First of all, asking 4chan for an opinion on anything will get you trolled beyond belief, you really shouldn't take anything said there seriously. I don't think you should take everything here seriously either because there are a lot of people that post here without experience, just trumpeting opinions they've read. That said, the signal to noise ratio (good advice vs bad advice) is certainly higher here than a site dedicated to trolling.
Secondly, headphone audio is a somewhat learned experience. The level of detail you can get for comparatively not much money absolutely blows away any speakers short of a high end audio shop. This detail is not something you are used to hearing from speakers most people can afford. This detail will expose poor recordings, low bit rate files, and harshness put in on purpose, but exposed to a degree that it may be distasteful. This is likely what you are experiencing, and as your brother mentioned, you will get used to it and actually learn to appreciate it down the road. The reward comes when you find a high bit rate song that is recorded well and wasn't sabotaged by the engineer 'for effect, dude!'. Little nuances, dynamic changes, positional cues.. all of these are significantly harder to detect on layman headphones and consumer 'best buy' type speakers.
I have not heard the headphones you bought so I can't give you any specific advice, but there is a legitimate possibility that they just aren't a good match for you. Don't let that bring down the entirety of quality headphones, however. The Magni and Modi seem to have generally excellent reviews and the products themselves are quite cheap. Cheap enough that you will likely get more in return by gaining the experience of having them and then selling them if you decide later for almost the same as what you could get with a refund. As far as I know, the Magni and Modi are not full refunds, nothing from Schiit is, but their restocking fee on anything but these is fairly benign at 5%. The Magni and Modi are 15% fees so with both of them, even returning them you are only going to get $170 back, plus you've already paid for shipping once (~$10) and would have to pay again to send them back (another ~$10). I don't mean to sound negative, but these products at these prices are sort of buy it for keeps items. You've already invested $40 that you can't get back and might use another $10 to get your $170 back. Is the Magni and Modi worth $160? This is what you stand to gain by losing them. I haven't heard these products either as they are new and below my usual interest level, but at these prices and with the reviews I've seen, I don't think these are the problem. Changing headphones will likely fix the problem. Finding out which one might be the next step is a topic for another thread.
edit: Listening to your music selection. My rig is designed to be a microscope and I can certainly see why you would have a headache listening to this after a while. I'm about halfway through the song and I'm already starting to get one. If this song were recorded better it would actually be something I would listen to occasionally. I like the elements of the song, it's just presented so poorly it's hard to enjoy. What some people do is keep a headphone that is less resolving (less detailed) for their music that is not easily listenable on their more detailed gear so they can still crank and enjoy it when they desire. Do you enjoy the HE-400 with any of your music? If so, does it tend to be the cleaner clearer, perhaps higher budget recordings? I would be willing to bet this is the case. I took a look at the frequency response chart someone posted above and while generally they aren't too dark or bright, there are a few areas of concern for my taste. A peak at 1KHz will tend to produce a tinny sound and the peaks at 9K and 10K will bring a piercing quality to your music. I had a very high end headphone, the Stax SR-007 MK1, that had a similar spike around 9K that ruined them for me. I didn't own them for long and moved on to other headphones that I found much more enjoyable. Perhaps you are sensitive to this as I am.
Looking at the charts more, the distortion numbers are not the best for an ortho, the wave forms aren't too great, and the impulse response looks downright bad. I'd return/sell the HE-400 and move on.
I hear you on 4chan; point taken.
I am not a speaker person. However, I am a HUGE low fi recording, low-fi-head, if you will. I listen to way more music than just gris. That was just what I happened to be listening to at the time. Some of the music I listen to is in hi-fi, but I'd wager that the thrash, death, heavy, and black metal bands of the 80s-90s or even 00s purposely don't use high quality recording techniques, or just didn't use high fidelity recording because they were poor . I'm sure that maybe some technical death metal bands, or some gaudy new power metal bands may do that, because power metal is rainbows and unicorns and stuff, so it wouldn't surprise me. I'm getting way off track though. I'm sure some of the music I do listen to is high quality. Take animal collective, flying lotus, my bloody valentine. You know, pitchfork core, for when I don't want to listen to metal (which I usually do). It's pretty difficult to find music sometimes in the first place. I certainly don't think that hi fi recording quality is something I'm on the hunt for at all.
What I mean by harshness can be heard in http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=21exnGWN-uI this song. I don't know if the same piercing quality is present in this youtube video, but last night, perhaps because my ears get really tender when I'm tired, it was burning my ear drums. I think that harshness is expecially apparent int one of my favorite black metal songs. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_50v7EuIWck The difference is all to apparent on these hifiman he-400s. This song is my bread and butter. I have it in 125kbps on my iTunes and when I listened to it on my old logitech G35 headphones, the forgiving quality of those headphones, with the added fuzziness of having no emphasis on sound quality made this one of my favorite album. Now that I listen to it with these headphones, the emphasis kind of ruins what I loved about that song in the first place. However, on other songs I feel like I really like hearing it in high fidelity.
You brought up a good point about how the headphones aren't for me. I'd like to address that fact. I kind of feel like perhaps it was lazy of me to let someone else do all the research for me (i.e. my brother). He did mean very well, except now I kind of feel like I wish I was the one on the forefront doing all the research. I think maybe once I decide to return these, which I do want to do, that I'd still like to look out for headphones that are right for me. It would be nice if there were headphones where everything I want is under the same umbrella. Instead of having to switch headphones for 'effect' like I have been with that album I mentioned earlier. However, that is a topic for another thread like you mentioned. I think I covered what you said in your last paragraph that you edited in when I mentioned my music selection. It is a very wide selection of artists I have, over 600 artists on last fm alone. However most of them are metal artists. I'm not sure what that technical talk of hz was though.
That would be cool to know what kind of music these headphones are designed for.
Edit: Also I would like to address that I am very well rested now, and I now have the ability to read more deeply into people's responses, and make more in-depth responses to people now. 2am is not my hour of choice for having serious conversation
Bass - self explanatory, but I'll go a bit more in depth anyways. The subbass is the low bass that you almost feel as well as hear. It is heard as a deep rumble, and is often subtile. Mid-bass is where you ffind bass drums and the like. It is the mid-bass that delivers the punch from a drum
Mids - Lower mids (amd downwards) tend to be where I find the underlying texture of a good male vocalist's voice (Leonard Cohen for example) and the deeper guitars. The mids house the main part of guitars, voices and other instruments. The higher mids is where I tend to find the underlying 'timbre' of voices, violins, trompets, saxofones and the like. Also an emphasised upper mid range tend to make voices and instruments 'shouty'.
The treble is where the hi-hats, percussion and the like is found. Also vocals and guitars are affected by the treble. If there is say a bad treble roll of above 10kHz in your phones, for example, they would tend to sound congested and not extended. Lower treble will typically sound like 'ttttz' and mid-high treble will typically sound like 'ttzzz' whilst the high treble tend to sound like 'zzzz'
Correct if I am wrong.
I'm not sure what you mean with the ts and zs.
Edited by Hifi Man - 1/27/13 at 7:02am