HIFIMAN HE400i 2020 Version.

Already the owner of the original HE400 from HIFIMAN, I am interested to see how the 2020 version differs or improves upon a classic and personal favourite.

HIFIMAN have been very kind and sent these my way for review.
I have not been paid or sponsored for this review.
These are my own unbiased views.

The HIFIMAN HE400i 2020 Version retail at $169 at the time of this review.

You can find the HE400i 2020 Version here:
https://hifiman.com/products/detail/304

Review equipment:
HIFIMAN HE400i 2020 Version.
Astell & Kern AK70.
iPad Pro running Qobuz Studio Premier.
Burson Audio 3X Performance.

Music:
Various FLAC files on the AK70.
And the following playlists on Qobuz.
https://open.qobuz.com/playlist/3785941
https://open.qobuz.com/playlist/3784071

The Audiophile Cafe readers can now receive 1 month’s free subscription to Studio, which allows you to listen to Qobuz’s entire music library in Hi-Res and CD quality. 
Note: Existing Studio subscribers need to unsubscribe first before activating the gift. 
Please click the following link for more:
https://try.qobuz.com/tqs_fr/?qbzs=society&qbzc=THE_AUDIOPHILE_CAFE&utm_source=society&utm_medium=partner_page&utm_campaign=THE_AUDIOPHILE_CAFE

Whats in the box:
1x HIFIMAN HE400i 2020 Version.
1x detachable single ended 3.5mm cable.
1x 1/4″ adaptor.

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

Build and finish:
The HIFIMAN HE400 have long been a favourite planar magnetic. However I was never that keen on the build quality and over time they have shown their age. They still sound amazing but they’ve definitely seen better days when it comes down to construction.
The HE400i 2020 version is of a far better finish and they feel more robust. The 3.5mm connectors installed in the cups are a welcome change to the screw in connector first used in the original HE400 and offer the ability to swap out different cables with greater ease than before.
One noticeable improvement that jumps at me are the forks and how they work with the new headband. The clicks are solid and click firmly into place and the forks no longer have a screw in the centre, instead favouring a one-piece design. Good call!
I like the charcoal black satin finish. It works well with these headphones and gives them a subtle yet premium quality.
HIFIMAN have provided a very decent cable with the HE400i 2020s which is well made and nicely sleeved in black. If more headphone companies did this the headphone world would be a far happier place.
At 35ohms they are easy to drive from a desktop, portable or even built in amplifier.

Comfort:
HIFIMAN have made a comfortable headphone here and the new headband design is a welcome change and improvement.
The ear pads are no different to what I have experienced on the original HE400 model and this is a good thing. Those pads are still going strong now and as comfy as ever.
The pads on this 2020 model are then by default onto a winning streak.
I found I could wear the HE400i 2020 for hours of listening with no discomfort and no fatigue.

Sound:
The HE400i 2020 use the same drivers as the original version and it shows with the same premium sound quality as before.
However I do notice a slight change in soundstage and the upper frequency range.
Whether this is because my HE400 “Originals” are older now and far more broken in than this pair or whether they have been tuned slightly differently I don’t know, but I love what they have done here.
The soundstage is wide and has some depth to it.
Separation is excellent and instruments are easily distinguishable from one another, even in noisier parts of some tracks.
Bass extension is here in bucket loads and with good definition. Also managing to sweep low without any distortion or lack of detail.
The HE400i 2020 has a smooth forward midrange and upper midrange that works very well with vocals, and acoustics lending a “Jazz-club” feel to the sound.
High frequencies are detailed and fast paced. A little rolled off. However not as rolled off as the original HE400 model, so when I compare the two versions I found the HE400i 2020 to have a better dynamic range over the originals.
At $169 I have to recommend these as a very well rounded and exiting headphone to listen to which would be great for someone who wants to try their first planar magnetic, or maybe it’s your first proper pair of headphones? Either way you can’t go wrong!

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Published by The Audiophile Cafe

40 something audiophile, writer, disabled carer, bookworm, gamer, parent, uncle... I love listening to great music on great gear.

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