HIFIMAN HE-400I Over Ear Full-size Planar Magnetic Headphones Review
HiFiMAN is among the few brands that are well known for making high-performance planar magnetic headphones. The HiFiMAN HE-400i headphones are designed in a way that they can be used at home with a receiver or headphone amplifier. All in all, they can be used on portable devices, although the user may want an extra more volume. Below is a detailed review of the HiFiMan HE-400i headphones.
The HE-400i is based on a planar magnetic driver and utilizes a single-sided magnetic array. This enables it to produce more dynamically alive and clearer sound than ordinary headphone drivers. When compared to previous models, one thing that the user will notice is that the HE-440i is much lighter. The manufacturer has re-designed its headband, incorporating an improved pressure pattern. The headphones also have a new set of beveled ear pads made of velour and pleather, which improve sound quality as well as comfort.
HiFiMAN have always shown some ambition when it comes to their mid high-end headphones, ever since they launched their HE-4 series. The HE-400i picks up from where the tradition left off in that the user many of the series characteristics for much less. The new angled pads are excellent since they are much more comfortable when compared to the old flat pads. In addition, they positively improve clarity and soundstage performance.
Another notable difference to the other models is the HE-400’s slightly less dominant top-end. Its upper mid-range has been slightly toned; making it less fatiguing to listen to given that it places a dampener on sibilant records. It also displays great clarity, thanks to the planar magnetic drivers. The HE-400i has great clarity, a nice black background and good speed. Its details level is not bad, although there is some room for improvement when compared to other models. Its sound stage is quite acceptable for its level, although the higher-end headphones go wider and deeper.
Perhaps the only shortcoming of the HE-400i is the length of its cord. The cord measures 59 inches, which is almost half the size of the HE-400 model. It may be a good thing for those who are using mobile devices, but definitely not favorable for someone sitting on a couch and plugged to a home receiver. The Y-cable is attached to the right and lefty earcups using gold-plated connectors. In addition to inducing a bit of design flair, the gold also boosts long-term electrical performance given that gold connectors do not corrode. Also, the bulky cable is longer lasting when compared to thinner wires, and can easily be replaced by the user should it break.
It is worthy pointing out that the HiFiMAN HE-400i headphones have an open-back design. An advantage of this is that the user can get more spacious, open sound with such open-back headphones. On the other hand, a possible demerit of this is that the unit can leak sound in a major way. Simply put, the music can be heard by anyone sitting close to the user. This means the headphones are not recommended for a densely packed office.