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Phiaton MS 400

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MSRP $249.00
This product is no longer available at HeadRoom.

Phiaton Moderna Series (MS) headphones are engineered with resonance-free proprietary carbon fiber enclosures for precise audio response and pure musical definition. The positive reviews from experts like Stereophile Magazine have exploded the reach of this colorful can -- and it's no wonder why! Phiaton MS 400 headphones allow you to hear the finest, most subtle recording details for the ultimate private listening experience at home, in the office, or on your free-roaming travels. Flexible folding construction slides compactly into provided carrying case for transit. Choose Red or Black.

Sorry, all Phiaton products can only ship within USA due to manufacturer restrictions.

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Product Features:

  • Award-winning cosmetic design meets true audiophile sound
  • Cool carbon-fiber composite earcup & frame assembly for light weight and superb durability
  • Sealed-back construction delivers mild isolation and great listening privacy
  • Pair with a headphone amp for stunning audio performance

What's In The Box:

  • 1/4" stereo plug adapter
  • Carrying case


No question, the Phiaton MS 400 are a flashy-looking product made even more so by the bold cosmetics. Fortunately, it's completely backed up with serious audio performance. The MS 400 musical signature is smooth and coherent up & down the audible frequency ranges with no one spot lacking well-rendered detail or pushed too far forward in the mix. The natural soundstage is neither artificially bloated or overly narrow, making the MS 400 a superb choice for well-produced classical, jazz, and rock recordings alike. This nicely balanced, even-toned sound allows for hours of listening pleasure at home or on the road without any sense of harshness or fatigue setting in. Pair it with a great portable headphone amp and let the MS 400 radiate its full glory of high-definition timbral colors and nuanced musical detail reproduction. Phiaton are continuing to push the envelope of headphone design; the great-sounding, great-looking MS 400 is the company flagship in looks, style and sound!

The Phiaton MS 400 is made of a lightweight carbon fiber composite that is both sleek and extra-durable for the long haul, so your Phiaton headphones will stand the test of time and frequent use. Choose from either red accents or an all-black color scheme. The MS 400 mid-sized on-ear supra-aural earcups are very well padded with comfortable leather cushions. Encased underneath the unique 'see-through' outer earcups, you'll note a cross-hatched look from the carbon fiber structure, which serves as an ingenious resonance-free enclosure for the MS 400 earcups. Full foldability for ease of travel or storage. The free 1-year Phiaton manufacturer's warranty remains in effect ONLY when purchased from true authorized dealers -- like HeadRoom!


  • Weight: 185 grams w/o cord
  • Isolation: -10dB ~ 14dB
  • Impedance @ 1kHz: 32 Ohms
  • Detachable Cable: No
  • Cord Length: 8.5ft
  • Cord Type: Straight Y
  • Coupler Size: Medium
  • Ear Coupler Type: Full-Size
  • Driver Type: Dynamic
  • Acoustic Seal: Closed
  • Connector Type: 1/8
  • Headphone Type: Full Size
  • Manufacturer Warranty: 1 year
  • Sensitivity: 98dB

Additional Resources:

Reviews At A Glance
2 Reviews
2 Reviews

Average Rating 
(Showing 3 of 4 reviews)

Main grab and go headphone
Posted by InfectiousDZz from Texas on 2012-07-22

Recommend Product: Yes
Pros: No amp needed, Astounding bass if worn correctly
Cons: Uncomfortable for long term wear

I couldn't be any happier with how portable, easily driveable, and sturdy these cans are. Although uncomfortable at first, it only took a short period of time for the pads to soften and give me a proper seal. I found an amp wasn't necessary to get the full sound, and the noise isolation was something to behold as well -- with music on, at any level, all outside noise comes close to silence.

Seeing how thin the wires were upon arriving, i was worried about breakage but almost 7 solid months of daily moderate to heavy use have proved otherwise. Bus rides, office work, cooking, college and on chance parties (the included 1/4" adapter came in handy!), occasional yard work, being handled by children, all survived without any trace of damage. The included carrying case is wonderfully helpful as well. Convenient to have it kept cased next to the door and later grabbed on the way out running errands or for travel.

The folding, awesomely portable, incredible sounding Phiaton MS-400's are well worth the money and will continue to deliver even when continually mishandled and hardcranked as mine are.

Sound Quality
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2 out of 3 people found this review helpful. Did you?

Fantastic sound but too small for my ears
Posted by EvilElvis from Savannah GA on 2011-09-14

Recommend Product: Yes
Pros: Easy to drive, easy to pack, great value and beautiful!
Cons: Uncomfortable to me but not to everyone.

I was really impressed when I listened to these in the shop for about 5 minutes. Beautiful musical sound and excellent bass compared to my HD600s, also good isolation, which is what I purchased them for when on the road. I wore them for several hrs a day for 2 months. I was reluctant, due to the pain but had no other options. The inner grill rubbed against my ears leaving them red after less than 30 minutes and painfully sore after a few hrs. I ended up passing them on to a friend who has loved them ever since and wears them the entire work day, if not longer.
I can easily say these are wonderful and beautiful little cans with great sound at a great price, but do give them more than 5 minutes to test the fit.

Sound Quality
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6 out of 6 people found this review helpful. Did you?

Phiaton MS-400 Review 6/30/2011
Posted by dale from Akron Ohio on 2011-06-30

Recommend Product: Yes
Pros: Good overall sound

Sources: iPhone4 alone, iPhone4 with PA2V2 amp using LOD, various computers using Audioengine D1 DAC and the D1's headphone out.

Before I get to the details, I want to summarize my view of the MS400's sound. Some years ago, Radio Shack issued catalogs in which they juxtaposed items at 3 price/performance levels as "Good, better, and best". Today after some break-in time for the MS400, I laid the MS300, MS400, and Sennheiser Momentum headphones on the table to compare the 3 different sounds. What I heard was exactly "Good, better, and best". All 3 have soft highs, relatively uncolored midranges, and decent bass. But where the MS300's midrange was emphasized higher up giving it the most nasal sound of the 3, the MS400 was much better, with more realistic-sounding vocals and instruments. Then came the Momentum, which not only beat the MS400 in realism and midrange balance, but had a clarity that made the MS400 sound artificial and very slightly harsh or grainy by comparison. The bass and warmth level also got better from MS300 to MS400 to Momentum, not merely as more quantity of bass and warmth, but by an obvious increase in quality.

The Phiaton MS400 was released 3-1/2 years ago and is not as competitive among today's ~$250 USD headphones as it was when first released. That said, it sounds pretty good, it's an extremely comfortable around-ear headphone, and the bling factor is very good. The version with red earpads and headband is the high-fashion item, while the black version commands much less attention. Even so, the black version (which I bought) has the unique carbon fiber earcups that give it a special look. I had the red-trimmed version more than a year ago, and whereas it impressed me as having a high quality build, the preponderance of plastic on this MS400 makes it feel less so, even though close inspection shows it to be very well finished, with no suggestion of potential durability problems. I could wish for a slightly thicker cable than the ~2.1 mm thick dual-entry cable it has, but it's probably good enough, being significantly thicker than the MS300's cable and the B&W P3 and P5 cables.

I remember my previous MS400 having earcups that didn't fully surround my ears, and having a heavy bass. This MS400 does not have the heavy bass, the earcups and earpads completely surround my not-small ears, and the clamping force is light for a full-size headphone. This light clamping force is possibly responsible for the lighter bass, and certainly for the high comfort level. In spite of the light clamp, isolation is good with this MS400 - about as good as the Sennheiser Momentum. Leakage is low - in a quiet office you could play music at medium to slightly loud levels without disturbing someone in the next cubicle, as long as the earpads are tight against your head. The earcups can be pulled all the way down and the headphone worn around your neck all day comfortably when not in use, which is an important feature of a good portable headphone. The earcups can also be folded flat, which is a nice bonus. The MS400 comes with a very small and stiff zippered carrycase that every portable headphone should have.

The MS400's highs are softer than the v-moda M80, Sennheiser Momentum, and ATH ESW9A, all of which have soft highs compared to the better high fidelity headphones. I use iPod/iPhone treble booster or the desktop equivalent in Foobar2000 for the MS400, which makes the treble sound quite good with no sibilant problems or other irritations. The MS400's bass is down about 6-8 db at 30 hz compared to the midrange, and while some types of music may sound light in the bass with this headphone, there is noticeable bass weight and impact when the genuine tones are in the recording. I would categorize the bass as close to neutral in quantity. I would also like to suggest that if you do mainly distracted listening with headphones on such as gaming, watching movies, or cruising the Internet, the bass may seem especially light or unsatisfactory. If you listen to music exclusive of other activities, the bass qualities will be more noticeable and more likely to satisfy.

In other reviews I've done I've included the following music examples with comments about how the headphones sound with each track. My suggestion is instead of reading each one as an absolute unto itself, you could compare my notes here to other reviews and see how the MS400 compares with each individual track.

Bauhaus - Bela Lugosi's Dead (~1980): Strong midrange sound effects - this is a good worst-case test for resonant-type sounds in the most sensitive midrange area. Handled very well by the MS400.

Beethoven Symphony 9, Solti/CSO (1972): Very good overall sound. Note the bass impacts beginning around 10:30 of the fourth movement. Those impacts won't overwhelm you since they're soft and well in the background, but you can feel some of the weight they carry.

Blues Project - Caress Me Baby (1966): Rarely mentioned, but one of the greatest white blues recordings ever. The loud piercing guitar sound at 0:41 into the track is a good test for distortion or other problems. Handled well by the MS400.

Boz Scaggs - Lowdown (1976): Good sound quality - this is a great test for any nasality in the midrange. Handled very well by the MS400.

Buffalo Springfield - Kind Woman (~1968): A Richie Furay song entirely, rarely mentioned, but one of the best sounding rock ballads ever. This will sound good on most headphones, and it's very good with the MS400.

Cat Stevens - Morning Has Broken (early 70's): A near-perfect test for overall sound - this track will separate the best sounding headphones from the lesser quality types. Nothing specific, except that almost any deviation from perfect reproduction will stand out with this track. Sounds very good with the MS400.

Catherine Wheel - Black Metallic (~1991): Goth with industrial overtones - I like this since it's a great music composition and the sound effects are smoothly integrated into the mix. This may sound distorted or mushy with some headphones, but the MS400 renders the deliberate instrumental distortions clearly.

Def Leppard - Bringin' On The Heartbreak (1981): MTV goth/pop/metal at its best - good ambience and high energy - the better headphones will separate the details and make for a good experience. Lesser quality and the details tend to mush together. The MS400 plays this very well.

J.S. Bach - E. Power Biggs Plays Bach in the Thomaskirche (~1970): Recorded on a tracker organ in East Germany, the tracks on this recording have the authentic baroque sound that Bach composed for, albeit the bellows are operated by motor today. The MS400 plays the tones seamlessly through the upper limits of the organ, which cover nearly the full range of human hearing. Of special note are the pedal notes - tracker organs have low-pressure pipes and don't typically produce the kind of impact around 30-35 hz that modern organs do. A headphone that's lacking in the low bass will sound especially bass-shy with this type of organ, but the MS400 provides a satisfactory experience.

Jamming With Edward - It Hurts Me Too (1969): Intended originally as a test to fill studio down time and set recording levels etc., this was released a few years later for hardcore Rolling Stones fans. Although not as good technically in every aspect as the Chess studio recordings of 1964, and in spite of the non-serious vocals by Mick Jagger, this rates very high on my list of white blues recordings, and sounds delicious with the MS400.

Jennifer Warnes - Rock You Gently (1992?): The strong deep bass percussion at the beginning of this track has been cited as a test for weakness or distortion in certain headphones. Having played this track many times now, I'm favorably impressed with the MS400's bass reproduction and detail throughout the track, and even the beginning notes which have a moderate impact and a distinctive drum-type sound.

Jimmy Smith - Basin Street Blues (early 60's): This track has some loud crescendos of brass and other instruments that don't sound clean and musical on some headphones. The MS400's reproduction sounds somewhat hollow compared to my other headphones. Listen particularly to the second crescendo at 15 seconds in, for maximum detail effect. I'd like to emphasize that these crescendos are probably the worst-case test I have for instrumental separation and detail, and the MS400's reproduction (using treble boost as noted above) suggests to me that the drivers just can't keep up with the intensity of these blasts, even though the treble reproduction is fine elsewhere.

Ladytron - Destroy Everything You Touch (~2009): Featured in The September Issue, this song has heavy overdub and will sound a bit muddy on some headphones. Sounds good with the MS400.

Milt Jackson/Wes Montgomery - Delilah (Take 3) (1962): The vibraphone is heavily dependent on harmonics to sound right, and the MS400 plays it well.

Pink Floyd/Dark Side of the Moon - Speak To Me (1973): Strong deep bass impacts will be heard and felt here.

Rolling Stones - Stray Cat Blues (1968): Dirty, gritty blues that very few white artists could match. On some headphones the vocals and guitar lack the edge and fall more-or-less flat. If you're a really good person, playing this song will probably make you feel nervous and uneasy. Sounds OK with the MS400.

Tony Bennett - I Left My Heart In San Francisco (1962): Frank Sinatra's favorite singer. Highest recommendation. With some of the best headphones, the sibilants on this recording are very strong, but not with the MS400.

Sound Quality
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14 out of 16 people found this review helpful. Did you?

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