In this case, I decided to do a quick report on an amazing set of headphones, the HiFiMAN HE-400S, which are planar (like all their other headphones), but cost only $299.
The specs are an FR of 20 Hz to 35 kHz, sensitivity of 98 dB, nominal impedance of 22 ohms, and they weigh only 350 grams.
I compared them to the HiFiMAN HE-1000’s, and the only audible difference was slightly more detail, clarity, and “sheen” to the sound in the 1000’s. The deep bass was clean and undistorted. I could not hear any harmonics when playing a 20 Hz sine wave. That means low, low distortion.
The HE-400S body is plastic instead of metal, wood, and leather in the HE-1000’s.
When I say, “Slightly”, I don’t mean that it is not worth the difference in price to get that last 1-3% of the sound, and pay ten times the price. That’s the way it is in the hi-fi world. It’s that last 1-3% that high-enders have been paying for the last 60 years or so, and the HE-1000’s are worth every penny.
But the HE-400S is REALLY worth every penny. I don’t know how they did this and come in at $299. The pennies are copper-plated gold I guess. The sound is spectacular for this price. It is practically a giveaway and a no-brainer for the cost-conscious audiophile.
When I listened to them right after listening with the HE-1000’s, I noticed the differences immediately. However, after settling in to the HE-400S sound, and listening for a while, the differences seemed to melt away, and I felt I was not missing anything. The brain has a funny way of applying its own DSP to make you feel you are getting everything.
The HE-400S receives my most hearty recommendation. If you try ‘em, you will buy ‘em. End of story.