HIFIMAN Sundara vs. HE400i Planar Magnetic Headphones

HIFIMAN Sundara vs. HE400i [With Video]

Updated 6/17/19

2,504 word publish, approx. four min. read

Let’s begin with a quick chart!

Comparison Chart


Our Decide

HIFIMAN SUNDARA Over-Ear Full-Size Planar Magnetic Headphones (Black) with High Fidelity Design,Easy to Drive by iPhone/Android,Studio

HE400i  Over Ear Full-size Planar Magnetic  Headphones


Open Back, Planar Magnetic

Open Back, Planar Magnetic


Metallic, Velour, Protein Leather-based

ABS Plastic, Polymer, Velour

Main Use

Mixing/Mastering/Reference, Casual, Gaming

Mixing/Mastering/Reference, Informal, Gaming

Our Decide


HIFIMAN SUNDARA Over-Ear Full-Size Planar Magnetic Headphones (Black) with High Fidelity Design,Easy to Drive by iPhone/Android,Studio


Open Again, Planar Magnetic


Metallic, Velour, Protein Leather

Main Use

Mixing/Mastering/Reference, Casual, Gaming


HE400i  Over Ear Full-size Planar Magnetic  Headphones


Open Back, Planar Magnetic


ABS Plastic, Polymer, Velour

Main Use

Mixing/Mastering/Reference, Informal, Gaming

Hey there good friend, and Welcome Aboard!!

Earlier than we get into the HIFIMAN Sundara vs. HE400i Comparison & Evaluate, seize a snack, sit again and chill out because..

You’ve come to the proper place!!

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Table of Contents

Click on to navigate the article!

Sound & Imaging
Video Evaluations
Photograph Gallery
Style Pairing
Last Word

Now with out further ado, let’s get rolling!!


Which means

Sundara (सुन्दर) is a Sanskrit term which means “beautiful, lovely”, or usually “noble; well, right”. As a personal identify, it might check with: Maravarman Sundara Pandya, Pandyan king, who dominated areas of South India between 1216 and 1238.



  • Worth: Amazon | Verify eBay!
  • Sort: Planar Magnetic.
  • Fit: Circumaural.
  • Impedance: 35 Ohm. What is Headphone Impedance?
  • Sensitivity: 93dB.
  • Sound Output: Stereo.
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz-35kHz.
  • Materials: ABS Plastic, Polymer.
  • Weight: 370g.
  • Inputs Supported: Three.5mm, 1/four″.
  • Cable Size: 1.5m.
  • Further Options: Detachable Cable.

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Let’s get into build!


The build of every of those may be their most vital difference.

I had learn a lot of people have been having issues with the yokes on the 400i, and for a long time I couldn’t work out why I wasn’t having any of those self same issues. I got here across a publish on Reddit which defined the dilemma.

Apparently HIFIMAN began chopping costs with a brand new batch of 400i’s that had modified yokes with outsourced cheaper supplies. This explains plenty of the newer clients having issues with them breaking and thus leaving unfavorable critiques on Amazon. As per my own criteria I never endorse a product with less than a four star score (normally) however on this case it’s robust as a result of the early models are perfectly nice whereas the newer ones have a clear defect and a few QC issues. So I might say attempt to get an older model, however you might just go together with the Sundara when it’s all stated and accomplished. More on that in a bit!

My response under his submit is principally thanking him since I hadn’t come throughout one individual before that make clear the matter.

The 400i that I demo regularly at my local Audio Advice has been by way of lots of (if not hundreds) of arms and it seems to be and features simply nearly as good as once I first saw it. It’s because it is the truth is one of many older fashions that was not affected by the cheaper yokes.


The general build of the 400i was a bit awkward to be trustworthy. It didn’t really feel low cost in any respect, but as an alternative felt type of wonky.

The ear cups do rotate which is good, but the headband framing was sort of strange wanting. These headphones made you seem like an alien virtually.

The circular pads are manufactured from a type of velour/protein leather-based combo, and for probably the most half are fairly snug. The only actual concern I’ve is that they have a tendency to slide down onto the tops of your ear lobes, proving uncomfortable after a short spell.

HIFIMAN Sundara vs. HE400i

The remainder of the build is fairly strong. The cable is encased in a cloth material, and the plug terminates in a 3.5mm jack.

The scarf is a type of protein/fake leather, and really thin. I don’t find it uncomfortable though and it offers enough padding for the top.

Lastly, the small pieces of plastic which are used to regulate the scarf up and down the body do really feel a bit low cost, however thankfully the Sundara fixes that.


The word Sundara is in reality a Sanskrit time period which means “beautiful” and it definitely is that. I liked each second of my time spent with this headphone.

It takes the idea of the 400i and improves upon it tremendously. As an alternative of plastic for these items we simply discussed, they’re now thinner in width, longer, and manufactured from metallic. They really feel really rugged and you’ll immediately notice the distinction in sturdiness between the two.

The scarf has also been modified, as an alternative of a bizarre deformed rectangle shape, we’ve got a clean round one rising over the identical type of scarf padding apparent on the 400i.

Both have an extended cylindrical sort of gap spanning throughout in the prime of the metallic piece.

HIFIMAN Sundara vs. HE400i

As for the ear cups, the Sundara retains the same protein leather velour combine that we saw within the 400i, but the cups themselves are designed a bit in another way.

First, the Sundara sports a stupendous matte black finish vs. the ABS Plastic/Polymer of the 400i. It just feels and appears a bit better for my part. Whereas I appreciated the look of the unique 400i, I feel as if that is an aesthetic upgrade.

The outer portion of the cups on the Sundara are a bit totally different this time around. The grill is extra abstractly intertwined. On the 400i, the holes have been smaller. Here, they are more rectangular in shape and in addition a hare bigger in diameter.

Each headphones have cables that insert into every cup, but the Sundara now has 2.5mm insertions into each vs. the weird coax that the 400i had. Still not understanding why HIFIMAN made that design determination, however I digress.

Apart from these variations, the best way the cups swivel and transfer is identical, but the piece that attaches to the ear cups is formed in a different way as properly. Once more, we have now a extra modernized look with the Sundara vs. the marginally extra utilitarian feel of the 400i’s piece.

The jack continues to be an L-Jack for each, nevertheless it’s far more rugged feeling on the Sundara and comes gold plated.

General, the Sundara is extra streamlined across the board. I really feel as though it makes use of area higher and features in a more practical approach than the somewhat stone age wanting 400i.


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With that, let’s speak a bit about comfort!


In all honesty, consolation on each of those is roughly the identical.

Both have an excellent clamp drive and neither feel prefer it’s digging into the highest or the edges of your head.

The one real adjustments you’ll need to make is type of pushing them back up off the tops of your ear lobes.

I don’t discover both to have quite nearly as good of a consolation factor as one thing like an HD 600 or 650, however it’s comparable. The Sennheiser’s will clamp more durable and have more headband padding.

There’s actually not far more to say here. I might in all probability give the slight edge to the Sundara for consolation. I feel the improved design and build of the headphone leads to a better general comfort factor, nevertheless slight it might be.


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What about sound, an important half?

Sound & Imaging

This can be a very fascinating comparability indeed, my good friend.

I’m going to truly begin with one other headphone in the HIFIMAN line, the 400S, as it makes for a neater time evaluating to each the 400i and Sundara given how comparable they’re in sound.

With the S, we saw a bit of a grainier sound, as if it was making an attempt a bit too exhausting. Don’t get me improper, a 400S is a implausible entry degree planar, however the 400i undoubtedly improved upon it by mellowing out the sound a bit whereas nonetheless retaining that implausible sense of element and intimacy.

I still vividly keep in mind the first time I heard a 400i with the Bryston BHA-1 enjoying Led Zeppelin’s “Over the Hills and Far Away.” It was a type of musical experiences that you simply’ll never forget. The instruments and vocals sounded so alive, as if they have been truly respiration and had a lifetime of their own. Robert Plant’s voice sounded totally different and overseas. The music hit arduous however retained a sense of precision and management that basically hasn’t been matched to my ears since I heard it. The music stayed inside the confines of being aggressive but never sloppy. It just had a lot impression and weight without being overbearing.

HIFIMAN Sundara vs. HE400i

These are widespread experiences you may need with audiophile grade headphones. They have a tendency to shed new mild on previous favorites. Chances are you’ll really feel as if you’re hearing the track for the first time, in it’s most real and uncooked type. You will most definitely really feel a sense of area and depth with both the 400i and Sundara. Soundstage on them is going to be above average, but nonetheless not as vast as one thing like an Audeze LCD-2.

Be prepared to have more of an out of your head sort of experience than you’d would with an HD 600 or 650, but don’t anticipate to really feel such as you’re truly there. You’ll begin to hear some good detail outdoors of your speedy neighborhood, the mark of an excellent headphone.

As far as the 400i vs. 400S, the detail continues to be obvious in the I model, nevertheless it feels and sounds extra natural and more natural vs. that of the S model.

HIFIMAN Sundara vs. 400i Sound Comparison

The Sundara continues this natural strategy, nevertheless it’s a bit much less syrupy. I all the time felt just like the 400i used to be a bit too warm virtually. Like it was virtually lulling you to sleep, just like a Sennheiser HD 650. It appears as if HIFIMAN read my thoughts, as a result of the Sundara strikes a perfect stability between the crisp sterility of the 400S and the effortless warmth of the 400i.

It’s detailed and crisp, however nonetheless has a hint of heat. It doesn’t stray too far in the direction of both aspect of the spectrum. It has the right amount of gooey to the place it doesn’t sound like you’re listening to music by way of a blanket, but in addition isn’t overly medical and cold.

The most important distinction in sound is definitely the bass. The 400i’s bass is more rolled off than the Sundara’s, and doesn’t have fairly as a lot influence.

RTINGS’ HIFIMAN HE-400i Assessment + graph measures a bit brighter in the treble around Eight-10okay, and a bit extra mellowed out on the Sundara.

There’s additionally a bit more emphasis round Three-5k, while the 400i is a little more pushed back round that same space.

Remember to take a look at their technical HIFIMAN Sundara Evaluate + graph as properly!

Perhaps my impression of “less gooey” with the Sundara is because of it’s more even general response.

I really feel like it just sounds extra neutral and thus extra natural. A variety of the time you’ll discover that simply because a headphone has a brighter treble doesn’t necessarily mean it’s more detailed. I feel this can be a good instance of such a state of affairs.

General, I might take the sound of the Sundara over the 400i as a result of it’s making an attempt less exhausting to be detailed yet sounds incredibly detailed (perhaps extra so).


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Let’s take a break and watch a few videos!

Video Evaluations

Observe: I will probably be updating this article sooner or later with a single video comparability proper.

HIFIMAN HE400i Evaluation

HIFIMAN Sundara Assessment

How about some photographs?

Photograph Gallery

Click to see them in action!

Onto amplification..


At 35 Ohm, the HE400i gained’t resist energy a lot, however it isn’t environment friendly at 93dB and wishes more from the amp to succeed in a suitable volume.

So briefly, the 400i does need some type of good amp/DAC to sound it’s greatest. One thing like the BHA-1 which I mentioned above can be kind of like an end recreation pairing with this headphone.

That stated, you don’t have to spend $1400 on that to get probably the most out of the 400i. To start out, I’d advocate one thing like a JDS Labs Goal 2 on your desktop. It supplies 88mW into 600 Ohm, which is more than enough right here. The signal is extremely clear and impartial, so that you’ll hear exactly what the headphones are presupposed to sound like at all times.

Audioquest DragonFly RedLego men talk about the wonders of a terrific DAC.

In your telephone or PC, one thing like an Audioquest DragonFly Amp/DAC (pictured above) hits the sweetspot, outputting 2.1W which can also be a incredible quantity of energy for something that small (and even spectacular no matter measurement).What’s a USB DAC?

The Sundara advantages from both of those as nicely, and it’s numbers are nearly the identical: 37 Ohm and 94dB Sensitivity.

Study more about how your headphones relate to those numbers!

All in all, I wouldn’t be apprehensive an excessive amount of about what you go together with here. So long as whatever it is supplies enough power, you ought to be superb. Related: Methods to Choose a Headphone Amp!

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How about genre?

Genre Pairing

Each of those headphones will work with a wide variety of genres, from Jazz, to Hip-Hop, and really anything in between. Each have a sound signature that just lends itself very nicely to most forms of music. You’ll have the ability to take pleasure in these at low volumes as well as stuff that needs somewhat bit more energy and depth like Rock or EDM. I wouldn’t make this my go to metallic headphone, however it can sound fairly good. The Greatest Headphones for Metallic!

Listed here are some genres that work nicely:

  • Jazz
  • Acoustic
  • Instrumental
  • Classical
  • Electronica
  • Techno
  • Pop
  • Dance
  • New Age
  • Ambient
  • Vocals
  • Violin
  • Guitar
  • Piano
  • Rock (Basic & Trendy)
  • Gaming

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So what’s the ultimate phrase?

Ultimate Phrase

I feel the Sundara is an improve from the 400i in every facet. It improves upon construct quality, ergonomics, aesthetic, and sound. The Sundara, together with headphones like the Sennheiser HD 600 and 650 are quintessential audiophile headphones that it is best to think about first when making a foray into this interest.

The Sundara represents that audiophile sweet spot. Spend any much less, and also you gained’t get the complete breadth of what the audiophile expertise can provide. Spend too much extra, and you’re stepping into the regulation of diminishing returns. There are some nice upgrades from the Sundara worth point, however it turns into the exception moderately than the rule.

The Sundara is a implausible answer to the audiophile dilemma and really hits all the appropriate marks.

Nicely that’s about it for as we speak my pal! I hope you’ve gotten some useful info out of my HIFIMAN Sundara Evaluation!

Marvin, what do you make of all this? Be sure you let me know!!

When you have another questions, or really feel I’ve missed the mark on one thing, depart a comment down under or Contact me!

I very much look ahead to talking with you..

All the perfect and God bless,


[[email protected]$eHitZ]

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