Hifiman he-400i Impressions and Discussion
Nov 29, 2017 at 5:35 PM Post #13,306 of 14,366

hikaru12

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Feb 15, 2014
Posts
1,053
Likes
684
Location
MA
It's starting to make sense why the price has gone down - there's a lot more competition in it's pricing market. Looking back, I can see they were overpriced when I paid for them ($500). The 600's I believe are the best deal for about $300 and with proper amping they can scale quite well.
 
Nov 29, 2017 at 6:23 PM Post #13,307 of 14,366

pbarach

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Aug 2, 2006
Posts
557
Likes
222
I heard 'fuzziness' with my 400i's a couple years ago, with the original connector. Turns out they had come unscrewed a little bit. I reset the connectors: fuzziness gone. :) Maybe, just maybe, it's something similar...

I have the newer version with the plug-in connectors. The connectors aren't the problem. Also, it's not the pads; I heard this with the pads that came from the factory, and I still hear it with the Focus PadsA, which I do find have smoothed out the upper midrange.
 
Nov 29, 2017 at 6:40 PM Post #13,308 of 14,366

hikaru12

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Feb 15, 2014
Posts
1,053
Likes
684
Location
MA
I have the newer version with the plug-in connectors. The connectors aren't the problem. Also, it's not the pads; I heard this with the pads that came from the factory, and I still hear it with the Focus PadsA, which I do find have smoothed out the upper midrange.

If I recall correctly the 600's were the most balanced with the widest array of genres especially for piano as they made it sound more realistic. The Focus Pads match the 600's in airyness but I agree that they don't sound right with certain instrumentals. With the Ori Pads, they basically became uber comfortable 650s for me.
 
Nov 29, 2017 at 7:26 PM Post #13,309 of 14,366

DavidA

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Dec 4, 2014
Posts
9,903
Likes
3,402
Location
Hawaii
Anyone try the KetDirect cable? Looks good quality and thankfully less stiff but cant seem to find anything on it
Those cables look like the ones that many vendors on ebay also sell for a similar price. If they are anything like the ones that my old GF had for her HD700 the sleeveing can be some what micor
 
Nov 30, 2017 at 12:00 AM Post #13,310 of 14,366

drwlf

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Apr 14, 2016
Posts
813
Likes
204
Location
Helsinki, Finland
It's starting to make sense why the price has gone down - there's a lot more competition in it's pricing market. Looking back, I can see they were overpriced when I paid for them ($500). The 600's I believe are the best deal for about $300 and with proper amping they can scale quite well.
One word: Sundara.

I think they've been great value for their money, even for 500$, if you got them a couple of years back - related to the competition and pricing back then, you shouldn't feel that they were overpriced.

The Black Friday 2015 and misc deals since have lowered the price (MSRP has been lagging behind, but the vendor deals have been progressing almost unnaturally), making it a better deal by the day. You can just wonder about the contribution margin, along with the production and R&D costs :p

The price skimming generally in the business would never make me buy any headphone for their MSRP anyways. But yeah, they 400i are quite a deal nowadays.
 
Nov 30, 2017 at 12:18 AM Post #13,311 of 14,366

hikaru12

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Feb 15, 2014
Posts
1,053
Likes
684
Location
MA
One word: Sundara.

I think they've been great value for their money, even for 500$, if you got them a couple of years back - related to the competition and pricing back then, you shouldn't feel that they were overpriced.

The Black Friday 2015 and misc deals since have lowered the price (MSRP has been lagging behind, but the vendor deals have been progressing almost unnaturally), making it a better deal by the day. You can just wonder about the contribution margin, along with the production and R&D costs :p

The price skimming generally in the business would never make me buy any headphone for their MSRP anyways. But yeah, they 400i are quite a deal nowadays.

Given the options at the time the 400s and 400is were really amazing front runners cans by relatively unknown HiFiMan back then. Luckily, throughout my time of owning them I never experienced any of the quality control issues that other people did and I actually appreciated the fact that they could bend all the way back. Made it so much easier to mod them :p and considering the fact that they were easily moddable and their rings fit a wide variety of ear cups it was fun playing with them.

They're a great set of entry levels cans as they provide excellent detail out of the gate. That being said, I think the HD600's knocked it out of the park as their pricing has remained relatively stable in their long journey and they are still considered reference grade to this day. They might be my second pair as I compared it's treble airyness directly to the 400is. Made me think of them instantly.
 
Nov 30, 2017 at 7:55 PM Post #13,314 of 14,366

HungryPanda

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Dec 8, 2013
Posts
7,974
Likes
13,280
Location
Kent, UK
Dec 1, 2017 at 12:07 PM Post #13,315 of 14,366

Paradoxus

Head-Fier
Joined
Nov 24, 2008
Posts
62
Likes
7
Just wanted to share a little about my journey with the HE400i. I'd label myself as an audiophile, and have spent tonnes on my home theatre setup as well as a pair of customs I got 10 years ago (and still use till today). Was never interested in headphones until I stumbled on this headphone subforum. I poured through tonnes of threads and google searches such as "HE400i vs HE400", "HE400i vs HD650", and the list goes on. In the end, I decided on the HE400i as I was intrigued by this "planar bass". So I got them couple months ago at a steal from Hifiman directly.

When i first received them, I had no DAC, no amp, and they were plugged directly into my laptop (with a crap soundcard). Needless to say, I wasn't too thrilled. I didn't get that "awe" that I was expecting. While it sounded pretty good, the bass was absolutely lacking, and there was definitely alot of brain burn in required. Shortly after, I ordered a Modi2U Magni2U stack, and the sound improved quite abit. That kept me at bay for perhaps a fortnight and I got bored. Started fiddling with EQ and all, just to get that extra oomph from the bass. I realise I am quite a basshead. But no matter how I EQ-ed and tried tonnes of what others posted, I couldn't never get it right. So I decided get a iFi Micro iDSD Black. And wow, the step up was huge, even bigger an improvement (in my opinion) compared to my laptop direct to the HE400i vs the Schiit stack. What tipped the scale was the XBass+ switch. That taught me alot about my music preference. I couldn't care less for mids or treble, as long as its relatively flat (have tried other headphones since, and if a pair has recessed mids, its definitely out for me). I have since stopped using EQ. Shortly after, I got even more curious and got myself the iFi iCan SE. And wow, with the XBass switch at the max level, the bass is really what I like, even with the HE400i. I only listen with the bass switch at the max level now. I am pretty sure I've maxed out the mileage on this headphones and that it would hardly scale anymore.

Now i'm itching for an upgrade. Am eyeing the iFi iTube2 for the "tube goodness" and the improved XBass+ switch. Unfortunately I don't see any viable next step up in terms of headphones without spending multiples of the cost of the HE400i. Most of the reference level or "TOTL" headphones seem to be flat, even the LCD2s have tonnes of post with users asking where the bass has gone. I'm wondering if the HD650 would provide what I'm after (especially since they scale). I listen to music for the bass, and the bass alone (how low it goes, bass impact, speed, and quantity). Lots of electronic music (not specifically EDM). Am also considering the Fostexs -- both the x00 and TH900. While i've tried the TH900 briefly, i was kinda disappointing. I was expecting to be blown away, but the experience wasn't overwhelming. I guess that's where the diminishing returns come in. Wondering if anyone has any ideas.

I've also realised how many threads and posters there are asking about HE400i bass vs this and that. I must say the HE400i is an amazing headphone, even more so since that the price has dropped dramatically. For those itching for more bass, amps like the iFi Micro and its bass switch really does wonders.
 
Dec 1, 2017 at 3:23 PM Post #13,316 of 14,366

drwlf

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Apr 14, 2016
Posts
813
Likes
204
Location
Helsinki, Finland
@Paradoxus please excuse me, some babble and personal opinions, so do take these with grains of salt:

HD650 and electronic music after the 400i will be a let down. First of all, due to the dynamic driver, bass will be seriously rolled off, (up until where you can hear it - the midbass hump and with most non-electronic music, it'll have a nice, pleasant and analogue-sounding - speaker-like presentation to it, with distortion - you can forget about EQing the lowest part as the driver won't take it happily, and the sub-bass will just not be there anyways.) The driver is just too slow, and the impulse response unsuited for the electronic 'buzz', in my opinion.


Also, there's a difference to the experience with planar and dynamic driver sound/bass, due to how the sound is being technically generated; how you perceive the palpability/tactility of the air waves. Perhaps think about it mentally/visually: a small cone directing the airwaves towards your ear vs. a larger plane emanating the waves from?

There's various types of words to describe the difference, but my English isn't good enough for that, as I often find the words contradicting themselves, or you could ambiguously apply them to either type of driver, just with a difference in the presentation.

But perhaps words like "kick", "punch", "jab" - the ones with an edgier type to the bass, are often used with dynamic drivers, (with or without the midbass hump, but the midbass hump does aid in the impression of 'general feeling' of elevated bass. Basshead cannons often have exaggerated mid-bass, and it might be good enough for some genres of electronic music).
Planar bass might be described with looser-sounding words, 'rumble', 'face-melting', it's generally speaking more enveloping, and more textured (due to the low distortion values, but there's some dynamic driver exceptions, and the driver technology has advanced in the past few years); and even though I describe those words with planars as 'looser-sounding', well implemented planar bass is exactly the opposite of 'loose-sounding' per se, if you catch my drift. It'll generally be that the dynamic driver bass will be 'loose', 'sloppy' or 'boomier'.
Obviously the drivers vary, impulse responses vary, and the bass can be described as tight and controlled with either type of driver, there's 'slam' or 'snap' to be found with either, but the general differences still apply; the presentation is just a bit different.

It's interesting that you didn't find the TH900 bass satisfying: it's actually the only (closed) dynamic driver headphone I've heard, which I could enjoy after hearing higher end planars' bass, to suit my personal tastes. The new AH-D7200 or perhaps Eikon might fit the bill, but haven't heard them (not to mention HP-3, but that's seriously under-reviewed and lacking impressions).

If I were you:
  • I'd skip open-back dynamic driver cans entirely.
  • I'd try the closed-back dynamic driver bass cannons (like the TH900 again, perhaps E-MU Teaks, perhaps the ZMF offerings) if they might tickle your basshead bones. Perhaps wouldn't put too much effort in other 'hardest hitting basshead'-cans, if you want to stay in the audiophile realm, but then again, I haven't heard enough from that specific thread to confirm my bias :p Don't know why, but the Sennheiser/beyerdynamic options have never been my cup of tea, albeit haven't heard the t5p modded.
  • Lastly, but not least: stick with the planars (which seem to be my personal preference), as they're generally the only cans without rolled off sub-bass, which I think is essential for electronic music, not to mention the quickness of the drivers along with almost unnatural attack/decay properties, once again, generally speaking.
There's a type of thinness to the general sound in the current HiFiMAN lineup (excl. the Susvara), perhaps the older ones might have a more meatier sound - but with other cons, you'd have to buy them used/QC/amping etc. issues. IMO Mrspeakers' offerings do suffer from the same 'thinness', albeit haven't tried to EQ them - they are ridicilously good headphones. Also, the HEK/HEX might be a bit too laid-back for electronic music as well.
Audeze is a safe bet, if you want some meat with the bones in the presentation, especially the LCD-X/XC for electronic music, being the 'least' warm of their offerings. But the comfort might be a deal-breaker for some people. And they're not perfect either, there might be slight tonality issues, and there's similar unreliability issues as with HFM, but then again, Audezes can be had for "relatively" cheap, they're widely available.
AB-1266 is my personal holy grail.
Kennerton Tror prototype was quite lovely as well, albeit bested by Susvara. But those prices are quite insane.
I wonder how Diana fares, or Audezes LCD-2C/MX-4, and haven't heard the M1060 modded yet (probably like a poor mans' LCD-2?). I should probably read up on AR-H1. That's probably all the examples I can think of now :p

Reminder: as you have noted, the 400i does handle EQ rather well, hence why it works so great with the XBass on; not all cans can do that.

And yeah, once again YMMV. And sorry about the ridiculous amount of price differences in the suggestions, these are just my personal 'if I had the money to splurge on everything'-observations :p
 
Dec 1, 2017 at 3:36 PM Post #13,317 of 14,366

drwlf

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Apr 14, 2016
Posts
813
Likes
204
Location
Helsinki, Finland
And forgot to mention, @Paradoxus the LCD-2 latest driver bass-thingie, it's very, greatly exaggerated. They have a very meaty presentation to the sound.
Forgot Z1R for obvious reasons, personally I'd skip it - but don't want to get into an argument about that, and forgot Auteur as I haven't been up to date on the impressions/no chance to hear it here that easily :p
 
Dec 1, 2017 at 10:32 PM Post #13,318 of 14,366

DavidA

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Dec 4, 2014
Posts
9,903
Likes
3,402
Location
Hawaii
@Paradoxus , I have to agree with @drwlf that your choices are quite slim since most bass-head headphones usually have recessed mids but you might try the HE560 since it does take EQ and goes deeper than the HE400i but since it lacks the mid-bass hump it can sound bass lite with some tracks.

The TH-900 is a bit too "V" shaped to me but with some mods (Lawton driver damping mod) it can be changed into a bass-head headphone with a decent mid-range.

You might also want to try some attenuation rings in the ear pads of the HE400i to tune the bass. Simple, free and easy:
Attenuation Rings.jpg
made from heavy card stock or hanging folder, you can try it with just one or two to see what you like
 
Dec 2, 2017 at 5:21 AM Post #13,319 of 14,366

rez11

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Nov 17, 2014
Posts
118
Likes
27
how do you guys go about cleaning the headband? mine has gunk and skin/grease and rubbing it just makes it worse like it gunks up lol curious what i should do, dont really want to take it off
 
Dec 2, 2017 at 5:51 AM Post #13,320 of 14,366

DavidA

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Dec 4, 2014
Posts
9,903
Likes
3,402
Location
Hawaii
how do you guys go about cleaning the headband? mine has gunk and skin/grease and rubbing it just makes it worse like it gunks up lol curious what i should do, dont really want to take it off
Might be hard to clean since its a suede like material so maybe a carpet cleaner or try a dry cleaning solvent
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top