. is it that good really?

 

 

D5000:

 

Quote:
which can be had in that price range.  Minimal power requirements, semi-closed (not fully closed), can be bright/sparkly, potentially fatiguing but not as much as K702 , Grado, or DT880, smooth, clean mids (if a bit forward), and top notch bass.

From what I've read here, It seems HE-400 is a better choice than D5000. However, I'm not certain.

 

 

HE-400:

Quote:
probably has the most even, smooth, and evenly extended presentations short of a well set up ($$$) HD650.

&

Quote:
But HE-400 (or any planar) doesn't have a huge soundstage to start with...

When you say It doesn't have a huge soundstage, you mean in comparison to K70x/Q70x that people say have monstrous soundstage or in comparison to for example DT880? and how much its soundstage is smaller than them?

 

 

Thanks

post #13 of 72

I'll embed replies so I don't have to break the quote into a hundred pieces biggrin.gif

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by labratoire View Post

Wow!! what a great and friendly community. I've never thought of such a detailed and kind replies.

 

Thank you again Digital-Pride & IEMCrazy.

 

Dear IEMCrazy, yeah you are right, I'm a little bit over-expectant. I want a headphone that has all of qualities that I'm longing for and as you said it is impossible. and about your suggestions:

 

 

HD 650 :

Yeah, they are great. But as I remember when I checked them last year and compared them to my friend's HD 600's, I liked HD 600 more. But overally their (HD600 & HD650) treble response seemed to me a little bit unnatural.

 

Nothing wrong with preferring HD600, they're generally viewed as equals.  HD650 is a bit of a technical edge, but basically they're the same headphone with two different voices.  They both scale almost equally well with source upgrades as well.  HD650 is "polite" a bit warm, and mids-boosted.  HD600 is more linear but still with the smooth sound of the series.  HD600 was designed originally for classical mastering in the studio to give you an idea of its linearity.  It won't have substantial bass either but less of a midbass hump than HD650.  Treble response is more rolled off on HD650 than HD600.   But one thing is true of pretty much all high end Sennheisers: They are amp picky.  From HD595 through HD800, they're pickier than most.  Choose poorly and they sound bad.  Choose acceptably and they sound average.  Choose well and they sound extraordinary.  Senn is definitely rewarding of those who take the time to build their system, but for that reason, isn't always the most obvious choice.  If not wanting to go through research/purchase of the rest of the signal chain, HE-400 comes out ahead.  Not that source upgrades don't help those too.  But HE-400 more easily hits a really good level.  HD650/600 takes more work to hit that level, but when it does, it can outshine HE-400.   It doesn't need fortunes in gear always.  I ironically found I liked my HD650s more on my $40-60 Fiio E11 than I did on my $300 Headroom Micro.  But I like them on my $450 Lyr best of all.  It's more about patience and research (and talking to folks here) than sheer expense to find a good balance for Senns.

 

AKG K70x/Q70x:

 

Some say Q701 has better bass & mids response. Is is true? and a dead-pan flat response is a negative point or a positive one?

 

HD650 is one of the kings of mids.  Hard to beat there.  It has an accented midrange, as does HE500.  All planars should have smooth, detailed mids by nature.  I haven't tried Q701, though it's possible my newer manufacture K702 use the updated drivers, I'm not sure.  Officially the drivers haven't changed, but too many people noticed a difference, and headphone makers love making changes they later deny having made.  AKG sound is very different, being so flat.  But once you get used to it it gets kind of addictive. It's neither positive nor negative, but simply one possible sound signature to choose.  Other flat/analytical headphones are Etymotic ER4 IEMs, HD800 (though it has a treble bump), and a variety of studio monitors.  Some folks love analytical, some don't.  For me I wouldn't choose it as first choice, but it's nice to have in the lineup. 

 

DT 880:

Can I make them less treble-happy with amping?

 

You can always EQ down the dreaded 4kHz treble spike that accentuates the sparkle.  Some warm tubes in an OTL amp would probably help too.  Parametric EQ is ideal though, and if you're not using PC as a source, those beasts are expensive....

 

K550:

 

I've read Mike's review. It seems a little bit exaggerated. is it that good really?

 

Coloration is always personal choice, and closed backs are always more colored. Usually anyway.  wje has a thread going for modding the K550 if you're into that.  But a lot of folks seem to like it stock.  If youre going for neutral bass, I'm not sure it's the optimum, but it is a studio headphone...

 

 

D5000:

 

From what I've read here, It seems HE-400 is a better choice than D5000. However, I'm not certain.

 

I personally like HE-400 better.  D5000 is still less amp dependent, and it has both the best bass this side of LCD-2, and it has more treble sparkle than HE-400.  I have D5k and like it, but I do like HE-400 better for most genres.  The Denons win for electronic music (or music featuring a fair measure of electronic bass), as well as for raw wood acoustic instruments like a guitar quartet or solo violin where the wood cup sounds very natural.  Mids are very good, but the planar sound is very addictive.

 

HE-400 comes very close to HD650 for me, and HD650 only bested it once I added a silver cable and chose some nice warm tubes, making it the far more expensive headphone (though the tubes benefit HE-400 as well.)

 

HE-400:

&

When you say It doesn't have a huge soundstage, you mean in comparison to K70x/Q70x that people say have monstrous soundstage or in comparison to for example DT880? and how much its soundstage is smaller than them?

 

Planars in general lack the soundstage of many dynamics in its category.  Thus while LCD-2 probably has better soundstage than DT880,  it's in a different tier, LCD-2 can't beat the soundstage of T1 or HD800.  HE-400 has been said to have a little less soundstage than HE-500, but I suspect that has to do with the stock pads which can be swapped for $10 to the same velour.  K70x has a monstrously wide soundstage, but not as much depth as you'd expect.  It's very nicely wide, but without exceptional imaging/placement compared to HD650.  HE-400 on the other hand has great instrument separation but the soundstage is generally relatively close to you, and placement also doesn't quite match a well tuned HD650 setup. (Comparatively, HD650 has a "three blob effect" with one left, one right, one in the middle of your head when it's not being run on a well tuned setup.) 

 

If stage width is key, AKG wins.  If depth/placement is key, Beyer or Denon probably wins.  But planars like HE-400 are unique.  It's not the best soundstage, but you tend not to notice as much, due to how natural the sound is.  And they can also produce the famed "3d sound" similar to 5.1 recordings with rear speakers or Dolby Pro Logic.  Not holographic as is sometimes described, but 3D.  With HE-400 I don't sense the same vast performance I do with HD650 or K702, and yet the performance is more phisically present at times.  Planars can be hard to explain.  I imagine it has to do with the sheer diameter of the diaphragm.

 

 

Thanks

post #14 of 72
Thread Starter 

I can not thank you enough IEMCrazy for your great & precise instruction.

 

But now choosing only one pair of headphone is really hard. Based on your words, I liked something in each of the headphones. I liked neutrality & detailedness & soundstage of DT880, flat-response of Q701, great bass response of D5000 & accuracy of HD600. And about HE-400, I don't know why, but it gives me a good feeling and also based on graphs its deep bass response is great too. What should I do now?biggrin.gif

 

I think I should wait more to get some other responses and also read more. Isn't it?

post #15 of 72
Thread Starter 

1.I've just noticed that Amazon sells Beyerdynamic T 70's for 400 $. Are they as good as DT880's?

 

2.one of my friends had a pair of Audio Technica ATH-W1000X's. He was really satisfied with it (sold it and bought ATH-W5000, so I can't check them now) , but from what I've read I don't think they'll be a good choice. What is your opinion?

 

Thanks

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