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HiFiMAN HE-6 + HE-560 + HE-400i + RE-400 In-depth Reviews and more! - Page 7

post #91 of 100

Wawooooo!!!

Super review, conquerator2!

Thank you!

I have to read it again, more focused.

(Give Bart my regards...!):cool:

post #92 of 100
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by polaron View Post
 

Wawooooo!!!

Super review, conquerator2!

Thank you!

I have to read it again, more focused.

(Give Bart my regards...!):cool:

Thanks.

I will :D [not that he has any contribution on this review :rolleyes:]

post #93 of 100

very detailed. did not get through it but plan on coming back

 

thanks for taking the time 

post #94 of 100
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by snapple10 View Post

very detailed. did not get through it but plan on coming back

thanks for taking the time 

You're welcome -_^
There's more to come. K612 and HE560 to name some.
My writing prowess will hopefully keep improving as well wink.gif
post #95 of 100
Well done! Impressive write-up! I was also going for the he6 until i almost stumbled upon something even more special and unique.... But i know how high the he6 scales with the right components..

Well done mate! wink.gif

Damn, now i think of it..ur review is even larger then mine about my new amp, and i thought mine was huge. biggrin.gif
.but it was my first review, so next time i will make sure it will be monumental huge biggrin.gif

Hope to do a write-up soon about my code-x specifically when the PaG has its 1month 24-7 continious burn-in time tongue.gif
Edited by hifimanrookie - 4/8/14 at 2:14pm
post #96 of 100
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hifimanrookie View Post

Well done! Impressive write-up! I was also going for the he6 until i almost stumbled upon something even more special and unique.... But i know how high the he6 scales with the right components..

Well done mate! wink.gif

Damn, now i think of it..ur review is even larger then mine about my new amp, and i thought mine was huge. biggrin.gif
.but it was my first review, so next time i will make sure it will be monumental huge biggrin.gif

Hope to do a write-up soon about my code-x specifically when the PaG has its 1month 24-7 continious burn-in time tongue.gif

Yo thanks mate wink.gif
I am sure you will!
I should start working on the K612 soon probably... Or maybe I'll do the 560 first.
post #97 of 100
Thread Starter 
ok with the release of the 560 approaching, I am getting ready wink.gif
I'll be putting the K612 in eventually too.
Though my health is brittle as of late, everything should fix itself in the upcoming months. I'll do all I can obviously.
post #98 of 100
Thread Starter 

HiFiMAN HE-400i and HiFiMAN HE-560 review & comparison - w/ stock + open grilles Mod and Focus pads

 

Disclaimer: The following review/comparison is my subjective assessment of the two headphones and I am in no way affiliated with HiFiMAN. The differences between the two are not night and day quantity-wise, but represent a difference I was able to hear. Both headphones are great sounding devices and this review and comparison should serve to highlight or point out the differences. If you have any questions or if you want to point something out, please do let me know. Hope you enjoy the read ^_^

 

 

 

Introduction

- I received the HE-560 in early July and the 400i last Monday. When I wasn't doing critical listening or direct comparisons, both headphones were being burned-in using pink noise or playing music. Initially, I did not find them very different - it was with time, precise volume matching, listening to many different songs of various genres and most importantly lots and lots of swapping headphones, comparing short segments of different songs, movies or games. After this exhaustive process, the differences finally became clear. I am confident that these comparisons represent my current [and hopefully final] opinion on these two headphones. One thing I very much want to point out - at their respective retail prices, both headphones represent tremendous value. If I only owned one or the other, I would most certainly not find any of either headphone's relative shortcomings troublesome enough to not live with. Also, please do keep in mind my particular setup as well. I will first evaluate each headphone based on its own merits and only then compare it to the other, mentioning where the differences lie, to keep it organized and easy to navigate. Without further ado, here's the comparison.

 

Specifications:

 

HiFiMAN HE-400i

 

 

Type: Planar-magnetic driver, full-size and open-back design

Frequency Response: 20Hz - 35KHz

Impedance: 35Ω

Efficiency: 93dB/mW

Weight: 370g

 

HiFiMAN HE-560

 

 

Type: Planar-magnetic driver, full-size and open-back design

Frequency Response: 15Hz - 50KHz

Impedance: 50Ω +/- 8Ω

Efficiency: 90dB/mW

Weight: 375g

 

Equipment:

 

Media: JRiver Media player 19, using ASIO KS direct connection output

Source: USB output of a desktop-PC

DAC: Audio-gd NFB-7 via USB input

Amplifier: Audio-gd SA-31SE via single-ended RCA input

Headphones: HiFiMAN HE-560 & HiFiMAN HE-400i via a 1/4 TRS plug

Files: FLAC, 128-320kbps MP3, 256kbps AAC, AC3/DTS [JRiver upmixing - movies], Dolby Headphone/ SBX Pro Studio [via external DSPs - gaming]

Cables: stock power cables, decent RCA/USB/TOSLINK cables

 

Bass

 

HE-400i

- The 400i has a very good bass response. The mid-bass has a good punch to it and is slightly emphasized, which helps with tracks where the impact is less than desired. The sub-bass is quite good too but rolls off just a bit sooner than I'd like. As far as bass definition, timbre and clarity goes, the 400i keeps a good balance of things. The slight emphasis of the mid-bass does mean that a slight portion of clarity and definition gets lost in the “punch”. It also makes certain instruments sound just a bit boomy [like a timpani or toms] at times, while also having a bit less than perfect control. The bass overall has more punch than it has extension and depth. In terms of tonality still, don't expect it to stray too far away from neutral, just a slight, enveloping bass warmth-tilt. When all's said and done, the bass is very exceptional and capable of sounding phenomenal with the flaws being pretty small.

 

8.5/10

 

HE-560

- The 560 has likewise excellent bass. The mid-bass to sub-bass transition is perfectly linear, which means the bass stays neutral, with equal presence. That means, that it will not help with any bass deficiency in recordings but nor will it add any emphasis. The sub-bass is very impressive and goes very deep, giving bass instruments a very realistic tone. Timbre, definition and clarity is as good as I've heard. The punch might be perceived as slightly softer at times, but it is for the sake of preserving all the details in the recording - any more and you'd lose a tint of definition or texture or make that instrument a bit less natural. Nonetheless, it is something to consider. All, in all, if you seek a perfectly neutral bass response that can sound terrifyingly real, this is the one.

 

9/10

 

Differences

- The bass of the two is more similar than different. The 400i trades a slight mid-bass emphasis for a slight loss in texture and detail, while the 560 remains equal, give or take, in all of them. The sub-bass presence and extension goes to the 560 and so does the timbre and realness, more on that later. Both can hit hard, the 400i slightly more so, and sound equally impressive with the 560 just being more tonally correct overall, with better sub-bass, while the 400i bass retains more spotlight and presence in the mid-section and upper-bass.

 

Grill mod - improves mid-bass & sub-bass punch, some minute texture detail might be lost where delicate texture/impact ratio was achieved with original grilles - string bass, ....

 

Midrange

 

HE-400i

- The 400i has a midrange that is more forward and up-front than what would be considered neutral. All instruments in the midrange always have their place, with very equal presence. Everything is very easy to distinguish, thanks to exquisite separation. This makes up for a very euphonic, bigger-than-real midrage, which ends up sounding pleasant more often than not. However, this can bring a certain shoutiness to instruments as well. For example, an instrument playing solo [say a piano or a violin], which means there's already a spotlight shining on it, and when you double that, it might just become too much, blending strikes and keys together in a slightly harsh forwardness. The upper midrange-lower treble transition is an area that is a lot less forward in comparison and can sound a bit muted in relation to the rest of the midrange, but nothing too troublesome. Overall, the midrange is more or less forward and coherent, with just a few slight dips and peaks preventing it from being completely perfect as is.

 

9/10

 

HE-560

- The 560 has again a very coherent sounding midrange, not forward or laid back, with just enough presence to sound true. That does mean, that some instruments [like triangles or xylophones] can blend in just a bit at times, but the midrange is in no way recessed. The good thing is there's no harshness to be heard and instrument solos sound just lovely, be it pianos or guitars. In general, the more spotlight an instrument steals in the recording, the more it will get and even as its presence increases and disappears, the instrument always appears and decays with finesse. Much like bass, the midrange is the most realistic I've heard, bringing tears in breath-taking solos or just going with the flow among other instruments, while never sounding thin and retaining good dynamics.

 

9/10

 

Differences

- The key difference here is obviously that the 400i midrange is more forward and just brings attention to itself and every instrument there is, thus creating a more often than not, very pleasant coloration. The 560's midrange is just there and lets the recording [or the conductor] to bring the attention to a particular instrument, or not. As a result, the 560 is more natural and delicate, while the 400i presents midrange in a more euphonic and iconic fashion. Midrange, like bass, is where both headphones are competent enough, without any significantly detracting factors.

 

Grill mod - opens up the midrange a bit more, evens some peaks and dips slightly. Reduces reflections and subsequently takes a way a bit of aggression or edge [a subjective con]

 

Treble

 

HE-400i

- The 400i's treble is a bit more complicated. As has been pointed out, the upper midrange-lower treble region is a bit less present, or to put it more simply, the treble is there but it is slightly overshadowed by the relative forwardness of midrange and bass, while the upper treble region is more present. The treble is smooth and well extended overall, without any major peaks but it just does not carry the airy presence I like, and what I assume is the side-effect of this - a noticeable lack of air to instruments that extend to the treble and female vocals. This negatively affects their timbre and accuracy, among other things. It is still a coloration, however, that might be desirable, especially for those people who don't want much treble energy and seek just that warm-tilt with a slight upper-treble sparkle this provides. This is thus a very subjective flaw. It does not affect other things as much, but it is definitely something to consider if you want a completely even and open treble. Other than the air issue, the treble is pretty great and smooth, and if you don't need lots of air in your music, you'll certainly like it. It also varies from genre to genre and track to track, depending on many a factors. Some tracks also add an artificial layer of air to vocals - this is not what I mean. This is natural and is present in each on to a degree.

 

8/10

 

HE-560:

- The 560 presents treble in an effortless and convincing manner. Much like midrange, the treble is just there. It isn't harsh or deficient but always present, contributing to an airy presentation. There's no emphasis on cymbals, like the HE-6 used to make. Female vocals sound especially lovely and energetic, with just the right presence. The treble region is an area that is said to be the hardest to do right without either artificially overdoing it or making compromises and cutting back. The treble is again the best I've heard. It is not always incredibly airy [the HE-6 is more so] but it has the power to be just as and more often than not it is and certainly to a point of sounding convincing and not artificial. It always straddles the line of being too smooth and too forward and thus ends right where it should - in the middle.

 

9/10

 

Differences

- What separates these two trebles is more than anything, the air. The 400i treble is handled in such a way that it allows very little room for air while the 560 allows for much more. This does mostly affect the decay, timbre and just the way how real and authentic things sound. Best way to demonstrate is with an example. As voices or instruments travel through the air and eventually disappear, they leave a trail around them, a faint presence of sound and movement, what is best described as air, as well as a part of timbre or decay. This air, produced by each instrument or vocal, moves with said instrument or vocal, until it eventually disappears. On the 560, this presence is more and it rises up or moves outside of the field of said instrument/vocal as it decays, almost as if it moved beyond the boundaries of the headphone and their drivers, in a natural and convincing way. If the bow of a violin is moving from left to right and disappears, so does the airy presence. The 400i has less and does not do it nearly as convincingly - you never feel the air 'leaving' the headphone, it stays inside, trapped in the cups and just stops, with a less convincing and shorter decay. This is for me subjectively the most notable deficiency in the 400i's treble, but a very subjective thing indeed. Air is obviously not limited to treble - it manifests itself in the midrange and bass as well, but is not as apparent there as it is here.

 

Grill mod - more air to the treble, more natural and real, better 'palpability'. Again, takes away a slight edge [welcome for vocals, subjectively less welcome for electric guitars, ...]

 

Vocals

 

a]Male

 

HE-400i

- The 400i handles male vocals beautifully. As they are part of the “Magical Midtange”, they are put more forward than female vocals and have great body and presence. The sibilance is never an issue as there's a noticeable dip in the region where major sibilance occurs. At the same time, this dip can have a negative impact, producing vocals that sound a bit muted in the 'S' region and slightly forced in the 'T' and 'F' regions. I suspect the lack of air is partially the cause for the hardness or roughness. This is a very minor issue, however, and is rarely present and hard to focus on without a direct comparison. Still a pleasantly natural vocal performance!

 

9/10

 

HE-560

- The 560 does male vocals the same way it does it's midrange. No extra body or forwardness, though certainly enough to appreciate the delicacy and realistic nature, but without any extra magic. The “S” region is slightly more pronounced and as a bonus sound more natural and relaxed. The trade-off is that sibilance is more likely to show and it does - so far it was an issue with one track, which the 400i handled better. I again praise the way how vocals vanish into the air and I suspect this naturalness does take away some of the sibilance or hardness there could have been.

 

9/10

 

Differences

- Both headphones handle male vocals exceptionally well. The 400i takes the “more forward and smoother” approach, with more body and presence but an easier tonality on the ears, while the 560 picks the “natural and present” approach, with less body but more nuanced. Both approaches are very enjoyable.

 

Grill mod - slightly more air to male vocals

 

b]Female

 

HE-400i

- The female vocals have good presence and definition. They sound quite natural and without any sibilance. There's again slight mutedness in the sibilance region, and minor emphasis on the 'T's and 'F's at times, coupled with the lack of air, and consequently realistic timbre, does hurt it a bit. That's mostly treble vocals of course, so it is specific to singers in that range. If you listen to female singers with vocals that fall to the midrange more, then those will sound even better. There's definitely noticeably more presence to midrange bound vocals. Still, midramge, or not, the 400i does very good with female vocals too, with good body and presence, eliminating any sibilance there is, unless it is brutally present. It is still a midrange monster however, so it does best there.

 

8/10

 

HE-560

- The 560 puts treble female vocals more forward, giving their voice more presence. Coupled with great timbre, air and decay, treble bound vocals sound energetic and beautiful. There's less compensation for sibilance, still enough for vocals to not highlight it, but not enough to mute their transition through that range.

 

9/10

 

Differences

- Again, air makes the most difference here, contributing to a more contoured, and realistic listen on the 560, along with slightly better resolution and finesse. Consequently, the 400i is hurt much more by it's lack of any substantial airy quality than by anything else and should we ignore the differences in air, the two are surprisingly close, with the more expensive headphone having just a more even treble response, but which is to be expected at almost twice the price.

 

Grill mod - boosts treble a bit, more airy and better natural extension

 

Sibilance

 

HE-400i

- The 400i has absolutely no issues with sibilance. There's that slight mutedness in this range but nothing major. A great accomplishment with regards to sibilance!

 

9/10

 

HE-560

- The 560 fares much the same in the sibilance range. The mute is slightly less and theoretically the susceptibility is a bit higher but not enough to be an issue, and it certainly does not take away from the beauty of the vocals.

 

9/10

 

Differences

- Both headphones deserve praise for the way they are tuned with regards to vocals as both fight sibilance equally well. The HE-6 struggled with it at times, the AKGs do too but the new HiFiMAN set an example in the way sibilance should be tackled. On my setup, obviously. Big thank you for this, team HiFiMAN!

 

Grill mod - vocals sound less contrained and extend better, reducing the little sibilance there is even more.

 

Soundstage

 

HE-400i

- The 400i has a soundstage that is definitely on the smaller, intimate size. Width is just okay, while depth is quite good and so is height. As far as soundstage expansiveness goes, it is quite average. The sounds do not feel like they are coming from outside the headphone. I also believe this directly correlates and is connected with the lack of air, and consequently openness as well. However, while the soundstage is still well-integrated and feels natural. It might feel slightly claustrophobic where there are many instruments at play, but then soundstage separation always remains excellent. Detail retrieval is good too. It also does rather well with regards to imaging!

 

7/10

 

HE-560

- The 560 has a moderately wide soundstage, where instruments evenly spread across believably, with good stage depth and pretty spectacular height placement, thanks to great imaging capabilities. The stage is pretty expansive, which I again believe directly correlates with the amount of air and the way it opens up the stage and gives more space and room for instruments to breathe. It still probably won't win many awards either, at least not in terms of sheer size, but it is likewise very natural feeling and well integrated. It is just big enough to allow enough room for instruments to not feel compressed and coupled with brilliant instrument separation it works pretty well. Detail retrieval is likewise great.

 

8.5/10

 

Differences

- The differences lie mostly in width and openness, where the 560 clearly has the upper hand. Instrument separation is excellent on both headphones. Imaging also goes to the 560, though the 400i also images well. The 560 and 400i both have well-defined and respectable soundstages in the world of planarmagnetic headphones but there's still some catching-up to do to rival those headphones that are renowned in this category.

 

Grill mod - improves soundstage width. Instruments have slightly more space to breath and expand.

 

Imaging

 

HE-400i

- The HE-400i images pretty well. It might not be the most distinct, and vocalists that are close to each might blend in just a bit, but it still does it respectably and without any major hiccups - an imaging well done, where things are still not difficult to pick up and follow.

 

9/10

 

HE-560

- The 560's imaging is even greater. It is very precise, with great definition and makes locating various instruments and vocals in the soundstage even easier. Very accurate!

 

9/10

 

Differences

- The 560 has a slight advantage here but the difference is not too big. Yes, sounds are a bit easier to locate and follow but the 400i is not too far behind and certainly not as far as the price difference would suggest. Both imaging capabilities are certainly above average and better.

 

Grill mod - makes imaging ever-so-slightly clearer and easier to identify. Does not affect separation itself, however.

 

Instrument separation

 

HE-400i

- Excellent. Separating instruments is a breeze.

 

9.5/10

 

HE-560

- Excellent. Instrument separation is an easy-peasy task.

 

9.5/10

 

Differences

- A complete tie. Maybe that guitar has a bit more presence because of the 400i's forward midrange or that female vocal is a bit more distinct on the 560 because of its more uniform treble. Both are exceptional. Both trade blows. An honest tie.

 

Grill mod - instrument separation does not benefit from this mod. See imaging above.

 

Overall Sound Openness

 

HE-400i

- In case you haven't noticed already, the 400i is not a very open-sounding headphone. It tries to be and at times it sounds quite open but it has too much going against it. The lack of air, the average soundstage size and openness, the bass/midrange X treble slight discrepancy. It is warm and it sounds the part. The 400i is a closed-in headphone. It still sounds like an 'open' headphone and covering the grills still produces the same effect as on the 560 but it is certainly one of the less open sounding cans.

 

6/10

 

HE-560

- The 560, on the other hand, sounds pretty open. Instrumental pieces especially come to life. I've been listening to a certain piano and violin duet and the resulting emotion was simply phenomenal. Amazing leading edge on the violin, great delicacy and definition on each key as the piano played and the amount of air each made. Yep, this sounds pretty open to me.

 

9/10

 

Differences

- HE-400i sounds closed-in, HE-560 sounds open. I think everything that needed to be said was said.

 

Grill mod - both headphones sounds more open. The 400i might benefit a bit more from this mod because the 560 does not really need it, but the difference is there too.

 

Air

 

HE-400i

- The 400i has little air. There's some air to male and female vocals in the midrange but vocals located in the treble and most instruments get very little air. It's all connected with the closed-in nature of the headphone. Openness, air and timbre/realism simply suffers for it and not much can be done.

 

6/10

 

HE-560

- Again, the polar opposite. A lot more air to all vocals and instruments. The most impressive thing, however, is how bass instruments [NOT synthetic bass] sound. Lots of air, deep, very tight bass with perfect texture and definition. String bass is just phenomenal, but any bass produced by a real instrument is like that with these.

 

9/10

 

Differences

- Same as with openness. The 560 has it in much greater quantities. Thanks to overall openness, evenly integrated treble, etc.

 

Grill mod - openness and air do correlate here somewhat. Not that they always to, but the difference here is the same. 400i benefits slightly more.

 

Timbre/Realism/Decay

 

HE-400i

- To me timbre, realism, decay, openness, air... all these have to work on a certain level to create a headphone that is truly open and transparent. If one of them fails, then the rest can't be too great either. The 400i unfortunately does not perform too well in either of them, including timbre and realism. I find the instruments to sound slightly artificial [string bass instruments have wrong impact/texture ratio] or colored [the midrange forwardness] and the lack of air does not allow for realistic decay either. That, however, just means that the headphone isn't truly open and transparent, not that it isn't good! It is! And again, all just directly compared to the 560. They sound quite good on their own in timbre/realism, just colored.

 

7/10

 

HE-560

- The 560's timbre and realism is spot on and so is decay. Instruments and vocals appear and disappear realistically. Guitars, pianos, violins, tubes, horns, double basses, ... string, key, blow, percussion... male, female... The 560 is an open and transparent headphone. And it is also pretty good.

 

9.5/10

 

Differences

- The 560 once again wins in these categories. It is the 560's strong suit but not so much for the 400i. It gives instruments and vocals an artificial tone and/or coloration. It is still quite a pleasant sound, of course! You might even enjoy it more. It still sounds good, albeit less accurate.

 

Grill mod - Same as with two above categories. The 400i timbre gets a bit more realistic. 560's timbre sound realistic from the get go and thereby the benefit is a bit less again. The timbre the stock grill produce [for the 560] is still very pleasing and as the gain is less, I happen to like them about equally, though the modded grills definitely do sound a bit more real.

 

Overall Cohesiveness/Balance

 

HE-400i

- The 400i certainly has a warmer tilt. Punchy bass, forward mids, smooth treble and good musicality and dynamics. Still, it is a rather coherent-sounding headphone with good detail retrieval, great instrument separation, decent imaging and an intimate soundstage and all that has been established. It is also a suitable all-rounder. Maybe not the best pick solely for instrumental or dub-step, but it does those genres likewise reasonably well, along with pop, rock, electronic, alternative and others.

 

8.5/10

 

HE-560

- The 560 is really a neutral sounding, balanced headphone, with excellent musicality and dynamics. Great bass, midrange, treble, imaging, soundstaging, separation, detail retrieval... Well, we already know that! It wouldn't be my pick if I only listened to hip-hop, rap or dance but they also perform well with the rest. I really love it with instrumental music. An extremely cohesive performer it is.

 

9.5/10

 

Differences

- A warmly tilt headphone and a neutral headphone. Both extremely good for the price. I am the first to admit that the differences were initially rather hard to discern until I trained my ears. I could honestly live with either of them but at the same time, I am glad I have the opportunity to extensively compare these and appreciate the things they do or don't. And then choose one.

 

Grill mod - this mod amounts to about a 5% of incremental improvement [somewhere more, somewhere less]. It evens out the slight upper midrange/lower treble peaks [created by stock grilles' reverberation] and evens out mid-subbass transition a bit. It makes the 400i ever so slightly warmer but more rounded, same for the 560. The stock grilles' reverberation might add a layer of coloration, that might be pleasing at times but as an overall and cohesive experience, the modded and more open grilles bring about a slight improvement.

 

Low-Level Listening

 

- Both headphones perform equally well in terms of low-level listening and do not lose anything from their qualities. The quieter you listen, the more their shortcomings come out but since none of them have any that'd noticeably affect your listening experience, you can pretty much listen as loud or quiet as you want without issues. I listen at listening volumes of 35/100 for 560 and 31/100 for 400i respectively, so then I lowered to 30 and 25, 25 and 20 and finally 20 and 10 and they continued to sound just the way they did when they were louder... Just quieter.

 

9/10

 

Gaming

 

Differences

- The 400i has the slight advantage in mid-bass thump. The 560 has a better sub-bass, more precise imaging and a bigger, more natural soundstage. along with a more focused treble and a bit better detail retrieval. Neither, provide an absolutely immerssive, head-rattling experience, obviously. I'd say they both work quite well for both competitive and immersive gaming if you don't require massive amounts of bass. For me, clarity, soundstage and separation are an integral part of my gaming experience and I'd give the slight nod to the 560 for that. Also, deeper bass ^_^

 

HE-400i - 8/10

HE-560 - 9/10

 

Movies/Series

 

Differences

- Same as with games. The better extension in the sub-bass along with extra clarity everywhere else comes in handy. Swords ring, guns fire, explosions explode, dialogues play out, all with an extra layer of resolution. Admittedly, the whole experience is a bit better for me with the 560, while the 400i still holds a pretty close second. Also, you can totally tell bad acting and fake sound effects with either... Eeeew.


 

HE-400i - 8/10

HE-560 - 9/10

 

Build Quality

 

Differences

- Both headphones are built better than their predecessors, no doubt. Though, the 400i had an extra month of polish and it shows. It looks noticeably more refined and made to a tighter standard than my one month old 560. The adjustment mechanism, the clamp ratio, the ear-cups swivel, the baffle and the pads-attaching mechanism look and feel more Swiss and precise. As far as aesthetics go, I like both - the more muted look of the HE-560 and the more bold appearance of the HE-400i, but build quality wise, with my two particular pairs, the 400i edges ahead.

 

8/10 [but can vary between 5 - 9, depending on pair]

 

Comfort

 

Differences

- Both get a 10/10 with the Focus pads from me! Easily the most comfy headphones I've had the pleasure to wear so far. The only difference is in clamp but that comes down to consistency and not a particular model. My 560 is a bit more clampy while the 400i is a bit looser, but ultimately nothing to detract from the ultimate experience. No itchy or sore ears. No pressure points on the top of my head. Nope. Nada. None. I am also not a fan of the Focus-A pads. Sorry ^_^

 

9/10 [again might vary due to different clamping force and variation in manufacture]


 

Subjective value for one's money

 

HE-400i - 9/10 [at 499$]

HE-560 - 9/10 [at 899$]


 

Differences

Both headphones represent tremendous value for your money. The 560 is the better headphone but not by as much as the price difference would suggest. On sound alone, they'd be both approaching the highest marks. The build quality and finish imperfections associated with QC tolerances & issues, the packaging mishaps there were, the longevity, which still has to prove itself - these factors prevent these headphones from matching build quality wise what they can do sonically.

This is a bit more excusable with a 500$ headphone but less so with a 900$ one. My own 400i pair even feels more tight and better made than my 560 pair... Yes, that is sadly correct.


 

Grill mod - addendum & description

- Both headphones benefit equally from this reversible modification. A slight improvement in air quantity [midrange + treble], bass punch [mid + sub-bass], soundstage width + expansiveness and delicate, pin-point imaging. A slight edge is taken away from aggressive instruments, like electric guitars or violins - this is a con for me but considered a positive by most as it adds up to the natural presentation of these headphones. The bass quantity rise is certainly a plus, though it does mask some slight finesse with instruments where the punch/texture ratio was already perfect before - like string bass.

Overall, I think this mod does bring mostly sonic merits, with just a few slight subjective kinks. It might not be preferred by everyone but I agree that the good things it introduces outweighs the bad, even for me. Certainly recommended to anyone, if just to try - as it is fully reversible.

In conclusion, the grill mod brings anywhere from 2 - 10% of improvement and the 400i benefits slightly more from it, while it enables the 560 to squeeze that bit of extra realism to make an already excellent dish even better.

I like the headphone with both the stock grill and a more open grill for different reasons [above] though using a more permeable mesh along with a more open grille is something I encourage HiFiMAN to look into for further headphones, if possible.

 

More Pictures

 

HE-400i

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HE-560

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Edited by conquerator2 - 10/17/14 at 9:07am
post #99 of 100
Thread Starter 

HE-560/400i review + comparison added. RE400 review edited and updated, an X1 short review was added within the RE-400 review section. Pro 900 moved to the review section only though I've linked it there from where the whole review originally was. Every non-HiFiMAN product that I review will be posted in the review section or elsewhere, though I will always link to it directly, of course.

There's more reviews coming in the near future for more HiFiMAN products, so stay tuned :)

post #100 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by conquerator2 View Post
 

HE-560/400i review + comparison added. RE400 review edited and updated, an X1 short review was added within the RE-400 review section. Pro 900 moved to the review section only though I've linked it there from where the whole review originally was. Every non-HiFiMAN product that I review will be posted in the review section or elsewhere, though I will always link to it directly, of course.

There's more reviews coming in the near future for more HiFiMAN products, so stay tuned :)


Thank you very much for the super reviews. YGPM !

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