Hifiman HE400i vs Sennheiser HD650

If you love music, if you are serious about music. Then this review shouldn’t be much of a shock to you.you already know what it’s about. So many debates have surfaced amongst audiophiles. All music lovers always want to know one thing. Which headphones are the best. 

Today we will be working on a comparison between the Hd650 from sennheiser and the he400i straight from hifiman. Of Course because of their brands we can already tell that they are both great sets. However what we want to know is which one of the two is a level above the other. 

If you have questions as to which one is better. Read on, by the time you finish you’ll have an idea. If you were planning on buying either. This comparison will give you a full reflection of which pair might just be the best one to go for.

If you are to walk in a store looking for headphones and you are stuck between choosing a Hifiman he400i and the Sennheiser hd650 which headphones would you take? These two are almost similar as they produce good sound quality. This is problematic as one can really struggle to choose the best. However , no matter how much two gadgets can be similar, there is always one which is better than the other. One should consider durability, adjustability, sound quality, portability, usage, accuracy, quality and size.

Sennheiser HD650 

Sennheiser HD 650 Open Back Professional Headphone

Well the Sennheiser hd650 comes with what we can call a universal design. Practically it’s one size fits all. With it’s moderate headgear it’s bound to clamp right on. However i think the main reason is that it is quite stretchy hence can accommodate all head shapes and sizes.

It comes well padded making it quite suitable for not only long stretches but also makes it suitable to wear for long hours. Meaning you can listen to your favorite songs for the longest of hours without feeling that warm ache. 

The hd659 has an open back which is great because that just makes it more comfortable and cooking. However because of that you might expect to hear some sounds coming from the external world. Likewise the people around you will be able to hear  the music you’ll be playing.

If you wear glasses you might have a slight problem with the set. It’s a one size fit all. Meaning it will have a firm grip on your head causing a bit of friction if you wear specs. That won’t affect the music though, just your own comfort, you might be forced to remove the specs. 

HiFiman he400i

HIFIMAN HE-400I Over Ear Full-Size Planar Magnetic Headphones

Just by looking at this pair, some of you might experience ‘live at first sight’. However. if you are not completely blinded by it, you’ll realise that the set is designed mostly for home use. Not really a good thing because they are bulky and may come of as a bit uncomfortable to carry around. 

We all know that for a headphone that you may want to use at home you need roughly a 3m cable. Checking the he400i you’ll find that it comes with a 1.5m cable. Quite comfortable to some but for others they then think how you can manage with a short cable like this. That’s where it gets confusing now. 

The he400i are a planar magnetic headphone set. The connectors are gold plated which helps to protect from corrosion and that as well increases the durability of the pair. At least you’ll get to enjoy the pair for a longer time. 

The cable has been a touching issue for a lot of people. Some complain that it’s irrelevant for home use because the cable is too short. Yet others complain that they are uncomfortable to walk around with because of their bulky structure.

Favourite Features

Let’s just say, there’s a lot to love about each pair. Starting with the designs on both pairs. The hd650 has the unique stretch look that makes it a one size fits all. It offers a firm grip meaning you won’t have to worry about them falling off at any time and point. 

The he400i can make some people fall in love with it. The gold connectors really add a shine to them. However the gold isn’t just for style. It’s also a protective feature that adds on to the durability of the set. Now let’s  see where these two differ. 

Design and build

The design as well as that of the Sennheiser HD650 isn’t as long lasting as the one of HE-400i. That is to say that the he400i is more durable when compared to the hd650. We can thank the gold connectors on the he400i for that. 

The hd650 can stretch more. Making it suitable and adaptable for a lot of heads big or small. It offers a tight grip but at a certain point it may become too fragile and could break easily. Which is unlike the he400i that comes with a bulky design and feel. 

Sound quality

The frequency response of HD650 is from 10 Hz to 39.5 kHz. This range ensures that you will have some extra bass. That means if you are a fan of some trap songs, hip hop and the likes. This set could make your music experiences more epic. 

The clarity of the sound however is where the problem begins. The hd650 has a rather flat response and this hence works in giving them a neutral sound which may not work too well for jazz lovers as well as some country music lovers. 

However considering the fact that the he400i are open back the frequencies are more enhanced and they also allow for the sound to move in and out. However you start to hear noise from the outside as they can just hear the noise from you. 

Hence the sound provided by the he400i is quite transparent, this allows you to hear the depth of the music  as the instrumental parts are produced very clearly. The only bummer would be the noise cancellation. Something really has to be done about that. 

What could be better

In my own clear words, I would say the hd650 produces a better soundstage. The bass is clear and you know I’m right when I say that’s the most important factor in any song. A song without bass is like drinking a flat cola. There’s no fun in that at all. 


Sennheiser hd650 headphones have a special design that allows ventilation. The cable of these headphones is made out of premium materials making it much more durable than the headphones themselves.

Sound quality and frequency

Both headphones produce excellent sound quality that is almost the same. The frequency response of Sennheiser hd650 is from 10 Hz to 39.5 kHz. This range gives out sound with an  extra bass. Whenever headphones are mentioned, sound is what comes to the mind. They produce more neutral sound than hifiman he400i. They are best known for their best  bass performance. 

However, they can be a little bit inconsistent when it comes to treble range. A hifiman he400i comprises enhanced frequencies that allow background sound in and out of the headphones which destructs the music being listened to. It allows the next person to listen to what you are listening to which may affect both of you. 

It produces transparent sound and does not enhance produced sound. Unlike the Sennheiser hd650, hifiman he400i does not produce sound with extra bass. It gives out decent bass quality. Paying particular attention to the above assessment, one can choose to have headphones that add bass to the music or not and headphones that are not outdoor friendly because they allow external sounds to meddle with music being played or headphones that do not allow it at all. This is a matter of preference and you have to consider the type of music you listen to. 


The treble response also depends on the positioning of the headphones and ear shape. When you are using Sennheiser hd650 headphones , the instruments and vocals are very detailed. You can easily pick out the instruments in a song. Sennheiser hd650 headphones are not as good as the hifiman he 400i. Hifiman he400i gives great output as the sound can be enhanced without noticing. It has good accuracy in producing detailed sound. 

It is even and flat but remains consistent, clear and well balanced, which brings out great vocals and instruments sound. It maintains the range where the majority of audio content is in most music. Treble is excellent and consistent however the treble lacks in clarity. It is clear in  vocals, lead instruments and cymbals. The sound reproduction is great which makes sure the bass is tight and the treble is transparent.

Comfort and Flexibility

A hifiman he400i tends to cause a bit of fatigue if you use them for a longer period of time. They are good studio headphones but if used outside the studio there comes a moment when your ears become tired. If you are that type of a person who does not spend more time listening to music then you can have these. If you are  a music lover, then you can have a Sennheiser hd650 which appears to be more comfortable. It is also known as a one-size fits all type of headphones. It is well padded but not ideal if you wear spectacles and it is fragile. This leaves out preference as an important factor when you are choosing headphones between the two.

Portability and Cables

The Hifiman he400i headphones are specifically designed for home use. They are used with a receiver or an amplifier. If you prefer portable headphones, the best way is to buy a Sennheiser hd650 which is lighter than a Hifiman he400i. You cannot use Hifiman he400i outdoors when you jog or take a walk when they can be best used with an amplifier. They are perfect for studios. Sennheiser hd650 headphones come with three cables but they do not come with a microphone so you cannot use them for calls and voice chat. 

This limits yourself as a user and can be inconvenient. The Hifiman HE400i comes with a cable that’s 1.5 meters long and a connector cable which is a renowned 3.5 mm plug. You can plug the connector directly or you can use a 6.3 mm adapter. Removable cables are more convenient which makes a Hifiman he400i convenient to use as well. If you are a disc jockey or an athlete you would not want to have a cable strain your neck or irritate you.


The Hifiman he400i headphones are made out of high-quality materials which makes them durable. There are sturdy plastic joints that connect the frame and the ear cups and that makes the ear cups more durable. However, they are not stable and might slip off you. They cannot be safely used during a training session, in the gym, or when you are taking a walk. 

The Hifiman he400i lasts longer than a Sennheiser hd650 because it is of good quality. Sennheiser hd650 headphones are fragile. Some of the parts are not durable and this means that you need to replace some of the parts after a certain period of time. This also means that after years of usage, be prepared to replace some parts. However, they are easy to replace and available.

Appearance vs Reality

Sennheiser hd650 headphones usually come in fancy boxes, fancy cables and housing whereas hifiman he400i lacks flashy effects. However, sennheiser hd650 headphones are not flashy for nothing. They are as good as hifiman he400i headphones.

When two users of these two types of headphones meet, they might take hours to agree on which is the best type of headphones. In as much as each device has its own unique features, it has its own weaknesses as well. As a user, you, therefore, need to serve your preferences. If you prefer durability, a certain type of code, fancy headphones, portability, or accuracy you know what to pick.

The verdict

In conclusion, I’m going to have to give a roundup. If you like loud music with bass. Then hd650 would make a great choice. However, I also know that neutral sound may not work well for jazz lovers. At the same time, if you’re looking for something that will last longer, the he400i would be a great option.

Rob is a musician and audiophile at heart. He plays 5 instruments. Besides music, Rob enjoys a good whiskey and the outdoors.
Robert S. Thompson

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