HiFiMAN HE400se

Could you share your actual recommended PEQs for the HE400se?

And thanks for the informative post and new video:)


Just 2 filters.


Thanks PEQ, Andrew!

I may have missed it, but did you run distortion graphs?

If not, can you comment vs. Sundara and perhaps original HE400i (2016) or HE5xx?

Looking forward to more of your informative reviews!

1 Like

I did but THD is kind of meaningless on these since there’s no out of the ordinary behavior.

1 Like

Thanks again. Was curious as HFM touts the ‘stealth’ magnets as contributing to low distortion…Wondering if that’s BS…

Yet another question…In the video review you mentioned one shortfall was impulse response…‘sluggish’…Can this be improved via choice of Reconstruction Filter? For example, my ESS-based Quedlix (works great Balanced) has 7. I like Minimum Phase Fast best. To me transients - in Porch Rosso soundtrack listening now - sound crisp. What RF do you use?

The filter is used to remove frequencies above 20k which are a byproduct of the conversion process. This is not adjusting any musical ‘impulse’ properties.

As always, you can’t change the physical characteristics of the headphone by altering the input signal. You might be able to nudge an aspect of the sound one way or another (say with eq) but the headphone’s mechanical properties will stay the same.

1 Like

Sluggish was in reference to the subjective sense of initial leading edge and transient response - the ‘attack’ so to speak. Not ‘impulse response’ necessarily. Also, the stealth magnet thing likely isn’t BS - in this case it just most likely only impacts frequencies outside the audible band.

1 Like

I just received these yesterday but I need to make some trips and won’t get to them for a couple of weeks.

I am actually looking forwards to giving them a whirl.

1 Like

Here’s my squiggles:


HE400SE first impressions:

$150. Great tuning. Really really good job. Slightly mid-forward compared to most hifimans. Bass level is good. Does roll-off slightly but not a big deal. The treble is very smooth compared to other entry level hifimans in the past up to their $1500 arya level. There is still a hint of sharpness in the treble range on occasion. I hear it when there’s a heavy piano note with sustain in the upper octaves. Its not beyer bright or anything, its just ever so there, and not as smooth as Susvara or HE6SE V2, or even HD600. It doesn’t have the microdetails or staging of the big boys, but its tuned very well and image separation is really good at this price.

The biggest difference I hear from this and its older and more pricey siblings is the speed of the driver. This one plays within its price point and has slower transient speeds than the HE6SE V2 and the king Susvara. This makes the little micro-details not as audible, and also makes it sound a little slow at times when stacked against pricier competition.

At $150, this is easily my favorite I heard. When you have to consider this or HD6XX/600/650 for $220-$400, its a tougher pick for me and I could go either way.

Build material is super cheap on the HE400SE. Feels cheaper than HE6SE V2 even though its the same part geometry. I think the finish/coatings are worse giving it a much more plastic feel.

Default cable sucks a lot, but Hifiman snuck in a new cable outside the retail box, but inside the brown shipping box. Its probably their best cable they’ve ever made, even though it feels like a $10 cable. That’s not saying much, but its at leasst usable and feels durable, though its short (1.2m)


Nominee for “Backhanded compliment of the year.” But surely true, very true.

1 Like

I didn’t get the “extra” cable, I just got the piece of fence wire with TRS connectors on it.

1 Like

This is a pretty good test of using wire coat hangers as speaker cables:

Your fence wire may well sound about the same as anything else. However, I hope they cut the barbs off.

Another thing to note. Pali Pads (default Sundara pads) measure the same as the default Focus Pads as expected. They are essentially the same except different lining material.

I find the Pali pads to work better for warmer days, as they breathe more, but the lining material against your face isnt as soft and plush as the Focus pads. That liner gets hot though.

1 Like