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Hifiman he-400i Impressions and Discussion - Page 3

post #31 of 3032
Thread Starter 
I carry the torch for anything named he400
post #32 of 3032

Here's the first CES impression of HE400i, from lukelev07

 

http://www.reddit.com/r/headphones/comments/1uuywy/stax_sr009_at_ces_2014_im_blown_away_by_the_sound/cemo8dd

 

Quote:
Do not take my opinion as fact, but I believe the HE400i's were surprisingly accurate, obviously more so than the HE-400's. The highs were crisp and airy, and I could tell the lows were improved over the 400's. What surprised me most was the weight decrease, considering the sound improvement. I say hats off to Hifiman, I will now begin the long journey of saving for some of their cans.
post #33 of 3032
Thread Starter 

^^ Jerg, you are a true news hound!! I'm impressed and grateful for your ability to find the breaking details. Thank you sir. :D

 

Now, I demand a pre-order page with a small discount for the early adopters. 

 

Those may be the briefest impressions ever for a hp. I could listen for about 10 minutes and write a page per minute!!


Edited by MattTCG - 1/11/14 at 5:24am
post #34 of 3032
So! Reads like the HE-5LE is, again, available. Now dressed up in a tux instead of a blazer. I don't buy the easier to drive hype, just yet.
post #35 of 3032

Why wouldn't you buy the easier to drive hype?  Proof is in the numbers.  They have higher efficiency opposed to earlier hifiman models.

 

There's a difference between hardness to drive and scalability.

post #36 of 3032
Thread Starter 

For the lazy:

 

Caveat: All listening was done via the Hifiman EF5 and the 901 DAP.  There was an Emotiva CD player there but they refused to hook it up because they said it sounded so bad, it was only there for show I was told.  The EF5 is a colored amp w/ some headphones and might have interesting synergy issues.  IME, it tends to be tuned w/ Fang's headphones in mind, so keep that in consideration w/ impressions from it.  

The 400i seems to have fixed the weird midrange distortion that some are able to pickup.  They do sound better, more coherent overall signature and better clarity.  Still less smooth and refined than the other Hifiman phones further up the range.

560 sounds quite a bit like the name implies a 500 adding a bit of 6 treble in the signature to brighten and open it up.  Less warm than the HE500 with better clarity.  Whether there are serious sibilance or treble issues is hard to tell as I have found in the past the EF5 to take the edge of such artifacts at times. 

Overall, the HE6 had less of that full fleshed out bass compared to the 560, but every other technical metric apart from FR like speed, smoothness, refinement, imaging, were all superior on the HE6 still.

I'm afraid that's the best I could do under the time constraints and gear under show conditions.  I spent more time w/ the 901 and 802 as I felt DAPs, DACs, DAC/Amps were the rage this year.  I'll have more on that in the CES thread.

post #37 of 3032

Crossing my fingers that these come out strong and don't need a plethora of revisions.

post #38 of 3032

The main description points so far:

 

1) The 400i seems to have fixed the weird midrange distortion that some are able to pickup.

 

I don't understand what "weird midrange distortion" is, unless they are talking about vocals/clipping ala' Florence and the Machine albums. But they could be talking about the resonance issue, which I think it essentially fact for those that have tried modding (and reaped the benefits)

 

2) They do sound better, more coherent overall signature and better clarity.

 

This statement seems to be suggesting that the 400is will be a better balanced than the current phones - a more relaxed midrange (less/no resonance) and reduced treble (since that is the one major area we all seem to agree can sound out of balanace). But this person says nothing about bass which can easily throw things out of whack.

 

3) Still less smooth and refined than the other Hifiman phones further up the range.

 

Less refined? Not necessarily. But "less smooth" suggests they will still be aggressive, which I think is a good thing! The old 400 vs 500 debate did, at one point, have some people going back to the 400s because 'refinement' is not always preference.

 

Person#2 1)I believe the HE400i's were surprisingly accurate, obviously more so than the HE-400's.

 

Accuracy is a blanket statement to me until I see some data (and even then we don't really know what is ideal for headphones). If this is meant to indicate a sense of lower distortion and better frequency response, then yay.

 

2) The highs were crisp and airy, and I could tell the lows were improved over the 400's.

 

"Crisp and airy" is how I might describe the 400s right now, so this doesn't say much. Hard to imagine better bass response, but if it is hitting harder, then great. A little extra bass weight has been what I am preferring in the long-run.

 

3) What surprised me most was the weight decrease, considering the sound improvement.

 

Light-weight plus sublime sonics = awesome. I think that this creates a subjectively more relaxed and 'privileged' listening condition.

 

4) I say hats off to Hifiman, I will now begin the long journey of saving for some of their cans.

 

So, at least one person considers them enough of an improvement to just spend $500.

 

In summary, the first two impressions seem to suggest that everything is better, and nothing is worse. :wink: But I would like to see if anyone has picked up on what the tradeoffs might have been.

 

In terms of other wishlist items, I have one. Given that I just got slightly burned by my expired warranty, I would like to see Hifiman include a 3-year warranty minimum. $500 bucks is a lot of money (ALMOST as much as a 5.1 system I have my eye on!). High end products should be matched with high-end commitments.

post #39 of 3032
Thread Starter 
Very nice post sir!!
post #40 of 3032

The midrange distortion of the HE-400 doesn't really have anything to do with clipping vocals or resonance.  HE-400 isn't a very resonant headphone in the first place-- it decays decently smoothly.  

 

There's a lot of thd spikes throughout HE-400, and especially its lower midrange.  What this means is more harmonics of the lower notes get played when they're not supposed to be played during the music.  It just makes the headphone sound less clean than it could.  It can also sometimes give vocals a throaty quality.

 

I do hope 400i keeps the HE-400's generic signature of having big bass and laid-back upper mids.  It'd be great if they balanced it with less treble and a clearer midrange, but keep that big bass!  You got two other planar magnetics that can appeal to different sound signatures.


Edited by TMRaven - 1/11/14 at 8:16am
post #41 of 3032
Quote:
Originally Posted by TMRaven View Post

 

I do hope 400i keeps the HE-400's generic signature of having big bass and laid-back upper mids.  It'd be great if they balanced it with less treble and a clearer midrange, but keep that big bass!  You got two other planar magnetics that can appeal to different sound signatures.

Basically tune it toward Audeze but with better bass and HFM consistency (and HFM price). I'd be all over that.

post #42 of 3032
Thread Starter 

I'm happy with the aesthetic and form changes that HFM has made. Then it just comes down to what they've done with the sound signature. I just don't see them doing anything drastic and hopefully just fixing the issues with the old 400. That's really all that needs to be done to make this hp a huge success. Don't change the bass, it's the crown jewel of the 400 IMO. Just get rid of the peaky treble and tweak the mids...done. 

 

I would have to speculate that the old 400 is their best seller and where a large percentage of profit comes from. I suspect that they'll be very careful with the 400i. Only time will tell. 

post #43 of 3032
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thujone View Post
 

Basically tune it toward Audeze but with better bass and HFM consistency (and HFM price). I'd be all over that.

 

We all would. ;)

post #44 of 3032
Quote:
Originally Posted by TMRaven View Post

 

There's a lot of thd spikes throughout HE-400, and especially its lower midrange.  What this means is more harmonics of the lower notes get played when they're not supposed to be played during the music.  It just makes the headphone sound less clean than it could.  It can also sometimes give vocals a throaty quality.

Oh I see what you mean - over at Innerfidelity, the HE-400 flirts with 10% distortion here and there, whereas the 500 is much more controlled (1% or so). We can of course debate whether or not any of that is really audible/important, and if so, at what volume levels (90dB and 100dB are pretty darn loud). At least to my ears, the HE-400 are generally excellent - though at high volumes perhaps less so.

 

But you gotta love someone trying them out and declaring, "the THD is lower"! Lol. Uh - I'll wait for the test.

post #45 of 3032

+1.  The measured midrange distortion on the HE-400 has kept me away.   A couple of sites show it (innerfidelity).    Hopefully I can hear a pair at a future headphone meet to see what is up.  

 

Did HifiMan have the HE-400 near the HE-400i at CES to compare? 

 

A slight digression:  When I was re-entering this hobby and looking for low-cost portable headphones, I settled on the AKG K581LE (identical to the K81DJ).  It is ultra-small and has great frequency response, but something was off with the sound.  As I bought and listened to other headphones, I figured out via comparison that the AKG sounded grainy to me.  Then I found Tyll's measurement pages on innerfidelity and saw that the K81DJ has a lot of midrange distortion at low volumes, and a lot of wiggle in the tail of the impulse response.   It is not always apparent though -- only on recordings that are clean and unsaturated (i.e. not taking part in the loudness war). 

 

Let's hope we get some measurements on the HE-400i soon.  

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