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A bit overrated

A Review On: Sennheiser HD 800 Headphones

Sennheiser HD 800 Headphones

Rated # 3 in Over-Ear
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Posted · Updated · 47994 Views · 4 Comments

Pros: Comfortable, detailed, big soundstage

Cons: Artificial sounding, anemic in the bass, can be too bright, overpriced

I have listened to the HD800 twice, and I never really warmed up to it. Its clarity and resolution sounds artificial to me instead of natural (a spike in the upper mids region), and it has no authority in the sub-bass region. I'm one of those people who simply cannot consider a pair of headphones to be "amazing" or "the best of" if it's lacking neutrality in a chunk of the frequency range. A amazing pair of headphones should sound like a full-range speaker system that reaches down to 30Hz and remains substantial and authoritative--anything less than that is not "amazing" to me. It's sort of like if a girl is really hot with an awesome body, but her ass is flat, barely able to fill any pair of jeans--would that still be considered an amazing body? Not in my book. Even the HD650 has more sub-bass extension and weight, and it costs far less than the flagship model. I understand that there's a portion of people whose idea of neutral bass is in fact anemic bass to me, but most people have no idea what a neutral frequency range sounds like, because they have never heard a true full-range sound before. Anyone who's ever heard a full-range speaker system that reaches down to 30Hz or lower while maintaining ± 3 dB, will know that neutral bass in in fact quite authoritative and substantial. There are headphones out there that can reach down low and feel very authoritative--for example, the Audeze LCD-2 and LCD-3, Stax 009, 007MKII, Denon AH-D7000, D5000, D2000, Audio-Technica ATH-M50, etc, so it's not like the HD800 is somehow limited by physics--it was a choice the engineers at Sennheiser made. If the lack of full sub-bass was the only issue, I'd have been fine with the HD800, but it is also overtly bright in the upper mid-range, which can be shrill/sibilant on some material, and that breaks my number one rule of audio: "First, do no harm." When any audio gear produces sound that is too bright, it becomes grating and it hurts your ears, and when that happens, it's a deal breaker for me. 


A very superficial view. 
Fortunately, the HD800 is not Nicki Minaj.
I guess you don't get the analogy of how sub-bass frequency is referred to as the "bottom end" of the frequency range, while buttocks on a person is also referred to as the "bottom end." It has nothing to do with being superficial--it was an apt analogy while being a bit tongue-in-cheek. And to be clear, I'm a composer/sound designer with a professional audio production studio, so my assessment of audio gear is from the point-of-view of a serious audio professional.
Word of honor I have respect for your professional activity, but the fact that you are a composer / sound designer is not unconditional argument. I am well acquainted with many of your colleagues, and I know what qualifications / competence at all different. I am a professional painter, but if I tell you that Mona Liza is daub (I do not think so) you are unlikely to believe it. And thank God!
Although, if you say that Beethoven is your name - I will apologize!
By the way, my personal opinion - HD 800 are extraordinary headphones, Stradivarius-headphones.
Well... I fully agree with your review. Well stated.
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