I tend to disagree here with some points, but agree with others. I prefer the FA011, but then again they arent comparable headphones. For starters the hifiman is a planar magnetic headphone, so huge difference there. Personally i like bass, and i like to enjoy music rather than analyse it, that being said im not saying the HE400 is unenjoyable, it favors very well here. Im just saying the FA011 is more fun.
Taking money into account the FA011 gives you much more. Better materials, better build (depending on which version), and better comfort. The HE400 gives you more expensive drivers, in a plastic case with an ok headband, but not renown for its comfort or build quality. Its not crappy, but not great, one thing it certainly is is 2-3 times the price at least.
Personally i firmly believe that for that money (FA011 pricing), there is no better can for comfort, versatility, look, and material design (woodies for under $200!?!?!). The bass is not shy at all so for electronica and dubstep these destroy the HE400. FOr classical youd be far better with the HE400, for rock and alternative this would be a mixed bag with a slight nod to the FA011 for grit and depth of bass. Now this may seem a little controversial here, but im going to say it all the same: the HE400 bass is like most planar magnetic or orthodynamic basses, people rave about them for "depth" and detail, which is hard to deny, they bring detail in spades! But in my honest opinion the bass cant compare in quantity and subjective tightness to an effective and good sounding traditional driver relaying far more air movement. Now again this is just my opinion, and i am a basshead. So sure a planar magnetic bass can be very large and tight and detailed and super dooper with a cherry on top, but its subjective to the style of music you listen to and what you compare it to. To those used to the higher end $500-$2500 cans which for the very vast majority have far more "sophisticated" bass, designed specifically for the classical and jazz listener, something designed for electronica would possibly offend them. Big bass or "deep" bass, which is a term i HATE because to me at least, depth~ as a term should refer to how low in this case a frequency is reached. Yet here members tend to use it as an adjective or even superlative rather than a measure. ANywho, big bass or "deep" bass will mean one thing to a classical listener noting the impact on a well traveled verse of timpani, bassoon, or cello set, and will certainly mean another thing to an electronica enthusiast listening to a square sawtooth sinewave as found in say dubstep- or a reverb driven pan drum detuned as a kick like youd find in other genres of "doof". Neither would be satisfied by the others interpretation.
So how much do you value bass over detail or vice versa? THe FA011 for a conventional driver and for its price point is quite detailed, but not like a planar magnetic driver. The HE400 for a planar magnetic driver at its price point (one of the cheapest planars on the market) has quite good bass, but not like a traditional driver specifically tuned in the design vein of the FA011. Its all personal taste really, for me its the FA011 all the way. For sound, for price, for build, and for wood!
Ill have my pair in a week or so when they hit Noisy Motel, I pre prdered via their website to get the best deal, and ensure i get a set before their all snapped up again, (just like i did with the WA7 from A2A). The new revision looks AMAZING.
Edited by mrbigsby - 2/17/13 at 12:01am