Hifiman he-400i Impressions and Discussion
Jun 5, 2015 at 5:06 AM Post #4,307 of 14,355

jkteddy77

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Last night with my He-400's, and I'm both nervous and a little sad to be sending these to Hifiman, but I think the HE400i will be a worthy upgrade. Don't know about extra cables or a new amp, I like to think the less I know I'm missing with the sound, the fuller my bank account stays xD
If the soundstage does sound narrow or the mids are too up front for me, I am thinking of looking into a grill mod
 
Jun 10, 2015 at 6:27 AM Post #4,309 of 14,355

Hardtrancing

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Finally after about 3 weeks I have received my HE-400i's. I had to pay full customs charge to get them though, a little odd since they had actually written 20$ on them.
I guess they didn't believe it, since the package had been opened.

The packaging is very nice and luxurious. And the headphones are comfortable to wear.

My initial impressions about the sound is (This is written with limited headphone experience):
I really like their soundstage, it seems just right to me. Granted large soundstages sounds too distant to me, so I can see why some will find them closed in.
The treble is great, they seem to go about as high as the DT990's but without sounding metallic at all, great quality!
The bass is were I'm missing a little bit. They go pretty deep, but they really need just a tad more impact for me.

This is only initial observations and also only running directly from my laptop. I'm pretty sure they'll grow on me with more brain-burn in.
 
Jun 10, 2015 at 10:05 AM Post #4,310 of 14,355

xskugga

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Scratch what I said earlier on these...don't know if that was just hype or what but listening to these further they aren't nearly as good as the hype leads on. I do have to disclaim that I am coming from T90s...which are a definite higher class, but honestly even then I really don't think these are worth the $500 price tag. The bass was slightly less in most cases and looser than what my T90s can produce, while they produce more off the bat...they just don't beat the T90's is bass offering with the proper EQ/amp. The mids were not as good as the T90s, they were kicked to the side and left there. They weren't much airier than the T90s and I suspect the grills on these to be the problem (as they are on the T90s) and the vocals were about the same as the T90s as well. As for soundstage...slightly more than the T90s but not very good. These jsut don't compare to higher end cans.
 
However, if these were priced at $350-$425 (they were around this range new when I bought them) I can solemnly say that they are worth that price. The soundstage is better than that of $650 cans, the bass is almost as good with the extension and reproduction both being slightly better, they just need to be more open and fix the mids.
 
I feel like I am really bearing down on them, but they just aren't worth $500 and aren't as good as others have claimed.
 
I guess you could consider this a mini-review, but overall...they're not for me, but I'm glad I got to experience them. Perhaps Audeze can offer better, but for now I will see what the HD700s can do.
 
Jun 10, 2015 at 10:05 AM Post #4,311 of 14,355

marhol

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The bass is were I'm missing a little bit. They go pretty deep, but they really need just a tad more impact for me.

This is only initial observations and also only running directly from my laptop. I'm pretty sure they'll grow on me with more brain-burn in.

According to my experience the bass impact/extension seemed better after burn in, whatever it was , 150+ hours of burn in or " brain burn in" ( really an awful expression btw), or both. You will get also much better bass and much better soundstage from a decent headphone amplifier/DAC.
I also noticed that a certain positioning can have a good influence for bass impact. For instance with putting a headband slightly forward the headphone drivers got better angle for my ear canals. It brought better bass impact/extension/tightness, better clarity, better soundstage, and even sharper imaging. I noticed this too with Beyerdynamic DT 990. Don´t know about others experiences but it seems that the positioning of the headphones is also important. With the optimal angle of cups the sound probably flows right into your ear canals.
Hopefully I´m not talking trash, as I´ve found this interesting article  - http://www.meier-audio.homepage.t-online.de/tipstricks.htm, recommending the same trick. 
 
Jun 10, 2015 at 10:51 AM Post #4,312 of 14,355

Hardtrancing

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  According to my experience the bass impact/extension seemed better after burn in, whatever it was , 150+ hours of burn in or " brain burn in" ( really an awful expression btw), or both. You will get also much better bass and much better soundstage from a decent headphone amplifier/DAC.
I also noticed that a certain positioning can have a good influence for bass impact. For instance with putting a headband slightly forward the headphone drivers got better angle for my ear canals. It brought better bass impact/extension/tightness, better clarity, better soundstage, and even sharper imaging. I noticed this too with Beyerdynamic DT 990. Don´t know about others experiences but it seems that the positioning of the headphones is also important. With the optimal angle of cups the sound probably flows right into your ear canals.
Hopefully I´m not talking trash, as I´ve found this interesting article  - http://www.meier-audio.homepage.t-online.de/tipstricks.htm, recommending the same trick. 


Moving the headphones around doesn't seem to change the sound, I guess since they are planar magnetic they do more of a wall of sound, than having a single point of origination.
I have been listening 4-5 hours now with only a small break, and they have already grown a bit on me bass wise. But I guess you are right about a DAC and amp might do the trick giving me that bit of slam I'm after.

Weird thing is, the highs have begun to bother me a bit. They sound great on some tracks, but on others they sound a bit annoying. It's a bit inconsistant.
 
Jun 10, 2015 at 11:08 AM Post #4,313 of 14,355

q2klepto

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  Scratch what I said earlier on these...don't know if that was just hype or what but listening to these further they aren't nearly as good as the hype leads on. I do have to disclaim that I am coming from T90s...which are a definite higher class, but honestly even then I really don't think these are worth the $500 price tag. The bass was slightly less in most cases and looser than what my T90s can produce, while they produce more off the bat...they just don't beat the T90's is bass offering with the proper EQ/amp. The mids were not as good as the T90s, they were kicked to the side and left there. They weren't much airier than the T90s and I suspect the grills on these to be the problem (as they are on the T90s) and the vocals were about the same as the T90s as well. As for soundstage...slightly more than the T90s but not very good. These jsut don't compare to higher end cans.
 
However, if these were priced at $350-$425 (they were around this range new when I bought them) I can solemnly say that they are worth that price. The soundstage is better than that of $650 cans, the bass is almost as good with the extension and reproduction both being slightly better, they just need to be more open and fix the mids.
 
I feel like I am really bearing down on them, but they just aren't worth $500 and aren't as good as others have claimed.
 
I guess you could consider this a mini-review, but overall...they're not for me, but I'm glad I got to experience them. Perhaps Audeze can offer better, but for now I will see what the HD700s can do.

 
 
Really? Compared to my HD800s the bass on the 400i had a bit more impact, but slightly less textured/more boomy. Other than the T90s what else have you compared them to?

I think Audeze LCD2.2 (prefazor) is up your alley - altho i hear there quite dark. 
 
Jun 10, 2015 at 12:04 PM Post #4,315 of 14,355

TheLeggo

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  Scratch what I said earlier on these...don't know if that was just hype or what but listening to these further they aren't nearly as good as the hype leads on. I do have to disclaim that I am coming from T90s...which are a definite higher class, but honestly even then I really don't think these are worth the $500 price tag. The bass was slightly less in most cases and looser than what my T90s can produce, while they produce more off the bat...they just don't beat the T90's is bass offering with the proper EQ/amp. The mids were not as good as the T90s, they were kicked to the side and left there. They weren't much airier than the T90s and I suspect the grills on these to be the problem (as they are on the T90s) and the vocals were about the same as the T90s as well. As for soundstage...slightly more than the T90s but not very good. These jsut don't compare to higher end cans.
 
However, if these were priced at $350-$425 (they were around this range new when I bought them) I can solemnly say that they are worth that price. The soundstage is better than that of $650 cans, the bass is almost as good with the extension and reproduction both being slightly better, they just need to be more open and fix the mids.
 
I feel like I am really bearing down on them, but they just aren't worth $500 and aren't as good as others have claimed.
 
I guess you could consider this a mini-review, but overall...they're not for me, but I'm glad I got to experience them. Perhaps Audeze can offer better, but for now I will see what the HD700s can do.

I had the T90 and He400i for about a week, and while I agree the T90 is technically a better can, I just hate it. It sounded so sterile and artificial with its treble spike in the 8-10KHz range, which sounds good for female vocals and classical strings. Otherwise, I totally preferred the lush mids of the He400 for things like Audioslave to Foster the People. I did remove the cloth from the grill which made a bit of a difference for the He400i soundstage and mids, and I think the modi/vali combo may not have been a good match for the T90. 
 
With that said, I do find them hard to recommend when I A/B'd for a few weeks with the HD600's, and previously had HD650s. They are really similar to my ears. The He400i has better treble, deeper subbass, and is a bit quicker than both. Not as colored or has as much midbass as the HD650. It is worth 350+ used when you can get HD600's for 220 or HD650 for 270? It depends on your setup, but I can see people that want the HD650 presentation with more treble and less midbass, and a quicker presentation probably liking the He400i. 

I am really interested in hearing what you think of HD700's though. They may be my next purchase after hearing them at Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 
smily_headphones1.gif
 
 
Jun 10, 2015 at 1:15 PM Post #4,316 of 14,355

chowmein83

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  Scratch what I said earlier on these...don't know if that was just hype or what but listening to these further they aren't nearly as good as the hype leads on. I do have to disclaim that I am coming from T90s...which are a definite higher class, but honestly even then I really don't think these are worth the $500 price tag. The bass was slightly less in most cases and looser than what my T90s can produce, while they produce more off the bat...they just don't beat the T90's is bass offering with the proper EQ/amp. The mids were not as good as the T90s, they were kicked to the side and left there. They weren't much airier than the T90s and I suspect the grills on these to be the problem (as they are on the T90s) and the vocals were about the same as the T90s as well. As for soundstage...slightly more than the T90s but not very good. These jsut don't compare to higher end cans.
 
However, if these were priced at $350-$425 (they were around this range new when I bought them) I can solemnly say that they are worth that price. The soundstage is better than that of $650 cans, the bass is almost as good with the extension and reproduction both being slightly better, they just need to be more open and fix the mids.
 
I feel like I am really bearing down on them, but they just aren't worth $500 and aren't as good as others have claimed.
 
I guess you could consider this a mini-review, but overall...they're not for me, but I'm glad I got to experience them. Perhaps Audeze can offer better, but for now I will see what the HD700s can do.

 
I currently own both the HE-400i and the HD700. Based on my experience with Beyerdynamic (having listened to the DT880 and the T5p), you may end up liking the HD700 better because IMO the HD700 definitely sounds more like the Beyers that I have heard than the 400i does.
 
Are you looking for a warmer or darker signature? I can't tell from what you wrote, because you mentioned Audeze but yet seem to like the brighter sound signature of Beyerdynamic headphones.
 
Jun 10, 2015 at 1:43 PM Post #4,317 of 14,355

AlexMac

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I picked up a pair of HE-400i last week, and I'm enjoying them so far. I'm coming from DT770s and it sounds to me like a whole new world of treble/upper mids. It's like there's a whole part of the sound spectrum that my ears aren't used to. They don't sound as quite as bassy, but that's probably due to the large mid/upper hump the DT770s have, so it'll take a while for my ears to adjust. Subbass seems very well extended.
 
I'm running them from a fiio E9 from my PC via a fiio D3 dac, which seems to work fine. I can't afford to upgrade so it'll have to do!
 
The only problem is that I can now actually hear distortion in bad quality recordings, but I can't fault them for that really.
 
Jun 10, 2015 at 2:35 PM Post #4,318 of 14,355

xskugga

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I currently own both the HE-400i and the HD700. Based on my experience with Beyerdynamic (having listened to the DT880 and the T5p), you may end up liking the HD700 better because IMO the HD700 definitely sounds more like the Beyers that I have heard than the 400i does.
 
Are you looking for a warmer or darker signature? I can't tell from what you wrote, because you mentioned Audeze but yet seem to like the brighter sound signature of Beyerdynamic headphones.

 
Basically DT990s with more bass potential is what I'm looking for, the T90s have that...but they don't have the soundstage or airiness the DT990s have, but are still damn good. So long as it's airy, has a wide soundstage with good depth, and can pump out some heavy bass then it should be good. From what I'm seeing the HD700s can work with the bass I'm looking for, although it will be looser, which just leaves the question of soundstage and airiness. Regardless, I will find out tomorrow, Amazon prime for the win.
 
Jun 10, 2015 at 4:16 PM Post #4,319 of 14,355

DavidA

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Basically DT990s with more bass potential is what I'm looking for, the T90s have that...but they don't have the soundstage or airiness the DT990s have, but are still damn good. So long as it's airy, has a wide soundstage with good depth, and can pump out some heavy bass then it should be good. From what I'm seeing the HD700s can work with the bass I'm looking for, although it will be looser, which just leaves the question of soundstage and airiness. Regardless, I will find out tomorrow, Amazon prime for the win.

I have the HE-400i, DT-990 premium, and HD-700, one thing with all of these is that they all sound their best on different amps.
 
HE-400i: Best with Lyr2 to be driven properly, will also sound pretty good with Ember, the bass has impact, mids and highs are well controlled and the sound stage is wide enough for the genre of music that I like on it.
 
DT-990: Best with BH Crack, the bass has a nice thump, the highs are never overly bright or sibilant, sound stage is really nice.  If you want the DT-990 with more bass you might want to try a K7XX, its not a bright as the DT-900 but has better mids and sound stage IMO.  K7XX sounds best with Ember to me.
 
HD-700: Best with Project Ember for music, Lyr2/Bifrost for watching movies.  The HD-700 is some what amp picky so keep that in mind, with the Ember its one of the best for when I want to listen to classical or EDM.
 
Good luck
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Jun 10, 2015 at 4:48 PM Post #4,320 of 14,355

chowmein83

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Basically DT990s with more bass potential is what I'm looking for, the T90s have that...but they don't have the soundstage or airiness the DT990s have, but are still damn good. So long as it's airy, has a wide soundstage with good depth, and can pump out some heavy bass then it should be good. From what I'm seeing the HD700s can work with the bass I'm looking for, although it will be looser, which just leaves the question of soundstage and airiness. Regardless, I will find out tomorrow, Amazon prime for the win.

 
PMed you about the HD700 as I don't want to make this thread go off-topic.
 

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