HIFIMAN HE400SE Magnetic Headphones: A Review

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HIFIMAN HE400SE Magnetic Headphones: A Review

In the ever-evolving world of audio technology, headphones have become an integral part of our daily lives, enhancing our music and entertainment experiences. Among the various headphone designs available, planar magnetic headphones have gained significant attention for their exceptional sound quality and unique engineering. 

Understanding Planar Magnetic Headphones

Understanding Planar Magnetic Headphones

What is a Planar Headphone?

Planar headphones represent a remarkable innovation in the world of audio technology. Unlike traditional dynamic headphones, planar headphones utilize a unique design principle that enhances sound quality by covering nearly the entire diaphragm with conductive layers. This innovative approach sets them apart and allows for an exceptional audio experience.

Planar Headphones vs. Dynamic Headphones: 

A Fundamental Difference

To truly appreciate planar headphones, it is essential to understand the fundamental difference between them and their dynamic counterparts. Dynamic headphones rely on conductors that vibrate in limited areas of the diaphragm, which often results in uneven sound distribution and higher distortion. In contrast, planar headphones employ conductive layers that span the entire diaphragm, minimizing distortion and delivering purer, more accurate sound.

How Planar Headphones Work: 

Conductive Layers and Diaphragm Coverage

The inner workings of planar headphones are a marvel of engineering. These headphones consist of a diaphragm, which is a thin, flexible membrane, and conductive layers placed on both sides of the diaphragm. When an electrical signal is applied to these conductive layers, it creates a magnetic field that interacts with the diaphragm, causing it to move and produce sound. The comprehensive coverage of the diaphragm ensures that sound is generated evenly across its surface, resulting in exceptional clarity and precision.

Benefits of Planar Magnetic Technology

Lower Distortion: The Quest for Pure Sound

One of the primary benefits of planar magnetic technology is the significantly lower distortion it offers compared to dynamic headphones. With a larger portion of the diaphragm actively engaged in sound production, planar headphones minimize the harmonic and intermodulation distortions that can occur in dynamic drivers. This reduction in distortion results in a more faithful reproduction of the audio signal, allowing you to experience music as the artist intended.

Benefits of Planar Magnetic Technology

Wider Frequency Response: 

From Deep Bass to Sparkling Treble

Planar headphones are renowned for their extended frequency response. They can reproduce sound across a broader range of frequencies, from deep, resonant bass notes to crisp, sparkling treble tones. This wide frequency response ensures that every nuance of your music is faithfully reproduced, making planar headphones ideal for audiophiles and music enthusiasts who demand high-quality sound across the entire spectrum.

Acoustic Transparency: 

The Magic of Stealth Magnets

Planar headphones like the HIFIMAN HE400SE incorporate advanced magnet designs, often referred to as Stealth Magnets. These magnets have a unique shape that allows sound waves to pass through them without generating interference. As a result, they reduce wave diffraction turbulence that can degrade the integrity of sound waves. The outcome is a heightened level of acoustic transparency, where you hear every detail of the music with exceptional clarity and accuracy.

The HIFIMAN HE400SE at a Glance

Meet the HE400SE

Introducing the HIFIMAN HE400SE Stealth Magnets Version—an over-ear, open-back, full-size planar magnetic headphone designed to elevate your audio experience to new heights. This remarkable headphone embodies HIFIMAN's dedication to delivering the high-performance audio that audiophiles and studio professionals crave.

Brand Overview: 

HIFIMAN's Commitment to High-Performance Audio

Founded by Dr. Fang Bian in 2007, HIFIMAN has established itself as a leading manufacturer of high-performance headphones and portable audio products. The company is renowned for its cutting-edge planar magnetic headphones, which are celebrated for their state-of-the-art driver technology. HIFIMAN's commitment to pushing the boundaries of audio technology has earned it accolades and rave reviews from audio enthusiasts worldwide.

Model Specifications: 

Color, Connectivity, and Special Features

Color: The HE400SE is available in a sleek and stylish silver and black color scheme. This elegant design not only looks great but also reflects the headphone's premium quality.

Connectivity: The HE400SE is a wired headphone, ensuring a stable and high-fidelity connection to your audio source. Many audiophiles and studio professionals prefer wired headphones for their reliability and consistent performance.

Special Features:

Lightweight Design: The HE400SE incorporates a newly designed adjustable lightweight headband, ensuring comfort during prolonged listening sessions, even in warm weather.

Durable Connections: The headphone's drivers are housed in a newly designed casing, providing enhanced durability and protection from the elements.

Included Accessories: The HE400SE comes with a dual-sided high-performance 3.5mm cable and a 6.35mm adapter, offering maximum compatibility with a wide range of audio devices.

Acoustically Invisible Stealth Magnet

Unraveling the Stealth Magnets Technology

One of the standout features of the HE400SE is its Acoustically Invisible Stealth Magnets. These magnets have a unique shape that allows sound waves to pass through them without generating interference. Unlike conventional magnets, the advanced design of Stealth Magnets dramatically reduces wave diffraction turbulence, which can degrade the integrity of sound waves.

The Science of Reduced Distortion and Pure Sound

By reducing distortion, Stealth Magnets enable the HE400SE to produce pure sonic output that is accurate and full-range. This technology ensures that you hear your music with exceptional clarity, free from the artifacts and imperfections that can detract from the listening experience. The result is a headphone that faithfully reproduces your favorite tracks, allowing you to immerse yourself in the music.

Technical Specifications

1. Frequency Response: The HE400SE offers a frequency response ranging from 20Hz to 20kHz, capturing the entire audible spectrum with precision.

2. Impedance: With an impedance of 25 Ohms, the HE400SE is versatile and can be easily driven by a variety of audio sources.

3. Sensitivity: Boasting a sensitivity rating of 91dB, the HE400SE is an excellent match for low-voltage sources, including portable hi-res audio players.

4. Weight: Weighing in at 390g, the HE400SE remains comfortable even during extended listening sessions.

The Science of Reduced Distortion and Pure Sound

Unparalleled Sound Quality

When it comes to headphones, sound quality is paramount. In this chapter, we will explore the exceptional sound quality of the HIFIMAN HE400SE Stealth Magnets Version and delve into how its planar magnetic technology enhances your listening experience.

Planar vs. Dynamic

Headphones: The Sound Showdown

To truly appreciate the HE400SE's sound quality, it is important to understand the key differences between planar and dynamic headphones.

How Planar Headphones Outshine Dynamic Counterparts

1. Lower Distortion: Planar headphones, like the HE400SE, are known for their significantly lower distortion compared to dynamic headphones. This is because planar headphones use conductive layers that cover nearly the entire diaphragm, resulting in more uniform movement and less distortion. You will hear your music with remarkable clarity and accuracy, free from unwanted artifacts.

2. Enhanced Detail: Planar headphones excel in reproducing fine details in your music. The even coverage of the diaphragm allows for precise sound reproduction, revealing subtleties and nuances that might be lost with dynamic drivers.

3. Wide Frequency Response: Planar headphones offer a broader frequency response, capturing the deepest bass notes and the most delicate treble tones. This wide range ensures that you experience your music in all its richness.

4. Speed and Accuracy: Planar headphones are renowned for their speed and accuracy in reproducing transients, such as the attack of a drum or the plucking of a guitar string. This makes them ideal for genres where timing and precision are crucial.

HE400SE's High Sensitivity: A Match Made in Audio Heaven

The HE400SE boasts high sensitivity, making it a perfect match for low-voltage sources like portable hi-res audio players. High sensitivity means that the headphones can produce ample volume even with lower power input. This feature ensures that you can enjoy the full potential of the HE400SE without the need for a bulky external amplifier. The result is rich, pure sound quality that your favorite portable devices can easily drive.

Do You Need an Amplifier? Exploring the Sound Possibilities

While the HE400SE is highly sensitive and does not require an external amplifier to deliver impressive sound quality, some audiophiles may choose to incorporate one for an even more immersive experience. An external amplifier can provide additional power and control, allowing you to fine-tune your listening experience to your preferences.

By adding an amplifier to your setup, you can achieve:

1. Increased Power: Amplifiers can deliver more power to the headphones, enhancing their dynamic range and overall performance.

2. Precise Control: Amplifiers often come with equalization and gain controls, enabling you to tailor the sound to your liking and adapt it to different genres of music.

3. Better Drive: If you have high-impedance headphones, an amplifier can ensure they receive the necessary power for optimal performance.

Maximum Comfort for Prolonged Listening

Listening to music or immersing yourself in audio content for extended periods should be a comfortable and enjoyable experience. In this chapter, we will explore how the HIFIMAN HE400SE Stealth Magnets Version excels in providing maximum comfort, ensuring that you can enjoy your favorite tunes for hours on end.

The Comfort Factor

Comfort is a crucial aspect of any headphones, especially when you intend to use them for extended listening sessions. The HE400SE is designed with your comfort in mind, allowing you to lose yourself in your music without discomfort or fatigue.

HE400SE's Lightweight Design: The Key to Extended Listening Sessions

The HE400SE features a newly designed adjustable lightweight headband. This lightweight construction is a key factor in ensuring comfort during prolonged listening sessions. The headphones sit gently on your head without exerting excessive pressure, eliminating the discomfort that can occur with heavier headphones.

The lightweight design also makes the HE400SE a great choice for on-the-go use. Whether you are commuting, traveling, or simply relaxing at home, you can enjoy your music without feeling weighed down.

Weather-Friendly Comfort: Staying Cool in Warm Conditions

Comfort is not limited to just the physical design of the headphones; it also extends to how they feel in different weather conditions. The HE400SE's design considers this.

Even in excessively warm weather, the HE400SE remains cool and comfortable to wear. This is particularly important if you live in a hot climate or plan to use the headphones during the summer months. The breathable design ensures that you will not be uncomfortably sweaty while enjoying your favorite tracks.

Durable Connections: Protection from the Elements

To provide a long-lasting and reliable listening experience, the HE400SE is equipped with durable connections. The headphone's drivers are protected by a newly designed casing that enhances durability and provides protection from the elements. This means you can confidently use your HE400SE headphones in a variety of environments without worrying about wear and tear.

HIFIMAN's Legacy in High-Performance Audio

To truly appreciate the HIFIMAN HE400SE Stealth Magnets Version, it is essential to delve into the rich history and legacy of the brand. In this chapter, we will explore the remarkable journey of HIFIMAN, a pioneer in high-performance audio.

A Glimpse into HIFIMAN's History

HIFIMAN, founded in 2007, has carved a prominent niche in the world of high-performance audio. Since its inception, the company has been dedicated to pushing the boundaries of what is possible in audio technology. HIFIMAN's commitment to excellence is reflected in its wide range of headphones and portable audio products, each designed to deliver uncompromising sound quality.

Founded by Dr. Fang Bian: A Visionary in Audio Technology

At the helm of HIFIMAN stands Dr. Fang Bian, a visionary in the field of audio technology. Dr. Bian's passion for advancing audio quality led him to establish HIFIMAN, where he has applied his extensive knowledge and innovative ideas to create cutting-edge audio products. His visionary leadership has been instrumental in driving the brand's success and recognition.

The World of Planar-Magnetic Headphones: Critical Acclaim and Innovation

HIFIMAN has earned critical acclaim and a devoted following for its planar-magnetic headphones. These headphones, which feature state-of-the-art driver technology, have set new standards for audio quality and performance. Planar-magnetic technology, as exemplified by the HE400SE, has become synonymous with HIFIMAN's commitment to delivering pure, distortion-free sound.

The brand's dedication to innovation is evident in its continuous refinement of planar-magnetic technology. HIFIMAN's engineers have consistently pushed the boundaries of what is possible, resulting in headphones that offer unparalleled sound quality, precision, and clarity.

Dynamic In-Ear Drivers: Awards and Accolades

HIFIMAN's excellence in audio technology extends beyond planar-magnetic headphones. The brand has also earned awards and accolades for its dynamic in-ear drivers. These compact yet powerful drivers have been recognized for their ability to reproduce sound faithfully, even in a compact form factor. Whether you are using HIFIMAN's over-ear headphones or in-ear monitors, you can expect an exceptional audio experience.

HIFIMAN's dedication to innovation and its unwavering commitment to delivering high-performance audio products have solidified its reputation as a leader in the industry. Audiophiles and music enthusiasts around the world continue to turn to HIFIMAN for products that redefine the audio experience.

Comparing HE400SE with HIFIMAN's Other Offerings

While the HIFIMAN HE400SE Stealth Magnets Version is a stellar choice for audiophiles and studio professionals, it is essential to explore other offerings from HIFIMAN to find the perfect match for your audio needs. In this chapter, we will compare the HE400SE with several alternatives from the HIFIMAN lineup.

Exploring Alternatives

1. HIFIMAN SUNDARA: Planar Magnetic Comfort

Overview: The HIFIMAN SUNDARA is another exceptional planar magnetic headphone known for its comfort and sound quality. With a focus on comfort and audio fidelity, the SUNDARA delivers an immersive listening experience.


Notable Features:

1. Comfort: Like the HE400SE, the SUNDARA features a lightweight design and comfortable fit, making it ideal for extended listening sessions.

2. Planar Magnetic Technology: The SUNDARA utilizes HIFIMAN's planar magnetic technology to provide clear, detailed sound with low distortion.

3. Full-Size Open-Back Design: The open-back design of the SUNDARA enhances the sense of space and soundstage, providing a more immersive experience.

2. HIFIMAN Edition XS: A Full-Size Experience with Stealth Magnets

Overview: The HIFIMAN Edition XS is designed for audiophiles and enthusiasts who seek full-size, over-ear, open-back planar magnetic headphones with the added benefit of Stealth Magnets technology.

HIFIMAN Edition XS: A Full-Size Experience with Stealth Magnets

Notable Features:

1. Stealth Magnets: Like the HE400SE, the Edition XS incorporates acoustically invisible Stealth Magnets, minimizing distortion and delivering pure sound.

2. Adjustable Headband: The Edition XS features an adjustable headband for a personalized and comfortable fit during long listening sessions.

3. Detachable Cable: This headphone offers a detachable cable for convenience and easy customization.

3. HIFIMAN SUNDARA Closed-Back: Planar Magnetic Magic in a Closed Design

Overview: If you desire the planar magnetic magic of HIFIMAN headphones but prefer a closed-back design for noise isolation and private listening, the HIFIMAN SUNDARA Closed-Back might be the ideal choice.

Notable Features:

1. Planar Magnetic Technology: This closed-back version of the SUNDARA maintains the exceptional sound quality associated with planar magnetic headphones.

2. Wooden Ear Cups: The SUNDARA Closed-Back features wooden ear cups that add a touch of elegance to its design.

3. Detachable Cable: As with other HIFIMAN models, the SUNDARA Closed-Back comes with a detachable cable for convenience and versatility.

Choosing the Right Option

The choice between the HE400SE and these alternative HIFIMAN headphones ultimately depends on your preferences and specific audio needs. Here are some factors to consider:

1. Open-Back vs. Closed-Back: If you prefer an open-back design for a more spacious soundstage and a natural listening experience, the HE400SE or SUNDARA might be your top choice. On the other hand, if you need noise isolation and privacy, the SUNDARA Closed-Back is an excellent alternative.

2. Stealth Magnets: If you highly value the acoustically invisible Stealth Magnets technology for reduced distortion, both the HE400SE and Edition XS offer this feature.

3. Comfort: All three headphones are designed with comfort in mind, but individual comfort preferences may vary. Consider trying them on or reading user reviews to gauge comfort levels.

4. Sound Signature: Each headphone may have a slightly different sound signature. It is essential to listen to them if possible, or research user reviews to find the sound profile that matches your preferences.


As we wrap up our journey through the world of planar magnetic headphones, it is evident that the HIFIMAN HE400SE Stealth Magnets Version is a standout choice for audiophiles and studio professionals seeking unparalleled sound quality, comfort, and durability. Its acoustically invisible Stealth Magnets, high sensitivity, and lightweight design make it a compelling option in the competitive headphone market. HIFIMAN's dedication to pushing the boundaries of audio technology continues to shine through in its products, making it a brand worth exploring for all your audio needs.

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