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Hifiman HE400i Review 2020 Revision (Headphone)

peniku8

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Indeed changes aren't so big, but still noticeable when you spent months with the other EQ. Have you, buy any chance, downloaded the previous version pdf ? I usually keep all versions pdf of his EQ related the HP I own, but I unfortunately forgot to download the previous HE400i version. I still have my EQs for the previous, but I'd like to compare measurements. Sometimes he updates EQ due to new measurements, sometimes he updates the EQ for better user customization.

Sundaras pads are softer, and highs resolution is next level ;)

I did, yes. Measurements are slightly different and EQ is a bit more precise.
Did you try the Sundaras? I'm a bit put off by the bass distortion, as I'm a bass-tard and add a +10db low shelf on top of the harman curve (but that's because I typically don't listen very loud and bass-perception is poor at low volumes due to how our ear/brain works; but that kinda renders my point moot since distortion will be low at low volumes anyways..).
Not sure what to do. Hows the headband on the Sundaras? I typically prefer foam/leather pads over strips.
FYI, my low-shelf is 70Hz +10db Q0,8.

I attached both PDFs to this message for everyone.
 

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peniku8

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I was under the impression that my left channel sounded somewhat dull compared to the right channel, but couldn't tell for sure because I caught a slight cold a few days ago, so I measured the headphones with my isemcon mic pushed through a hole in a piece of plywood, which yielded surprisingly good results.
The measurements seen below showed good repeatability. Oratory's new EQ was applied to the measurement.

S5Dgcrs.jpg


The small deviation could be measurement error, so I guess they sound closely enough and I was just imagining things/the cold at play here.
The bass deviation is possibly just fitment. I will build a proper fixture and see if I can get a personalized EQ for my headphones dialed in.
 

Robbo99999

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For those who haven't noticed, oratory1990 has updated HE400i 2020 EQ, update from 19th of August 2021.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/ld9y8k3r67ikujw/Hifiman HE400i (2020).pdf?dl=0
Always good to note when an Oratory measurement gets updated, he probably measured another unit and incorporated it into his published measurement. There's not much difference between this new measurement and the older one though.
As a tangential note, some people say the HE400i is the same headphone as the HE4XX, but here's a comparison between the two different headphones, HE4XX is on the right:
HE400i 2020 vs HE4XX.jpg

Definitely similar characteristic in placement of peaks & troughs, but definite differences. Oratory has measured lots of units of the HE4XX, more than most of the other headphones in his database, so the information for HE4XX should be accurate/representative....I don't know how many HE400i's he's measured but good that he's updated it after measuring at least one more of those (sometimes he gets the opportunity to measure more than one at once so it's possible that the updated curve is more than just one more headphone unit factored in).
I was under the impression that my left channel sounded somewhat dull compared to the right channel, but couldn't tell for sure because I caught a slight cold a few days ago, so I measured the headphones with my isemcon mic pushed through a hole in a piece of plywood, which yielded surprisingly good results.
The measurements seen below showed good repeatability. Oratory's new EQ was applied to the measurement.

S5Dgcrs.jpg


The small deviation could be measurement error, so I guess they sound closely enough and I was just imagining things/the cold at play here.
The bass deviation is possibly just fitment. I will build a proper fixture and see if I can get a personalized EQ for my headphones dialed in.
That looks a lot better than it should, it's a little deceiving because your y-axis has a massive range, so it makes it look like channel matching is a lot better than it actually is. You could zoom in the y-axis so it's only covering a spread of 50dB total which would be the same standard that Amir uses in his headphone reviews, at the moment you have your y-axis showing a massive 80dB total spread. It's a bit hard to tell how good the channel matching is in your graph for that reason. It's good that you measured it though, kudos to you for that; I was concerned that measuring it in such a way would be invalid, with your mic through plywood, but if you say the results were repeatable then that's probably quite a good way of seeing how good your channel matching is.
 

peniku8

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That looks a lot better than it should, it's a little deceiving because your y-axis has a massive range, so it makes it look like channel matching is a lot better than it actually is. You could zoom in the y-axis so it's only covering a spread of 50dB total which would be the same standard that Amir uses in his headphone reviews, at the moment you have your y-axis showing a massive 80dB total spread. It's a bit hard to tell how good the channel matching is in your graph for that reason. It's good that you measured it though, kudos to you for that; I was concerned that measuring it in such a way would be invalid, with your mic through plywood, but if you say the results were repeatable then that's probably quite a good way of seeing how good your channel matching is.

To verify my results I disassembled the entire "construction" to re-assemble it again and took another measurement, which was within 1db of the previous one, which was good enough for me.
I chose this scale because a) REW will show 2db separation lines instead of 5db if I zoom in more, which I am not used to. b) because a zoomed in graph does not properly represent what we hear. We see a huge difference but they sound barely different. And c) because I don't consider these measurements to be too accurate or reliable. If I trusted this data I'd zoom way in and build a channel dependant EQ based on it, but instead I'm building a proper fixture to take better measurements.
Or maybe you just need glasses, the scale is not hidden, so you can interpret the data and I don't know why that would be deceiving :p
But yea, if I had any representative data I'd publish it in a scale similar to Amir's, so we can compare a little better.
Maybe a little later, when my fixture is done (I hope).
Edit: I will also post distortion graphs with EQ applied, if the data is good enough, but I'm not sure if the SPL calibration will be valid for headphones/my fixture, so that might not be very accurate
 

0RF30

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I did, yes. Measurements are slightly different and EQ is a bit more precise.
Did you try the Sundaras? I'm a bit put off by the bass distortion, as I'm a bass-tard and add a +10db low shelf on top of the harman curve (but that's because I typically don't listen very loud and bass-perception is poor at low volumes due to how our ear/brain works; but that kinda renders my point moot since distortion will be low at low volumes anyways..).
Not sure what to do. Hows the headband on the Sundaras? I typically prefer foam/leather pads over strips.
FYI, my low-shelf is 70Hz +10db Q0,8.

I attached both PDFs to this message for everyone.

Thanks a lot for the PDF of V1.

I do own HE-4XX, HE-400i 2020 and Sundara 2020. Subjectively speaking, preference order (all EQed from oratory1990 measurements to Harman target using oratory1990 EQ) Sundara first, He-400i, HE-4XX last. Both HE-4XX and HE-400i 2020 exhibits some bass resonances (probably due to similar plastic housing and shape). Less perceptible on HE-400i though, and on HE-400i bass sounds (a bit) like a closed headphone, quite enjoyable.
Sundara pads are the most comfortable, He-400i next, HE-4XX last (very "scratchy" fabric). Sundara headband is fine, the most stable on head followed by HE-4XX, HE-400i last.

[EDIT] @peniku8 To be more accurate regarding your question, Sundara seems to distort less when you push bass shelves, but if you push sub-bass shelf to much, bass seems to loose a bit of dynamics. With oratory1990's Sundara customizable EQ, it's pretty easy to find your sweet spot after some trials and errors though. Bass feels more impactful on HE-400i, (slight closed back feeling I was talking about) at the cost of increased resonances/distortion. If you push more than default oratory EQ on HE-400i, resonances/distotion starts to be very problematic for me.
 
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Robbo99999

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To verify my results I disassembled the entire "construction" to re-assemble it again and took another measurement, which was within 1db of the previous one, which was good enough for me.
I chose this scale because a) REW will show 2db separation lines instead of 5db if I zoom in more, which I am not used to. b) because a zoomed in graph does not properly represent what we hear. We see a huge difference but they sound barely different. And c) because I don't consider these measurements to be too accurate or reliable. If I trusted this data I'd zoom way in and build a channel dependant EQ based on it, but instead I'm building a proper fixture to take better measurements.
Or maybe you just need glasses, the scale is not hidden, so you can interpret the data and I don't know why that would be deceiving :p
But yea, if I had any representative data I'd publish it in a scale similar to Amir's, so we can compare a little better.
Maybe a little later, when my fixture is done (I hope).
Edit: I will also post distortion graphs with EQ applied, if the data is good enough, but I'm not sure if the SPL calibration will be valid for headphones/my fixture, so that might not be very accurate
I disagree re y-axis, but fine, no problem.
 

peniku8

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Thanks a lot for the PDF of V1.

I do own HE-4XX, HE-400i 2020 and Sundara 2020. Subjectively speaking, preference order (all EQed from oratory1990 measurements to Harman target using oratory1990 EQ) Sundara first, He-400i, HE-4XX last. Both HE-4XX and HE-400i 2020 exhibits some bass resonances (probably due to similar plastic housing and shape). Less perceptible on HE-400i though, and on HE-400i bass sounds (a bit) like a closed headphone, quite enjoyable.
Sundara pads are the most comfortable, He-400i next, HE-4XX last (very "scratchy" fabric). Sundara headband is fine, the most stable on head followed by HE-4XX, HE-400i last.

[EDIT] @peniku8 To be more accurate regarding your question, Sundara seems to distort less when you push bass shelves, but if you push sub-bass shelf to much, bass seems to loose a bit of dynamics. With oratory1990's Sundara customizable EQ, it's pretty easy to find your sweet spot after some trials and errors though. Bass feels more impactful on HE-400i, (slight closed back feeling I was talking about) at the cost of increased resonances/distortion. If you push more than default oratory EQ on HE-400i, resonances/distotion starts to be very problematic for me.

That is interesting, I felt like the bass on the 400i was really clean. I will pay better attention to it when I listen to them the next time, but I haven't noticed any resonances/increased distortion yet (the clean bass is once of the reasons why I got them, compared to other open-backs).
I used Oratory's EQ and added my usual 10db shelf to the bass region, which I use on all my playback systems, and didn't notice anything odd, even when maxing out my Topping L30.
I sadly couldn't finish my measuring fixture since I noticed I'm missing some tools to make it, which I just ordered. Will be interesting to hear which channel is closer to 'true neutrality', and which of the two channels will need a different EQ in the end.
 

0RF30

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That is interesting, I felt like the bass on the 400i was really clean. I will pay better attention to it when I listen to them the next time, but I haven't noticed any resonances/increased distortion yet (the clean bass is once of the reasons why I got them, compared to other open-backs).
I used Oratory's EQ and added my usual 10db shelf to the bass region, which I use on all my playback systems, and didn't notice anything odd, even when maxing out my Topping L30.
I sadly couldn't finish my measuring fixture since I noticed I'm missing some tools to make it, which I just ordered. Will be interesting to hear which channel is closer to 'true neutrality', and which of the two channels will need a different EQ in the end.

That was in comparison with Sundara, I also found bass pretty "clean" on HE400i (I think I wrote something like that on the forum - term wasn't everybody's taste if I rembember correctly ;) ). As I said, I found the slight closed back effect, (not sure I describe it well) quite enjoyable. I don't feel it on Sundara.
Regarding HE-4XX, I don't know if they don't support bass EQ as well as the other two, or if I got a bad unit, but something is off. Resonnance here is far from enjoyable, and isn't a light one.
 

peniku8

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That was in comparison with Sundara, I also found bass pretty "clean" on HE400i (I think I wrote something like that on the forum - term wasn't everybody's taste if I rembember correctly ;) ). As I said, I found the slight closed back effect, (not sure I describe it well) quite enjoyable. I don't feel it on Sundara.
Regarding HE-4XX, I don't know if they don't support bass EQ as well as the other two, or if I got a bad unit, but something is off. Resonnance here is far from enjoyable, and isn't a light one.
Very interesting that you think the Sundaras are cleaner in the nether regions compared to the 400i, since the measurements show better distortion behaviour on the latter. In hindsight, I should've ordered both and compared to get a proper impression on how the differences actually sound. But I agree with you, the bass of the 400i sounds comparable to the closed Superlux I own (but still cleaner of course) and different to my HD650.
In the end I always 'regret' not getting something better, but then remind myself that I don't actually use headphones that much, so I feel like it would be a waste owning an expensive set. If I had no speakers I'd probably own the HE6se :facepalm:
 

0RF30

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Very interesting that you think the Sundaras are cleaner in the nether regions compared to the 400i, since the measurements show better distortion behaviour on the latter. In hindsight, I should've ordered both and compared to get a proper impression on how the differences actually sound. But I agree with you, the bass of the 400i sounds comparable to the closed Superlux I own (but still cleaner of course) and different to my HD650.
In the end I always 'regret' not getting something better, but then remind myself that I don't actually use headphones that much, so I feel like it would be a waste owning an expensive set. If I had no speakers I'd probably own the HE6se :facepalm:

To be honest, I'm happy with both and not considering getting rid of one of the two (and I had the Sundara before HE400i). I like the "closed back" feeling of 400i as much as I like the detailed highs of Sundara. All things considered, even using oratory1990's EQ to Harman target on both, they sound different enough to enjoy using both. I'll probably be happy if I had only one or another too ;) I initially bought HE400i to compare them to Sundaras, and keep the one I prefer, but here I am... Arf.
 

Robbo99999

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Thanks a lot for the PDF of V1.

I do own HE-4XX, HE-400i 2020 and Sundara 2020. Subjectively speaking, preference order (all EQed from oratory1990 measurements to Harman target using oratory1990 EQ) Sundara first, He-400i, HE-4XX last. Both HE-4XX and HE-400i 2020 exhibits some bass resonances (probably due to similar plastic housing and shape). Less perceptible on HE-400i though, and on HE-400i bass sounds (a bit) like a closed headphone, quite enjoyable.
Sundara pads are the most comfortable, He-400i next, HE-4XX last (very "scratchy" fabric). Sundara headband is fine, the most stable on head followed by HE-4XX, HE-400i last.

[EDIT] @peniku8 To be more accurate regarding your question, Sundara seems to distort less when you push bass shelves, but if you push sub-bass shelf to much, bass seems to loose a bit of dynamics. With oratory1990's Sundara customizable EQ, it's pretty easy to find your sweet spot after some trials and errors though. Bass feels more impactful on HE-400i, (slight closed back feeling I was talking about) at the cost of increased resonances/distortion. If you push more than default oratory EQ on HE-400i, resonances/distotion starts to be very problematic for me.
That is interesting, I felt like the bass on the 400i was really clean. I will pay better attention to it when I listen to them the next time, but I haven't noticed any resonances/increased distortion yet (the clean bass is once of the reasons why I got them, compared to other open-backs).
I used Oratory's EQ and added my usual 10db shelf to the bass region, which I use on all my playback systems, and didn't notice anything odd, even when maxing out my Topping L30.
I sadly couldn't finish my measuring fixture since I noticed I'm missing some tools to make it, which I just ordered. Will be interesting to hear which channel is closer to 'true neutrality', and which of the two channels will need a different EQ in the end.
I don't hear any bass resonances in the HE4XX either, it's the best headphone I have for clean bass. Also the pads on the HE4XX are perhaps the most comfortable I've experienced, exceedingly soft, no scratchiness that was noted by user 0RF30 above.
 

0RF30

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I don't hear any bass resonances in the HE4XX either, it's the best headphone I have for clean bass. Also the pads on the HE4XX are perhaps the most comfortable I've experienced, exceedingly soft, no scratchiness that was noted by user 0RF30 above.

Not the first time I have this discussion. Maybe something's wrong with my unit.

About the pads, may I ask what's the date of your HE4XX batch if it's first hand ? I'm bearded and have quite sensitive skin, when I wear HE4XX for a relative long time, pads starts to be irritating. I'm not experiencing that with Sundara or HE400i.
 
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Robbo99999

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Not the first time I have this discussion. Maybe something wrong with my unit.

About the pads, may I ask what's the date of your HE4XX batch if it's first hand ? I'm bearded and have quite sensitive skin, when I wear HE4XX for a relative long time, pads starts to be irritating. I'm not experiencing that with Sundara or HE400i.
Yeah, I have that info, not sure which is the proper batch number though:

Ship Date 24/12/2020
Print Batch #: 0001815600
Wave #: 1531587

If you're hearing resonances in the bass, then perhaps yours is indeed faulty.....it's the cleanest bass headphone I have.
 

Jimbob54

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Not the first time I have this discussion. Maybe something wrong with my unit.

About the pads, may I ask what's the date of your HE4XX batch if it's first hand ? I'm bearded and have quite sensitive skin, when I wear HE4XX for a relative long time, pads starts to be irritating. I'm not experiencing that with Sundara or HE400i.

Regarding pads https://store.hifiman.com/index.php/accessories.html

Im not sure which the 400i ships with but the 4xx is the "Focus A(ngled)" and I agree it is a bit like cheap carpet on the skin facing surface. I have a pair of HFM which came with the "pali" pad which is similar construction but some (to my skin) softer fabric instead of the rough carpet. I've also bought some of the "velpad" for 400S and they are quite comfy.
 

peniku8

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My 400i came with the Focus A pads as well. I like them. I feel like they get less hot than my faux leather Superlux, but that's maybe due to the closed headphones not venting to the outside? The texture feels pretty soft to me and since they're stationary (I don't move/slide them around on my skin) I don't mind it having a slightly more 'abrasive' nature than leather.
Like I already mentioned earlier, my only grief comfort-wise is the stiff headband. I still haven't found an extra pad, similar to what was seen on the Abyss headphones Amir reviewed. That looks pretty comfy!

index.php
 

_theLaughingman

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Anybody have good recommendation for an upgraded cable besides the stock ones? Ive scoured Amazon and the ones on there arent appealing due to the length and the material they use.
 

0RF30

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Yeah, I have that info, not sure which is the proper batch number though:

Ship Date 24/12/2020
Print Batch #: 0001815600
Wave #: 1531587

If you're hearing resonances in the bass, then perhaps yours is indeed faulty.....it's the cleanest bass headphone I have.

Thanks. Same drop batch. I was asking to know if maybe yours were before pad revision.
 
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peniku8

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I finally finished my measurement fixture and got to measuring my 400i. I felt like the left channel had more low-end compared to the right which wasn't very obvious all the time, but would sometimes annoy me, so I was anxious to see the differences.

Measurement infos:
-EQapo active with oratory's preset
-Put headphones on, measure, take off (repeat this 5 times and average the results for accuracy)

Here is the left vs the right response (12th smoothing):
VY12TJj.jpg


And here are all 5 measurements I took of the left channel for those who are interested. They don't vary much, indicating good accuracy and repeatability (no smoothing).
WcLD8kD.jpg


TBH I'm not happy with this. There is an 8db imbalance at 20hz between the two channels. I bought a b-stock, so maybe the original owner knew this and returned it for that reason. I will see if I can get these replaced. If not, I can still eq the channels independently I guess...
 
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