Hifiman he-400i Impressions and Discussion

earChasm said: ↑

"Winter" from Allan Taylor (violin) destroys my ears just like "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" but in a different way.

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On "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" the horns are way too bright, and so are the maracas. Moreover, there are a lot of "s" sounds in the song that are a little too sharp. The track sounds so much better on my modded M1060, beginning with the bass line, which is anemic on the HE400i but rich and full on the M1060. Moreover, the sibilance is gone, and the horns and maracas don't sound as harsh. The instruments on the M1060 are also better placed. For example, the maracas are way too forward in the mix on the HE400i. The M1060 also lets me hear details that sound relatively muffled on the HE400i.

HOWEVER, though the track sounded a bit too bright on the HE400i, nothing was unbearable to my ears. Maybe I'm less sensitive to treble. But I also remember that when I first got these headphones the sibilance could get to ear-piercing levels. It has gotten much better after many hours of use. So it could very well be that the pair you tried out in the store already had lots of breaking in, so the sibilance was smoothed.

Either some new sets are more sibilant than others OR they are all sibilant and some people just happen not to play songs where the sibilance comes out. I remember that it only occurred in certain songs, with most songs sounding fine. I think you described a similar experience. Just to be sure, maybe you should exchange it for another pair. But if you encounter the same problem then I recommend breaking the headphone in for about 50-100 hours because the sibilance on my pair, while still there slightly, has been tamed.

I tried looking up "Winter" by Allan Taylor but couldn't find it on Tidal. Is it the violin that sounds harsh to you? Because one thing about the HE400i, violins sound smooth and lush to me. That's one of the reasons why I love this headphone so much for classical music.

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