HE-400i

Discussion in 'Headphones' started by Gravity, Nov 20, 2015.

  1. fjrabon

    fjrabon Acquaintance

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2015
    Likes Received:
    84
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Just wanted to send a note over here, as I didn't see it mentioned, but HiFiMan has revised the HE400i design (more than just the 2.5mm cup jacks). Now there is no backplate behind the magnets. HiFiMan said that this was done to increase soundstage, clarity and reduce weight. They believed that after extensive testing a backplate wasn't needed for the HE400i's magnet array. The driver was otherwise unmodified. This idea was first explored with the HE400s because it had the weakest magnets of any planar. After testing HiFiMan felt confident adapting this design for the HE400i's stronger magnet array, believing that the casing was stable enough to keep the magnets stable without the usage of a backplate. It seems the design change was made simultaneous with the introduction of the 2.5mm jack, so if you have 2.5mm cup jacks you have the new backplate-less design as well. Most users seem to believe that, at the very least, it has improved soundstage and "openness", putting its soundstage on par with a HD600, and substantially better than the "old" design. Not much (if any) A/B testing has been done at this point, as understandably almost nobody owns multiple copies of the HE400i.
     
  2. IndySpeed

    IndySpeed Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2015
    Likes Received:
    120
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    Home Page:
    Actually, my headphone is the newer style with the 2.5mm cup jacks... Regardless of the modifications they made, it is a very bright headphone (read: very sibilant). Hands and I along with several others have been discussing this in the modification section. Seems like not much can be done to these or the HE-560s to fix that problem... I have been using some EQ with them, but I have other headphones I like better without having to resort to EQ such as my HD600 or even the HE-500.
     
  3. fjrabon

    fjrabon Acquaintance

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2015
    Likes Received:
    84
    Trophy Points:
    18
    I wasn't responding to anybody in particular, just providing some info that I don't think has made its way over here. I don't find the HE400i bright, in fact I see most people call it warm, but I suppose everybody hears slightly differently. I find the HD600 to be slightly brighter overall (though the HE400i has a mild peak at 8kHz that maybe some people are particularly sensitive to). Cheers.
     
  4. IndySpeed

    IndySpeed Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2015
    Likes Received:
    120
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    Home Page:
    I guess we all do hear differently... I don't hear my HD600 as bright at all, and I hear my HE-500 only slightly bright with the velour ear pads. With my HE-400i being the brightest of them.
     
  5. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

    Staff Member Friend MZR
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    12,087
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Colorado
    Home Page:
    My guess is we're talking about different definitions of bright, and you could throw different amps and music choices into the mix. I always found the HD600 to be a bit "hot" in the upper-mids and pretty balanced beyond 5KHz or so. Is that the brightness you're hearing relative to the HE-400i, fjrabon?

    Also can't rule out HFM product variation. You're more likely to see variance in those sorts of planars than you are the Sennheisers.
     
  6. fjrabon

    fjrabon Acquaintance

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2015
    Likes Received:
    84
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Yeah, that's what I am getting at, and also the HE400i having more bass than the HD600, which has pretty substantial bass roll-off, even for a dynamic. To me 3-4kHz spikes are what makes a headphone "bright", and 8kHz spikes make a headphone "forward" Very little music actually contains 10-20kHz as a fundamental, so what it primarily does is makes treble sound more present/airy, as opposed to louder. It's funny because I've seen the HE400i called bright, I've seen it called warm, I've seen it called neutral. Part of it I think is people coming from dynamics aren't used to planar bass, and their ability to give a full, nearly totally flat response bass without deadening the treble or midrange. Part of it is the 8k spike, which some people are super sensitive to. A weird thing to me is Purrin calling the HE400i intolerably bright/sibilant, when he loves the THX00, which has virtually the same exact 8kHz spike. Not saying he's "wrong" in any way, just that the treble on those two headphones measures almost exactly the same, and to me their treble sounds similar, though the HE400i doesn't have quite the 4kHz suckout that the THX00 does.

    Also, this goes beyond simple product variation. HFM has literally redesigned the HE400i in a fairly major way. The most noticeable aspect of the driver assembly, the backplate, is gone now. Which to let people in this thread know about the fairly major revision that went completely unannounced was the only reason I popped over here in the first place, never intended to get into an argument over whether the HE400i is bright or whatever, haha.

    This is a good example of why I hate using the term "bright" or "bassy" and the like, and tend to just use the actual frequency numbers when possible. treble spans from roughly 2k to 20k, and a peak anywhere in there can make some people call a headphone bright, but they can be completely different sorts of bright, and people's inner ear resonances can make any frequency in that range intolerable for that particular person. My inner ear resonance is around 4k, so the HD600 sounds really bright to me. indyspeed sounds like he has a 8k resonance.
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2015
  7. Tuco1965

    Tuco1965 Suffring from early onset Alzheimer's - Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2015
    Likes Received:
    150
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    Just East Of West
    I have both the HD600 and the HE400i. My old ears don't find the 400i sibilant, but they are definitely brighter than the 600s. If I listen to the 400i and then switch to the 600s, it takes a while for my ears to adjust to the difference in brightness. I find the tonality of the 600s really change with an increase in listening volume. No doubt that what you use in your system can change how both of these sound.
     
  8. IndySpeed

    IndySpeed Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2015
    Likes Received:
    120
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    Home Page:
    As Hands stated, I believe their could be a variety of factors involved. For instance, it was mentioned that there is some product variability with respect to the HE-400i. In fact, as I understand it currently when HiFiMan added the 2.5mm cup jacks they also removed some kind of plate. Well, this might act like the grill mod to some degree that some have mentioned makes the headphone more bright. This is probably the problem I'm experiencing, so if you have an older one with the previous HiFiMan connectors it might be more neutral perhaps. In addition, I think there might be some amp pairing issues. For instance, I just got a Schiit Modi 2 Uber and Schiit Magni 2 Uber for my background music setup when I'm doing bills or whatever and I'm not really paying attention to the music per say. Nonetheless, the HE-400i was much less bright in this setup with the exact same song files, audio player, and computer. It was still sibilant to a degree but no where near as much as on my Lyr 2 with at least some of the tubes which does reach an intolerable brightness and sibilance level. Over the next few weeks, I do plan to go back and retest all of my tubes and LISST on my Lyr 2 with my HE-400i, HD600, and HE-500 to confirm what I'm hearing... Nonetheless, it does appear that the performance of the HE-400i could very well be setup dependent, and it looks like there does appear to be at least two different versions of this headphone which could make quite a bit of difference in the overall tone of the headphone.
     
  9. IndySpeed

    IndySpeed Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2015
    Likes Received:
    120
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    Home Page:
    As I mentioned earlier, I have the newer style HE-400i with the 2.5mm cup jacks. I found the stock HE-400i too bright (piercing and sibilant), and I recently tried it with a FocusPad-A. I have to say that helped a lot. What changes is that the treble is tamed (still slightly hot) and bass is reduced a bit (ever so slightly lighter than I would prefer). In addition, it pushes the mids a bit more forward which probably contributes to a smaller soundstage (still good though). Nonetheless, overall I think it is a big improvement, and it makes these a pretty good headphone. I was lucky to get them on sale during the holidays when they were only $299. Anyway, it now only has a few minor issues. The first being down to just personal preference which was it is still just a little hot in the treble (but still pleasing) and just a little light in bass (again still pleasing) along with needing just a little more bass extension, and I do like the forward mids. The timber seems ever so slightly off in the upper treble, and this might be due to the headphone not being the most resolving when compared to my HE-500 or HD600. I'm not sure if it is slower (less detailed) because of too much dampening or if the newer single-sided magnets do not have enough power to be quick enough. Having said that, I do think the single-sided magnets do contribute to a very clean sound (low distortion). In addition, perhaps being on the slow side probably does contribute to it being very musical versus analytical. Overall with FocusPad-A, I think the HE-400i is a good headphone and a bargain especially if you can get it on sale.
     
  10. Mystic

    Mystic Mystique's Spiritual Advisor

    Friend
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2016
    Likes Received:
    2,641
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    U.S.
    About to get the HM5 angled pads to put on my 400i as well as the grill mod. Let's see how these turn out!
     
  11. Vanheim

    Vanheim Acquaintance

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2016
    Likes Received:
    84
    Trophy Points:
    28
    I got my uncle to buy me a hifiman he-400i during the black Friday sale(I paid him back obvs) and they will be arriving at my door step by the end of May when he'll be visiting my country. As you can tell I've waited a shit long period of time for them and am still waiting... Reading about their treble does worry me as I am normally sensitive to brightness. The best I could do is probably eq it or even mod it. Some one needs to start a hifiman he 400i mod like the Hd800 mod.
     
  12. Vanheim

    Vanheim Acquaintance

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2016
    Likes Received:
    84
    Trophy Points:
    28
    So I received my hifiman he-400i two days ago.
    ***note: I am playing them out of an Objective2 amp but no dac, only the crappy one from my HTC one m8 and my Lenovo notebook. So maybe that's the reason for my impressions.

    First impressions upon receiving them: Unimpressed. I simply didn't see what the fuss was all about. The treble siblant and strident.
    The vocals were nice but there was no *magic* I wanted for 300 dollars.
    The bass, oh my God, where is the bass? Is hifiman pranking me? Is this a joke? Are my headphones broken? The mid bass sounds horribly tactile, like someone beating on plastic with plastic. Unacceptable for it's price tag. Where is the liquid planner bass I was promised? There is no sign of sub bass. It's just missing. On "secrets" by tiesto and kshmr- this particularly showed.

    I tried eq from dobly atmos on my HTC one m8: on the "rich" setting with a bit more eq'ed sub bass. better. The treble calmed down, but not much. The mids still there and are nice but no orgasmic *magic*. They are just not forward enough for me. Mid bass less plastic feeling but still not good enough. Sub bass is helping the mid bass sound a bit more textured but it's still mostly missing and obscure. Hell I preferred the punchy textured bass on my $50 status audio hd one than the he-400i at this point.

    But slowly they started to improve, (burn in? What? It really works?) the treble calmed down a lot. And the Objective2 seemed to help, (ampless directly from phone with eq didn't work well enough). The mids started to sound a lot more nice. Vocal layering was very impressive. The bass improved and wasn't as plastic crappy feeling anymore. But it didn't go deep at all. Impact was almost non existent. It wasn't "accurate" there was certainly information missing my $10 earbuds with eq can dig out that this couldn't.

    On a jazz track it really shined. On "the look for love" by Stanley Turrentine - the instrument separation was impressive. The instrument's attack and decay is something I first realized on this headphone. The strings and drums sounded fantastic. They had life in them!

    On "better than anything" by Diana Krall and Natalie Cole - the vocal layering and separation was also quite impressive as I've never heard them on other cheaper audio gear.

    But if they don't improve drastically with a better dac (garbage in, garbage out and all that), and further burn in, I'll have to say that I really don't think there are even worth $300 let alone $500. I'm hoping for the best at this point. Maybe pad swapping might help.
     
  13. Artasia

    Artasia Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2015
    Likes Received:
    440
    Trophy Points:
    63
    I have never heard the HE-400i but owned the HE-500 for a long time before the HE-6. I tried the HE-500 with the O2, and it sounded like shit. Maybe you should get a more suitable amp that supplies more current than the O2 is capable of. Also, maybe you should sell the HE-400i and just get an HE-6 as soon as possible. It's arguably the Gawd headphone of the HiFiMAN lineup and constitutes an incredible value. On the topic of the HE-400i, I'm guessing the HE-500 is better too.
     
  14. Vanheim

    Vanheim Acquaintance

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2016
    Likes Received:
    84
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Maybe I should sell them, but I can't right now. I don't think anyone in Bangladesh would want a used pair of he-400i. Not much hifi culture here. And the hassle of buying another headphone is too much for me right now. Maybe in the future.

    I'm also out of budget right now. I'll need to save up and then buy maybe a audio gd combo used? Those seem quite nice.
     
  15. SSL

    SSL Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2015
    Likes Received:
    1,199
    Trophy Points:
    93
    @Vanheim Sounds about right. Cut your losses and return them or sell them. Otherwise I recommend the Focuspad-A and a better amp.
     
  16. purr1n

    purr1n On vacation

    Staff Member Friend BWC
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2015
    Likes Received:
    78,292
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Padre Island CC TX
    Put toilet paper in front of the drivers to reduce the stridency and sibilance. I am serious.
     
  17. Vanheim

    Vanheim Acquaintance

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2016
    Likes Received:
    84
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Haha, I tried regular tissue. Doesn't help much. I'll try toilet paper next :D.
    Edit: gah! :eek: it works! Thanks so much for the advice.

    Six months too late for returns:(.
    I think I really need a dac first. And yes an amp. I'll probably sell them for $250 after a year or so. I can't bother my dad anymore at the moment.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2016
  18. Vanheim

    Vanheim Acquaintance

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2016
    Likes Received:
    84
    Trophy Points:
    28
    edit: I eq'd my Hifiman he-400i and am now loving their sound. Vocals and instruments sound sweet and about right without ever getting harsh or sibilant at all. Amazing with Porcupine Tree's Anesthetize. The guitar riffs sound intoxicating.
    [​IMG]
    and when listening to a bit more bass heavy tracks and am wanting them to cause earthquakes on my head I do this~
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2016
  19. Vanheim

    Vanheim Acquaintance

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2016
    Likes Received:
    84
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Diana Krall sounds insane on these! Take my $300 hifiman! take them!
     
  20. swamp

    swamp Acquaintance

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2016
    Likes Received:
    52
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Wow that's quite the change! Glad you ended up liking them, given how you didn't think you'd be able to sell them.

    Are you still listening to them from your phone -> o2? The 'harshness' you were experiencing at first could be from a combination of the HE-400i's treble spikes, your phone's dac, double amping (phone and o2), and the o2 itself (a bit bright).
     

Share This Page