I'll just jump into this sad story.
Owned the Sennheiser HD-280's, cheap $100 pair. Wanted an upgrade, got the DT-880 pro's. Was disappointed heavily by their peircing highs and neutrality (even after hours of tweaking EQ's). If i knew what I know now, I know that is how they are supposed to be, they are focused on neutrality, whoops. I spent months researching my next pair. HE-400 was my choice. I was sold by the great great reviews and I was promised I wouldn't experience the same disappointment of neutrality I had with the DT-880's. Whelp, I sure did experience it. Hard. I type this while listening to my HD 280s, the HE-400's are on the desk in front of me.
I have learned that open-back is NOT for me. DON'T get me wrong, these HE-400's blow the HD 280's out of the water on soundstage, overall clarity, and reaching the lows on the bass. The HD-280's just have the warmer punchy sound I look for in a lot of my genres. I'll go back to them if i listen to acoustic or orchestra. But overall they are boring, painful, and flat when I listen to any music with punchy drum kicks or toms, and with bass heavy electronic and rap. Whether plugged into my Onkyo TX-NR515 receiver or my Xonar Essence STX sound card, the HE-400's are unnatural sounding, harsh, and again neutral. My EQ for these things are unreal, the high end drops off like a cliff, the 16k frequency is as low as itll go, 8k not far behind. Something also just always sounds off, I can't figure out if its the peircing highs drowning out my mids or what. But its like no matter how much I EQ out a frequency, it just makes the whole sound seem unbalanced and a section of frequencies goes missing, I don't quite know how to explain it.
I guess the big problem is trusting other peoples tastes and opinions. There are too many preferences and headphones to get an accurate depiction of what I will and will not enjoy based on other peoples reviews. HE-400's are my biggest regret as far as purchases, the DT-880's close behind.
The HD-280's are absolutely out of this world on bang for your buck. I haven't seen such a deal on any item on this planet. And this cracks me up, looking way back to the 280's I was told they were known to be light on the bass. With an EQ they get HEAVY on the bass. No matter what I do the other two headphones here cannot hold up on bass impact. Guess that's what I get for getting open and semi-open back. HE-400's will NEVER be worth $400 to me. I almost have better luck with the $250 DT-880's I got when I EQ them correctly. Their wearing and listening comfort potentially out do the HE-400's in my opinion. What I get from the HE-400's is good clarity and soundstage, but to me it is done in a BORING way. And stresses the hell out of my ears from the peircing highs. Anyone else hit a problem like this? what headphones did you end up with?