Brilliant linearizing/neutralizing EQ for Hifiman HE400i--like whole new headphones!!

How close to linear does this sound

  • Perfect! I'd use these for studio monitoring

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Close, and better than most hifi gear

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • You fool! It's WORSE!

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • How'd you make the soundcurve nonlinear? Fractal frequency distribution?!

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    1
Aug 23, 2018 at 7:26 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 10

AthenaZephyrian

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Hi all! I found an article in which someone has produced a linearizing set of EQ parameters (works well on equalizer APO with Peace installed) for the HE400i headphones.

I believe this is for the newer version of the 400i's, as it matches with FR graphs I've seen for the new ones, and sounds fairly flat to me, when implemented. In any case, the results are decent; the mids are more present and natural, the highs are less unnaturally pronounced and sibilant, and other more subtle nonlinearities fade away, producing a flatter sound.

My qualms are thus: the upper end of vocals on badly recorded tracks can sound a bit plastic, and soundstage--not in apparent instrument distance, but sonic character (auditorium sounds more spacey and has more high freq. reverb than a studio, for instance)--is reduced. They don't sound luxuriantly rich clear and expansive, like the original--though they still sound very nice. They sound more analytical, as one would expect, and a bit dense.

The low and flat THD of planars also makes EQing less damaging to the sound quality in the HE400i's and it's good to know what close-to-neutral sounds like for comparison's sake; it's worth trying, even if you like your HE's as they are now, or with your own EQ.

If you have your own EQ settings that you think make the HE400i's more neutral, fire away in the comments!

EDIT: Please ignore the title. My first impressions were too optimistic; I didn't test it on varied enough tracks.
 
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Aug 23, 2018 at 8:37 PM Post #2 of 10

AthenaZephyrian

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I did a bit more A/B testing and compared it to my own tweaked EQ that boosts a few sucked out portions of the mids and lower treble. My simpler modification sounds a lot better, for anything but analytical purposes; it maintains the beautiful richness, clarity, and depth of soundstage of the original sound, while flattening the treble a bit.

The linearizing makes the headphones more accurate but, again, boringly analytical.
 
Aug 24, 2018 at 7:05 PM Post #3 of 10

Askilla

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Did you try the newest revision of that eq? I dont know how neutral it is but boy how I love it for my HE-400i. The highs and some of the high mids are tamed without putting a veil over the sound and the lows are brought up (maybe a tad much but my heaheadphones are modded with hm5 pads, cottonpads in front of drivers and attenuation rings).
 
Aug 24, 2018 at 11:22 PM Post #4 of 10

AthenaZephyrian

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Ah I didn't see there was a newer version.

I do quite like the HE400i's. Excellent headphones for the money...but I'm considering some Verum Ones. They're, according to early reviews, fantastic, whether for the money or for twice they money, and sound comparable to better 400i's.

I like my mids a bit sharp, as I mostly listen to rock, which is one of the reasons I am using my personal linearized EQ, as it brings up the sucked-out portions of the highs, and tames the little spike. And yes, those mods probably would bring the bass up :p
 
Aug 24, 2018 at 11:59 PM Post #5 of 10

AthenaZephyrian

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Did you try the newest revision of that eq?

First impressions on the new EQ: Needs more treble, but otherwise sounds great. If people don't like linear treble, they can figure that out themselves:angry: . You can't call it linear if it isn't.
Proposed course of action: Add treble as needed, to achieve linear profile.
Results: Absolutely awesome. Vastly less flat (in terms of staging) and unnatural sounding than the original. Sounds very true-to-life, and I'd say kicks the headphones up in value a nice bit--a few hundred bucks. I'd be comfortable using these for monitoring, and they're brilliant on every track I put them through.

I've never heard vocals this nice in my life (never had a pair over $500 MSRP) the bass is there and about what it should be--but not too much. They're somehow buttery smooth and detailed, and walk the line between aggressive and laid back.

Rock (TK from Ling Tosite Sigure, Signal): Sound open and clear, the cymbals are sharp, the guitar has a realistic buzz, and again, vocals.

Classical (Vivaldi: Violin Concerto in A minor): The violins are piercing--as in real life--and sweet. The winds are smooth and airy, and the...is that a harpsichord?! is...very harpsichord-y.

Electronic (Fragile Tension by Depeche Mode): Vocals are airy and reverby, as they are mastered, but lifelike, if life were a big concrete arena. The bass guitar (not fully electronic...) sounds excellent, and much more bass-y--as a bass guitar should sound--than before. The synths sound so much better too. Transients are so fast--as they must have been before, but it was harder to tell, because the frequency balance was fuggled.

Rock (7 Nation Army by Do I Need To Tell You?): Bass guitar has the impact it was bloody lacking. Vocals are more resolved and clear, carrying emotion better...the treble flattening really helped, as they are recorded/mastered with a treble bias. Rhythm+main guitar: Ooooh boy that sounds nice. Upper mids come through much better. Holy hell.
MVRVfC4.jpg

Settings used:
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Aug 25, 2018 at 3:53 AM Post #6 of 10

Askilla

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Cool! I really like this EQ, I have tried to balance the he4000i with EQ for some time now but havent been this happy with the result before.
I am also going to try it with your changes later today.
 
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Aug 25, 2018 at 4:07 AM Post #7 of 10

AthenaZephyrian

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I made an even better one, based on some charts @cskippy provided! Take a look over in this thread:

https://www.head-fi.org/threads/rev...d-put-down-double-money.887371/#post-14443709

The results of my final EQ are by far the best thing I've heard yet, even better than the EQ right above your comment. The clarity is fantastic. It's definitely not something for someone who likes super-smooth and laid-back cans, though. I'm gonna see if I can figure out how to do what CSkippy did and project how the HPs should perform with the modification, but I think it requires test data... so I'm shooting blind.

Oh how I love linear-ish headphones. My god. It's a whole new world. To me, this is how music was always supposed to sound.
 
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Aug 25, 2018 at 10:36 AM Post #9 of 10

AthenaZephyrian

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Aug 25, 2018 at 1:14 PM Post #10 of 10

AthenaZephyrian

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Can you send text file or write the configtext for your modified eq here please?
Link was broken (it was an internal link lol) so I posted a screenshot for you. The program doesn't output Q values in the configs, so there's no easy way to get a perfect .txt...
 

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