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crenca

Quick and dirty comparison: HD6XX vs. HE4XX

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These recently came in.  I figured I would give them away as gifts unless they impressed me more than expected.  I also have never actually owned any Sennheiser cans as they have always left me wanting when I sampled them at dealers, etc.  Source is computer (Roon/Jriver 16/44, High Res, Tidal), iFi IDAC2 , Schiit Saga pre to Schiit Jotunheim HP amp.

 

Massdrop HD6XX (currently $199):

 

I thought this was an HD650 clone but it might be an HD600 clone (perhaps someone knows fer sur).  It simply reinforces the previous impressions I have had of Sennheiser at this level.  No subass to speak of, somewhat flabby/distorted bass, with an annoyingly large mid/upper bass + lower mid hump that really skews the overall sound.  Pleasant enough mids however, voices come through with good accuracy.  Highs are not emphasized/hot (as they are in so many products these days) but have a mid-fi graininess to them and not extended into bat territory like most seem to expect these days.  Overall, meh.   I even purchased a balanced cable hoping to get an improvement (by utilizing the full balanced output of the Jot - these HP's are 300 ohm so phones, DAP's, etc. need not apply) but it did not matter.

 

Massdrop HE4XX (currently $169):

 

Again, there is online debate whether these are clones of HE400i, HE400s, or something in between.  Not that it matters, because these sound good!  In the under $500 range, IMO only the Oppo PM3's give them any real competition, perhaps the NAD HP50's pulling up the rear.  They have a resolution and detail that approaches my Focal Elears.  They don't have the Focal's bottom end dynamics, but the bass is real, clear, and just right.  If you are used to cans that "pump up the bass" with a hump and tubby emphasis however you might (at first) find them lacking a bit.  Mids and highs FR sounds even and right (have not spent much time tweaking EQ on either of these cans however), clear, resolving, detailed, etc.  They make well recorded piano sound (mostly) right which is always a tough test.  Highs seem to have air without sibilance, etc.  Instrument separation is not quite up to the Focal level, but is really good given the price level.  I successfully ran them out of my Android Tablet (don't know the internals other than that it has a "wolfson" DAC) and they got to decent, if not concert level SPL.  I am going to keep these cans, and at $169 I give them a solid thumbs up.  Heck, the price might be too low as most folks in the sub $200 market are looking for portable, closed back HP's.

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16 minutes ago, crenca said:

These recently came in.  I figured I would give them away as gifts unless they impressed me more than expected.  I also have never actually owned any Sennheiser cans as they have always left me wanting when I sampled them at dealers, etc.  Source is computer (Roon/Jriver 16/44, High Res, Tidal), iFi IDAC2 , Schiit Saga pre to Schiit Jotunheim HP amp.

 

Massdrop HD6XX (currently $199):

 

I thought this was an HD650 clone but it might be an HD600 clone (perhaps someone knows fer sur).  It simply reinforces the previous impressions I have had of Sennheiser at this level.  No subass to speak of, somewhat flabby/distorted bass, with an annoyingly large mid/upper bass + lower mid hump that really skews the overall sound.  Pleasant enough mids however, voices come through with good accuracy.  Highs are not emphasized/hot (as they are in so many products these days) but have a mid-fi graininess to them and not extended into bat territory like most seem to expect these days.  Overall, meh.   I even purchased a balanced cable hoping to get an improvement (by utilizing the full balanced output of the Jot - these HP's are 300 ohm so phones, DAP's, etc. need not apply) but it did not matter.

 

Massdrop HE4XX (currently $169):

 

Again, there is online debate whether these are clones of HE400i, HE400s, or something in between.  Not that it matters, because these sound good!  In the under $500 range, IMO only the Oppo PM3's give them any real competition, perhaps the NAD HP50's pulling up the rear.  They have a resolution and detail that approaches my Focal Elears.  They don't have the Focal's bottom end dynamics, but the bass is real, clear, and just right.  If you are used to cans that "pump up the bass" with a hump and tubby emphasis however you might (at first) find them lacking a bit.  Mids and highs FR sounds even and right (have not spent much time tweaking EQ on either of these cans however), clear, resolving, detailed, etc.  They make well recorded piano sound (mostly) right which is always a tough test.  Highs seem to have air without sibilance, etc.  Instrument separation is not quite up to the Focal level, but is really good given the price level.  I successfully ran them out of my Android Tablet (don't know the internals other than that it has a "wolfson" DAC) and they got to decent, if not concert level SPL.  I am going to keep these cans, and at $169 I give them a solid thumbs up.  Heck, the price might be too low as most folks in the sub $200 market are looking for portable, closed back HP's.

 

Thanks for this. My HE4XXs are scheduled to arrive next Monday. 

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On 11/28/2017 at 6:47 PM, kumakuma said:

 

Thanks for this. My HE4XXs are scheduled to arrive next Monday. 

 

HE 4XX are real gems! I enjoyed them more so than the HD 600 that I last had. @crenca thanks for the feed back! 

 

As for running them out of an Android Tablet, I found them to improve nicely with an amp. @kumakuma I don't know what your system composes of, but the HE 4XX isn't really worth while on a "reference" or Top of the Line system.

 

I got the best performance to cost results with like a $400ish system, entry level dac with a nice mid range amplifier bring a very noticeable improvement over just using a cell phone . Even more power portable amps work nicely, but when you drop it into a nicer system the improvements are... marginal

 

enjoy them!

 

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12 hours ago, Mshenay said:

 

HE 4XX are real gems! I enjoyed them more so than the HD 600 that I last had. @crenca thanks for the feed back! 

 

As for running them out of an Android Tablet, I found them to improve nicely with an amp. @kumakuma I don't know what your system composes of, but the HE 4XX isn't really worth while on a "reference" or Top of the Line system.

 

I got the best performance to cost results with like a $400ish system, entry level dac with a nice mid range amplifier bring a very noticeable improvement over just using a cell phone . Even more power portable amps work nicely, but when you drop it into a nicer system the improvements are... marginal

 

enjoy them!

 

 

Thanks for your thoughts. I'm not expecting that much based on the price ($170) but I'm interested in comparing to the HD6XX headphones I bought from Massdrop last year.

 

BTW, if anyone is interested the drop is still open for the next two hours:

 

https://www.massdrop.com/buy/massdrop-x-hifiman-he4xx-planar-magnetic-headphones

 

 

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