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Hifiman he-400i Impressions and Discussion - Page 29

post #421 of 11702
Originally Posted by Mad Lust Envy View Post

He4 is definitely V-shaped by default. Not by a great amount, but like the DT880 or M50. Linear response with a touch of emphasis on bass and treble. The HE400 has a response that is hard to put into simple wordings such as v-shaped. The bass is incredibly flat, and the lower mids have good presence. The upper mids become incredibly pushed back, while the treble is very, very emphasized. It's like a lopsided v-shaped curve.


Well, with pleather pads, HE-4 are very flat in bass and lower mids as well (see link I previously used)... Upper mids are very slightly recessed (a lot less than HE-400) while treble (especially low and mid) is boosted but definitely not as sibilant as with HE-400 ( => HE-4 have more air and more overall treble presence but not as artificial and non-linear emphasis within this area as with HE-400 around 10-12khz). I modded HE-4 further to decrease treble presence because I wanted to push them towards neutrality even more... And succeeded. But even without my other attempts, HE-4 are more linear and less V-shaped than HE-400 where the artificial recession is very present and very obvious with almost every music genre (w/ real instruments or voices). You just hear a lot of bass and a lot of treble while mids are just recessed... Which is not true with HE-4 (or HE-500). On the other hand, if you have heard HE-4 only with velour pads, then I could understand why they sound somewhat a bit V-shaped to you. Pleather pads are a must for HE-4 if you are seeking neutrality.


All I said can be easily demonstrated by graphs but I don't want to go offtopic any further... And I am not allowed to cite certain sources on Head-fi so it wouldn't make much sense. What's important is that I am looking forward to hear the HE-400i and I hope it's a completely different headphone than HE-400... HE-500 or HE-5LE clone is fine with me.

Edited by Ron12 - 6/23/14 at 8:21am
post #422 of 11702
You guys should try the new pads with the HE-4 (I gave them to my dad, 6000 miles away).
They are plain awesome with the HE-6. The pleather sound terrible next to it (lots of reflection, weird tonality) even though they used to be my preferred set before the Audeze vegan came (too warm on my setup).

Most of the credit goes to Jerg for the mod. Thank you!
post #423 of 11702
Fantastic review and thank you! Much appreciated with giving your musical background as well.

This has peaked my interest on another Hifiman headphone. With the 560 I was hesitant as all the descriptions of reviews seem to be pointing similarities to the he-4 (which has been tagged as the value HD800 that has a less refined sound but striking similarities). Spending $600 more on slight increases of imaging and refinement isn't something I'm willing to dish out at the moment.

After trying the he500 for 2 weeks exclusively, I found the sound difference to be enough to warrant a second hi-end (to me) headphone. Unfortunately the half kilo weight was a big turn off and sold it went. With the 400i seeming to be a hybrid of the he500 and HE4 by way of your description, I will seriously consider a purchase of one.

Fwiw the he4 is still lighter than all the new-age ortho which to me is a huge plus on top of the sound.
Originally Posted by ThePianoMan View Post

Just finished up at the Chicago meet, and I have to say the HE-400i was one of my two favorites of the show! I am always most impressed by manufacturers that can do a lot inside a reasonable price. I enjoyed the 560's but for $1K there is a LOT of competition. I think the 560 is still competitive, but the 400i is my realistic end game open can. On to the impressions (I spent a TON of time at the HiFiMan table and they happened to have music in very familiar with)

My first impression of the can was: "dam, these are comfy!" I own Grados so typically comfort is a whatever factor for me. If a phone has above average comfort it's nice but I usually don't pay it much mind, but these were the most comfortable phones of the entire show, from on-ears all the way up to the STAX-009. Most comfortable headphones I've experienced. They're light too, but they feel well-made, they're really a beautiful headphone in person! I will note that I felt there was plenty of space and adjustability. I have a big fat head and small ears by western standards though, so take that with a grain of salt. I think they'll fit a fair variety of sizes though.

I'll preface the sound section with a few quick comments: I am a musician, I've played shows, attended tons of live concerts both classical, jazz, rock, pop, etc. and listen to both speakers and headphones of all kinds, but I started on loudspeakers.

Alright, onto the important part - Sound!

They are thicker sounding than the 560's. They were still very clear though, but they had just a slight tilt towards wariness, but I still found plenty of detail available for listening critically. Even though the sound was a little thicker the detail was on par with the perceived detail of the Audeze LCD's there, just by nature of the audeze warmness. The 400i was airier though, more open, a lighter sound. I personally find really bloated or excessive bass tuning to be extraordinarily fatiguing. Bass heavy closed cans and the like make me a bit nauseous. These cans had clean, present bass, and more of it than the 560's when driven out of the HifiMan amps, but I felt that the lighter, airier nature of the sound made it sound superb and plentiful without being fatiguing. This brings me to my main impression of these cans; they are precise, reasonable cans. By reasonable I mean moderate - the weight feels great, the sound is gorgeous but neither overdone nor under-supported. Some listeners may find them quite light because of the glut of over-warm headphones on the market. These seem to take a step back from the intimate dark presentations that were the order of the day with many popular orthos present at the meet and popular today. They seem a lovely middle ground between too light and too dark. They are just right, for me at least. The tilt of the sound towards a little thicker I found more to my tastes than the 560. I heard the 560 off an Audio-gd at the meet, and the bass was much more on par with the 400i but I feel that the 400i is less fatiguing. I didn't feel any fatigue at all from the 400i, but I felt that long periods with the 560 would be just slightly fatiguing. The 560 too, while very good, was not as engaging with low amounts of power as the 400i. I tried the 400i out of my phone (something I never really listen out of, but I tried just to see) and it still sounded great. The 560 was just boring out of a phone.
The highs were the sweetest, clearest non-sibilant highs I heard at the show, with the possible exception of the 560. I was rather alarmed by the amount of sibilance I heard in high-end cans there, and many cans that didn't have them lacked high end response, which is really not something I personally would want if I were looking for a balanced, high-end headphone. I listen at low levels too, at most I'll listen at low-medium/medium. I'll turn some cans up a bit when at meets or auditioning, but I try to retain my hearing (and it encourages critical listening) $600 for sibilant highs, though? No way. (I'm looking at you Alpha Dogs)
No sibilant highs, but much more punch and shimmer up in the highs than the Audeze's there. The punchier dynamic triangle and cymbal hits seemed just as good as cans that had good but sibilant highs, but I never felt sibilance. Again, I think the very open sound, and lighter weight of the sound (compared to a lot of the popular, very dark orthos) helped with that.
Mids were gorgeous. In a classical and jazz trains singer who does a lot of genres, as well as playing piano and French horn. That's pretty much all mid focused. I heard cans there that were almost a quarter time sharp (meaning it was playing higher than the original note to make it sound sweeter) but this was not the case. Pitch has a lot to do with how natural something sounds, and these were spot on. The 560 sounded perhaps more precise, but pitched maybe a little flatter than the 400i's. Both sounded more natural than almost anything there in my opinion (again, I'm more experienced with real instruments and loudspeakers than headphones, so take that with a grain of salt)
In conclusion, the sound was not "lovely" perhaps a tad "lush" or "thick" but most of all it was just "right." I felt it had a nimbleness too it without sounding thin. The bass was perhaps a little more than neutral but not much. I would personally be comfortable using these in the studio. In fact, I would choose these over a good number of other cans. And for a can that you can use for both critical and relaxed listening these are great. My realistic end game would be these and a solid state amp like magni/modi combo.
I will say that with the caveat that they leak more sound than any of the headphones I heard there. They also let more sound in, but I don't see this as a negative.
I say well done HiFiMan, I'm going to sell my Grados and pick these up as fast as I can pinch my pennies.

Edited by Soundsgoodtome - 6/23/14 at 8:42am
post #424 of 11702

The 560 is somewhat similar to the HD800 in that way. There's certainly Sennheiser and HFM house sounds at play though. Honestly, if money was no object for me I'd go for both the 400i and 560, but, and while I understand diminishing returns, the 560 just isn't as good a value (and I thought it was one of the best value high-end cans there, fairing well against the LCD-3, Sennheiser 800, and Beyer T1) but for an HD800 on a  budget it's not what I'd choose. I'd just save up for the 800 (the sounds are different enough) the 400i though, now that headphone has no competition at the price that do that kind of sound sig, IMO. It's like the 500 got an upgrade, and got cheaper! (the comfort is simply unbelievable)

post #425 of 11702
Think of how this year the 400i will be obtainable for 400 or so used and the 500 went for 899 to begin with.

These prices vary so much but remain competitive. HiFiMan will dominate because they sound good but become the most sensible option I price to performance. The fact that a hifi staple like the 500 is being dethroned by something cheaper yet just as/almost as good is mind boggling.

The 400i will be the highest selling open back this year. I want to see stats somewhere.

I am a sucker for lower mids though so I wonder how these and the he560 fair in that specific area.
Edited by grizzlybeast - 6/23/14 at 9:59am
post #426 of 11702
I actually preferred the 400i to the 500. And lower Mids on both are great, though the 400i having more bass makes them seem a bit meatier
post #427 of 11702

what do you think guys is iCAN micro enough to get some enjoyment out of the 400i's?

Edited by Vartan - 6/23/14 at 10:49am
post #428 of 11702
Originally Posted by ThePianoMan View Post

I actually preferred the 400i to the 500. And lower Mids on both are great, though the 400i having more bass makes them seem a bit meatier


Stop teasing me :veryevil:

post #429 of 11702
Originally Posted by Clemmaster View Post

Stop teasing me very_evil_smiley.gif


The 400i are teasing me! I simply cannot wait for the release. (As someone said, this hobby is like having someone's hands in your pocket)
post #430 of 11702
Hey everyone I'll be updating my impressions post about the 400i. I figure all the attention they're getting deserves a cleaned up more detailed post. I'll update tonight.
post #431 of 11702
Originally Posted by ThePianoMan View Post

The 400i is definitely on the darker side of neutral. It's not brighter than the 500, in fact if anything it may be just a tad thicker in sound. But it's also a vastly more open and light sound. I'd say having both makes some sense, as the 400i takes only light amplification and could be portable, or for relaxing listening, while the 560 is great for critical listening. You get a LOT of the technical ability of the 560 in the 400i though, just a slightly different sound sig, so YMMV.

Sounds like my type of HP. PianoMan, thanks for the impressions.

post #432 of 11702

Can't wait to hear these.  They sound like they might be a better fit for me than the 560s...


And they'll certainly be a better fit for my wallet!

post #433 of 11702

This might be a shot in the dark, but one of the obvious selling points of the HE-400i aside from the sound is the comfort. Does anyone have experience with the 400i and the AD900? Those are the first high-end headphones I bought, and their comfort still can't be matched by any other can, even Beyerdynamic.

post #434 of 11702
Originally Posted by ThePianoMan View Post

Hey everyone I'll be updating my impressions post about the 400i. I figure all the attention they're getting deserves a cleaned up more detailed post. I'll update tonight.




I've heard tale of HE-400i having some sibilance (or harshness) with hard cymbal crashes?  

can you confirm or recall any such sonics during your trial?



post #435 of 11702
Originally Posted by jexby View Post


I've heard tale of HE-400i having some sibilance (or harshness) with hard cymbal crashes?  
can you confirm or recall any such sonics during your trial?


I thought there were a few passages where cymbals opened up and got a little brighter, but I never felt what I would call shrieks sibilance like you'd get from a Grado or HD800 or Alpha dog turned up too high.
Ears used to very dark signatures might say sibilant, but even on the hardest metallic notes in the music I never heard what I would call sibilants. YMMV.
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