Massdrop x HIFIMAN HE4XX Measurements and Impressions

Discussion in 'Headphone Measurements' started by Marvey, Aug 1, 2017.

  1. Outerspace Wasabi

    Outerspace Wasabi Acquaintance

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    Are they the universe pads?
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2017

  2. LetMeBeFrank

    LetMeBeFrank Acquaintance

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    I'm not sure which pads you mean so I'll tell you that the ZMF pads are the standard Ori Lambskin, I don't think there's more than one version of those, and the stock pads are the Focus-A, "the best hifiman has to offer". If that's the case then I would hate to try their other pads. The rings I bought straight from hifiman, $10 shipped and delivered in 3 days.
     
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  3. Outerspace Wasabi

    Outerspace Wasabi Acquaintance

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    This is the selection on their website:

    [​IMG]

    So, I'm guessing you got the 'Ori Pads' on the top right?

    Unfortunately, I won't be able to buy them until next year.
     
  4. LetMeBeFrank

    LetMeBeFrank Acquaintance

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    Yes those are the ones I ordered.
     
  5. Beau Cauchemar

    Beau Cauchemar Rando

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    I have the Ori lambskins waiting for my 4XXs although I do wonder how the recently introduced perforated lambskin and suede Ori pads would do with them.
     
  6. Vigrith

    Vigrith Rando

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    I'm very glad to hear that - as said, I firmly believe that without a brighter tilted chain these really aren't harsh unless you directly compare them to something like a pair of rev1 LCD-2s.

    Regarding pads if you find them smooth enough as is maybe going full leather may be a little overkill sound-wise but Zach makes wonderful products all around and the comfort of his pads is second to none (in my opinion), so if you do end up ordering those I doubt you'd be disappointed overall.
     
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  7. Outerspace Wasabi

    Outerspace Wasabi Acquaintance

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    I use the HE4XX with the Fostex HP-V1 hybrid tube amp; the treble can be shimmery, but I don't detect any harsh treble spikes.
    Considering that the HD650 is my preferred sound signature, I find the HE4XX sufficiently smooth.

    What kind of effect do you suppose the perforated lambskin pads would have? I typically like mid-centric sound signatures and punchy bass.
     
  8. LetMeBeFrank

    LetMeBeFrank Acquaintance

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    Some updated impressions; The HD650s are better for the music I most enjoy, classic rock, prog rock, and metal. They have better bass and mids with smoother treble. However, one thing I never noticed about the HD650s in gaming is they don't really render sounds from the rear as behind you. Compared to the HE4XX, the HD650 makes rear sound seem more like just out of your peripheral vision. With the HE4XX, picking out the position of sounds coming from behind has never been easier. The front positioning is about tied with the HD650, but anything outside your vision (up, down, behind) is a win for the HE4XX. These will be my go to headphone for more serious shooter games like Arma 3 and Escape From Tarkov.
     
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  9. Beau Cauchemar

    Beau Cauchemar Rando

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    I’m eagerly anticipating more impressions based on mods at this point given all the recent praise with the out-of-box impressions.

    Having custom cables, grill-mods-ready, and ZMF Ori pads (already modded with felt per HE-6 mods), I’ll be posting my findings soon.
     
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  10. Beau Cauchemar

    Beau Cauchemar Rando

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    How is the center image on these? Is less of a side to side experience?
     
  11. lm4der

    lm4der A very good sport - Friend

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    Just received my he4xx. Initial impressions running it off of the Jot are that this thing sounds surprisingly good. It seems to have a lot of clarity, layering and punch to it. It's definitely brighter than the hd650 in the treble, but the treble seems clean. Lots of macro detail for sure. I also tried briefly running it off the valhalla2, and first impressions were that valhalla2 wasn't quite right for it. It sounded a little dull or muddier, i think. More to come...
     
  12. chrolls

    chrolls Rando

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    I'll be waiting dude. Don't like the stock pads much, find them stiff and scratchy. Functional enough I suppose, but I've been allured by how it's been said the sound really "unlocks" with mods and pads you mentioned. 66$ unreturnable ZMF pads with shipping is a lot to risk though, for me. What was the shipping time on the Ori's btw? I haven't been able to get a bead on how long it generally takes, and was hoping I might be able to them in time for C'mas, reservations notwithstanding. Happy modding!
     
  13. LetMeBeFrank

    LetMeBeFrank Acquaintance

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    I ordered my pads on October 30th around midnight, shipped Nov 1st and they were delivered on Nov 3rd. The Ori lambskin pads are worth the price. They are really high quality and very soft along with some very positive changes to the sound of these cans. If you don't want to mutilate your stock pads for the ring, you will need to order the rings from Hifiman, which are like $10 shipped, ordered Nov 21st and delivered Nov 25th.
     
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  14. Outerspace Wasabi

    Outerspace Wasabi Acquaintance

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    What would be the difference in effect between the full leather and the perforated one?
     
  15. LetMeBeFrank

    LetMeBeFrank Acquaintance

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    I couldn't tell you unfortunately, I've never had perforated leather pads before.
     
  16. sheldaze

    sheldaze Acquaintance

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    Not cohesive - more of a brain dump, but here are my thoughts...

    I purchased HE4XX and received it this week. I don't need this headphone, yet my purpose was two-fold. First, I wanted to have a planar headphone to use in listening comparison to my dynamics, which are basically all I kept after recent purging. The HE4XX seemed to be a relatively cheap option to keep my ears familiar with planar. Second, I wanted to start trying my hand at modifications. HD650M is practically my favorite headphone. Reading how to modify the HE4XX into a Code-Lite was exciting because it would be simple.

    Bimby --> Magni 3 w/ stock HE4XX: I was running this for about a day. This does not suck. I could hear what some refer to as less of a veil compared with HD6x0. I would call it the planar speed versus slower dynamic decay. I also heard more deep bass authority on electronic music. But the longer I listened to this setup, the more it reminded me of why I did not keep HE400S or HE400i. The HE4XX sounds like an improved HE400i, not having the same glare. However it was missing something in the sound, clearer in one sense (speed) but less clear in another sense, which I'm not sure how to describe. It is the difference I heard moving from Magni 3 to Vali 2, which I enjoyed on the HD6x0 headphones. That the Magni 3 suited the stock HE4XX meant something else was missing. Even when playing Podcasts, something was a little off. When playing acoustic music, it was harder to hear the difference between the instruments. Listening to the video below, it was extremely easy to hear each instrument, as a different note, but it was difficult to place them. There was sort of a left to right, but the front to back and room interaction was absent.



    Bimby --> Vali 2 w/ Code-Lite: I had already purchased my Beyer pads and some shelf liner, before the folks at Massdrop told me "You are in!" A few fumbled moments later, I have my Code-Lite. I immediately hear everything that @Bill-P says the modification should do. It is noticeably easier to listen to. But I'm also very unhappy. The mids cut-out made some of the spacial cues a little worse. The high frequency sounds were clear at the start of some songs, such as the video below. But when the singer would start, I got lost. When I switched from Magni 3 to Vali 2, there was an improvement, but it was slight.



    Amethyst: I was near to giving up for the day, and trying my own tweaks, for another day. Then I plugged directly into Amethyst, using it as an integrated. Whereas I heard almost no difference Bimby --> Magni 3 versus Amethyst into HD6x0, Amethyst direct into Code-Lite brought back the mid-range spatial cues. As a solid-state listening experience, this was bang on.

    Amethyst --> Sonett 2: This is what I'm happily listening to this morning. I guess I am confused, what the modifications did? I had planned to listen to some of the Massdrop new amplifiers using my standard HD6x0 headphones and HE4XX. But the mods seemed to make entry level Schiit stack to not sound great - to sound confused spatially. I typically thought when a headphone was too bright (i.e. HE1000) that was cause for me to try better gear. But HE4XX is not bright and Code-Lite is even less so. So then why would it sound better on the better gear. I'm feeling stupid at the moment (sorry for the long brain dump). But that's how I'm hearing it.

    TL;DR HE4XX does sound better than HE400S and HE400i, which I owned. HE400S was not a planar in the traditional sense, missing the bass part that draws people to planar headphones. HE400i, non-modified, was just too bright. HE4XX is comfortable (enough) and has improved sonic character. But it was not competing with HD6x0 for me, for overall music listening. Code-Lite improves the frequency response, but (I'm confused) seems to need something, which my entry level test setup does not provide. Code-Lite seems like a litmus test of entry level vs. something good, but I'm lacking in a better description.
     
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  17. chrolls

    chrolls Rando

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    Cool, thx a million! I thought it might even take weeks to get the Ori's, ZMF being more of a small specialist "one-man" operation. I'll probably get some rings too now that u mention that, rather have the stocks as backups. Thx again!

    Btw, here's a tip I gathered from another forum. I think part of the stiffness wasn't just the pads themselves, but the tightness of the screws holding the pads rather firmly in place that makes them not conform to the shape of your face very well. Loosening the screws just enough seemed to alleviate the stiffness somewhat.
     
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  18. chrolls

    chrolls Rando

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    Have you considered trying the Ori pads? Do it--for science :)
     
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  19. PolygonBronson

    PolygonBronson Rando

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    I received my HE4XX a few days ago and I thought I would post some thoughts about it and hopefully get some feedback.

    Right out of the box they sounded good (although this was a honeymoon phase for sure, I tend to get wowed by a headphone right away and more critical listening time I start seeing some flaws) with my little e10k (my work setup) although I had to turn on the bass boost switch to get the bass to a reasonable level. I thought it was just a shortcoming of the amp and that at home on my much more powerful IFI iCAN SE (which sounds amazing with my HE-400). Took them home and plugged them into my iCAN and very lackluster bass (even with the bass boost switch turned on) and harshness in the treble. I figured something was going on that was killing the bass since all of the descriptions and frequency response graphs don't make it look super bass-light.

    I noticed that whenever I would go to remove the headphones the bass would increase dramatically (like 10-15 dB) and after some experimenting I found that if I added a gap behind my ears it would greatly increase the bass. I think this is caused by the shape of my jaw/neck in relation to the pad cavity. So even though I found the Focus-A pads very comfortable I'm going to have to change the pads, unfortunately.

    I pulled out my box of pads last night and did some experimenting.
    I tried my old HiFiMan velour pad first (not the angled velpad, but the standard round one that people buy just for the rings).
    • Immediately I noticed more bass and separation detail
    • Still some harshness in the treble
    • Bass, even though it's better, is barely adequate
    • Adding a gap behind my ears still yielded better bass response
    • These pads are woefully uncomfortable and rock hard
    I also tried my stock HE-400 pads (pleather donut pads) since I had upgraded my HE-400 to Focus Pads long ago.
    • Bass is the best yet and pretty much where I like it
    • About the same detail and separation as the Velour Pad
    • Still some harshness in the upper mid and treble
    • Softer/more comfortable than the Velour Pad
    • Pleather is unpleasant for me, however
    • Adding a gap behind my ears still yields more bass but it's almost too much
    After reading some of the mod tips on here I decided that the shelf liner mod might help out the harsh mid/treble.
    • Shelf liner makes the headphone darker (in line with other comments)
    • Cleaned up the harsh upper mid and treble
    • Still plenty of treble detail and crispness to keep me engaged
    • Makes the overall sound much smoother and refined
    I have more pads I could try (by removing them from other headphones) but I ran out of time last night. The other hopeful candidates would be my Brainwavz oval Hybrid, Shure 1840 velour, and my HE-400's Focus Pads (not the A). Although, I have expectations that everything that's wrong with the Focus Pad-A will be wrong with the Focus Pad. I'm a little tempted to try the Velpad because it's cheap but reading what it does to the 400S I'm thinking it will kill the bass. I'm also worried that pads that seal too well will kill the bass for me.

    I know some used the Dekoni Beyerdynamic leather pads but I would prefer velour (velour > leather > pleather) and I know Dekoni has a regular velour and elite velour Beyerdyamic pad options but I don't want to kill the bass. Has anyone tried any of the other Dekoni Beyerdynamic pads besides the leather? I have also seen the Ori suggested and I might be interested in the suede option when it comes out but that's getting to be a lot of money for a non-returnable pad. I know Brainwavz also has a round velour and sheepskin pad that would fit HE4XX, I think. Also, has anyone had a similar bass experience as me with the HE4XX? Or do I just have a weird head/ears?

    Anyway, to sum up, after doing some tweaking/pad rolling, the HE4XX is a great deal for $169+pad cost. Lots of detail and clarity with some good speed and nicely textured sound. If I was given them without knowing anything about them I would probably put them $250-$300 after a pad swap. I paid $300 for my HE-400 and have zero regrets, despite its flaws.

    Anyways, questions are welcome and any pad advice would be appreciated! :D
     
  20. Outerspace Wasabi

    Outerspace Wasabi Acquaintance

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    I did an amp swap..

    I've noticed that the HE4XX is very picky about sources. For example, the HE4XX, paired with my XRK Audio Pocket Class A amp (an amp that was specifically tuned for my HD650 by the builder), sounds anemic--malnourished-- devoid of bass.

    Paired with my Fostex HP-V1, however, the HE4XX transforms into a different organism.. rumbly and textured--the bass gains heft--and the highs become silky and warm; it begins to rival my HD650 in creating a pleasing listening experience.

    I want to do a pad swap, too, but i'm afraid it'll ruin the synergy between the HE4XX and the HP-V1.
     
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