Hi-Fi & Studio Headphone Reviews

REVIEW / Ultrasone HFI-2400

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Tristan François Published on July 20, 2010
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SPECIFICATIONS

  • Headphone Type Open
  • Speaker Dynamic
  • Cable Length 3 m
  • Weight 292 g
Despite being a relative newcomer—the firm only started making headphones in 1991—Ultrasone wants to become the main player in German audio equipment. That's going to be a tough job given some of the local competition. 

To put it another way, the HFI-2400s and their sister products are going to have to be pretty good if they want to unseat the current big names!

Hardware: heavy but comfortable

The HFI-2400s aren't going to stand out because of their packaging, and the simple box doesn't give many clues about what's on the inside.  Once you get them out though, they're pretty easy on the eye.

The 2400s quickly inspired confidence with an excellent build quality.  The main loop showed no weakness, and we're not worried about the headphone mounts breaking any time soon.  And the headphones themselves both sit inside a metal cage, which reduces the otherwise dangerous amount of electromagnetic radiation, at the cost of being rather bulky.  The foam pads are covered with a layer of velvet and can be replaced; the same is true of the cable.

Given the choice of materials, it would be hard to expect a featherweight pair of headphones, and you certainly don't get it.  It's hard not to notice the amount weight on your skill, but thanks to the good design, it's more than comfortable.

Audio Quality: a (very) warm sound

Rather than reading a complicated description here, take a look at the frequency response published by HeadRoom, which shows bass on the left moving over to treble on the right.  As you can see, the HFI-2400s certainly produce a 'warm' sound, if not a hot one.

Unlike deafening headphones that have an overpowering fluid bass, the bottom end of the HFI-2400s' spectrum is very well-structured.  Obviously, those that prefer an analytic or more neutral sound will sound will prefer something else, but if you do like a more lively sound, the HFI-2400s should suit you.  The same is true moving up through the spectrum, with plenty of sound in the mid-range, although nothing quite the same as the bass.  The treble, meanwhile, is so full of energy that it's almost too much.

We have no complaints about the accuracy or the clarity of the sound, and it's very easy to hear exactly where all of the instruments were on stage.  Because these are open headphones, the 3D soundscape is more than acceptable.

The HFI-2400s really aren't the most neutral headphones ever, but they provide a lively, enjoyable listening experience.  Be warned that it can become tiring after a while though.

S-Logic Natural Surround Moves the Transducer
One recurring problem with headphones of all types is where the source of the sound is located.

When an album is mixed in the studio, that's generally taking to be a set of speakers, with the sound coming straight at the listener from a set of speakers arranged in front of them.
Sennheiser experimented with an alternative technique on their HD800s, which Ultrasone has adopted here, adjusting the position of the transducer so it's no longer pointing directly at outside of the ear. According to the manufacturer, that should produce a more even sound which feels more natural.

When we were listening, the results seemed fine, but at the same time, we didn't really feel as though we had the musicians in front of us. By moving the transducer much further forward, Sennheiser did a better job of this.

PROS

  • Excellent build quality with solid construction
  • Hinged headphones for greater comfort
  • Lively, dynamic sound

CONS

  • Tiring if you listen to them for a long time
  • Not the most neutral sound ever
  • Not many accessories

CONCLUSION 4/5

If you like a very lively sound, then the HFI-2400s will tickle your eardrums with powerful, well-controlled bass that never loses accuracy. Anybody looking for a neutral sound should look elsewhere though.
4 Ultrasone HFI-2400 DigitalVersus 2010-07-20 00:00:00
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