Hifiman HE-400i Review

Hifiman HE-400i Review

The Hifiman HE-400i is a revised version of the older HE-400.  While offering a radically different, more neutral sound, the newer 400i retained the same price point of $499.  But how does it compare to other headphones from other manufacturers?  And is it the headphone you’ve been searching for?

Hifiman HE-400i Review

Hifiman HE-400i Review

The HE-400i comes in an impressive leather-clad box, with a 5 ft (1.5 m) nylon-sheathed removable cable and a 1/4” adapter plug.

Utilizing a steel headband and a suspension-type design, the thick leather pad that rests on top of the user’s head is comfortable yet strong.  The earpads feature a thick outer layer made from leatherette, while the surface around the ears is velour.  This design improves upon bass performance, while not getting to hot or uncomfortable for the listener.


Frequency Response: : 20Hz-35KHz
Sensitivity : 93dB
Impedance : 35 Ohms
Weight : 370g
Cable Length : 1.5m
Plug : 3.5mm/6.35mm

As we can see from these specs, this headphone offers a fairly standard frequency range – but with more detail in the high end.  Volume level is okay, especially for an open-back headphone.  Finally, the 35 ohms should mean that this headphone would work well without and amplifier.  However, during my listening session the HE-400i seemed to benefit a great deal from an amp.  For this review, I paired it with Hifiman’s own FE-100.

Low End

The low end on the HE-400i is deep and full, with excellent detail and an overall articulate sound.  With some decent impact and some great control, the bass retains an impressive level of clarity even where most other headphones would bleed heinously.


The midrange is solid.  Spot-on in terms of fidelity, the mids are perfectly accurate with excellent handling of instrumentation as well as vocals.  Without a shade of compression or distortion, it’s a huge step up from the original HE-400 or the less expensive HE-400s.

High End

Almost sparkling with detail, the high end on the HE-400i is full of detail but never piercing or uncomfortable.  While the smallest nuances may be missing from the high end, the overall sound is luxurious, with ample attention paid to instruments and vocals, leading to an smooth yet detailed sound in general.


With good depth and placement, the sense of soundstage is almost tangible with the HE-400i.  While there’s more depth than placement, with some instruments sounding a little too close or cramped, the overall impression is pretty awesome.

Overall Impressions

The Hifiman HE-400i is a strong performer with a neutral-leaning-dynamic sound.  While the highs and lows feature excellent detail, neither is so accentuated as to appear unrealistic.  Add to this equation that midrange just bursting with fidelity, and you’ve got one hell of a sound – and a headphone that may be the perfect all-rounder.


If you’re a bass freak, and you can’t abide any headphone that has less bass than it possibly could, you should skip this headphone and opt for the HE-400s.  However, if you’re looking for detail, or for a balanced sound, or for one of the best planar magnetic headphones you can possibly get for under $500, the HE-400i is for you.  And, to be honest, it handles everything well – from classical to rock, edm to hip-hop, screamo to bluegrass, this headphone does it all.

Grab HiFiMAN HE-400i at the best price on Audio 46 when you use discount code “majorhifi” during checkout. These headphones are also available at a competitive price from authorized retailers on Amazon.


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Carroll is a headphone junkie residing in Brooklyn. He's a huge fan of Grado, UK hip hop, and the English Language in general. When not testing audio equipment or writing, you'll find him taking photographs or fiddling with circuit boards. You can contact him at carroll@majorhifi.com.