‹  All Stories
Audiophile
Next Story  ›
How It's Made: Massdrop x HiFiMAN HE-350

Products with Purpose

Every Massdrop collaboration is driven by a goal. Often, this target comes from the community—whether it’s a gap that exists in the market or a beloved product that just needs one or two adjustments to be truly great. The process is part principle, part inspiration, and lots of confirmation from the people who love to use the things we make.

With Dr. Fang Bian and HiFiMAN, we wanted to explore options with the older double-sided, planar-magnetic drivers that were in the HE-500, now out of production. During the course of our discussion, we found this couldn’t be done for a variety of reasons, manufacturing capacity being one of them. Of course, the conversation didn’t stop there.



Building the Gateway

Beyond the community’s requests, we have another goal for our custom products: to make it easier for folks to jump into a new hobby. The online headphone community has around 400,000 members. Because the more enthusiasts that join a hobby, the greater the opportunity in the market, we strive to reach those who aren’t already on the path to great sound. A bigger community drives development and competition; it leads to more participation and feedback, and that enables better products and deals.

In the case of the Massdrop x HiFiMAN HE-350, we wanted to aim the collaboration at growing the community. Our friends at HiFiMAN agreed with this goal, and said they could bring back the HE-300 dynamic-driver headphone if we could offer it to members for $99.



Community Feedback

All that settled, it was time to build. We turned to the community for desired improvements to cosmetics, comfort, cabling, and sound signature. Our research comprised of studying reviews and graphs, and discussing potential changes with important members of the community. We improved the cable connectors and plug, and updated the frame to HiFiMAN’s latest (and much lighter) structure. We also made the headband more comfortable, and changed the colorway from black and silver to black and gray—a nod to the HE-500.

The result: the HE-350 open-back headphones. In response to tuning changes requested by users, the samples arrived with an all-new dynamic driver that HiFiMAN had been developing to compete against bigger players, but hasn’t yet used in any of its headphones. We’re excited about the new driver speed and resolution, and can’t wait to hear what the community has to say.


The original HiFiMAN HE-300 (left) and new custom Massdrop x HiFiMAN HE-350 (right)


What’s Next?

The story’s not quite over yet. We’re having fun with the samples, and have sent some out to community members, reviewers, and headphone modders. And there may be a few more surprises in store, because as it turns out, the HE-350 happens to be an excellent platform for personalizing the sound. We’re talking with HiFiMAN about tuning options, and considering developing a modding kit to allow users more flexibility with the sound signature.

Stay tuned for reviews, DIY mods, and more great custom products! Want to pick up the Massdrop x HiFiMAN HE-350 for yourself? Visit the drop page. For the in ear counterpart, check out the Massdrop x HiFiMAN RE-00.


Product Timeline


I have bought just about every head phone offered on MD between $90 and $200. All great. Still waiting for that planar-magnetic one. MD members, let's continue pursuing and ask MD to get the planar-magnetic headphone. Yes, the HE-350 is great but I want my planar-magnetic. Thank you.
Paid for 2ea. Dark voice amps the last drop. Where are they.I'm 76 and don't do computers well. Your site needs tele help REAL BAD please some one call me 6174915755 Ray
Audioray
Ray, how are those Dark Voice amps? I've heard good & bad about them ( Humm, etc) I've got a Mapletree class A amp that I like a lot. I'm open to something new when it comes to tube rolling.
TD
I didn't receive my HE-350 yet. DHL keeping silence.
These headphones are way too heavy on the highs - like an AM radio. I tried 16 hours 'burn in' but still sounds awful. Do a search on these before you buy. Price is cheap because they are cheaply made and sound cheap. Better off paying top dollar for a premium product. Left them out in my office for someone to take but no one wants them.
Load 3 more comments
V11999
100hr burn in plus leather pads make all the difference
V11999
I used a digital audio player couple with a digital to analog headphone amp and I had wonderful results. These headphones produce quality sound when their is a quality source. AM radio? I'm not sure I would use anything priced over $10 to listen to AM radio.
These are good if you have HiFi equipment. Driving them out of a phone or tablet isn't ideal, while it is ideal with most of the BestBuy products
nantipaneith
While it isn't ideal these are can still be driven by mobile devices
Where can we find a comparison between the HD-650s, the AKG K7XX, and these HE-350s?
Load 1 more comment
agree
nantipaneith
Out of the 3 I would probably pick the 650s
Got mine today. Faster shipping than I thought. I'm a headphone noob, but I think these are really good value for $100. Comfort is meh. Sound is great. Cord is great. Box is nice. Tight fitting. Better than any of the Bose, Beats, or Skull Candy at Best Buy. I think these stole me from the crappy mainstream headphones.
Load 2 more comments
Yeah but these aren't better than those, or so I've been reading. They're still a good deal tho.
To me these sound way better than skullcandy, bose, beats, ETC.
Received my HE350's last week and did an overnight burn in and am very happy with the sound quality of them. Good snap and attack, nice decay within the midrange and a realistic airiness to them that isnt often found in a set of $99 headphones. The ear pads are a bit hard but I can swap them out for something softer and more durable. Great overall value that requires a little work to get them mellowed out. They are harsh and bright right out of the box, dont expect them to be ready to roll when you open the package but in my opinion worth the money.
I was thinking about buying but you lost me on dynamic driver. If i am going to buy something from HIFIMAN its going to be one of legendary planar driver based headphones. Such a shame you could not get them to make a massdrop HE-500.
Load 3 more comments
I recently got a pair of HE-400i's, no complaints here! Hifiman does a pretty decent summer sale (every year from what I've heard).
Wookiecfk
I agree; it's odd they would drop a dynamic driver model from Hifiman, and not their bread and butter.
what tpyes of jacks are the one that plug into the headphones? I just bought some extension cables for 3.5mm and they aren't the right ones.
Benjerji
The cup connectors are 2.5mm The connector plug should be a standard 3.5mm w/o the 1/4 adapter that comes with it. I suppose it's 3mm? lol
I just got these...unburned in, they sound phenomenal. Way, way better than Grado's at the same price. With well recorded material, they are all I will probably ever need...
Load 1 more comment
TerryH
I have SR325e, my only gripe with them is comfort, do you think these Hifiman sound better? i mean that would be great if they sound bright and clear while being very comfortable.
I was using the NVX XPT 100 before this and and I think these sound quite a bit better. These have way better vocals and the highs are more clear. Personally treble doesn't bother me
It's been a long time but I finally got it in September ! Really good headphones !
Hi, I am sick i must order but just gone .
Where the heck is my order.... I don't even see it in my orders any more. It's been removed from my list. Now that is just plain theft now. You take my money and never deliver.
SteveSegura
Check your transactions. These headphones aren't going to ship until at least the 28th.
SteveSegura
I received mine a few weeks ago. The right driver has a harsh buzzing. Massdrop's support has been slow and awful. Still no confirmation from them whether or not I'll receive a replacement pair.
You should add to the story how terrible your Q&A are
Anyone know where to get replacement ear pad rings for these?
Load 1 more comment
GriffAud2
Try Amazon. I ordered leather a couple of days ago.
GriffAud2
they mean the actual rings you use to mount the pads
Nice to hear about the tuning kit!
jeffc67
What kit?
Got mine today. Well worth the wait!
itachiniko
had join the drop can't wait for it.
Received mine today, terrible build quality. Tried them on and the head strap pulled out of one side like one of the other reviewers posted. Took it apart and everything is low grade plastic with cheap clips and glue. Can't expect much for the price. I have a set of HE-500s and HE-560s so expected something as solid with different drivers. Expected too much! LOL Repaired them so they're perfect with no evidence of repair... probably stronger than they were from the factory but it's all smoke and mirrors, look great but sound is nothing special.
I'll burn them and listen again but not impressed. Using a Matrix M-State DAC/amp that was recommended to me by a Audeze tech for my LCD 2s with fazor. Tried them on a Schiit Lyr and still not impressed. They sound like sub $100 cans so no surprise I guess. Actually ALL of my other headphones sound better than these so takeaway point is don't let the resemblance to the HE-560 sucker you in. Bass sucks even with amplification, highs are ok, mids are ok but I would definitely not buy these again.
Load 4 more comments
Toothfixer
It's made with community tuned 300 drivers. They downgraded construction to more plastic for a severely reduced price, as well as the community bulk order discount. I have a big @ss mofo head, quite wide too. I wasn't sure if they would even fit, they fit fine. I thought they would also be too tight, they feel fine. After many hours I will start to feel the cups pressing on my jaws; I can deal with it and have them on all day.
The bass is definitely missing from these. I was sadly let down in that department but oh well, only $100.
Toothfixer
You can adjust tension by bending the metal bow
Mine came in broken. Inner adjustment strap not connected. They sound amazing...
omg i got my head phones and they AMAZING
Erik_12345678910
I am loving mine also. They are very efficient, and easily be driven without an amp. I find them quite bright (treble very forward). Heavy bass is OK, but not as hard hitting as the treble. Really happy with these for just a sawbuck!
Well I finally got the message they are shipped can't wait I have been waiting since April 29 hope it's worth it.
JoshSelfie123
hopefully its worth 5 months of waiting.
I will sell my pair when I get them for 150
so sad i missed these, hope they make a come back. keep hearing great things.
When will this be shipped?
I trust this company to make a value headphone, given their expertise and reputation. I jumped at the chance and know these will be a great addition to my collection of headphones, including another pair of HiFiMAN phones. I am so please to see the delivery date move up to around a week from now! I was afraid I would be out of town when they shipped, but now I should not be!
I'm in too👍🏻👍🏻 Have a pair of 400's But would love a pair of these when I'm on the move Sign me up Heck I'll buy 2
A-52
ill sell u my pair for 200$ just came in today not what i rlly wanted
A-52
would u like them still in box?
Ditto, I would like to pick up a pair of HE-350 too.
! would like these headphones too -- like LXXXIX, picking up a cancelled order.
Hi, Kunalkumar. I read some of the buyers had cancel the order, is there anyway to join drop of the empty slot. I really interested in this headphone with this price $99.
HenryC
I actually sent an e-mail to the staff an said it may not be possible. I'd also like to pick someone else's order.

Active drops in

Audiophile