NEW 2015 - HIFIMAN HE400S
Oct 4, 2015 at 1:09 AM Post #1,642 of 2,877

Gino

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Yes it is. I can only blame myself for not doing this sooner. If one is on the fence with the pads, I highly recommend you buy both. You get two flavors depending on your mood. 3 actually if you consider the stock pads. It may also have its merits. It is wonderful that we have these options.
 
Oct 6, 2015 at 2:27 AM Post #1,644 of 2,877

nmatheis

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Here's my HE400S review, which is focused on looking at HE400S from an HE400 lover's perspective: LINK.
 
The short and skinny: IMHO, the HE400S are a good headphone with a pretty conventional sound signature and are worth the price of entry. I'd recommend them for people looking for that in a planar. However, I'm taken aback by how far the HE400S sound signature deviates from the original HE400. I do understand that move started with HE400i, so I'm not shocked. I am rather disappointed that the HE400's unique sound has been shelved, though.
 
Oct 7, 2015 at 5:21 AM Post #1,645 of 2,877

Gino

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Final verdict I like the Focuspad + Grill Mod the best.
 
Let me explain. I gave my eager and excited impressions as I did each mod. I didn't have everything with me in one go.
 
1. Focuspad + stock grills = Awesome bass but I don't like how it kills the mids
 
2. Focuspad-A + stock grills = This is better, I get the low bass and killer mids!
 
3. Focuspad -A + grill mod = Gosh I don't believe this , low bass, killer mids, details top to bottom!
 
4. Stock pads + grill mod = Interesting. How come this has killer mids too with detailed top to bottom?!!
 
5. Focuspads + grill mod = Oh damn! This is it. Awesome bass, killer mids, fantastic clarity top to bottom...and the females don't sizzle and spit, and small metal sounds don't stand out disproportionately like the Focuspad-A + grill mod.
 
Final verdict Focuspad + Grill Mod.
 
One has a choice. if you want to keep the stock grill for protection, get the Focuspad-A.
 
If you want absolutely the best these cans can offer it's Focuspad and the Grill Mod.
 
Oct 7, 2015 at 1:29 PM Post #1,646 of 2,877

nmatheis

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Nice Gino!

This is the hard part with reviewing something for a company. You get the item in stock configuration. Maybe I would've liked it better with some mods, but I wasn't sent the extra pads which sounds like would've made a lot of difference. Oh well...

Hopefully HiFiMan listens to you adventurous HE400S owners and updates the stock configuration so they sound optimal right out of the box!
 
Oct 7, 2015 at 5:09 PM Post #1,647 of 2,877

Gino

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On the contrary Hifiman has done well with this. It is first and foremost an "entry level" set of cans in this segment. Priced lower than the cans people tend to compare it. But what we've discovered, it can be modified. Hifiman has provided us with optional pads. Add the ingenuity of the mod pioneers here at head-fi , and you have a scaleable set of cans. What this means is, your sound improves in quality as your time, money, or concerns allow. 

In the end these cans have a niche group of enthusiasts. For those people, the HE-400S is truly awesome. The amount of incremental thrills I got was worth the effort of each mod.
 
Oct 7, 2015 at 6:22 PM Post #1,648 of 2,877

nmatheis

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I applaud the modding community, but I'm willing to bet the percentage of people who don't feel comfortable modding yet desire better sound heavily outweighs the percentage of people who mod their headphones. Not pushing HiFiMan to optimize their headphones for best out of the box experience is letting them off the hook. If stock pads could be focus pads, grill could be more open, etc. for close to the same price, why not encourage them to do that. It'd give more people great sound with less work. Just my two cents.

As an HE400 owner, I'd much rather they just came with better pads, more open grills, a suspension strap, and proper dampening out of the box. It'd certainly save me time, effort, and probably expense. I'll bet they would've gotten better reviews and even more traction in the marketplace to boot.
 

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