Over the years, Hifiman has delivered incredible headphones for all price ranges. One of the most popular models is Hifiman 400I, which offers great sound quality. However, the company has released Hifiman Sundara, which is said to be an upgrade over all of its predecessors. So, how does Hifiman Sundara vs 400I compare against each other? Which one is better?
Below, we will discuss further about:
– The design and appearance of each model
– The build quality and comfort of each model
– The distinctive features of Hifiman Sundara and Hifiman 400I
– The performance of Hifiman Sundara vs 400I
– What accessories that are included with each headset
– Which Hifiman model that is more recommended for the money
Design and Appearance
In terms of design, these two models still look like typical Hifiman headphones. They both have swiveling ear cups with an open-back design and plush ear pads. However, Hifiman Sundara is much more compact and streamlined than Hifiman 400I. See also: Audeze LCD 2 vs Sennheiser HD800.
Note that Hifiman Sundara is not foldable. This is a major change from previous models of the brand. The ear cups only swivel to allow a precise fit. Fortunately, the compact and streamlined design somewhat helps in the portability. Hifiman 400I is foldable, so it is really portable.
Hifiman Sundara doesn’t have unnecessary outward curves that eat up space. It actually also looks more modern and elegant. Meanwhile, Hifiman 400I has a bulky body, mainly because of the headband part of the frame which curves outwards. Still, Hifiman Sundara isn’t any lighter than Hifiman 400I. They are not really heavy, so they are comfortable to wear for a long time.
These two models have different grill patterns on their ear cups. Hifiman Sundara has a lattice pattern, which seems to be a lot stronger and more durable. Hifiman 400I has a standard honeycomb pattern with thin wires which seem to be easy to break. For the color, Hifiman Sundara is only available in black, while Hifiman 400I provides two color choices of black and dark blue.
One of the biggest differences between Hifiman Sundara vs 400I is the build quality. Hifiman Sundara is really rugged, ready to withstand usage abuse. Hifiman 400I is generally well-built, but it has some weak points.
Hifiman Sundara now comes with a metal-infused frame. As the effect, the frame is incredibly tough and solid. It does not break easily, even when pressed or pulled heavily. In addition, it comes with anodized aluminum gimbals, which are sturdy and durable. Meanwhile,Hifiman 400I still uses plastic blocks, which are not very durable, and gimbals with a plastic finish.
Both models have sturdy connectors. Their connectors don’t feel flimsy at all. Hifiman Sundara and Hifiman 400I both come with the FocusPad ear pads. It is a beveled hybrid ear pad that is made from velour and pleather. It is very soft and incredible comfortable. The headphones will fit snugly on your ears without causing any discomfort. The headphones are breathable, too, so you can continue listening for an extended time without getting hot.
Hifiman Sundara does not come with a microphone by default. However, you can buy it with a microphone if you need one. This is a nice feature if you want to be able to answer calls or perform voice or video chats with your headset. Hifiman 400I does not have any mic.
The feature that is emphasized on Hifiman Sundara is the Neo “supernano” Diaphragm (NsD). The company claims that this diaphragm is thinner by 80% compared to previous designs. It is only 1 – 2 microns thick, which is awesome. This new diaphragm is said to be able to deliver faster and more accurate frequency response while keeping lush, rich musicality.
If we compare the sound quality of Hifiman Sundara vs 400I, we can find subtle differences. In general, Hifiman Sundara sounds better and more enjoyable than its predecessor Hifiman 400I. It has a significantly wider frequency response range.
Hifiman Sundara has an impressive frequency response range of 6 Hz – 75 kHz. The impedance is 37 ohms, and the sensitivity is 94 dB. On paper, this headset seems easy to drive. However, planar headphones tend to perform better with good power, so don’t hesitate to pair it with a decent external amp. The soundstage is very spacious and very nice. It delivers an engaging and natural audio image.
The bass performance is pretty much neutral and linear. The bass is not dominating, but it is certainly not soft or flabby. The bass is just enough to make enjoyable music without muddling the midrange and treble. And thanks to the controlled bass response, the lower mids are actually accurate and detailed. Vocals are clear, crisp, and accurate without being harsh. The treble is energetic and elevated without being overly peaky.
Hifiman 400I generally sounds great. After all, this is the reason why it is so popular in the market. The bass is well-extended, and it is tight and punchy. The midrange is somewhat warm and really enjoyable. The treble is clear, evident, and lively. However, if we compare it against Hifiman Sundara, there are noticeable differences. Hifiman 400I tends to be more muffled in the midrange and a bit more sibilant in the treble.
The included accessories are similar. Each of these headsets comes with an audio cable which is 1.5m long. Indeed, the audio cable is not really long. It is long enough if you just want to listen from a smartphone on your pocket. However, the cable is well-built and durable.
Note that the audio cable ends into a 3.5mm plug. So, it is compatible with most mobile devices and laptops. Fortunately, each of these headsets also includes a ¼-inch (6.35mm) adapter, so you can use the same audio cable with a more specialized audio device.
Hifiman Sundara vs 400I
- its all metal headband the SUNDARA is built to take the rigours of urban street life
- The SUNDARA is as tough as it is beautiful
- New 3.5mm Headphone connector for enhanced durability
- The slimline SuperMini is the perfect on the partner for the SUNDARA
- Intended for high performance listening in the home or studio
- 30 percent lighter than comparable headphones
- The FocusPad, new beveled hybrid ear pads made of pleather and velour
- Newly-designed headband with an improved pressure pattern
Hifiman Sundara is definitely recommended. This is a great headset with excellent improvements over its predecessors. It has a more compact design, more durable build, and better sound quality. The soundstage is wide and natural, with just enough bass, accurate and detailed midrange, and energetic, elevated treble.