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Hifiman he-400i Impressions and Discussion - Page 20

post #286 of 11732
Originally Posted by conquerator2 View Post

Hi guys,
We're just talking about something in the meantime, don't take it to heart that much. We know you're all doing your best.
I am personally not angry at all, only slightly annoyed by the [repeated] delays of the HE-560 but I understand it's for the best and as long as there are no revisions soon, the wait will be worth it smily_headphones1.gif

So while the 400i is still at least two months away, how's the 560 shaping up?

A week or two ago, you announced that the headphone will start shipping during the first 2 weeks of June. Then at THE Show, Dr. Fang, I believe said that the HE-560 is still 3 weeks away from shipping... So will it ship mid/late June or sooner?
Also, will you ship it to dealers right away? I've pre-ordered at a dealer of yours and am hoping to get the headphone as soon as you start shipping smily_headphones1.gif

+1 The shipping date is very unclear. And I've preordered at a dealer too !
post #287 of 11732
Originally Posted by conquerator2 View Post


1. I think dropping the price later has a lesser effect than dropping it shortly after launch. Some sort of price drop is always expected and it always comes, but it rarely comes sooner than say 6 months+ after launch, unless the said product does not sell well, where the price drop might come sooner rather than later.

By lowering prices early, HFM was/would be hurting the early adopters/royal buyers, who spread the word initially and helped their success or spread in the first place.

In their defense, the HE-5/5LE was their first foray into the headphone field, so I can't really blame them for handling this perfectly. My first purchase from them was the HE-6, which is still holding up very well at their retail. Also, the recent lowering of the 500/400 price, just before the 560/400i release, was a good move IMO as you can kinda call it a clearance price before the said products are discontinued. It was definitely not perfect [and the earliest adopters have the right to be pissed] but HFM hopefully learnt their lesson.

That is, fast price drops and revisions are not a good thing for consumers and their business, and that's exactly why [I reckon] they're taking their time now to do it right the first time through. Much better approach than revisions and price drops, certainly!


2. That'd be nice but Sennheiser actually did the opposite! In Europe, the HD800 actually went up in price a year or so ago [from $1300 to $1500]. It's now the same for EU and US but it'd be nice to have something cheaper for once, especially since they're manufactured in Germany.


3.I don't think so, more in point 1.


4.Certainly hope so, see point 1. They probably did drop/rise the price to make a distinction in the line-up [HE-6 went from $1099 to $1299 and HE-500 went from $899 to $699]. I bought the HE-6 later at $1299, but since the headphone is worth the price [much like the HE-500 seemed to be actually worth even the initial $899]. Still if I bought the headphone and a week later the price would drop, I'd still be pretty angry.


5.Yes, exactly. I 100% agree with this. Revisions are certainly much more harmful IMO. With price drops, you do lose some money if you're planning to sell the headphone but with revisions, most of the time you're stuck with a worse product [unless said company is willing to upgrade your pair to a newer revision for free or for a small fee] which might bring the price down even more than a price drop would. More often than not, a revision does something significant to make the product better and again, this really is a punch in the face to the early adopters.

So bottom line, price drops are IMO somewhat tolerable and understandable, while revisions only deter you from further purchases.


6. Buying a new headphone is certainly a big unknown. With the HE-400 for instance, the rev.1 headphone was significantly different than rev.2, which was then superior to rev.3, which was then replaced again by rev.2 [or rev.4 if you will]. The rev.3 replacements were free of charge so kudos to HFM for that though.

With the HE-560/400i, being an early adopter here myself, the situation will be hopefully much better as I believe HFM is planning to make the "final" release later this month their last for the 560. They're hopefully NOT planning any revisions at least for a year or so [hopefully indicated by them really trying to get it right the first time] or any too-soon price drops [which, to get the R&D associated with the 560/400i back would not be viable for them anyway].

If they do, I really don't know what my reaction would be on that... Not positive, that's for sure!


Glad we can get a nice discussion going :beerchug:

Thanks for your clear and candid view. One thing just came to me though, that is about the revision: perhaps we shouldn't be too annoyed with revision anyway. I mean, if you look at revisions as 'improved new product', since they do replace the non-revised ones, there's nothing wrong about revision in itself. It is perhaps better to acknowledge the drawback and make revisions than just wait till the time for next generation of products. I guess in a way, people buying new headphones were accepting the assumption that products are imperfect and subject to revision. The only fault is probably releasing immature products without much scrutiny, which we see HFM is trying to avoid this time (except for making a too-early announcement). 

post #288 of 11732
Originally Posted by marshallmole View Post

Thanks for your clear and candid view. One thing just came to me though, that is about the revision: perhaps we shouldn't be too annoyed with revision anyway. I mean, if you look at revisions as 'improved new product', since they do replace the non-revised ones, there's nothing wrong about revision in itself. It is perhaps better to acknowledge the drawback and make revisions than just wait till the time for next generation of products. I guess in a way, people buying new headphones were accepting the assumption that products are imperfect and subject to revision. The only fault is probably releasing immature products without much scrutiny, which we see HFM is trying to avoid this time (except for making a too-early announcement). 

Sure the problem is not with the revision itself. I wouldn't care if they were just some minor build or cosmetic tweaks but if they bring about a noticeable sonic improvement, that's a whole other matter.
We early adopters are certainly not buying the headphone because we want to be stuck with an inferior product later on.
We're buying it early because we have confidence in the headphone/company being good and final/releasing consistently good products.
If everybody were to wait for a revision, that is if we learn to expect it, a said company would probably go under pretty soon.

So I believe it is in their best interest (and so far I am pretty sure I am right) to release a final 560 and be done with it, as they're trying to get everything right the first time.

See, if I buy the 560 now and there's a flaw found and HFM decides to fix it and releases a rev2 and leaves us rev1 buyers behind, then we won't be the early adopters next time, which will in turn harm both them and us.

So I believe unless the flaw is severe (in that case though, the rev upgrade is usually free for us early buyers) there shouldn't be any revisions.

Audeze did this, Sennheiser did it too and the outcome never brings anything but distrust for said company from the early adopters.

I admit that Hifimam (and Audeze too) handled the revisions well. I believe they both allowed exchanges for free or a small fee, so kudos for that!

Still, it'd be nice to avoid this all together unless deemed absolutely necessary.
The way I see it, HFM is really trying hard to do just that smily_headphones1.gif
Edited by conquerator2 - 6/3/14 at 9:59am
post #289 of 11732

Great discussions guys. I see a lot of you are on the same page as I am. If I remember correctly, back when the HE-5LE was discontinued for the HE-500, there was no warning or price drop like was done for the HE-400. That was what started my frustration with HiFiMan.


Don't get me wrong, I have the utmost respect for what Fang has done for us Head-Fiers and the world of planar-dynamic phones. He almost single handedly revived planars and put them where they are today. But the amount of money I lost along the way because of HiFiMans marketing practices was and is a hard pill to swallow. And back then there were no accommodations that I was aware of for us as has been the case recently.


I purchased the HE-400 because of the $299 price. I purchased my HE-6's used at a great price. I don't know if all HE-6's are the same, but mine are fantastic. So I will continue to watch the HE-400i and the HE-560 and the eventual replacement for the HE-6. Just highly doubt I will be purchasing a new pair of any of them. I'll wait until they things settle down and they show up on the used market. 

post #290 of 11732

Hey guys, this is going to be my first post here on Head-Fi, but I thought I'd share my impressions on the HE-400i since there doesn't seem to be many reports about this particular headphone. I'll focus on the sound quality here, especially comparing it to the other HiFiMan headphones I also heard while at the T.H.E. show last weekend.


Forgive me if I am unable to fully capture the nuances of the headphones' sound, as this is my first post and because I don't have really that high-end equipment back at home (my most expensive headphone is the Sennheiser HD598).


Be prepared for the massive wall of text that follows (lol).


First, a bit on the comfort of the HE-400i (and the HE-560 as well, since they share the same headband design). These things are extremely comfortable. The HE-400i's in my opinion were the most comfortable planar magnetic headphones at the show - it slightly beats out the HE-560 because of its lighter weight. The HE-400i and HE-560 headband did an excellent job of distributing the weight of the headphones around the head (which isn't that much to beign with, especially compared to the Audezes that were also at the show), and the clamping force was perfect - not too tight, but also not that loose either so the headphones wouldn't just move around while on your head. And the HE-400i and HE-560 were easy to just put on your head and start listening with a good seal - in this respect, this is much improved over the older generation HiFiMan headphones that I was able to sample (I listened to the HE-6 at the HiFiMan table, and the HE-500 at the Schiit table).


As for the HE-400i's sound... I thought it was excellent. Good amounts of treble and mids, but it also has some really awesome bass. I really enjoyed listening to bass guitars and the thump of the kick of drums with this thing - the quality and quantity of bass of this thing is amazing. And while there was lots of bass, I felt that it didn't really bleed into the mids or other frequencies, and it was extremely well controlled.


I wasn't sure what to expect from the mids and highs, given how some people have described how the HE-400 performs with regards to those frequencies. However, I was pleasantly surprised. The mids and highs of the HE-400i sounded natural, and I couldn't detect any real anomalies with it. Vocals on the 400i sounded really good, and I was pleased because this was one of the aspects I really look for in a headphone (also one of the reasons why I really love my HD598's). I wouldn't call this the airiest set of headphones in the world (the HE-560 definitely beat the HE-400i here), but I thought it did well in classical and orchestral music. Violins sounded great on the HE-400i (though I would still have to give the nod to the HE-560 here for a more realistic rendition of violins).

As for the soundstage (general impressions here, I go more into detail below), I was pleasantly suprised by it. I was prepared to be disappointed by the HE-400i's soundstage because I absolutely love the huge soundstage of my HD598's, but I didn't really feel that the HE-400i's soundstage was lacking. True, the 400i's soundstage is definitely smaller overall than the HD598's (especially in terms of width), but I felt that its soundstage exhibited decent depth and good height. The imaging on the 400i's was excellent (but slightly behind the 560's). Overall, I felt that the 400i's have a decently sized sounstage that most importantly is very cohesive (things don't sound so far out there that it doesn't sound good anymore).


Comparisons with other HiFiMan headphones (in addition to what I said above):


HE-400i vs HE-400 - unfortunately, I couldn't find a HE-400 at the T.H.E. Show, so I couldn't compare the HE-400i with its predecessor.


HE-400i vs HE-500 - I thought these two headphones sounded extremely similar to each other (keep in mind I did not listen to both of these headphones on the same setup). Both have plentiful (but not excessive) and excellently controlled bass, and both have very pleasing mids and highs that don't blend into the bass. However, I would have to say that perhaps the HE-500 is very slightly less veiled compared to the HE-400i (though I'm not sure whether this is due to the difference in setups).


HE-400i vs HE-560 - While I think that the HE-560 is technically better than the HE-400i (it definitely was more detailed, and less veiled/transparent compared to the 400i), I wouldn't say that the HE-560 is better in terms of enjoying the music, depending on the listener's preferences. Personally, I feel that the 400i is more of what I'm looking for in a headphone. The HE-400i's soundstage isn't that much smaller than the HE-560's, but it's a lot more intimate. The vocals (and pretty much everything else, including each instrument in an orchestra) in the HE-400i are brought much closer to you than in the HE-560, which I really enjoyed (I love that feeling of the singer seemingly being right in front of me). While I feel that the HE-560's are more detailed and slightly more clearer than the HE-400i (but not by as much as you would think given the difference in prices), I personally prefer the HE-400i because of its more intimate presentation.


Overall, I think the HE-400i's are very impressive, and are really a great value considering how close they sound to the 560's and how they pretty much sound just as good as the HE-500, both of which currently sell for more than what the 400i will cost.

post #291 of 11732

Thanks Chowmein!  That was exactly the type of impressions that I hoped to read and learn from.  Since I loved my HE500's sound, and only sold them due to lack of comfort (although for me the HE500's were much more comfortable than the LCD-2's that I had prior to them), I will eagerly await the release of the 400i's.


I of course had read that the 400i's sound signature was going to be similar to the HE500's, it's great to read that your experience matched that.


Thanks again!



post #292 of 11732

Thanks a ton chowmein!

Just what I needed to read to confirm my purchase :]

post #293 of 11732
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by conquerator2 View Post

Thanks a ton chowmein!

Just what I needed to read to confirm my purchase :]


So are you getting both the 560 and 400i? :eek:

post #294 of 11732
Originally Posted by MattTCG View Post


So are you getting both the 560 and 400i? :eek:

No, just the 560 for the time being...

I honestly don't see me purchasing the 400i any time soon, it is more intimate [and perhaps even more musical... not sure there] it seems but the things I value - air [560 wins], soundstage [560], detail [560] and dynamics [undecided, perhaps equal?].

Only if I don't like the 560 [god, hope this won't happen!] or much later.

Especially since I've just bought the ESS-Compass2 just for it, pretty much :wink_face: 

post #295 of 11732

Sounds like HE400i is gonna be MLE's new dream headphone.

post #296 of 11732

Yeah, that it does... But that's what he wished for after all. I hope the 560 and 400i will cover a lot of people looking for a great headphone around $1000 and $500 respectively. Different strokes for different folks :D

post #297 of 11732

Thanks chowmein!!!!

post #298 of 11732
The 560 and 400i seem to complement each other very well... I'm hoping to get 400i some day for fun listening, since my 5LEs and T1s really share a lot of common features so that I think I'm only going to keep one. Thanks for the impressions chowmein.
By the way, does the name chowmein indicate fried noodles in Chinese? @chowmein83 ;)
post #299 of 11732

@marshallmole Yeah, chowmein does refer to the Chinese fried noodles.:p Glad you guys appreciated the 400i impressions - I just thought that the 400i's weren't getting enough attention compared to the 560's, so I'd write up some impressions to clear up some of the mystery around it. Honestly, I'm very excited about these cans, and I'm going to order one as soon as they come out.


Speaking of the release date, I asked Dr. Fang at the show about when they planned to ship them out, and I believe he said about towards the end of July/early August. Not sure how this correlates to the "two months from shipping" said earlier in the thread, but that's what he said...

post #300 of 11732



thanks for your impressions, certainly a worthy contribution since not much other info has been documented (yet).

you may have helped me save $400 if I pass on HE-560 now.  cheers!


couple questions for the Hifiman masses:


1.  are the HE-400i pads the "same" as the HE-560?  (ie.  angled and material?)

2.  is the HE-400i cable material/length the same as HE-560?

3.  what jack sizes come with the HE-400i?  3.5mm with 1/4 adapter?

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