First Listen: HiFiMAN HE-400i planar magnetic headphones

HiFiMAN HE-400i
  • The ear cups/driver housings have been revised to provide forward-angled fittings for the HE-400i’s screw-on signal cable fittings (this, to keep the cables aimed forward and not straight down into the wearer’s shoulders), plus a new-for-HiFiMAN smoky silver/grey, mirror like finish (yes, you really can see your own reflection when gazing at the headphones).

  • All around fit and finish have been noticeably improved, as has the packaging for the headphone (for the HE-400i, HiFiMAN has created an exquisite, leatherette-covered,  flip-open box whose appearance is fully befitting a headphone of this stature).

  • A $100 increase in suggested retail price ($499 for the HE-400i vs. $399 for the original HE-400)—an increase that in my view is well-justified.

What’s to like about the HE-400i? Well, even before you plug it in you’ll discover that its lighter weight and redesigned frame, headband, and ear pads make it much easier to adjust than any of the early generation HiFiMAN headphones and far more comfortable, too. With headphones, let’s please note, ergonomics are a huge consideration because—for obvious reasons—audiophiles won’t wear even the best-sounding headphones on the planet if they’re not comfortable (this is supposed to be fun, after all, not a self-inflicted torture test). Thus, right out of the gate HiFiMAN scores a big win in terms of fit, finish, adjustability, and comfort. Seriously, one can wear the HE-400i’s for hours on end.

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