Mike and Lieven on the Hifiman HE-400

hifiman_he400_06

We’ve been hearing people complain about the rate at which Hifiman releases a new product into the market, and the release of the Hifiman HE-400 shows that they are not slowing down in any way. This certainly presents a real dilemma to the current owners as the majority of them can’t possibly keep up with the rate at which Hifiman releases a new model. Hence, I would start out this review by saying that it would be good if Hifiman can take some time to slow down.

Having said that, I would still need to acknowledge Hifiman for bringing yet another new offering to the market. Though releases like the HE-4 has been less special among the line up, the models with the hundreds numbers have been quite special offering: the HE-500, the HE-300, and now with the HE-400. The HE-400 comes with a sound signature not found on any of the other Hifiman models. Which means that Hifiman is not simply trying to push out as many models as they can, but rather they are making different headphones with sound signatures that’s right for each individual’s needs.

Before we continue, I need to make a note that since both me and Lieven each received one unit from Hifiman, we decided to do a collaboration for this review. This is the first time we’ve done a collaborative review so I hope you guys will like it.

Sound Impressions

I will start with Lieven’s impressions (in blue), while my impressions are in black.

The HE-400 is a fun headphone when listening to the right music and the sound is clear as you would expect from an orthodynamic headphone. What springs out most is the bass, and that (like Fang announced before) is definitely aimed to please a broader audience that listens to popular bassy hitlist music. On the downside this headphone sounds very closed and dark for an ortho, especially compared to the other Hifimans and Audeze’s. You get a more “headphone” kind of sound where the music is in your head instead of feeling you are right there. The HE-400 gives you a nice balance, clarity and instrumental separation as you would expect though. Layering is quite good and there even is a reasonable amount of detail from bass to mids and highs, but it is nowhere near the level of more expensive orthos, so don’t think you will be getting the same level of sound just because you’re buying an “orthodynamic”. To come back to the bass, it is the punchiest bass of the Hifiman/LCD-2 series, is always right around the corner and as soon as you start playing bass heavier music, the HE-400 comes alive most. From time to time it overpowers the mids a little, but I wouldn’t say that’s a constant issue.

To my ears it that makes it a great headphone for electronic/dance music and maybe for some rock but I can’t say I like the way it portrays classic music, jazz or vocally strong music. It is a bit more aggressive sounding, not forward sounding, but at the same time it is thicker, lots. It’s a lot more fatiguing to listen to the HE-400 for hours if you’re used to the HE-500 or LCD-2, but I guess that is personal preference as well.

Is the HE-400 a good overall headphone? Yes. Would I recommend it to anyone? Ofcourse. If you want to have a taste of the ortho sound for a great price, if you like bass heavy music and if you’re coming from a lower level headphone, then the HE-400 will amaze you from the start and you shouldn’t doubt buying it. If you’re not especially looking for an orthodynamic, then I would still recommend the HD600/650 line, which is pretty hard to beat as it portrays ALL music styles in a better way (and not just some specific ones). At the same time if you’re already used to how the more expensive HiFi orthos sound, then I don’t see any reason to add this one to your collection (unless you want a bassy one for electronic music, like me). The latest in the Hifman series in no way can replace the LCD-2 or the higher Hifimans.

The tuning on the HE-400 is unlike any of the previous Hifiman headphones. Zero emphasis on treble, but instead you get something really dark that it sounds like something Audez’e might have done. Obviously the technicalities is nowhere on the level of the HE-500, HE-6, or even Audez’e LCD-2′s, but at $400 the HE-400 is not designed to compete with the higher up models. It does, however, improve on the sound of the previously released HE-4, as well as the dynamic driver HE-300. You get the signature orthodynamic transients and clean black background, though again soundstage performance is sub-par to the higher up orthos.

The HE-400 makes for a very appealing offering for an entry level orthodynamic. The voicing should work very well with the majority of mainstream music. The dark tonality gives a good amount of bass, though not LCD-2 low, the treble is unoffensive, the midrange is clear and full. The presentation is forward and the pace is moderately fast. Though the HE-500 and the HE-6 are still the more impressive headphones, the HE-400 makes for a better day to day headphone for me since I can play all sorts of recordings on this headphone.

Compared to the older HE-4, the HE-400 is definitely more special. It’s smoother sounding, the background is blacker which gives you better clarity, and most of all the bass and the midrange is fuller and punchier than on the HE-4. Compared to the HE-300, though the dynamic-based HE-300 was a pretty good all rounder, the quality of the driver was sub-par to the HE-400′s planar. You don’t get the transients and the clarity of the planar, and the HE-300 is still a mellower headphone than the HE-400, whereas the HE-400 is more forward and has a better PRaT.

Overall, the HE-400 is the darkest sounding Hifiman yet. Darker than anything that’s come before it and definitely darker than the HE-500 and the HE-6.

 

Continue to the next page…

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  • Andrew Smith

    Guys, you’ve captured the sonic essence of the HE-400 extremely well with your incisive and accurate review. I agree with your comment that HiFiMan are bringing too many new offerings to market, as my HE-400 are defective and have lost sound to one driver. Whilst this fault will be rectified, it shouldn’t have occurred in the first place and smacks of shoddy quality control, as regardless of product cost an item should be fit for purpose.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks Andrew, I agree about the QC.

  • Anonymous

    Can’t wait to get my pair, but I agree with you two: HiFiMAN pumps this stuff out too fast.  I had major QC issues with both my HE-500 and my HE-300.  I really like them now that they’re functional, but I struggled up to this point.  Excited to see a pair of orthos with that lower-end even though I personally prefer a bit of a brighter sound for rock.  Thanks for the review Mike and Lieven.

    • http://twitter.com/rhubbinho rhubbinho

      Hi, Can you please elaborate – I just placed an order for a HE-500 (coming off a disappointing experience with the QC of the HE-400) and am curious what the issues were … Thanks!

      • Anonymous

        For what it’s worth, I never had any issues with my HE-500.

      • Anonymous

        I think they resolved the issues in both the 500 and the 300; however, initially there were some problems.  The HE-500 shipped with some seriously temperamental cables in the first run, and with my HE-300, I got major static through the left earcup.  HiFiMAN was quick to ship me a replacement unit, but I think it’s generally safe to wait a few weeks after they release a product.

        Now, however, you’ll be absolutely fine with buying the HE-500.  They’re a really fun headphone—still amongst my favorite—you’ll love them!

        • http://twitter.com/rhubbinho rhubbinho

          Thanks for the prompt response and clarification – I am looking forward the phones … unfortunately they’re currently out of stock but should receive them within 2 weeks.

        • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

          Yes the HE-500 is truly a big hit. One of the best around. 

  • Maciek Biskupiak

    Hmm, I’m considering the He-400 as my first proper headphone (I find my friend’s hd650 lacking in bass), but I’m worried the sound signature won’t fit me. I listen to mostly rock and some jazz 

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

      Do you find the HD650′s bass to lack the punch? Cause that’ll be the issue for Rock. 

      By the way what sort of Rock? 

      • Maciek Biskupiak

        Thanks for the reply Mike.You’re right the hd650′s haven’t got enough punch behind their base.  I listen to mostly classic rock, Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, Black Sabbath, Queen, etc. and I think I could use something slightly more “bassy”

        • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

          Yes if that’s the case I think the HE-400 will be a better fit. What’s important here is that the bass on the HE-400 is more punchy, and that’s what you need for rock.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000506765267 Aaron Michael Shelton

    Great review as always! Can you maybe add some in depth sonic comparisons between other headphones in this general tier such as the HD6x0/DT880/Q701/ or D2000 etc so that we can can have a better idea and understanding of what these might sound like compared to the more well known headphones of the tier rather than comparisons to headphones that cost twice as much? Just that most people who would consider purchasing these are probably looking at things closer to the $350/400 mark rather than $700-1k.

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

      Thanks Aaron. That’s a good question, let me try to write something up, maybe an addition to the review. 

      • Anonymous

        Thanks! It just seems like everyone is only comparing them to the other high end orthos and disregarding the price difference. I mean I would hope the $700 big brother would sound better! :P. Plus I know for other people like myself who haven’t had the chance and might not get the chance to hear any of those high end cans don’t really have any idea of what they sound like, but when compared to something closer to their price range it gives more context. Keep up the great reviews, been a fan for quite some time now!

        • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

          Thanks Aaron. 

  • Anonymous

    Great work guys.  From the review I understand amp selection will greatly effect weather hd650 or he400 will come out on top.  I realize the hd650 will scale better but the   Question is which one would pair better with schiit asgard.  Thanks.

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

      I haven’t had the chance to pair the HE-400 with the Asgard, but based on my experience with the HE-500 & Asgard, I think the HE-400 would be pretty light for the Asgard. 

  • Shih Yik Tan

    Hi, I’m considering to buy either HE-4 or HE-400, so I’m wondering which would be a better complement to HD600. I enjoy HD600s alot through an AMB M^3, the only two things that’s unsatisfying are micro-detail retrieval and layering. That is why I’m now looking to purchase either one of these. Any inputs would be greatly appreciated as there are not many resources for HE-4, thanks.

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

      Shih, 
      The HD600 is actually very good in terms of micro detail. You would need to go up to the $1K headphones to get something with better micro detail than the HD600. 

      Layering is okay on the HD600, but if you want to improve on that then the HD650 will give you both better layering and micro details even compared to the Hifiman orthos. 

      The thing about the orthos that makes it easy to pick up the detail is the clean black background. Likewise on instrument separation, the black background makes it easy to get a distinct feel on the instruments, whereas dynamic drivers tend to be more grainy. However if you can listen past the grain on the Senns, then the micro detail and layering are actually better. 

      So my advice is to either upgrade your source or get the HD650. You can even order the HD650 drivers from Senn and replace the stock HD600 driver with it. The shell is still not as good as a genuine HD650 shell, but it should be good enough.

      • Shih Yik Tan

        Thanks Mike, that’s really good information about Senns vs Ortho! I always had the thought that HD650 would be worse at picking up details, as people keep describing it as dark, but now I’ll probably give HD650 a try. 

        • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

          With micro details the HD650 is one of the best out there, but sometimes people mistake the lack of treble as lack of details.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Niko-Adrianus-Yuwono/1428384358 Niko Adrianus Yuwono

    Nice one mike, I like the new concept two different people reviewing on the same product

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

      Thanks, Niko. Glad to hear that.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the great review. I really like the two different points of view. I almost waited for these, but instead went with the HE-300, since I was worried about first batch issues (like the ones they had with the HE-300). 

    My experience with Head Direct/Hifiman has been hit and miss. I ordered a HE-300 in early January on a Sunday night. They said it would take 48 hours to be shipped. 96 hours later I hadn’t heard from them, so I sent a note. Viola, the next day they were shipped. But the tracking they number they provided was for a package heading to Indonesia — and I’m in the US!

    When I finally got the headphones, they didn’t come in the nice box shown in your review and on their site. They were in a really cheap looking/feeling cardboard retail packaging. And they came with a flimsy felt bag that doesn’t even fit the headphones (they stick out). I emailed them about this three weeks ago and have yet to hear back.

    The headphones also came with a thin, braided silver cable, not the black Canare one. (It tends to twist pretty easily and is very microphonic.) Although I’ve heard there are two types of silver cables that Hifiman uses. Anyone know how I can tell which one I received?

    Despite all this, they do sound better than my old HD 280 pros. Not miles ahead, but definitely a bit more open and there is more detail in the midrange/treble area. I’m hoping they will get better with burn in. I’m powering them from my Denon receiver through a JDS Labs cMoy.

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

      Hi Bosk,
      Sorry to hear about all that mess, they definitely need to get the ordering system sorted out. I’m also surprised about the box, can you take a picture of it?
      The silver cable is not the one we received with ours, but I think it is the silver cable which is supposed to be the upgraded version.
      Also, you’re using the headphone with two amps? The Denon and the Cmoy?

      • Anonymous

        Hi Mike, here’s a picture. It’s hard to tell in the image, but the cardboard is rough, you can almost see/feel ridges. And the plastic the headphones sit in is easily dented and also has a rough feel. The bag is on the upper left (they finally got back to me and said it was for the cable — although the blue pamphlet on the right still lists the package contents as including the “travel box”). And the silver cable is there… is that the upgraded version? It’s different from the separate one they sell on their site.

        As far as two amps, I use the cans for a mix of music and TV/movies/gaming. I have my cable box and PS3 running via HDMI to my Denon receiver (music is stored on a NAS  – I listen to it via my PS3). And from the receiver headphone out to the headphone amp. Unfortunately, there is no other audio out on the receiver except for the headphone out.  (And running it through the cMoy does make it sound better to my ears — bigger soundstage and more bass with the boost on).

        My cable box has an extra analog out, as does the PS3 (along with an optical out). Is it better to use those and bypass the receiver? Is there a headphone amp/DAC that can handle both analog and optical? 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Marcos-Moreira/100001905706776 Marcos Moreira

    Great review, guys! It was nice to see both impressions, hope you can do more joint reviews in the future!

    One question: you guys seem to think the Senn 650 is, is many ways, a better headphone. For what i understand, its considered too dark, darker than the Senn 558, which i have and like it for the soundstage mostly, but i’m definitely looking for something more forward sounding since i find it a little too laid back. I listen to lots of music, but mainly Jazz (Vocal Jazz and Jazzfunk mostly), some Afrobeat, some Pop; i’m looking for a headphone with lots of detail and instrument separation (i love my Ety hf5 on that regard but want more bass), articulate/ reasonably punchy bass, good soundstage and mids.

    Am i asking too much? :-) Does the HE-400 fit that bill? BTW, i don’t intend to have a big desktop setup and will probably drive the headphones on a good portable amp and/or something like the Asgard.
    Thanks for the help, guys!
    Marcos

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

      Hi Marcos,
      The HD650 is actually misunderstood very often. It’s one of the most detailed headphone out there, but the lack of treble makes people feel that it’s not detailed. You can read more about that on this review: http://www.headfonia.com/old-school-trio-akg-k701-beyer-dt880-sennheiser-hd650/
      Now I understand what you like on the Ety. It’s probably easier to get the sound that you want with a custom IEM say a JH5Pro. The soundstage and instrument separation of the Ety is one of the best in the industry and it’ll be hard to match that until you get to the flagship headphones — maybe an LCD-2 for you. Otherwise I would recommend the JH5. It’ll give you the Ety soundstage and separation but with much better bass. Besides it sounds like you’re not to fond of big desktop set ups.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Marcos-Moreira/100001905706776 Marcos Moreira

         Thanks for the input, Mike!
        I’ve read the review you linked before, and although the HD650 seems to be excellent, you said that it needs a good amp to shine and i’m willing to spend up to $400 on an amp, and i don’t know if that’s enough to properly “wake” the HD650.
        On your review of the Senn 558/598 i remember you said those were less technical but a little more forward, no? Since i own the 558 and find it too laid back… (they tend to hide a little the trumpets/saxes i love so much)

        The reason i’m not overly excited about buying an expensive desktop setup is that i like to enjoy my music on different places: sometimes on the bed, sometimes on a chair in the living room, sometimes on my computer etc, so i’d prefer to go with a good portable solution.
        Great suggestion, i’ll try the JH5Pro, thanks! But i also want a full size headphone – and, for now, unfortunately can’t afford the LCD-2. Do you know of a “mini LCD-2″ in the $300-500 range? :-)

        • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

          Hi Marcos,
          The 558 is laid back. The 598 is more forward.

          I think you should try the JH5 Pro. I think you’ll like it. Mini LCD-2? Not that I know of.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Marcos-Moreira/100001905706776 Marcos Moreira

            Yeah, i’ll definitely take a look at the JH5Pro, thanks again!
            For a full size can, maybe the Ultrasone Pro900 can *sort of* fit the bill as well?
            And is the ALO Rx Mk2 a good pairing for them?

            • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

              No the Pro900 is very different. The HE-400 is closer to the LCD-2 than any Ultrasone. The ALO Rx Mk2? For which headhone?

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Marcos-Moreira/100001905706776 Marcos Moreira

            Mainly the Senn 558, Ety HF5, JH5Pro and my future “JH5Pro full size-headphone-equivalent” :-) (which, if you didn’t notice, i’m counting on you to help me choose!)

            Ultrasone, Hifiman, Beyer (don’t think so)… help me out! :)
            cheers

          • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

            I think the new JDSLabs C421 is nice. 

            https://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=316049348439769

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Marcos-Moreira/100001905706776 Marcos Moreira

             Really nice impressions, i’m tempted by the C421 (since the Tera is waaay out of my budget :-)
            BTW, which one do you think has the best sound quality: iPod+JDSLabs C421 or the Hifiman 601?

            • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

              The source quality on the Hifiman is much better than the Ipod. The amp section obviously will be better on the Ipod+JDSLabs.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Marcos-Moreira/100001905706776 Marcos Moreira

              Mike, i hate looking dumb, but i can’t help myself, so here it goes:

            When your pair the ipod with a DAC, what’s the source? The ipod or the
            DAC? I would think it’s the DAC, that’s why i couldn’t fully understand
            why, for instance, an ipod and another player would sound different when
            paired with the same DAC, say the Fiio E17 or the C421. Why wouldn’t
            they sound the same? Isn’t the DAC supposed to make the conversion
            instead of the original player? I’m confused…

            Yeah, i read your DAP review, and you talk about how they don’t sound
            the same when paired with the RSA Protector. The big question i had at
            the end was: WHY? And if i paired the ipod with a kickass DAC, could it
            sound better than a high-end DAP like the Hifimans?
            Thanks a lot!

            • http://www.facebook.com/destroysall Chris Allen

              The iPod has a built-in DAC (obviously). Only a few external DACs are able to bypass the iPod’s built-in DAC. Most of the portable DACs that are able to do this are in the $300+ range.

      • http://twitter.com/ontheedgeaustin Austin Morrow

        Mike, I didn’t think there was someone who agreed with me who thought that the HD650 was excellent at detail retrieval. Everybody is always fooled by the recessed treble, the dark nature, and the laid back response. It’s quite sad actually.

        • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

          I didn’t realize that too until a friend pointed that out to me. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/scytus Michael S Teufenkjian

    Great review, would you be able to comment on how the HE-400 compares to the HD598?

    • SoundEskimoo

      IMHO, isn’t comparing HE300 to HD598 will be more suitable? 

    • Julius

      I’d take the HD598 for easy listening and classical listening, the HE400 for everything else. The HE400 is great for rocking out and enjoying Dubstep, R&B, Rap and Techno. Anything bass centered really shines through this headphone. It does everything fairly well, but for easy listening the HD598 is a bit better due to the wider and more laid back presentation presentation. The HE598 is also much lighter. Both are VERY efficient and do not require much amplification, if any at all.

      I’ve ran with my HE500 for a long time now, but I am trying to buy an HE400 to replace it for a little while. I am looking for that more bassy fun experience and the HE400 is definitely the liveliest and bassy of the Hifman headphones.

    • http://www.facebook.com/Crimps James O’Connor

      I own both and much prefer the HD598. I find the HE-400 to be too thick and slow. Due to the heavy bottom and small soundstage I find the HE400 to be more laid back in some ways. The HE400 has fat bass, but the decay is so off the whole headphone sounds somewhat muffled.

      • Julius

        Oh my….the HE400 was muddy? Which version do you have. There was a driver imbalance issue with the first versions. It was fixed with later revision. Hifiman headphones were not designed to house grand sound stage. My definition of “Laid Back” is a bit different than yours. So, I apologize for not clarifying my view.

        To me, Laid Back describes a few qualities that include:

        - more distant sound presentation which is typical of Sennheiser headphones ( that more physically distant location of all sound )
        - A lack of snappy sound qualities, usually in the highs or the lows.
        The less punchy the sound, the more laid back I consider it to be.
        -Broad Bass that is not so solid and is more velvet like in tonality. It is not so pure feeling, such as Audezes Bass for example, but is more stretched and more Floodlight than Spotlight. Larger, less focused.

        I found the HD598 to have a more distant location to everything, that typical Sennheiser wider than tall, distant flavor. The low end was much smoother and less punchy. The HE400 has more slam and a more focused bass experience like most Orthos tend to have. But that is just my definition of it, others may have a different view. :)

        • http://www.headfonia.com/ L.

          HE400 rev 1 and Rev 2 review coming very soon on Headfonia.com. I wouldn’t call the HE400 muddy, not even the Rev 1

          • Julius

            Me either :

        • http://www.facebook.com/Crimps James O’Connor

          Well I used the word “muffled” not muddy. I say this because I feel that the weight of the bass reduces the clarity of the midrange. I would agree that the HE-400 has more bass impact, but I would not describe it as focused personally.

          I has the HE-400 which is white around the driver as opposed to black. I believe this is Rev 2? But I am not sure of that.

          • http://www.headfonia.com/ L.

            That is Rev 2

          • http://twitter.com/Original_Ken Ken Stuart

            Here is what I think is going on:

            A totally flat response headphone will have far less bass than a totally flat response speaker – because the headphone listener can only hear the bass through his ears, while the speaker listener can feel the bass through his whole body.

            Over the last 10 years, manufacturers have started moving away from a flat response headphone like the HD600 or the AKG Studio headphone series, in order to provide listeners with a similar bass quantity as when they listen through speakers.

            However, in order to increase the perceived bass quantity through the ears only, at the same volume, a headphone must have corresponding less midrange and treble.

            Generally, this means less clarity, less detail, and less air. Clever designers are coming up with ways to mitigate this (such as the Senn’s use of angled drivers to increase imaging and thus increase perceived detail), but if you are comparing a “realistic bass” headphone like the HE400 to a “flat response” headphone like an AKG (or the SRH-1840), then it is going to sound “muffled” or “dark”.

            • http://www.facebook.com/Crimps James O’Connor

              An interesting point regarding feeling bass. Although I certainly associate that more with car speakers.

              Just even as a bass headphone I was disappointed. Although it is heavy enough to intrude on mids, the Pro700MK2ANV, to my ear, has faster more impactful bass, although it does sound even more closed. And the HFI-780, lacks some impact to the HE-400, but the bass still has great punch,with crystal clear mids.

              I do NOT think Headfonia has overhyped this headphone, but I was very very disappointed, and I feel that maybe the community at large has. Closest sound I could compare to is the DT 990. I just want to throw in my opinion that a more expensive orthodynamic is not definitively better than the HD 598.

  • SoundEskimoo

    Mike, as the HE-400 pretty easily to be driven by cheap portable amp ($500-600 setup). Planar advantage with easy listening, dark sounding character & nice bass emphasis. Will you recommend it for newbie against amp-heavy HD650/HD600? Genres choice will be all popular mainstream music. 
    People appraise HD650 as a benchmark, but to exploit the full potential you will need expensive amp (about more than $1000 setup)

    thanks.

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

      Ummm… it’s still a matter of sound signature so yes both are good in their own way.

  • maki

    Hello! Great review.
    I want to buy this model but i owned an ATH-AD900 yet… How does the HE-400 compares to the AD900? In buying the he-400 will i really win in audio sound?

    Thanks

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike
      • maki

        Hello,Yes i read it. I like the AD900 too :-)
        Finally i order the Hifiman he-400! I think it can be complementary to me… Thanks for respondKeep up good work
        Maki
        Subject: [hfn] Re: Mike and Lieven on the Hifiman HE-400

        • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

          You’re welcome, Maki.

  • Habu

    deleted

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

      I don’t know, no plans for now, Habu. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/eyal1983 Eyal Sade

    What’s better, the D5000 or the HE-400 ?
    i’m not a bass-head, it makes me headache. but i DO like to feel the sub-bass.. i listen to new-age, ambient, and electronic music.. i need imaging (sound-stage, and instrument separation, + refinement).-Eyal

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

      Hmmm I’m not quite sure at how much bass would be right for you. Anyway between the two the HE-400 is the bassier headphone.

  • mike sin

    Which will sound ‘better’ overall in sound quality when paired with a Matrix M-Stage Amp and E17 as a DAC? Also soundstage wise, which one has a more 3D sound?

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

      Mike, what is the point of reference for the comparison here?

  • Burju

    Mike,
    I would like to know if speaker tap-ing my HE 400 using HE adapter through Hifiman balanced cable into a Jolida FX10 tube amp, will be a suicide mission or not.
    Jolida FX10 has

    Technical Specifications:
    Maximum power Output: 12 W per channel at 8 ohms, 1KHz
    Rated Output Power: 10 W per channel at 8 ohms, 26Hz to 50KHz
    Frequency Response: (at 1 watt into 8 ohms) 17Hz to 37KHz + 1dB; 0dB at 1KHz
    Bandwidth: 14Hz to 50KHz + 3dB; 0dB = 10 W 1KHz, 8 ohms
    Distortion THD + N: Less than 1% at 10 W output, 39Hz to 10KHz, 8 ohms
    Circuit Type: Ultra Linear, Class AB1
    Input Impedance: = or < 100Kohms
    Input Sensitivity: Max. 670 mV for 10 watt output at 1KHz
    Output Impedance: 4 ohms and 8 ohms
    Negative Feedback: Less than 3 dB
    Signal & Noise Ratio S/N: 81dB below rated output from 10Hz to 200Khz

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

      Burju,
      12Wpc is MAX output. If you control the levels using the volume pot, it shouldn’t output anywhere near 12W.

      One thing you need to VERY CAREFUL with is the volume knob. That’s it. As long as the volume knob stays in low levels, then it should be relatively safe.

      • Burju

        Mike,
        You are the man, I really appreciate you. I was expecting you to tell me to not even try this (suicide mission = blow out your ortho/ears). Aah this is my kryptonite, volume level listening, I listen to my ALO Continental V2 + HE 400 at 3 to 5 o’clock on volume knob on low gain. If I remember correctly that you didn’t even listen pass the 12 o’clock. So low levels volume knob means less than 10 o’clock (speaker tapping)? I am worried of the humming too or the hiss.
        I really envy people that still have perfect listening ears. That is why I am trying to savor every bit of my capability to listen to good music before I lose it (10 years working in Harley Davidson do not help my ears too….hahaha).
        Thanks again Mike, Cheers.

        • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

          Burju,
          I don’t know what volume level on the Jolida will give you a good loudness level. What I suggest you do is start with the volume knob at absolute minimum and go up slowly until you feel the volume is good. My simple logic tells me that if your ears can still handle the loudness level, then it should be safe for the headphone drivers.

          Cheers

          • Burju

            Mike,
            Wise…..wise man. those replies are very logical explanation and encouragement.
            Cheers

            • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

              You’re welcome, Burju.

  • Trent_D

    I am looking forward to hearing your opinion on the rev 2 drivers. I have the yen to save up for a hifiman, and I’m not sure which one to go for.

    • http://twitter.com/Original_Ken Ken Stuart

      If the idea is to experience the “HiFiMan sound”, then there is little point to the HE-300 since it is the only one without a planar driver. Then, having said that, HE-400 is US$400 and HE-500 is US$700 and others even more, so you have to be saving up quite a bit for anything other than the HE-400. :)
      Also, I’ve found that the difference between a planar and a dynamic driver headphone is much less than the difference between a planar and a dynamic driver speaker. I think this is due to the fact that a dynamic driver speaker has a box which adds coloration, while this is not a significant factor in headphones. And the difference between a several foot long flat source and a point source (speakers) is much more than the difference between a several inch long flat source and a point source (speakers).
      So, don’t expect the same difference that one finds between a Magneplanar and bookshelf speakers in a box.

      • Trent_D

        I have heard the he-300 before and I liked it. It isn’t mr. technicalities, but I did really like its sound.

    • http://www.headfonia.com/ L.

      He-400 / He-500 / HE-6 are so different. Check out what Julius just wrote on the HE400. It is an awesome headphone for rock and everything with bass. Vocally strong music, classical, etc I do advise the HE-500. HE400 is easiy to drive, he500 not so easy. What way do you want to go? and why orthos?

      Sorry the Driver Review is ready to be published but it is missing pictures. I’ll try to get that done ASAP.

      • Trent_D

        Looking for something mid-centric, warm, with a pace somewhere between the HD650 and the HD25. Jazz, vocals, folk, and yes I am well aware I am answering my own question. As far as why orthos, i like variety. Something a little different.

        • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

          Sounds like the HE-500 with a nice warm amp.

          • Trent_D

            Yep, that is exactly what it sounds like. I liked John’s idea of selling a kidney.

            • http://www.headfonia.com/ L.

              HE5 or HE500?

              • Trent_D

                Thanks, I meant HF5. I changed it.

  • Alex Burrows

    I want the HE400 but I’m concerned about the sound leakage…everyone
    says it’s like playing music using speakers…How loud does it actually
    get? I assume everyone around you can hear the music at the same volume that you can?

    • Julius
      • Alex Burrows

        Was the starting volume your normal listening volume?

        Thanks

        • Julius

          Yes. The volume started on normal listening volume for the HE400 and HE500, I started the HE6 on Max and toned it back to the same dial position it was with the HE500, which is a bit too low.

  • Justin

    Hello, now i have Sennheiser HD 515 + (integrated computer sound card)<——-I know this sucks : (. I want to buy He 400, I listen Rock, Metal, Vocals, Pop, R&B is amazing for my listening gentres ? and what Amp, Dac do you recommend most for this headphones ? What about O2+Odac or O2+ HRTII+ ? Amp, dac budget under 350$

  • George Lai

    Mike, I hate Facebook. Because Treoo just announced the HE400 at a shade below USD400, delivered to one’s home. As you know here in Singapore, it’s impossible to test this in the shops so it’s very tempting. Since your review a year ago, any new thoughts? Also is the stock cable really that thick and unwieldy? Thanks

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

      Stock cable is still thick, yes.

      The HE400 is a really nice headphone, on some occasion it can replace the LCD2 while only costing half. You get a similar dark planar sound with punchy bass. The LCD2 hits and extends deeper than the he400, and soundstage depth is better as well. On some music, the more forward he400, does sound more fun.

      I’ve been using the he400 a lot more than the other Hifimans.

      • George Lai

        Dang. Another one to consider for the collection.

        • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

          Well I was just trying to answer your question…

          • George Lai

            Just received my HE-400 from the US of A for USD320. What a headphone for that price, especially for rock. I think that completes my collection. At least for now …

            • http://www.headfonia.com/ L.

              It took you 6 months? ;-)

              Yes it is a very good headphone. Enjoy it George

              • George Lai

                Hi Lieven, yes it did because I missed the special pricing 6 months ago and dealers here wanted USD478 which I refused to pay. With the savings I put on LCD2 vegan ear pads!

                • http://www.headfonia.com/ L.

                  Ah yes, I still need to buy those vegan pads, I love how they feel!

  • SoundEskimoo

    which one more suitable for EDM & mainstream pop, r&b genres? LCD2 or HE400?

    • http://www.headfonia.com/ Headfonia_L.

      HE400

      • SoundEskimoo

        could you describe a bit for bass section?

        • http://www.headfonia.com/ Headfonia_L.

          HE400 has the hardest bass, LCD2 the best bass

          • SoundEskimoo

            thanks for the advice, i will try them soon