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Slightly inefficient, which wasn't unexpected, mildly annoying that the detachable headphone cable is of different definition than Sony's MDR-Z7, but I guess that's not a big deal either.
I have compared that to MDR-Z7, KOSS ESP-950, Pioneer XDP-300R as source and amp for MDR-Z7 and HE-4xx, and just as a source for ESP-950. Both MDR-Z7 and HE-4xx are driven from balanced out, and used the same high current headphone cable that I made, while ESP-950 uses the SE out and was driven by its own electrostatic amp.
I found that overall MDR-Z7 sounded best with this setup, the best all around result, while ESP-950 have the best "attack" and fast response, but lack the fullness that Z7 have.
HE-4xx is closer to Z7 than ESP-950 in the way it sounded to me, it sounds much fuller than ESP-950 have have mildly better "attack" than Z7. Also, Z7 fits my ears much better than HE-4xx.
Overall, I'd put Z7 head and shoulders above HE-4xx, but it also several times more expensive. For the price, the performance is quite good, but the ear pad could have been more ergonomically shaped then they are now. Given 4 stars because I deducted 0.7 stars for the ear pad, and another 0.3 as I was hoping for slightly more lively sound.