NEW 2015 - HIFIMAN HE400S
Jul 8, 2015 at 8:54 AM Post #451 of 2,877

cute

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  At 350g, the same weight as my HE-4, can anyone confirm if the ear cups are metal or plastic.  My thinking is that they are metal same as the HE-4, with plastic gimbals.  The automotive finish on the cups, and cooler to the touch than the plastic gimbals, imo gives them away as metal, but I can't find any info to verify that.  I can't imagine that they aren't using their previous design from their other headphones in tis series.

 
It's a plastic material. You can tell when you take off one of the ear pads and look at the cross section. 


Wouldn't that make it much lighter than 350g?  Doesn't figure Hifiman would redesign the cups, when they already have them in metal.....maybe Hifiman can confirm!
 
Jul 8, 2015 at 8:55 AM Post #452 of 2,877

MattTCG

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  "As I'm getting my mind around the signature there is something that stands out to me that I wasn't hearing last night. There is a dip somewhere in the upper mids, that gives them a darker presentation"
 
 Can you give some examples of this statement?  I'm trying to get my head wrapped around it.  To me the 400i was a darker headphone.  The 400S mids imo are much better, and the layering/pinpoint instrument placing puts the vocal centered and the rest of the mids spread around it to form an excellent soundstage.  Maybe just my setup!

 
Without getting into a debate, the cable could also be playing a role in what you're hearing. We are not comparing apples to apples.
 
The mids are certainly better and maybe the real standout here. It's not easy to get mids right. I still hear a dip in the upper mids/lower treble though. 
 
Jul 8, 2015 at 8:59 AM Post #453 of 2,877

cute

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  "As I'm getting my mind around the signature there is something that stands out to me that I wasn't hearing last night. There is a dip somewhere in the upper mids, that gives them a darker presentation"
 
 Can you give some examples of this statement?  I'm trying to get my head wrapped around it.  To me the 400i was a darker headphone.  The 400S mids imo are much better, and the layering/pinpoint instrument placing puts the vocal centered and the rest of the mids spread around it to form an excellent soundstage.  Maybe just my setup!

 
Without getting into a debate, the cable could also be playing a role in what you're hearing. We are not comparing apples to apples.
 
The mids are certainly better and maybe the real standout here. It's not easy to get mids right. I still hear a dip in the upper mids/lower treble though. 


Cables make a difference?  I thought they just improved ergonomics!  I guess my ears must be different or something, an example of the dip in the upper mids/lower treble please!  I know the peak in the upper mids/lower treble killed the HE-560 for me, and I don't hear that in the 400S!
 
Jul 8, 2015 at 9:00 AM Post #454 of 2,877

obsidyen

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Without getting into a debate, the cable could also be playing a role in what you're hearing. We are not comparing apples to apples.
 
The mids are certainly better and maybe the real standout here. It's not easy to get mids right. I still hear a dip in the upper mids/lower treble though. 

Could this be to make this a less fatiguing headphone? Some manufacturers do this on purpose to prevent listening fatigue.
 
Jul 8, 2015 at 9:02 AM Post #455 of 2,877

rawrster

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  Burned these in overnight. Nothing dramatic to report. As I'm getting my mind around the signature there is something that stands out to me that I wasn't hearing last night. There is a dip somewhere in the upper mids, that gives them a darker presentation. They sound an awful lot like the 400i. But it's been a good while since I heard that headphone. 
 
Last night I said that you might call these a planar version of the hd600. Today I'd revise that slightly and substitute hd650 for hd600. Anyway, they are back on the cooker for another few days. 
 
Again, if it sounds like I'm being critical it's because I am :)  I have hi expectations for hifiman...and for all new products tbh. There is no reason to lower expectations at this stage of the game. That being said, these are very good headphones at very reasonable price. Here are a few things that I'm struggling with regarding hifiman in particular:
 
1. There are too many he400 series models. Yet none of them delivered the goods. An improved he400 would have been insanely popular IMO.
 
2. The he400i was supposed to be tuned as a replacement for the he500. But the he500 was appreciable better across the spectrum. IMO
 
3. The he4 was very close to being special, but has fallen into obscurity. Shame. Just a change from V shape to U shape would have been amazing. 
 
4. The he-6 needs a successor. It's jaw dropping on a good amp. If it were retooled to be more efficient and more comfortable, people would flock to it in droves. 
 
5. The he-1000 is sublime and after spending several weeks with it my opinion of it just grows fonder. My only quibble is the price. The pricing puts it into the hands of a very select and finite group. I'm hoping for some trickle down tech on the middle tier hifiman products. 

I agree 100% except for #5 since I have no idea about that headphone. Although I do recall in some thread the Hifiman rep said there will be a HE-6 successor but not anytime soon so that may come next year.
 
I do wish they used different numbers than 400i and 400s if they don't share the same signature. I was very surprised when I heard the 400i at a store since it sounded nothing like the 400 I owned a few years back. Also I don't know why there's no upgrade of the HE-4. That's the Hifiman headphone I like the most from sound signature (the HE-6 I own is clearly the better headphone). It does seem that they are releasing headphones with similar sound signatures but just at different price ranges which is definitely a shame. I liked the HE-300 and the HE-400 just because it was a different signature than the rest of their line at the time.
 
Jul 8, 2015 at 9:13 AM Post #456 of 2,877

rovopio

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Without getting into a debate, the cable could also be playing a role in what you're hearing. We are not comparing apples to apples.
 
The mids are certainly better and maybe the real standout here. It's not easy to get mids right. I still hear a dip in the upper mids/lower treble though. 

 
specifically dip on the lower trebles alone, doesn't that make the 400s the same with 400i on that aspect?
 
Jul 8, 2015 at 9:37 AM Post #457 of 2,877

MattTCG

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Cables make a difference?  I thought they just improved ergonomics!  I guess my ears must be different or something, an example of the dip in the upper mids/lower treble please!  I know the peak in the upper mids/lower treble killed the HE-560 for me, and I don't hear that in the 400S!

I listen to vocal centered music. Jazz, folk mostly. I use my ears for testing and rely less on graphs and such. When listening to the tuning of a headphone, I typically listen for mids first, full range. I am definitely hearing a dip in the upper mids. It's a small one but it's there to my ears. 
 
   
specifically dip on the lower trebles alone, doesn't that make the 400s the same with 400i on that aspect?

Maybe. I'd need to hear that hp again to be sure. 
 
Jul 8, 2015 at 10:04 AM Post #458 of 2,877

cute

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Cables make a difference?  I thought they just improved ergonomics!  I guess my ears must be different or something, an example of the dip in the upper mids/lower treble please!  I know the peak in the upper mids/lower treble killed the HE-560 for me, and I don't hear that in the 400S!

I listen to vocal centered music. Jazz, folk mostly. I use my ears for testing and rely less on graphs and such. When listening to the tuning of a headphone, I typically listen for mids first, full range. I am definitely hearing a dip in the upper mids. It's a small one but it's there to my ears. 
 
   
specifically dip on the lower trebles alone, doesn't that make the 400s the same with 400i on that aspect?

Maybe. I'd need to hear that hp again to be sure. 


Don't most of the Hifiman headphones have a peak upper mids/lower treble?  Maybe Fang tuned the 400S to finally correct that flaw.
 
Jul 8, 2015 at 10:11 AM Post #459 of 2,877

MattTCG

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Don't most of the Hifiman headphones have a peak upper mids/lower treble?  Maybe Fang tuned the 400S to finally correct that flaw.

 
It's possible. I'll feel better about making any declaration on the signature when it's burned in for a few days. 
 
Jul 8, 2015 at 11:33 AM Post #460 of 2,877

dxanex

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  Here are a few things that I'm struggling with regarding hifiman in particular:
 
1. There are too many he400 series models. Yet none of them delivered the goods. An improved he400 would have been insanely popular IMO.
 
2. The he400i was supposed to be tuned as a replacement for the he500. But the he500 was appreciable better across the spectrum. IMO
 
3. The he4 was very close to being special, but has fallen into obscurity. Shame. Just a change from V shape to U shape would have been amazing
 
4. The he-6 needs a successor. It's jaw dropping on a good amp. If it were retooled to be more efficient and more comfortable, people would flock to it in droves. 
 
5. The he-1000 is sublime and after spending several weeks with it my opinion of it just grows fonder. My only quibble is the price. The pricing puts it into the hands of a very select and finite group. I'm hoping for some trickle down tech on the middle tier hifiman products. 

 
This right here. Hifiman has done wonders for getting superb planar tech out to consumers, but in their pursuit to appease to a broad audience it seems that they are abandoning the very sound signatures that put them on the map. Not trying to say anything bad about them, they obviously are making good products but there's plenty of people out there, myself included, that are frustrated that they seem to be playing it pretty safe as far as sound signatures go. I want something that's tuned a little crazy like the HE-400, but with all the finesse of their newer lines. 
 
But I'll stop belly-acheing now and continue to read more impressions. I hope that you all get a lot of enjoyment out of them!
 
Jul 8, 2015 at 11:47 AM Post #461 of 2,877

manbear

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Lets hope Hifiman is listening. All we want is the old HE-400 with smoother treble... It's pretty simple.

I like my HE-400i but I'm not really interested in buying another Hifiman just to get a slight variation of the same signature. Seems like 400s, 400i, and 560 are all more similar than different.
 
Jul 8, 2015 at 11:56 AM Post #462 of 2,877

MermaidMan

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Looks like after all of this hype I won't be getting the HE400S after all...on the plus side I can save some money and do some modding on an old 400! Still excited as I haven't had good cans for a while!
 
Jul 8, 2015 at 12:31 PM Post #463 of 2,877

disci

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If you can afford the idsd micro, get it. It's in a completely different class than all fiio amps I've tried. I would step down to the Nano if necessary or just want and save for the micro. 
 
The dac in the micro is worth the price of admission without even considering the very decent amp stage. 

Just as a note, the idac2 micro should be shipping this month which has the same dac chip (1 chip instead of two though).
It will be priced around $350 ($380 for launch bundle) and looks pretty promising.

However it is desktop usb only as it doesn't contain a battery.
 
Jul 8, 2015 at 1:04 PM Post #464 of 2,877

money4me247

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  To be honest, I play it safe when it comes to amps and only buy popular products with good reviews so I don't know many other gear.  I think iDSD Micro provides amazing value, perhaps you could find it at a lower price in the sale/trade forum. I have Meridian Explorer2, I think it can drive HE400S but I doubt it could provide the low end and dynamics that iDSD Micro can. Maybe Odac+O2 amp combo? That sounds clinical to me but it's good for its price. Many other people like affordable Schiit producs (magni + modi) but I don't like their sound signature either. iDSD Micro sounds very natural and analog which is what I like. There's also the iDSD Nano which is less expensive, but it's not as powerful as iDSD Micro.

be careful w/ reviews though. popularity does not always equal the best fit for an individual.
 
Don't most of the Hifiman headphones have a peak upper mids/lower treble?  Maybe Fang tuned the 400S to finally correct that flaw.

actually, I do believe that Hifiman headphones tend to as a whole tend to measure at least a subtle dip in the upper mids in comparison to something like the HD600. examples from my personal measurements include the he-1k & he-560. Also, from my listening impressions of the HE-400 (original) and he-400i.
 
This is also seen with tyll's measurement data of all Hifiman headphones. It's a tuning choice & I think it does represent the Hifiman 'house sound.' HE-4, HE-400, HE-400i, HE-5, HE-5LE, HE-500, HE-560, HE-6, and HE-1000 all display some sort of variation of a 1-2kHz-ish dip. Note the HD800 also does display a similar sort of recession in that area as well, so that sort of tuning choice does not stray too far off from an ideal target headphone curve.
 
http://www.innerfidelity.com/headphone-data-sheet-downloads
 
as for slightly differing recent impressions, I think it just depends on exactly what headphones you are comparing to as a reference point. If comparing to a HD600, then that tuning choice of the upper mids section is more noticeable than when comparing against other Hifiman headphones (will seem like a relative recession). The old HE-400 does have a more prominent lower mids (with a peak at 1kHz), so the drop off in the upper mids is far more pronounced than other Hifiman headphones, so will seem like a relative increase.
 
Hope that helps clarify things. I don't think either of your impressions are off mark, just different frames of reference :)
 
edit: also in response to people clamoring for a more HE-400 sound signature. the bass response of the majority of new generation of Hifiman headphones actually measure as well if not better than the old HE-400. The biggest difference is hump/spike up to the 1kHz region with a resulting relatively larger drop off in the from 1kHz to 6kHz. It is the relative large drop off is that I think contributes to the sensation of increased bass response as volume matching normally occurs based on the midrange. So it is possible that many people who are looking for the HE-400's sound signature with improved treble may be satisfied with the newer Hifiman headphones. I do think that relative perceived amount of bass on the HE-400 would still be more than other headphones if volume matched based on upper mids. But if comparing based on a volume match in the lower mids, the bass response may actually appear increased. I've personally found the new Hifimans to have solid bass quality and a relatively good amount (so acceptable for bassheads looking for bass quality), though may not suitable for bassheads looking for a v-shaped sound signature. just my thoughts. ymmv.
 
Jul 8, 2015 at 1:58 PM Post #465 of 2,877

rhuynh

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  Just as a note, the idac2 micro should be shipping this month which has the same dac chip (1 chip instead of two though).
It will be priced around $350 ($380 for launch bundle) and looks pretty promising.

However it is desktop usb only as it doesn't contain a battery.

 
In some ways the best way of thinking of the iDAC2 micro is as a iDSD micro without battery, SPDIF and super powerful Headphone amplifier and instead optimised as Computer only USB DAC with the emphasis on the sound quality of the line output. It is a natural partner with the iCAN micro for the "full stack" or driving active Speakers via the iTube.
 


 
I'm not sure how to interpret this.  I'm okay with the lack of battery due to being parked at my desktop, but it looks like I could be losing some potential headphone power output (at least from Normal/Turbo Mode).   Looks like it's 350mW vs 250mW in Eco Mode though.
 

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