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Buying my first magnetoplanar headphones

Koeitje

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#23
Try second hand Oppo PM-2 or PM-3, superb build quality, very usable (ie. not especially heavy and easy to drive). As an overall package I still rate them as some of the best headphones made, it was a great loss to audio when Oppo closed their AV unit.
Don't get an Oppo PM-3. I got those, they sound but but the build quality is ass. The pleather from the headband is falling apart on mine and there is no way to replace it. The earpads fall apart earlier, but at least you can get replacements from China.
 
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#24
I got a pair of HE-4XX from Drop.com a couple of weeks ago and I couldn't be happier.

Compared to the HE-400i, the Drop version uses a traditional headband, instead of a suspension band, but other than that I believe that the drivers are pretty much identical.

The price is significantly less for the 4XX, at $130 compared to $170 for the 400i. Also, when you first sign up for a (free) Drop.com membership they give you $20 towards your first purchase. (That expires a week after you sign up, so don't sign up till you're ready to buy.) This brought the price for my 4XX down to $110 (with free shipping).

I will caution that I initially found the 4XX to be ill-fitting and uncomfortable. But I found an easy fix by fitting the headband with the Geekria headband cover that I took off my Sony MDR-V6, which I stuffed with some ad hoc padding. They now fit perfectly and are very comfortable.

Another warning is that they're quite heavy. They don't bother me for an hour or two but any longer and they may wear you out.

One last consideration is that the 4XX and 400i have extremely large soundstages. [More on that here: https://www.rtings.com/headphones/tests/sound-quality/soundstage]

A large soundstage is part of the reason I chose the 4XX but not everyone likes a large soundstage, so it's something to consider.

One last consideration is power: the 4XX/400i headphones are pretty inefficient, so you'll need a fairly powerful amp. Opinions differ but I've found my Magni 3 to be somewhat inadequate at times (depending on the source), and that's one of the most powerful $100-class amps out there. Something less powerful may work for you with the 4XX/400i but I figured it was worth mentioning.
 

solderdude

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#25
The H4XX will be able to reach 124dB peak SPL on the Magni 3.

Personally I found the headstage of the HE400i to be quite 'normal' and certainly not nearly as wide as my HD800.
The HE400i (HE4XX) is a nice entry level headphone certainly for those prices.
 
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#26
The H4XX will be able to reach 124dB peak SPL on the Magni 3.

Personally I found the headstage of the HE400i to be quite 'normal' and certainly not nearly as wide as my HD800.
The HE400i (HE4XX) is a nice entry level headphone certainly for those prices.
Of the 382 headphones tested by RTINGS.com the HD-800 came out as having the widest soundstage, so it's not surprising that the HE-400i sounds narrower in comparison. But the 4XX sounds wider than any other headphone that I've personally heard, and my own subjective opinion is supported by their measurements, which put the 400i 6th on their list of headphones ranked by soundstage.

But I'm certainly not an expert, and their measurements may be inaccurate, misleading or just plain meaningless. I've no way to be sure.

As far as the 4XX/400i power requirements:

I'm sure you're right about the SPL attainable by the 400i driven by a Magni 3 - given the right source. But most of my listening is done through music streaming services and I almost always end up maxing the volume on high-gain and wishing for more, which is why I mentioned it. But I also stated that opinions differ, and obviously that's true.
 
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raindance

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#27
I recently got the HE4XX and am thrilled with them. They have a nice full sound and I like them better than the Sennheiser HD600 which I had before. The HD600 had terrible channel balance issues. The HE4XX have a wide sound stage on recordings that are recorded that way, but it isn't weird or distracting. The layering of voices and instruments is realistic. Low bass, on some recordings, could do with a little boost. I'm not a basshead, though!

I run them with a Channel Islands Audio VHP-2 amp and a Schiit Loki Mini for tone tweaking. This combo gives no noise or audible hiss with the amp on low gain. Volume setting on this amp at decent levels is 12 o'clock. I give the bottom band on the Loki Mini a little boost (2 o'clock), when I use it and it's not bypassed.

My 19 year old son thinks they are the best sounding 'phones he's heard yet, and he's tried a few.
 

Celty

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#29
It really just depends on the level of headphone you want. For $130 it's hard to beat the the HE4XX IMOP, but I am also not sure how much of an upgrade you would experience over your HD 58X. I have the HD6XX and HE4XX and enjoy both about equally, even though they have different characteristics.
 
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#30
Hi. I am a Newbie here. Have a Masters in Electronics, so I know the science. But never had the money or the time to indulge in this expensive sport. Now nudging the age of 50 am attracted to this lovely addiction.

Read a lot of reviews and decided to go in for the Hifiman Sundara. Amazon delivered it last week and I run it off my OnePlus 7T Android phone and an AudioQuest Dragonfly Red. I am comparing it solely with my previous, decidedly plebeian headphones - the Bose QC25, the Jabra Elite 65T and OnePlus Quad Driver IEM's.

No issues with product quality or build so far. Comfort is fine, albeit my listening sessions do not extend beyond 30 minutes at one go.

The Good
The first thing that astonished me was the sheer detail audible. Music that I have been listening to for almost 3 decades revealed new details to me - be it Michael Jackson's Billy Jean, the Pet Shop Boys' West End Girls, Phil Collins Another Day in Paradise, Dave Brubeck's Take Five or Louis Armstrong's Its a Wonderful World.

The next thing that struck me was these headphones are Fast. When I read the reviews before buying them I didn't quite know what to make of 'Fast'. Well the thump feels like someone slapped you hard on your cheek when you least expected! That is what Fast means. Don't get me wrong - the Sundara is by no means bass heavy. If you are a bass lover, you will be possibly underwhelmed. But me, I feel it is so right! The slam of every beat is incredible.

The mid-range could have been a little more upfront for my liking, but oh the treble is sooo good. I remember the first time I walked out of an optometrist's with my spectacles. Suddenly, the world appeared so much clearer, the colours so much richer that the whole experience left me a little giddy. The Sundara's treble gives me the same feeling for my ears. It is not shrill or harsh . . . just so incredibly detailed.

Having only listened to in ears and closed backs, the next revelation was the wide soundstage of the open back Sundaras. My kids complained of the sound leakage but the experience for me was being front row, centre stage in a jazz concert.

The Bad
I had read that the cords that come with the package feel rubbery like a stethoscope and that is exactly what they feel like. They have a mind of their own and coil up at the least excuse.

The bigger issue for me is that the cardboard box that these came in is likely not going to last very long. The box doesn't even have a hinged flap, so one has to hold the top half and shake so that gravity drags down bottom half of the box, undoing the vacuum created as the space expands once the top of the box is pulled up. Wish they had at least offered the extra cost option of a proper case. So need to find myself a hard shell case to buy.

Despite having seen the reviews on YouTube and the pictures before buying, I was not prepared for the sheer size of these things. While I know it is socially acceptable these days to be seen wearing seriously, ridiculously large headphones in public places, I am unlikely to venture out of my home wearing these. That is a pity because I travel a lot. Nothing ameliorates the sheer boredom of a long, red eye flight, stuck in cattle class, with bawling kids as a good pair of headphones!

Advice Needed
At comfortably loud levels, my Dragonfly Red is at 80 - 85% of peak volume. Question to the Gurus: Would the sound quality benefit from a dedicated desktop amp like the Schiit Magni Heresy or the SMSL SP200 THX 888?

Conclusion
Based on my experience (or rather the lack of it), I am quite happy with the Hifiman Sundara. I wholeheartedly recommend it as a decent value priced purchase.
 

solderdude

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#31
Advice Needed
At comfortably loud levels, my Dragonfly Red is at 80 - 85% of peak volume. Question to the Gurus: Would the sound quality benefit from a dedicated desktop amp like the Schiit Magni Heresy or the SMSL SP200 THX 888?
When using the Sundara at the same volume level there will be no difference. When playing louder differences will become obvious.
Schiit Magni Heresy or the SMSL SP200 THX 888 all will work fine so will Atom and quite a few other amps.
Pick one on looks and functionality.
 
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sejarzo

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#32
That is a pity because I travel a lot. Nothing ameliorates the sheer boredom of a long, red eye flight, stuck in cattle class, with bawling kids as a good pair of headphones!
Have you taken off the Sundaras while they are playing and listened to how much sound emanates from the back sides of the drivers? Your fellow passengers are not going to appreciate that, nor will the Sundaras provide enough isolation from other cabin noise, anyway.
 

MRC01

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#33
Not to mention that in noisy environments like an airplane, headphones without noise cancellation would likely be played loud enough to risk hearing damage on extended exposure.
 

raindance

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#34
I recently got the HE4XX and am thrilled with them. They have a nice full sound and I like them better than the Sennheiser HD600 which I had before. The HD600 had terrible channel balance issues. The HE4XX have a wide sound stage on recordings that are recorded that way, but it isn't weird or distracting. The layering of voices and instruments is realistic. Low bass, on some recordings, could do with a little boost. I'm not a basshead, though!

I run them with a Channel Islands Audio VHP-2 amp and a Schiit Loki Mini for tone tweaking. This combo gives no noise or audible hiss with the amp on low gain. Volume setting on this amp at decent levels is 12 o'clock. I give the bottom band on the Loki Mini a little boost (2 o'clock), when I use it and it's not bypassed.

My 19 year old son thinks they are the best sounding 'phones he's heard yet, and he's tried a few.
Just a quick note on the HE4xx: parts quality is very poor. The headphone cable sockets on the earpieces are cheap crap with poorly made knurled fasteners that don't stay tight. One of them came completely undone and the connector ended up inside the headphone. A dab of loctite at the factory might have fixed this. I'm replacing mine with higher quality gold plated sockets and loctite tomorrow.
 
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#35
Hello everyone,

I decided I'd like to buy my first pair of magnetoplanar headphones. I own HD 58X to this moment. I run Topping D10+Aune X7S.
I listened to Dekoni Blue at my friend's place and I loved the sound. I'm looking into Hifiman Sundara the most. I watched quite a lot of reviews about them.
I'd be grateful for any opinion, tip and help from more experienced people in this hobby. How do Sundara compare to, say, HE 400i (or HE 4XX)? What about Monoprice 1060. Or save money for Audeze LCDs? They are double the price of Sundara.
I enjoy mostly female vocals, classic rock, old metal, folk, jazz/blues, instrumental, indie genres.

Any suggestions please?
Thanks in advance
Hi, I prefer dekoni blue to sundara mainly because of bass performance and comfort. Sundara is very ethereral and light sounding but a very pleasing analytical headphone. I had poor experience with 400i. Poor build, bad comfort, and sounded shouty with poor balance. Not terrible sound for price but not an upgrade from what you have.

The drop option is in fact the 400i with better QC. Hifiman is a poor performer in QC without other companies QCing for them as drop does. My first sundara had a dead right driver on arrival. This was before overhaul of sundara.

I have not heard Verum mainly because of Josh Velour's warning about QC:
Anecdotal but unlikely if not a huge issue.
 
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