Drop + HIFIMAN HE4XX Planar Magnetic Headphones

Drop + HIFIMAN HE4XX Planar Magnetic Headphones

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Product Description
Many headphone companies have tried their hand at planar magnetic drivers, but none have done it quite like HIFIMAN. The result of founder Dr. Fang’s PhD research at Columbia University, its driver technology has landed the company in TIME, Forbes, and CNET’s “The Audiophiliac,” and won it the CES Editors’ Choice Award Read More
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All of our reviews are from verified customers.
4.3
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84%
would recommend to a friend
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texindus
164
Apr 6, 2018
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A ton of value for the dollar here. Handles all genres I throw at it but sparkles so, so well with string instruments - catches every part of a strum - shit's addicting, especially when listening to live tracks; the guitars will make you come to realize listening to music is a hobby. If you're curious and want to know what audiophiles ramble about, this is a great way to make you go, "Oh".
Solid build that puts everything cheaper to absolute shame. The included cable is mediocre however.
Do be careful, as HIFIMAN is known for QA issues, see the discussion for woes. Mine came intact though. I sincerely wish these receive more attention as I prefer them over my HD6xx.
Shin_Dig
40
Jul 7, 2020
I also am in the same shoes as you, Magni 3+/Modi stack, and started off with the HD58x Jubilees. Love those sennheisers so I wanted to try other headphones that sound amazing but also different. I guess I wanted to try headphones that are "fun" with more of an oomph to the Bass, as it is still my guilty pleasure. Wanted to keep in the $150 range so I have tried Beyerdynamic dt-990, Philips Audio Fidelio X2HR, and finally the He-4xx. Returning the other ones and keeping the He-4xx. Why? I'm not an "audiophile" so I cannot give you a breakdown of all the different aspects of these headphones, I simply just think these sound amazing! A little bit of a metal ting sound before break in, but after that, holy crap! The sennheisers definitely have better vocal performance and I don't think many headphones can match them. But for other genres, these are definitely worth a listen. At the end of the day, whether these warrant a spot in your collection will be up to the individual. But as a fellow noob in the quest of audio perfection, I can attest to the magnificence of these headphones. Few things though...
  • quality issues seem to still exist, so I actually bought my pair on amazon and I actually might return these because the headband adjustment just doesn't seem to stay in place
  • The 2020 version of the He-400i, which the He-4xx are based off is also on amazon, so I would recommend giving those a try first, as you won't have to wait a month before these ship out and if you don't like them, amazon returns warrant no hassle.
This reply was a lot longer than I intended but I did not want to simply tell you to get them or not, just wanted to point out my experience on why I vouch for them, hope you find them a home in your set up just as I did as I really do love them at the end of the day. Good luck fellow traveler, may your search be harmonious and be full of never ending amazement!
Mordrid
75
Jul 14, 2020
Don't apologize for an informative and opinion filled reply, especially when it comes down to things that many see as "subjective". I appreciate the insight and comment! I am still debating, myself on what to choose. If I even do.
l0stkn0wledge
72
Apr 6, 2018
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These are my first set of planars, and I can honestly say I love them. Sound quality - Very great response across the range. The bass isn't overpowering, the middle is clear and concise, and the upper end is clear without getting too bright. Can listen to these for hours. I was picking out and hearing things in some of my music that I hadn't been hearing before this. Comfort - Even wearing glasses, I find these comfortable to wear for hours and hours of listening. The can be a bit heavy, but this isn't much of a burden for me. Clamping is comfortable and sufficient. Accessories - Cable is much higher gauge and quality than some of my other audiophile quality headphones. A bit short maybe, but easy enough to update since they are fairly standard 3.5mm to 2x2.5mm cabling. Other notes - These are super easy to drive. I've tested with my Fiio X3-II, my V30, and my computer. All have no problem reach appropriate volume levels. My daily listening is still through my Fiio K5 Dock w/ E17K that is connected to my computer to playback FLAC. I don't know that I could say enough nice things about these. If you want to try planars, you won't find anything of this quality anywhere near this price point. If you want great sounding sub-$200 headphones, you are going to be very limited and only a few products may come close to touching these (and honestly they are probably also being sold on Massdrop). Update (30/11/2020): So I've had these headphones for a while now and just want to re-iterate how much I love them. I am not driving them through a Topping D30/A30 stack and love the sound still. The really open up a bit when I push my A30 amp into the boosted gain. I have other headphones but always come back around to these.
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Bztunz
19
Apr 13, 2019
Wow ! Sorry about the "you're lying" comment on my last post, apparently auto correct took over and I didnt proofread my comment. I was simply trying to say that I'd gotten mine about a month (probably 2 now) and they had the 2.5 mm jacks and that maybe the were being shipped from two different production runs. Again, sorry, not trying to be a dick.
Evander12345
7
Nov 10, 2020
Any updates?
Heavyboxer
373
Jun 25, 2018
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Disclaimer: I am an audio enthusiast, and have no professional audio background. I simply enjoy my music, and my preference is 80s and 90s music. I have had various home audio equipment, ranging from an entry Inifinity reference 60 on Quad 66 amp system to Wilson watt puppy run by Jadis KT88 tube amps. I now have a simple Denon AV system with children running around, touching everything. My brother in law now own the pups, so I can still listen to them whenever I visit.
Anyway, I’ve had about a week to give the 4xx a good listen.
Hardware: Flac files on PC --> Modi Multibit DAC –-> Loki passive EQ (set to passthrough for testing)-> either Magni 3 (hi output) or Little Dot mkii (high output) with Voskhod preamp and amp tubes.
Whenever I wasn’t listening, my pc and dac/amp were still on, and blasting music on random for the “burn-in” effect that many talk about. (I am not a believer, but I do it anyway as a precaution) Long story short, the 4xx has had very little “off” time ever since I got it.
1. Comfort These fit around my ears very well, and the clamp force is slightly weaker than the 6xx. The tip of my ears touch the inside, but I felt no discomfort contacting the soft inner foam. Also, for me, the headphone was not particularly heavy, and I did not face any issues on my neck. That being said, my ears felt like it was in a sauna! I had no issues listening to the 6xx for hours on end, sometimes not taking it off the whole day, whilst the 4xx forces removal every so often. And this leads me to clamping force. I have to remove the cans every so often cause it is either too hot and sweating around my ears, or the clamp is pressing on my jaw and after a few hours, it can get painful. Even though the clamp force of the 6xx is stronger, yet I felt no discomfort. Perhaps it’s the circular versus oblong shape of the pads that does it. Also, the 4xx is not as glasses friendly as the 6xx.
2. Power requirement The 4xx is a relatively low resistance can, at just 35ohms versus the 300 ohms of the 6xx. Yet, the 4xx needs a lot more power than the 6xx to reach the same volume. The 6xx requires just 10 on the notch of the LD mkii, whilst the 4xx needs the dialed turned to slightly higher than 20 to get it on the same dB level. The magni 3 on low gain need to be on a shade below max volume to drive the 4xx up to painful levels, but even on high gain, the dial needs to be turned up substantially more than the 6xx. Make no mistake though, on high gain, the magni 3 will still be able to push these to ear damaging levels at less than half volume.
For fun, I also tried in on my Samsung galaxy S8. It does get loud, but gets asthmatic when it comes to the good stuff (read: bass). Not sure if this would work well as a benchmark: It does not get loud enough to drown out the vacuum cleaner when I use it listening to music on the S8. I tried powering the cans on both amps, and I clearly favor the solid state amp option for the 4xx. The 4xx sound seems slightly distant and sounds like it loses accuracy/control of notes when driven by tubes. Even as I write this review, the 4xx remain plugged into my magni 3 whilst I might as well weld the 6xx into the LD mkii.
3. Cable Thick, robust and....short. It’s just enough for me to lean back on my chair, but no more. Should it be coiled somehow on the stand, then the cable gets pulled out from the cans. (the amp connection is way solid)
4. Sound
Imaging/Soundstage Whoa! I silently thought all the talk on forums about openness for headphones were all blasphemy and a lot of placebo. How wrong I was, as none of the headphones I owned before had such soundstage. AMSR tracks gives you huge goosebumps! Luciano Pavarotti sounds like he came back from the dead and singing in front of you live when listening to La Donna e mobile.
Treble : PLENTY compared to the 6xx. These cans remind me that sometimes we all need some treble to make a song feel more alive and upbeat. It isn’t as sharp as a HD25-1, so it will not cause fatigue in that sense (only clamping and/or sweaty ears). Chicago’s you’re the inspiration high notes sounded especially pleasing.
Mids : My goto track for mids and vocal is Eva Cassidy’s son of a preacher man. The 4xx reproduces this track true and similar to my living room system… but somehow the 6xx seems untouchable when it comes to this point… it’s just not as smooth and “creamy”, if one can actually explain sound in such a word. By no means bad, but to me, the 6xx is miles ahead. Just to be sure, I gave Van Halen’s Jump and Jason Mraz I’m yours a listen. I don’t know if it’s the solid state vs tube, but again, the 4xx loses out to the 6xx for my preference. But oh, the soundstage of the 4xx!!! Does anyone know how to make the 6xx sound more open and airy like the 4xx?
Bass: It has been mentioned enough on forums on the benefits of planars reproducing bass notes. Alas, it has not been my experience. The 6xx seems to have more bass. It initially seemed as though the 4xx had more bass, but the more I listen to it, the more I crave for more bass on the 4xx. I tried passive EQ thru my Loki, but just muddled things. Snoop Dogg's murder was the case sounded nowhere as sinister as what it should be. Flo Rida's Low bass tones on the 4xx sounded too tight, while the bass on the 6xx is what the song should sound like. (Perhaps I'm not used to the tight controlled sub bass signature of planars... but to me, it really needs more bass!)
Conclusion: The 4xx is my 1st planar cans that I will continue to listen to and edit this review, should I hear something different. But until I receive my Audeze Mobius next month, the 6xx will remain on my head the longest of all the cans I currently have.
Whoa, my longest review ever.
musicphotolife
0
Oct 23, 2019
Thanks for your review! You mentioned you were getting the Audeze Mobius. How does it compare to 4XX? Thanks!
Heavyboxer
373
Oct 23, 2019
Totally different headphones. The mobius is closed-back and has phone functions that works well with my frequent oversea travels. My LCD2.2F is my go-to headphones at home on my Audio gd R28 while I use my 6xx in the office (with my littledot 2). So haven't had much time with the 4xx for about 8~10 months. Perhaps it's time to take it out of the box and enjoy it all over again. And no, no comparison between the LCD2 and the 4xx.
emscheffel
34
Apr 6, 2018
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For such a low price this headphone deserves 5 stars for sheer bargain prowess! So long as this is plugged into a decent amplifier the sound opens up and is terrific! By contrast, anyone expecting to plug this into their cell phone or laptop computer is missing the point, without decent amplification this headphone will not sound as great as it can(more likely dull, actually!). I am driving this through an IBasso Bushmaster D14, which in turn is amped via an RSA Mustang P51 on high gain. I find this combination with the HE4XX heavenly, also because the P51 almost completely eliminates the Sabre DAC's glare. So my recommendation is to buy the HE-4XX, but only if you drive this through a decent DAC/AMP combo!
HIFI778
646
Feb 5, 2019
If you don't need a Dac and can stretch ur budget to 350 then definitely I would recommend the best there is out there: THX AAA 789. You need to wait until comes back again though. For 200USD you can look at the Aune X7S. https://www.massdrop.com/buy/massdrop-x-thx-aaa-789-linear-amplifier?irgwc=1&clickid=3C2y9ry1hTKmSVTwjqXtUwMbUkgV-cWBKX-aSI0&utm_term=252901&utm_content=Steven%20Ciofalo&utm_medium=affiliate&utm_source=impactradius&mode=shop_open
joebigman
10
Oct 5, 2020
do you know any decent amps in the 100 dollar range, sorry new to adiophile and just want some nice sounding headphones not really into the hoby
Yeahdontcare
34
Dec 15, 2019
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Great! But,
Pros -great headphones Cons -parents still divorced
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Would recommend to a friend.
PhilaOG
0
Mar 14, 2020
AFAIK there are no ribbon driver headphones. Planar magnetics are not ribbons.
Artismo
446
Mar 14, 2020
No, but mate, you missed the joke.
phever
29
Oct 4, 2019
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Great headphones for the 6 months you'll be able to use them
I found the HE4XX's had a great sound signature (overall really neutral/clean, but nothing sounded weak), and paired quite well with a desktop amp. However, either the quality control or overall quality of the build is so low that these headphones will NOT last any sort of reasonable amount of time. After 6 months I started experiencing quite a bit of static which was remedied by replacing the cable ($~40). After 1 year of light use the pads terribly poor glue job let go and they had to be replaced ($~50). Now that both of those things have been replaced, the plastic holding the headphones together stripped and they're now unusable. I always try to give the product the benefit of the doubt, but these are 3 separate issues that all happened to the same pair of headphones. I can't in good conscious recommend these to anyone regardless of sound quality. In short, you hope you'll get something great in the end, but you may just end up with a pile of parts and regret.
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Would not recommend to a friend.
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Anjanakrishnan
35
Oct 11, 2019
This is good to know. Coming from the Philips SHP9500 and the Sennheiser HD58x which both have been quite durable, I think I'll stay away from this one. Just too used to falling asleep with headphones on these days.
Oddfellow
19
Oct 29, 2019
I have 2/3 of the same issues
Kujo
162
Jun 28, 2019
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My experience with the 4xx has been a nightmare.
I received these a couple weeks back after waiting excitedly for them since I preordered a couple months back. I unplugged my go-to HD58x's (which I LOVE TO PIECES btw) from my Schiit Jotunheim and plugged in my new 4xx's. They sounded nice at first, crisp highs, great bass extension, tons of detail... but then I noticed a buzzing coming from the left driver when any kind of bass rang out. I took them off my head for a second to get a better idea for where the sound was coming from and promptly discovered that the left driver had a loose rattling inside the earcup. When I put them back on, I noticed as I adjusted the headset that my left ear was pressing against some sort of membrane behind the foam that would click and bow every time I moved with the headphones on. I contacted Massdrop for a replacement, and they informed me that they had a small selection of spare devices left, and that they could send me one. I responded and asked them to do so, and they replied telling me that they no longer had any stock left. I then started an RMA with Hifiman. I sent them my device, they had it for a week, then they sent me a replacement set that was physically damaged (gouged, scratched) that had a bent outer screen and couldn't go above a whisper volume. HIFIMAN QC IS GARBAGE AND (mass)DROP NEEDS MORE SAFETY STOCK TO HANDLE THEIR KNOWN GARBAGE QC.
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Would not recommend to a friend.
Kujo
162
Mar 24, 2021
Dude, are you actually finding all my comments and trying to slander me by making stories up? Incredible. I don't have a wife, nor a drinking problem. I don't know this person, and the reason they're saying these heinous things is because I disagreed with their comment on the Drop Godspeed Flight Jacket. Literally. Go look. I'm not kidding. Lol
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frcs1
8
Apr 11, 2021
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Luminate
28
May 29, 2019
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I purchased these 8 months ago and the hinges holding the head band to the drivers just snapped while I had them on. They were held together with cheap glue from what I see. I take a great deal care of everything I own (Not a single scratch or crack in any smartphone I've ever had without a case or screen protector) and I can't even quite recall the last time I actually retired a product because it broke.
Dipankar
25
Mar 2, 2020
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I had bought the HE4XX (SRNO: 7885) 2 years back. I had started facing the problem since the beginning. the only reason I did not reach out to you was the additional cost of shipping and follow-ups for replacements and custom hassles in India. 1) the screws from both sides which held the speakers and the headband started coming off. Happened on the first day, i bought screwdrivers for them specifically. I carried them to screw it whenever they would come loose. One side was so loose that i had to use strong glue to completely remove this issue. I kept using the screwdrivers for the other till now. 2) the left speaker's circular disc above the mesh started to get loose. on any fine listening day they would make a sound *TANG* and they had to be manually adjusted after every incident. it started happening in the first week of listening. 3) the cables were so poor quality I had to keep them in some specific positions so that the sound does not jitter. It took me a good 3-4 min before i asked my friends to not move their head so that they can hear the best sound off them. Such was the miserable consitions of those. It still remains the issue. 4) final blow happened yesterday when the left channel of the headphones stopped working at all. No sound from the left. I have owned Audio Technica M50X for the last 6 years and the only thing I changed was the pads 1 year back. I had used HE4XX for a total of 4 days of listening experience in 2 years. Having such a bad experience with the purchase and seeing my Audio Technica, on the contrary, has to lead me to write to you on two things: Quality and Owning up by a brand Guys, please discontinue HE4XX if you cannot deliver them up to the mark of perfection. Not all people are rich enough to cater to replacements after paying hefty custom duty in India. (~40% of the MRP) Since it was your collaboration with HIFIMAN to produce the XXs, you are at fault for delivering such poor quality headphones. In case you have missed it, your pages are flooded with Quality related issues of these headphones.
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Would not recommend to a friend.
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ds60
74
Apr 16, 2020
Update! I have had to tighten the swiveling screw connecting the headband to the cups, as well as the screws on one of the cups. Only once, however. Unless you lose the rubber washers I don't see adhesive being required
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Dopethrone
28
Apr 17, 2020
I hope that's the end of it for you !
Kompa
20
Nov 11, 2019
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It's now been approximetly year since my order and both of the headband connection points are basically broken. I have fixed them both a couple of times by just undoing the stitching and tihghtening the screws but the screw holes are getting loose and the screws are holding worse and worse. The pads are also now falling apart from the edges and showing the inner padding. The screws started 1st deteriorating around 6 months. I should add that they didnt experience much travel, mostly sitting at my desk. They are very comfy to wear and I never experienced any fatigue even wearing them for like 10hour sessions from time to time. Sound quality is still awesome, I'm not sure how to describe them but if only looking at sound quality I would definitely recommend. Overall I wouldn't recommend since the build quality turned out to be so poor. I was expecting way more lifetime from these. (My HD598 have lasted like 3 years now)
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