$500 or less upgrade to HE400I?
Aug 28, 2018 at 6:45 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 7

AthenaZephyrian

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Hi all!

I have a pair of HE400I I quite like, but they are lacking something in realism, and to sound really pleasing, I have to EQ them to flat, which is easier said than done.

I’m looking for a pair of headphones that won’t be a simple sidegrade. I’m willing to get a new amplifier if need be (I have an SMSL M6, significantly upgraded Little DotI+, and HRT Music Streamer II DAC).

I like a flat sound, with, perhaps, a bit of emphasis on vocal frequencies and airy frequencies, and I prefer very expansive soundstages. The HE400I are quite close to the sound I want, when I EQ them properly, but I believe a tad more realism is out there somewhere.
 
Aug 28, 2018 at 10:48 PM Post #3 of 7

AthenaZephyrian

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Maybe read about a Sundara and see what you think. It might be similar to your HE400i but with just a bit more realism to satisfy. It's a thought, anyway.

Hmm. I hear a portion of people saying the 560's are comparable/better. Do you have experience with them?
 
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Aug 28, 2018 at 11:12 PM Post #5 of 7

Rhamnetin

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I've owned an HE-560 and listened to the Sundara twice in a store, one time it was quiet and a good session. I think the Sundara is better in just about every way. The overall tonality of the HE-560 is kind of annoying - upward tilted so a bit bright, yet not supremely resolving like say the Stax SR-009. On the other hand, the Sundara does not have this brightness, and the overall sound presentation is a bit less forward I think. The Sundara has clearer bass, a bit more transparency in general, slightly more refined upper mids and treble, and significantly better sound stage and imaging. I think it's a good upgrade to the HE-400i and HE-560.

The HE-560 is one of the least noteworthy headphones I've owned. On the positive side that means it wasn't terrible in any regard. More of a jack of all trades, master of none so to speak.
 
Aug 28, 2018 at 11:18 PM Post #6 of 7

AthenaZephyrian

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They are both good but I do think I prefer the bass on the 560 a bit more, personally. They're good. No doubt.

Thanks for the advice. I think I may go with the Sundara simply because I'd rather not have to buy a new amp and spend $800-900. I'm running an SMSL M6 as a DAC and the Little Dot I+ with AD823 op-amp and Voskhod 6ZH1P-EV tubes currently. I can easily replace the op-amp with the LT1364 I have on hand, which outputs a few mA more current (with vastly better sound, as op-amps go) than stock, and the little dot already is rated for up to 600 omhs, if massdrop is to be believed...I've been told it's really not enough for the 560's though.
 
Aug 28, 2018 at 11:22 PM Post #7 of 7

AthenaZephyrian

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I think the Sundara is better in just about every way. The overall tonality of the HE-560 is kind of annoying - upward tilted so a bit bright, yet not supremely resolving like say the Stax SR-009. On the other hand, the Sundara does not have this brightness, and the overall sound presentation is a bit less forward I think. The Sundara has clearer bass, a bit more transparency in general, slightly more refined upper mids and treble, and significantly better sound stage and imaging. I think it's a good upgrade to the HE-400i and HE-560.

Well this sounds good to me. And the price tag is only slightly eye watering. Totally worth it though, as I've spend over 1.5k on sidegrades and minor upgrades...so a properly hi-fi can is in order. Until I can afford Stax 700's :L3000:

Who am I kidding? I'll still buy new cans faster than Hifiman releases price-gouged "upgrades".
 

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