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Hifiman he-400i Impressions and Discussion

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by MattTCG, Jan 8, 2014.
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  1. misteral201103
    Oh man, you're going to love the Ananda - impressed me very much at the Shanghai CanJam - amongst a wealth of quality gear, they really stood out for me. I don't have the itch at the moment (just got end-game IEMs) but when I fancy a new set of open cans, it's the Ananda's for sure. Enjoy enjoy enjoy!!!!
     
  2. DavidA
    I haven't tried any of the items you listed but I do like your understanding that the HE400i does not need 1.21 GW to sound great and that even modest gear works. I've been mostly using the headphone output of my UD301 to drive my HE400i, gives the HE400i a nice balanced sound from highs to lows. I do have other amps with a bit more power but they don't quite pair as well; Ember: better bass extension but highs can get a bit sibilant, Lyr2: better sound stage and smoother highs but bass looses some weight, Asgard2: brightens the over all sound but also seems more dynamic, Teac AH-01: very similar to the UD301 but highs a touch rolled off and a touch less dynamic.

    The powerDAC that @E1DA sent to me is a pretty good pairing with the HE400i but its quite close to the Asgard2, very dynamic but a touch on the bright side at times.


    Try attenuation rings in the ear pads, brings up the bass a touch without affecting the rest of the frequency. Make them out of card stock/hanging folder so about as cheap as it gets and reversible if you don't like the changes.
    Attenuation Rings.jpg
     
  3. E1DA
    Could you please explain that detailed? Is that too bright to you or something else?
     
  4. flameas
  5. DavidA
    I'm basing my impression in relation to my other amps/DAPs: Ember, Lyr2, UD301, AH-01, Asgard2 and Fiio X3 and X3ii.
    The powerDAC is very clean/clear so when paired with my HE400i can make it sound a touch sibilant/bright with some tracks. The UD301, Ember, AH-01 and Fiio X3 are a touch on the warmer side, Lyr2 and X3ii are closer to neutral to me and the Asgard2 like the powerDAC a touch on the bright side to me. I also have a BH Crack but its useless with the HE400i, LOL.

    The grill mod is more useful for the older SMC/back plate version of the HE400i where it does help the sound stage a bit and to me it also makes the mids a touch less forward and makes my HE400i a more balanced sounding headphone.

    While the HD700 has 2.5mm jacks it does have a key/flat area on the wider section right after the 2.5mm section. The cable you linked to will work for the HE400i and HD700. I've had a SE version of the cable and while the quality is decent it can have some microphonics for some.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2018
  6. E1DA
    DavidA, does exist well known perceptual phenomenon when THD vs frequency plot isn't flat, and highs much more distorted than mid/low frequencies the sound become less bright like if some low pass filter applied(however, technically frequency response is flat). Most of modern amp ICs has 5-10 times more distorted highs vs low frequencies due to less amount of feedback applied for high frequencies(it is cheaper approach, MAX97220 cost just 60 cents). For instance, I mentioned MAX97220 from fiio q1, take a look at its THD vs freq, there are 15 times more THD at 10kHz than 100Hz, and sibilants become muddy like if someone turned the treble knob counterclockwise. The PowerDAC has no feedback at all, and its THD the same for 1kHz or 20kHz whatever, this is a source of its clarity. I didn't found THD vs frequency plot for Asgard2 but I think it is flat as well because it is well-designed amplifier with constant feedback loop gain across a full audio range. 2018-11-29_16-42-03.png
     
    DavidA likes this.
  7. flameas
    Thanks for the response again. I will try without the grills and see if there is any difference.
    can someone recommend a cheap balanced cable? with 4 pin xlr. Original hifiman cables are way too expensive
     
  8. DavidA
    @E1DA, the other reason I think some amps sound better than others is the output impedance of the amp and how it pairs with the impedance of the headphone. A good example is the BH Crack (output impedance aprox 75ohms to 125ohms-depending on power tubes used) paired with the HD650, using an power tube with the lower 75ohms it just a better overall sound to me while using a higher 120ohm power tubes makes the HD650 overly warm and tends to roll of the highs even more. With the Ember I normally use the mid setting (35ohms) which sound quite different from the low setting (.01ohms).
     
  9. AJZ0
    For the vast majority of occasions on which I've used the Q1 to drive my HE400i it has been sufficient in terms of volume and quality. These have varied from listening in a quiet bedroom to cycling, none of which have required extreme volume. While I think I've only used it on low gain, I am relying on memory so is subject to correction.

    As for lies, damn lies, statistics, election promises and benchmarks, I'm unconcerned by the accuracy FiiO's claim of 190 mW (32 Ω/THD+N<1%) for the Q1, which is really only interesting compared to the "≥75mW(32Ω /THD+N<1%)" unbalanced output they claim for the Mark II versus "≥220 mW(32Ω /THD+N<1%)" for balanced.

    I concur (while driving my M1060C with the surprisingly powerful Micca OriGen G2). The Q1 represents excellent value for a budget portable DAC/amp for the HE400i and similar headphones and the bass boost is an excellent match for HE400i's rolled-off low end response, but the HE400i is certainly capable of better performance with better amplification (where "better is of course more than just "louder"). I'd love to try it with E1DA's power amp and many others.
     
  10. E1DA
    When I played with my proto PowerDAC, I had a choice to use 5V unregulated rail (USB VBUS very well smoothed with low 3mOhm ESR solid-polymer capacitors battery 5000uF) or use regulated 3.3V rail for a bit lower noise and THD. The 1st case gives around 400mW@32ohm, second 200mW but formal specs are better. Of course, I'd like to get better specs, however, THD improvement for 20% gives zero scores regarding SQ. On the other hand, 200mW to me is really not enough for my 400i in my typical environment(2 kids 3 and 5 years) and I stopped on the 5V unregulated rail but >400mW@32ohm. To be honest, I'd like to have 1000mW for short dynamic peaks representation or buy some more sensitive headphones like LCD2 and so on. Depends on tracks, of course, my music is classic, and vocal jazz. Jazz is ok for a low volume due to low dynamic range but a classical music, and especially such labels as Pope Music(couple B&K mics ->ADC->CD, zero processed), require lots of power.
     
  11. lurk
    My 2 year old HE400i


    20181130_160136_HDR.jpg 20181130_160142_HDR.jpg 20181130_160153_HDR.jpg
     
  12. DavidA
    @lurk, are they your only headphones? Here are a few pictures of my almost 5yr old HE400i:
    20181203_123754.jpg

    20181203_123801.jpg

    20181203_123831.jpg

    20181203_123842.jpg

    20181203_123926.jpg
     
  13. E1DA
    Lurk, WOW, looks too bad! My 1y 400i look pretty much the same as DavidA's.
     
  14. misteral201103
    Can't remember how old mine are, a year and a half or maybe 2 years old. Look like DavidA's.
    Lurk, do you have corrosive sweat?
     
  15. lurk
    I probably do, one of my secret superpowers perhaps..

    Got this and replacement earpads from 11.11 sales 20181204_122417_HDR.jpg
     
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