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Author Topic: HiFiMAN HE-400 Frequency Response and CSD Waterfall Plot Measurements  (Read 13171 times)

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marvey

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HiFiMAN HE-400 Frequency Response and CSD Waterfall Plot Measurements


Subjective impressions and some thoughts.

I think they sound dark*. Others have said they sound bright. Having had some time to listen to the HE400 in my own home, the truth is that the HE-400 are a little bit of both. I know it doesn't sound possible, but let me explain. There's a broad upper midrange dip around 4k-5kHz. This is the opposite of the HD700 which has a massive peak in this area. 4k-5k tends to add some bite, energy, edge, and liveliness to recordings. The HD700 has way too much of it - a serious error of commission. The HE400 has too little of it - an less serious error of omission. However, the HE400 also has a good amount of treble. The 10kHz definition area is not recessed at all. There also seems to be quite a lot of air or high treble in the last octave. So there you go. It's laid-back because of the upper-mids are dipped. It's bright because the mid and upper treble are somewhat raised.

In terms of tone, the HE-400s remind me of the STAX 007. I don't think any other (iso)dynamic sounds as close tonally to the 007 as the HE-400. This is a good sounding headphone for those who don't mind "lack of fun or lack of false clarity". It's a very relaxing listen with nice mids, great detail retrieval, and good transient response. If there's any downside, they don't sound as "clean" as some other comparable headphones (although the bass sounds fairly clean.) This headphone is the anti-HD700. Turn down the treble a bit, and it's a awesome high-SPL headphone.

Measurements should be up by 7:00pm PST.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2012, 02:40:27 PM by purrin »
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marvey

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CSDs show that characteristic "ortho wall" ringing at 2kHz which seems to be benign. Note the LCD3, K340, HE5 also have similar behavior.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2012, 02:40:10 PM by purrin »
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marvey

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Good news, bad news. Excellent low distortion in the bass compared to other headphones. High distortion everywhere else, especially higher order distortion. 2nd order distortion is not great, but also not too shabby. I will recheck these measurements.

4th (D4), and 5th (D5) order distortion will usually stay below 0.01% for a good headphone. A great headphone will have 3rd order distortion less than 0.01% too.

The higher order distortion is probably indicative of a high noise floor for these headphones. As I said, they are not the cleanest sounding headphones around. While the HE-400s have good articulation, they are not very "black" sounding and kind of "dirty" near the sound floor.

Well, they are a bargain at $399.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2012, 07:40:02 PM by purrin »
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Elysian

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Interesting graphs.  Simply based off of looking at the spikes, I can imagine sensitive listeners may have problems with that headphone, especially at loud volumes.

Given that the HE-400 is an ortho (which seems to tame some of the results for real-world listening?), are there specific types of amps to avoid?
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rhythmdevils

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Crappy ones. 
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marvey

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It's actually a good moderate-high SPL volume headphone with tonal balance very similar to the 007.
  • CSD is fairly clean with fast decay, except for the 2k ringing is "wall of ortho" ringing which is not audible as something nasty - at least to my ears.
  • Spikes between 3kHz-12kHz present problems depending upon their magnitude and whether they translate into ringing.
  • Distortion is still low despite higher than typical higher order harmonic distortion. Bass distortion is excellent - better than HD800.
  • Treble at 10kHz is a bit hot, but it's not any louder than the bass/mids.
  • 14kHz shoots up a bit, but this is an area where most people's hearing starts to roll off.
The HE400 is a very good headphone. It sounds good out of both solid-state and tube amps - at least the non-crappy ones.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2012, 10:23:30 PM by purrin »
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Elysian

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I'll have to check it out sometime.  I like the HE-6s since it reminds me a bit of my SR007 in overall tonality.  The HE-500 sounded coarser to my ears.  I hope the HE-400 doesn't have that character.  I'm going to try the LCD-2 out again on a better amp.  I wonder if the orthos respond well to a better signal chain than non-ortho dynamics, like how malleable the stats are.

There's a particular character to bass impact on my HE-6s I'm not used to compared to my experiences with non-ortho dynamics and stats.  It's very punchy and immediate.  I'm not sure if it's related to that spike at 2k, but I wanted to mention it in case it's showing up in the graphs.
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marvey

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I dunno. HE6 sounds very different tonally from 007 to me. HE6 is brighter and more etched. 007 also has a little mid-bass hump.
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Elysian

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Maybe tonality is the wrong word.  The two headphones emphasize different areas of the spectrum, but there are enough commonalities between the overall presentation that I'm pretty happy moving between the two.  The HE-6s are definitely brighter than the SR007.

That reminds me, something about the SR009 brightness really bugged me and gave a headache over time, but the HE-6s are tolerable.  I'll have revisit those CSDs.  I'll take the conversation out of this thread.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2012, 10:52:25 PM by Elysian »
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gurubhai

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Reminds me of HD650.
How does that compare to HE-400?
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hans030390

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Re: HiFiMAN HE-400 Frequency Response and CSD Waterfall Plot Measurements
« Reply #10 on: July 06, 2012, 11:30:17 PM »

Which pads did you use for these measurements? Wondering how much of a difference they would make, and in what way.
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jerg

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Re: HiFiMAN HE-400 Frequency Response and CSD Waterfall Plot Measurements
« Reply #11 on: July 07, 2012, 05:58:33 AM »

Which pads did you use for these measurements? Wondering how much of a difference they would make, and in what way.

This. The velour pads make a considerable all-positive impact on the sound compared to the stock pleathers, everyone over at the HE400 threads seem to agree. Were these measurements done with velours? The FR looks quite different from the Innerfidelity / headroom measurements, namely the lack of huge 1kHz hump, so I'm guessing you did use the velours.

Nevertheless purrin, very interesting measurements indeed, there seem to be a lot that these do great with and some small issues as well. The treble tuning is pretty clever IMO, think of it this way - if the ~5kHz range is tuned to regular levels which the 14kHz+ stays where it is, then the overall treble might sound overly bright rather than this "dark but with good sparkle" signature. Very cool that this has some of the cleanest bass too.



Also, I wonder if the high distortion is a trade-off for the high efficiency?
« Last Edit: July 07, 2012, 08:03:07 AM by jerg »
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