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philips fidelio x1 vs hifiman he-400 (stronger natural midrange?)

Poll Results: stronger natural midrange

This is a multiple choice poll
  • 27% (22)
    hifiman he-400
  • 46% (37)
    fidelio x1
  • 10% (8)
    sennheiser hd 598
  • 15% (12)
    akg q701
79 Total Votes  
post #1 of 185
Thread Starter 

The reason that I might sell  or return these headphones is because I am a male vocal recording artist that has a voice that sits somewhere close to dead middle of the midrange notes and the lower midrange. So naturally this is where I am hold my gripes or praises with sound listening and what has become the most important to me. I am surprising myself because I love bass heavy music but Im growing out of it and now mids are my favorite part of the spectrum.

 

 

 

here is a video with the musical taste I have.

 

 I got this headphone because I was expecting the mids to be a little forward. However, though I find the mids to be there and even though the words recessed don't quite accurately describe my listening experience, I would not call them forward. I wanted a high fidelity sound with good bass and forward midrange with some openess in my price range (cans <500) so I bought these.

 

The sound to me, though I think it is pretty awesome, is a little bit to strong to me and it hurts my ears. It has some great muscle to it and I know its an awesome headphone but it doesn't sound that natural to me. Maybe i need a better amp and also the headphones dont have a forward midrange. But i do not want sennheiser sound sig eithe, though i heard the 598 is different from most senns. I like the sound signature of the l1 but would prefer more air, seperation and for them to be a little brighter but not bright by definition (just for percieved clarity though not that important for this purpose. The Beyerdynamic Custom One pro hurt my ears but sucked compared to the he-400. The he-400 hurts but not because of the high notes. Neither did my Pioneer  hdj-2000's hurt or sony v6's (which has recessed mids compared to the he-400), or the l1.

 

Fidelio x1 seems like its the answer to all of my problems. I am a little bit hesitant to loose the he-400 granted that once my aune t1 and tubes come in it might be able to help out the mids and make them sound natural on male voices as well as other instruments.

 

People complain about the he-400 comfort but to me they are just fine. I actually like they way they are built a lot.

 

I really would love a comparison of the midranges of particulary the he-400 and the x1. I know im not the only one that would like this. Headfonia says they have the same clarity and detail but someone here says the he-400 bests the x1 in detail. I love the midrange forwardness of the l1 but i need an open can to zone out with while writing music in my home studio.

 

Any ideas. I sing  and listen to reggae, hip hop, soul, neo soul. Kinda like lauryn hill meets damien marley and nas with some queen harmonies in there, organic pianos and analog synths.

 

Needs:

Open and airy, clear detail, bass and forward mids is the key, not sibilant  (haven't researched a can in my price range like it yet). Good pace, not slow, but highs arent as important for this purpose to me. So nooo beyers.

 

Considerations:

wait for amp

fidelio x1 (can't find a clear review of the mids)

hd 598

akg q701

PLUS! I am so close to willing to sell the  he-400 shipping and handling with velour pads and box and accessories it comes with. PM me or let me know and i might (most likely) do it depending on what kind of response i get about the x1.

 

I have used them for not even a month now. I received them from Headamp audio electronics in the mail on 4/20/2013 a day before or after so they are in great condition and the latest revision.(heard the revisions don't really mean much with the he-400). Come to think of it I might be able to return it to them. 

 

5/13/2013 RETURNED SO I CANT SELL THEM.

still insterested in comparison.

 

UPDATE: 6/2/2013 

refer to page 8 for initial impressions and short comparison of the fidelio x1.

http://www.head-fi.org/t/663288/philips-fidelio-x1-vs-hifiman-he-400-stronger-natural-midrange/105


Edited by grizzlybeast - 7/10/13 at 9:52pm
post #2 of 185

I might get martyred for saying this, but I feel the HE-400 is an overrated, unnatural, odd sounding headphone with poor vocals indeed. So I understand much of where you're coming from.

 

Funny you mention the X1, I just ordered one this week. Unfortunately it probably won't arrive till next week, as it's shipping from Hong Kong. But when they arrive I can share my thoughts on their mids especially. I won't have the HE-400 on hand to directly compare, but I owned the HE-400 twice, and also listened to my friend's HE-400 recently, so the sound is fairly burnt into my mind.

 

I've heard the HD598 and Q701 as well, and if I had to choose one, I'd pick the Q701. HD598 sounds off to me...I'd have to listen to it again to try to identify what sounds strange about it. Q701 is a fairly neutral listen with pretty good mids, but the sound is a bit distant and non-engaging and the bass is decent but not excitable.

 

You say you don't want the Sennheiser sound sig? Have you heard the HD600 or HD650? HD600 is a nice, natural sounding headphone with fairly forward mids. HD650 is a less neutral, more weighty, dreamy sounding version of the HD600. These Sennheisers don't really get me excited, but what's admirable about them is their natural, forgiving sound presentation that really doesn't do anything terribly wrong.

post #3 of 185
Thread Starter 

I guess you have a point. The only thing that worries me about the senns are the pace. I can't imaging listening to hip hop and reggae and classic rock on slow headphones. I probably should give the hd 650 a try. That seems like a good option I just heard that they are slow headphones. I put the 598 there because i heard they arent as slow and a little more engaging. But i am a novice at this so I dont really know much. I have done tons of reading about the various headphones though.

 

I am eager to hear your impressions of the x1 when it comes. Who knows I might have some by the time you are able to review them.

 

I am also in agreement with the he-400 description you gave. I just wasnt bold enough to say it on here because I am not that experienced.

post #4 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by grizzlybeast View Post

I guess you have a point. The only thing that worries me about the senns are the pace. I can't imaging listening to hip hop and reggae and classic rock on slow headphones. I probably should give the hd 650 a try. That seems like a good option I just heard that they are slow headphones. I put the 598 there because i heard they arent as slow and a little more engaging. But i am a novice at this so I dont really know much. I have done tons of reading about the various headphones though.

 

I am eager to hear your impressions of the x1 when it comes. Who knows I might have some by the time you are able to review them.

 

I am also in agreement with the he-400 description you gave. I just wasnt bold enough to say it on here because I am not that experienced.

Hm. Well I'm hesitant to recommend the HD650 unless you can spring for a quality amp. Its a smooth, soft sounding headphone with an entry level amp - not bad sounding, but a bit lackluster. With a powerful amp it becomes dynamic and engaging, while retaining its smoothness - the only headphone I've heard to properly marry smoothness and dynamism. And I actually feel the HD650 is quite fast - it just lacks dynamism on a lesser amp, thus making it sound a bit soft or "mushy" and slow. The HD600 I still need to hear on a more powerful amp to hear how it scales, but on an entry level amp it sounds very nice, neutral, and natural, just not with a great sense of dynamics.

 

I actually have high hopes for the X1. Its elevated bass will likely work well with hip hop, and it should have the pace to keep up well with fast music. I don't listen to reggae or classic rock, but I dabble in a little hip hop so I can comment on that when I get the X1.

post #5 of 185
Thread Starter 

what you are saying sounds like the ticket. I wonder if the aune t1 amp can bring it out?

post #6 of 185
I'm listening to both HD650 and HD598 right now. From your needs:

HD598:
- pros: open and airy, clear detail (as much as possible at its price), fast pace, forward mids
- cons: bass light, lots of treble, a lot sibilant
- I particularly didn't like them at all. Yes they are fun, engaging and airy with big soundstage, but I find them quite artificial sounding... Really fatiguing treble with tons of sibilance. I'd not recommend them as "audiophile" cans.

HD650:
- pros: not sibilant at all, more detail than HD598, rolled-off treble, quite natural sounding regarding timbre, lots of people love their bass (I particularly don't)
- cons: not airy (although its not claustrophobic either in my opinion), not slow but too polite, a bit boring sometimes
- they are definitely one step above HD598 regarding resolution, detail, timbre, etc. but they also have the opposite sound signature, so I wouldn't suggest them if you like HD598 sound.

If your main use is to analyse vocals I'd choose HD650 over HD598 without thinking twice. In my opinion vocals are probably one of the things HD650 do best.

Have not heard the other two, but I'm considering them myself since I'm not entirely satisfied with HD650.
post #7 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcdamascenojr View Post

I'm listening to both HD650 and HD598 right now. From your needs:

HD598:
- pros: open and airy, clear detail (as much as possible at its price), fast pace, forward mids
- cons: bass light, lots of treble, a lot sibilant
- I particularly didn't like them at all. Yes they are fun, engaging and airy with big soundstage, but I find them quite artificial sounding... Really fatiguing treble with tons of sibilance. I'd not recommend them as "audiophile" cans.

HD650:
- pros: not sibilant at all, more detail than HD598, rolled-off treble, quite natural sounding regarding timbre, lots of people love their bass (I particularly don't)
- cons: not airy (although its not claustrophobic either in my opinion), not slow but too polite, a bit boring sometimes
- they are definitely one step above HD598 regarding resolution, detail, timbre, etc. but they also have the opposite sound signature, so I wouldn't suggest them if you like HD598 sound.

If your main use is to analyse vocals I'd choose HD650 over HD598 without thinking twice. In my opinion vocals are probably one of the things HD650 do best.

Have not heard the other two, but I'm considering them myself since I'm not entirely satisfied with HD650.

This is a great analysis! I particularly agree with your assessment of the HD598 sounding artificial. HD600 and HD650 far exceed the HD598 in terms of natural sound.

 

You, sir, may like the HD600. The HD600's treble is less rolled off, the bass is less warm and more neutral, and the mids are similarly great. HD600's mids are also a bit more forward, which grizzlybeast may prefer.

 

Back to OP, you may have read this already, and many people on this forum could back this statement up, but choosing between the HD600 and HD650 is more a matter of preference than technical superiority. Some people prefer the HD600, some prefer the HD650. I haven't exactly decided...sometimes I really crave the smooth, warm sound of the HD650; other times I crave the neutral, transparent sound of the HD600 (which is why I want to try it once more on a better setup).

 

Plus the HD600 is similarly priced to the HE-400. You can find them for less than $400 new, if you look around - http://www.accessoryjack.com/sennheiser-hd600-open-dynamic-hifi-professional-headphones.html - this is the same site I ordered my X1 from. The only catch is your warranty is located in Hong Kong, so if you ever need to use the warranty you have to send them to AccessoryJack in Hong Kong and have them work the warranty. But for a new HD600 at $309, I think it's worth it.

post #8 of 185
Thread Starter 
Wow u guys are really making me reconsider the senns. As soon as I get the money from the he-400 ill reach for either the 600 or x1. As long as the bass isn't anemic I'm good.
I can't jump the gun on the 600 though I'm a bit anxious. Though bass isn't the priority here If I had to choose between luscious mids, decent bass, detail and neutralityOR heavy bass, luscious mids, less accurate but still high fi I might reach for the bass.

But it's funny how bass head cans seem overrated to me. Even for the music I listen to. The bass kicks in and it's like the sounds had a car accident. I don't want that effect and I'm hoping for the best from the x1. I like the he-400 bass but it actually left me underwhelmed when I had all of the expectations from reviews in my head.. But it was still enough and done tastefully.
There is also the headphone bass soo tight and controlled. I find that when its tight but a little bit loose its more real to life like concerts and live bands. It would probably be impossible for any headphone to beet good studio monitors and a sub.

But anyway hopefully soon someone might compare the hd600 vs the x1and meanwhile I am very thankful for being persuaded to give the senns a chance despite my presumptuous fear of them.
I already gave up on the he400
That price for the 600 sounds right too biscuitz.

I'll pull the trigger soon as I hear a trustworthy review about the mids on the x1 (hint hint) since there is a ton of review material on the 600.
Edited by grizzlybeast - 5/11/13 at 1:42am
post #9 of 185

So did your Aune T1 arrive yet? What are your impressions on it and could you compare them to ther dac/amps?

 

And have you looked at DT880's? 

post #10 of 185
Thread Starter 

Sorry Suguru103 I haven't heard it yet because It hasn't arrived yet. There is a whole thread on here with impressions of the aune t1 but unfortunately I haven't seen many comparisons. All I have here now is a focusrite forte wich has a really clean DAC.

 

Though I am not an official headphone audiophile I do believe I have a great perception of sound so the best I could do is offer my explanation of the aune t1 sound.

 

The dt880's arent midcentric headphones so I haven't. Those are more about detail than sound fullness. I know they are great headphones and I'll probably buy them for other purposes later but they don't suit my current needs. The dt 770 is a headphone I have had and it was great but again not suitable for my current needs. 

post #11 of 185

Tracking my X1 online, and it arrived in Omaha early this morning. It should arrive later today :)

post #12 of 185

Just want to add, that the x1 should be a bit v-shaped.

 

Also, I do really understand where you are coming from with the HE-400. Technically, it is a great 'phone, but it is odd and does not sound natural or neutral at all, can be artificial sounding too. Which is why I bought the HE-500, which is both natural, full and neutral with a slight dark-ish tilt, but it might not be airy enough, though it is open sounding.

 

What do you think is wrong with the dt770, just asking?

 

Just throwing it out without knowledge about the headphone, what about the soundmagic hp-200?

 

I do want to mention the etymotic er-4 too, even though it is in-ear. Very neutral for voices, while pushing vocals slightly forward. Not much bass, though so it probably won't work with your genres. But for vocals on the other hand...

 

I am also thinking about the AKG K712


Edited by davidsh - 5/15/13 at 4:15am
post #13 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by davidsh View Post

Just want to add, that the x1 should be a bit v-shaped.

 

Not what measurements suggests

 

 

This would suggest slight bass bump and neutral/well balanced mids/highs. Tyll also agrees with that, he recommended me also X1 for a headphone that's bass boosted but with flat/well balanced mids & highs. It's a shame I  need a closed headphone though for isolation's sake.


Edited by RPGWiZaRD - 5/15/13 at 6:44am
post #14 of 185
Ohh, somehow I got the wrong impression then :-)
post #15 of 185
Thread Starter 

I actually liked to record with the dt 770 because it was clear and though the mids didnt stand out like on the l1 or something its not open back. The closed back headphones Im going with for the same effect are on the way. German Maestro 8.35 d built to last for ever with slightly forward mids. the dt770 is less full sounding than I want right now plus not open. 


Edited by grizzlybeast - 5/15/13 at 1:18pm
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