Edited by soundeffect - 9/1/13 at 6:43am
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Edited by soundeffect - 9/1/13 at 6:43am
+1... this is the truth. HE400 SQ is amazing. However, completely unsuitable for portable use & frequent travel.
I've owned the M-100, Momentum, MDR1R at the same time. Bear with me as I'm writing from my memory of the phones so take it with a grain of salt.
Momentum > the other two In mids for my preferences + sounded better all round. Very subjective of course. I listen to Rock, Metal, Jazz, Punk, Kpop, Pop and Hip Hop. So for me it was a better all rounder.The M-100 had more bass, but less defined than the Momentum. The Momentum was about the same in instrument separation. Case is bulky and headphone does not fold. It has the best build quality of the 3 I mention, but the M-100 still has it beat in this regard.
The MDR-1r of course can also include noise cancelling I believe, nice warmer sound. Prefered the fuller midrange than the M-100. Less bass than the M-100, with my type of music separation was worse. Comfort was incredible. Doesn't come with a good case for travel only a pouch and a cardboard box case. Doesn't fold down. Plastic construction.
UE6000 is another to look at. Noise Cancelling, good bass, at least as good overall as the M-100 in my audition. Supremely comfortable. Comes with a soft carry case which is rather nice. Folds nicely.
None of the 3 are massive improvements IMO, can very much come down to taste + YMMV
My source was a Sony E475 - LOD - Hippo Cri Cri dac/amp - HP's
Sorry if I'm not helpful :P
+1, I've owned the M100, Momentums, and MDR-1R at the same time and honestly, at the end of the day, all these day all 3 of those headphones sound great and it comes down to a matter of taste/preference. You won't really notice a huge up in sound quality going from one to another, but you will notice a different sound signature (different coloration of the sound).
Lelianna's impressions are pretty similar to mine. For portability, I would recommend the M100 (if you like bass) vs the Momentums (if you want more neutral sound). The MDR-1R I would recommend if you have any comfort issues with the other two headphones & your main focus is comfort. Those are hands-down the most comfortable pair of closed, portable headphones out there. MDR-1R has a rich lush mid-focus w/ a warm mid-bass bump. You can get the MDR-1R in bluetooth or noise-cancelling flavors as well, but that is a different discussion topic lol.
I really liked all 3 of these headphones and it's hard for me to say that one is better than the other. They all have their own strengths/weaknesses. Probably not too worth it to own more than one of these though (as your money can go farther in a different direction - open pair for home use/amps/dac)
I own both currently. I have an Asgard 2, ODAC, Foobar, and use FLAC files for critical listening, but 320kb mp3 for most of my regular listening. Nothing special for for my interconnects and power: Pyst RCAs, Monoprice gold plated USB, Gold plated silver 1/4 to 3.5 converter, stock headphone cables, standard wall wart for Asgard 2.
I purchased the HE-400's first and absolutely fell in love with them, but they are open back headphones. That makes them fairly non-portable. You have to listen to them in relatively quiet environments and to get proper sound quality an amp is a must. I use an Asgard 2 at home and my humble portable really doesn't cut it (E11). Comparing comfort, I have not received my XL pads for the V-Moda headphones but I can say that the HE's ear cups are much larger and entirely surround my ear (I do have large ears) and the clamp force is slightly less. I do have the velour pads on the HE's and have fitted the foam ring from the pleather pads behind them (just experimenting for sound, not comfort) and I will say that the velour pads do change the sound slightly, but noticeably on the HE's. The clamp force on the M100s is Moderate to firm out of the box (and may loosen up a bit more with time as they are still new) while the HE's are moderate out of the box and have loosened slightly.I do prefer the clamp of the HE's because the VModa's do occasionally give me a headache. The head band on the HE's has a very thin strip of memory foam material covered with leather (pleather?) and is thinner that the M100's, but I have never had any major comfort issues with that. The adjustment system for the HE's is resistance based (meaning it doesn't click into place like the M-100) this does allow for a bit more precise fit. Another consideration is the 3 meter Canary cable that comes with the HE-400's as it can be unwieldy and requires a couple of minutes to attach to the headphones as they screw tight and you may have twisting issues if you are not careful. If you do any traveling you will want to purchase the Hard case from HiFiMan and would suggest buying it anyway because the HE-400 only come with a cloth bag for storage.
I do want to discuss customer service from HiFiMan. When i received my HE-400s the first pair had a slight imperfection on one the drivers. I contacted HiFiman through email about the issue and received an immediate response and I explained i would be leaving on vacation in 10 days and really wanted to have the headphones before I left. I sent my headphones off (HiFiMan paid for shipping) and they had to ship the new pair from China, because their US warehouse did not have any HE-400s in stock. They had my headphones to me in 5 days from China over a weekend. Kudos to HiFiMan for excellent customer service.
Hopefully that covers the non-sound issues thoroughly for anyone wondering.
When comparing the sound signatures I would say that the M100's have a more engaging sound.The HE's have a larger sound stage and because of that better separation, but it is more laid back and fluid. Not to say that HE's lack detail because the do not, but i do find it a bit easier to listen to tracks that are sharp or shrill in the highs. The bass on the M100's is a little more forward and has a bit more impact for hip hop and electronic tracks, but the HE's are not slouches either. Their bass response is more flat and more accurate great for bass instrumentals in jazz and blues and i feel like the HE has a bit more fine detail across the board. But again it is a flatter headphone that is easy on the ears with a large sound stage while remaining accurate and the M-100 is very well suited for more active music like Rap, techno due to the heavy bass and club like sound.
This does show on the graphs as well:
This comparison is difficult, because each headphone has its place. Like comparing an SUV to a Pickup they are similar, but different. But, take my sound impressions with a grain of salt, but the livability issues were more of my focus for anyone looking at purchasing the HE-400's. I own both and that is not going to change. I will say that if I'm at home and comfortable I reach for the HE-400's and if I am in a rush or will be moving around at all I grab the M100's. Both are entirely essential and while its hard to compare them directly it is easy to love the sound from both.
If you're not looking for ANC, the Harman Kardon Over-ears are promising and seal pretty well. Same goes with the B&W P7 and NAD VISO HP50. they are all within the 300-400 price range. Again, you need to audition and test before you buy. All three of the above have a warmer sound signature to them (warm-tilted) while the M-100s were more of a v-shape to my ears.
UE does offer 2 NC headphones, but I found them too warm for my tastes in the midrange, if you're into that sort of sound, go straight for it. With NC on, they become quite bassy though :/ I've only used the UE 9000 though, no clue about the 6ks.
As for other suggestions in the thread, I've yet to hear them, so no comments XD
I guess in response to OP's original post, (personal opinion disclaimer): I personally feel that the HE400's sound quality (detail, resolution, speed, responsiveness, clarity, soundstage, imaging) is much, much better than the M100 and the HE400 has a much nicer sound sig without the recessed mid-range & over-emphasized bass of the M100s (tho that can sometimes be more a preference thing). so in that general sense, if you are upgrading from a closed mid-fi portable (esp a v-shaped sound sig such as the m100s) to a open hi-fi more-neutral full sized (like the k70x/q701, dt880/990, hd650/600, he400, etc), you will definitely begin to appreciate sound quality improvements & a nicer sound sig/frequency response (depending on your preferences).
however, for most well-reviewed closed portable mid-fi options, the sound quality between different models is incredibly similar, and really it's just a matter of finding one with a sound signature that matches you (along w/ comfort). the sound signature variations can also be further fine-tuned through EQ.
yes, it can be cool to own both a pair of closed portables for on-the-go & open at-home headphones, but if you are already happy with what you have, there is no need to upgrade/switch around unless you are really itching to try new things. there's no such thing as the perfect pair of headphones from my experience so you can end up wasting a lot of money exploring ahah :) good luck & i hope you find something you really like.
What about the beyer T70p? ( p for portable,..plus 32 ohms should work,..i bet it sounds better with an amp though,but most do).
I have no experience with it but it's closed and comes with what looks like a soft carry case.