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HiFiMan HE4XX - How 'Open'?

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by oakparkmusicguy, Jun 9, 2019.
  1. oakparkmusicguy
    I have a question / issue... and I'm not sure if my post goes here or in the 'recommendations'.

    I'm a classical musician and often practice playing along with recordings. Sometimes I use my headphones, sometimes my studio monitors. I need a headphone that is 'a very' open design / allows plenty of sound in so I can hear my instrument (double bass) as well as the music.

    I have the AKG K7XX and they block just enough sound to not work for me (although I really like these headphones, especially after changing the pads). I have an older pair of Philips SHP9500 which work perfectly in this regard but I just can't bond with their sound or fit.

    Any thoughts on if the HiFiMan HE4XX would work for my situation?
    I've seen the charts on both but I need some real world advice.

    Thank you!
     
  2. Kammerat Rebekka
    Hifimans are about as open as they get. For playing alongside your instrument I’d take a look at the Sennheiser 6 series as well. Open as a cabriolet.
     
  3. oakparkmusicguy
    Thank you! The Sennheisers have been recommended a few times to me so it seems those are the way to go.
     
  4. SilverEars
    Hifimans are the most open planars out there, but also very expensive. I think 4XX is the gimped tuning of the family.


    If you are into classical, I would easily recommend Sennheisers. Senny dyamic drivers do double bass really well as in general string instruments like they were made for them.
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2019
  5. Dawgfish
    I have the 4XXs and also the HD600s, HD6XXs, and the HD58Xs. The 4XXs are easily the most open pair of phones I have. They become even more open after removing the foam beneath the grill and performing the grill mod. I have no issues with the sound of the 4XXs as they sound excellent, especially after the grill mods and replacing the stock pads with Brainwavz angled memory foam/protein leather pads. The only issue I have with them is comfort. Fortunately I have a ZMF Pilot Pad that I use with them that makes the headband so much more comfortable. The 400Is use the same driver as the 4XXs but with the much more comfortable suspended comfort strap headband. For that reason, if you wanted to go with a 400 series Hifiman, I would suggest the 400Is or the 400Ss.
     
  6. oakparkmusicguy
    Thank you so much for the input!! I appreciate it. I just want to make sure that by open we are all meaning that I want to let sound in...
    Seems like the Sennheisers are the way to go.
     
  7. GirgleMirt
    I'd forget headphones for that usage; it just doesn't really work... What you could look into though are those wearable speakers; https://wiki.ezvid.com/best-wearable-speakers but again, they'd seem to be a PITA; as having something on your neck/shoulders looks to me rather annoying, but I've never tried a pair. I just don't see the issue with just using speakers. I guess if you traveled, then ok, but even then I would just look into small portable speakers, as they'd be way better.

    I have the 400i though which were recommended, and I would not recommend them or any headphones at all for playing a musical instrument. Speakers are 100% better for that purpose. It's like asking which microwave you should purchase to use as a chair for watching TV. NOBODY uses open headphones to play instruments... Be it comfort, be able to hear your instrument well, whatever criteria you can think of, headphones will do poorly... Headphones to play an instrument just suck. Well that's just my opinion I guess...

    Even something like this would likely suck as having some speakers sitting on your head would be annoying; turn your head and bang them on your violin, wires getting in the way, weight on your head, the un-naturalness of headphone soundstage vs your instrument, etc. It's just a bad idea and an horrible reason to purchase open headphones.

    upload_2019-6-12_9-55-46.png
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019
  8. bagwell359
    I have the Senn hD-600 light mods, MD 4xx, HFM: HE5se, HE5-LE, HEX v2, HE-500 (heavy mods)

    For classical unmodded, it's easily the HD-600. The 4xx is a poor choice because you can hear the chuffing of the driver, they are very uneven tonally, and they are not that revealing, and they slog (IM) in the bass in the case of two dynamic bass instruments going at the same time.

    Overall my HE-500 modded holds about even with the Senn in classical, but is decisively better at pop, modern chamber, jazz, electronic. But you have to take some time to perform the mods. Recently again rediscovered (again) how awesome they are.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019
  9. Roderick
    @oakparkmusicguy answer is simply Sony mdr-sa900. I've had all the forementioned hifimans, sennheisers and akg. None come close to ma900.

    Thing is like all The above ma900 is fully open it is also open in enclosure. See how there is a big gap there. Basically it is just speakers near your ears. You can get one for $250 used (discontinued item) and it is worth it. The most comfortable headphone I've ever had and sound can allmost Match hd650.

    images (2).jpeg
     
    Kammerat Rebekka likes this.
  10. Kammerat Rebekka
    ^Better get the F1 instead :wink:
    Damn I miss mine. The most open and comfortable headphones I’ve ever worn (alright comfort is split with the R70x and the HFI-15g).
    They can be had new over eBay for something like a gold brick and a bj. Too bad they don’t make em anymore.
     
  11. Roderick
    I actually found ma900 more comfortable than F1. I've had F1 twice so it was not just a fluke. Ma900 does sound better than F1 too :)

    Ha... That on ear ultrasone is nice too. Funny thing is that it sounds allmost as good as $1500 sig pro. Don't know If I'm praising 15g or putting down sig Pro :p propably latter.
     
  12. oakparkmusicguy
    Thank you everyone! I appreciate all the input.
     
  13. oakparkmusicguy
    I got the Sennheiser HD6XX and they work perfectly for my task.
     

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