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Hifiman he-400 vs Deno ah-d600

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

got some he-400's a couple weeks ago and my buddy is about to bring his new denon ah-d600.  i really don't think there is any way for the denons to keep up with the 400's as the planar's are super quick and detailed like nothing that i've heard out of a dynamic driver.

we will see though.  the denon's measure extremely well as far as phase, distortion and well most other measurements.  unfortunately measurements don't really show a headphones ability to pull details.


i'm back.  Well i have them on right now actually and can tell you i am definitely buying a pair of these for my wife.

technically the he-400 is a better headphone.  i knew that.

but these d600's have something special to them. very first thing i was waiting for was uber amounts of bass...

nope nope nope. Its a great fun bass. NEVER too much. Why do you need to have reference frequency response?  Im not producing music.  The most fun bass i have ever heard.  Not as tight as the 400 but it doesn't need to be. Also, it stays on the floor away from the highs and mids. 

Highs are pretty good too :)  surprised by this a little.  Not sibilant at all and energetic when needed.

When i first put the 600 on i thought, not hi-fi.  Because it's not transparent.  There are something that draw attention to it but mainly only because i had the 400 to compare it to. No it's not as detailed, fast or dynamic.  Do i care?  Nope not really.  It could be a little smoother but honestly vocals and instruments come out as being natural and not wet. it's a great fun headphone. it easily bests the 400 in the ability to get evolved into the music. 

absolutely great instrument separation.  great coherence of highs, mids and lows that never dwell into each others regions. Vocals just stuck in your brain. 

this truly is amazing the focus this headphone has.

the phase on these +isolation makes for an amazing escape into the music.

when i want to enjoy the he-400's i have to focus on the music and actually make time to listen to them.  I mean, like close my eyes and almost focus my attention into making the vocals focus in the middle.  noticeably a pain in the ***** and really displeases me.

these denon's however really really instantly get you into the music where ever you are at.

people say they don't think they are worth the full price and that's without a doubt the truth because they aren't a reference headphone but for the enjoyment you get from your music plus pretty good sound,  they are a great headphone that trumps most anything in its price range.

one thing i had a problem explaining without contradicting myself was the fact that the planars sound really really big bodied.  These don't but yet they are.  i think i figured out why.  Because the 600 images so effortlessly the vocals are absolutely huge in your head and when you aren't focusing on the music, it's still right there forced into your brain and i mean that in a good way. It's like wearing an ear bud almost but without the pain the advantages of a full size headphone. With the 400's i have to focus like i was saying.  because of this, most of the time i feel like im' listening to a speaker next to my ear instead of a headphone which allows me to hear the large surface are of the driver.  with the 600's when i first put them on, only because of the nature of my 400 i noticed it was a smaller sound. 

this truly is amazing the focus this headphone has.

i will definitely be buying a pair of these

now that i know how important phase is on the graphs i think i'm definitely going to be trying the new audeze lcd-x at income tax

then again, i honestly might just get a pair of these and be done with it.  use the 400's for that feeling of knowing i have high end with the amount of detail and speed they have and the huge dynamics needed for my orchestra and live music that really merits that reference real life sound. also the bass really is pretty amazing.


*quick note/ another thing about the denon is the soundstage is not as open and i wonder if that's a better thing for small dynamic music.  Keeping the smaller dynamics closer to each other allows for a better grasp on all the music at once when not paying attention.  They still sound pretty open however.  It's all headroom



thank you for making such a great headphone denon


Edited by DoctaCosmos - 12/13/13 at 5:27pm
post #2 of 20
Thread Starter 

had to edit this a little guys.  i was in a hurry because he was coming to get these back.  had a double paragraph in there.

post #3 of 20

It sounds like you're enjoying the D600 too much and are falling back to a 'it's good because it should be' mentality with your HE-400.  I'd probably sell off the HE-400 and get the D600.


Regardless of what you do, something's extremely wrong about having to concentrate really hard just to hear the center image of the vocals on your HE-400.  If part of that problem is because of lack of isolation then you should probably think twice about open headphones.

post #4 of 20
Thread Starter 
Don't understand what you're saying
post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 
If you're saying I am convincing myself the should be as good as the 400 because of specifications then you're wrong. I ALWAYS keep an open mind and obviously made distinct comparisons between the two. I have no regrets buying my 400 but I feel the 600 simply had an easier way to enjoy the music. Im sure the isolation helps but I'm sure the better phase response does too. A great headphone to me would be a 600 imaging with the brute reference capabilities of a planar
post #6 of 20

DoctaCosmos, thanks for sharing your experience. I was very interested in the HE-400 but managed to get a pair of AH-D600 for a really good price. I find them just excellent headphones. I also love how efficient they are. I've even been using the AH-D600 for DJing, thanks to its great isolation, it allows you to monitor the entire mix without competing with outside noise. 


Its bliss listening to drums, edm, and piano works on this headphone. My 'reference' headphone remains a pair of MDR-EX600, whose neutral signature I've come to appreciate. Sometimes just having two headphones to contrast between allows you to appreciate both more. 


Curious, what have you been listening to on the AH-D600 that you've been enjoying?

Edited by Malfunkt - 12/13/13 at 11:53pm
post #7 of 20
Originally Posted by DoctaCosmos View Post

If you're saying I am convincing myself the should be as good as the 400 because of specifications then you're wrong. I ALWAYS keep an open mind and obviously made distinct comparisons between the two. I have no regrets buying my 400 but I feel the 600 simply had an easier way to enjoy the music. Im sure the isolation helps but I'm sure the better phase response does too. A great headphone to me would be a 600 imaging with the brute reference capabilities of a planar



No I'm saying your initial writing makes it seem as if you're trying to convince yourself to keep the HE-400.  I'm also saying the whole 'having to concentrate' thing to get good imaging out of the HE-400 doesn't make sense either, because it's perhaps one of the best if not the best headphone at imaging under 400 dollars.

post #8 of 20
Thread Starter 

i see what you're saying and lol i have seriously considered sending back my 400 because while i appreciate what it does, headphones to me represent a sense of solitude that keeps me from the distractions of the outside world.  I don't get that with the 400. 

The 400's speed and detail make for a great imaging headphone but the lack of isolation and i believe the ringing going on

makes for a less smooth coherent image



im thinking i might get  try a balanced th-900

or possibly the lcd-x.  i would love just to spring for the x but im worried about it not isolating enough

also, worried the mellower slope of the x might make vocals thick and smooth.  can't say i wouldn't be a fan of it but i think i might enjoy the more naturalness of the quickly sloped 900.

the 900's show a low initial noise then slowly slant back up so i'm thinking low initial noise will render the problems of phase nil.  in theory anyways




i have been listening to Dave Mathews live at Radio City, Antonio Vivaldi-Rise of the masters:100 Supreme Classical Masterpieces ( a great lower dynamic, very detailed recording making these classical recordings great to listen to on just about any audio transducer, a playlist i have on spotify i call "chilled bass" that has music such as The XX, Some Massive Attack, a little Gorillaz, etc..., some dub here and there and mainly live or acoustic music.  Hardly any hip-hopanonymous but i do enjoy some songs.  Actually i appreciated hip-hop/dance/rap way more on the denon. 

On my 400's i truly enjoy the vocals of the beautiful Norah Jones and most of my other classical and jazz pieces like Yo-yo Ma, some Chris Botti, Mayer, Richter Seasons and just about anything on my Spotify playlist B&W Speaker Goodness playlist.

I have over 2000 followers on spotify and some 5,000 followers on just playlists.  I have a lot of playlists lol

post #9 of 20
Thread Starter 

the denon's went bye last night and i've been listening to these 400's for a while today and reading my review i realize that i was harsh on the 400's.  These 400's aren't as bad at imaging as the denon's made them out to be.  I still feel that a better phase response would benefit this headphone greatly.  It deserves the focus  with its great planar attributes. Im sure the 500's more up front vocals help with the headstage

post #10 of 20

It could very well be that you were experiencing the euphoria of a new sound as well. When presented with something that's outside of our reference point, our brains immediately make a snap judgement. 


This is why everyone should be vary wary of any review that is written within the first several days (probably more) that a product is introduced to the reviewer. There are many threads on this site where people are singing the praises of, or spreading the disdain of different cans/amps/dac's without spending the appropriate amount of time really getting to hear the equipment. 


Anyways, carry on!

post #11 of 20

It has nothing to do with the phase response.  I think you just like an 'in-your-head' soundstage.  Also, I'd wager the D600 rings more than the HE-400.

post #12 of 20
Thread Starter 

it was most definitely a euphoria.  but if you take note that the first thing i thought was "not hi-fi" and that's because it doesn't have a reference sound to it.  But i actually let it grow on me and the more i listened to it the more i liked it.

Also Raven, i know what you mean about betting the 600 rings more than the 400 but i'm only going off of the charts and what the learning center on headphone.com said it meant.  I see it as phase inconsistency but called it ringing because they did

the in your head soundstage you speak of i most certainly like, but the 400 does it too, just not as clear or as open.

post #13 of 20
Thread Starter 

so raven having a better phase response doesn't help with imaging?  can you explain?  i'm pretty sure if you look up the new technology audeze uses they tell you they improved their phase response which shows on the graph with the x and the highlight of this new system according to them is amazing 3-d imaging.

Edited by DoctaCosmos - 12/14/13 at 12:49pm
post #14 of 20
Thread Starter 
Manuel Seoane · University of Vigo

The phase it is important in any audio system, including headphones. Non-linear phase means non constant group delay. This means that different frequencies will suffer different time delay and then the time envelop of the signal will be distorted. Then, transients (atacks of instruments), and percussion instruments will not be clean and sharp, so the subjective quality for non-linear phase audio systems is clearly lower.


basically smearing, smearing is an inconsistency.  Hard for your brain to accomplish pin point imaging

post #15 of 20

Beats me.  I'm not the most knowledgable on the subject, but the only phase elements I know of deal with the electrical side of things, and are usually used in relation to filters.  I understand phase is a very generic term though, and can relate to anything regarding time relationships.


As far as Audeze's fazors, they look like a layer of diffusors that deal with the sound waves the large LCD diaphragm produce.  The LCD-X stemmed from the LDC-XC, which assumably incorporated the fazors to deal with diffusing the strong backwave of the driver and mitigating the strong cancellation that would result from having it bounce directly back after hitting the wood enclosure.



In terms of ringing, the best way to find out a headphone's performance with audible ringing is through the waterfall plot.  Purrin's site has a lot of them, and there's one for the HE-400.  None of the D600 though.  The HE-400 suffers from very minimal ringing.



The HE-400 is extremely clear and open.

Edited by TMRaven - 12/14/13 at 2:30pm
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