Hifiman HE400se
Apr 12, 2021 at 1:51 PM Post #167 of 354
Joined
Sep 12, 2012
Posts
10,899
Likes
14,543
Location
Norway
HE400SE play really nice SQ with Balanced Cable plus if you are planning to upgrade, 4.4mm to dual 3.5mm now is widely use on DAC/AMP. Most 2.5mm are being use on DAP. Never going back to use single ended. You can get it cheap at Aliexpress.

Actually the headphones sounds the same through both balanced and single ended cables (generally speaking). Any difference is from the source, many portable devices with both single ended and balanced output tend to have better designed balanced circuits as most enthusiasts would use this option. The headphones does only play the signal they're fed. Of course the extra power from a balanced output may or may not make the sound better depending on the power need of the headphones and how powerful the single ended output on the source is.
 
Apr 13, 2021 at 7:26 PM Post #168 of 354

harry501501

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Apr 8, 2016
Posts
1,409
Likes
1,084
Location
Glasgow, Scotland
Wow, this is pretty interesting. I originally thought these were just the 400S with the new headband so decided against them. I enjoyed the mids on the 400s but sadly my first pair lasted a week and the replacement also lasted a week lol. Cut my losses. I've been going back and forth on eBay looking at the original 400i, 400i 2020 and 5xx... but can't make my mind up. I'm also tempted to just spend a bit more on the Sundara. But the 400se are easy to get for £149 and defo the cheaper of the bunch. Aaaahhhh
 
Apr 15, 2021 at 1:54 AM Post #169 of 354

Josheto

New Head-Fier
Joined
Dec 1, 2020
Posts
13
Likes
7
Location
Macedonia
Yeah, looks like a very similar driver to the HE400i ver 2020 - which is not a bad thing for such a notable price drop. If it sounds the same as those then at 150 usd the HE400se is easily the best headphone deal ever. These 4-- series headphones from Hifiman have no real cons (except for a slightly phantomatic center image), everything else (technicality, detail, soundstage) are the best you can get for the price, period. Only Sennheiser fans will probably disagree, because these are certainly not intimate.

I've already owned the HE400i and HE4XX, so I eventually decided to ignore the HE400se and jumped straight to Sundara. Can't wait to hear them.
Nothing beats kph30i and vintage stax value!
 
Apr 18, 2021 at 4:30 AM Post #170 of 354

10000days

New Head-Fier
Joined
Nov 10, 2011
Posts
26
Likes
28
Just heard the HE400se at my friend’s house, he got them for 210 usd in Romania (yey, European prices). His take is that it sounds almost exactly like his Hifiman Deva (cabled). Not knowing how Hifiman Deva exactly sound like, in my opinion the HE400se sounds like a HE400i 2020 with slightly different tonality - thinner, less warm - but certainly doesn’t have the incredible musicality and the refined lower and upper end of the Sundaras. He didn’t let me borrow them so I can do a detailed comparison, but maybe I’ll take my Sundaras with me next weekend to his place and do A/B tests if he’s okay with it. Now I am also curious about his Devas lol, and they look better in real life than in pictures that’s for sure.

I have auditioned one of my favorite records, Tool - Lateralus (which sounds phenomenal), in order to test what is for me the most important thing about Hifiman headphones - instrument separation, easiness of sound.

For 150 in the USA and around 200 in Europe this is about the best headphone for the price. So much better than HD6XX or HD560s imo! However, if you can still get the HE400i 2020 for a similar price I recommend it more, since it is not as dry/grey as the HE400se.
 
Apr 23, 2021 at 4:11 PM Post #172 of 354

theMUKe

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Nov 17, 2015
Posts
148
Likes
79
Thanks for confirming that. At least I can upgrade the pads if I’m not happy with them or they get damaged.

Does anyone have a good suggestion for a balanced 2.5mn cable?

These days you can find an affordable balanced cable on eBay: https://ebay.us/dtdtxK
I am happy with it. They sell it also with other models in the description but it's all the same cable. Just make sure you select the correct plug size for your player.
 
Apr 26, 2021 at 12:05 PM Post #173 of 354

10000days

New Head-Fier
Joined
Nov 10, 2011
Posts
26
Likes
28
I heard them last weekend at a friend’s, and now this last weekend I’ve A/B’d them to my Sundara and my conclusion is that they sound very much like a HE400i.

-HE400se (retains the typical HE400 series downsides):
  • wide and airy soundstage that’s lacking center image
  • sounds sound big but don’t have much impact
  • tonality is kind of grey/dull
  • treble has metallic tone no matter how much you EQ it down
  • fast but blurry and empty sub bass
-Sundara
  • soundstage is slightly narrower (medium-wide) but as a bonus the center image is now extremely present; lateral imaging and instrument separation is better, period
  • sounds are more involving/more impactful - drums, guitars and synths are almost tangible
  • tonality is on entire new level - colorful and diverse
  • treble is very natural, similar to HD560s but even better
  • sub bass is well-defined and more textured
Things the HE400se is better at:
  • transitions and dynamics feel a bit more natural (it could be my Sundara are underperforming with Ifi Zen stack, who knows)
  • since they are not as involving, you could listen to them for hours and hours, while the Sundara’s hyperdetailed & textured nature makes them fatiguing after one single hour
  • more airiness (not to be confused with spatiality) due to the lack of a proper center image; they almost completely lack the intimacy of the Sundara, which places the singer inside your head
It’s strange how everyone has a vastly different opinion about these headphones, especially when they have to compare them to similar products in their price range. I don’t understand how can anyone can say these are equal to or better than Sundara with a straight face though.
Gavin’s Gadgets on YouTube wrote in a comment on his HE400se first impression, that Sundara is about 20% better across all levels and I wholly agree.

If anything, the HE400se are a better deal than the Sundara, I’ll give them that, but if I had to choose, let’s say I wouldn’t sell a Sundara to get two HE400se, while I’d definitely do the opposite.
 
Last edited:
Apr 26, 2021 at 2:45 PM Post #174 of 354

pk4425

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Nov 11, 2020
Posts
208
Likes
166
Location
Marcellus, NY
I heard them last weekend at a friend’s, and now this last weekend I’ve A/B’d them to my Sundara and my conclusion is that they sound very much like a HE400i.

-HE400se (retains the typical HE400 series downsides):
  • wide and airy soundstage that’s lacking center image
  • sounds sound big but don’t have much impact
  • tonality is kind of grey/dull
  • treble has metallic tone no matter how much you EQ it down
  • fast but blurry and empty sub bass
-Sundara
  • soundstage is slightly narrower (medium-wide) but as a bonus the center image is now extremely present; lateral imaging and instrument separation is better, period
  • sounds are more involving/more impactful - drums, guitars and synths are almost tangible
  • tonality is on entire new level - colorful and diverse
  • treble is very natural, similar to HD560s but even better
  • sub bass is well-defined and more textured
Things the HE400se is better at:
  • transients and dynamics feel a bit more natural (it could be my Sundara are underperforming with Ifi Zen stack, who knows)
  • since they are not as involving, you could listen to them for hours and hours, while the Sundara’s hyperdetailed & textured nature makes them fatiguing after one single hour
  • more airiness (not to be confused with spatiality) due to the lack of a proper center image; they almost completely lack the intimacy of the Sundara, which places the singer inside your head
It’s strange how everyone has a vastly different opinion about these headphones, especially when they have to compare them to similar products in their price range. I don’t understand how can anyone can say these are equal to or better than Sundara with a straight face though.
Gavin’s Gadgets on YouTube wrote in a comment on his HE400se first impression, that Sundara is about 20% better across all levels and I wholly agree.

If anything, the HE400se are a better deal than the Sundara, I’ll give them that, but if I had to choose, let’s say I wouldn’t sell a Sundara to get two HE400se, while I’d definitely do the opposite.
I like Gavin. He's a no-BS reviewer who deserves more love among the headphone reviewers on YouTube. His reviews of products I own have been pretty spot-on to my ears.
 
Apr 26, 2021 at 11:16 PM Post #176 of 354

pk4425

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Nov 11, 2020
Posts
208
Likes
166
Location
Marcellus, NY
Apr 27, 2021 at 6:05 PM Post #178 of 354

harry501501

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Apr 8, 2016
Posts
1,409
Likes
1,084
Location
Glasgow, Scotland
It’s strange how everyone has a vastly different opinion about these headphones, especially when they have to compare them to similar products in their price range. I don’t understand how can anyone can say these are equal to or better than Sundara with a straight face though.
Everyone has their preferences tho and their own thought process when recommending headphones. For example you yourself said you can only listen to the Sundara for an hour due to its abundance of detail, yet the 400SE you could listen to all day... some would say that alone is enough for them to prefer and offer the opinion the 400SE is better. Technical performance alone isn't how some people judge headphones.
 
Apr 27, 2021 at 6:19 PM Post #179 of 354

harry501501

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Apr 8, 2016
Posts
1,409
Likes
1,084
Location
Glasgow, Scotland
Hello dear friends , I have posted my in depth review with selected comparisons.

https://www.head-fi.org/showcase/hifiman-he400se.25075/review/25756/

Feel free to discuss it and like if you are happy with the reading.
Fantastic review, I was worried treble was going to have that metallic texture and be overly bright. It doesn't sound like it's perfect by any means, but that you find it smooth enough and with good timbre is good news, especially with others having a similar opinion. Enough for me to finally pull the plug on them :)

I'll get back to the thread with my opinion.
 
Apr 28, 2021 at 12:55 AM Post #180 of 354

Ichos

Reviewer at hxosplus
Joined
Jun 30, 2018
Posts
3,338
Likes
3,520
Location
Greece
Fantastic review, I was worried treble was going to have that metallic texture and be overly bright. It doesn't sound like it's perfect by any means, but that you find it smooth enough and with good timbre is good news, especially with others having a similar opinion. Enough for me to finally pull the plug on them :)

I'll get back to the thread with my opinion.
They punch well above their price point.
For my own preferences they are the best tuned HE400 till now.
Unfortunately treble quality isn't as good as I would like but hey this is a $140 planar headphone!
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top