HIFIMAN HE400i Review | INTIMATE!

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Updated 9/9/19

1,437 word post, approx. 3-4 min. read


Before I discuss the 400i, I would like to mention that after much research, I finally figured out why other people have been having issues with the poor build of the headphone when I have not had any. I frequently demo both this model and the 400S at my local Audio Advice, and both have likely been through hundreds (if not thousands) of hands and demos during their lifespan. Aside from some minor cosmetic blemishes, both cans are in perfectly great condition and have never broken.

Apparently HIFIMAN started cutting costs with a new batch of 400i’s that had modified yokes with cheaper materials. This explains a lot of the newer customers having issues with them breaking and thus leaving negative reviews on Amazon. As per my own criteria I never endorse a product with less than a 4 star rating (in most cases) but in this case it’s tough because the early models are perfectly fine whereas the newer ones have a clear defect and some QC issues. So I would say try and get an older model because the 400i really is one of the best mid-tier audiophile headphones.

My response below his post is basically thanking him since I hadn’t come across one person before that shed light on the matter.

So my advice is to be cautious about where you buy this one from. Not sure if there’s anyway to really know for sure if it was an old model or new, so you’re basically taking a gamble. The metal yokes he was describing are in fact used on another of my favorite headphones from them, the HIFIMAN Sundara.

Onwards to the review..

Hello there friend and Welcome aboard!!

Before we get into the HIFIMAN HE400i Review, grab a snack, sit back and relax because..

You’ve come to the right place!!

What I will bring you in this review

  1. Ratings/Price
  2. Specifications
  3. Summary
  4. Pros
  5. Cons
  6. Video Review
  7. Amp/DAC requirements
  8. Who these headphones benefit?
  9. Consensus/Conclusion
  10. Final Word

Now without further ado, let’s get rolling!

HIFIMAN HE400i

Ratings/Price

Specifications

  • Type: Planar Magnetic.
  • Fit: Circumaural.
  • Impedance: 35 Ohm. What is Headphone Impedance?
  • Sensitivity: 93dB.
  • Sound Output: Stereo.
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz-35kHz.
  • Material: ABS Plastic, Polymer.
  • Weight: 370g.
  • Inputs Supported: 3.5mm, 1/4″.
  • Cable Length: 1.5m.
  • Additional Features: Detachable Cable.

Summary

The HIFIMAN HE400i’s are quite a strange animal. Comfort wise, they’re excellent, although the pads will flatten out over time. Build quality is also very rugged and sturdy, and I love the rotating ear cups. The design of the headband is similar to that of the AKG line. It’s a sort of hammock for your head homie! It really works well. The ear-pads are also just a tad small, I agree with Z reviews; I wish they were a little bigger and more oval shaped. It’s kind of nitpicking though.

Sound wise is where it gets interesting for me. I love the crisp attention to detail that these cans provide, and unlike the Audeze LCD3, I don’t feel like it’s laborious or exhausting. There’s enough clarity to really make you stop and analyze the music in a pleasant way.

What really stood out to me was the Timbre of the instruments. What is Timbre? It’s like I discovered this newfound appreciation for how an instrument or a band is truly supposed to sound. Here’s the best way I can describe what I experienced:

The Experience

It’s like a blanket was taken off of certain aspects of the recording. Imagine the true character of a person, the stuff we don’t see, the condition of their heart. This became especially apparent on Led Zeppelins “Over the hills and far away.” It was like hearing the song in an entirely different light. Granted I was plugged up to a Bryston BHA-1, and I’m sure the source file was immaculate, but I just couldn’t believe it. People talk about laser like precision with the HD600’s (which is true), but this took it to a new level. Learn more: Sennheiser HD600 Review! It was as if the guitars actually had a true personality in and of themselves. Like you were connecting with Pages heart (and the band as a whole for that matter) on some level. Like all our lives we always hear music, but this was more than just hearing. It was more of an enlightenment of sorts. And no I wasn’t high. 😛

Pink Floyd

Another example of this came on Pink Floyd’s “Time.” Unfortunately, this experience was neither bad nor good. It was more revealing than anything. I’ve heard the song probably over a thousand times, but it sounded different this time. Those jangly guitars started to really stand out, and not necessarily in a good way. It was as if someone stripped David Gilmour naked and exposed him. Don’t get me wrong, the guitars didn’t sound bad. But they had this raw energy that’s hard to put into words. I could hear them so clearly that it was almost scary. In the past, I kind of knew they were there, but the way they came off was muffled, perhaps a bit distant. But here, they almost take center stage and demand that you pay attention to them. They want you to notice how fast they are and how much texture they’re able to discern for you. Like a painter?
In a nutshell, that’s what the 400i’s are like. They demand attention. In a way, it’s sort of like a high maintenance girlfriend. 😀 I’ll leave it at that.

Pros

  • Crisp detail, clarity. Extremely accurate sound representation.
  • Great mid-range. Extremely intimate and realistic.
  • Phenomenal instrument separation and precision.
  • Great Timbre.
  • Articulate bass, but not over done.
  • Good Soundstage. It’s not going to blow you away though. Like the HD 600’s, you will occasionally pause the song to make sure no ones in your house. Lol. What is Soundstage?
  • Nice packaging.
  • Smooth, well extended treble with a bit of sparkle.

Cons

Video Review

Don’t forget to like, comment, and subscribe to my growing channel. Your support is much appreciated! 🙂

Click to see the 400i!

Amp/DAC requirements

Technically these will sound pretty good out of a phone given the low impedance and the fact that they don’t need a lot of power to perform optimally. However, their Sensitivity is also a bit low, meaning you’re limited on how loud they can get without an amp. What is Headphone Impedance? 

I would plan to invest in an amp to get these to sound their best. I’m using the Oppo HA-2 at the moment, but I’ve also tested these with the Schiit Magni 2 as well. How to choose a headphone amp!

Learn more:

  1. Oppo HA-2 Review!
  2. Schiit Magni 2 Review!

Who these headphones benefit?

These headphones will sound good with most any genre. I find them to be fantastic with Rock predominantly.

Endorsed for:

  • Jazz
  • Acoustic
  • Instrumental
  • Classical
  • Electronica
  • Techno
  • Pop
  • Dance
  • New Age
  • Ambient
  • Vocals
  • Violin
  • Guitar
  • Piano
  • Rock (Classic & Modern)
  • Gaming

Consensus/Conclusion

Intimate and warm, while still somehow retaining a sense of articulation, detail, and clarity. Crystal clear sounding mid-range that can be very revealing at times. Comfortable and durable. Nice bass extension and a treble that sparkles. Can be sibilant at times.

Final Word

I really love the HE400i’s as a warmer alternative to an HD 600. If you’d rather kick back and relax with your tunes, the 400i is the way to go.

 

If you’re into a snappier, livelier sound more conducive to mixing/mastering, the 600 is the solution.

 

Well that’s about it for today my friend! I hope you’ve enjoyed this HIFIMAN HE400i review.

Questions? Comments? Requests? Did I miss the mark on something? Please let me know down below or Contact me!!

Are you likely to purchase the 400i? What about the HD600? I would love to hear from you. Until next time..

All the best and God bless,

 

 

-Stu

[Xtr@Ba$eHitZ]

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Save

HIFIMAN HE400i

4.6

Build Quality

4.5/5

Sound Quality

4.9/5

Comfort

4.3/5

Soundstage

4.8/5

Pros

  • Intimate, Revealing, and Detailed
  • Comfortable Overall
  • Great for Casual Listeners

Cons

  • Headband slides down on your ear lobes
  • Yoke Issue on Newer Batches
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