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CNET First Look
HiFiMan HE-400i: High-end audiophile headphones for a semi-affordable priceIf you've always wanted to own a pair of high-end "audiophile" headphones but can't quite justify dropping a grand on a pair, the superb sounding HiFiMan HE-400i is a good compromise.
I'm David Carnoy and this is the HiFiMan HE-400i a $500 audiophile headphone that actually is a relatively good value for these headphones. This type of sound quality typically costs signficantly more. Sleeker looking headphones from companies like Sennheiser, Bowers and Wilkins and Bear Dynamics use drivers that work like miniature cones or dome speaker drivers. While the HE-400i uses thin film planar magnetic flat drivers to produce clearer and more dynamically alive sound. These guys are primarily designed for use at home with a receiver or headphone amplifier due to the drivers' increased weight. They can work with portable devices, though you may find yourself wanting a touch more volume. Well, the larger headphone isn't super heavy and is very comfortable to wear and sturdily built with thick detachable cables. The one issue some people might have with it is that it does have a fairly short cord. It's only about five and half feet and that may be a little short for home use. From a design standpoint the other drawback is that it features an open back design so the headphone leaks sound in a major way. In other words, its not a good choice for an open office environment. While the HE400I is expensive, its an extraordinary headphone. The sound is significantly more transparent and vivid than Bowers and Wilkins flagship P7 headphone for example. The 400 eyes clarity shouldn't be confused with mere brightness or height treble. It just lets you hear more deeply into your music. It's akin to looking through a cleaner window. Hifi Man also makes the step down, HG 400, which has come down in price and now costs $300. It's also a good value but this model is a better selling headphone with more transparency and better defined bass. It's also got a new design to the headband which makes a more comfortable headphone. From the standpoint you get better transparency, better defined bass. It's also a more efficient headphone, which is better suited to mobile device use. I'm David Carnoy, and that's the HiFiMan HE-400i. Thanks for watching. [MUSIC]