FOSTEX T50RP vs. HifiMan HE-400: Two Orthodynamic Headphones

Feb 12, 2020

You want to buy an orthodynamic headphone, and you do not know what to pick. Lucky for you, you have come to the right place. Orthodynamic headphones sound like they have something to do with medicine, but they do not.

Many think that these headphones are made for people who have just undergone an operation (especially for the ear, although ortho in medicine is usually associated with the musculoskeletal system or teeth).

The term orthodynamic was coined by Yamaha in 1976 for their line of headphones with magnetostatic, planar-magnetic, or isodynamic properties. It is a term to describe a headphone with electrostatic and dynamic drivers.

Electrostatic transducers are capable of producing the best sounds, but making a portable is very expensive and will need a lot of power, probably the size of a backpack. Orthodynamic headphones provide the pleasure of electrostatic sounds via a cheaper method, albeit limited to some degree.

Orthodynamic headphones are not capable of reproducing the very low and very high frequencies that electromagnetic transducers can. They also lack enough power for a portable rig for the ear realm.

There are several good orthodynamic headphones out on the market, but today, we will focus on two outstanding samples: FOSTEX T50RP and HifiMan HE-400.


Last update on 2021-02-18 at 04:29 / Affiliate links / Ratings / Reviews / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Let's Get Started

What to Look for in Orthodynamic Headphones

Orthodynamic Headphones

Orthodynamic headphones are well known among great lovers of sounds or audiophiles. Casual observers may not know much about the benefits of orthodynamic headphones, but they can also benefit from these.

They are not as limited as dynamic headphones like Sennheiser HD800 and not quite as diverse as electrostatic headphones like Kingsound KS-H1, but they provide an affordable hybrid of the two.

Orthodynamic headphones have both their pros and cons, but you can check which one you prefer. Tuning, usage scenarios, and price pretty much depend on the individual, so the best will also be dependent on its actual niche.

Features That You Might Like in Your Headphones

  • Bluetooth. Unless you are a total audiophile who can sense the tiniest differences in sound quality, a headphone with Bluetooth connection might just work for you. With the most recent technology, a wireless connection can now replicate sound almost as good as wired ones. Bluetooth earphone is the way to go if you are not a fan of tangled cords.
  • Noise cancellation. Sound cancellation is a feature you can find in a lot of headphones. It removes the distraction from external sources so you can enjoy your music more. It might not be entirely perfect in most cases, especially for the loudest sounds, but it works for most distractions. It is great when you want to isolate your mind from the world around you.
  • Battery life. Bluetooth earphones and those with active noise canceling features need batteries. You might want to check their battery life, especially if you like listening to music for extended periods of time. It sucks if your headphones die on you when you are in the middle of doing something while listening to music, right?
  • Collapsible ear cups. These types of headphones are easier to store. It is easier to bring your headphones around if you can just fold them and slip them in a bag or in your pocket.
  • Built-in microphone/control module. This is helpful if you use your phone with your headphones. It can allow you to do some things, from answering calls and using Siri to controlling your playlist. Most people find it a hassle to pull out their phones every time, so these things have been developed. If you are one of these people, then check what type of control the module can offer and match it with your preference.
  • Personal settings. This is the most crucial aspect. You need to match your orthodynamic headphones to your phone settings. Not all orthodynamic headphones can have the same parameters to function best, so you must know what settings to use and then match these with the headphone.

It is better to find an orthodynamic headphone that matches your setting than matching the headphone to your setting when it cannot do it. There are mods available for headphones though, so you might be able to tweak it a bit too.


HiFiMAN HE-400

HIFIMAN HE-400I Over Ear Full-Size Planar Magnetic...
  • Get an extra three-month extended warranty by registering your products on our official website.
  • 30% lighter than comparable headphones
  • Newly-designed headband with an improved pressure pattern
  • The FocusPad, new beveled hybrid ear pads made of pleather and velour
  • Intended for high performance listening in the home or studio

Last update on 2021-02-18 at 04:29 / Affiliate links / Ratings / Reviews / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Hifiman is a well-known pair of headphones for its superior sound quality even though it tends to build bulky models. He-400 is an orthodynamic headphone that uses planar magnetic drivers for a more precise sound with more life than dynamic headphones.

They continue to outperform HiFiMAN HE-400sleeker models regarding performance, most of which perform like miniature dome speakers or cone speakers driver.

HifiMan HE-400 orthodynamic headphones are designed for use at home or in a studio using a receiver or amplifier.

It can be used in a portable device, although with some suffering from limited volume capacity due to the weak power from mobile devices.

The HE-400 is a significant investment for audiophiles, especially if you are looking for precise, near-perfect sounds.

Its price tag is more than worth it, especially for a balanced armature.

User Reviews

According to user reviews, HifiMan HE-400 orthodynamic headphones have an exceptional sound detail. The best part is that it does not make you fatigued even after listening for extended periods of time.

HifiMan HE-400 headphones balance the sounds, especially the bass and the treble. The sound is articulate, not muddy, and deep. Whether at its loud, low or moderate volume, this headphone is equally poised and explosively alive.

HifiMan HE-400 headphones can play string sounds or natural sounding orchestral music without the hardness or glare. It is capable of playing all sorts of music.

Based on user assessment, HifiMan HE-400 headphones have the looks, the feel, as well as the sound, of more expensive headphones when used in home theaters with the right equipment. They are built for sophisticated tastes. If it has a limitation, then it would be its lack of synergy for portable use.


Fostex T50RP MK3 Professional Studio Headphones, Semi-Open
  • Refined Fostex proprietary Regular Phase (RP) diaphragm driver using copper foil etched polyimide film and...
  • Maximum input level of 3000mW to comply with various professional uses
  • Semi-open for flat and clear sound
  • Low repulsion ear pad and head pad for maximum comfort
  • Comes with 3m 1/4-inch plug detachable cable for best serviceability and 1.2m mini plug cable for portable...

Last update on 2021-02-18 at 04:29 / Affiliate links / Ratings / Reviews / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

You can call the FOSTEX T50RP orthodynamic headphone to be the ultimate bang for the buck. The best part of this piece is its suitability to FOSTEX T50RPmods. If you are particular with settings, then it only takes a little know-how to set up this baby.

The third generation FOSTEX T50RP orthodynamic headphones are sounding better than before.

With the full range of available sound tweaks, as well as the knowledge of numbers of headphone enthusiasts, turning FOSTEX T50RP orthodynamic headphone into the perfect headpiece is but a few tweaks away.

Modding the T50RP is not just some preset mods, but you can tune it to your preference.

User Reviews

Users find FOSTEX T50RP Mk3 orthodynamic headphones better sounding than its predecessors. It was right between balance and clarity, but it does have its weak points.

For one, it is not a looker. Its design is not appealing to the eyes. Also, the portable devices cannot reach a stable level for listening. Without dedicated headphone amp, you would not be able to get the best out of this headphone. It also lacks sub-bass.

It is not also the best in its stock state. If you are looking for the right headphones for the same price, then there are many out there. If you, however, are someone who loves tweaking headphones using mods, then this is the best thing for you. It is like a DIY modder’s paradise.


Comparing the two champions, which one you think is the real winner? If you are looking for superb quality, then HifiMan HE-400 beats FOSTEX T50RP by a bit, thanks to its capability of replicating sub-bass. If you do not like to mod headphones, then HifiMan HE-400 is for you, ready the moment it comes out of the box.

If you have specific tastes and reasonably diverse sound settings, then look no further than FOSTEX T50RP. This can be set up in many ways, even if you do not know how you can easily find your settings posted somewhere in a forum.

Both need good headphone amps to deliver their best, so at this point, it is a tie. HifiMan HE-400 has the better specs overall, but FOSTEX T50RP beats it in versatility by a considerable margin.

In the end, what matters is the niche and your preferences. If you are crazy about the bass, then HifiMan is the way to go. If you are mad about modding headphones or just want something versatile that can offer a wide range of performance settings, FOSTEX T50RP is the best headphone for you. It is just that simple.

In the end, We from decided that the best is for you to tell and will depend on your personal taste. Both have features that are way different from each other, and these varying features can be deciding factors.

Before deciding which headphone will work for you, it might be better to test each one. Some companies sell FOSTEX T50RP already modded, so you can probably find one with your preferred setting just with a little search. Both presented orthodynamic headphones can satisfy, so choose one that suits you well.

Last update on 2021-02-18 at 04:29 / Affiliate links / Ratings / Reviews / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API



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