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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. GirgleMirt
    Likely due to impedance? 400i are Impedance: 35 Ohms, and as a rule of thumb you want <1/8th the output impedance of your headphones for your amp (ex; headphone 80ohms, you'd want <=10ohm amp),[/edited, thx E1D1!] so;
    iphone: ???
    Shanling Output impedance: 4.8Ω
    DAC Xonar STU Headphone out: 10 ohm
    Xonar D2X : 50 or 100 ohms from what I could find..

    Now the funny thing is that with audio sometimes better isn't better. I think that if your headphone isn't well matched impedance-wise, it might affect the FR, and who knows it might happen that you find even what could be worse theoretically better sounding...! Ex;
    So who knows if ironically using a worse matched amp could result in a subjective improvement! Like it this case, if you have a somewhat bright-leaning headphone you'd prefer to be warmer, then a mismatched amp who's impedance isn't really optimal so affects the FR as above; adding some warmth, worse might just be subjectively better! But yeah, impedance is only part of the equation, might very well be that one is just plain better than the other and it offsets the impedance differences... But yeah amp matching is so important it might actually explain quite a bit of the so different comments for the same headphones!
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2019
  2. E1DA
    are you serious about that? I thought less output impedance is always better. Actually, in the case of planar headphone load, we can expect near perfect linear Z vs Freq., hence, the higher output impedance will mean only lower power.
    GirgleMirt likes this.
  3. bagwell359
    I can't agree with this - based on my experience. Can you list equipment and music used?

    Due to lack of control of the membrane in the 400i, you've got lots of ringing. The HE-500 and HE-6 (ring less to begin with) can be largely cured of these problems with the fuzzor mod, and application of anti vibration materials, and removal of the rear screen. The 400i and 4xx aren't constructed like that, so much less can be done (physically).

    I have the 4xx now, the 400i in the past, but, they both share the label in my mind of "fun". The bass is uneven, (but nothing really under 45 Hz), rocky frequency response elsewhere, and they intermodulate AND ring. The HD-600 is distinctly cleaner and able to reproduce piano from bottom to top with great clarity, even the HE-500 and HE-6 can't do as well w/o the mods.

    Outside of the HE-6 which I had on long term loan, I own or have owned all the cans mentioned.
  4. Alexjjour
    What pair do you recomend for music and maybe some gaming?
  5. E1DA
    To me, ringing is the high Q resonant, he400i membrane is a thin and soft mylar film i.e. low Q and in fact, aperiodic. This is the only reason to use thin film-actuators, planar or electorstatic instead of dynamic. All resonants in such type of actuator are air standing waves related but not membrane itself.
  6. E1DA
  7. Loneract

    I can't hear distortion on either pair. I was referring to distortion tests I've seen on the web.

    I personally prefer the sound of the 400i, but enjoy both.
  8. bagwell359
    Tests are nice as they go, but music is the ultimate test. Listen to piano with minimal mics and mastered by someone with some elan, and I can hear it on the HD-600. I tend to overall like ortho dynamics - but - most of them can'd do a lean solo piano. Estats tend to do them well too. Have yet to hear the ribbon, but room scale speakers with ribbons tend to do piano well too.
    Loneract likes this.
  9. E1DA
    "Listen to piano with minimal mics" is the wrong material to talk about "nothing really under 45 Hz". I have doubt if a piano needs freq.resp. lower than 100-50Hz, and by the way >10kHz, in other words, 100-10000Hz frequency response limitation will notice about 5-10% of listeners.
  10. GirgleMirt
    Check these though: https://diyaudioheaven.wordpress.com/headphones/measurements/hifiman/he400i/ To me the diyaudioheaven measurements is more representative of what I hear with my 400i: From the 8.5kHz peak to bass response. It is definitely not flat down to 20hz like the innerfidelity measurements would seem to indicate. I mostly agree on diy's descriptions, ex;
    I think 'distortion' or 'ringing' are somewhat blanket terms that most people can't really precisely hear and process; in the sense that the human brain and ears aren't physiologically precise enough to get a clear picture like you can with a waterfall graph. Ok if you have a graph, then you can somewhat try to correlate what you hear to what was measured (but then how to eliminate placebo?), but I truly doubt that a human could reliably draw a waterfall or CSD graph similar to what would be measured... Or maybe I'm wrong. Do you have an audio clip (youtube or anywhere else) where we can hear what you're speaking about? And go into more details into what we should be hearing?

    I think that for most people, from my experience, that 8.5kHz peak is the killer. If you EQ the 400i using an inverse EQ curve, something like below, you get a much smoother sound and most of the harshness/sharpness/brightness (distortion) you can hear just goes away. It becomes much smoother and more forgiving, surprisingly without sacrificing much of anything. Well given the boosted bass (below results in a bit of boosted bass) it seems to lose a bit of 'speed' and tightness in the bottom, but, it gains a lot in having a flatter and much less lean/bright character.

    But yeah, for the ringing/distortion, I think the 8.5kHz peak is the killer, as to my ears, this is what can make the 400i sound harsh/bright at times. It can add sparkle with say guitar harmonics or strings (ex; violin) 'detail'; so which could be easily construed as very resolving, yet it's something added by 400i and not really resolved; which at other times, like vocals, can and will definitely eventually pop up as 'harshness'...

    Last edited: Jun 17, 2019
  11. E1DA
    GirgleMirt, I measured my he400i (2017 version) with calibrated mic EMM-7150 but without fake Pinna nor simulated ear canal i.e. exactly the same way like diyaudioheaven https://diyaudioheaven.wordpress.com/headphones/measurements/ My frequency response is dramatically different, and close to innerfidelity measurement if artificial-ear compensation applied. I'm sure the difference is not about measurement but rather Hifiman policy to produce completely different models under the same model name.
    phthora likes this.
  12. E1DA
    Green curve is he400i, yellow my old Sennheizer, sorry, I can not read the model # of that headphone, just too old and the name 100% erased, however, its freq.resp quite similar to hd600 with rolloff lower 100Hz.
  13. pbarach
    The frequency range of an 88-key acoustic piano starts at 27.5 Hz when middle A = 440 Hz. The fundamental tone of the highest note is 4186.01 Hz, but the overtones go much higher, depending on the instrument.

    The Boesendorfer 290 piano adds a full octave at the bottom, so its lowest note sounds at 13.75 Hz
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2019
  14. E1DA
    pbarach, viva wikipedia! Now please take a look FFT of 27.5Hz piano sample to find that fundamental tone there like a modulator for overtones without any noticeable SPL level :wink: Simple experiment: take piano music and cut off frequencies lover 50-100Hz, check the difference vs full range, can you hear that?
  15. bagwell359
    I had no intention of tying those two statements together in any logical way, more of a listing of traits.
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