Big thumbs up here, post 24 hour burn-in:
For the burn-ins, I run a various high-bitrate MP3s on a random CD, connect the cans of choice to either D-NE1 or D-NE900 (I find the two sound fairly interchangable), and chuck the entire setup for couple of days or so in a drawer. About couple of days later, you have a well burned in phone.
For this quickie, the equipment are as follows:
D-NE1 -> RM-MC33EL -> MDR-XD400 (Remotes are necessary to control this unit more or less).
MZ-NH1 -> MDR-XD300 (for some hours, no more than 5 to 10 hours burn in)
No Digital Megabass applied.
Outrun2 soundtrack (Jazz vocals, Easy Rock instrumental)
Cowboy Bebop soundtrack, vols 1-3 (Jazz vocals, jazz tracks, world tracks)
FLCL OST 1 (J-Rock)
Random assortments of JPOP, Hard Rock instrumentals, and Electronica.
They can drive a quite a bit of bass if necessary. Even with the Digital MegaBass setting at 2, i tpumps out all the bass and retains quite a bit of bass details without being flabby or messy. At these high bass boost levels, it becomes almost as if you're strapping a very small subwoofer on your ears, and I can almost feel the bass through my body. Amazing.
Not to say that these are total bass-head set of cans, the bass isn't overwhelming at default (no EQ) settings under MUSIC mode, it might be infact somewhat muted for bass lovers. MOVIE mode adds a bit of mid-bass to the sound, somewhat similar to the CD580s, but nothing too overpowering.
I left mine on at MUSIC setting.
Other than its staging slightly towards behind (maybe recessed is a better word?) and initial nasalness, there's nothing to really complain about. The nasalness that I really didn't like with XD300 is still somewhat present with the XD400, but I'm uncertain at this point whether it's truly nasal or just bright at the female vocal tracks.
As for XD300, the vocals (male and female) suffers from a bout of sinal infection, or Barbara Streisanditis. Perhaps my unit was a dud, but even with a bit of burn-in (about 5-6 odd hours or so) didn't clear it up, not one bit. I didn't like it. You might, however.
XD300 sounds like there's a veil over the entire treble range, and be it sibilance, brightness, or detail, but quite a bit of that brightness is lost. It makes everything sound a bit dull.
XD400, on the other hand, lifts the vail right out, and rounds out the entire package. It could be contrived as bright, almost sibilant to some, but I find the touch of that brightness adds to the overall SQ of the XD400. The final sound of the 400s sounds energetic and overall complete vs. the XD300s.
Very light and comfortable, but traps heat much like some other closed cans. The Pleather pad also picks up sweat and oil like there's no business though (the CD580's cloth padding was very comfy vs. the pleathers). It's essentially designed for extended listening for Music or Movie, though if you're on the sweaty side, something to consider.
Great cans, but the nasal vocals I need to investigate more, i.e. more burn-in time. I wonder if the mids' are far brighter than I first thought (thus the nasalness of the vocals in the 300 and perhaps in the 400)? I'll listen to more sources in the next few upcoming days to round out my opinion, but chances are, they won't change much, I think.
Having said that, I'd totally avoid the XD300s, considering that the XD200s are half the price, and the 400s can be had for $20-40 extra vs. the XD300s depending on the retailer.
Afterwards, I noted this in the same thread:
Did I mention how insane the bass can be pumped through these cans? I'd say they are perfect for watching action movies while keeping the room quiet and vibrationless (from all the explosions and such).
The bass on these cans are amazing!!
You can set the XD400 to give you what is probably a great listening experience no matter the device or the situation (as well as a $100 set of can give). Considering the audience, I'd suspect a lot of us would be happy with these as a final set of headphones.
My later impressions on these, including the huge bass these can offer:
I will note that with my D-NE1 at Digital MegaMEGABass (setting 2) and in Movie mode, the bass becomes boomy and bloated and to a point where you can feel the bass in your body. That's perfect for late night solitary movie watching.
On a slightly more interesting note, I did manage to recreate somewhat the sound that I found with the XD300 by fiddling around with the Parametric Equalizer on the D-NE900, primairly by recessing the high-mids quite a bit. Doing that makes the vocals more nasal, and veils the trebles likewise. That might suit some listeners who may not prefer a bright sound. To me, though, it sort of flattens out the overall sound into something not quite... whole, I suppose.
And yes, these are honking huge. Be prepared to be stared at if you go out in public with these.
Nasalness is very much reduced, much more than before. Natalie Merchant no longer sounds like Babs, but more like herself. I'm currently listening to 10,000 Maniacs Unplugged through my NH1, and while the general bass is stronger than what I can recall, it still sounds mighty fine to my tonedeaf ears.
Initially, I was underwhelmed with these as a Gaming phone, but that I'd suspect is more due to the onboard sound vs. anything else (Nforce2 SoundStorm for the curious). There was a lot of clipping and noise, but at the same time, the environmental effects and the spacial abilites of these phones were quite satisfactory. On console gaming, set at MOVIE mode, it works fairly well and is rather enjoyable. As for TV and Movie/DVD watching? I still need to work on these, as I got these primairly for music purposes. They are very versatile however in anything you throw at it.
I'll no doubt have more to write on this, the initial nasalness of the vocals will turn off some people. Size is rather too big for portable use, and the upper-mids/vocals seems brighter than most phones, though not harsh. Trebles will probably seem harsh to some people who prefer more mellow, darker sounds, but I have no problems with it. Finally, all plastic construction makes this fragile feeling, though the two steel bars will help with its durability.
As it stands, this seems like a $100 set of phones that could be easily charged more and still be satisfactory to most listeners. The MOVIE mode is somewhat of a gimmick (and a dud to me), but the option is nice for those who like bigger bass.
Finally, because the XD400s are so easily driven and equalizable, I'm retracting my harsh stance on the XD300s for the moment. Properly equalized, I think the XD300s could very well be perfect for those of us who can't shell out the $100 MSRP but still have a quality set of headphones.
As soon as I get my grubby hands on a pair of XD200s, I intend to break it in and test them out as much in the same way as the XD400s (the 200s I intend to use for general PC usage and occassional gaming). The XD200s lack the auto headband adjustment and uses 40mm drivers vs 50mm on the XD400s. B(h)angraman already gave great review on his blog (the comparisons of good $30 budget can and the End of the World is not to be missed). But I suspect someone here will want a comparison between the two, and this is another excuse to get one.
Keep here for more details.