Hifiman he-400i Impressions and Discussion
May 28, 2021 at 2:38 AM Post #14,326 of 14,355

ranchowner

New Head-Fier
Joined
Nov 21, 2018
Posts
48
Likes
33
Location
Europe
Very close to pulling the trigger on these.

I have the HD 6xx currently, running on Loxjie P20 / SMSL-SU8, and a half-broken Sennheiser DT 770 32.

Will the 400i be a nice addon, and what will they give me that the 6xx don't?
What do I need to shell out for a balanced cable for these, and is it worth it running them balanced at all?

Is the inputs on the headphone 2.5mm or 3.5mm in terms of getting a XLR cable.
 
Last edited:
May 28, 2021 at 7:02 AM Post #14,327 of 14,355

CADCAM

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Feb 24, 2013
Posts
1,652
Likes
439
Location
Massachusetts
Very close to pulling the trigger on these.

I have the HD 6xx currently, running on Loxjie P20 / SMSL-SU8, and a half-broken Sennheiser DT 770 32.

Will the 400i be a nice addon, and what will they give me that the 6xx don't?
What do I need to shell out for a balanced cable for these, and is it worth it running them balanced at all?

Is the inputs on the headphone 2.5mm or 3.5mm in terms of getting a XLR cable.
My 400i are 2.5mm to cup but they are an older version, I believe all HE400i are now 3.5mm standard. I used the Periapht cable and it was around $65 if I remember correctly. From everything I have read you get a 6 db boost using the balanced outputs vs SE no difference in sq. I am not a fan of Sennheiser so cannot comment on them but the 400i sounds excellent IMHO with good speed and detail.
 
May 28, 2021 at 2:40 PM Post #14,329 of 14,355

gazzington

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Mar 18, 2016
Posts
4,337
Likes
2,568
Location
Wales
I have many expensive headphones including 1 2k planar but something about the he400i always blows me away. It just sounds so natural. If I was to upgrade in the hifiman range, what would you all recommend? Sundara, ananda or Arya?
 
May 29, 2021 at 5:53 AM Post #14,330 of 14,355

AT Khan

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Nov 3, 2015
Posts
356
Likes
286
Very close to pulling the trigger on these.

I have the HD 6xx currently, running on Loxjie P20 / SMSL-SU8, and a half-broken Sennheiser DT 770 32.

Will the 400i be a nice addon, and what will they give me that the 6xx don't?
What do I need to shell out for a balanced cable for these, and is it worth it running them balanced at all?

Is the inputs on the headphone 2.5mm or 3.5mm in terms of getting a XLR cable.
I have both of these. I think I have the 2016, prob the second revision of He400i (first single side magnet array ones). I have the 6XX too.
They both sound different enough to me for me to keep them both.
ALSO, I own the He4XX too lol.

He400i - WHAT'S BETTER:
Way Better Soundstage.
Better Instrument Separation.
Much more Open-ness, Airiness.
Bigger 'wall' of sound.
Fast, planar bass. Not more, but faster, more layered.
More detail in the highs and upper highs.
Not as 'dark' as the HD6XX. Crispier, slightly richer details in the sound.

He4XX - WHAT'S BETTER (disclaimer - Velor Dekoni Pads mounted):
The bass seems even warmer and more than the He400i
Rest of it is similar.

HD6XX - WHAT'S BETTER:
Bass quantity is higher.
Vocals, Mids - can't beat them.
Smoother sound overall.
Scaling with the amplifier. The He-400i still seem harder to drive, but may reach their limit sooner with a powerful amplifier.


Hope this helps. Personally, I can't give away either. Like I said, they sound different enough to keep, both of them.
For movies, I often finding myself using the Hifimans more. I think at this point I may even prefer the 4XX over the 400is.

Here's the thing now: I think maybe the newer sounds even better, and you may also look into the He400SE, the new ones. I think you could get a good deal on any of the 400s line headphones and I can say with a lot of confidence, they'll still sound different enough from your 6XX.

Hope this helps!
 
Last edited:
May 29, 2021 at 11:52 AM Post #14,331 of 14,355

misteral201103

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
May 21, 2016
Posts
783
Likes
762
Location
Shanghai, China (originally from UK)
I have many expensive headphones including 1 2k planar but something about the he400i always blows me away. It just sounds so natural. If I was to upgrade in the hifiman range, what would you all recommend? Sundara, ananda or Arya?
Depends on the gear you'll be running them with. I went Ananda, having tried the Arya and finding my sources not sufficiently strong enough to drive them to success. Have not regretted my purchase. Demo with your sources, that's the only way to be sure.
 
Jun 4, 2021 at 6:34 AM Post #14,333 of 14,355

CADCAM

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Feb 24, 2013
Posts
1,652
Likes
439
Location
Massachusetts
I use the Loxjie P20 but have been eyeing the Xduoo MT-604. I run the Loxjie with a SU-8 DAC balanced using a Periapt balanced cable to the HE400i.
I have the 2.5mm to cup version and IMHO this setup sounds very good. I have rolled many tubes in the Loxjie but settled in on some 1968 Reflectors.
 
Jun 5, 2021 at 11:08 AM Post #14,334 of 14,355

sennheiserhd485

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Aug 26, 2010
Posts
452
Likes
25
I use the Loxjie P20 but have been eyeing the Xduoo MT-604. I run the Loxjie with a SU-8 DAC balanced using a Periapt balanced cable to the HE400i.
I have the 2.5mm to cup version and IMHO this setup sounds very good. I have rolled many tubes in the Loxjie but settled in on some 1968 Reflectors.
Thank you. Is the SQ better when DAC and amp are separate, or does it really matter? Also, can you use a hybrid dac/amp by USB with a laptop?
 
Jun 5, 2021 at 4:25 PM Post #14,335 of 14,355

CADCAM

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Feb 24, 2013
Posts
1,652
Likes
439
Location
Massachusetts
I would say a separate DAC and amp is the optimum setup, I have several dedicated hp amps with separate external DAC's, I do have a Monoprice Monolith amp that has a built-in DAC but I usually never use the DAC portion. The few times I have it seems fine but I primarily listen to physical CD's and not my laptops USB out but that is certainly an option with a USB DAC or amp\DAC.
 
Jun 5, 2021 at 9:39 PM Post #14,336 of 14,355

AJZ0

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Oct 9, 2011
Posts
180
Likes
168
Location
Virginia, U.S.A.
Is the SQ better when DAC and amp are separate
No, however a combo DAC/amp is limited by the performance of both the DAC and amp and offers no upgrade path unless either the DAC has a line-level output to connect another amp or the amp has line-level input to connect another DAC. The combo provides the convenience of the single power input and usually a smaller footprint.
Separate DAC and amp provides the opportunity to upgrade either device independently, or to run multiple amps - headphone or speaker, solid state or tube, etc. - from a single DAC. It also enables the acquisition of the ideal DAC and amp for your use case, however this is rarely driven purely by sound quality for a given budget.

Also, can you use a hybrid dac/amp by USB with a laptop?
Yes, as long as the laptop has an available USB port and the DAC has USB input.

Can I get some recommendations on <$100 hybrid amps for HE400i 3.5mm (not 2020)?
Usually "hybrid" refers to a solid state amp with a tube re-amp, however you appear to be looking for a combo DAC/amp under US$100. On that budget you might struggle to find quality options new, however the used market should provide some good options.
One option you should seriously consider is the Radsone Earstudio ES100. It's a balanced USB DAC/amp for under $100 which also supports Bluetooth 5.0 with LDAC, has built-in EQ so you can use e.g. a Harman curve EQ for all inputs. It's tiny and light because it's designed for mobile use, but has features for a price which is a fraction of that for any comparable desk device. While it's not a power plant, it can drive your HE400i easily, as it did mine. You might also look at the very similar FiiO BTR5 and Qudelix-5K.

Radsone also has not-mobile HUD100 for about the same price as the ES100. I confess I don't see the real advantage in almost any use case, but it's still a good option for buying new on your budget.
 
Last edited:
Jun 6, 2021 at 5:37 AM Post #14,337 of 14,355

sennheiserhd485

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Aug 26, 2010
Posts
452
Likes
25
I use the Loxjie P20 but have been eyeing the Xduoo MT-604. I run the Loxjie with a SU-8 DAC balanced using a Periapt balanced cable to the HE400i.
I have the 2.5mm to cup version and IMHO this setup sounds very good. I have rolled many tubes in the Loxjie but settled in on some 1968 Reflectors.
Thank you. What power output is the P20 @ 32 ohms? I've been hearing that at least 2W per channel is needed for the HE400i.
 
Last edited:
Jun 6, 2021 at 5:51 AM Post #14,338 of 14,355

sennheiserhd485

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Aug 26, 2010
Posts
452
Likes
25
No, however a combo DAC/amp is limited by the performance of both the DAC and amp and offers no upgrade path unless either the DAC has a line-level output to connect another amp or the amp has line-level input to connect another DAC. The combo provides the convenience of the single power input and usually a smaller footprint.
Separate DAC and amp provides the opportunity to upgrade either device independently, or to run multiple amps - headphone or speaker, solid state or tube, etc. - from a single DAC. It also enables the acquisition of the ideal DAC and amp for your use case, however this is rarely driven purely by sound quality for a given budget.


Yes, as long as the laptop has an available USB port and the DAC has USB input.


Usually "hybrid" refers to a solid state amp with a tube re-amp, however you appear to be looking for a combo DAC/amp under US$100. On that budget you might struggle to find quality options new, however the used market should provide some good options.
One option you should seriously consider is the Radsone Earstudio ES100. It's a balanced USB DAC/amp for under $100 which also supports Bluetooth 5.0 with LDAC, has built-in EQ so you can use e.g. a Harman curve EQ for all inputs. It's tiny and light because it's designed for mobile use, but has features for a price which is a fraction of that for any comparable desk device. While it's not a power plant, it can drive your HE400i easily, as it did mine. You might also look at the very similar FiiO BTR5 and Qudelix-5K.

Radsone also has not-mobile HUD100 for about the same price as the ES100. I confess I don't see the real advantage in almost any use case, but it's still a good option for buying new on your budget.
Thank you! I've always heard about balanced but am not so sure what it is. Is that better SQ than single-ended? And I think I could move up to $150 for a hybrid if it exists. Do you agree that at least 2W per channel @ 32 ohms is needed for driving the HE400i? I am having trouble figuring out how to convert mW to W, volts, etc. Not sure about what high and low gain is either.
 
Jun 6, 2021 at 11:31 AM Post #14,339 of 14,355

CADCAM

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Feb 24, 2013
Posts
1,652
Likes
439
Location
Massachusetts
Thank you. What power output is the P20 @ 32 ohms? I've been hearing that at least 2W per channel is needed for the HE400i.
  • Brand Name: LOXJIE
  • Channels: 2 (2.0)
  • Output Power: 665mW
  • Recommended Headphone Maximum Impedance: 501-600 Ohm
  • Output Type: Balanced Out
  • Input Type: LINE IN (AUDIO IN)
  • Dimensions (WxHxD): 148*70*128 mm
  • Body Material: Aluminum
  • Signal To Noise Ratio: 102
  • Unbalanced headphones Output Power: 32ohm 385mW / 64ohm 210mW / 15ohm 105mW / 300ohm 55mW / 600ohm 29mW
  • Balanced headphones Output Power: 32ohm 425mW / 64ohm 665mW / 15ohm 565mW / 300ohm 325mW / 600ohm 175m
  • Unbalanced headphones SNR: 97dB
  • Balanced headphones SNR: 102dB
  • Unbalanced headphones THD+N: 0.02%
  • Balanced headphones THD+N: 0.006%
  • Power Consumption: 10W
  • Standby power: 0.5W
  • Output Jcak: 3.5mm / XLR
My HE400i sit around -34 on the volume so I don't think you need anywhere near that to power the headphone. I am running balanced and the output voltage of my NAD source is 2V.
 
Last edited:
Jun 6, 2021 at 3:24 PM Post #14,340 of 14,355

sennheiserhd485

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Aug 26, 2010
Posts
452
Likes
25
  • Brand Name: LOXJIE
  • Channels: 2 (2.0)
  • Output Power: 665mW
  • Recommended Headphone Maximum Impedance: 501-600 Ohm
  • Output Type: Balanced Out
  • Input Type: LINE IN (AUDIO IN)
  • Dimensions (WxHxD): 148*70*128 mm
  • Body Material: Aluminum
  • Signal To Noise Ratio: 102
  • Unbalanced headphones Output Power: 32ohm 385mW / 64ohm 210mW / 15ohm 105mW / 300ohm 55mW / 600ohm 29mW
  • Balanced headphones Output Power: 32ohm 425mW / 64ohm 665mW / 15ohm 565mW / 300ohm 325mW / 600ohm 175m
  • Unbalanced headphones SNR: 97dB
  • Balanced headphones SNR: 102dB
  • Unbalanced headphones THD+N: 0.02%
  • Balanced headphones THD+N: 0.006%
  • Power Consumption: 10W
  • Standby power: 0.5W
  • Output Jcak: 3.5mm / XLR
My HE400i sit around -34 on the volume so I don't think you need anywhere near that to power the headphone. I am running balanced and the output voltage of my NAD source is 2V.
Thanks!
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top