KEF M400 On-Ear Headphone Review - Bantamweight BoogieBritish firm KEF has decided to follow up on its acclaimed KEF M500 on-ear model with a slimmer, lighter version. It's not easy to follow in the footsteps of a famous sibling, and the work is cut out for the KEF M400 in this regard. However the KEF M400 has form which exceeds its weight class and is a real contender. The M400 would make a terrible boxer as it often remains out for far longer than a ten second count; however it's got me right hooked.
- Small and light
- Sturdy build and construction
- Removable cable with mic/controls
- Stylish understated design
- Folds up for easy storage
- Soundstage limited
Design and AppearanceThe M400 model maintains a family resemblance with its flat ear cusions and swept back ear cups, but it is definitely a cut down version of the chunkier KEF M500. The headband is much thinner, plus the earcups are constructed from aluminium; they're misleadingly light!
Durability & Build QualityDespite the lighter and sleeker construction, the M400 still feels like a solid headphone and a fitting follow-up for KEF. The cable is not thick, but has a hard-wearing feel about it with decent strain reliefs at each end. The mic/controls on the cable have no strain reliefs.
ComfortFirst impressions were regarding the headband padding and size - with this reviewer being a bighead, the headband needed to be fully extended in order for the earpads to properly sit on the ears, and the headband makes itself known by applying pressure to the top of the head. having said that, they have remained in position for upwards of an hour now, with no significant discomfort.
Suitability/PortabilityAs a portable model, the M400 is ideal; it does everything well. It leaks very little sound even with a high volume level, it's light, can be worn around the neck unobtrusively and goes into the supplied carry pouch very nicely. The earcups are hinged so the M400 can easily be folded up, and it even fits in the case when the earcups are extended fully so the headband sliders don't need to be adjusted all the time. Perfect!
Sound isolationThe KEF M400 does a fair job of keeping out exterior sounds; don't expect to be incommunicado as you listen to Marillion, but enough environmental noise is blocked to keep things enjoyable.
Sound characteristicsOverall, the sound is very similar to the M500 model in terms of balance. The M400 is a little lighter-sounding with not so much bass presence and subtler treble, for a slightly more neutral sound.