While the ebony veneer does make up for some of the loss, it just does not look as great as the pre-order version did. The release version is still a good-looking headphone, but it isn't quite the beauty the pre-order version was. The upgrades in sound performance, however, more than make up for the slight aesthetic set-back.
Excellent sounding, comfortable headphones that give much more expensive headphones a run for their money. Definitely recommended.
The HiFiMAN HM-700 player with RE-400 earphones is geared towards a certain type of audio lover - and that would be those that refuse to compromise when it comes to their listening experience.
...the performance differences between the HE-400i and the HE-560 only become fully apparent when using upper-tier headphone amp/DACs (with good but not great amp/DACs the sonic differences between the headphones are still there, of course, but they are much less apparent). This, too, is good news for headphonistas on a budget.
I think the HE-400i is a better headphone than the original HE-400 in every single way. I expect some listeners will prefer a more subdued treble and/or a little extra kick in the bass. But I can't think of a better deal in an audiophile headphone. This is not a low-priced alternative to an audiophile headphone -- the HE-400i is a real audiophile headphone through and through.