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Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by ProtegeManiac, Aug 2, 2017.
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  1. Beau Cauchemar
    C33C82B1-513A-4D4C-89C6-11F46EA45817.jpeg B9B22590-4A30-420D-917D-9BC7132F301F.jpeg

    After having listened to the ZMF Ori pads with the hair roller mod for a while, I felt like it could be improved even further (more air, soundstage, detail, and strong but non-fatiguing bass.) So I ditched the hair rollers for a couple of stacked foam sheets inside the Ori perforated lambskin pads and I have to say this combo of mods really nails it.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2018
  2. Mojo65
    Hi Guys, eventually I got mine as well after 17 days for custom clearance! I just listened to a couple of records and I must say that even out of the box is a really good product indeed. I felt immediately at ease with these. The sound is crisp, full bodied and I felt no issues on bass or mids/highs harshness at all. It is not a basshead as like as it is not over bright but that is also depending on the sources.
    I used my usual portable rig, a iPod Classic with a Cypher Labs Solo -r DAC and the wonderful Alo Audio Continental V5 tube amp. Driving the HE4XX is not an issue at all for this combo and I think that the match with the V5 is particularly good.

    Build quality is good, flawless (mine is one of the first 500 batch produced, and it is quite comfortable with the stock pads. For the price it is really a bargain. Now it needs to be burned-in for a while and reading all of your comments I understood it will get even better; I will post my comments after at least 100 hours.
    Then I will make a comparison to the HD598 that this planar was intended to replace. I liked some of the recent comments I read here and I'll try to contribute as well.

    Cheers and happy new year to all of you.
    trellus and jaco61 like this.
  3. Beau Cauchemar
    Spent quite a bit of time pad rolling and comparing the non-perforated Ori to the perforated Ori last night (both with the foam insert mod) using the same set of tracks at the same volume to see which was truly superior. In stock form with a couple of hours playtime, they sounded good, but not great pretty much across the board, which is why I got modding immediately. It's worth noting, as I outlined in a previous thread, that these 4XXs also have the grill mod using paper tray mesh and no dust screen along with having over 170 hours worth of play time. They also are using a custom silver-plated 22-gauge OFC cable from Amplifier Surgery. Equipment used in this comparison: straight from my XDP-100R playing the first few tracks from Steve Turre's Woody's Delight (mainly for balance, imaging, sibilance testing) and various tracks from Tame Impala's Currents (mainly for balance and soundstage testing).

    Updated Ratings after Ori pad comparison:

    4XX (non-perforated Ori + grill mod + foam pad mod): treble 0 / mids -1 / lows +1 / soundstage -1.5 / imaging -1 / detail -1
    4XX (perforated Ori + grill mod + foam pad mod): treble +0.25 / mids 0 / lows 0 / soundstage -0.5 / imaging 0 / detail -0.5

    I started this comparison because I started feeling as though the perforated pads introduced a touch more treble tipping it into the warning zone for near-harshness. After the comparison though I came to the realization that the recording and volume must have influenced this thinking, as switching back to the non-perforated pads (neutral-dark) they exhibited an almost indistinguishable difference in harshness (which is to say very minimal, again depending on the recording.) The highest brass notes on Woody's Delight inspired only a single wince or two and when it happened it felt appropriate for the recording's intent and intensity.

    In this back and forth though I did notice that the non-perforated pads seemed a bit congested which I hadn't noticed without comparing and switching over to the perforated pads the sound opened up with more air/space and better imaging. Jazz recordings can get busy sounding and the perforated pads handled this with ease. The swirling synths on Current's showed the perforated pads to have improved the soundstage to very satisfying levels.

    Since I felt that bass was too anemic without the foam pad mod (and previously the hair roller mod), but also slightly too prominent with the foam pad mod and the non-perforated Ori, I was happy to realize that the perforated pads tamed the bass ever so slightly so that a perfect Goldilocks amount of bass tightness/impact/detail/amount was achieved. The juicy distorted synth groove on the tail end of Tame Impala's Let It Happen sent a chill down my body and the upright bass on Woody's Delight had just enough heft and body to seem very real. To briefly explain, the foam (pads or rollers) was used to distance the driver farther from the ears which made a noticeable increase in all things bass and are fit in the ring pocket between the Ori's foam and mounting ring. For a frame of reference, my bass port modded Q701s seem to be putting out a similar bass amount (although slightly more body not being as neutral) with the 4XX+Perforated Ori+foam pad mod pulling ahead of the Q701's low end in terms of response, detail, impact, and sub bass.

    In going back and forth I also realized just how much more I prefer the modded 4XX over my previously loved Q701s. The soundstage on the AKGs by comparison now makes them seem almost unnatural and odd while the perforated pads and grill mod brought the 4XX to a natural, pleasing soundstage somewhere between the Elear and HD800. Imaging is also quite good and I can easily tell where instruments are in the space. In terms of neutrality, I feel as though the perforated pads improved even further on the non-perforated Ori and am now able to easily focus on whatever instrument I want in the mix without it getting lost or overshadowed. Superb balance indeed. It's worth mentioning that since my previous cans were the Q701, your mileage may vary in terms of treble on this series of 4XX mods although I should say that it is less strident and smoother than the AKGs while never feeling even slightly veiled or losing detail/microdetail.

    If you can't tell already, I am loving the 4XXs with this combo of mods and feel as though this might be it for new cans for a while given my high level of satisfaction at this point. Even off of the DAP I was getting goosebumps at the sheer amount of pleasure and technical prowess these things were putting out. There was also a bit of disbelief given how relatively cheap these things were even with the mods ($325 total). So if you have the 4XXs, do yourself a favor and make the same changes. I'm sure you'll be quite impressed as well.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2018
  4. ld100
    Looking for a quality cable replacement at reasonable cost. Can anyone recommend anything good for HE-4XX?
  5. CoFire
    I like this one with my 400i. The connectors have never failed me and the 400i is my daily driver. The cable doesn't kink. Not sure what else to say. I haven't noticed any decrease in sound quality but I also haven't done any extensive cable swapping with the 400i. I put this on my friends 4XX and it's just better and more manageable than either stock cable.

    ld100 and trellus like this.
  6. chrolls
    Great write-up! Appreciate the detailed impressions. No way I would of bought these pads on my own, being cheap and not knowing for sure what effect they'd have. I do have a couple questions, if you would be so kind...

    I sometimes find the mids on the HE4XX's too recessed. Did you experience this? If so, am I to assume the "0" rating means the mids are more balanced now? Secondly, if simply extending the pads farther away ups the bass response, does it stand to reason that simply moving the pads away less with less material than you originally added would avoid the uncomfortable bass of the non-perforated pads to achieve a sort of "goldilocks zone" of their own? Just wondered if you tried that. I mostly ask because I already ordered those particular pads! Anywho, thx in advance, I really appreciate it!
  7. opiumhum
    Ran the HE4XX through my Shiit Valhalla 2 and loved every second of it. Bass is way more present and punchy, with sub bass finally coming through much more. I now also have an LCD-2 (2016 aluminium version) and have a hard time deciding which one I like more, the LCD-2 has the stronger bass fundament and soundstage, but mids seem to be way more pleasant on the HE4XX.
    jaco61, eucariote and trellus like this.
  8. redryder
    Hi guys, I'm looking to do some pad rolling on the HE4XX to increase the bass quantity and comfort. Any recommendations on the shape and material?

    Should I get angled, round, or oval? Does it matter?

    Sheepskin, velour, hybrid?
  9. heliosphann
    Definitely a leather or pleather pad to help with the bass. The shape of the pad/ear opening will effect the soundstage and possibly the sound to some degree. I've found the pad material makes a much more noticeable difference though.
  10. Jerda
    Anyone else have some cracks/noise from the housing? :frowning2:
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2018
  11. Yevgen Chupak
    Take off your pads and u will see jammed drivers... Then write a note to massdrop and get yourself new pair
  12. Jerda
    How can I know if the pads are jammed?
    Btw I still have no amplifier, waiting the schiit stack but the shipment is lost somewhere..... I don't think Is that the cause: the noise happens a lot more these days than the firsts one just saying to tell you if anyway this can be the cause
  13. Yevgen Chupak
    not PADS but DRIVERS... check few pages before...u will see a few images with pretty much the same problem
    trellus likes this.
  14. jaco61
    The 4xx arrived today pretty solid and well buid quality. Sound is amazing .. some metallic harshness in the highs is gone now after few hours
    After some more all starts to sound more effortless. Very nice phones :)
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2018
  15. bibinjohn5000
    Got mine yesterday. massdrop shipped it to my friend in US (shipping charge & customs too much to India). luckily no problems so far
    does anyone bought a headphone case that we can put this headset..?
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