Are you planning to own a pair of planar magnetic headphones but don’t have the budget for them? The HiFiMAN HE400SE is made for such a case and is not just some run-of-the-mill headphones with compromised sonic performances. This is a highly rated entry-level planar magnetic headphone that comes with acoustically invisible Stealth Magnets.

The HiFiMAN HE400SE is even well-received by critics and it is recognized as one of the best entry-level headphones. You will still need to partner the HE400SE with a matching amp and we are planning to share with you a list of them after we have learned more about this amazing planar magnetic headphone.

Sound Characteristics of HiFiMAN HE400SE Entry-Level Planar Magnetic Headphone

The HiFiMAN HE400SE looks gorgeous for an entry-level planar magnetic headphone and the kind you would want to wear out on the streets. Its open-back design does deter this notion though as firstly, you will be hearing the environmental noises which would disrupt your listening experience. Noise comes in and sounds leak out, the sound leakage will more than likely disturb the people around you. For an entry-level headset, the HiFiMAN HE400SE is comfortable to wear and it doesn’t feel tight. You also won’t feel it is heavy (390g).

As mentioned earlier, the HiFiMAN HE400SE is built-in with Stealth Magnets and they will help reduce wave diffraction thus improving sound quality and accuracy. The frequency response is 20Hz to 20kHz which is fine for entry-level planar magnetic headphones at this price point. The impedance rating of 25 Ohms is good for us, but the sensitivity of 91dB is pretty low. This means it is necessary to have a headphone amp to drive the HE400SE. We will be taking the prices of the amps into consideration when picking them.

More Details on HiFiMAN HE400SE at Amazon

We were quite surprised that an entry-level planar magnetic headphone like the HiFiMAN HE400SE could actually reach deep into the bass extension. The subsonic bass frequencies may not sound as prominent when compared to the higher-end models but we find it is good enough at this level. There is a touch of warmth in the midbass region and doesn’t hinder the upper frequencies. Bass fanatics will find the low-end performance of the HiFiMAN HE400SE a little too lightweight and lack punch. The low frequencies are quite detailed and well textured.

The overall sound reproduction is not as detailed and some subtle nuances are missing. Still, we can’t really nitpick too much on an entry-level model. The lack of subtle music details doesn’t stop us from enjoying our favorite tunes via the HiFiMAN HE400SE. It is still entertaining to listen through this pair of planar magnetic headphones. Musical instruments sounded fantastic and vocal reproductions are quite good. The soundstage is wide and as expected from an open-back design, the stereo imaging is rather precise and well-focused.

HiFiMAN HE400SE has a neutral sound characteristic leaning towards brightness and is fast with good stereo separation. It doesn’t sound overly bright when pushed but you will need to be cautious when partnering the HE400SE headphones with bright-sounding amps. This entry-level HiFiMAN headphone provides plenty of performance for the money and is worth every single penny invested in them. To bring out their best, you will certainly need a decent and matching headphone amp. You should take a look at the list which we have prepared for you and pick one to partner up with your HiFiMAN HE400SE planar magnetic headphones.

HiFiMAN HE400SE Specifications

  • Wearing Style: Headband
  • Transducer Principle: Open-Back, Planar Magnetic
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz-20kHz
  • Sensitivity: 91dB
  • Impedance: 25 Ohms
  • Weight: 390g (0.86lbs)

Best Headphone Amps to partner with HiFiMAN HE400SE

The Monolith Liquid Spark will be an ideal entry-level headphone amp for the HiFiMAN HE400SE. It has a very modest price tag and could still drive the planar magnetic headphones. The compact size of the Liquid Spark makes it suitable as a desktop headphone amplifier. This headphone amp doesn’t add brightness to the overall sound reproduction, allowing us to push the HiFiMAN HE400SE to higher volume levels without worrying it will sound cringe. The neutral warm sonic characteristic of the Monolith Liquid Spark helps to provide a more natural sounding approach.

More Details on Monolith Liquid Spark at Amazon

Schiit Audio Magni 3+ is another excellent budget headphone amplifier to match with the HiFiMAN HE400SE. It is an entry-level amp where it will add more body and weight to the overall sound reproduction without sounding unnatural. The speed of the Magni 3+ will complement the HE400SE very well too. The headphone amp also adds a bit more visceral punch to the midbass and also eases the harshness a little. The Schiit Audio Magni 3+ also helps to make the male vocals sound more natural and accurate.

More Information on Schiit Audio Magni 3+ at Amazon

Little Bear B4-X is one of the best entry-level tube headphone amplifiers and is highly rated by its satisfied users, not to mention, it also has an affordable price tag. The B4-X tube amp will be a worthy match to your HiFiMAN HE400SE. It is powerful enough to drive headphones with up to 300 Ohms which is impressive for its design and price. Little Bear B4-X adds tube warmth and musicality, and it is very portable as well. The warm sound reproduction has plenty of details and will work nicely with the HE400SE headphones.

More Details on Little Bear B4-X at Amazon

The Schiit Audio Vali 2+ is another amazing tube headphone amp to go for and match it with your HiFiMAN HE400SE planar magnetic headphones. It is considered affordable and provides plenty of sonic performances for its users. Schiit Audio Vali 2+ helps to add more texture and warmth, enabling the HiFiMAN HE400SE to deliver a more full-bodied and spatial music presentation. Tube rolling will be an option as well and this allows you to further change the sound signatures of the Vali 2+ tube headphone amp to your liking.

More Information on Schiit Audio Vali 2+ at Amazon

For listeners who are looking for a headphone amp with an integrated DAC then you might want to take a look at the iFi Hip-dac2. This is a portable balanced headphone amp and it can even decode MQA, making this an ideal amplifier partner for your HiFiMAN HE400SE. It has garnered a few accolades ever since its debut, thanks to the amp’s articulate and agile sonic performance. The dynamic range the iFi Hip-dac2 possesses makes it an entertaining headphone amplifier to listen to. It is certainly worth your while to audition them.

More Details on iFi Hip-dac2 at Amazon

If you need a more affordable headphone amplifier with an in-built DAC, you should take a look at the FiiO New K3. The New K3 is capable of supporting up to 384kHz/32-bit (PCM) and decodes up to native DSD256. It also has a portable design, allowing you to carry it to different venues without hassle. There is a bass boost feature that will add more punch to your HiFiMAN HE400SE low-end delivery. We have no doubts about its sonic performances based on the number of high ratings it has received from its satisfied owners.

More Details on FiiO New K3 at Amazon

Headphone Amps Auditioning

No matter which headphone amp you have shortlisted, you should always arrange an audition to test them out together with your own HiFiMAN HE400SE. If you are auditioning tube headphone amplifiers, you might need to give them some time to warm up first. Listeners who have the time to spare should try listening to more amps if possible, as this will help increase the chance of getting the headphone amplifier you really like.

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