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Hifiman HE-400i Review [Picture heavy, Noob Audiophile]

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Posted · Original PosterOP

Welcome to my Review of the Hifiman HE-400i

 

As already stated in the title, i don't really have an "audiophile"-view on

all the terms and whatnot but i'll do my best!

And also the review will include A LOT of huge (i really should've scaled them down)

pics so beware!

 

So without further ado, let's get to it!

 

 

The Packaging

 

To start it off i will beginn with the packaging as i was positively impressed by it!

The Headphones came in an original china import box which was not only wrapped in a layer

of bubble wrap but also packed by the shop i bought it in millions of foam pieces

and a box 4x the size of the HE-400i box.

 

The large box with an additional headphone stand on top.

mSWrBHe.jpg

 

Sooooo many foam pieces

nfITue8.jpg

 

The box out of the box with the additional velour pads i got "for free"

but haven't even tried yet.

H29Khlg.jpg

 

The Box with a box inside

CqLJ2uY.jpg

 

Looks like the test certificate. Mine passed and is relatively new :)

0vDFv2d.jpg

 

aaaand there was a nice Pic of the phones on the box too

z7IVtRX.jpg

 

But as that isn't all, the headphones themselves came in their own (super sexy) box aswell.

Wrapped in bubble wrap again and in a really really smooth leather box.

Hifiman really does an amazing job packing their products!

 

Dlt0taB.jpg

 

I didnt expect them to be shipped THAT well. Even Linus-Worthy i'd say.

 

 

But now let's get down to the real box! (And some more packaging at that)

Front of the box with another picture and logo aswell as

Hifimans slogan "Innovating the Art of Listening" which really fits the whole thing btw!

z3dn1dK.jpg

 

The Back with the specifications i will list later on

bgO7jhr.jpg

 

The REAL leather box. Things start to get serious now.

eodL1bj.jpg

 

And here again their awesome Hifiman HE-400i logo.

SDGkteH.jpg

 

 

Box contents and more Packaging

 

I will come to the specifications later but for now let's continue with the inside of the box

as in more packaging! (man these things come package so well)

 

Inside the box we get an Owners Guide

which essentially includes how to adjust the phones,

change the pads and well, how to plug them in.

Both in english and chinese.

 

Furthermore you got some kind of certificate which is completely in chinese

so i have no idea what it says actually ^^

 

And last but not least a business card that invites you

to Hifimans Facebook, Twitter aswell as their own Website.

 

But next comes the reason we are all here, the phones themself!

It also includes the cable and a 1/8 to 1/4 adapter plus some "Do-Not-Eat"-Lunchpack

The 3 Cards/Guide

bJeTgLJ.jpg

 

The Phones nicely packaged!

IJuYNgq.jpg

 

 

HE-400i Pictured

 

Now that we finally kinda unboxed the box which we unboxed and got a look at the Headphones,

lets take a closer look at them!

 

At First we can see them right out of the box with a little protective plasitc on

(The dude who made the packaging must have a phobia of everything... :D)

vzwsEem.jpg

 

Next is up front where you can see the slightly unusual headband a little better

bBM0fbq.jpg

 

This time around we can see them on my self-made headphone stand which i actually

really like.

IbnwyhH.jpg

 

A look at the open design where you can actually see through.

oxKfRZV.jpg

 

Next the weird cable system i'll also come to later on

TBRgev3.jpg

 

 

Specifications and Details

 

Since we didnt even mention anything about the Headphones i'll do that now!

 

So the Hifiman HE-400i are Hifimans mid to high end range headphones. 

They are the successor of the famous HE-400 and the little brother of the HE-560.

The phones are fairly new as they have only been launched in 2014.

Since they are orthodynamic (or planar magnetic) Headphones and not the usual 

Dynamic Drivers they have their own sound signature.

Usually planars are quite heavy but you can't really say that with the 400i although

they are measured to weight 370gramms (For comparison, DT880s only weight about 296gramms)

they don't really feel all that heavy once you wear them.

 

 

Let's quickly go over some more specs:

Fequency Response of 20hz-35khz

Impedance of 35 Ohms

Efficiency of 93dB/mW

Weight 370g (13.05 Oz)

 

With that being said you might think "Oh what 35 Ohms, that sounds like trash and easy to drive".

While the last part is true for some reason, they are definitely not trash!

It's said that the 400i are one of the hardest to drive headphones.

I can easily (and i mean really easily) drive them of my onboard audio which is not really 

anything special.

They get equally loud as my DT880 250 Ohm on the same audio.

Now we go a little into smaller details but without pictures this time around ;)

The Headband, Adjustment, Cable and Comfort

I could easily put only the word "wow" in all of the following points but i will not do that

but instead write a little something so you can imagine it a better.

The headband itself is probably the most comfortable you will ever see/use. It is

ca. 7cm wide at it's wides point and consist of a single stripe of leather.

That doesn't really sound comfortable compared to all those HUGE soft pads every headphone has

nowadays but MAN this headband rocks.

Because its so wide and so "sloppy" you basically can't feel it on your head AT ALL.

That's different for the earcups however but i'll get to that in a second.

In terms of adjustment i'd say these things can fit Aliens aswell as smaller adult human

heads.

I have the feeling that my head is pretty small since i almost always use one of the smallest

adjustable sizes you can do but well, you should find your adjustment pretty quickly.

The earcups are a bit of a mixed bag. I heard a lot of people saying that the clamping

force is

just way to strong and it just "squashes" some people head but i for one find it very good.

At first you can feel it quite a bit but you not only get used to it quite quickly

but you also learn to love it.

Since the main headband thing is made of some metal you could

also just bend it to a certain point and stretch them out so the force isn't

as much.

After you adjusted the headband you can simply not really feel the clamping force anymore.

But that also has another reason

The earpads.

In one word again? Let's not use "wow". Try "stunning" this time.

They are just amazing. And i mean amazing. I haven't felt anything this

smooth, soft and awesome in my live.

They are half leather and half velour. After i put them on my head i was like

"wow, i just bought a useless pair of extra velour (-only) pads."

They also have a slight angle to them so the drivers point more towards your ears.

I have no idea if that makes a difference in sound but i'm sure it helps

even more with how awesome they feel on your head.

So many positive points thus far. Isn't there anything negative in this

category? For me? No. For other people? Maybe.

This is where the cable comes in place. I have no idea why Hifiman did this

but it certainly is a point worth mentioning.

The cable only has a length of 1.5meters. In order to use them with my PC i had

to put it on my left side instead of my right. Now it has a good length because there is

not too much and not too little. But i can see a lot of people getting annoyed by this.

One solution is buying a longer cable but audio cables are usually expensive.

In my opinion the cable has many good points too. It has a very nice sleeving and comes

with a 1/8 to 1/4 adapter. Sadly the connector is right angled which is kinda weird.

Some people also might dislike that the cable is split in two and one goes into each earcup.

After using them for a little you don't really notice that anymore though.

But what you notice (for the first time) is the weird mounting mechanism when mounting the

cable to the headphones.

I got it fairly quickly but some people might struggle with it. Especially when you mount/dismount

them frequently. I'd recommend screwing them in and then keeping it like that ;)

All in all they are pretty much the nicest to wear headphones with only minor flaws

that can be fixed by yourself.

The Design

I just want to make this a quick little point since everyone has a different taste.

When i first looked at them online i was like "ewww".

But for some reason i kept looking at them and over the time my "ewww" turned

into a "schmexy!".

The design is really something different. The square design of the metal headband

looks weird on pictures but imho pretty cool once you wear them.

Also the earcups are very large but don't make your head look like a football

like the DT880 does.

Overall one of the prettiest headphones now.

I only like the look of the HE-560 more because of the wood instead of the glossy plastic look.

BUT that glossy plastic is really really cool. I'm not a bit said that it's not metal because

that'd probably attracted fingerprints and make them very heavy. This is an exceptional design!

Also the new Audeze EL8 look very good aswell but both them and the 560 play in a higher

league as for the price.

The Sound

Now comes the moment why we are all here essentially.

Sadly i'm not an audiophile and i don't really have much knowledge of all the terms

and how everything works but i think i can describe them. No, not with the words "wow"

or "stunning".

To give you some idea of the sound, I had goosebumps the first time listening to them.

For me you also don't really listen to the HE-400i. You experience them.

First of, as i already mentioned this is an open design so please don't expect any

noise cancellation. But since the HE-400i are not meant to be used in the streets you won't have

a problem with this anyways. Just don't listen to them in a loud environment. But i gotta say, i

hear my MX Browns just as without headphones typing this ^^

But let's go into the sound already.

The sound is really really soft. It's quite deep for that matter. In some songs i have the

feeling it's a little too deep. But it's not only deep and soft but also very detailed and

crisp.

I hope i'll not screw around now but that'd mean we have weak/low highs or trebble and more

distinct mids and especially lows.

Thus we also have a nice not oversaturated bass which also comes in very soft.

I for that fact was looking almost exactly for that because i can't stand these high pitches for

a long period of time. My DT880s tend to have much higher trebble which sometimes causes pain in

my ears.

That didn't happen with the HE-400i this far.

Now comes a weird one. I used a Logitech G930 till now for gaming. Don't kill me please.

But it was just WAY better for CSGO (which i mainly play) than the DT880s. The Beyerdynamics

always had this tincan sound in CS (but only in CS) which i didn't like and i could not position

any enemy with the sound. But now that i have the Hifiman, wow, they just 720noscope the G930

out behind a wall. The only reason i keep using them is that they have a mic but i will

certainly buy an external one in the future and my Logitech can go into pension.

So if you are looking for very soft, bassy and cristal clear sounding headphones that are also

good for gaming you are definitely at the right place with these Hifimans.

Conclusion

wow.

Just kidding ;)

These headphones have everything you will ever be looking for.

It's the most comfortable, elegant looking and best sounding headphone i can

imagine right now. I'm fairly new to the audiophile world and i'm sure there is always a bigger

fish but i'm really really impressed.

Next on my list is an closed back design EL8 but that's sadly gotta wait another year.

What else can i say about the HE-400i?

I ordered them with a weird feeling in the stomach. On one hand i was like

"mhhh, that's so much money, i hope they make a difference to my DT880 at all :/"

and on the other hand i was a child not caring about money and just wanting to finally hold them

in my hands and try them out.

Now that i have them i can say that my inner child won. In my opinion the price is justified

but only and really only for audiophiles, people with too much money or people with an audio-

arrow in the head. i guess i'm the latter on my way moving in to the first.

Let's brake the review down to Pros and Cons!

Pros

- Packaging. I mean, can you pack them any better?

- Comfort. A no brainer.

- Adjustability. Any head can fit these huge earcups and headband

- Quality. These things are made rock solid. I wouldnt throw them around however...

- Sound. That's a big one and next to comfort the most important. Soft, Crisp and perfect for

me.

Cons

- Priiiicey. Think about it for a very long second before buying.

- Short Cable

- Maybe a little "dark" sound signature for some.

- (Cable Mounting?)

- (Clamping Force?)

Thanks everyone for reading, liking and commenting! :)

I hope you like it and if you do please tell me so i can continue writing reviews for you guys.

Oh and sorry for the pictures again :D I think i will scale them down tomoorrow :)

Also, if you have any questions regarding the HE-400i feel free to ask me!


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Reviews: GTX 780 DCU2 // 8600GTS // Hifiman HE-400i // Kennerton Magister
Folding all the Proteins! // Boincerino

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Very good review I'd like to say! It's super informative and to be honest, It makes more sense than an audiophile trying to explain headphones to me.


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" With that being said you might think "Oh what 35 Ohms, that sounds like trash and easy to drive".

While the last part is true for some reason, they are definitely not trash! "

 

 

The whole "ohm" thing is pretty irrelevant, the only spec that honestly makes a big deal is the efficiency, also having high impedance doesn't make a headphone any better, except in the retrospect that you can use a wider variety of output impedances with them.  (Sometimes higher impedance can also lead to better driver control apparently, but I'm not entirely sure how much. I believe this is due to having wider ranges of output impedance compatibility.) 

 

For some reason marketing BS has turned everyone's brain into thinking impedance is the only thing that matters, when in actuality it's really not a big deal, and the sensitivity/efficiency means MUCH more.

 

 

Nice review though, I have heard that the HE-400i are similar to the HE-500, which I owned a while back.


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Posted · Original PosterOP

Very good review I'd like to say! It's super informative and to be honest, It makes more sense than an audiophile trying to explain headphones to me.

Thanks m8 :)

" With that being said you might think "Oh what 35 Ohms, that sounds like trash and easy to drive".

While the last part is true for some reason, they are definitely not trash! "

The whole "ohm" thing is pretty irrelevant, the only spec that honestly makes a big deal is the efficiency, also having high impedance doesn't make a headphone any better, except in the retrospect that you can use a wider variety of output impedances with them. (Sometimes higher impedance can also lead to better driver control apparently, but I'm not entirely sure how much. I believe this is due to having wider ranges of output impedance compatibility.)

For some reason marketing BS has turned everyone's brain into thinking impedance is the only thing that matters, when in actuality it's really not a big deal, and the sensitivity/efficiency means MUCH more.

Nice review though, I have heard that the HE-400i are similar to the HE-500, which I owned a while back.

Yeah i know that :D

That's why i put that sentence in "".

Apparently that wasn clear so i'm sorry ^^

But thanks :)


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Reviews: GTX 780 DCU2 // 8600GTS // Hifiman HE-400i // Kennerton Magister
Folding all the Proteins! // Boincerino

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Thanks m8 :)

Yeah i know that :D

That's why i put that sentence in "".

Apparently that wasn clear so i'm sorry ^^

But thanks :)

 

 

I wish that mobo manufacturers and other places that do audio things wouldn't fill all the uninformed peoples heads with these things :/

 

Then when I try to help people in the audio subforum, all I get is back-talk & people contradicting me.

 

"omg this mobo work with 600 ohm headphone??" ._.


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Nice review. I was looking for another pair of headphones. Thanks for the info and sharing your experience. 


- Fresher than a fruit salad.

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Good review. These will be my next headphones.

 

Do you wear glasses? Any issues with getting a good seal? There were some reports of the 560 having that issue.

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Nice review though, I have heard that the HE-400i are similar to the HE-500, which I owned a while back.

 

Not exactly true, at least that's not what I'm hearing when I use my HE400i or HE500. They sound different, while they do share a common trait in very nice mids......the HE500 sounds a little bright to me. Not that the HE400i is dark, far from it, it has very smooth treble compared to the HE500 which is a little more up front with it.

 

@ SSL, Dunno about OP, but I wear glasses, thicker plastic frame model which doesn't jut out much  (sits almost flush against my temple). I have an Oakley plastic frame glass and it doesn't sit quite flush against my temple. I don't feel that when I wear my Oakley glasses, that it doesn't seal the sound well, though I have noted that when I feel around earpad and frame bear my temple, there's a gap. With my other glasses, the gap is less pronounced so I tend to wear that pair of specs when I'm listening with my cans. I can't commet about metal frame glasses, but I'd expect the same principle applies. Of course, it really depends on the specs frame you're wearing and how good a seal you expect, so YMMV.


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Not exactly true, at least that's not what I'm hearing when I use my HE400i or HE500. They sound different, while they do share a common trait in very nice mids......the HE500 sounds a little bright to me.

 

 

Their FR are almost identical, 400i has a tiny bit extra sub bass an extra treble spike it seems, but none-the-less, they have very very very similar FR.

 

http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/HiFiMANHE500.pdf

 

http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/HiFiMANHE4002014.pdf


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Their FR are almost identical, 400i has a tiny bit extra sub bass an extra treble spike it seems, but none-the-less, they have very very very similar FR.

 

http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/HiFiMANHE500.pdf

 

http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/HiFiMANHE4002014.pdf

Hmmmm, let me A/B them and I'll get back to you on this.......my sound memory is bad, and I do sometimes mix up the sound I hear as I simply have way too many cans. A couple of caveats though, my HE400i has the HE560 cable instead of stock, my HE500 has the Focus pads instead of stock pads with Audeze Q Cable + HFM adapters (bought as a bundled deal). I do sometimes switch around the cables for fun since the Q Cable is so soft and easily managed.


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Posted · Original PosterOP

I wish that mobo manufacturers and other places that do audio things wouldn't fill all the uninformed peoples heads with these things :/

Then when I try to help people in the audio subforum, all I get is back-talk & people contradicting me.

"omg this mobo work with 600 ohm headphone??" ._.

Yeah you are right, thats a big missconception!

I'll change that sentence up a little once i'm back home so it's clearer even for people without any audio knowledge. :)

Nice review. I was looking for another pair of headphones. Thanks for the info and sharing your experience.

Thanks! Glad i could help you.

Good review. These will be my next headphones.

Do you wear glasses? Any issues with getting a good seal? There were some reports of the 560 having that issue.

Thanks! They are definitely a good choice and i can recommend them so much!

I don't wear glasses but they seal very good around my ears because the cups themselves also have a 'swivel' function so they should fit any head. You might have to adjust them a little to fit perfectly

@GamerDude

I can't really speak for the 500 since i've never used them. But i also heard they sound 'equal'. No idea though :)


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Reviews: GTX 780 DCU2 // 8600GTS // Hifiman HE-400i // Kennerton Magister
Folding all the Proteins! // Boincerino

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Hmmmm, let me A/B them and I'll get back to you on this.......my sound memory is bad, and I do sometimes mix up the sound I hear as I simply have way too many cans. A couple of caveats though, my HE400i has the HE560 cable instead of stock, my HE500 has the Focus pads instead of stock pads with Audeze Q Cable + HFM adapters (bought as a bundled deal). I do sometimes switch around the cables for fun since the Q Cable is so soft and easily managed.

 

Good thing cables don't affect sound.

 

I don't wear glasses but they seal very good around my ears because the cups themselves also have a 'swivel' function so they should fit any head. You might have to adjust them a little to fit perfectly

 

Thanks, this is good to hear.

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Good thing cables don't affect sound.

 

I'd only mentioned the cable in case someone screams that I wasn't using stock cable so it altered the sound. Personally don't think cables affect sound much, if at all, only reason why I'd gone with the Q Cable was due to seller bundling it with the stock HE560 cable with the HE500 sale. I've had custom cables made as well, but they were more for convenience (stock = 3m, too long, custom = 1.5 to 2m, nice for desktop use)

 

Anyway, A/B'ed the HE400i and HE500, they do sound similar other than the known bass boost on the HE400i, but I do find the vocals and mids somewhat smoother on the HE500. So, yeah, they do sound alike, my bad.

 

@FloRolf, I'd forgotten to say that you did a very nice review there. Oh yeah, what is that clamp on headphone hanger called? I'm interested in getting it.....


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Posted · Original PosterOP

@FloRolf, I'd forgotten to say that you did a very nice review there. Oh yeah, what is that clamp on headphone hanger called? I'm interested in getting it.....

 

Thanks dude! :)

 

Sorry for the later reply! What do you mean by headphone hanger? :D The stand?

Well the aluminium part was made myself and i just bough the "König & Meyer" holders for it.

Think you can only get'em in germany though 

http://www.amazon.de/Konig-Meyer-K-16080-Kopfh%C3%B6rerhalter/dp/B004UEMY88/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1430422927&sr=8-6&keywords=K%26M+kopfh%C3%B6rer+Halter


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Thanks dude! :)

 

Sorry for the later reply! What do you mean by headphone hanger? :D The stand?

Well the aluminium part was made myself and i just bough the "König & Meyer" holders for it.

Think you can only get'em in germany though 

http://www.amazon.de/Konig-Meyer-K-16080-Kopfh%C3%B6rerhalter/dp/B004UEMY88/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1430422927&sr=8-6&keywords=K%26M+kopfh%C3%B6rer+Halter

Hey thanks! :D  Ordered 3 sets the one in your link (hoping to mod them a little to use on my hat hanger/stand which I use as my headphone stand. It now holds 9 pairs of headphones, with the mod, hoping to increase it to 12! ;)  Also ordered one headphone hanger with table top clamp.....now, I'm 73 Euros poorer! <_<


Rig 1: Intel i7 3960X | Asus R4E | 16GB Corsair Dom Plat 2133mhz | 2x Sapphire R9 290X (H2O) | Oppo HA-1 + KRK Rokit5 G3 | Caselabs M8 | Seasonic X-1250 | Leopold FC660C + Logitech G502 | Acer XR341CK | 64bit Win10 Pro

Rig 2: Intel i7 4770K | ASRock Z87 Extreme6 | 16GB RipJawsZ 1600mhz | 2x Asus GTX Titan 6GB | Fostex HP-A4 -> Oppo HA-1 + Rokit5 G3 | Tt Level 10GT | Enermax MAX Revo 1200 | KBT Race II MX Blue + Armaggeddon SRO-05 Havoc III | Acer XR341CK | 64bit Win10 Pro

Rig 3:  AMD AM3+ FX8350 | Asus CVF | 16GB G RipJawsX 2133mhz | 2x GB HD7950 WF3 CFX | Gustard X12 + H10 + Virtue One + Bose 201 Series III | | Corsair 650D | Corsair HX1050 | Vortex Pure Pro MX Blue + Razer Deathadder  | AOC Q2963PM | 64bit Win10 Pro

 

 

 

 

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