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Hifiman HE400SE Review (Headphone)

Rate this headphone:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 3 1.0%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 13 4.3%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 96 31.9%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 189 62.8%

  • Total voters
    301

GERGE

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Sep 28, 2022
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My audio interface (Axe I/O Solo) was struggling with -9.3 dB preamp with oratory1990 EQ preset while listening to quite songs and gaming, so I came up with this by using AutoEQ, Crinacle's app and some hand fiddling.

Preamp: -3.8 dB
Filter 1: ON LS Fc 120 Hz Gain 3.8 dB Q 0.7
Filter 2: ON PK Fc 230 Hz Gain -1.7 dB Q 0.7
Filter 3: ON PK Fc 920 Hz Gain -2.6 dB Q 1.5
Filter 4: ON PK Fc 1800 Hz Gain 4.1 dB Q 2.0
Filter 5: ON PK Fc 2300 Hz Gain 0.6 dB Q 2.0
Filter 6: ON PK Fc 3200 Hz Gain -1.3 dB Q 4.0
Filter 7: ON HS Fc 8000 Hz Gain -2.7 dB Q 0.7

Difference is subtle, but oratory1990 preset clearly have better bass. I will use this until I buy an amplifier when volume isn't enough.

PS. My first message here =)
 

shaney777

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To import this PEQ profile into 'Equalizer APO', use:

Otherwise, see my PEQ guide.
..................................................................................................................
For those who don't have PEQ-capable app, and want to use GEQs instead:
See my GEQ guide for 10-band, 31-band, and 127-band GEQ profiles.
In Equalizer APO, for an applied PEQ, is the graph in the Analysis Panel supposed to be all below 0? (see attachment 1)

Please check all the aspects for me. I have no idea what I am doing lol.
Also, I have tried Oratory1990's 8 band EQ and had similar results with everything below 0, but the graph is quite different. Why such a deviation between Amir and Oratory?

Oratory's is the second image. I see the Peak Gain is in red, while with Amir's, it isn't. Why is that?
 

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Jimbob54

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In Equalizer APO, for an applied PEQ, is the graph in the Analysis Panel supposed to be all below 0? (see attachment 1)

Please check all the aspects for me. I have no idea what I am doing lol.
Also, I have tried Oratory1990's 8 band EQ and had similar results with everything below 0, but the graph is quite different. Why such a deviation between Amir and Oratory?

Oratory's is the second image. I see the Peak Gain is in red, while with Amir's, it isn't. Why is that?
Looks right. The preamp reduction should be around equal but opposite to the largest peak filter to ensure no signal goes over 0db.

The graphs look different because the eq are different. Oratory uses two low shelves below 100 Hz which take the low bass around 8db up, Amir uses a peak filter at 20 so you should hear different bass. Choose your poison.

No idea why the peak gain is in red, I wouldnt worry about it.
 

staticV3

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In Equalizer APO, for an applied PEQ, is the graph in the Analysis Panel supposed to be all below 0? (see attachment 1)
Yes. Above zero and you're potentially clipping the digital signal (bad)
clipped-signal.jpg
Why such a deviation between Amir and Oratory?
Because Amir's preset is very imprecise, just by eye. Oratory pays more attention to the EQ design. Also unit variation.
Oratory's is the second image. I see the Peak Gain is in red, while with Amir's, it isn't. Why is that?
Because Oratory's PEQ boosts signals more, so you have to compensate with more preamp attenuation.
 

shaney777

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Looks right. The preamp reduction should be around equal but opposite to the largest peak filter to ensure no signal goes over 0db.

The graphs look different because the eq are different. Oratory uses two low shelves below 100 Hz which take the low bass around 8db up, Amir uses a peak filter at 20 so you should hear different bass. Choose your poison.

No idea why the peak gain is in red, I wouldnt worry about it.
I appreciate the information! I actually don't like the sound of either better than no EQ, so that's why I figured something was wrong with my settings. I guess my ears prefer the bright Grado sound, which is quite different than what we have here. Next I am considering an HD600 or an AKG, like K612 Pro, K701, or K702. I guess the SR225x is an option as well, but it doesn't seem to get nearly the love that these others do.
 

shaney777

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Yes. Above zero and you're potentially clipping the digital signal (bad)
View attachment 239641

Because Amir's preset is very imprecise, just by eye. Oratory pays more attention to the EQ design. Also unit variation.

Because Oratory's PEQ boosts signals more, so you have to compensate with more preamp attenuation.
I really appreciate the information! Happy to know I did it correctly. Now the issue is that I just don't like the sound of either better than no EQ... Lol
 

staticV3

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I really appreciate the information! Happy to know I did it correctly. Now the issue is that I just don't like the sound of either better than no EQ... Lol
Not surprising as it mirrors exactly my first experience with EQing headphones.
Over the years I've developed this tactic to collect every trustworthy measurement I can find of a headphone, generate EQs for all of them, then compare them directly to each other.
Most of the time, there are one or two that sound brilliant, and the rest is either unimpressive or offensive.

Edit: here are all good measurements that I could find compared:
HiFiMan HE400se Frequency Response Comparison.png
 
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staticV3

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Here's a little poll/thread I made:
 

shaney777

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Here's a little poll/thread I made:
Wow, terrific, I had no idea there were such a number of EQs out there. Do you know which may be best?
 

oleg87

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Wow, terrific, I had no idea there were such a number of EQs out there. Do you know which may be best?
Although Hifiman has a reputation for good part-to-part consistency, I still think that's going to depend on your particular cans (and your taste for the finer points of the Harman target).
 

shaney777

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Although Hifiman has a reputation for good part-to-part consistency, I still think that's going to depend on your particular cans (and your taste for the finer points of the Harman target).
I think I've gotten back-to-back defective pairs of Hifiman. I know I am not buying anything else from the brand.
 

shaney777

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iMickey503

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I just got these for a an old Beer Pong Buddy of mine. I figure if Amir liked them, they would make a great Birthday gift. I might buy a set for me just to try them out. Oh ASR.. What a great place to look for a audio gift for someone cool. Thanks Amir!
 

xavx

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Feedback from my recent experience :
Quality control is still not the best. Out of 3 units ordered (thank you Amazon return), only 1 had no disturbing driver imbalance.
If having problems with the headband, you can strech/compress it to better fit your head. To make it tighter, gently push the plastic parts (Hifiman written on the left one and HE400SE written on the right one) towards each other. This will remove the hotspot on the top of the skull.
Am interested in cheap/DIY solutions to make the itchy velour softer without changing the sound signature. Sometimes that velour scratches like sandpaper.
 
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GERGE

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Mine works perfectly. But since one of my ears works %10 or so less than the other, I guess there is an imbalance. But a serendipitous imbalance =)
 

xavx

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Wondered why 2 400se sounded slightly different and required different power level for the same volume.
Could it be linked to the differences in wiring of the membrane ? Does more wiring mean "better"/more precise for planars ?
The 2021 version (25ohms 91db) has fewer and more spaced wires than the 2022 version (32ohms 91db). Also the 2022 version covers more area than the 2021.
 

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solderdude

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Does more wiring mean "better"/more precise for planars ?
More wiring/traces could result in a different efficiency or impedance. The latter can also be changed by using traces with a different resistance though.
It isn't the only property that can be changed. Magnetic field strength, membrane/magnet distance, single or dual sided magnets, membrane thickness, electrical power rating, shapes, trace material, membrane material, tension etc. etc.
More 'precise' can depend on so much more than just the traces on a membrane.
 

xavx

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More wiring/traces could result in a different efficiency or impedance. The latter can also be changed by using traces with a different resistance though.
It isn't the only property that can be changed. Magnetic field strength, membrane/magnet distance, single or dual sided magnets, membrane thickness, electrical power rating, shapes, trace material, membrane material, tension etc. etc.
More 'precise' can depend on so much more than just the traces on a membrane.
Appreciate your response.
What I can say from an objective point of view and the sample I tried is the 2022 version requires less power for the same volume level.
More subjectively, it had better soundstage while being less defined - like a reverb effect - which made me keep the 2021.
Also the headband of the 2022 clamps less than the 2021.
Who knows, maybe a V3 is in the works
 

killdozzer

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Could anyone clarify what should be expected of the bad group delay result?

(I've read through the thread where it's mentioned, but there's no mentioning of impact on sound)

Oh, and are these a light or heavy load on an amp? This is my headphones section:
1669200014133.png

From the manual.
 
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