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I've just purchased a new pair of HIFIMAN HE 400-S.

Is it worth upgrading the cable?

I read in a review somewhere that the stock cable is pretty basic. Not sure if an upgrade would be worthwhile.

 

They are now 70 hours into burn-in. I had a listen with my Astell & Kern Jr after around 30 hours and I was very underwhelmed.

They sounded closed, flat and lifeless but hopefully its a burn in thing and they will open up after some decent burn-in time.

Underwhelmed in comparison to my Etymotic ER4Ps, Bose QC 25s and a deceased pair of Senn HD239s.

 

 

 

 

 

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You may have a better experience of the headphones with a proper headphone amplifier and use astell & kern jr as a transport.

planar headphones as efficient as the may be, benefit from an amplifier.

Visit a hifi shop and ask them to set up a demo

Neo

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Yes without a doubt they would sound better with an amp but I really don't want the expense or hassle of a headphone amp which was a big factor in my purchase.

With their high sensitivity and low impedance they are sold to run on portable devices.

Easy to Drive

One of the highest efficiency planar phones in the world! HIFIMAN’s newest HE400S sounds terrific on your smartphone or most any portable audio device.

 

They have over 150 hours on them atm and they are opening up nicely. I'll get them up to 300-500 hours and hopefully they will open up some more.

 

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Yeah I read the blurb before if you want better performance get an amp or try one at least 

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On 6/12/2017 at 2:27 PM, onthebeach said:

I've just purchased a new pair of HIFIMAN HE 400-S.

Is it worth upgrading the cable?

I read in a review somewhere that the stock cable is pretty basic. Not sure if an upgrade would be worthwhile.

 

They are now 70 hours into burn-in. I had a listen with my Astell & Kern Jr after around 30 hours and I was very underwhelmed.

They sounded closed, flat and lifeless but hopefully its a burn in thing and they will open up after some decent burn-in time.

Underwhelmed in comparison to my Etymotic ER4Ps, Bose QC 25s and a deceased pair of Senn HD239s.

 

Hi Nathan

Good to see a member from Northern NSW posting. (I am in Grafton).

I think one of your issues is that the Etymotics are so good. I have a pair myself.

Cables IMO is to "tune" your system, it wont change closed, flat and lifeless.

If you want to know how they could/should sound do try to listen via a headphone amp or something similar. Also check out the headfi forum.

Enjoy!

 

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Had the 500's in this brand and they were just fantastic with both phone amps I had running them and yes the extra expense of a quality cable settled them($70 I think) but I would never use them with a phone but that's me.

 

Now running BT cans and they are pretty meh compared to cabled cans that's for sure.

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1 hour ago, Jventer said:

Hi Nathan

Good to see a member from Northern NSW posting. (I am in Grafton).

I think one of your issues is that the Etymotics are so good. I have a pair myself.

Cables IMO is to "tune" your system, it wont change closed, flat and lifeless.

If you want to know how they could/should sound do try to listen via a headphone amp or something similar. Also check out the headfi forum.

Enjoy!

 

Hi. Yes the Etymotics are very good. I've owned mine for many years. I only use them now for a gym workout. I've just ordered some Comply foam tips for them which will be a new experience for me as I've only used the standard foam tips in the past. I have the plastic flanged tips but don't like them.

I had a look around the headfi forum a while back when researching what DAP to get. I decided on the A&K Jr. I might head back over there at some stage down the track to get a cable recommendation for my HFM400s.

cheers.

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Doesn't sound right to me, I've heard all of those and the 400s leave the others in the dust no comparison.. I'd take them over HD600's.. the Etys just as good in mid but different 

 

 I prefer the 400i though

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4 hours ago, murrmax said:

Doesn't sound right to me, I've heard all of those and the 400s leave the others in the dust no comparison.. I'd take them over HD600's.. the Etys just as good in mid but different 

 

 I prefer the 400i though

Interesting. What was the source? Was it a audio player? With an amp or running solo?

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Looks like it was defiantly a burn in issue. Had a listen last night now they have 200+ hours on them and they sounded like a different set of cans to the ones I listened to last week.

MUCH more open with nice sweet mids and tops. Still a bit thick for my liking in the lower mids but with some more burn in and maybe a new cable down the track I think they will be really nice.

I'll get around 500 hours on them and see how they sound then.

 

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The biggest change reported with these is by changing the pads.

 

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@onthebeach

Nathan

I was in Coffs today and visited Coffs Coast HiFi. I was surprised at their collection of headphones. They even had a Sennheiser HDVD 800 headphone amp. Beautiful shop. You can always go there for a chat and to check out other phones.

Great to hear your phones are sounding better

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19 hours ago, Jventer said:

@onthebeach

Nathan

I was in Coffs today and visited Coffs Coast HiFi. I was surprised at their collection of headphones. They even had a Sennheiser HDVD 800 headphone amp. Beautiful shop. You can always go there for a chat and to check out other phones.

Great to hear your phones are sounding better

  Ah Yes...You mean Coffs Coast Audio. Yes I know it well. Gav and Jarrod were at Park beach music and HIFI for many years let me tell you I've maxed out many a credit card in that shop over the past 20 years. When that shop owned by Kev Budge closed its doors after 25 years of wonderful service they went out on their own. They specialise in installations. Really nice guys. They only opened their doors last year.

 

As far as the Senny Head amp goes I wouldn't really want to try it out if I wasn't half keen on buying it and I wouldn't buy Sennheiser again. Also if I bought an amp at all it would be used from these classifieds probably. But for the purpose of what I want my headphones for I don't really want the hassle of a headphone amp anyway. I guess if I try one at some stage I might be swayed but we'll see....

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My HFM 400s have 500 hours up on them now.

Yes they sound good. No they don't sound sensational. 

Yes they definitely do sound like they would be better with an amp no doubt. But...they do sound pretty good with just the A&KJr running them.

So an amp with them would be better but again I really don't want the expense or hassle of an amp so for now I wont get one as they sound alright without one.

Maybe one day if a decent one comes up around here and I have the cash but until then...

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Swapped the stock cable on @Lansche Plasma guys HE-400s today for a custom one and the results were a resounding improvement. Now you may know LPG from the various modded projects he has undertaken on this forum and these headphones were another striking testimony to the fact that he can extract great sound from modest equipment. I wont steal his thunder on the subject but streaming Tidal from a tablet through an AQ Dragonfly the sound through those modded HE-400s 'phones were sublime to my ears. So to answer your original question it would definitely be worth upgrading the cable for a modest outlay and a definite improvement in sound, I would wager even fed by the A&K Jr. 

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On 12/06/2017 at 2:27 PM, onthebeach said:

I've just purchased a new pair of HIFIMAN HE 400-S.

Is it worth upgrading the cable?

I read in a review somewhere that the stock cable is pretty basic. Not sure if an upgrade would be worthwhile.

 

They are now 70 hours into burn-in. I had a listen with my Astell & Kern Jr after around 30 hours and I was very underwhelmed.

They sounded closed, flat and lifeless but hopefully its a burn in thing and they will open up after some decent burn-in time.

Underwhelmed in comparison to my Etymotic ER4Ps, Bose QC 25s and a deceased pair of Senn HD239s.

 

Hi onthebeach, I'm listening to mine right at this moment, jacked into a new (probably only 20 hours in) Schiit Audio Magni 3, Kimber USB from laptop to MusicStreamer II+ and admittedly exy Slinkylinks pure silver ICs. Yes, they do loosen up over time, the bass from them is the best I've ever heard via the Magni 3, it just GRIPS those drivers and the top end is the most realistic cymbal and percussion I've heard from any headphone amp in over 28 years of headphone listening .... so far. Still, the 400s cans do sound a little sat-upon as far as out and out exuberant expression goes and I too have been wondering about a cable upgrade, whether the cost of such cables is worth it with relatively inexpensive cans is up to the individual, I'm pickin'. That top end with the Magni 3 though ... brilliant! Listening to WAR-Live and the percussion work is outstanding! Clean, accurate to the sound I hear from live performances, fast, detailed and expressive. A little more dynamic expression from the mid bass on down would be great though. I use a Questyle QP1R as a source often - either coax or optical out - but in some ways, the purest performance comes directly via the class A output from the QP1R. A conclusion so far, I s'pose, is that even with a lot more power and control driving them, the overall balance from the HE 400s doesn't really change, a subtle softening of dynamic expression in the bass remains. They still sound terrific .... and yet ... they could be better, I feel. Help at all? 

 

 

 

 

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On 18/09/2017 at 11:18 PM, PicoWattson said:

Swapped the stock cable on @Lansche Plasma guys HE-400s today for a custom one and the results were a resounding improvement. Now you may know LPG from the various modded projects he has undertaken on this forum and these headphones were another striking testimony to the fact that he can extract great sound from modest equipment. I wont steal his thunder on the subject but streaming Tidal from a tablet through an AQ Dragonfly the sound through those modded HE-400s 'phones were sublime to my ears. So to answer your original question it would definitely be worth upgrading the cable for a modest outlay and a definite improvement in sound, I would wager even fed by the A&K Jr. 

Hmm, saw this after my own reply to onthebeach's question. I don't know of the LPG. A decent cable for the HE400s you say? Hmmm, where does one find such a thing? :) 

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On 25/06/2017 at 1:59 PM, onthebeach said:

My HFM 400s have 500 hours up on them now.

Yes they sound good. No they don't sound sensational. 

Yes they definitely do sound like they would be better with an amp no doubt. But...they do sound pretty good with just the A&KJr running them.

So an amp with them would be better but again I really don't want the expense or hassle of an amp so for now I wont get one as they sound alright without one.

Maybe one day if a decent one comes up around here and I have the cash but until then...

Try the new Schiit Audio Magni 3, at an amazing price of just $209, simply astonishing performance! 

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On 18/06/2017 at 4:09 PM, onthebeach said:

Interesting. What was the source? Was it a audio player? With an amp or running solo?

Performance and value for money is pretty damn fine, I reckon, with the 400s. Now, if I can improve that slightly thickened mid bass/lower mids .... Best balance is still with the Questyle QP1R. 

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Slightly thickened mid bass and lower mids can definitely be improved on.  I'm using PicoWattson cable (he is a SNA contributor and can make some cables for you.  They are a huge upgrade and he's a great guy to boot).

 

The sound improvement using this cable was really big.  Much bigger sound stage.  Less grain and glare, better bottom end and got rid of most of the thick murky sound.  The top end improved also.  

 

They are affordable and are a must upgrade in my opinion.  I also replaced the ear pads on mine which improved the low bass and soundstage and also removed the outside facing grills and cloth and replaced them with something much more open.  I tried a few materials here and the most open was not the best.  It made the sound thin.

 

The current mods make the headphone sound superb.  I don't miss my hd800's at all apart from some binaural stuff i sometimes like listening to.

 

Running in the HE400s makes a big difference also.  Mine seemed to take a couple of hundred hours to loosen up.

 

But just to reiterate Pico Wattsons headphone cable was a dramatic upgrade and bearing in mind the price is a absolute no brainer.  It elevated the headphone to a higher sound category.

 

Martin Colloms from HiFicritic and others have given this headphone raves for good reason (at the price point obviously).

 

LPG

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Ah thank you, excellent news, I must contact him and see what can be done here. My HE400s will be well run in now, I imagine (I've had them a year now) and they are certainly a wonderful match with the QP1R DAP. You say he's a StereoNET contributor? 

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8 hours ago, Lightstream said:

Performance and value for money is pretty damn fine, I reckon, with the 400s. Now, if I can improve that slightly thickened mid bass/lower mids .... Best balance is still with the Questyle QP1R. 

 

Edited by Lightstream
Not needed.

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On 24/06/2017 at 6:06 PM, dcathro said:

The biggest change reported with these is by changing the pads.

 

To what, please, dcathro? I apparently got the better pads with them, but there was no other option as such. 

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The better pads don't come with the headphones.  You need to buy separately the focus pads.  Addicted to audio and others sell them.  The results with those pads are detailed all over the net but you get much better sound and far superior and deeper bass.  They're cheap and this must be done to get great sound from the headphones.  Also my experiments with removing the outside grills improved the sound tons.  Much bigger soundstage, better top end and all the audiophile things you would expect.  Don't leave them open though because they sound too thin.

 

lpg

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A really great and affordable match is with the dragonfly black (great) and red (better again).  The jitter remover they sell changes the sound again which some people will like and others less so.  It's a really cheap and portable setup.

 

lpg

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