- Jun 3, 2014
Around here, HD598 owners are expected to think about upgrading to the HD600 or HD650 but is anyone else thinking about the HE-400i? With the HD650 selling below $400 the Hifiman is more expensive but, on the other hand, it shouldn't require an amp upgrade.
HD598 owner here who has upgraded to the HE-400i.
Before reading the rest of my post, keep in mind that I absolutely love the Sennheiser house sound (love the tonality of my HD598, have listened to and love the HD650 and HD800). I just think that their headphones sound the most natural - some people may say they have some kind of veil or that their sound is laid-back, but this is what I think gives Sennheiser headphones their realism.
I think the HE-400i is definitely something worth looking at, instead of the HD600 or HD650. I personally love how the HE400i sounds (slightly warm of neutral). It's overall tonality actually does sound a bit like the HD650 now that I think about it. Compared to the HD598, everything is much fuller. Everything gains a "bassier" (in a good way) sound that just makes it sound better - basically, the HD598 is "thinner" in its sound. You'll really only notice once you move to headphones like the HE-400i or the HD600/HD650. And the bass is significantly improved from the HD598 - both in quantity and in quality, though I can't say that the 400i bass is any better than that of the HD600/HD650 (based on what people have said in the 400i forum)
Soundstage on the 400i is decent. This is something in which I think the HD598 trumps the 400i, because the HD598 simply has a much larger soundstage. Both have excellent imaging abilities (though I'd give a very slight edge to the 400i). I couldn't tell you though how the 400i and 650 soundstage compare to each other, as I simply haven't evalulated the HD650 on my own equipment with which I am familiar with.
The one thing that you'll notice on the 400i is that it's a lot heavier compared to the HD598 or the HD600/HD650. The 400i isn't the heaviest headphone around, but once you've been spoiled by Sennheiser comfort it is kind of hard to accept anything less.