Help a noob pick headphones! HE-400i?
Jun 21, 2015 at 1:33 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 47

mistersprinkles

Head-Fier
Joined
Sep 19, 2006
Posts
82
Likes
23
Hey folks,
 
I've been a member of head-fi for a long time but I haven't made many posts. I was over on canuck audio mart asking about headphones and they told me to come here.
 
I'm looking for an over ear headphone to use with my Marantz PM5005 integrated amplifier being fed by a TEAC UD-301 DAC. I am considering buying a "real" headphone amp in the future. For now though, let's start with the headphones.
 
I was considering buying Sennheiser HD650's on sale from Bay Bloor Radio for $499 CDN. I was told, however, that the Hi-fi man HE400i's would sound better, and would cost the same amount of money from Headphone Shop in North York on Yonge St.
 
I'm here to ask what you guys think I should buy.
 
Currently I am using an old, decrepit Grado SR 80 from about 2005 or so. They are quite decrepit... and they don't have the sound I'm after. Not surprising from a $130 headphone. I used to have Grado SR 225i's but they were stepped on and crushed by a hefty friend in a tragic
 
accident and they are no longer with me. I also had some quite decent Denon headphones I can not remember the model of but I had to sell them when I fell on hard times. They cost me about $340 + tax when I bought them. They sounded good, but again, not quite the sound I was looking for.
 
I have KEF Q300s for my speakers hooked up to the Marantz PM-5005. Despite the sound being low-fi/chi-fi... or perhaps, mid-fi at best, I quite enjoy the sonic signature of this setup. 
 
I am looking for headphones which are warm, with good bass extension, and without the tinny, overly bright highs of the Grado that has plagued my life for the past ten years. I want something that sounds good across a range of different musical styles as I have very eclectic tastes.
 
I listen to everything from metal to classic rock to indy to really mellow stuff like Diana Krall, Lail Arad, Lana Del Rey. I also like electronic stuff, particularly stuff made in the 80s and early 90s, and 80s pop. I realize that it is almost impossible to find a headphone/speakers that will shine equally well 
 
with all these different musical styles, especially at such a low price point, but I'd like something that is at least a jack of all trades, if a master of none. 
 
I don't know what the output impedance capabilities of my PM5005 amplifier are, and again, it is not an end-game solution. I will be buying a proper amp in the future. But for now, I need to buy something with consideration given to the admittedly limited capabilities of a $500 USD integrated amplifier. 
 
The sound of the Marantz PM5005 is very warm and a little dark. I don't know if that helps you guys in selecting headphones for me or not.
 
I'd like to keep the price under $600 including taxes for these headphones. The HE 400i will already put me over that at $623 after taxes from headphone shop (vs $499 for the Sennheiser HD650) but I'm ok with going over budget by 23 dollars if it means I get better sound.
 
Please  advise me, Head-Fi people.

Pablo
 
Jun 21, 2015 at 4:08 PM Post #2 of 47

nick n

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Feb 3, 2011
Posts
5,297
Likes
1,363
You could look into the Oppo PM-3, there is a Canadian seller I think now. I'll see if I can find that info.
 
An all rounder plus build quality.
 
Jun 21, 2015 at 4:21 PM Post #4 of 47

nick n

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Feb 3, 2011
Posts
5,297
Likes
1,363
Jun 21, 2015 at 9:01 PM Post #5 of 47

mistersprinkles

Head-Fier
Joined
Sep 19, 2006
Posts
82
Likes
23
I was told that the Oppo PM3 was a less technically capable headphone than the Hifi man he 400i was. I heard the Oppos are better for vocals, classical, stuff like that, but that the He 400i is more aggressive and more capable across a wider variety of music.
 
Jun 21, 2015 at 9:29 PM Post #6 of 47

nick n

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Feb 3, 2011
Posts
5,297
Likes
1,363
See if you can get on the PM-3 tour currently going and listen to see what is sounding best for yourself, best that way.
 
You can't believe others impressions all the time. Too many factors at work.
 
Will aggressive become tiresome? Who knows. I doubt the He400i has as low distortion measurements as the PM-3, that's all I can say here for now What sources and files were used? Oppo is not necessarily warmer, i find it on the edge depending on what tracks and sources are used for instance.
Open back vs closed back also so depending on usage...
 
So to sum up and stop myself from going on, you really need to hear something with your own tunes, sources, and especially your own ears ( each ear canal effects things differently from person to person ). Best thing you can find is an average, but is that you , not necessarily.
This applies to anything not just the Oppo.
 
Try the tour, or try a place that you can do both at once ( generous return period perhaps )
 
I've been gouged by many reviews I thought were on it, but turned out not for me at all.
 
Jun 21, 2015 at 9:44 PM Post #8 of 47

nick n

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Feb 3, 2011
Posts
5,297
Likes
1,363
Jun 21, 2015 at 10:44 PM Post #9 of 47

money4me247

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Jan 27, 2013
Posts
6,453
Likes
3,945
  I was told that the Oppo PM3 was a less technically capable headphone than the Hifi man he 400i was. I heard the Oppos are better for vocals, classical, stuff like that, but that the He 400i is more aggressive and more capable across a wider variety of music.

the pm-3 is quite technically capable. however the pm3 is a closed-back portable headphone compared to the he-400i which is open-back full-sized. really depends on your primarily application which one is a better fit for you. the pm-3 will noise isolate and can be used on-the-go. the he-400i will have a larger sound stage due to its open-back design. both have quite precise imaging.
 
if you are going to be exclusively using these at home and do not live in a noisy area where you need to have noise isolation or do not have roommates who may complain about your music preferences leaking out, you should generally go with open-back headphones. if you need noise isolation and want to use the headphones on the go, you should go with closed-back headphones.
 
btw, the hd650 is also quite nice pair of headphones, but I also slightly prefer the he-400i over them. both excellent choices though.
 
edit: I have a PM-3 review in my signature. click the PM-3 link in my headphone list.
 
Jun 22, 2015 at 12:46 AM Post #10 of 47

nmatheis

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Dec 30, 2013
Posts
14,525
Likes
9,511
I own HE-400 (haven't heard the 400i yet) and trialed the Oppo PM-3 (and PM-2).

The PM-3 were better for vocals than HE-400, but the HE-400 had better bass impact and crisper high end. This made the PM-3 a better all-arounder, whereas the HE-400 excels at electronic, jazz, metal.

The PM-2 were a much better comparison, since HE-400 and PM-2 are both open. I again found PM-2 were better for vocal oriented music and had better low and high end extension than PM-3, but HE-400 still had better soundstage and bass impact. I'd take my HE-400 for electronic, jazz, metal.

I've read HE-400i has more mid emphasis than HE-400. If so, I'd think it would suit my tastes more than the Oppos. If the Oppos were maybe 25% less cost, I could see them being a much better value proposition.

Just my two cents.
 
Jun 22, 2015 at 1:02 AM Post #11 of 47

mistersprinkles

Head-Fier
Joined
Sep 19, 2006
Posts
82
Likes
23
  the pm-3 is quite technically capable. however the pm3 is a closed-back portable headphone compared to the he-400i which is open-back full-sized. really depends on your primarily application which one is a better fit for you. the pm-3 will noise isolate and can be used on-the-go. the he-400i will have a larger sound stage due to its open-back design. both have quite precise imaging.
 
if you are going to be exclusively using these at home and do not live in a noisy area where you need to have noise isolation or do not have roommates who may complain about your music preferences leaking out, you should generally go with open-back headphones. if you need noise isolation and want to use the headphones on the go, you should go with closed-back headphones.
 
btw, the hd650 is also quite nice pair of headphones, but I also slightly prefer the he-400i over them. both excellent choices though.
 
edit: I have a PM-3 review in my signature. click the PM-3 link in my headphone list.

 
The more I read about these two headphones (PM3 and 400i), the more I like the 400i. I REALLY like aggressive rock and metal. It's the only stuff that gets my feet tapping and my head banging. I've been looking for a headphone that can present really aggressive metal, well, really aggresively. Also, I live in an extremely quiet area and I do not live with anybody who'd complain about leaking noise from headphones. I'm actually alone in the house a good 50% of the time. I will be using these headphones exclusively at home, both out of wanting to be as careful with my headphones as possible, as well as paranoia that I'll get robbed for my $500 headphones out on the street. Also, I've never liked the sound of decent headphones hooked up to my iphone. It just doesn't sound right. I need an amp. Even on low impedance cans. And yes, my amplification source is crap (Marantz PM5005) but at least it sounds better than the headphone out on my other option, my TEAC UD 301 DAC (which I'm otherwise very happy with). Don't get me wrong, I'd love to get LCD3's and a top tier amp but I 'd like a yacht and my own airplane too. Some things are just out of reach for me. 
 
Jun 22, 2015 at 1:04 AM Post #12 of 47

mistersprinkles

Head-Fier
Joined
Sep 19, 2006
Posts
82
Likes
23
I own HE-400 (haven't heard the 400i yet) and trialed the Oppo PM-3 (and PM-2).

The PM-3 were better for vocals than HE-400, but the HE-400 had better bass impact and crisper high end. This made the PM-3 a better all-arounder, whereas the HE-400 excels at electronic, jazz, metal.

The PM-2 were a much better comparison, since HE-400 and PM-2 are both open. I again found PM-2 were better for vocal oriented music and had better low and high end extension than PM-3, but HE-400 still had better soundstage and bass impact. I'd take my HE-400 for electronic, jazz, metal.

I've read HE-400i has more mid emphasis than HE-400. If so, I'd think it would suit my tastes more than the Oppos. If the Oppos were maybe 25% less cost, I could see them being a much better value proposition.

Just my two cents.

 
Electronic, jazz/jazz-like (Diana Krall, Lail Arad, etc) and metal/aggressive rock are 90% of what I listen to. 
 
Can anybody tell me how long the cable is on the 400i? I read that it was "short" but could not find further information. I'd really like a 10 foot cord. That would be ideal for my listening situation. If the cord is shorter than 10 feet that's not a deal breaker but I will need to replace the cord, if that's even possible on the 400i... Can anybody tell me? Thanks folks.
 
Jun 22, 2015 at 7:47 AM Post #15 of 47

Music Alchemist

Pokémon trainer of headphones
Joined
Dec 17, 2013
Posts
20,088
Likes
2,013
  The more I read about these two headphones (PM3 and 400i), the more I like the 400i. I REALLY like aggressive rock and metal. It's the only stuff that gets my feet tapping and my head banging. I've been looking for a headphone that can present really aggressive metal, well, really aggresively. Also, I live in an extremely quiet area and I do not live with anybody who'd complain about leaking noise from headphones. I'm actually alone in the house a good 50% of the time. I will be using these headphones exclusively at home, both out of wanting to be as careful with my headphones as possible, as well as paranoia that I'll get robbed for my $500 headphones out on the street. Also, I've never liked the sound of decent headphones hooked up to my iphone. It just doesn't sound right. I need an amp. Even on low impedance cans. And yes, my amplification source is crap (Marantz PM5005) but at least it sounds better than the headphone out on my other option, my TEAC UD 301 DAC (which I'm otherwise very happy with). Don't get me wrong, I'd love to get LCD3's and a top tier amp but I 'd like a yacht and my own airplane too. Some things are just out of reach for me. 

 
The HE400i did not sound overly aggressive to me, but also wasn't overly laid-back. It's impossible to know how much aggression you want until you hear it. But I listen to metal more than anything else, and the HE400i is one of my favorite headphones for metal. Speaking of, check out this thread sometime:
 
http://www.head-fi.org/t/715478/headphones-for-metal-music-ultimate-solution
 
  What am I supposed to do with a five foot cable? I'm going to have to put my lazy boy right up against my amplifier. 
 
I guess I'm in the market for a longer cable. Thanks for letting me know the length.

 
I only listen to music on my desktop system, so cable length isn't an issue for me. If you get a headphone amp, you may be able to listen on a computer desktop system as well and thus won't need a longer cable. But there are plenty of cable options out there.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top