HiFiMan HE-350: Time Passes

Greetings!

Today we’re going to be taking another look at the HE-350, so you might consider this a pre-review. Let’s start with what I like about them shall we?

The HE-350 is a good looking headphone. The open-backed grills give your a cursory glance at the large 50mm drivers beneath.  Their lines are simple and the black and grey color scheme keeps things low key and classy. While they’re mostly plastic with a steel headband and leatherette support, I don’t think they feel cheap (though they don’t feel expensive either). They don’t creak or crunch and the cables plug into place with precision. The ear cups pivot and swivel smoothly, and the headband adjustment settles into place with a satisfying click.

Disregarding the scratchy ear pads which I’ll be coming back to later, the HE-350 is also extremely comfortable. The ear cups are huge and completely surround my ears. As a result of the broad headband, their weight is distributed perfectly across the top of my head avoiding any uncomfortable hotspots.

Overall I feel HiFiMan did an excellent job with the design and ergonomics of the HE-350.

Coming back to the stock pads, they’re stiff, scratchy, and poorly matched to the HE-350’s stock sound. Given they’re velour and quite stiff, there isn’t much of seal going on. This leads to treble that is overemphasized and poorly controlled. S’s and T’s are harsh and unnatural. Cymbals crash with no precision. It’s all too much and gets fatiguing very quickly. Luckily, as I pointed out in my initial impressions the HE-350 is very receptive to pad changes and other minor mods.

AKG’s K553 Pro pads effectively smooth out the treble, but now that the HE-350 is burned in and I’ve become more accustomed to their sound, I feel the AKG pads boost bass a little too much. To counteract this, I cut four paper tower ‘filters’ to the size of the fabric sheet covering the driver and installed them under the pads. While I’m sure improvement could still be made, this simple 5 minute action has made the HE-350’s treble much smoother and more direct. Win!

I’m going to keep listening and modding and once I’ve come up with something I love, you’ll see my review. Until then, feel free to fire off questions in the comments section about this headphone or any others in my blog.

Thanks for reading!

– B9Scrambler

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