Massdrop x HiFiMAN HE4XX Planar Magnetic Headphones

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Oh boy. The folks at Massdrop have gone and done it again. Just got their new Massdrop x HiFiMAN HE4XX in for measurements and a quick listen before the drop. There seems to be a little curiosity on the forums about from which HE400 varient the HE4XX descends. By the look of the measurements (HE4XX and HE400i) I think it most resembles the HE400i. They have changed a few things: there's a new, much better headband; they've used the lauded Focus-A pads; it's liveried now in a cool midnight-blue colorway soft-touch matte finish; and most importantly, the price has been pushed down to an astonishing $169! I guess the only thing to note is they aren't as efficient as the Massdrop copy makes them sound; they play loud enough on a smartphone, but just barely.

I gushed in my HE400S review, in some ways I preferred it over the HD 600. Comparing the HE4XX to the HD 600 again today I've got to say I still think it's better in some ways. The HD 600 is smoother and more liquid sounding, but it's got that veil, and the long hump in the bass/lower-mids response does give it a thick coloration compared to the HE4XX. Treble is a bit more strident in the HE4XX, and the presence area is a little more withdrawn, but bass extension and midrange neutrality are better than the HD 600. Bottom line: both are very good cans. But that price difference! People should be yelling, "Take my money!"

I've also noted folks wondering about the Monoprice Monolith M1060 planar magnetic that goes for $299 and how it compares. As luck would have it, headphone enthusiast PockyG sent his pair in for measurements. Looks pretty good. Listening in comparison, I found the M1060 more forward and strident, though with better bass. The HE4XX pretty easily sounded more refined; it's the better headphone to my ears.

The HE4XX drop starts tomorrow. Not sure of the total numbers planned, but if I was a budding headphone headphone enthusiast looking for their first pair of killer cans I'd jump on this. It's a no brainer. Enjoy!