Today we will talk about the absolute leader in the price range up to $400. These are headphones that have been produced for many years, but still remain relevant even in 2020, the model has become a classic and the undisputed leader of its segment – Hifiman HE400i. For many users, the main question on the path of their audiophile development is the transition from dynamic headphones to isodynamic ones.
There are different points of view on this technology, but by far the vast majority begin their acquaintance with planar magnetic precisely with Hifiman HE400i. In the network you can find simply breathtaking discounts on Hifiman HE400i up to $130, which leaves no chance for any other manufacturer to provide at least some alternative or competition in this segment (even if we talk about the full price of Hifiman HE400i on the official website – $449). Let’s talk in more detail what Hifiman HE400i offer in 2020.
Accessories & Packaging
At different times, the packaging of this model was different. Today, the manufacturer decided to abandon the premium faux leather box in which the model was supplied earlier.
The old box did not carry any practical function but only made the headphones more expensive. Now it is a dense cardboard box, inside a paralon form covered with a black cloth where the headphones, the sleeved 3.5mm cable, 3.5 to 6.35 adapter, instructions and warranty card.
We can say that the set is minimal. However, given the price and the incredible sound you get, you just don’t pay attention to it.
The quality of the standard cable is completely satisfied. It is covered with a textile braid, quite dense and thick for its class.
The design of the HE400i, model of 2014 does not have fundamental improvements, nevertheless, the changes made set a new level of ergonomics perfection for the isodynamic headphone family. The usability of this model of headphones is facilitated by several factors.
Firstly, due to the manufacture of the headband from two elements, the part directly lying on the head and the supporting arc, the weight is distributed evenly over the head. The second important factor: weight reduction, engineers used lightweight materials, and headphones now weigh 370 grams.
The third revolutionary factor is the combined ear pads, the leather part provides a more firm and even fit to the ears, the pressure is applied evenly.
And a thin layer of velor, while preserving these advantages, neutralizes the only drawback of leather ear pads – provoking sweating in the places where the headphones fit.
Practical testing showed that the HiFiMAN HE400i is much more convenient than all other models of isodynamic headphones. And in many ways this was achieved thanks to the fact that HiFiMAN bothered to apply such a solution as hybrid ear pads.
The sound of the HiFiMan HE400S is very timbrally balanced, but this is not even the point. HE400S has the smoothest sound among hifiman headphones, there is a signature feature: high-resolution sound, which provides a clear and more expressive overall sound of compositions. When testing, we were really surprised by the quality level of supply of musical material of this model.
For the first time listening to HE400i, you simply fall into the sound. It is surprising what effect the perception of musical material is capable of causing for the first time this model for an inexperienced user. First of all, you will be surprised at the depth and elaboration of instruments. Detailing is gorgeous, the general presentation is transparent, prone to subjective perception of even the smallest details of the recording.
Bass is exactly as much as it should be and how much it needs. However, fans of the massive low frequencies probably will not like it. There are so many low frequencies when they do not crawl into anything, do not clog anything in the overall scene, in other words, the bass is in its place, and it is just as much as was planned by the sound engineer for a specific audio recording.
High frequencies are bright and clear. Someone may even see excessive aggression in it, but with longer listening time you understand that this frequency range should sound just like that, no more and no less. High frequencies are regular and full-bodied, which is quite a rarity today in general in any segment. It should be borne in mind that the headphones are demanding on a specific musical material, if initially the sound engineer made the iron impudent, you will hear it right away, the headphones will not embellish or hide anything. Often this is perceived as a problem with of specific headphones, but in the case of HE400i you will suddenly realize that the recording sounds exactly as it was intended in the mix and headphones only convey the author’s idea. HE400i headphones for listening to music, they will not try to change or improve it.
According to the general perception, the sound of the headphones can be described as collected, there is no excess air there, its amount that was intended to give a specific musical composition, and this can be attributed to the distinctive features of this model. Sometimes when listening to a familiar compositions, you are surprised at the transparency of sound, it is pure like spring water, a thousand new nuances suddenly appear out of nowhere in such an organic form with a composition that you could hardly imagine, but now your eyes have suddenly opened and there is no turning back, you will never be able to listen any lower class headphones after the Hifiman HE400i.
In General, and even considering the price, Hifiman HE400i is great. The sound is clear and bright, the headphones are extremely comfortable, and they are ideal for genres such as chamber music, vocals, and other instrumental styles. And for those who like precisely the pitch characteristic of isodynamic headphones, this particular model is out of competition. Absolutely, this is the best sound in our opinion in the range of up to $400 even in 2020. You can probably look for competitors like the Fostex T series, however, given the price and possible playback nuances, we are sure that the Hifiman HE400i the undisputed leader here.
★ Our choice.
Note: HE400i are quite demanding on the source and especially the amplifier, prepare something more powerful that can warm them up, any player, mobile amplifier and weak desktop amplifiers will be insufficient.
Devices used for testing: Tempotec Sonata iDSD Plus, Tempotec Serenade iDSD, XDUOO XD-05, SMSL SP200, NAD D3020.
1. Frequency Response: : 20Hz-35KHz
2. Sensitivity : 93dB
3. Impedance : 35 Ohms
4. Weight : 370g
5. Cable Length : 1.5m
6. Plug : 3.5mm/6.35mm
Official site: https://hifiman.com/
Buy: Official Hifiman store, Amazon.