Confused by HiFiMan HE400 family

Hi all:

I’m looking to dip my toes into planars, but I don’t have $350 right now for HiFiMan Sundaras. So, I’m looking at their little brothers, the HE400 series.

But there seem to be about four active versions of the HE400 series, and damned if I know the differences besides price. The versions:

HE4xx – The Drop version. Quality is a worry with all HiFiMan products, but even more so with the Drop version. $180.

HE400i – The old version, with the suspension headband. $185.

HE400i 2020 – The 2020 version, with the padded Deva headband. These may not be available anymore in North America, as they’re no longer listed on Amazon for US sale, and HiFiMan’s website says they only can sell them to the EU. $169.

HE400SE – This appears to be the latest member of the HE400 family, with a price of $149.

What are the sonic differences between these cans? Are there fit and comfort differences between the suspension headbands of the 4xx and old 400i and the padded, Deva-style 2020 versions of the 400i and new 400SE?

Anyone have any experience with the new 400SE?

Thanks in advance for answers to any or all of these questions.

Don’t forget the he4 and he400s! the suspension headbands are just way better but as for the rest of the line i dont know much. i do know i love my he6se but the only one out of the 4 lineup i’ve tried was the original he400i and i was not very impressed with the tuning but it had good detail. i have a strong feeling the he400se is going to stand out in the line as it seems like they took a lot more care of it than the rest and for some reason the international version gets stealth magnets like out of the susvara. grill modding the whole hifiman circle cup line is a pretty big jump in soundstage, imaging, and tonal balance and is only about $20-$30. amazon has the he400se prime shipped and in stock even though hifiman hasn’t even shipped their preorders out lol.

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Thanks! Very much appreciate the feedback.

Never had a problem with them personally. I have an earlier version that used the dual 2.5mm (apperently they’ve swapped to dual 3.5mm at some point). I even bought mine used a couple years ago. Still going strong.

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As far as I know, HE4xx has quite a unique tuning which is not found in any other hifiman headphones.
He400i 2020 is the same as the old he400i except for headband
he400se is a china only budget version which has worse and more brittle magnets and the sound isn’t far off the he400i
It is worth noting that the he400 series has become cheaper and cheaper over the years

But now there’s also the HE400SE international version that uses stealth magnet

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I think the international he400 se will replace the he400i 2020

Yep. The international version 400SE, with stealth magnets, already is available at Amazon US. That’s the one that interests me, not the China-only version.

Got frequency response for a few of them ( 4xx , 400i , Sundara ) here:

Had the 4xx’s since summer last year. So I don’t think that’s long enough to say whether they’re very durable, especially as they just sit at my desk. But they seem pretty solid to me and I’m kinda clumsy.

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If anyone knows, can the FiiO K3 power this series of cans especially the HE400se?

Or what minimum budget dac/AMP do you recommend?

I use the iFi hip-dac with my HE-400se. A wonderful pairing, with great musicality and plenty of power.

Fiio K3 Balanced yes single ended no