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HiFiMAN HE-400i

  • Specifications:

    Driver Type: Planar Magnetic
    Impedance @ 1kHz: 35 ohms
    Sensitivity: 94 dB SPL/V
    Connector Type: 1/4"
    Cable Length: 2 m
    Cable Style: Straight Y
    Weight: 12.7 oz.
    Manufacturer Warranty: 1 year

Recent Reviews

  1. audioblog18
    HIFIMAN HE-400i Review – First Love
    Written by audioblog18
    Published Apr 25, 2019
    Pros - -Natural timbre
    -Lush and smooth yet detailed
    -Quick bass
    -Close to neutral for planar
    -Smooth and sparkly treble
    -Transparent mids
    Cons - -Build quality, ear pads and cable
    -Lacks sub bass extension
    -Average sound stage
    -Sound seal
    Review by Mhark Jhoshua Q. Torres

    The Company




    HIFIMAN has been one if not the best headphone maker out there, they specialized in producing headphones with unconventional drivers, they used Planar Magnetic drivers as the owner, Dr. Fang actually has researches regarding the technology behind Planar Magnetic drivers. Up until now they are very popular in the audiophile realm with several awards and positive feedback. HIFIMAN ANANDA and SUNDARA are few of their new lineups and it is quite popular in audiophile groups. HIFIMAN continues to be one of the top brands in headphone class and it is my personal favorite.

    The HIFIMAN HE400i


    “Easy-to-drive Full-size Planar Magnetic Headphone” this is the claim of HIFIMAN with regards of the HE400i, it is the newer version of the HE400 which is also a hit and was one of the first planar magnetic headphone that is designed efficiently. In my experience the HE400i can be driven by phones to audible volume at max, but it sounds thin and lacks resolution.

    Fit, Comfort and Build Quality


    The HIFIMAN HE400i, despite being outdated still looks good, the construction of the grills is nice as you can see the drivers when there is enough light to reveal it. The build quality is a mix of plastic and metal, in my honest opinion it feels flimsy and the left and right cups aren’t aligned and it looks off when resting at headphone hanger/stand. I got my 400i as a 2nd hand unit so there are some marks of usage but overall it is definitely presentable. I don’t like the ear pads especially when I compare it with the SUNDARA, it feels itchy and warm to the skin surrounding my ears so the area under the pads becomes more sweaty.

    The weight of the 400i is generally light and it doesn’t cause much pain on my neck, it feels comfortable for long hours of listening given the listening area is well ventilated and is at least 3 or 5 degree Celcius below the standard room temperature, because as I said, the coating of the pads feels warm/hot. The cable included is a sleeved type cable, it doesn’t feel premium at all, it gets tangled easily and I find it worse than the cable of SUNDARA. Overall, the build of HE400i is just mediocre, it doesn’t feel premium and the alignment of the cups aren’t great, luckily it feels light and the clamping of the headphone is pretty good too, neither tight nor loose.

    Technical Specification:
    1. Frequency Response: : 20Hz-35KHz
    2. Sensitivity : 93dB
    3. Impedance : 35 Ohms
    4. Weight : 370g
    5. Cable Length : 1.5m
    6. Plug : 3.5mm/6.35mm



    The box of the HE400i looks premium and sophisticated, it beats the packaging of SUNDARA by a notch or two, the box is very solid and is made out of premium materials. Inside the box are the sleeved 3.5mm cable, 3.5 to 6.35 adapter, paperwork and the headphone itself. The package is just okay, I just hope that there’s a carrying cloth bag at the very least just in case you don’t have any headphone hard case and you want to carry it around from home and your workplace. The included cable is just average too I hate it because it gets tangled every time they have contact, I like it because it feels robust and sturdy enough.


    I love gears with midcentric to flat sound signature as I really love listening to vocals rather than instruments. My genre ranges from heavy rock, alternative rock, pop rock, acoustic, pop, jazz and folk. Majority of my test tracks are in 16 bit – 44 khz and 24 bit – 48 khz FLAC file and here is the list of my commom test tracks.

    1. Reese Lansangan – For the Fickle (background, female vocals and upper mids)
    2. Foo Fighters – Bridge Burning (Imaging, Layering, Coherence, Sub bass and Mid bass, Mids, Treble)
    3. Jensen and the Flips – Come Closer (Mid Bass, Mids)
    4. Ed Sheeran – Dive (Mid bass, Lower Mids)
    5. Norah Jones – Don’t Know Why (Upper Mids and Instruments)
    6. Paramore – Hard Times (Imaging, Layering, Coherence, Sub bass and Mid bass, Mids, Treble)
    7. Utada Hikaru ft. Skrillex – Face My Fears (Imaging Layering, Bass, Mids, Treble, Coherence, Quickness)
    8. Passenger – Coins in a Fountain (Mid bass, Layering, Imaging, Instruments, Lower mids, Treble)
    9. Tori Kelly – Hollow (Background, Upper mids)
    10. Ariana Grande – Raindrops (Background, Upper mids)

    For the Quality, higher is better as this includes resolution and dynamics while the quantity and positioning are subjective, it actually tells how close and how much the frequencies are.

    Source: Shanling M3s + Jazz R7.0

    Starting with the sub bass, it is well extended and has very good texture, planars are known for their bass and the 400i is not an exemption. The rumbles and riffs are deep and is resolving without being too forward, quantity despite of being a planar is not excessive at all, the sub bass are produced with enough body, great details, and in quick and agile manner. Mid bass, just like the sub bass is being rendered in quick, tight and accurate manner. Both attack and decay are just flawlessly rendered with enough body and weight. Just like the sub bass, the mid bass is placed linearly to slightly forward (maybe due to my warm source and op-amp that I equipped with my amplifier), the quantity might not be enough for bass-heads but the quality is definitely top notch. Despite the known lush sound of planars, the bass of the 400i is rendered in detailed manner, every bass notes are greatly textured and accurate.



    Lower midrange really depends on the source used and if the right power is supplied, this is the most noticeable part when plugged unamped and amped, it sounds thin and dry when unamped whilst it sounds lush and has good body when amped. It’s hard to find a good synergy too, pairing it with Shanling M3s + JDS labs O2 amp + Burson V6 vivid the details is literally smashing into my face but in return it sounds dry and thin for my liking, on the other hand when pairing it with Shanling M3s + Jazz R7.0 + Thai op-amp, it sounds lusher, smoother, and fuller without losing much details. The positioning of lower midrange is almost the same as the bass, it is just a bit forward, the timbre is natural (amped) and it sounds as natural as it can be. Upper midrange has moderate body, just enough for the female vocals not to sound shrill, it is transparent resulting to calming vocals and string instruments. As far as my journey goes, the midrange and timbre of the HE400i is definitely one of the best, it sounds natural and sweet while the fullness is just enough for it to stay away from being veiled or muddy. Positioning still the same with the lower midrange while the resolution is still great.


    I made the review mainly using the Shanling M3s+Jazz R7.0 setup simply because among the setups I tried, this suits my preference well and it feels that it has better synergy with 400i than the other setups that I tried. The treble of the 400i in this pairing is smooth yet detailed and well extended, the treble isn’t airy but has good sparkle and definition, it doesn’t sound sibilant or harsh at all (except it is not well driven). Both attack and decay is quick making very agile even when playing complex tracks. Since it lacks airiness, the sense of depth, width and height isn’t that great the staging despite sounding realistic isn’t one of the most spacious cans out there, I find the closed back Beyerdynamic Dt1770 pro to be deeper and wider.

    Sound Stage and Resolution

    The sound stage of 400i is far from the best out there (Planars are not known for humongous stage) but I would say it sounds very real, imaging and layering is great and satisfying especially when playing tracks by Led Zeppelin, I can easily pin point the location of instruments in my mind. It sounds 3D-ish too when properly driven but still not as wide as D1770 pro maybe because the midrange of 400i is slightly forward and the treble lacks air too (Planars, duuuh). Resolution is nice too, I acquired the 400i for 7500 Php (150 USD) and it is one of the best buy that I’ve ever done in this hobby, bass region despite its quickness is very resolving, midrange is quite smooth but still resolves micro details, lastly the treble which has good sparkle packs a lot of details for the price.

    Synergy and Sound Signature

    Unlike other Planar Headphones, the 400i’s sound sinature ranges from warm and smooth to neutral instead of dark. Bass is a bit forward and is very quick, tight and resolving despite being smooth at the same time, the midrange is smooth and a bit forward in comparison to treble it has very natural timbre and sweet upper midrange that makes it a good gear for vocal focused tracks, lastly treble lacks air but offers good sparkle, resolution and speed to compensate. I suggest to use a neutral sounding DAP/DAC/AMP when using the 400i since the signature it has is flexible enough to tackle every genre you have in your music library.

    Shanling M3s (High Gain, volume @ 90)

    This is how I tried the 400i initially and it was my first headphone purchase, it sounds thin and the treble sounds metallic but still it is far better than any IEMs that I’ve tried under 30,000 Php (600 USD). Obviously it is not driven properly, the bass is still quick, mids sounds too dry but has natural timbre, the treble in this pairing is prominent and sometimes it is aggressive. Despite being efficient, planars are known to be power hungry but in comparison to SUNDARA the 400i requires a lot more power.


    Adding Jazz R7.0 as amplifier and using copper IC, it sounded like a new gear. The bass extension became deeper, better texture and details and the mid bass became tighter and more controlled. Midrange gained a lot of body, it became balanced (enough lushness and transparency) the timbre became more natural due to added body, smoother yet resolving. Lastly the treble became smoother and less aggressive, sparkle and extension still remains the same.

    Adding JDS Labs O2 (with burson v6 vivid) as amplifier and using copper IC, it sounded very detailed in comparison to jazz R7.0 and Shanling M3s (high gain), details on midrange and treble almost slapped me in the face but the overall tonality became thin and dry, it lacks body and I didn’t love the synergy.


    Adding Periodic Audio Ni (double amping) as amplifier and using copper IC, It sits between the tonality of Jazz R7.0 and JDS Labs O2, the body is slightly reduced but it sounds more transparent than the R7.0, details are there but not as prominent as when I’m pairing it with O2. Noise floor is suprisingly low despite using it on PO and not on LO (the Ni doesn’t have volume control, same goes to the M3s when it is on LO so I have no choice but to use PO to be able to control the volume). Despite being small, the Ni was still able to power the 400i decently but among the three amplifiers, I’d pick the Jazz R7.0 because it was able to properly balance the lushness and transparency of the 400i.

    Smartphone (Huawei Mate 10)

    The Huawei Mate 10 has a sound signature of neutral-bright, sound quality far below the M3s, cranking the volume to 80-100 the sound of 400i is just decent compared to the SUNDARA, it sounds dry and thin to the point that male vocals doesn’t have sufficient body. I don’t recommend using it with smartphone alone cause you’ll get around 30 percent of its full capacity (soundwise).



    The SUNDARA is actutally the upgraded version of the HE-400 series, in terms of build quality I’d definitely pick the SUNDARA, the body is made out of metal and still maintaining it as lightweight as the HE-400i, the cable is better too it is less tangly than the 400i’s stock cable. The sound signatures of the SUNDARA and HE-400i are nearly identical except that the treble of SUNDARA is more relaxed. In terms of sound quality, the SUNDARA is definitely and upgrade, the timbre is even more natural, better tightness on the bass, wider and deeper sound stage, more transparent mids and smoother treble. Resolution is not night and day but still, SUNDARA picks more details and textures than the 400i, nonetheless for the 2nd hand price of the 400i it is still a good buy if you love the SUNDARA but can’t afford it.

    Beyerdynamic DT1770 Pro

    This is a dynamic driver headphone so obviously it has better staging and airyness, but lacks coherency, speed and transparency in comparison to planars surch as HE400i. Desptite being closed back headphone, the DT 1770 Pro sounds wide and airy, but for me the 400i seems to be more 3D-ish. Sub bass depth and weight easily goes to the DT 1770 pro while the tightness and speed of mid bass goes to the 400i. The midrange of the 400i and DT 1770 pro seems to be linear while the latter leans to be slightly recessed, transparency, timbre and resolution easily goes to the 400i. Lastly the treble of the DT 1770 pro wins in terms of airiness, resolution, and sparkle while the 400i snatched the speed and extension. Overall they are pretty close depending on usage, I can’t use the 400i outside of my workplace or house since it is an open back design and lacks isolation and sound seal.


    This guy is my first love, I tried several Headphones before such as Sennheiser HD700 and AKG K712 but they never caught my attention the same way the HE-400i did. I love the timbre and how it scales very well with various amplifiers. Despite having pretty intimate sound stage for an open back headphone, it still sounds realistic since imaging and layering are top notch. Transparency is great as well while the resolution is just above average compared to other headphones that shares the price tag of the 400i. Despite being advertised as efficient planar headphone, it is not really meant to be used straight to your phone, adding some cheapo amplifier will make it sing a lot better than before. There are design flaws, bass isn’t the punchiest too, and the sound seal is far from being great but if you use it with proper source and place it is definitely a good buy.
      misteral201103 and volly like this.
    1. misteral201103
      As I've written elsewhere, I LOVED my 400i's when I got them. Then I got the InEars Prophile 8s and I couldn't go back to the 400i's - I was too aware of what I was missing. Now I have the Fiio M11 and am using the balanced output with my Hifimans and they just SING. Sometime in the future I'll upgrade to the Ananda, but I'm loving these again. Glad to see you also enjoy them so much. They are ridiculous value for money at current pricing!
      misteral201103, Apr 28, 2019
      audioblog18 likes this.
    These or the Sennheiser HD650s?
    Written by SOULSIK
    Published May 13, 2017
    Pros - clarity. low and high freq extension
    Cons - cable is too short and right angled jack not ideal for desktop use


    Hifiman He400i on the wall mounted headstand


    Headphones are made of different types of drivers. Normally, it is made of dynamic drivers. If you pick up a random headphone from your nearby Best Buy, it’s probably going to be a dynamic driver headphone. Some headphones use different drivers to produce sound. This is mainly to produce a different or unique or better sound signature. The headphone we will be going over today is the Hifiman He-400i, a famous planar magnetic headphone, arguably one of the best headphones under $500. Planar magnetic headphones usually have larger thin drivers with more magnets on either side of the drivers. You can find more explanation of the difference between drivers online and we might provide you with one in the future but for now, the planar magnetic drivers are commonly found in audiophile headphones with companies like Hifiman and Audeze designing and selling them.


    HiFiMAN Electronics is a designer and manufacturer of audio products including headphones, amplifiers, and portable audio players. Hifiman is known for its high-end audio products made under the brand Mee Audio. Its most popular products include the HE-400 which are full sized open back headphones and the RE-400 which is an IEM (In Ear Monitor). Both products are supposedly critically acclaimed for their sound quality


    This review unit was provided by audio excellence (an audio store in Canada) with the permission of Hifiman distributor. As usual, my reviews will be honest and contain no bias.


    Frequency Response: 20 Hz – 35 KHz

    Sensitivity: 93dB

    Impedance: 35 Ohms

    Weight: 370g

    Cable length: 1.5m

    Plug: 3.5mm/6.35mm


    Headphone: most of it is made of high quality plastic with thin metal suspension. The headphone seems durable and comes with a case that seems incredibly premium. The headphone adjustment is made with a up/down clicking mechanism which feels nice and easier to adjust because you can physically see or feel how much you are adjusting for both left & right. This was a problem in the HD6xx/HD650, where there were no ticks/levels to know if you were adjusting the headphones evenly for both sides. The mesh on the side of the headphones are very beautiful and the drivers can be seen with the right lighting, of course, this open-looking mesh means, this headphone is very open back, both in terms of sound and leakage.

    HIFIMAN He400i rear view
    HIFIMAN He400i mesh
    Pads: the stock pads are the Focus pads, with the velour on the inner part and pleather for the rest of the pads. This hybrid pad feels very nice and is extremely comfortable but gets a bit hot with extended wearing durations. It is also glued on, so you would need to make some serious modifications to change the pads. Some suggestions out there are the alpha pads, but this was not tested by me. For me, the stock pads were just fine.

    HIFIMAN He400i Focus Pads. Velour side can be seen from this angle.
    Cables: Fabricated and looks like a pretty decent stock cable but is only 1.5m long, which is very short for a desktop/home use. It also terminates in right angled jack, which makes plugging into your amps rather inconvenient. The connectors are 2.5mm connectors that is differentiated “left” & “right.” Clicks in nicely and it is firm enough that it won’t yank out.

    Case: hands down, it comes in the most premium packaging in the world.


    These headphones are highly efficient and can be even driven with a phone.

    Low Freq: The bass in the He-400i is well extended. By that I mean, there is some sub-base. It is comparable to the sub-base I get when I use my HD6xx with the Dark voice 336 se tube amp, which is already around $800 dollars in value. The overall bass is intimate, tight and punchy. It is rather an accurate representation of bass but at the same time, very pleasant, in my opinion. The bass does not blead into the mid frequencies as much as in other headphones, for example; in the tracks, Smooth Jazz Tribute to Sam Smith, the bass came in nicely without taking anything away from the beautiful mid frequency presentations.

    Mid Freq: This is a warm-ish headphone and I say that because this headphone sounds quite like my HD6xx from the low to low-mid frequencies and then it starts to differentiate itself from the high-mid to high frequencies. The Vocals are very clear and everything exists within the boundary of “mids” but there is no emphasis in any specific areas. Everything from vocals to instruments retain that smoothness through this frequency. For example; while listening to the Small Bump by Ed Sheeran, the bass was almost euphoric while the guitars and vocals retained its beautiful harmony

    High Freq: this is where the real fun begins for this headphone. The highs are rather rolled off in the HD6xx/H650 or HD600s but here, the highs are clear and much more evident. It is much more natural and lively-sounding. Now, you might associate lively-sounding to bright or even sibilant headphones, so let me make it clear, “He400i is just right, it is not sibilant.” Now, of course if you are coming from a more dark-sounding headphone or if you are all about that “warmth” then, you may FEEL like it is sibilant at first, but that is just your ears getting adjusted to all the details in the highs that you have not heard before. Some instruments are meant to sound this way, to make the overall track livelier, but some headphones take this away because not many people enjoy all the details in the highs and it is a very hard to get that perfect roll off to make it “just detailed enough but not sibilant.” But as you move up away from the Mid-fi area, you are seeking for more “detail and clarity,” therefore high end audiophile headphones are commonly criticized for being sibilant. It seems like He400i has achieved that “just right” feeling for some people. It may be still sibilant depending on your preference or previous gear but at least for me and those I have talked to during this review, this headphone seems to do just that, “perfect.”

    Soundstage: the soundstage is most intimate than the HD600 or the HD6xx/HD650, but this makes the bass much more apparent. This would be a preference thing but I enjoy soundstage and this was a downside for me

    Imaging: very accurate for a sub 500-dollar headphone, I would say it competes with the HD600/650s if not just a tad bit better. For example; in my symphony tracks, I could tell which instruments were coming from which positions but it was not a wide accuracy but more an intimate one.

    HD600/H650 vs HE400i: Straight off the bat, there is no clear winner, it will ultimately be your preference that determine which headphone is right for you. The HD600 is commonly compared to the HE400i. Some reviewers say that the He400i is as neutral as the HD600, which I do not agree with because if anything, the He400i is more closely related to the HD650s in that it has that bass. Of course, both do not have a lot of bass but they have more than neutral headphones like the HD600s. He400i sounds livelier than both HD600 and HD650 but vocals come in much more euphorically in the HD650s because it is much more present due to the rolled off highs. Some may rather prefer the more natural sounding vocals and instrumentation in the He400i.

    He400i + phone: at max volume, the He400i is at a reasonable listening level. Everything sounds great but at the same time, sound a bit lean and messy/veiled in busy tracks.

    He400i + Schiit stack: sounded just right, I can see many people using this combo as it adds more warmth and clarity. Modi 2’s clarity may be overwhelming for some people and can be even called sibilant in some tracks but again, this depends on your preference and which gear you are coming from.

    He400i + Oppo ha 2 se: This was by favorite combo. Sounded phenomenal, even took it out for a drive in my car and although it may not have been the best idea, I have no regrets. The bass boost in the Oppo ha 2 se with the He400i is just mouthwatering. The mids became more emphasized with the highs retaining that clarity and detail.

    He400i + Darvoice 336se: I’ve noticed some higher than normal noise floor, probably due to the He400i being low impedance headphones but this combo adds more bass and vocal emphasis. Overall, I would say it makes the He400i slightly warmer without losing any detail in the highs.

    He400i + Jotenheim: Rather an overkill, since these headphones are highly efficient. But a powerful amp and a good dac adds more body to the sound making everything more full and detailed. With this specific combo, it felt like everything the He400i could accomplish was accomplished. The instruments and vocals sounded much more detailed compared to the He400i + phone combo. The bass also seemed to extend more and punch more confidently.

    Overall Thoughts

    The He400i is a great headphone to start with if you are looking for a great headphone. If you are looking for great headphone within this price range, it is either the HD600s, 650s, or these. It all comes down to what is important for you. Do you prefer more bass & lively/detailed headphones? Then, the He400i could be for you.
      volly, xxAMAROKxx, Pharron and 3 others like this.
  3. Jiawen Zhen
    Unbeatable for the price
    Written by Jiawen Zhen
    Published Feb 27, 2017
    Pros - Sound Quality, comfort, packaging, price
    Cons - Clamping force
    At 240 dollars new (price I paid) this probably one of the best price/performance ratios I can think of for cans of this class. Each song is a new listening experience and these sound far superior to any other cans or speakers I have ever heard. I am currently using a C&C BH amp Colorfly C3 combo. Sound is very addicting with very pleasant musicality with great tonal balance. Clamping force was high on initial use but they fit much more comfortably after a few days of use. I would gladly pay 400 even 500 for these headphones.
      Happydog likes this.
    1. gobin
      Where did you get the he-400i for $240 though?
      gobin, Feb 27, 2017
    2. Jesse Oh
      Jesse Oh, Feb 28, 2017
    3. Nunavut
      Now available new for $180 US on buydig.com. Use code LISTENUP
      Nunavut, Feb 12, 2018
  4. DeeKay10
    Detailed and Revealing but Lacks Musicality
    Written by DeeKay10
    Published Jan 14, 2017
    Pros - Detailed, comfy ear pads.
    Cons - Not musical as detailed, vicious clamp (fixable), treble characteristics of cheap headphones.
    I'll keep this relatively short as the HE400i has over 20 reviews here, some of which are very detailed and some that contradict others. This is just my 5 cents on the matter.
    I think @jerg summarized it perfectly in his review, that these are a "compromise between musicality and technicality". On one hand, they are detailed and accurate, have great separation and for acoustic music, there's good layering. On the other, listening through them simply isn't immersive enough, as if they are too detailed, soul left outside the box. It's kinda hard to explain in words, but if you ever get the chance to listen to a pair of Shure SE535 (*) or something with a similar audio profile, you'll understand what I'm talking about. Imagine the audio equivalence of drinking just enough to feel the effect.
    (*) My listening (and evaluation) mule for the past 5-6 years.
    Other than musicality, my second and final con on audio with these, is the treble. It's too extended, causing things like cymbals to sound too distant from the rest of the record (think one floor above). Some call it separation, I call it "the thing that's wrong with half the cheap headphones I listen to", except the HE400i ain't cheap. A lot of companies seem to do that as it adds sparkle and detail (I guess?), but personally, I'm not a fan.
    Unto actual usage, these are pretty easy to drive from anything. Smartphones, Fiio amps, 1st gen Schiit Fulla, no problem.
    On comfort, the pads and headband are very nice and comfortable, but the grip is very tight. I've been looking around for a solution on Google without avail, till I got tired (and pissed) and took the "manual" approach: Bent them myself at 5 points across the upper steel gate, now it's just fine (the 2 L bends, middle, and half-way through to the middle).
    I read about these having some issues with the cable and Hifiman mentioned on their website about swapping them. For what it's worth, I got the new cable, and no complains. It's thick and conductive, really all I have to say. The 6.5mm adapter is crap though, had connection issues so I threw it to the bin (having another 5 laying around).
    Lastly, Hifiman states in the manual that "to obtain optimal performance", these should be burned in for "at least 150 hours", constantly. Subjectivity aside, this is, by far, the dumbest remark I've seen on any headphone, from any manufacturer. Just think about the prospect of, well, buying a pair of $500 headphones, eagerly anticipating them, finally getting the package and then, "welp, here they are, let's just put them there playing and wait another week". By now I imagine I passed the 150 hour mark, and frankly? I don't remember how they sounded a week ago in comparison, to be bothered with. If it wasn't important enough to burn them during production, this can't be too meaningful at the customer's hand.
    To close the review, you might be wondering why the 5 star rating. Simple: Supposedly these retail for $450, but occasionally they will go as low as $250, and for that price, it's very impressive value.

    Equipment used: Schiit Modi Multibit and Vali 2.
  5. PrinceWilliam
    HiFiMAN HE-400i vs DT880 250 Ohm Special Edition Chrome
    Written by PrinceWilliam
    Published Dec 13, 2016
    Pros - Comfortable and excellent sound quality
    Cons - Cheap build quality, replacement parts will be hard to find.
    I will keep this short.  I currently have both the HiFiMAN HE-400i and the Beyerdynamic DT880 250 Ohm non-pro version.  I read a lot of reviews with people bagging on the DT880 vs the 400i, so when I got the DT880 I figured that I would be sending them back and keeping the 400i.  I had been listening to the 400i first, and I really liked them.  I love the focus pads and the sound is really good.  I got them on sale, so they were a great deal.  As a matter of fact, I did not even plan on opening the DT880.  However, I decided to give the DT880 a shot.  
    Well, after listening to both the 400i and the DT880, I am returning the 400i.  I used my on-board sound card to power these.  I listened to Deadmau5, Nora Jones, Metallica Enter Sandman, Steppenwolf.  I did a side by side comparison switching back and forth adjusting volume levels, and honestly the DT880s just sounded clearer to me.  The bass on the DT880 hits harder, the trebles and mids were clearer.
    I was shocked by what I found after reading all these reviews.  I don't know if people are making some of this stuff up, or what, but after owning both and doing a side-by-side comparison to me the DT880 seemed better, at least for my taste.  They are also lighter than the 400i.  Don't get me wrong, I like the 400i, but compared to what I experienced switching back and forth between the two.... That being said, I would consider myself to be your typical listener.  I got the 400i for $249 and the DT880 for $149.  I am surprised, but I am sending the 400i back to HiFiMAN.  For me the DT880 is the winner.  I still think the HE-400i is a cool headphone.
    Other headphones I have owned that are worth mentioning are the DT990 Pro and the ATH-M50X.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. PrinceWilliam
      I think our experiences are actually similar.  I did not use a Schiit Lyr in my testing, and I have heard that planar magnetic headphones perform better when they are amped.  However, I tested both headphones with a pretty good on-board sound card and a cheap FiiO A1 portable amp, neither of which had a problem powering either headphone.  On a side note, I could power the HE-400i with my cell phone, but the DT880 needed the portable amp
      In your case, on the sound card it was a toss up, but to me the DT880 had a better response (non-eq'd), which I believe will be the most common configuration.  Although, if someone wants to buy a $400+ amp, then the HE-400i might be the better choice, but I have no experience with that configuration.  I still like the HE-400i, but I prefer the DT880 especially for the price.  Of course, if you have "Allthetoys," then I guess price is no object!  Which, may be why you have both?  Very nice.  There is no doubt the HE-400i look cool (they are huge!) and sound great!  
      I would like to know what Allthetoys thinks about the build quality because I like the fact that all of the DT880 parts are replaceable and that Beyerdynamic promotes that aspect of their product.
      By the way, I swapped out the limited edition for the regular premium.  I find the pads to be softer, and I like the silver look better.
      PrinceWilliam, Jan 12, 2017
    3. Allthetoys
      My DT880s are the Manufaktur model and the build quality is superb. The HE-400i phones are not as well made. Thats not saying they are poorly made, just that the costs went to technology instead of build materials. It seems like HiFiman went for the best sound quality at a price point, whereas Beyerdynamic had a mature technology and manufacturing process and can use better materials and build design at the same or lower price point.

      As for the username, yes I've been able capitalize on some opportunities over the years, so price isn't primary in my decision making, though I still try to maximize value. No matter what anyone says, price is always a factor. I also like to have all different types of high quality toys instead of only one of the best of something. 10 different headphones that are all really good and add up to $4000 gives me more enjoyment and variety than one pair of $4000 headphones.

      Nice review by the way.
      Allthetoys, Jan 12, 2017
      KarmelZ likes this.
    4. PrinceWilliam
      That is awesome!
      PrinceWilliam, Jan 12, 2017
  6. audiophilehe400
    Great Headphone, Improved Comfort and Treble
    Written by audiophilehe400
    Published Sep 15, 2016
    Pros - Excellent treble and highs have been corrected. Magnificent comfort and weight improvement
    Cons - Bass lacks punch that the colored originals had.
    Would recommend if you are not a bass heavy person. This paired with the EF5 amplifier from Hifiman is almost majestic, music just flows extremely well. Soundstage also has improved from originals, which is extremely impressive, considering the originals being so great. Definitely recommend, have been disappointed by hifiman in anything.
      KarmelZ likes this.
  7. Vanheim
    The Hifiman he-400i from the point of view of someone who doesn't know what to expect:
    Written by Vanheim
    Published Jul 17, 2016
    Pros - Comfort, mids, bass, imaging, value for money.
    Cons - Build, siblance/harshness, needs warm sounding amp.
    Introduction: well, let me start off by saying that I don’t come from the wealthiest background.
    So, it shouldn’t come to a surprise that purchasing the hifiman even at $300 was a big move on my part and wasn’t an easy decision, but my love for audio made me detest using cheap audio products which didn’t honor music, instead spat on its face.
    Da luuks and da build: I’ll say it, these look sexy. The chrome cups give for a very classy and sophisticated look IMO which helps it segregate itself as a higher class of headphones. The headband is not so ideal but you get used to them. Others really don’t. I wore these during a road trip and I stopped counting how many weird looks people were giving me. It was awkward to say the least. But tell you what? I didn’t care, (maybe I cared a little bit), but I wasn’t going to take them off my head.
    ~ IMAG0748.jpg
    But the sexy cups tend to be a fingerprint magnet, they don’t give me much confidence in terms of being scratch resistant. Take care of them will you? Try not to throw them around and be rough with them. The headband adjusters inflict scratches on the back of the metal structure. For the retail price of $499.99 this is unacceptable to me. Hifiman messed up big time in this part for me. The adjusters are very hard to adjust due to stiffness but ease up over time. The new 2.5 mm connectors look nice, I’d say they shouldn’t cause any problems.
    Da cumphorttt: Holy schiit! Why would you take these of your head? Even if no music is playing, I would rather keep them on my head while they hug my head with those soft pads. It’s not a headphone that I want to keep on my head just for its sound, but its comfort makes me want to keep them on even if there is no music on! I have listened to these for hours at a time and felt little to no discomfort. These don’t disappear completely but they don’t keep screaming “hey I’m on your head, does that bother you?”.
    Da sundddd:
    First impressions when I received them were as follows,
    ***note: I am playing them out of an Objective2 amp with no external dac, only the crappy one from my HTC one m8 and my Lenovo notebook. So maybe that's the reason for my impressions.
     Unimpressed. I simply didn't see what the fuss was all about. The treble siblant and strident.
     The vocals were nice but there was no *magic* I wanted for 300 dollars.
     The bass, oh my God, where is the bass? Is hifiman pranking me? Is this a joke? Are my headphones broken? The mid bass sounds horribly anemic, like someone beating on plastic with plastic.
    Unacceptable for it's price tag. Where is the liquid planner bass I was promised? There is no sign of sub bass. It's just missing. On "secrets" by tiesto and kshmr- this particularly showed.
     I tried eq from dobly atmos on my HTC one m8: on the "rich" setting with a bit more eq'ed sub bass. better. The treble calmed down, but not much. The mids still there and are nice but no orgasmic *magic*. They are just not forward enough for me. Mid bass less plastic feeling but still not good enough. Sub bass is helping the mid bass sound a bit more textured but it's still mostly missing and obscure. Hell I preferred the punchy textured bass on my $50 status audio hd one than the he-400i at this point.
     But slowly they started to improve, (burn in? What? It really works?) the treble calmed down a lot. And the Objective2 seemed to help, (ampless directly from phone with eq didn't work well enough). The mids started to sound a lot more nice. Vocal layering was very impressive. The bass improved and wasn't as plastic crappy feeling anymore. But it didn't go deep at all. Impact was almost non existent. It wasn't "accurate" there was certainly information missing my $10 earbuds with eq can dig out that this couldn't.
     On a jazz track it really shined. On "the look for love" by Stanley Turrentine - the instrument separation was impressive. The instrument's attack and decay is something I first realized on this headphone. The strings and drums sounded fantastic. They had life in them!
     On "better than anything" by Diana Krall and Natalie Cole - the vocal layering and separation was also quite impressive as I've never heard them on other cheaper audio gear.
     But at that time I thought that if they didn't improve drastically with a better dac (garbage in, garbage out and all that), and further burn in, I’d have to say that I really didn’t think they were even worth $300 let alone $500. But prices are really crazy in the audio world I’ll have to say. My perception of value for money might differ from yours but whatever.
    Now these are my impressions after listening to them for around a month-
    Bass: amazing sense of realism and the lightness of the slam helps clarity.  It can sound anemic depending on the song and the rig. There is a certain texture the bass presents that I’ve come to love. With the correct eq however it can reach higher levels of awesomeness! For bass heavy genres I use the eq to bump up the bass quite a bit and boy does it seriously hit hard! Most of that seductive texture is still retained but now it doesn’t just punch weakly, now it attacks you with authority! Yes, in a pleasurable way! On The Eagle’s Hotel California the kick drums with eq are very authoritative and make for a very addicting listen.
    Mids: Oh. Thissss. This is amazing. The mids have a sweetness to them that is hard to describe, its unlike anything I’ve ever heard. The instruments are presented in a way that is just a joy to listen to! On Porcupine Tree’s song- My Ashes, the guitar sounds incredible and the imaging is very good. The vocals carried that sense of dark atmosphere which just stood out so much to me! And not surprisingly Steven Wilson’s songs are great on these. The Vocals and the instruments never sound congested, rather they flow. Green day is also amazing here. The guitar riffs have a sense of authority to them. On Diana Krall’s Let’s Fall in Love, her voice sounds intoxicating to say the least. I’m blown away each time I hear that song. Bjork and Carpenters also sound amazing! Blowing me away each time I put their songs on.
    Treble: One cannot be perfect from every angle. Somewhere there has to be a problem. In this case for me It’s the treble. Don’t get me wrong, it is very extended and isn’t veiled or dull in any way. Rather it’s insanely lively and clear. But that clarity can get a bit displeasure-able at times. There’s peaks in around 4k and 7-9k that I can only describe as party poopers. They almost ruined the headphones for me! They made the vocals sound shrill and harsh as well as the cymbals and high-hats. Listening to Fetty Wap’s Trap Queen without eq ,the cymbals/high-hats are ear piercing and make for a very very bad experience. On Eminem’s Must be the Ganja, it’s torture. Everything sounds sibilant to a certain degree. But I was persistent, after weeks of trial and error I finally came up with a eq setting for me, which killed all the sibilance. Now this headphone for me had become worth $300 and even more. Everything sounded smoother.
    Soundstage/separation/imaging: wow, coming from super low-fi gear this was amazing to me. The attack and decay, the transience, the flow of everything was spectacular! The clear identity of each instrument and their ability to stand out individually without seeming to be mashed into a crowd was something I hadn’t experienced before until I heard the Hifiman he-400i. While the soundstage isn’t HUGEEE it has its charm for me. The soundstage over all seems to expand more on some songs than others. Vocal layering is also very nice as I had stated above in my first impressions.
    Amping: This needs and I mean NEEDS a warm sounding amp to sound like what people praise these so much for! I had to learn that the hard way. I didn’t have the budget at the time to get a rig for it so I was stuck with an Objective2 double amping out of my phone or laptop and using the onboard crappy dacs they come with.
    So if you’re thinking of getting these for portable use with a phone, like I was, you can say bye-bye to that. (unless of course you have a warm sounding amp/dac in your phone e.g the nexus 6p?).
    Conclusion: Over all I wanted to experience what good audio sounded like and hifiman he-400i gave me a bit more to bite than I could chew. It’s overwhelming treble extension is definitely something I could live without! It’s sibilance and harsh/shrill attitude is something that ended up making me decide that this wasn’t really the right headphone for me.  
    P.S- here’s the eq that I was using for them:
    And for when I wanted BASSSS~
    Please do let me know what you think of my review (as it's my first), where I messed up and where I can improve on in the future.
      musedesign and trellus like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. DavidA
      Nice honest review from your point of view with the gear you have.
      DavidA, Jul 18, 2016
    3. Vanheim
      Thanks for all the compliments. I should indeed invest in better source and amp. But for now, I think I'm going to get the ZMF cherry Omni, sell off the hifimans then slowly but surely invest in a better system.
      I bought the ZMF Omni cherry from the B-stock sale at ZMF.
      Vanheim, Jul 18, 2016
    4. musedesign
      I agree with your review, I am returning my 400i. The treble is just too shrill. Thank you for the honest review.
      musedesign, Apr 18, 2017
  8. DivineCurrent
    One of the best all around headphones
    Written by DivineCurrent
    Published May 15, 2016
    Pros - Amazing extended bass, clear clean sound, detailed, not fatiguing
    Cons - weird cable for a headphone this price, might not fit on larger heads
    I am coming from limited headphone experience compared to most on Head-Fi, however I've had my fair share of listening to headphones over the years. I have listened to the following open back headphones: Senn HD-650, HD-580, AKG K712, AKG K240, Beyerdynamic DT 880, and Beyerdynamic T1. Out of all of these, I have to say I prefer the HE-400i over even the HD 650s, which were my favorite for nearly the 2 years I have had them so far. While I love the laid back sound of the Sennheisers, I could not really experience many of the "hidden" things in recordings and other details. The HE-400i's have a way of making instruments sound super realistic, and in my opinion they are amazing at instrumental and classical music. In some pop songs, this extra detail means slightly heightened treble because of compression and mixing for those rock and pop genres, however it is not so much that things become sibilant. Comparing to the Beyer T1, these have not nearly as bright treble, and I much prefer these over the T1s.
    Bass extension is AMAZING on these. Sure I haven't listened to the other Hifimans or Audeze planars, but I have never experienced planar headphones before the 400is. Compared to everything I've heard, these win in bass extension hands down. They have the perfect amount of bass for me, I would call ever so slightly more than neutral, which I like. I just love the detail and the way they make things sound. The mids are great, but I do prefer the HD 650 mids over these. They are very close to the 650 mids, a little less smooth however.
    I have 2 minor complaints for the HE-400i: the cable, and the fit. The cable terminated to a 90 degree angle 1/8th jack, which is very odd considering most headphones like this have a straight jack. But, the quality of the cable makes up for it, being completely cloth covered until the end of it. The fit for me is ok. I have a taller head than most people, so I have to click the headband adjuster all the way up for the pads to fully cover my ears. If the adjuster had one less click from the top, I would not be able to pull the pads down over my ears. So if you have a large head like me, see if you can try them before buying, because what's the point of having a headphone if it doesn't fit. The build quality however is extremely impressive, these feel more like $800 headphones than the $499 listing price.
    If these sound so good, I can't wait to hear the HE-560s. I had my doubts about Hifiman before, but these guys are the real deal and make excellent quality headphones. I got these open box for $389, and even for the listing price of $499, I'd say these are well worth it. 
      KarmelZ and trellus like this.
    1. Music Alchemist
      Cool succinct review that reflects some of my own impressions. Try the grill mod! (Google it.) With it, the HE400i isn't too far behind the much more expensive HIFIMAN models.
      Music Alchemist, May 15, 2016
    2. bolmeteus
      Hoping to score one on the next black friday, prices drop down to 250$ish... 
      bolmeteus, May 15, 2016
  9. tonglongjeff
    Hifiman HE-400i - First planar, slightly disappointed
    Written by tonglongjeff
    Published Mar 20, 2016
    Pros - Build quality, very accurate highs and mids, wide soundstage and super comfortable
    Cons - Doesn't know if it wants to be a portable, not as transparent as it could have been and lacks bass for my taste
    You’ll understand that once you start buying headphones, amps and dacs that you get the niggling feeling every once in awhile to try something new. Or to get the next upgrade. Well I purchased these during my niggly moment to do both.
    I got these for about $450NZD which equates to $306USD as of this moment which is super cheap for a headphone of this build quality, let alone a planar from a reputable brand. I wanted to dabble into planar magnetic headphones and read great things about the HE-400i’s
    Unfortunately I think I’ll have to let these go as they don’t really scratch the itch. This is not going to be an overly negative review just heads up :p
    As you most likely already know, these headphones are low impedance and terminate in a 3.5mm jack which is angled. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to wear these outside. Luckily they do include a ¼” adapter.
    Just FYI, I didn’t find I needed to mod the grills. My headphone didn’t actually come with padding inside so the sound was less impaired compared to some forums I had seen. I bought these second hand and I’m not sure if the previous guy took them out.
    The build on this headphone is “O for Awesome” (NZ joke) need I say more?
    Well since this is a review I will say more. The headphone is primarily made from metal, the cups are metal inside and out. The band is metal with nice tactile clicky tabs for adjusting. The only plastic parts are the yokes which I find a bit strange. I mean, the headphone is 2 pieces of nicely made metal with plastic joining them. Seems like a weak point to me. Anyways I digress.
    The pads are also of good quality. My pair came with the newer version focus pads (Focus pad A’s). I believe the older versions were a bit thinner, but mine are very plush and comfortable. They don’t feel like memory foam, but are quite soft and feel decent.
    The cables are very nice. The older versions had the old style screw on type connectors. However mine came with the detachable 2.5mm connectors on each ear. Much easier to take in and out as well as make replacements for. The cable itself is also well made with a braided exterior and decent thickness and pliability at the same time :) They are a much welcomed upgrade from the thin silver HE500 cables.
    These are among the most comfortable headphones I’ve worn. I’d say even slightly more comfortable than the HD800s. They are extraordinarily light for a planar and the focus pads really just seal the deal.
    Since they are so light, 370 grams. The thin head band doesn’t really matter. It is wide and can spread the weight evenly on your head without any one section pushing down to cause discomfort.
    There is also a good amount of adjustment available on the headband. The very nice tactile feedback from changing notches is great and it doesn’t feel like it would change on their own without your say so.
    One small gripe about the earcups. This really is just a nit pick. Since the yokes are so far out on the cup itself, when putting the headphone on there isn’t really a “correct” place to put your hands when holding them. I like to flatten out the ear cups before I put them on so they don’t have to rub on my face to flatten out themselves. The yokes make this very awkward.
    Sound Quality:
    When I picked these up I was looking for that “planar sound” I know there wasn’t going to be heaps of bass and I was fine with that. But I was expecting transparency, soundstage and clarity for days!! Unfortunately I might need to sell these and spend a little more to get that. This is definitely a good entry into planar.
    The highs on this headphone are in no way spiky or sibilant. They stop just before it gets too far. They are however very clear and precise. The word to describe these headphones is “fast” most dynamic drivers just can’t compete with the speed of planars. It doesn’t skip a beat. Listening to music with a lot of layered instruments is a breeze.
    In general the highs and mids of this headphone are slightly extended. These two areas are where the headphone shine. Vocals and instrumentals sound very detailed while wearing these.
    Now I know that planars in general have slightly less bass. But in my opinion these headphones were lacking a bit too much. They were ALMOST lifeless in terms of sound. They had plenty fn mids and highs but the warmth, if even for a little bit were not there. The sounds I heard for the low end though were very detailed and precise. They weren't that punchy the majority of the time.
    The soundstage on these were pretty good. Coming from the hD600s these far surpassed them. The transparency of the planar drivers and the earcup design were almost perfect. I’d say the soundstage was wide and had some back and forth to it. But the up and down directions were a bit smaller.
    Very nice. With the accuracy of the drivers and deliverance of minute detail the imaging was very accurate.
    I PERSONALLY don’t think these cans are my thing. I was expecting a slightly warmer sound. I know planars can do it. But it seems this headphone was much more analytical for me anyways.
    I can not fault the build or comfort at all. It is by far the most comfortable I have used. The pads are great, the overall aesthetic is very sturdy and tough looking. I like it :)
    For this price range I think this headphone does a great job. But it seems like I need to spend a little more in order to get a more balanced planar.
      x y r likes this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. allsumnull
      What are you amping these with?
      allsumnull, Mar 26, 2016
    3. tonglongjeff
      I WAS amping these with my schiit asgard 2. But I also tried using the HiFiMAN ef-6 which improved the bass slightly. I no longer have the 400i's or asgard 2 (reluctant sale) since I recently picked up a pair of hd800's
      tonglongjeff, Mar 26, 2016
    4. AutumnCrown
      Planars if anything are known for having superlative bass
      AutumnCrown, Aug 1, 2016
  10. Aornic
    Planar bass punch. Great all rounder. Possibly the best mid-fi on the market.
    Written by Aornic
    Published Mar 18, 2016
    Pros - Punchy Planar bass with fast decay. Very filling mids. Good treble extension. Good for any genre of music.
    Cons - Narrow soundstage. Provided cable (2.5mm) is flimsy and too short. Fingerprint magnet.


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