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HiFiMan's advanced headphone tech at CES 2014 improves sound quality

The Audiophiliac previews the upcoming HE-400i and HE-560 headphones, and is amazed just how much more transparent the new models are.

The HiFiMan HE-560 (left), and HE-400i (right)
Steve Guttenberg/CNET

HiFiMan is premiering two new models of audiophile headphones at CES 2014. At first glance the new models resemble HiFiMan's HE-400 and HE-500 full-size planar magnetic headphones, but closer inspection reveals an entirely new headband design, and these two models are considerably lighter and more comfortable than the headphones they replace.

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I was treated to an advance preview in NYC and auditioned the headphones at home. The sound is more open and clearer than ever before. Some experienced audiophiles may think these two new HiFiMans' sound is close to what you might get from the better electrostatic headphones, and that level of sonic purity is unprecedented in the HE-400i's $499 price class. The $899 HE-560 has a fuller bass balance and it's even more transparent-sounding than the HE-400i.

The HiFiMan HE-400i and HE-560 should begin shipping in March, and they will be available from the HiFiMan Web site and its authorized dealers. I'm looking forward to getting in these two for a more extended stay and writing in-depth reviews.

At CES the company is also showing two new portable music players, the high-resolution $699 HM-802, and CD-resolution $249 HM-700, and that one will come with HiFiMan's superb RE-400 in-ear headphones. I will be getting these players in for review in the coming months.