HiFiMan HE400se Measurements and Review

Discussion in 'Headphones' started by purr1n, May 26, 2021.

  1. shaney777

    shaney777 Rando

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    Can I please hear some specific entry level amp/DAC recommendations for HE400se? I have the Atom now and am not sure it's the best choice.
     
  2. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    The JDS Atom with this headphone actually isn't a bad choice. I would recommend a headphone amp with low output impedance because the HE400se's impedance is very low at around 20-ohms. While the headphone is super efficient, it's very possible the blow weak amps with bassy music.

    Also how much do you want to spend? I'm a little bit hesitant recommending better amps because the HE400se don't scale that much with them.

    P. S. One amp which I stumbled on that had special synergy with the HE400se: Jotunheim 2, but with the balanced output
     
  3. shaney777

    shaney777 Rando

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    I really appreciate your response. I remember reading in your review that amp output impedence should be low. Atom has 0.7 ohms while a low end Schiit amp has 0.25 ohms. Would that make much difference? I also have read where you are not so much a fan of the Atom because of it sounding dead, among other negative acoustic qualities. That sort of says to me that I could find something better but still cheap. TBH I am not the biggest fan of how the HE400se sounds. I am not impressed, as it doesn't sound as good as Grado SR60i, to my ears. And this is a huge issue because it's like $80 vs. $375 setup. The Hifiman *should* be a lot better, but somehow it isn't. One issue may be that the left wire does not snap into the headphones as it should. It goes in rough with low noise, unlike the opposite side, which makes an audible snap . I am not sure if this could affect the sound, but Hifiman quality control is not it.
     
  4. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    If you prefer going in the direction of the sound of the SR80X (not judging, just trying to help you get your sound - I'm also a secret Grado fan), consider the SR225X review here: https://www.superbestaudiofriends.o...d-measurements-stream-of-consciousness.11728/

    The latest F-cush pads on the SR225X should make it tonally similar to the SR60X, but with better clarity, less dirt and grit, and more resolving of fine detail. I've got an SR80X on hand so will take measurements to confirm. The SR225X is the sweet spot in Grado's lineup before diminishing returns.

    One amp comes in mind with the SR225X: @CEE TEE's mystical Nitsch x Schiit Magni Piety. Should be out in the next few months. This amp was shown a the Texas Audio Show recently: https://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/2022-texas-audio-roundup.12501/ The Piety and variants have been sitting on my desk for years, like back to 2017.

    Yes, the HE400se are kind of crappy. They do bass decently, but TBH the HE400se are best used as sacrificial headphones to test new amp designs. I don't live any of the HFM headphones until they get to the $600 point. This is where the HE5se sits, and even then it would require mods and pads to sound right.
     
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    Last edited: Sep 19, 2022
  5. shaney777

    shaney777 Rando

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    I am grateful for the good information!! :)
     
  6. shaney777

    shaney777 Rando

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    OK, I need your help again. :D I currently do not have a DAC with the Atom amp. Am I correct that the DAC adds volume/power? 2 VRMS? Here's a quote from the JDS Labs website that leads me to believe this:
    "High gain easily powers demanding full size sets when paired with the matching 2VRMS Atom DAC+."
     
  7. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    The DAC doesn't add power. It's just that some DACs have very low output voltage.

    None of this should be an issue:
    • Unless you are using a portable DAC with extremely low voltage output
    • Most amps will have a high-gain.
    • Even if unity (no) gain, the HE400se are efficient enough.
    • Most headphones will need no more than a fraction of a volt to get to reasonable high volume levels
     
  8. wbass

    wbass Almost "Made"

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    FWIW, I have a pair of HE400SE with me as we speak. I'm listening from the "Direct" output of an iFi Nano Black Label, not a high-powered unit, and it works fine. Tyll had a pretty definitive review of the HE400SE back in the day at Innerfidelity. They are inoffensive, don't really do much wrong, and are much easier to drive than most planars.

    They don't really provide much sub-bass, and they have an overall slightly flat/boring mid-range and treble. They're not "sweet sounding," in other words, and they fall short on overall resolution and texture. (They sound a bit grainy.) But they are totally fine and listenable and non-fatiguing otherwise.
     
  9. shaney777

    shaney777 Rando

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    Thank you again!!
     
  10. shaney777

    shaney777 Rando

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    I thought Tyll retired long before these were released. Are you certain you're not thinking of his HE400S review? I agree with you on resolution. Somehow they are underwhelming, but I am not going to blow more money on headphones when dealing with a eustachian tube issue that negatively affects my hearing.
     

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