Phiaton MS 400 Premium Headphones

General Information

Phiaton MS 400 Headphones Combine Exceptional Sonic Clarity with Striking Design Phiaton MS 400 Moderna Series Headphones are engineered with a carbon fiber enclosure for accurate response, concert hall sound quality, and elimination of any sound leakage. The MS 400 closed-ear design promotes greater noise reduction than traditional headphones. To ensure better resonance values, deep rich bass, a full-bodied midrange, and sparkling high notes, the carbon fiber material is encased in a high polymer enclosure. The Phiaton MS 400 recreates fine music details for the ultimate listening experience at home, in the office or on your travels. These flexible "fold and go" headphones fit conveniently into the included protective carrying case for travel. Phiaton MS 400 combines striking looks with incredible sound View Larger Carbon Graphite Design for Deep, Rich Sound Designed to tease out subtle sonic nuances, the Phiaton MS 400 is constructed with a carbon fiber enclosure. Carbon fiber combines the properties of extreme strength and remarkably light weight, making it the ideal material for the MS 400’s design. This light, durable quality and modern aesthetic appeal explain why carbon fiber can be found in luxury automobiles, watches and other high-end products. Phiaton takes the concept a step further by encasing the carbon in a high-polymer enclosure. This advanced construction also provides an optimized airflow for the 40mm electrostatic drivers. Taken together, these qualities give the listener better resonance, rich bass, full-bodied midrange, and sparkling high notes. The MS 400's striking design and exceptional sound quality even earned First Prize at the 2008 International Design Awards Competition in the “Media and Home Electronics – TV Video and Audio Equipment” category. Foldable design makes the MS 400 highly portable An Eye-Catching Design, with Comfort and Convenience to Match The Phiaton MS 400 sports an eye-catching design and luxurious high-end audio performance. It’s an adrenaline rush of sleek, bold styling, and the opulent red accent color will make a statement anywhere you go. The MS 400’s soft, comfortable pads can be worn for long periods of time without fatigue, making them ideal for commuting and air travel. You will instantly feel the noise isolating performance as the ultra-soft pads seal around your ear, wrapping you in your favorite music. The lightweight MS 400 lets you enjoy your music wherever you are, no matter if it's at home, in the office, or on the go. Weighing just 6.5oz, these highly wearable "fold and go" headphones fit conveniently into the included carrying case for safe storage and easy travel. What's in the Box The Phiaton MS 400 comes with a compact protective carrying case, a 6.3mm gold-plated stereo adapter plug, and an owner's guide. It is backed by a 1-year manufacturer's warranty.
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Latest reviews

Pros: Look great
Cons: small cans, claustrophbic sound, muddy and unclear.
About me: Newbie audiophile at best, I've been rocking a set of Senn HD280s in silver for probably 7 years. I have never had an issue with build quality or sound quality, and have loved them since I got them. At the time, they were a good bang for the buck, and I still think that they sound great (at least my pair does!). I run sound from a MacBook Pro, and iPod Touch (gen1), and iPad (gen1) or my LG P999 through any number of players.
 
About the headphones: I was looking for something over the ear and closed that had good sound but were a bit more street stylish to wear out and about if I didn't feel like having my Klipsch Image x10s stuck down my ears. I did some reading on the Phiatons (on here and Headphonia) and they seemed like something that might fit the bill.
 
The phones do look great, but they are MUCH smaller than I expected them to be, and even for my 'normal' sized ears were either partially supra-aural, or circumaural if i fidgeted a bit and got my ears pushed inside. Once they were in this position, the top tips of my ears were seated against the driver cover. They are not particularly uncomfortable in either of these positions as the cushions are soft, but they are not exactly what I was looking for. Anyway, after a few minutes I stopped being perturbed by this, and you probably will too if you think that the rest of this paragraph has sounded a bit too whiny.

 
The sound, however, is something that I have not been so easily able to dismiss. It should be noted that these have only about 15 hours of burn-in time, but I have not noticed a ton of improvement in their incredibly claustrophobic sound stage and muffled... everything. I am still surprised at the positive reviews that these cans have gotten, and perhaps more burn-in will improve things by impression is that they are muffled and lack detail across the spectrum. With no EQ on, I find that details that I can hear clearly on my 280s are simply not present in the MS 400s. I think that everything from the Low-Mids to the Mid-Lows are overemphasized and sloppy, without any high-range details to help define the texture of drums, bass, or vocals.
 
I am going to give these a bit more time to break in, but unless there is a dramatic improvement in sound, I can't see these being worth the price no matter how cool they look. Perhaps you could use the shell for some other drivers (I'd love to throw my 280's in here and keep my new M50s for home use) but for $200 I think that project is a rather moot point. I will probably be sending them back and just take the loss in cost of postage as punishment for buying with my eyes and not my ears.
Mochan
Mochan
I didn't find them paritcularly claustrophobic, coming from HD280 you might get that impression as the HD280 is a much bigger headphone, but these are very uncongested for a portable that is basically a large on-ear (I agree these are on-ear, not around ear, they're too small to be around ear).
Its smaller brother, the ms300, was perhaps the most comfortable headphone I have ever worn, this is slightly less because the size of the pads is a bit stuck between "on ear" and "around ear" and is not a perfect fit, but it's still extremely comfortable because of the plush leather.
That said I love the sound of this one, it's much improved over the ms300, but I do see how it wouldn't be everyone's thing as it is very bassy and will appeal best to bassheads. I never felt it was unclear. I am a basshead though, so that biases my perceptions a lot.
Putting your HD280 drivers in them isn't going to work, I'm afraid, not because they won't fit (I don't know if they will) but drivers aren't the only thing that create the sound of a headphone; the shape of the cups and especially the earpads make all the difference in the world. But if you do manage to transplant the drivers let us know the results, I'm curious for Great Science.
dayh8
dayh8
Hi Mochan,
Thanks for the reply and the comments. I think you are right that the sound signature is just so different from what I am generally used to hearing that it may be clouding my perceptions as far one way as your basshead love is pushing yours the other. Neither a bad thing, obviously, just preference. I am going to keep breaking them in before I make my final decisions. And since I will never wear them around the house as a 'monitor' of some sort, and always out and about, that extra bass may come in handy when I am rumbling down the road in the bus. My inner aesthete wants to love them, too, and that part of me often wins the tie for anything, so they may still stick around.
As for the HD280 driver comment, I know that it won't work, I was merely musing that I wish I could have a sound signature that I like more in a stylish set of cans. I don't have the know-how or the tools to start pretending to be Dr. Frankenstein (of course neither did Frankenstein, hence all his troubles!). Also, I apparently have a very lucky pair of 280s that have no structural integrity issues, so I certainly would not want to start hacking into them!
Thanks again, and I will keep your comments in mind as I make up my mind.
Pros: Very nice small and portable, I honestly think its the perfect size, and the osund is nice and warm. Plus, it's fun sounding and at the same natural.
Cons: Slightly harsh treble at time, might just be my ears. Sometimes it doesn't fit around my ear normally and I have to play around with it.
Alrighty..... so I already own a pair of M50's, and as you may already know they are obnoxiously large and, well just obnoxious. I started looking for a pair of more portable headphones to replace my m50's on the go, and I was looking for a fun bassy sounding headphone. Well I got exactly that. The bass could be a little better at the extremely low bass, and it doesn't sound that airy. Also, it feels just right in your hands, it might feel fragile at times but it is actually very well built. Another thing, is that they aren't quite circumaural, they're more like supraural at one half and circumaural on the other. Still, it is insanely comfortable thanks to the faux pads, that are just so SQUISHY, I love it. 
Pros: Super stylish, very comfortable, decent isolation, good sound quality
Cons: bassy (ymmv)
Couple things, I am an amateur audiophile at best and this is my first review so bear with me. My listening rig was my Sansa Fuze v2 Rockboxed [unamped] (I have a PA2v2 on the way so maybe I will edit this later on). Most of my files are all V0/320 MP3 and FLAC and include a lot of live recordings.
 
I bought these from Amazon Warehouse Deals in "like new" condition for $165. I am convinced these were never on a pair of ears before reaching me - or someone tried em out for 20 minutes and decided it wasn't for them. Seems like I lucked out on this one.
 
***PLEASE NOTE: The MS400 are right on the fence for being supra-aural or circumaural - for me they are circumaural and my ears fit inside the cups. This affects the majority of my review to some degree.
 
LOOKS: I think most will agree these are a modern, sexy set of cans. I have the all black version - the red just isn't me, too flashy for my tastes. The carbon fiber is just so unique ; very nice looking.
 
CONSTRUCTION: Meh, they feel a bit plasticky but I have a feeling they may be more sturdy than they let on. There is some resistance in the swivel and sometimes it feels like I am gonna break them if the cups are flipped but they seem alright. The cable is very skinny and some may not like it but I prefer it - I bought these with portability in mind. There are no microphonics before the split in the Y cable however you do get some noise above it (it's not bothersome, my RE0 drive me nuts even with a shirt clip - these are nothing). In the same breath, an angled jack would have been better - oh well, it's a low profile straight jack anyways.

COMFORT: So far I find these extremely comfortable. As I said, they are circumaural for me ( I have rather small ears) but I think for most they might be supraural. Besides the fact that they seem to get a little warm on the ears they are really comfy; for me they are the perfect size, weight and clamping force.
 
ISOLATION: Pretty good - on par with my SRH840 and maybe a little behind my RE0.

SOUND QUALITY: As I said, my ears fit inside of the cups so I probably have a different listening experience with the driver closer to my ear. Out of the box I was disappointed. The bass was boomy and drowning out the highs and mids - something I was afraid of (note: I am not a bass head - I enjoy controlled, defined, punchy bass). I just couldn't get into them, vocals were veiled - guitars were lack luster, bass was mushy etc.....After a couple days of listening at work (~8 hrs) and telling myself I must like a more forward sound (on the other hand my SR80i can be way too fatiguing for me at times), I brought them home for some pink noise burn in. I was just not enjoying them. I have been letting them burn in with pink noise for maybe 30 hrs and they have definitely changed (I don't care what burn-in skeptics say!). The bass has tightened up and is not as boomy - however, let it be known these are still a very bass heavy set of cans. Either as a result or independent transformations, the highs and mids are now much more prominent and detailed.
Listening to a very nice recording of a Jerry Garcia Band show (1978-03-10) outside this evening I was enjoying every minute of it. The bass was thumping, the drums were tight, Jerry's vocals were crisp and his guitar was singing ... really great PRaT. Even the female backing vocals and organ had opened up. I will say that everything feels a little recessed and in the back ground, possibly as a result of the bass being so prominent - I won't say "veiled" but you know what I mean... I can hear everything down to the softest cymbal hit to a quiet tambourine, however, they definitely don't have that shimmer of a Grado.
Sound stage is still a weird concept for me and hard to describe. They feel confined compared to the Shure SRH840 - which still feel like a closed can but a much larger space.
 
Would I recommend them? Yes, definitely. These are a great portable set of headphones - unfortunately I have not listened to the HD25-1 II, Beyers, or any other portables for that matter but I am definitely happy enough with them so far to not go trying those out
. That may change but I think they are growing on me. If these really are the anti-Grado as some say, then I honestly think I prefer the Grado end of the spectrum but the sibilance and shrill highs really bother me sometimes... I could listen to the Phiatons all day long - no fatigue here. They may be bassy but they are smooth!

I will edit this after I listen with an amp/ try the Armaegis cotton mod.

 
jamri
jamri
Funny going back and reading my review from 4 years ago... I am just selling these now, they are such a great fit for my head, but the sound signature is just not what I want. I bought Sennheiser IE8's a couple years ago, and have barely touched the MS400 since. Sonically, they are similar to some Beats Pros I trialed last week for the first time - obviously some people like boomy bass, but it's just not my style (I prefer a more neutral sound)
jamri
jamri
EDIT: Would I recommend them? No.

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