HiFiMan is a terrible pain in the neck. Without HiFiMan, we might have had an easy run over the last few years. Internet people might have come together to decide that Audeze or Stax were the best headphones in the world. Instead, HiFiMan, with their impossible to drive planars, turned otherwise reasonable people into speed freaks, completely addicted to the adrenaline-fueled presentation, insane detail, and British Roadster fit and finish.
Some of their headphones were more or less impractical. I think they made at least one model that needed to be driven directly by the outputs of a fission reactor. Other models were more reasonable, but their reputation as the hardest of the had core remained.
That’s all over now.
Meet the new HE400s, a 98db sensitive, 22 ohm, pair of planar headphones that will cost all of $299 when they’re released later this summer. They’re easy to drive, they’re detailed, muscular, loads comfier than I remember from old HiFiMan, and built like a very stylish bank vault. This is lust at first listen.
Even in THE Show’s noisy Headphone shed, the impact and fun factor of Florence and the Machine’s “Dog Days” was pegging the lustometer playing directly out of my iPhone. Amping makes everything a bit better. Plugging it into HiFiMan’s own HM-802 DAP makes everything better. But hot damn, this is an entirely new game.