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Comparison - Hifiman Deva vs Hifiman HE400i 2020

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Also available on YouTube in Spanish: Acho Reviews YouTube 





My last two headphone reviews have been of two budget planar-magnetic offerings from Hifiman, the Deva and the HE400i 2020.

You can read those individual reviews here as they contain more specific details about each of the models:

Review - Hifiman Deva

Review - Hifiman HE400i 2020

My aim today is to place them against each other, giving direct comparisons, as I feel that these headphones are pretty much in competition with each other.

Please remember, as mentioned in the reviews, that these headphones were sent to me by Hifiman for review and I have not received anything in exchange for publishing the reviews or this comparison.

Let’s get on with it!



Price...

I get the feeling that both of these headphones are aimed at those either starting out in the lower end of the “audiophile” headphone world, or those that are looking for a step up from the general consumer world. Therefore, I believe that price is probably one of the first things to draw people towards these headphones.

At the time of publishing this, the Hifiman HE400i 2020 is available directly from Hifiman for $169 whereas the Deva is available for $219.

This difference of $50 is not a large amount but may be to those starting out in the headphone world. So if all else is equal, then one would say that HE400i 2020 is the winner as far as price.



Build quality…

There is no difference that I notice as far the overall build, at least on first glance. The design is identical, as are the parts used, as far as I can tell, just a slight shape difference on the bottom of the cups (where the bluetooth module attached on the BT version of the Deva). The pads are different and are also slightly larger on the Deva, but this is something that affects comfort more than build quality.

However, the HE400i 2020 does have an issue with driver flex. When putting the headphones on, or moving them around on your head, the sound of the drivers flexing is very apparent. This is something that the Deva did not have.

Therefore, due to the flexing, I would put the Deva in front as far as build quality.



Comfort & Aesthetics…

I have grouped these together as they are both something that is totally personal to each individual.

As I mentioned, the cups are slightly smaller on the HE400i 2020 and the material on the inside is different. Personally I find the pads more comfortable on the Deva, but that is obviously very personal.

The aesthetics are obviously also a personal decision. I find that the looks of the Deva may appeal more to the higher end of the general consumer, as it is a break from the normal black headphone offerings. Other than colour (and that tiny difference at the bottom of the cups), everything else looks identical.



Packaging and included items…

Both headphones are presented in a box that is almost identical, along with a cable and a user manual.

The only real difference here is the type of cable. The Deva is fairly stiff rubber cable, 3.5mm TRS to 3.5mm TRRS,  whereas the HE400i 2020 includes a nylon sheathed cable with a 3.5mm TRS to 2x 3.5mm TRS connectors, one for each side.

Neither cable is outstanding but both do their job and both allow a swap for a balanced cable if preferred.

Therefore, in this regard, I don’t have any preference out of the two.



Sound…

The bass extends more and is also more present on the HE400i 2020 but at the same time is less defined and bleeds over into the lower mids.

The mids are less recessed on the Deva, they are also cleaner and better presented.

The treble quantity is similar on both, however the Deva has less sibilance, more “air” and generally a cleaner presentation of treble.

Soundstage has good width on the HE400i 2020 but the Deva is wider. The image placement is also better on the Deva.

Speed and detail is superior on the Deva, doing a much better job when things get busy.

Timbre is more realistic on the Deva also, due to a better balance of sound overall.

In general, the presentation of the Deva is cleaner, more balanced and presents more detail, therefore I would put the Deva as a clear winner in this regard.



Conclusions…

There is a $50 price difference between the two headphones, with the Deva coming in more expensive.

The build is very similar, the aesthetics and comfort are very personal, and the presentation (in the box) is almost identical, therefore, in my opinion, the real battle comes down to sound and performance.

Here is where the Deva is, in my opinion, a much better choice than the HE400i 2020.

SenyorC