Hifiman HE400SE Global Edition Measurements and Thoughts

Discussion in 'Headphone Measurements' started by Vtory, Apr 3, 2021.

  1. Sqveak

    Sqveak Friend

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    @Vtory would you be willing to try a TP mod or equivalent and measure vs. your EQ profile?
     
  2. Vtory

    Vtory Audiophile™

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    Will do. The unit is not sitting around me (I'm not the owner) but I will later ask gf for a favor with a couple of experiments.
     
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  3. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    Did you know what the sensitivity is? The website says 91dB but doesn't specify mW or any other units
     
  4. Sqveak

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  5. Vtory

    Vtory Audiophile™

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    HFM often omits "per mw" in describing spl sensitivity.
     
  6. purr1n

    purr1n Building Magnis part time because it's peaceful.

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    I got the HE400SE Stealth Magnets edition coming in from Amazon tomorrow. Will be curious if it's the same as the Global Edition. $150 for a cheap ortho with HE400 heritage and no lower treble peakage sounds too good to pass up.
     
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  7. Jay

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    From what I understand, the global edition using single magnets are called "stealth," whereas the ones sold only in the Chinese market use double magnets.
     
  8. Sqveak

    Sqveak Friend

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    Mine are the Stealth Magnet version.
    They came from Minidisc in Sydney, an authorised retailer.

    Nope! I see magnets on both sides.

    WP_20210422_19_10_38_Pro.jpg WP_20210422_19_14_39_Pro.jpg WP_20210422_19_22_08_Pro.jpg
     
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  9. Jay

    Jay Facebook Friend

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    Oh hell, the interwebs told me wrong. I apologize for further spreading it. I'm totally shocked there was untrue information floating around, shocked I tell you.
     
  10. Raimei Templar

    Raimei Templar Friend

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    So I picked these up on a whim after reading all the positive impressions here and elsewhere and I am glad I did as it finally confirmed for me that I just plain dont like Hifiman planars. I find them to sound somewhat unnatural and even with EQ I just cant get them to be as good as I would like.

    I have tried up to this point the HE400i,HE4xx,he560v3,He5se, Sundara and demoed the Deva briefly, was not really a fan of any of them other than the HE5se post EQ, and I just outright dislike all of them before any kind of EQ. So these are the impressions of a person who doesnt like Hifiman.

    Vtory's measurements line up with what I hear FR wise from the HE400se, its got a less intense version of the Hifiman trick (2k dip, 4k spike) going on than with many of the other Hifiman planars (a huge positive) and it has way way too much energy after 9.5k for my taste (pretty typical for planars). Midrange is a little wonky, but notably better than the HE400i was IMO. Lacks upper bass which leads it to sound a little cold and distant for my taste. There is some spike(s) or something somewhere between 9.5k-17.4k which annoys the absolute shit out of me on many tracks. I spent some time trying to narrow down where exactly it was and EQ it out but I just couldnt find it and ended up just slapping a hi shelf cut which got rid of it and greatly increased my enjoyment of the He400se.

    Even with EQ it is still a hifiman planar and sounds unnatural next to my Audio Technica R70x (also EQed). I also found the imaging of the HE400se to be just ok, its certainly better (not so 3 bloby) than a affordably amped HD6xx but it didnt reach the levels of the HE5se which was what I was hoping for. The center image on my 400se is a little odd, it kind of sits a distance away from you, and there is a dead zone next to my ears. Something like Yosi Yorikawa;s letter where in he writes a letter that goes from left side all the way through your head, went from the left side to a little away from my ear then jumped over rather than correctly giving the effect that he is writing through my head. HE5se did a amazing job with that track as does the R70x.

    I wouldnt personally recommend the HE400se without EQ, unless you either know you like the Hifiman house sound, want to experience it or you are willing to EQ. If you are willing to EQ, and you dont mind the slightly unnatural sound of hifiman planars, this is a great headphone for the price I must say.

    I think Hifiman has shot themselves in the foot with this release, as with EQ its as good as or better than the Sundara. I think its better in the bass, more impactful and not limp like the Sundara (post EQ) but the Sundara had better performance in the air region from memory (it has been awhile). Given the price difference, I would save the money and get the HE400se over Sundara.

    I think the HE400se is Hifiman's best offering since the HE5se had the adoroma ultra firesale that put it down to $250. Its a great example of a Hifiman planar with minimal compromises. EVen the build quality is actually extremely good by Hifiman standards, mine didnt have any kind of scratches or defects and the earpads are pretty nice. The gimblals are a little wobbly and the cups are plastic but it didnt feel overly cheap.

    They are a great buy for some, but they arent for me! Looking forward to seeing Marv compare them to the He5xx as that is the only other one that might compete with these IMO.

    This is the EQ I used, very similar to Vtorys I just added some bass and killed the murder air.

    Preamp -2.5db

    Peak Filters
    24hz Q3 +1.8db
    200hz Q2 +2db
    2000hz Q2 +2.5db
    4400hz Q 3.7 -4.7db

    Hi Shelf Filter
    9400hz Q1 -3.8db
     
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  11. Philimon

    Philimon Friend

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    HFM decided to put one of its lesser earpads on 400se (leather ear chamber - atleast its perforated tho). I doubt its for cost saving reasons. Their hybrids with velour ear chambers like focus-a and pali have been demonstrated many times to be superior at smoothing treble on all models. HFM artificially creating weaker models to excuse higher pricing of higher models. HFM weaker models still good value. Not sure why Im complaining. Why cant I be happy?

    For another thread:
    https://snorryplanar.com/
    I just became aware yesterday. Ive seen snorry’s name mentioned before on HF ortho roundup but didnt know he was selling stuff. No idea if they are good.
     
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  12. Vtory

    Vtory Audiophile™

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    My view is a little different. I roughly see four different categories HFM defined for themselves: Full ORFAS, Semi-Orfas, Not that Orfas, and Never Orfas (30% kidding). I don't know if they do enough service for the first or second groups in terms of luxury experience, but for the latter two groups, their business makes sense to me.

    For the 3rd group, Arya and Adoramized HE6SE are good for what they are -- matter of preference I believe. Adorama factor might be a little tricky but I regard it as a less annoying Drop.com.

    For even more price-sensitive group, I think their offerings so far feel at least reasonable. They anyhow turned Sundara to something enjoyable out of the box (at least after pad revisions last year). Now they're lifting the lowest end. I am more in the third group I think but their effort to cover larger customer spectrum is legit.

    After witnessing a couple of minor product failures (such as ch imbalance greater than 1db) from Verum myself, I am recognizing clear benefit of better QC in picking up from HFM when it comes to budget off-the-shelf headphones.
     
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  13. DigMe

    DigMe Needs a baby bottle

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    So do we think this is better than the version being sold in China? On Taobao that one is selling for around 90 USD.
     
  14. Tachikoma

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    Just got a pair of HE400SE in today to review for a local publication (first review woo).

    My impressions are so far, similar to Vtory's, except for the plastic timbre. I don't hear it, but it's probably because the majority of my collection is electrostatic. Mids and up, it feels like they are giving my modded T50RPs (Thunderpants loaded with Mundorf Angel Hair) a beating, but I'll wait a little while for the new toy syndrome to dissipate.
     
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  15. Woland

    Woland Almost "Made"

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    @DigMe I bought the mainland China version. It has virtually the same box but no 'stealth magnet' sticker.

    I've removed the earpads and looked at the drivers, and they seem identical to the global version, as seen in a teardown YouTube video and the photos attached above. The only stark difference is a heavier cable, which looks better than the global version's cable.

    Otherwise:

    These were an audio disappointment at first, running single-ended off a Dragonfly DAC/AMP. That impression completely changed when I figured out how to hold in a Focal balanced cable, and used a powerful amp.

    Running off powerful amps, clarity feels well above a Senn HD6x0, and comparable to the Focal Clears. That's astonishing for the price.

    I was intending to use them as an alternative to my desktop Beyerdynamic DT1350s, but don't really like the weight or the feel of the pads for extended periods. I also miss the sub-bass from the Beyers, because that's a big part of my low-fi electronica diet.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2021
  16. Woland

    Woland Almost "Made"

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    It's a really lovely pairing with a Vali 2. It has just enough amplification to make these sing. Neither of them is precise or aiming for realism, but they are great fun together.
     
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    Last edited: Apr 29, 2021
  17. Philimon

    Philimon Friend

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    Astonishing and unbelievable. Do you mind elaborating?

    edit: based solely on frequency response measurements from vtory and marv what you mean to say is 400se is “brighter”, more apparent higher frequencies.
     
  18. Woland

    Woland Almost "Made"

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    It's possible that explains some or all of the apparent clarity - some say there is an illusion of clarity from bright frequency response profiles. I'm listening with EQ now, and will see.
     
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  19. Raimei Templar

    Raimei Templar Friend

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    The HE400se definitely has far far more air energy than the 6xx line, I could see how one would percieve that as greater clarity, as the 6xx is somewhat lacking there for many people. I dont particularly care for the extra air personally as I said but others may be into it.

    I think the HE400se also has the same odd artificial clarity effect going on that I find with nearly all planars. The best analogy I have found is that its the audio equivalent of jacking up the sharpness on your monitor/tv, it looks ultra clear but its TOO clear to the point that it looks, in this case sounds quite unnatural. Its not as bad as the old Hifiman planars though.

    I have long suspected its related to those ringing artifacts you see with nearly all planars on waterfall plots but it could also just be a byproduct on the typically higher energy above 10k versus a typical dynamic driver which has less (generally). Even when EQing thhe 10k+ region down I still find it to sound slightly off though it was greatly improved.
     
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  20. Tachikoma

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    To be fair to the HE400SE, the HD650 (unmodded) almost sounds like a blurring mask was applied.

    I see the HE400SE as an attempt to reproduce the electrostatic sound in magnetoplanars (something that is said about many Hifiman planars). It doesn't match up to the real thing, but the resemblance is there.
     
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