Where to go from HE-4XX

So I started watching Zeos Reviews and lost my mind last year. Wound up with HiFi Man HE-4XX, THX 789, Drop SDAC, SMSL M3 DAC/AMP, and balanced cable from Arctic cable. I really think all the reviews were spot on with the 789 and what it did for the music. It was pretty spectacular going from the DAC/AMP SMSL M3 to the balanced SDAC and 789. Well, I needed some coin so I sold the custom cable, 789, and SDAC. I am waiting for Drop to release a THX AAA 887 and DAC/AMP combo before I get another amp. Sticking with the M3 for now to keep it simple. It does ok, but I want to know where I should go for a new set of cans. I really love the sound of the 4XXs, bass and sub bass is pretty incredible imo for a headphone, but I wish there was a little more of it. I had researched and was going to buy a pair of the ebony TR-X00 closed backs only to find out they are discontinued (not interested in watching for sale forums). So… with that, what should I be looking at for around $450 or less that will get me where I want to be. Looking for a similar sound signature to the 4XX but with a little more punch without losing any of the detail up high or down low. If anything, the 4XX is just tad straining for me on the highs after a couple hours of listening. These are my first planar cans and I really like the sound though, very impressed with them for less than $200.

I am aware of mods to adjust the sound signature on the HE-4XX but for this thread I’m looking for new cans.

I’ve eq’d foobar2000 for the HE-4XX according to this, removed the foam dust cover on the outside under the grill to “open” them up a little, and ordered ZMF Ori pads in perforated lambskin. The Ori pads suck in comparison to the stock pads. Pretty disappointed in wasting $60 to wind up losing bass. Everything I read said I should have gotten a little bump from the Oris… false.

The hifiman edition xx might be up your alley, and also less harsh on the treble too. If you wanted a bit more similar signature the sundara is good, but it is brighter with less bass. The xx is going to be a larger presentation, more bass impact, better soundstage, and a more prominent mid-range. Treble is good but not as forward as the 4xx. The sundara is more neutral bright and more refined compared to the 4xx, but with a bit less bass prominence and impact but more light and airy sound


Thank you for the reply. I will check them out. Sounds like the XX might be the ticket. How would he XX compare to the M1570s from Monoprice? Those seem like they may be suitable too, on paper anyways.

So the xx is going to have the more interesting presentation and more impactful low end imo, the m1570 I think had a better mid-range, but I think the m1570s treble can be a bit wonky. I think if you wanted to consider an m1570 you should look for a used lcd 2 fazor as I think it’s a better sound for a similar price

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XX are pretty good from what I hear. Sounds like a good option.

True but Argons don’t sound quite like other planars. They are unique though and well worth it if that’s what you want. I just think the XX is probably in a slightly higher tier.

I kinda agree, if you are looking for a planar sound, the argons are not my first pick imo

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This might be a little simple but why not just eq the 4XX. They take well to eq and it seems like you’re only bumping the bass and lowering the treble a hair.

Both could probably be done with minimal if any negative impact overall


This is certainly an option. But if they really want something new that is higher tier, then it would also be fine to purchase new headphones.

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The hifiman edition xx seem great, and I kinda wish I’d waited on my 4xx and gotten those instead. Already owning the 4xx, it just seems like the edition xx isn’t quite worth it, as it seems like a pretty modest step up with little differences, unless you decide you’re selling the 4xx but I don’t think you could get too much for them since they’re on the permanent $130 sale it seems.

Strange, it’s pretty different to me at least

Oh well I wouldn’t know first hand. I just watched and read a lot of reviews that mentioned that it’s harder to justify them if you already own the 4xx, kinda like it’s a super 4xx lol.

But I guess that means if you absolutely know you want a better version of them then it’s the way to go, I think I just like exploring and finding all new sounds and companies for my collection. That’s not to say I don’t want the edition xx, I do! trust me lol.

I thought it was a fairly sizable upgrade in most all aspects imo, worth the money to me at least. I think if you are powering them off of a phone it might seem similar. But they do really like their power. They have a pretty unique presentation and just largeness that a fair amount of headphones just can’t match

I’ll probably work my way into getting them at some point. They do go on sale at 500 pretty often, I think I even saw closer to 450 once. I think I’d grab them at that price personally. It’s tough. I think my list is just too big that they’re up at the top of my priorities right now. Even though the 4xx was one of my tops for a while.

I’ve definitely noticed that even the 4xx need their power. Even my es100 and hiby r6 struggle balanced with them. I usually need my jotunheim to get them where I want.

Yeah hifiman really appreciate power

You know, the Audioquest Nighthawk Carbon are really fun headphones too and quite a bargain for their price if you want to try something really different than what you have. Maybe not what you are looking for but then again maybe you would like them.

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This is all fantastic advice. Thank you everyone. I thought about just doing the eq thing but I think I want to add to my stable. For those of you with XX, do you think I can run them off my SMSL M3 while I wait for a THX 887 dac/amp from drop?

Haha it was on my mind, but I didn’t want to be the one to do it!

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I think you can for now, but is drop making a 887 amp? I have not heard about this