Battle Of The Flagships (58 Headphones Compared)
Jul 2, 2019 at 5:24 PM Post #5,776 of 5,840

allhifi

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Who are you calling young? I’m in my 40’s and have been listening to high end audio for decades. I’m glad you love the 400i. To me, it’s entry level. There are very few Hifiman models I wouldn’t take over it, and I’ve owned most of them.

We get it. You love them. That’s your opinion. Other people get their opinion as well. They’re nowhere near TOTL status. To my ears, not even close.


Calling out to (perhaps) younger listener's who wish to enjoy great headphones (the HFM 400i) -that COMPETE with the BEST at, as was just noted $200. USD !

Legions of pro listener's and technical spec's speak to its superb performance, but if that's not enough for the few listener' out there -so be it.

For passionate /critical listener's (particularly those with clear budget), end your search with the 400i and instead look to superior cabling, source and power
to elevate the listening experience further. It's unfortunate there remains listener's who cannot appreciate (nor understand) the critical aspect of cable
contribution to performance, and so run out, buy this-that-the-other product; listen, sell, buy again .... endlessly not realizing the other contributing factors
that define performance.(SQ) capability. It's called experience, expertise.


RE: " ...I sure hope no-one is paying $499 for the HE-400i." (Pricing was from a 2014 Stereophile 'review/update' on the HFM 400i)

pj
 
Jul 2, 2019 at 5:26 PM Post #5,777 of 5,840

allhifi

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I sure hope no-one is paying $499 for the HE-400i. Brand new on Amazon at $188.

I got mine there for $177, and love them. HUGE bang-for-the-buck. Now have a lightly-used pair of HE-X V2 on the way, but the 400i will always be my favorite "budget-buddy".


wf: Pricing noted above was from a 2014 Stereophile 'review/update' on the HFM 400i

pj
 
Jul 2, 2019 at 9:47 PM Post #5,778 of 5,840

bagwell359

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Thanks for the detailed reply; much can be gleaned from such knowledge/disclosure.

Thank you for sharing.

The midrange "bulge" you experienced with the 400i I assure you, was not
from the 'can' itself -some other factor was responsible:

You should clean up this post, it's a mess - format wise.

I didn't say midrange bulge - I said midbass bulge - not on the frequency chart but audibly because of IM or the driver 'woofing up' too much. The HD-600 is quite free of this BTW. The 400i is not an especially even headphone. It has a big dip in the upper mids/lower treble, and then in the top 1/2 octave its totally MIA.

This is getting circular. I provide actual quotes that the 400 was a low tier headphone when this thread was started - FACT.

The 400i is THE LOWEST priced and lowest quality headphone HFM makes today - FACT.




2014 is nearly ancient history. What else did he say back in the day? Oh yes, he loves the HD-600, do you agree with that, or will you ignore that as so many of the facts put to you in this thread?

Then of course there are the posters here which if you read all the reviews/comments on the 400/500/6 will result in the total conclusion that the 400 is weakest, cheapest, least musical of the three. Or go to "Innerfidelity" and look at the freq response graphs and reviews. Yes, no question the 400i was never a high tier or mid tier can for HFM.

If you choose to remain ignorant of headphone developments since 2014, that's your choice, but do please stop telling us out here that your answer is true for us, because it certainly is not.
 
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Jul 2, 2019 at 10:02 PM Post #5,779 of 5,840

bagwell359

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HE400i is great. However ironically because of Hifiman itself it is not that good value. One can score an used HE400 for $100 and new HE-4XX is only $150. Say new HE400i can be had for $199 but adorama HE560 were only $250. HE560 is a significant upgrade over HE400i. Sundara has been permanently discounted and at $300 it is ab upgrade over HE560.

So you can get about the same sound for less or pay a bit more for an upgrade. And to say HE400i can beat headphones $1000 and up... Sure, it is better than HD700 or ultrasone signature pro. But those are notoriously bad headphones. Pin it against any decent $1000 headphone and you would feel different.

Quite so. Don't forget the HE5se for $300, or used HE-500's for $375, HEX v2 for about $675 used, and the classic used $800-900 HE-6.
 
Jul 2, 2019 at 10:22 PM Post #5,780 of 5,840

bagwell359

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Innerfidelity 400i freq graph from 2014 is flatish like many planars up to 1kHz.

Over that its a roller coaster - from 1.5KHz to 7.5KHz - 5 and even 7 DB down from 1kHz.

Then from 11KHz up they look 15-20 db down relative to 1 KHz.

Not pretty - expect no answer, unless its to direct attention elsewhere.
 
Jul 6, 2019 at 12:44 PM Post #5,781 of 5,840

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Doesn't anyone think that over half of the headphones reviewed by David Mahler in this thread..would sound very dull and boring..almost veiled..compared to today's headphones. I don't know if anyone will agree with me but I think most audiophile headphones nowadays are tuned with an emphasis on high frequencies. That wasn't the case 10 or 15 years ago. I blame digital technology. Digital file formats never did sound as rich as analogue.
 
Jul 6, 2019 at 1:55 PM Post #5,782 of 5,840

allhifi

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Doesn't anyone think that over half of the headphones reviewed by David Mahler in this thread..would sound very dull and boring..almost veiled..compared to today's headphones. I don't know if anyone will agree with me but I think most audiophile headphones nowadays are tuned with an emphasis on high frequencies. That wasn't the case 10 or 15 years ago. I blame digital technology. Digital file formats never did sound as rich as analogue.


Better hi-fi seeks superior resolution (clarity) ultimately resulting in much improved signal articulation, such as 'layering', definition/articulation, nuance retreival, etc.

You may be referring to this new-found clarity (headphone design SQ) as a "loss of (analog) richness", when in fact it's removing serious signal colorations often believed/referred to as "richness"; thick, bloaty
'bass' that always impairs critical lower-midrange performance.

The secret to truly premium hi-fi is incorporating superb linearity and low noise along with true, 'real-like' instrument tonal 'color' reproduction.

pj
 
Jul 6, 2019 at 2:30 PM Post #5,783 of 5,840

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Better hi-fi seeks superior resolution (clarity) ultimately resulting in much improved signal articulation, such as 'layering', definition/articulation, nuance retreival, etc.

You may be referring to this new-found clarity (headphone design SQ) as a "loss of (analog) richness", when in fact it's removing serious signal colorations often believed/referred to as "richness"; thick, bloaty
'bass' that always impairs critical lower-midrange performance.

The secret to truly premium hi-fi is incorporating superb linearity and low noise along with true, 'real-like' instrument tonal 'color' reproduction.

pj

I totally agree with you. Thanks for your reply.
I should probably state that I wasn't meaning to suggest that headphones designed over a decade ago do not sound as good as the ones designed more recently, but different in a way that could be perceived as being lesser.
 
Jul 6, 2019 at 5:10 PM Post #5,784 of 5,840

RCBinTN

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Check the full list of headphones on David's review. A number of them are still in production and sold new today.
While most are no longer flagships, the revenue enabled their companies to develop new & better cans.
I like that idea ... one of my progressions was LCD-X to LCD-4.

I would have loved for David to renew his work & bring his flagship list to current. But, he will not do it and for stated reasons.

Now, the work is being carried forward ... check out our friend @Currawong's thread:
https://www.head-fi.org/threads/the...akers-ether-flow-meze-empyrean.839224/page-23

Feel free to suggest other headphones for Amos to include in the evaluation! I suspect he's open to new ideas :)
 
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Jul 6, 2019 at 7:23 PM Post #5,785 of 5,840

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Check the full list of headphones on David's review. A number of them are still in production and sold new today.
While most are no longer flagships, the revenue enabled their companies' to develop new & better cans.
I like that idea ... one of my progressions was LCD-X to LCD-4.

I would have loved for David to renew his work & bring his flagship list to current. But, he will not do it and for stated reasons.

Now, the work is being carried forward ... check out our friend @Currawong's thread:
https://www.head-fi.org/threads/the...akers-ether-flow-meze-empyrean.839224/page-23

Feel free to suggest other headphones for Amos to include in the evaluation! I suspect he's open to new ideas :)

I will be looking to buy an open-back headphone around $1,000 USD in the coming months to compare to my B&W P9 so thanks for informing of that other thread "they might be kings" lol. Sounds good!
 
Jul 7, 2019 at 11:35 AM Post #5,786 of 5,840

RCBinTN

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I will be looking to buy an open-back headphone around $1,000 USD in the coming months to compare to my B&W P9 so thanks for informing of that other thread "they might be kings" lol. Sounds good!
Nice! You may want to check out the ZMF line-up. I've heard some great comments about their SQ (never heard the cans myself).
My friend @whirlwind has a couple pair of ZMF ... he could provide insight for you :)
 
Aug 7, 2019 at 1:00 PM Post #5,788 of 5,840

mangus

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I’ll add a bit on the HD800 - I (like many) never took a liking to the HD800 the first few times I heard them. Too cold, no warmth, light bass, no euphonia. Then I heard them on a Woo WA7/tp and loved them. Still my favorite office setup, with upgraded tubes in both. I’ve been picking up a bunch of TOTL cans recently to really compare and choose a few to keep. Biggest recent surprise is how great the Empyrean is in so many ways at its price point and across a variety of amps. And so very comfortable. Ether CX is another one that sounds amazing for its price point, but there are cans that sound better. As someone noted earlier, this original thread (thanks David!) really drove me to dig deeper, and I’m still digging!
 
Aug 7, 2019 at 2:14 PM Post #5,789 of 5,840

turbomustang84

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I’ll add a bit on the HD800 - I (like many) never took a liking to the HD800 the first few times I heard them. Too cold, no warmth, light bass, no euphonia. Then I heard them on a Woo WA7/tp and loved them. Still my favorite office setup, with upgraded tubes in both. I’ve been picking up a bunch of TOTL cans recently to really compare and choose a few to keep. Biggest recent surprise is how great the Empyrean is in so many ways at its price point and across a variety of amps. And so very comfortable. Ether CX is another one that sounds amazing for its price point, but there are cans that sound better. As someone noted earlier, this original thread (thanks David!) really drove me to dig deeper, and I’m still digging!


The original HD-800 is still my endgame but even used they sell for too much for my meager budget ......
But someday
 
Aug 8, 2019 at 12:08 PM Post #5,790 of 5,840

Monsterzero

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Nice! You may want to check out the ZMF line-up. I've heard some great comments about their SQ (never heard the cans myself).
My friend @whirlwind has a couple pair of ZMF ... he could provide insight for you :)

While I agree that ZMFs open backed HPs sound fantastic(I own both) neither can be had for $1,000.00
The Auteur starts at around 1500.00 and the Verite comes in at 2400.00
 

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