The HE400i and the He560 are a step in the right direction for Hifiman and show a much better appreciation of what the market is asking before than previous models in the range. They have taken the best bits of the HE400, the HE500 and borrow a little from the HE6 in some respects to come out with two headphones that will take center stage in the top 10 of mid tier and planar headphones overall for quite a while to come. Whilst they share a similar slant in tonality they both have very clear target markets.
The HE400i is for the modern pop and rock lover who wants his bass heavy but detailed and wants his experience to be a highly musical one. It is a pick-up and go experience and a very good one at that. The HE560, being flatter, more linear and more neutral is intended for the more considered listener. This will be a listener who values detail, accurate timbre and articulation over slam but doesn’t want to move into a monitor like experience. It retains just enough musicality and smoothness, especially in the treble reproduction to be a headphone of choice for late nights, melancholic melodies and absorbing jazz and blues.
Both are now more efficient, more comfortable and address many of the faults of the previous models without ever directly replacing; instead adding a little tweak here and there to ensure the owners of both get something more than just better bass, or less tizzy treble. Both have character and both are very memorable indeed. Two early contenders for me for reviewed headphones of the year. Unless of course that HE-1000 lands on my desk before Dec 31st 2015.
Price: $499 for the HE400i and $899 for the HE560
HE400i – http://hifiman.com/Products/?pid=208
Design: Planar Magnetic Over-the-Ear Headphones
Frequency Response: 20 Hz – 35 KHz
Impedance: 35 Ohms
Weight: 12.7 Ounces
Frequency Response: 15Hz to 50KHz
Impedance: 50 Ohms
Efficiency: 90 db/mW
Weight: 13.3 OZ (375g)