Hot on the heels of the new flagship HE-1000 comes another interesting entry at the other end of the price spectrum. The new HiFiMan HE-400s will retail at a mere $299 when it hits the market this fall. While many will consider $299 for a pair of headphones quite an expense (and rightly so) in audiophile terms this is a cost effective breakthrough for an planar magnetic headphone.
The closest competitor to the 400s is probably the newest headphone product from Oppo called the PM-3 ($399, also a planar magnetic headphone). I did get a chance to compare the new headphone to the formidable HE-560 ($899) at the show and from what I could discern on the noisy show floor was impressive.
While the din of the large tent that housed the headphone section of T.H.E Show newport was no place for a formal review, even a quick momentary glance at the two headphones left me with a satisfying takeaway. No, the new 400s isn’t a mirror match for the 560 flagship, but the difference was definitely not three times less as the cost might suggest. Even though the 560 shares a higher price tag, it is one of the frontrunners for value in its price range. I would expect after further evaluation to draw a similar conclusion for the 400s. Combined with the new flagship, there is a lot of hot stuff coming out the HiFiMAN camp in the next couple quarters.