Review & Comparison: HE-400 vs D2000 with snippets of HD650 thrown in
Apr 17, 2012 at 9:12 AM Post #16 of 49

WiR3D

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Malveaux has all three of these...he300/400/d2k. I asked him about it and he called the sound of the 300 "strange, with wonky mids." Not really sure what wonky means but it was enough to turn me off to them.


I tend to trust his opinion, so it seems not what I would expect, owell they couldnt make it too good or it would kill its bigger brother.
 
 
 
Apr 17, 2012 at 12:28 PM Post #17 of 49

RayleighSilvers

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First of all, excellent review TMRaven. 
 
I have a question or concern rather that is kind of putting me off these headphones. They are being described as dark everywhere I read. Reading from the glossary "dark" would mean the lower frequencies are emphasised and the treble is rolled off. To me this translate to a thick rather heavy sound that is congested with little or no air to breathe. Having heard the Grados (80 and 225) I discovered that I like my music to have some air, which also gives vocals some sparkle and natural projection. Because of that I have to have an open back, but it seems the HE-400 is doing the opposite. I had some HD558's for example, and found them very boring. Are they considered dark?
 
Apr 17, 2012 at 12:55 PM Post #18 of 49

TMRaven

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I've auditioned virtually all of the HD500 and HD600 lineup at my local hi-fi store, and as you know I've owned the HD650 for a short time.
 
In my opinion all of the HD500 series I'd consider mid-centric with rolled off bass and treble, they're all rather boring to me, HD598 being the best one with most treble sparkle.  To my ears there wasn't as much of a difference between the HD600 and HD650 as people make it out to be.  HD600 had plenty of sparkle to its treble, and the 'silver damping' version HD650 I had was almost there, but a bit laid-back in its treble in comparison.  HD600 was way better than HD500 series to me, but HD650 didn't have the bass extension to win me over.
 
I feel that in general the dark terminology is probably right for the HE-400. If people consider the HD650 very warm, the added bass presence and lesser amount of upper mids on the HE-400 can make it seem darker at times.  However, I found the HE-400 to have a slight high treble spike to it that adds sparkle when necessary.  It was enough sparkle to keep me satisfied when compared against the D2000-- which is infamous for its own treble spike.
 
If you were a grado owner, I really can't say if you would like the HE-400's take on treble or not, as I've never heard a grado before, and grados are infamously known for being the brightest on the market.
 
Apr 17, 2012 at 1:23 PM Post #19 of 49

MattTCG

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Quote:
First of all, excellent review TMRaven. 
 
I have a question or concern rather that is kind of putting me off these headphones. They are being described as dark everywhere I read. Reading from the glossary "dark" would mean the lower frequencies are emphasised and the treble is rolled off. To me this translate to a thick rather heavy sound that is congested with little or no air to breathe. Having heard the Grados (80 and 225) I discovered that I like my music to have some air, which also gives vocals some sparkle and natural projection. Because of that I have to have an open back, but it seems the HE-400 is doing the opposite. I had some HD558's for example, and found them very boring. Are they considered dark?



I would agree with Raven. While dark may be somewhat accurate, their is plenty of sparkle to the treble when needed. Not an issue at all for me. This a is fantastic hp at the price point and really just fun to listen to. 
 
Apr 17, 2012 at 2:15 PM Post #20 of 49

WiR3D

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I would agree with Raven. While dark may be somewhat accurate, their is plenty of sparkle to the treble when needed. Not an issue at all for me. This a is fantastic hp at the price point and really just fun to listen to. 


Now I am even more confused, I love the highs of the d2k, it feels for me as if my AKG K242HD cant quite hit it, I dont know if this is a quantity thing or a quality thing, but with more classical music and some jazz having the highs hit quite crisply whilst not being piercing and still being smooth and not aggressive.
 
the wording in general with highs is confusing, and I assume often used incorrectly, can someone explain the difference between sparkle and bright? I gather a treble spike is referring to the brightness. Maybe I just need more headphones :p
 
Apr 17, 2012 at 2:30 PM Post #21 of 49

TMRaven

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To me sparkle's an extremely subjective term that should probably never be thrown around, but I can't help myself from doing it.  :p  It's that magical word any audiophile throws out when they feel something's satisfied them in treble extension and presence.  Bright can be taken as a massive treble spike, or just the overall sound of a headphone.
 
I feel as if D2000 has more quantitive treble than the HE-400, but the HE-400's treble doesn't get grating like the D2000's can at times, so in that sense it's smoother.  I never find myself wanting more if it, though.  Treble percussion ranging from triangles to bells to hi-hats to cymbals etc never seem lacking to me.
 
Apr 17, 2012 at 2:31 PM Post #22 of 49

jerg

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Quote:
Now I am even more confused, I love the highs of the d2k, it feels for me as if my AKG K242HD cant quite hit it, I dont know if this is a quantity thing or a quality thing, but with more classical music and some jazz having the highs hit quite crisply whilst not being piercing and still being smooth and not aggressive.
 
the wording in general with highs is confusing, and I assume often used incorrectly, can someone explain the difference between sparkle and bright? I gather a treble spike is referring to the brightness. Maybe I just need more headphones :p



Sparkle means there's not a roll-off at the top-end, while bright means there's a prominent spike at the top-end. ...Or the other way around...
 
I dunno man. lol. All I know is these (HE400's) have an extremely nonfatiguing treble that doesn't lose the edge/sparkle.
 
Here's the treble profile of HE400's from a sinewave sweep:
 
pretty even from 5kHz to 8kHz except a slight hump at 7kHz, then a slight valley at 9kHz, then jumps back to constant response from 10kHz all the way to 17kHz before slowly rolling off. I don't know how people interpret this kind of stuff but hey this treble profile works great for my ears.
 
Apr 17, 2012 at 2:34 PM Post #23 of 49

Magick Man

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Malveaux has all three of these...he300/400/d2k. I asked him about it and he called the sound of the 300 "strange, with wonky mids." Not really sure what wonky means but it was enough to turn me off to them. 


He's right, but the wonky mids were in the first revision, the new rev 2s have been fixed.

http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/HiFiMANHE300.pdf
http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/HiFiMANHE300Rev2.pdf
 
Apr 17, 2012 at 2:35 PM Post #24 of 49

Magick Man

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Malveaux has all three of these...he300/400/d2k. I asked him about it and he called the sound of the 300 "strange, with wonky mids." Not really sure what wonky means but it was enough to turn me off to them. 


He's right, but the wonky mids were in the first revision, the new rev 2s have been fixed.
I tend to trust his opinion, so it seems not what I would expect, owell they couldnt make it too good or it would kill its bigger brother.


http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/HiFiMANHE300.pdf
http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/HiFiMANHE300Rev2.pdf
 
Apr 17, 2012 at 3:25 PM Post #26 of 49

Magick Man

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Seems like they fixed the mids at the expense of bass response.


Most of the time you don't notice too much, the bass is still very good, but that's partly why they complement the D2000s so well. D2000s just have amazing extension for their class.
 
Apr 17, 2012 at 3:51 PM Post #27 of 49

WiR3D

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Sparkle means there's not a roll-off at the top-end, while bright means there's a prominent spike at the top-end. ...Or the other way around...
I dunno man. lol. All I know is these (HE400's) have an extremely nonfatiguing treble that doesn't lose the edge/sparkle.

Edgy is a bad adjective, it implies sharp and aggressive which is generally unpleasant.
 
Quote:
To me sparkle's an extremely subjective term that should probably never be thrown around, but I can't help myself from doing it.  :p  It's that magical word any audiophile throws out when they feel something's satisfied them in treble extension and presence.  Bright can be taken as a massive treble spike, or just the overall sound of a headphone.
 
I feel as if D2000 has more quantitive treble than the HE-400, but the HE-400's treble doesn't get grating like the D2000's can at times, so in that sense it's smoother.  I never find myself wanting more if it, though.  Treble percussion ranging from triangles to bells to hi-hats to cymbals etc never seem lacking to me.

mmm for me I dont mind the slightly enhanced treble, and 99.8% of the time its not a problem, but there is that odd song which just "hits" too high (not painful though). I know what lacking treble sounds like, and as long as it doesn't feel recessed, and can still ... well ... sparkle with that odd song, for me it sounds like the denon has sparkle as well as the bright signature, but I would really need more headphones of the same calibre to compare.
 
All this just makes me more curious to hear the HE-400, damn it I need a headphone addict friend in Pretoria (South Africa.)
 
Apr 18, 2012 at 5:01 AM Post #29 of 49

WiR3D

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Since you have the D2000, I can try my best to compare the treble presence of D2000 and HE-400 in specific songs that you know very well.


Thanks!
 
Pink Martini - Amado Mio (flac)
Skrillex - Kyoto (flac)
DJ Fresh - Gold Dust (Flux favillion remix) (MP3 320kb)
Pretty lights - Wayfaring Stranger (flac)    - Good luck finding this, I got it directly from the artist, the flac version makes a difference, and its the most taxing song I have.
Dope Stars - Lies Irae (flac) - available for free on TPB by the artist
 
Its a bit difficult because i dont have my D2k with me now, but that should be good.
 
thanks :p
 
 
Apr 29, 2012 at 11:54 PM Post #30 of 49

TMRaven

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I only compared the Pink Martini song.  The two dubstep songs were too harsh on my brain. 
 
I definitely didn't find a lack of sparkle and shimmer on the HE-400s with the recording.  Although I've never seen an HE-400 frequency response, I wouldn't doubt it has a decent spike in the 10khz region to bring out hi-hats, cymbals and other high frequency instruments.  The upper midrange recession in the Denons makes a couple of the instruments within the recording have less energy to them as well.  
 
The treble spike on HE-400 actually reminds me of DT990.  It's nowhere near as bright as the DT990's spike, but it's very delicate and refined compared to something like the Denons, which can have a pretty edgy treble.  DT990's treble is really good IMO, even though it's completely out of line.
 

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