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Hifiman HE400SE Review (Headphone)

Rate this headphone:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 2 0.7%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 10 3.7%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 89 33.1%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 168 62.5%

  • Total voters
    269

Phoney

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I'm trying to understand eq more. Normally I'm seeing a good balance between boosting and cutting in the oratory eq's. WIth this headphone however there's a lot more boosting going on in his eq. Why didn't he just "draw the line" higher up by cutting more and boosting less? Is it because this was the most accurate way we could adjust it to preference in an eq that's limited to 10 bands? I gotta say these sound great even with all that boosting in the bass and high amount of preamp cutting, so I'm not complaining. But is there any kind of rule to know when we should boost something instead of cutting other things to make the thing we wanted to boost come more forward? Is boosting the bass by 9,5db going to cause any problems even with preamp setting on? If not, why are we not JUST cutting whatever frequencies that is too high or just boosting whatever is too low, why does most of the harman eq's usually do a mix of cutting and boosting? My guess is that it's mostly because the eq profiles are trying to hit an exact curve as well as possible by using 10 bands only?

I know it's a lot of question but they dont really need an individual answer for each of them.. I just want to know what to be aware of when trying to do some tweaks to the eq myself.
 

_theLaughingman

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I'm trying to understand eq more. Normally I'm seeing a good balance between boosting and cutting in the oratory eq's. WIth this headphone however there's a lot more boosting going on in his eq. Why didn't he just "draw the line" higher up by cutting more and boosting less? Is it because this was the most accurate way we could adjust it to preference in an eq that's limited to 10 bands? I gotta say these sound great even with all that boosting in the bass and high amount of preamp cutting, so I'm not complaining. But is there any kind of rule to know when we should boost something instead of cutting other things to make the thing we wanted to boost come more forward? Is boosting the bass by 9,5db going to cause any problems even with preamp setting on? If not, why are we not JUST cutting whatever frequencies that is too high or just boosting whatever is too low, why does most of the harman eq's usually do a mix of cutting and boosting?

I know it's a lot of question but they dont really need an individual answer for each of them.. I just want to know what to be aware of when trying to do some tweaks to the eq myself.
I'll answer this with my limited knowledge on correcting FR on headphones. I think the biggest goal on correcting FR with EQ is finding the balance and ability to match the FR to the Harman Curve (if that's the curve that is being used). One can boost or cut off frequencies that are deficient or excessive, but overall it may cause the sound to not have balance. Imagine having an FR with EQ where the bass is so much that the midrange gets drowned out due to the bass being prevalent or the treble being too high that everything sounds sparkly.
 

mechdroid

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I've found solderdudes EQ advice is spot on with a minimum of filters to get great sound. I understand the Harmon curve but I don't follow it.
A lot of headphones just don't need the bass boost (for me) and some that do can't handle it. I like the original signal as unmolested as possible
YMMV.
 

Jimbob54

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I've found solderdudes EQ advice is spot on with a minimum of filters to get great sound. I understand the Harmon curve but I don't follow it.
A lot of headphones just don't need the bass boost (for me) and some that do can't handle it. I like the original signal as unmolested as possible
YMMV.
Completely agree about the bass boost. I usually end up 2 to 5 dB less bottom end than Harman and some headphones really can't take that level and sound good. The HE6 SE is one of the few that does.
 

Phoney

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I've found solderdudes EQ advice is spot on with a minimum of filters to get great sound. I understand the Harmon curve but I don't follow it.
A lot of headphones just don't need the bass boost (for me) and some that do can't handle it. I like the original signal as unmolested as possible
YMMV.
I've had great results with different headphones using 10 bands, so I'm not really sure if using less means better sound. However, I'll try to lower the bass a bit.
 

Phoney

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Completely agree about the bass boost. I usually end up 2 to 5 dB less bottom end than Harman and some headphones really can't take that level and sound good. The HE6 SE is one of the few that does.
What if the headphone already is at Harman level bass, like the Denon AH-D7200? Could boosting it by 2db at around 20hz be bad for the overall sound? It has a 2db dip from 30 to 20hz in the frequency response curve.
 

solderdude

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30Hz is the resonance frequency of the D7200. I don't think it dips there but rather has a peak.
Boosting 30Hz by 2dB won't lead to audible issues for any headphone unless you forget to add -2.5dB negative pre-amp.
Won't be a very audible difference in tonal balance either.
 
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Phoney

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30Hz is the resonance frequency of the D7200. I don't think it dips there but rather has a peak.
Boosting 30Hz by 2dB won't lead to audible issues for any headphone unless you forget to add -2.5dB negative pre-amp.
Won't be a very audible difference in tonal balance either.

Well, most of the measurments for it looks like this, which means around 2db below Harman curve at 20hz. What I meant is that it's decreasing below 30hz.

660287e9c3bb8300c4a94a177b7ea0d8.png
 
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solderdude

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Have you listened to a 20Hz note ?
30Hz is even on the Harman target.
I would be more worried about the 100Hz to 400Hz area (muddy sound) and 2kHz to 5kHz (lack of clarity).
 

Phoney

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Have you listened to a 20Hz note ?
30Hz is even on the Harman target.
I would be more worried about the 100Hz to 400Hz area (muddy sound) and 2kHz to 5kHz (lack of clarity).
So 20-30hz is not really audible you think?

cbdbe199abdf279f18bd50d86d5f4b91.png


I had to lower the 2200-3150 boosts because the Denon didn't respond well to huge boosts here. Looks like this right now, I could probably remove the 20hz one if it's not audible. That being said, I think I have previously seen Oratory presets that boosts 20hz for whatever reason.
 

solderdude

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A 2dB boost at 20Hz (narrow band is has to stop boosting at 30Hz) won't be audible as most music does not even have content below 32Hz.
Unless it is a church organ or some synthesized music.

That won't be EQ provided by @oratory1990 but someone that used his measurements and created their own EQ and assumed 20Hz should be boosted.
 

Raindog123

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...I am torn. Just got HE400SE (v2). Listened them each and every way - with and without various EQ profiles (Roon) - against my HE400i 2020... and do not hear much 'improvement'. Yes, unequalized, there is tad more bass in SE's, and 2020's are bit more bright (which I seem to like).

So, not sure, any reason to keep them or send back..?

IMG_2144.jpg
 
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solderdude

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No need to keep both unless you are a hoarder.
Personally I like the all black better.
Is the velour on both pads the same ?

I like the looks of my (modified) HE35X better than my HE400SE as well. Bought a bunch of them for € 30.- a piece, modified them and put them up for sale.
he35x-kl.jpg

Same pads as the HE400SE glued to a mounting ring.
 

solderdude

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Then I would keep the one that looks nicest.
 

Jimbob54

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No need to keep both unless you are a hoarder.
Personally I like the all black better.
Is the velour on both pads the same ?

I like the looks of my (modified) HE35X better than my HE400SE as well. Bought a bunch of them for € 30.- a piece, modified them and put them up for sale.
he35x-kl.jpg

Same pads as the HE400SE glued to a mounting ring.
Got any of the modded left?
 

solderdude

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Yes, 2 1 of them left.

Including the built-in complex filter.

HE35X filter schematic.png


Selling to ASR members for € 50 (excl. shipping) for one where I removed a pad and left some markings (never remove the pad unless you have to) and € 65.- for the perfect one.
Both were new in box.
Shipping outside of EU may be expensive.
Keeping one for myself.
 
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abdo123

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Not yet.

When brand new, the highs/brightness was the main thing that caught my attention. Now it is more balanced. I can enjoy most of the songs. Even the sub bass satisfies me enough to not think about my k371. For sub bass, I can already say I prefer it over the 560s.
With Amir’s filters the experience is quite nice i agree.
 

Brianc

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Like the sound of these, especially for acoustic music, but the headband is uncomfortable after half an hour. Any ideas on fixing it? TY
 

Leiker535

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Like the sound of these, especially for acoustic music, but the headband is uncomfortable after half an hour. Any ideas on fixing it? TY
You can buy the original suspension headbands from Hifiman, or buy custom made ones from aliexpress or ebay. Installation will require removing the drivers (not the wiring) and disassembling the earcups.
 
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