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Hifiman HE400se

9 min read


These funds Hifiman planar magnetic headphones supply severe sound for not a lot cash. The HE400se is imaging sophistication, which might make your music appear extra three-dimensional than different funds pairs. Earlier than shopping for, keep in mind that its open-back design is most suited to at-home use, and it doesn’t get as loud as extra standard rivals when operating off a power-limited supply, akin to a telephone or laptop computer.


  • Wonderful worth
  • Nice imaging
  • Sound has actual depth and peak


  • Lacks a bit chunk within the mid-treble
  • Open-back design is just not appropriate for loads of conditions
  • Sub-bass can appear a bit timid


  • UKRRP: £129
  • USARRP: $129
  • EuropeTBC
  • CanadaTBC

  • Planar magnetic driverLike nearly all different Hifiman headphones, this pair makes use of planar magnetic drivers, which usually produce very low-distortion sound.

  • Open-back cupsThe grille on the again of the cups is perforated, leaking sound freely. These headphones present nearly no isolation.

  • Detachable cableA transportable-use-length cable is included, and the headphones have normal 3.5mm stereo connectors on the base of every cup.


The HE400se is Hifiman’s most cost-effective full-sized set of headphones. For over a decade, this model has been the funds audio fan’s good friend. However whereas its early cheaper pairs had been fairly normal dynamic driver headphones, the HE400se is the true deal. 

These planar magnetic headphones look fairly just like the Hifiman HE6se V2 that when offered for $1,799. So, is the HE400se a match for the latter? In fact not – but it surely does sound fairly improbable for the £129 you’ll pay for it on-line. 

For his or her worth, these headphones supply exact and immersive imaging that sounds much more three-dimensional than many different pairs round.

Certain, you don’t get the chunk and dynamics of the step-up Hifiman Sundara, or the sub-bass slam of a closed-back headphone. However the HE400se comes extremely rated for almost all kinds of listening – so long as you’re at house and never anticipating super-high volumes whereas operating off the output of your telephone. 


  • Combined velour and artificial leather-based pads
  • Comfortable and straightforward match
  • Open-back, so not that versatile

The Hifiman HE400se is a full-sized open-back headphone set. You’ll be able to say the identical about nearly all of Hifiman’s pairs, however this implies there are just a few necessities to get out of the best way first. 

You shouldn’t purchase this set if you wish to apply it to public transport, in an workplace, or, actually, wherever outside. It leaks sound and barely isolates in any respect. 

For headphone followers, that is sort of stating the apparent, however if you happen to’re simply on the lookout for a great-sounding pair you should use wherever, get a closed-back set. 

The HE400se’s design is a direct descendant of the corporate’s first main headphone launch, the HE5. Its cups are totally spherical and sit on a sturdy metallic hinge. 

Close-up of the Hifiman HE400se band and cups
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These cups solely articulate a technique, however the headband stems themselves twist laterally by about 15 levels, letting this pair mould to your head fairly successfully. The pads are designed to assist right here, too. They’re barely sloped, thicker within the again, and thinner on the entrance, forming a form of wedge form.

It’s all in assist of becoming your head higher with out tilting the cups. I discovered the HE400se super-comfortable, significantly for a planar magnetic pair, which might get fairly heavy. And whereas this pair is round 20% heavier than the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x, there’s beautiful thick padding on each cups and headband. 

Hifiman has used a mixture of velour and artificial leather-based for the pads, with perforated interior partitions that ought to assist breathability a bit. These are far, much better than the essential pleather rings used within the authentic Hifiman HE-400, which I first tried a decade in the past.

The HE400se’s match can also be much less problematic than that of the pricier Hifiman Sundara, which might really feel too “clampy” if the scarf isn’t opened up sufficient. The HE400se has an nearly fool-proof match – other than the potential of placing it on the improper means round. 

The Hifiman HE400se's cable
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Its construct is stable for a funds pair of headphones too. The silver cup housings are plastic, whereas the pricier Hifiman pairs use metallic. However there aren’t any creaks as you place these headphones on and no flimsy components. 

The cable is a primary 1.4m affair that attaches to each cups. However because the sockets on the cups are normal 3.5mm, changing this sooner or later – if you happen to want or need to – can be simple and low-cost.

Sound High quality

  • Nice imaging and separation for the cash
  • Immersive sound subject
  • Barely darker, extra relaxed tone than another Hifiman fashions

The Hifiman HE400se is a set of planar magnetic headphones, which use bigger magnets than conventional dynamic designs. It permits for extra linear motion within the diaphragm to generate much less distortion. Planar magnetic drivers was completely present in fairly costly headphones, and Hifiman was arguably the first power in making them extra accessible. 

Now, we come to the one motive I feel a few of it is best to pause earlier than shopping for this set. These headphones are super-affordable, however they don’t get on that properly with sources which have decrease output. 

The HE400se sounds nice plugged right into a telephone, however you would possibly discover that even at most quantity, it sounds a bit quieter than you’d like. I used these headphones to observe a stack of movies, and the place the typical dynamic driver headphone is likely to be set at -33dB on my amplifier, the HE400se sounded about proper at -18dB. 

The inside of the Hifiman HE400se's cups
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Hifiman instructed me these headphones had been designed to be “simpler to drive” than their predecessors, however like different planar fashions, most telephones simply don’t fairly have the juice to make them party-ready loud. Loud sufficient for informal listening in a quieter room? Certain. 

Again to the great things: the HE400se’s sound is usually fantastic and makes this set simply as a lot of a cut price because it initially seems.

Spatial parts are the strongest bits. These headphones have terrific imaging contemplating their low price. Whereas the sound isn’t crazy-wide for open-back headphones, sturdy separation and readability of positioning sort of allow you to mentally stroll round preparations in a means that, for instance, the widely nice Shure SRH840 doesn’t. 

The “airiness” – because it’s typically known as – is without doubt one of the prime causes to purchase a set of open-back headphones like this. However the HE400se additionally has traits that loads of different open-back headphones lack. For instance, there’s a higher sense of peak right here than with the AKG K701, making music appear extra three-dimensional. 

The AKG wins for width, however I discover the HE400se’s sound subject presentation finally extra partaking. 

The Hifiman HE400se headphones from the side
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These headphones are additionally a lot much less more likely to appear tiring in a listening sense than another prime Hifiman fashions. And their bass is, for probably the most half, clear, clean-sounding, measured and highly effective. 

Nonetheless, the HE400se doesn’t have the true slam of the earliest Hifiman pairs, and the sub-bass is kind of reserved. However I feel this solely turns into apparent if you happen to’re listening to motion motion pictures or digital music the place that super-low rumbly bass can grow to be a star. If that’s going to be a problem, then at this sort of funds, you’re most likely higher off with closed-back headphones.

What you get for the cash right here is great, thoughts. The HE400se has a extra impartial presentation than the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x, and it sounds richer – much less scientific – than the equally priced AKG Studio headphones. 

Evaluate the HE400se to the Hifiman Sundara and also you begin to hear what you may get for a bit extra money – or properly, at double the price. 

The Hifiman HE400se headphones of a table
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The Sundara is considerably brighter-sounding than the HE400se. Whereas Hifiman’s headphones have sometimes been described as fatiguing through the years, the HE400se has a surprisingly conservative quantity of chunk within the decrease treble. It makes vocals sound a bit darker than traditional. 

I additionally discover the midrange texture a bit tender, in contrast with that of the Sundara and different open-back headphones that sound chillier than the HE400se. The Sundara sounds sooner, extra important and dynamic, and nonetheless three-dimensional. 

However whereas phrases like softness and a darker-sounding treble usually don’t associate with a super-open and well-separated sound, they do with the HE400se – and that claims loads about Hifiman’s planar magnetic drivers. 

Newest offers

Must you purchase it?

These are best headphones for somebody on the lookout for their first “severe” set, the place sound high quality is valued over practicality. The sound per pound/greenback is great, and they’re comfy too.

These headphones gained’t sound that loud when pushed immediately from a telephone or laptop computer. Additionally, keep in mind that the open-back sound doesn’t isolate you from exterior noise.

Last Ideas

The Hifiman HE400se is among the many better-performing headphone units you may get for the cash. It could possibly paint sound in a three-dimensional house very properly whereas additionally pulling it in additional spatial instructions than a number of the higher, inexpensive open-back headphones. 

Like a variety of open-back pairs, the HE400se doesn’t have baggage of sub-bass slam, however standard-register bass sounds assured and stable. I feel if something’s going to place the audio fan off, it’s the slight softness within the higher mids and low treble, which supplies these headphones much less chunk and a extra relaxed vibe than the step-up Hifiman Sundara. 

Nonetheless, this helps make the HE400se nice for all-day informal listening whereas additionally dealing with shut listening and films very properly. In case you’re shopping for your first severe set of headphones, simply keep in mind they didn’t get as loud as just about any dynamic driver pair I’ve tried in latest reminiscence – which can be a problem if you wish to run them off a telephone. 

How we check

We check each headphone we assessment completely over an prolonged time frame. We use business normal exams to check options correctly. We’ll all the time inform you what we discover. We by no means, ever, settle for cash to assessment a product.

Discover out extra about how we check in our ethics coverage.

Examined for greater than every week

In comparison with different headphones


Which kind of cable does the Hifiman HE400se have?

The cable is roughly 1.4m lengthy and plugs into the headphone cups utilizing 3.5mm jacks.

Does the Hifiman HE400se want an amp?

Whereas these headphones sound good operating off a telephone or laptop computer, you could discover they don’t get fairly loud sufficient with these lower-power sources.

What are the Hifiman HE400se’s Stealth magnets?

Stealth is a proprietary Hifiman magnet design that goals to scale back interference.




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