After spending some time on the head-fi forums, I am thinking on settling with the HE-400 for my first hi-fi pair.
However, I might go ahead and buy another sub $300 pair for comparison purposes. I was looking for a "bright" headphone that would make the sound signature appear more "fun" for rock and metal. I heard the Beyer dt990/ 600 ohm version was great with sub-bass and had a strong treble presence. On the other hand, the dt880/ 600 ohms were a bit safer with toned-down treble and bass, making the mids pop out more. I'm not a huge fan of cold/metallic sound with recessed mids. I would rather have a full-bodied sound with slightly prominent highs without sibilance.
The point is to make rock and metal sound more alive. I could be mistaken, but aren't meaty mids a desirable attribute for rock music? If I were to diagram the soundstage, I would like the vocals to be up front, have the mids slightly behind the vocalist, and bass below the stage or right behind the mids. That's not too say I want anemic bass. I don't want it overbearing and leaking into the mids. I guess the best way to describe it is having the bass there, but over-emphasizing it when it gets really low (sub-bass extension?) to kind of jolt you as a reminder.
So, right now I'm between dt880 - dt990/ 600 ohm. I would appreciate any suggestions. I heard Grados are suberb with rock. I am also looking at the SR325is as a top contender for sub $300 phones.