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Sennheiser HD800 Appreciation Thread - Page 397  

post #5941 of 6600
What I'm about to 'say' isn't new. It has been said before, by many.

HD-800's are analytic transducers, more so than the vast majority of other headphones, perhaps they are the 'most' analytic. As such they WILL present the sound to your ears that is handed to them warts, pimples, imperfections and all. And that isn't to say they don't have a few 'eccentricities' of their own which adds even more to the mix.

I've owned HD-800's for several years now and have just recently found a combination of equipment and tweaks that to my ears lets them 'sing'. As in toe tapping, head nodding/bobbing grov'n to the tunes, for hours on end without the zizz and spit and sizzle that they used to deliver to my ears, enjoyment. And along the way they let me hear 'into' the music, the instruments and the musicians to a degree that is remarkable and most satisfying, and now even more so.

And I know just what you mean when you say "they have a treble upper high extension that is far beyond the pale, it makes it hard to enjoy music to my ears". I also put up with that listener fatigue for quite a while. And I didn't have any other phones to fall back on.

To my mind these are close to the ultimate tweaker headphones. The potential is all there but it's up to you to dial them in. And for some who figure that they have paid their $$ and so they shouldn't need to do any further tweaking, well that's wishful thinking, for many many reasons.

These transducers are VERY revealing and VERY articulate and VERY precise in delivering the electrical signal handed to them. So much so that expecting them to work on less than compatible upstream equipment will be frustrating to say the least. And like anything else when you introduce a precision element into an existing chain, the constraints and the limitations of the previous equipment will now be in your ears. And what was a balanced and pleasant sound is now, not. In short, good enough for the previous system may not be good enough for these headphones.

Sorta like putting a monster engine in an econ-0-box car and not updating the brakes or the suspension or the tires. Yeah it'll go fast, sort of, but won't stop or handle in keeping with the new found speed. A new balance needs to be found.

BUT these headphones DO NEED BREAK IN time. ≈100 hours or so just to 'settle in', at least that is what my ears told me.

Also I would STRONGLY recommend that you install either the rabid dog mod to help settle them down or the Inner fidelity Anaxilus mod 'kit' that helps with this. I have the third generation version and I eagerly await the 4th generation mod as well.
http://www.innerfidelity.com/content/diy-modification-sennheiser-hd-800-anaxilus-mod

Some people don't believe in wires as having any effect. And for them they probably don't. But they do for me. And in a similar fashion the hardware that serves up the digits and bits into the DAC and amp ALL add or subtract aspects of the final sound in their own way. Sometimes this synchronistically works out such that a weakness helps to compensate for a strength or visa versa. Sometimes not.

Right now as I write this I'm breaking in some new Q audio cables. Some say they don't need any break in. My ears are telling me a different story.

So for now I'd suggest letting them burn in, install the Anaxilus mod and then see where you are. And be aware that these headphones WILL reveal just what you feed them, so if you want to get the most out of them you need to consider what you feed them, the ENTIRE chain.

Which is why I stated above "these are close to the ultimate tweaker headphones". But they will let you know, and in no uncertain terms, if there is something you need to tweak. Which means they aren't a plug-n-pray setup. To get them to 'sing', I mean REALLY 'sing' you need to get involved and fuss and tweak with the knobs and levers. It isn't necessarily 'hard' nor hard core expensive but you're diving into the deep end of the pool now so don't expect that your feet will touch the bottom like they did.

So the challenge is are you willing to step up and get them to 'sing'?

JJ


Quote:
Originally Posted by dynarec View Post

Maybe I listen to headphones far too loud, maybe I'm always amping them up beyond what is reasonable, maybe I have differing tastes in music to alot of people here, who absolutely love these headphones.  But to my ears, they have a treble upper high extension that is far beyond the pale, it makes it hard to enjoy music to my ears.  When they reach certain high notes they literally scream in my ears, which isn't that nice.  Maybe it's my DAC and amp, I;m running an echo audiofire 8 soundcard through a matrix m-stage headphone amp, having said that i really enjoy the echo card, its sound quality is exceptional on prior headphones like the hd555 and the sennheiser hd205 which i own.  Listening to music i like, alot of aphex twin, ambient, electronic music, coil, black sabbath, whatever, the initial signature seems weak in the bass, thin, apart from placement and soundstage, but it doesnt make up for it.  I don't feel like I want to hear more, with enhancers, in winamp and software EQ I can sort of change the signature sound to my liking, but i still feel like im fooling myself and having paid soo much for these phones I feel somewhat dissapointed.  I've only had them 4 days, maybe I will grow used to them.

 
post #5942 of 6600

I have returned. I have returned as a traitor.

 

I travelled, I heard, I chose what I loved and I did actually walk away with something. Unfortunately it wasn't meant to be, Me and the HD800 though. Incredible sound for sure, I understand how people can call it "Analytical", such brilliant attention to detail. But the overall pump of the sound was a little... laid back? I tried the following combinations:

 

Headphones: Sennheiser HD800, HD700, HD600 - Grado GS1000i - Beyerdyanmic T1 (Plus some "lesser" models)

Solid State Amplifiers: Lehmann Linear USB - Sugden Mystro - Burson HA-160.

 

There didn't appear to be any Tube Amps available to demo, sadly. Not being too hardcore with my Music though, it wasn't an issue, since I found love with the Grado/Lehmann combination. I'm listening to it right now, and it's incredible. The HD600's were definitely warmer in contrast to the HD800's, but still lacking in the intensity I sought. The HD700's were similar predicament, incredible attention to detail, and sound staging for the 7/800's were off the scale with some Classical music I brought along. The Beyerdyanmic was disappointing when taken into line with my own tastes, I didn't give it much time as a result but it seemed reserved, little flat in a way.

 

Ultimately though, due to living on sub-£50 head gear my whole life (with EQ's to make up for what's missing), my taste/preference is perhaps tainted. The Grados just has punchier bass, exhibits overall similarly beautiful clarity and generally a more lively, engaging sound (Aka, a "coloured" sounding headphone, I guess, as opposed to completely neutral). At least, that's my albeit limited experience/view with it. I spent over 3 hours in the store, and after much headphone-swapping I'm comfortable with my chosen kit :)

 

I will keep an eye these Forums and the Market, for undoubtedly another upgrade in the future :P

 

Also: Ouch! My Wallet T_T How am I going to tell my Mother that my Headphones and Amp cost more then my Car!?

post #5943 of 6600
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hideto View Post

I have returned. I have returned as a traitor.

 

I travelled, I heard, I chose what I loved and I did actually walk away with something. Unfortunately it wasn't meant to be, Me and the HD800 though. Incredible sound for sure, I understand how people can call it "Analytical", such brilliant attention to detail. But the overall pump of the sound was a little... laid back? I tried the following combinations:

 

Headphones: Sennheiser HD800, HD700, HD600 - Grado GS1000i - Beyerdyanmic T1 (Plus some "lesser" models)

Solid State Amplifiers: Lehmann Linear USB - Sugden Mystro - Burson HA-160.

 

There didn't appear to be any Tube Amps available to demo, sadly. Not being too hardcore with my Music though, it wasn't an issue, since I found love with the Grado/Lehmann combination. I'm listening to it right now, and it's incredible. The HD600's were definitely warmer in contrast to the HD800's, but still lacking in the intensity I sought. The HD700's were similar predicament, incredible attention to detail, and sound staging for the 7/800's were off the scale with some Classical music I brought along. The Beyerdyanmic was disappointing when taken into line with my own tastes, I didn't give it much time as a result but it seemed reserved, little flat in a way.

 

Ultimately though, due to living on sub-£50 head gear my whole life (with EQ's to make up for what's missing), my taste/preference is perhaps tainted. The Grados just has punchier bass, exhibits overall similarly beautiful clarity and generally a more lively, engaging sound (Aka, a "coloured" sounding headphone, I guess, as opposed to completely neutral). At least, that's my albeit limited experience/view with it. I spent over 3 hours in the store, and after much headphone-swapping I'm comfortable with my chosen kit :)

 

I will keep an eye these Forums and the Market, for undoubtedly another upgrade in the future :P

 

Also: Ouch! My Wallet T_T How am I going to tell my Mother that my Headphones and Amp cost more then my Car!?

 

Told you so - lol. rolleyes.gif

 

The HD800s are amazing but they're hard to fall in love with at first listen.

 

Maybe you'll return to them in 3-5 years and find that your tastes have changed/matured much like I did.

 

But I'm not going to argue with anyone who picks Grado's over HD800s - it's a different sound and a different experience. Not better or worse but certainly different.

post #5944 of 6600
Quote:
Originally Posted by TwoEars View Post

 

Told you so - lol. rolleyes.gif

 

The HD800s are amazing but they're hard to fall in love with at first listen.

 

Maybe you'll return to them in 3-5 years and find that your tastes have changed/matured much like I did.

 

But I'm not going to argue with anyone who picks Grado's over HD800s - it's a different sound and a different experience. Not better or worse but certainly different.

I'm probably one of the rare cases where I loved the HD800 from the start other than the price of course. I think I got lucky in that at that time I had an amp which was known to pair well with the HD800. It's a bit of a picky headphone however. Of course ever since I picked up the HE6 I think I like the balance more but don't see myself getting rid of either. However I do also have an AD2k which I don't use that I don't wanna get rid of either lol

 

I feel like the HD800 is similar to how the HD600 was in the past. Prior to the release of the HD800 the HD600 was something I felt that everyone should own at least once in their life (I still do actually. The HD600 is amazing at the $200 or so range in the used market) and I feel now the HD800 is something everyone should own or listen to at least once. It's a bit hard to say everyone should own since they are restrictive in price. 

post #5945 of 6600
Quote:
Originally Posted by rawrster View Post

I'm probably one of the rare cases where I loved the HD800 from the start other than the price of course. I think I got lucky in that at that time I had an amp which was known to pair well with the HD800. It's a bit of a picky headphone however. Of course ever since I picked up the HE6 I think I like the balance more but don't see myself getting rid of either. However I do also have an AD2k which I don't use that I don't wanna get rid of either lol

 

I feel like the HD800 is similar to how the HD600 was in the past. Prior to the release of the HD800 the HD600 was something I felt that everyone should own at least once in their life (I still do actually. The HD600 is amazing at the $200 or so range in the used market) and I feel now the HD800 is something everyone should own or listen to at least once. It's a bit hard to say everyone should own since they are restrictive in price. 

 

Funny you should say that - I was thinking the same thing the other day; that people should own the HD600/650 at least once in their lives. And money permitting they really should try buy a pair of second hand HD800s in good condition and try for 6-12 months or so.

 

I see so many posts about which headphones to get for people who are starting out in Hi-Fi and I even get the odd PM asking me what headphone to get for a starter kit. "Should I get the Hifiman X, the Denon Y or the Beyer Z" and so... I usually just tell them to get the Sennheiser HD600/650 and they'll get the best possible introduction into Head-Fi.

 

The HD600/650 aren't new, trendy or hip but they've been around a long time and they've been around a long time for a reason. Sure - I don't listen to my HD650s as much as I used to now that I have the HD800 but I doubt I'll ever get rid of them - they're still a reference in their own right and I still love that midrange.


Edited by TwoEars - 11/25/12 at 3:50pm
post #5946 of 6600

I really regret buying the HD650s as my first audiophile headphone. I hated everything about them in the laid back sound signature, and it made me give up on Sennheiser until I listened to the HD800s. I don't get why the HD650s are recommended so much, they can be good for classical and jazz but I could never enjoy EDM, rock, metal with them for the life of me.

post #5947 of 6600
Quote:
Originally Posted by dukeskd View Post

I really regret buying the HD650s as my first audiophile headphone. I hated everything about them in the laid back sound signature, and it made me give up on Sennheiser until I listened to the HD800s. I don't get why the HD650s are recommended so much, they can be good for classical and jazz but I could never enjoy EDM, rock, metal with them for the life of me.


Yep, I agree fully. I just never understood the rave reviews about the senn 600s/650s (I had both for a long time; still have the 650s).

They always sounded like a cloudy, claustrophobic room to me, and they were too tight and clamping to be able to just put them on and forget them.

post #5948 of 6600
Quote:
Originally Posted by dukeskd View Post

I really regret buying the HD650s as my first audiophile headphone. I hated everything about them in the laid back sound signature, and it made me give up on Sennheiser until I listened to the HD800s. I don't get why the HD650s are recommended so much, they can be good for classical and jazz but I could never enjoy EDM, rock, metal with them for the life of me.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rgs9200m View Post


Yep, I agree fully. I just never understood the rave reviews about the senn 600s/650s (I had both for a long time; still have the 650s).

They always sounded like a cloudy, claustrophobic room to me, and they were too tight and clamping to be able to just put them on and forget them.

 

I understand what you're saying but I think you're also slightly missing the point - the HD600/650 isn't the best first headphone to get because it's the *best* first headphone you can get.

 

Some will prefer an ever more laid back sound than the HD600/650, some want it more upfront and faster, some want "beauty", some want "accuracy" and so on.

 

The beauty about the HD600/650 is that:

 

1. They are IMHO very good despite what you say - I find them superbly comfortable with a beautiful warm, natural, detailed and yet forgiving midrange.

 

2. Everyone who's been around audio know what they sound like (and this is the real kicker)

 

Reason number 2 is also why it's the perfect first serious headphone in much the same way that a BMW M3 is the perfect first serious performance car. You can always ask someone who knows cars and talk about the BMW M3 - it doesn't really matter if it's an old or new model, they've been around for ages and have a very similar feel.

 

In the case of the M3 you can always go:

 

"I like the M3 but I'd like something that feels ever grittier with more of a rally feel" --> Try an Impreza STI or Lancer Evo

 

"I like the M3 but I'd like more bottom end grunt and comfort" --> Try the Audi RS6 or Mercedes E63 AMG

 

"I like the M3 but I'd like something even more aggressive with a race car feel" --> Try the BMW M3 CSL, Porsche GT3 or Lotus Elise

 

"I like the M3 but it's not exotic enough, I'd like something that feels really special" --> Try the Audi R8 or Ferrari 360/430

 

You get the picture - the HD600/650 is the best first headphone in the world not only because they are great but also because they are the best baseline in the world. If you talk about the HD600/650 everyone will know what you're talking about.


Edited by TwoEars - 11/26/12 at 2:29pm
post #5949 of 6600

I love the HD800 and also love the HD650 (perhaps even more so than the flagship). I don't think they're mutually exclusive. I don't get how the HD650 is genre specific and I also scratch my head at the way some describe its sound. It's contrary to what I heard with my first pair and that holds true for the new one I've just acquired. Perhaps I'm not as discerning as some here, but what the HD650 concedes in technical terms, it more than makes up for in musicality and involvement. I greatly prefer it to the latest iteration of the LCD-2 and if forced to choose between it and the HD800, I suspect the HD650 would get the nod.

post #5950 of 6600
Quote:
Originally Posted by rawrster View Post

I'm probably one of the rare cases where I loved the HD800 from the start other than the price of course. I think I got lucky in that at that time I had an amp which was known to pair well with the HD800. It's a bit of a picky headphone however. Of course ever since I picked up the HE6 I think I like the balance more but don't see myself getting rid of either. However I do also have an AD2k which I don't use that I don't wanna get rid of either lol

 

I feel like the HD800 is similar to how the HD600 was in the past. Prior to the release of the HD800 the HD600 was something I felt that everyone should own at least once in their life (I still do actually. The HD600 is amazing at the $200 or so range in the used market) and I feel now the HD800 is something everyone should own or listen to at least once. It's a bit hard to say everyone should own since they are restrictive in price. 

 

From your sig I guess you're using the schiit mjolnir? I've read that a lot of people think a tube amp works well with the HD 800. Did you try any of them? 

post #5951 of 6600

I can't imagine anyone picking the HD650 over the HD800 when both are fed quality signals. The former is so far behind it's staggering. This is coming from someone who's always loved the HD650 and has owned 4 pairs with all sorts of cables.

 

The only time I prefer the HD650 over its big brother is through something like a laptop, or DAP, or super low quality recordings.

post #5952 of 6600

I sold my hd 650...I had antique tube amp with that, however, I wasn't happy with what I was hearing with hd650.

I was beginning headfier then.  I love my hd 800, great sounding headphone.

post #5953 of 6600

I can see where olor1n's coming from...my observation's been that there's a trade off between technical capabilities & musical engagement.  At the HD650 end of the spectrum, you have lesser technical ability, more musical engagement.  At the other end, you have more technical ability, and generally less musical engagement.  And when you step beyond that to the top of what money can buy: an SR-009, or R10, or really good speaker/listening rooms...then you find the two points converging closer than everseriously good gear tends to be transparent to a degree where all you can criticize is the music itself.  It goes beyond technical ability, quality signals, this shaped signature, that shaped signature, and whatever else.

post #5954 of 6600

What do you guys think of the Schiit Gungnir + Mjolnir stack with the HD800? What quality cable do you guys recommend?

post #5955 of 6600

I like it beyersmile.png
 

 

1000

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