**Hifiman HE-400 Impressions and Discussion Thread**
Feb 21, 2013 at 12:39 AM Post #7,666 of 22,060

TooPoor

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Makes sense. When I first put them on it felt like being in a airplane about to take off...
 
 On a different note, I can see why people typically don't own both the LCD and HE-400. They definitely have similar signatures and being able to A/B them reinforced it. Ugh, I already miss my HE-400's and they're not even gone yet! I'm very tempted to try the Emotiva (or another receiver) + HE-6.... or the TH600 to replace my D2k's... or ..... dammit.
 
"Welcome to Head-Fi. Sorry about your wallet!"
 
Feb 21, 2013 at 12:43 AM Post #7,667 of 22,060

TMRaven

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Actually it's quite amazing just what Hifiman does with their planars.  I get the sense that the LCD-2 relies far too much on its (oh god, so comfortably fitted' sealing earpads) and a hefty damping scheme around its drivers.  Meanwhile the hifiman might as well not be sealed (although it does rely on a little bit of seal too, don't get me wrong.)  You can also get a sense of how the HE-400 fairs in its bass production compared to the LCD-2 if you just put your ear maybe a foot or so away from them.  You can clearly how the drum strikes on the LCD-2, but with the HE-400 you get a sense of pressurized air being thrown about further out.  I actually don't know how makes their headphones so open-air and bassy.  I don't know if it's from stronger magnets or excursion from the driver itself, but it definitely seems to be moving a crapload of air at times in comparison to the Audeze.  Judging by the size of the audeze cans, the driver has to be way bigger.
 
In terms of lack of air from being too damped, it's probably one of my biggest distractions from the LCD-2.  The HE-400 no doubt sounds very thin at times after coming from the LCD-2, but I just love the way it lets sound decay out deep into a virtual stage with many defined layers around your head.  The LCD-2 can do this at times too, and profoundly so, but not as all around as the HE-400.
 
Tomorrow I'm going to focus on EQ'ing the HE-400 to sound like the LCD-2.  Then I'll perhaps start a simple writeup and comparison of the two on friday after I ship them out.
 
 
At this point, I'm not sure I'll be getting LCD-2 as my end-game.  Despite my obvious love for its looks and earpads, I don't feel it's different enough for me.  I much rather get an LCD-3 or HE-6 with speaker amp or wait and see what new stuff Audeze and Hifiman come out with.  I would much like a closed LCD-2.  I get the sense that I might as well have a closed headphone with the LCD-2 as it stands.
 
Feb 21, 2013 at 3:31 AM Post #7,669 of 22,060

jiggahwhat

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I think I hear some changes on burn-in. I took off the EQ and it appears the treble is either going down or my ears are getting used to it. I don't find it fatiguing but it is a very engaging headphone, not something I could fall asleep to at all. I think curiosity will get the better of me and I will go for the HE-500s. Because I think this headphone is *almost* there, but not where it needs to be in terms of lushnesss, warmth, musicality. I have a feeling from what I am reading/hearing about the 500s that they will take that final step to where the headphone needs to be. Although that just may be upgrade-itis
 
Feb 21, 2013 at 3:44 AM Post #7,670 of 22,060

bareyb

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Quote:
I think I hear some changes on burn-in. I took off the EQ and it appears the treble is either going down or my ears are getting used to it. I don't find it fatiguing but it is a very engaging headphone, not something I could fall asleep to at all. I think curiosity will get the better of me and I will go for the HE-500s. Because I think this headphone is *almost* there, but not where it needs to be in terms of lushnesss, warmth, musicality. I have a feeling from what I am reading/hearing about the 500s that they will take that final step to where the headphone needs to be. Although that just may be upgrade-itis

Mine have certainly mellowed. Initially I was cutting the Treble on my E17 by -2. Somewhere along the line I noticed that highs were still detailed but no longer bothering me, even at ridiculous volumes.  I was attributing some of that to the new Silver Cable and better DAC I'm using now. Although I do feel burn in made some difference as well as my brain getting used to them.
 
I was really shocked how much difference a better DAC made.  That really helped and that was only going from a Nano to an iPad. I just bought l the New "iDo" which will actually directly connect to an iPod in the Digital Realm bypassing the iPods internal DAC. It's supposed to show up on Friday and then we'll see what a really good DAC can do. From the reviews it sounds like a good DAC can really smooth out the highs and create a more open sense of space. Less hiss and better definition at the low end as well. That might be something you can try if you haven't already. 
 
Feb 21, 2013 at 3:50 AM Post #7,671 of 22,060

FlySweep

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From someone who downgraded from the HE-500 to the HE-400 (and was very happy with the decision), if you feel the 400 lacks warmth & musicality (in the mids), the HE-500 will suit you well.  More often than not, I actually found the 500's mids too lush & forward.  It closed the stage in too much for me.. I wanted something with similar technical capabilities but with a more open and airy stage.. the 400 fit the bill for me.  I found the 500's bass a little too centered around the midbass, too.  It's more technically capable than the 400's bass (not by much, IME).. but again, the midbass centered boost made the sound a bit too 'stuffy' for me.  The 500's treble is velvety smooth, too.. arguably too smooth for my tastes.
 
Despite all this, I still really like the sound of the HE-500.. I just ended up not liking it enough to own it.  I wish I knew an HE-500 owner nearby from who I could borrow it whenever I wanted.
 
Owning both the 400 & 500, I really came away with a lot of respect for both phones.. and the important thing to understand at this price point is that it's really about finding what suits your tastes.. technicalities are much closer (and source/amp dependent) than it may appear.
 
Feb 21, 2013 at 3:54 AM Post #7,672 of 22,060

jiggahwhat

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I'm using the E17's DAC, which I would assume is better than an iPad/nano? I tried the 400s out of a Macbook Pro (which sounded better than out of a PC) but the E17s are better than either. 
 
Your experience mirrors mine. At one point I was listening to something on youtube and I noticed the treble was not bothering me. So I went back into my EQ and removed the changes. Now the treble does not affect me. 
 
Feb 21, 2013 at 4:06 AM Post #7,674 of 22,060

bareyb

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I'm using the E17's DAC, which I would assume is better than an iPad/nano? I tried the 400s out of a Macbook Pro (which sounded better than out of a PC) but the E17s are better than either. 
 
Your experience mirrors mine. At one point I was listening to something on youtube and I noticed the treble was not bothering me. So I went back into my EQ and removed the changes. Now the treble does not affect me. 

The Nano and Shuffle have the cheapest DAC chips so the E17 is most definitely an upgrade. I have an E17 myself and love it. Unfortunately I am iPod only and there's no way for me to utilize the DAC in it. Which is why I jumped on the Icon iDo DAC/Amp combo. It was only $199.00 at Amazon. That's 50 bucks off... I hope it's as good as the reviews say. 
 
Feb 21, 2013 at 4:25 AM Post #7,675 of 22,060

korzena

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Two days ago I bought HE-400 as a complementary headphone to my LCD-2 rev.2. I am experiencing a strange thing HE-400 makes me listen to the music much louder than LCD-2 does? It is as if on LCD-2 I can hear everything even on low volumes and on HE-400 I need to listen louder to get the same feeling of hearing everything. (I use the recommended velour pads on HE-400). Can someone explain this phenomenon?
 
Feb 21, 2013 at 5:11 AM Post #7,677 of 22,060

korzena

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That seems to me characteristic of a headphone with a recessed midrange. HE-400s mids aren't exactly recessed, though they are far from forward. 

Your explanation feels right to me.
Actually I wouldn't mind so much to listen louder if it wouldn't be for the 'tizziness' in treble that bothers me much more then.
 
Feb 21, 2013 at 5:20 AM Post #7,679 of 22,060

beaver316

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Your explanation feels right to me.
Actually I wouldn't mind so much to listen louder if it wouldn't be for the 'tizziness' in treble that bothers me too much then.

 
That tizziness is the only downside to these headphones for me. A lot has been mentioned about the slight upper mids recession, but that was an intentional tweak by Hifiman and not one that takes anything away from the musical experience. It's just something that some people might like or not. But that tizzy sound around the treble which becomes really obvious when female vocals play can really bug me. Jergpads blunt it slightly though.
 
If and when I upgrade to something higher end and more expensive, that tizzy sound would be a major reason because honestly everything else this headphone does is perfect for me.
 
Feb 21, 2013 at 5:20 AM Post #7,680 of 22,060

korzena

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I also have an impression that music is a bit chaotic when listening on HE-400 compared to LCD-2. Is it because LCD-2 are almost perfectly flat and they play in more 'stable' way or is the chaotic feeling caused by the tizziness of HE-400?
 

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