Review & Comparison: HE-400 vs D2000 with snippets of HD650 thrown in
Apr 30, 2012 at 3:51 AM Post #31 of 49

WiR3D

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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.

 
I listed the dubstep recordings because they can be particularly harsh, with the D2k+stx combo its a painful experience. Was curious how the HE-400 handles the treblehead songs.
 
But thanks anyway :) its a good comparison, although I'm selling my Denon D2000, buying the D7000 :p
 
Apr 30, 2012 at 10:18 AM Post #32 of 49

IEMCrazy

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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.

 
Like I said on another thread, I think the "darkness" of HE-400 is sort of a "psychoacoustic darkness" more than a true darkness.  The same can probably be said for LCD-2.  There's a solid bass response and the lower mids have a bit of dark color, probably largely due to the pleather pads.  However, the mids are pretty neutral, and combined with the sparkle from the treble spike and the ortho-characteristic smooth, fast transients, ONLY the lower end is actually dark, and no part is slow.  So like how people think HD650 is slow due to the psychoacoustics of the laid back sound, when in fact they're lightening fast, I think it's easy to think of HE-400 as dark when in fact it's pretty neutral.  But the pleather and the low-end give it a dark mood, and combined with the slight treble rolloff that keeps them non-fatiguing, gives them a nice "dark but lively" sound.  It has an amazing effect for anything that needs a bit of an echo/reverb (live recordings, classical, jazz, solo instruments that need a bit of reverb (it does amazing things for piano for example.)  That dark timbre really works for those sorts of things since that's how we'd hear it live.
 
Denons by contrast (speaking of D5k, not D2k...same drivers, so YMMV), I would call bright.  They have that low, low extension, but the rest of their spectrum seems relatively bright to my ears.  Not K702 or HD800 bright, but generally in a brighter mode.  Not as fatiguing as K702, not as dark and wieghty as HE-400.
 
D5k is a very different headphone than either HE-400 or HD650.  I imagine the same goes for D2k. D5k, probably due to the wood, is generally warmer and brighter than the dark and heavy (but never slow) HE-400, but neither is as airy as HD650 or K702.
 
Apr 30, 2012 at 11:09 AM Post #33 of 49

WiR3D

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Quote:
 
 
Like I said on another thread, I think the "darkness" of HE-400 is sort of a "psychoacoustic darkness" more than a true darkness.  The same can probably be said for LCD-2.  There's a solid bass response and the lower mids have a bit of dark color, probably largely due to the pleather pads.  However, the mids are pretty neutral, and combined with the sparkle from the treble spike and the ortho-characteristic smooth, fast transients, ONLY the lower end is actually dark, and no part is slow.  So like how people think HD650 is slow due to the psychoacoustics of the laid back sound, when in fact they're lightening fast, I think it's easy to think of HE-400 as dark when in fact it's pretty neutral.  But the pleather and the low-end give it a dark mood, and combined with the slight treble rolloff that keeps them non-fatiguing, gives them a nice "dark but lively" sound.  It has an amazing effect for anything that needs a bit of an echo/reverb (live recordings, classical, jazz, solo instruments that need a bit of reverb (it does amazing things for piano for example.)  That dark timbre really works for those sorts of things since that's how we'd hear it live.
 
Denons by contrast (speaking of D5k, not D2k...same drivers, so YMMV), I would call bright.  They have that low, low extension, but the rest of their spectrum seems relatively bright to my ears.  Not K702 or HD800 bright, but generally in a brighter mode.  Not as fatiguing as K702, not as dark and wieghty as HE-400.
 
D5k is a very different headphone than either HE-400 or HD650.  I imagine the same goes for D2k. D5k, probably due to the wood, is generally warmer and brighter than the dark and heavy (but never slow) HE-400, but neither is as airy as HD650 or K702.

 

Nice
 
Apr 30, 2012 at 11:54 AM Post #34 of 49

TMRaven

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The darkness in the HE-400 IMO probably comes from the recordings themselves.  Different recordings either extend all the way to 20khz or get rather anemic around 10khz.  But in general I think I'd still consider HE-400 warm-- warmer than  silver screen HD650 because it has less upper midrange energy from my memory.  Denons I'd probably consider dark and bright depending on the recording as well.  Their u-shaped frequency response either renders things with a darker timbre or brighter timbre, and usually never an in-between.  
 
 
I decided to give the Skrillex song a go this morning with iTunes' 90 second preview.  Once again I don't really find a significant lack of treble on the HE-400's compared to the D2000.  
 
 
 
Apr 30, 2012 at 12:40 PM Post #35 of 49

IEMCrazy

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The darkness in the HE-400 IMO probably comes from the recordings themselves.  Different recordings either extend all the way to 20khz or get rather anemic around 10khz.  But in general I think I'd still consider HE-400 warm-- warmer than  silver screen HD650 because it has less upper midrange energy from my memory.  Denons I'd probably consider dark and bright depending on the recording as well.  Their u-shaped frequency response either renders things with a darker timbre or brighter timbre, and usually never an in-between.  
 
 
I decided to give the Skrillex song a go this morning with iTunes' 90 second preview.  Once again I don't really find a significant lack of treble on the HE-400's compared to the D2000.  
 
 

 
Your comparison is probably more true for D2k.   D5k doesn't really have that u-shaped frequency but is instead pretty linear across.  I believe the primary difference of the damping/wood difference is that the mids are much more forward and balanced in the overall mix.  Since the question asked was about D2k, your statements are probably more useful than mine. 
 
Between D5k and HE-400, both are balanced and (mostly) linear in the mids and highs, yet the Denons come across as much brighter overall.  Neither is truly fatiguing though (amp pending.)  My rating would be:
 
HD650 (silver): Warm, polite, slightly dark, relaxing.
HE-400: warm, smooth, darker, more alive, better extension.  Less relaxing.
D5k: Bright, but in a warm wood sort of way (like a bright guitar.)
K702: Flat, dry, cold, analytical, fatiguing, yet somehow addictive. It's darker than a Grado?
 
But with the more "fun" u-shape of the D2k, I can see where you're coming from in saying it's either dark or bright.  It sounds like TF10 in that regard.
 
I agree though, I never (ever) find treble lacking on HE-400.  But on the Denons I get more "sparkle action"....more sharp transients that make you go "wow", which is the same type of thing that folks love about T1 and HD800, but also gets tiring much more quickly.  HE-400 I could listen to all day. The Denons I couldn't take more than a few hours.  K702, an hour tops.
 
Apr 30, 2012 at 1:30 PM Post #37 of 49

IEMCrazy

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The darkness in the HE-400 IMO probably comes from the recordings themselves.  Different recordings either extend all the way to 20khz or get rather anemic around 10khz.  But in general I think I'd still consider HE-400 warm-- warmer than  silver screen HD650 because it has less upper midrange energy from my memory.  Denons I'd probably consider dark and bright depending on the recording as well.  Their u-shaped frequency response either renders things with a darker timbre or brighter timbre, and usually never an in-between.  
 
 
I decided to give the Skrillex song a go this morning with iTunes' 90 second preview.  Once again I don't really find a significant lack of treble on the HE-400's compared to the D2000.  
 
 

 
BTW, one thing I disagree with you on in your review is the Denon cable.  The Canare that comes with the HE-400 is infinitely more stiff than the supple Denon cables.  I do wish the Denon cables were replaceable however, so I still give the edge to HE-400.  But in terms of the feel, flexibility, and manageability (and microphonics), the Denons win.  That Canare Starquad is one of the stiffest cables I've ever had, has nasty microphonics, and is impossible to manage.  It's CL2 4-conductor balanced microphone cable meant for in-wall & conduit runs in a studio for crying out loud!
eek.gif
  It's a nice SOUNDING cable, of course, but in terms of managing it, forget it!  But I'll take it any day of the week over the "failure comes built in" HE-500 silver cable....
 
Apr 30, 2012 at 1:40 PM Post #38 of 49

TMRaven

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I have noticed some subtle microphonics here and there from the canare cable, but it isn't enough to really make a point out of.
 
While I can agree that the canare can be very stiff, it hasn't tangled on me like the Denon's cable does.  It's more willing to comply when I wrap it up into a coil using the width of my fingers as well.
 
Apr 30, 2012 at 1:56 PM Post #39 of 49

WiR3D

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The darkness in the HE-400 IMO probably comes from the recordings themselves.  Different recordings either extend all the way to 20khz or get rather anemic around 10khz.  But in general I think I'd still consider HE-400 warm-- warmer than  silver screen HD650 because it has less upper midrange energy from my memory.  Denons I'd probably consider dark and bright depending on the recording as well.  Their u-shaped frequency response either renders things with a darker timbre or brighter timbre, and usually never an in-between.  
 
 
I decided to give the Skrillex song a go this morning with iTunes' 90 second preview.  Once again I don't really find a significant lack of treble on the HE-400's compared to the D2000.  
 
 


Great, I thought I was finally done buying headphones. Since I just bought the D7k, this makes me consider that I may need an ortho.... Yulong d100 first

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Apr 30, 2012 at 2:08 PM Post #40 of 49

ModMax

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I was waiting for your D2K / HE-400 comparison - I must say totally worth the wait.  Best presentation I've seen so far.  I see the HE-400 in my very near future.  Thanks!
 
May 1, 2012 at 10:28 AM Post #41 of 49

IEMCrazy

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Quote:
I have noticed some subtle microphonics here and there from the canare cable, but it isn't enough to really make a point out of.
 
While I can agree that the canare can be very stiff, it hasn't tangled on me like the Denon's cable does.  It's more willing to comply when I wrap it up into a coil using the width of my fingers as well.

 

The worst microphonics don't come from the main Canare cable (well with my old tubes, any time the cable touched anything the tubes would resonate like crazy.  The replacement tubes that are much less microphonic solved that portion of the problem (but no other cable caused that even with the relatively microphonic tubes.)   But for the headphones it's the cables after the split, which I'm not sure are actually Canare still, that bang together when my head moves, or brush against my clothing and the sound from that carries much too easily to the speakers.  If the post-split extensions used a softer jacketing or more internal vibration absorbtion there probably wouldn't be as much to complain about.
 
The stiffness.  Well, flexible cables tangle, ridgid ones don't.  I suppose it comes down to preference, but the Denon is really a nice cable by feel.  While it does tangle if I'm careless due to it being so flexible, that's a natural pentalty for a flexible cable.  The Canare may be more willing to coil, but it's less willing to bend, uncoil, or stay put!  I end up with rows of snakes piled up and bumping into me, arching over the amp, etc.  It's not a huge complaint, but if the Denon cable were detachable and had clip-on connections, I'd buy one for the HE-400s
wink.gif

 
Still, I can't complain much because the Canare is a much better than average stock cable, and it seems durable, unlike the HE-500 silver stock (ugh.)
 
May 1, 2012 at 11:42 AM Post #42 of 49

TMRaven

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Eh, I never really had my AD700, DT990, M50 or HD650 cable tangle on me.  Also, there was a time where I was finding myself always having to dangle the D2000 upside down for the two smaller cables that terminate into either cup to unwind.  Almost a full year later it's not so bad, but at times I still have to do it.  The cable on the D2000 has lots of memory to it.  The smaller, terminating cables never really have gotten back to being fully smooth-- reminds me of a used piece of copper wiring that's been used too much to be smoothed out enough to be used for a copper frame or sculpture.
 
 
Speaking of tubes, one of my Mullards in my little dot's so grumpy that one night my friend just touched the very top of it, and it started whining until I found a perfect resting point for it after some fidgeting.  Tubes are so funny.
 
 
Listened to some game soundtracks with the HE-400 last night.  Even though it was mostly midi and samples, it was still nice to hear how the HE-400 played with the virtual layering of them-- very atmospheric.
 
May 1, 2012 at 12:34 PM Post #43 of 49

IEMCrazy

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Eh, I never really had my AD700, DT990, M50 or HD650 cable tangle on me.  Also, there was a time where I was finding myself always having to dangle the D2000 upside down for the two smaller cables that terminate into either cup to unwind.  Almost a full year later it's not so bad, but at times I still have to do it.  The cable on the D2000 has lots of memory to it.  The smaller, terminating cables never really have gotten back to being fully smooth-- reminds me of a used piece of copper wiring that's been used too much to be smoothed out enough to be used for a copper frame or sculpture.
 
 
Speaking of tubes, one of my Mullards in my little dot's so grumpy that one night my friend just touched the very top of it, and it started whining until I found a perfect resting point for it after some fidgeting.  Tubes are so funny.
 
 
Listened to some game soundtracks with the HE-400 last night.  Even though it was mostly midi and samples, it was still nice to hear how the HE-400 played with the virtual layering of them-- very atmospheric.

 

AD700 cable not tangling
blink.gif
  What did you do, dip yours in concrete?  You should see my AD700s...the cable is all twisted up in a big ball.  It started when I coiled it in the center and gave the plug end one or two wraps around it to shorten the length (it was always causing problems being longer than I needed.  Somehow from simple use the whole thing has since tangled around itself many times over and is in a complete twisted mess.  The Denon cable is the picture of a straight line by comparison!
smily_headphones1.gif
   I can see what you mean about the individual cables after the split, and maybe they would be an issue, but it's good to hear it actually survived being dangled upside down without breaking the cable!
 
Yeah, whining tubes absolutely drive me crazy.   I'm very sensitive to that frequency, and I can barely focus on the music when that happens.  I've gone through a few to get it totally clean.
 
"Atmospheric"...that may be the best yet description of the HE-400s!
 

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