Originally Posted by Giancoli
First Question: I've heard the HE-400 build quality is poor, and since I live in the middle of nowhere I want a pair of headphones that will last a long time. HE-400s are made in China. ATH-W1000X Japan. Any durability issues with either phone?
I have owned the 400 and audiotioned the W1000 - The HE400 is solid. The quality it completely on point with price and rivals the my experiance with VMODA and Beyer. I wont say the ATH are worse since I only auditioned them, but they certainly are not better. However these are luxury items. If you play on say white water rafting in them its a bad idea. The thing is to get the most out of the HE-400 you need a quite place as they do not isolate very well, so you probably not doing anything crazy anyway.
The last time I was in civilization, I listened to some mid-grade Grados (RS-2i, RS-1i), and absolutely hated them. They sounded all congested and nasty. Since the ATH-W1000X is also a "woodie" will it too sound congested and nasty?
Grado's are grados. I share you opinion in that they suck. Neither headphone here sounds like them. Even remotely.
I've heard of the AT house mids, but I'm hoping they will compliment the details, not bury them alive. I hear it works well for classical/acoustic/vocals--and I love all of those things--fingers squeaking over guitar strings, breathy, female vocals, a fiddler running wild--Yes!
But how complicated a sound can the ATH-W1000X handle? For example, would a band like Vampire Weekend be too layered, and come out muddled? If there's an orgy of vocals/keyboards/guitars/strings, are we in the land of the planar-magnetic?
when it comes to detail and clarity I would say the 400s win. However they are darker if you want true clarity look into the various T50RP variants.
The source (at least for the near future) will be an Asus Xonar Essence STX. I don't have tube amp yet, but I'll be looking forward to one eventually. Seems like the ATH-1000X would be easier to drive than the HE-400, though I've heard someone comment that the HE-400 wasn't all that bad coming straight from the STX.
I'm imagining the ATH-1000X will add some warmth to the otherwise neutral STX sound? Has anyone listened to either straight from the STX? I also have a Cowon X9 and I'm hoping it would have enough juice for the ATH-1000X, if not the HE-400.
the HE-400s do not sound good with a tube amp unless its a low impedance affair (think Lyr not Bottlehead Crack). I prefered them off my Matrix or other solid stage amps. They are however very sensitive and can be driven ok by a basic ipod or sansa.
The last thing is the closed vs open nature. Back when I was in civilization, I also heard a Sennheiser HD 600, and thought it was far more tolerable than those Grados. Is this just because one was open and one was closed? Is the Grado sound truly quarantined to the Grado brand, or do all closed headphones have the same disease?
Despite my love of acoustical music (think Iron & Wine), female vocals (Feist), and listening to music without disturbing my wife, I would almost go with the HE-400 if it saves me from that dreaded Grado-itis.
The HE-400s are like speakers. anyone in the room with you will be listening to music with you. Open vs closed is a long debate, but you need to understand one thing. Grado's sound like grados. they are one of the most unique sound signatures out there.
Thanks for reading. Any and all advice welcome!
I have to make up my mind in the next 3 days.
Finally if you decide on the hifiman speak to Bryan at Razordog. His customer service is above and beyond.