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This is a very good time to be asking

The headphone market is alive and very busy. There are lots of headphones to choose from and $1000 is a healthy enough budget to get yourself some very good sound.

If you are looking for a good set of headphones for reasonable money HiFI Man has a set of planar dynamic headphones that received very good reviews from several sources, the headphone in question is the HE 400S. They also have another headphone named the HE400i but the HE 400S is a better all around headphone.

The HE 400S will require some boosting of the low end (by about 3db) but any player that allows you to turn up the bass should have no problem with this little issue.

The HE 400S is also very friendly to portable players. Many high quality headphones are difficult to drive and require a headphone amp to get moderate sound levels out of the headphones. The HE 400S can benefit from a headphone amp but they also will work pretty well with a portable player directly.

Oh, the HE 400S costs $299 which is very reasonable money for the quality of sound you will get from these headphones.

If you want to spend a bit of money on a headphone amp for home use you should take a look at the headphone amps from this company: Schiit Audio.

Yes, they make fun of the name they gave their own company but the products are deadly serious and are very good amps. You will find amps starting at $99 (Magni 2) all the way up to $1699 (Ragnarok). I own the next to the least expensive amp (Magni 2 Uber) and the Lyr 2 ($449). I use the Magni 2 Uber connected to an iFi Nano DSD (my work system) and the Lyr 2 is used on my main audio system that has 2 DACS and lots of sources to choose from (my serious listening system).

I figure you can guess by now that I also own the HiFi Man HE 400S (as well as lots of other headphones) and have driven the HE 400S from both Schiit amps mentioned above, as well as through my smart phone (iPhone 6s Plus) and from my old low resolution player (iPod classic). The HE 400S plays music well though portable devices but if you want to listen at loud levels you are going to need an amp.

I have driven the HE 400S with an old Headroom Total Bithead (portable DAC and headphone amp) and it produced high quality sound at head rocking levels. I doubt you will have much trouble matching the HE 400S with players and amps. The Total Bithead has not been produced for a number of years now. If you want a portable amp you will have to choose something like the Leckerton UHA-6S MKII. I do not own this device so you will have to ask someone else about its performance. I have added it here because I respect and generally agree with the reviewer.

Back to the headphones...
The quality of the sound produced by the HE 400S is impressive. I am a long time owner of full range electrostatic headphones manufactured by Stax (Stax Lambda Pros). The HE 400S is not the equal of full range electrostatic headphones but it produces excellent quality sound that is surprising for a headphone that costs $299.

There are many other headphones to choose from but the HE 400S is one of the higher quality headphones for reasonable money. At the bottom of this post is a link to a review of the HE 400S. There are lots of other headphones at the site that the link below is located at. The site is called Inner Fidelity and it covers nothing but headphones and headphone related products,

Best of luck,
Ed

We don't shush around here!
Life is analog...digital is just samples thereof


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  • This is a very good time to be asking - EdAInWestOC 12:41:23 07/01/16 (0)

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