The HiFiMan HE400se is the entry-level model in the HE400 range of Open-back Planar Headphones. We know that HIFIMAN does a lot of research on magneto planar technology and is able to surprise with its truly incredible sounding planar headphones in a wide price range, but this time the company has provided a model that surprises with its low price of $129, and at the same time provide advanced company developments such as the new “Acoustically Invisible Stealth Magnets”. Looks like we’re dealing with a new minimal entry point into quality sound for the vast majority of quality sound lovers. Let’s take a closer look at the new HiFiMan HE400se.
The Hifiman HE400Se comes in a standard quality HiFiMan cardboard box. Since this is the budget version, there is plastic inside the box and not a fabric liner like the other manufacturer’s models, this is the only difference.
- HiFiMan HE400se
- 1¼” (6.35 mm) headphone adapter
- Headphone cable (1.5 meters or 4.9 Feet; 3.5mm plug)
- User manual and warranty.
At first glance, you might think that HIFIMAN HE400se is an exact copy of other models in the HE400 line, moreover, the size and color exactly repeats the HE400s model. However, HE400se has completely new driver (Acoustically Invisible Stealth Magnets Design), and in general the bowls have also been completely redesigned. The HiFiMan HE400se has done a good job on the bowls and made them less susceptible to vibration, and increased the overall stiffness of the construction, as well as improved the 3.5mm connectors (now you can use almost any wire HIFIMAN).
The headband here is already familiar to many HiFiMan models, and for good reason. It is probably one of the most comfortable solutions today. It can be found in the top models of the manufacturer (like HE-R10) as well as in the middle segment, such as the Deva Pro, which we recently reviewed.
The earpads are quite soft and now have a bevelled shape for more comfort and ergonomic fit. They consist of three types of material – leatherette on the outside, perforated leatherette on the inside, and fabric on the side adjacent to the head. Cup size 100mm, use HIFIMAN clamp design to fix the earpads.
There are still aluminum parts in the design, as in the entire line of HE400 is the grid on the outside of the bowls, and the C-shaped attachment of the bowls.
Insulation is also characteristic of the entire line. Since these are open-back headphones, you should not expect much here.
The comfort of use, given the identical design with the entire HE400 line, has remained at a consistently high level. It’s a time-tested design that will fit almost any user and any head size. You will easily spend several hours in the HiFiMan HE400se listening to music without even noticing them on your head (weight only 370g). We note again that this is one of the best design solutions for today in our opinion.
Recently, HIFIMAN started using the so-called Stealth Magnet Design concept. HIFIMAN explains this by the fact that unlike sound waves generated by a conventional magnet, the special shape of Stealth magnets allows waves to pass through the magnets without causing interference.
The special design of the new HiFIMAN magnets is “acoustically transparent”, which significantly reduces the diffraction wave turbulence that degrades the integrity of sound waves. HiFIMAN claims that this reduction in distortion ensures clear, accurate and full-range sound. And we can confirm this with the example of the Deva Pro, which uses the same magnets and has a really improved sound compared to its predecessor.
We should note right away that the HiFiMan HE400se requires a good output volume to warm up. It is unlikely that you will be able to appreciate HE400se on your entry level player or smartphone. Moreover, with a good amplifier HE400se will give a qualitatively different level of sound delivery. First of all, it will affect the depth and detail of the low range and the overall volume and detail. Speaking of portable usb amplifiers, make sure that your amplifier can provide at least 200mW of power.
The overall sound delivery is typical of almost all planar headphones, but there are clearly some differences. For example compared to the Deva Pro, which costs more than twice as much and has the same magnets. HE400se has the same smooth and collected sound presentation over the whole range, but with noticeably less resolution and attenuation than the more expensive Deva Pro. However, as soon as we remember that the HiFiMan HE400se now costs only $130, you immediately understand that such a transparent and lively sound delivery, which planar headphones produce, is simply not to be found in this price category.
The soundstage is wide and quite deep. In general, the HiFiMan HE400se builds the volume of any tracks quite comfortably, the separation of instruments is excellent, as is typical of planar headphones. As we wrote above, there is some difference in the damping of the reverb in comparison with the Deva Pro, but here it is due to a slightly different scene construction. You don’t get the feeling that the instruments lack this decay, but it seems that the decay is natural on its own, since the volume of the hall is slightly smaller here, but very comfortable at the same time.
The HIFIMAN Deva Pro definitely outperforms the HE400se in some ways, as you can see from their price point and are immediately audible. Detail and volume are slightly higher, the tonal balance is richer, which is clearly visible in the upper range. But the overall sound delivery is very similar. Especially if we talk about the separation of instruments and their staging on a virtual stage, it’s a very similar experience.
To summarize, this is planar sound in all its glory, which was previously available in a completely different category of headphones. Such transparency, airiness and tonal balance under $200 just can’t be found today.
We love the fact that sound of this quality is finally available in such a low price segment. This is definitely a new entry point into the world of planar headphones for a whole section of audiophiles who wanted to try this technology but for some reason could not. Exemplary comfort, a truly breakthrough planar sound for its segment, and of course the price. Welcome to the world of planar sound for everyone. Our choice.
- Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz
- Impedance: 25 Ohm
- Sensitivity: 91dB
- Weight: 390g
Official site: hifiman.com