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REVIEW: Sennheiser HD 800 - Page 8

post #106 of 629
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sanderman View Post
After an hour of "looking at the sound" for details sake I grew pretty bored and switched to the PS1000s. Voices suddenly had proper weight and body. Images were smaller and the absolute detail level is slightly lower, but the Grados sound like what I hear when I hear live music. The Senns sound like what I hear from a good high end audio system that has been assembled to maximize transparency and imaging at the expense of other attributes.
Very interesting Sanderman. How would you compare the tonal qualities (bass mids and highs) of the PS-1000 vs the HD-800?
post #107 of 629
Quote:
Originally Posted by k3oxkjo View Post
I like the HD-800 front half the the hall sound, but also like the DT-48 and its decidedly rear hall sound. They are different perspectives on the same reality to me since the phones are so good otherwise.
A bit off topic, but I am affraid I strongly disagree with your assessment of the DT48 image presentation I found it totally dependent on the recording (can be indeed very close up or very very far in the back).

In general, allocating a fixed row to a headphone is assuming the image presentation won't change with recordings, which would be a flaw in my books.
post #108 of 629
Quote:
Originally Posted by odigg View Post
I agree with greggf.

Using a concert as a baseline is exactly why detailed and transparent headphone can sound unmusical. In a concert hall we don't hear pages turning, chairs shifting, groans, emptying spit, and heaven knows what else. A lot of this stuff is on recordings and some headphones bring this stuff out more than others. Hearing these sounds is interesting when you first hear them on a recording, but some people (me included) get tired of them. I've never noticed the strings of a string instrument vibrating in a concert, but it seems even that can be recorded and presented on a really transparent pair of headphones. Do I want to hear that much detail?
For various technical reasons, most recordings are made at closer proximity to the musicians than would seem ideal. This is why a truly flat response speaker or headphone will sound "bright" and very, very few speakers or cans are balanced to be literally flat in-room (in-head?). The HD-800 even have a generally falling response from 300 hz up (especially when the adjustments for Far or Diffuse field EQ are taken into consideration).

But some recordings are made at extreme close range, such as ultra closed mic'ed vocal recordings, many multi-mic'ed classical recordings and ultra close mic'ed solo recitals, etc. Adding more treble roll off will help with these, but have the unintended consequence of making normally mic'ed recordings sound more (too?) distant. It's a trade off, it would be better if recordings had more consistancy on how they were recorded, but that's show biz...

Quote:
Originally Posted by odigg View Post
I'll take for examples some of the recordings of Glenn Gould. Glenn Gould, while a brilliant pianist, made a number of whack, groans, hums, and who knows what else as he played. This stuff is audible on a lot of eqiupment, even the really inexpensive stuff. A lot of people found all this stuff distracting in the recordings. In a large hall you probably would not have heard all his noises over the volume of the Piano.
GG is not the best example, in my view. He gave up concertising in the early 60's, so I never heard him play, but older friends of mine did and the manner of noise he made were as obvious in the concert hall for all but the most remotely seated patrons!

And he determined that in his recordings you would here all of this whether you (or anyone else) thought it "distracting" (he being the artist, of course). Keith Jarrett is also of the vocalizing type, you hear it in person (as I have) or on the recordings (ditto).

Quote:
Originally Posted by odigg View Post
For one headphone to make them more obvious while another does not indicates one or both (probably both) of the headphones are colored in some way. If this coloration doesn't suit you you'll find the experience of that headphone to be very unmusical. If you combine that coloration with always hearing some guy moaning "ughhh ugghh" you might find the experience terribly irritating.
Well, I just try and listen to the music! The poster child for this is the album Elvis Costello live at the El Mocambo. Some leather-lunged cowboy-soundin' dude screams WOOOOOOOO! at the top of his lungs about every 45 seconds or so through the entire concert! But it's a hot performance, so c'est la vie...
post #109 of 629
Quote:
Originally Posted by shamu144 View Post
A bit off topic, but I am affraid I strongly disagree with your assessment of the DT48 image presentation I found it totally dependent on the recording (can be indeed very close up or very very far in the back).

In general, allocating a fixed row to a headphone is assuming the image presentation won't change with recordings, which would be a flaw in my books.
I was talking about the frequency balance, not the image presentation.
post #110 of 629
Thanks for writing such a long and detailed review. Great work, Skylab.

Since the day I got my HD800 I listened to them every day.
I love it about them that when I liken to my music or watch some tv/movie with them that they still often have moments were I just think "WOW" what an incredible sound.

I'm not entirely sure if it's just me but the bass got quite a bit stronger over the first 50-100 hours.
post #111 of 629
Quote:
Originally Posted by shamu144 View Post
A bit off topic, but I am affraid I strongly disagree with your assessment of the DT48 image presentation I found it totally dependent on the recording (can be indeed very close up or very very far in the back).

In general, allocating a fixed row to a headphone is assuming the image presentation won't change with recordings, which would be a flaw in my books.
Since the HD800 is transparent, the recording should be the determining factor. Headphones like the K501/K701 give you big regardless. The HD800 reminds me of the DT48 without the flaws and some major improvements. I'd really love to do a A/B for myself.
post #112 of 629
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sanderman View Post
I was listening to the HD-800s last night. I was struck by the incredible low level resolution and sense of subtle texture on vocals. I was also struck by their lack of lower midrange body and weight. These are, to my way of thinking, very "audiophile" headphones. They reveal lots of information and the bass and lower midrange are a bit threadbare. It's as though they were voiced that way intentionally to heighten the level of detail retrieval. After an hour of "looking at the sound" for details sake I grew pretty bored and switched to the PS1000s. Voices suddenly had proper weight and body. Images were smaller and the absolute detail level is slightly lower, but the Grados sound like what I hear when I hear live music. The Senns sound like what I hear from a good high end audio system that has been assembled to maximize transparency and imaging at the expense of other attributes.
Other atributes....such as music and listenability? Always the same problem with gear that gives immediate thrills via details. You forget what has been sacrificed until you discover it is missing. Then you hate yourself.

Same thing used to occur with phono cartridges. Folks would be wowed by expensive, detailed MC's but a Shure V15 MM would be more listenable for a longer period of time without sacrificing anything on the recording.

Quote:
I haven't heard a headphone that pushes lead vocalists so far forward with such size before. To the point that if you crank them to lifelike levels they can literally become overbearing. I was listening to Rickie Lee Jones Naked Songs disc the other night. I turned up the wick a bit and quickly found myself feeling as though my head was the microphone and a gaint 5 foot diameter mouth was singing into my face at a distance of 6 inches. Bizarre. I think the whole image size issue must have something to do with the giant ring driver. It seems to make everything "big".
This has also been my experience with big headphones with big drivers. Yes, you get a "bigger" soundstage but it also "fills in" that soundstage with larger images. So what have you gained? It's like sitting 20' away from a 50" TV screen or 10' away from a 24" screen.

BTW excellent review Skylab! Very well organized and thorough.
post #113 of 629
Quote:
Originally Posted by king.mark View Post
I'm not entirely sure if it's just me but the bass got quite a bit stronger over the first 50-100 hours.
I have to agree with this. The bass response is A LOT better after burning them in, for me at least. They're now perfect in my eyes (and ears). I'm really glad I got these cans.
post #114 of 629
Thread Starter 
I did not find a great deal of change with break in, although these were somewhat broken in when I got them (somewhere more than 50 hours). I broken them in more than 150 hours additional before the formal review, and they have 300+ on them now.
post #115 of 629
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skylab View Post
I did not find a great deal of change with break in, although these were somewhat broken in when I got them (somewhere more than 50 hours). I broken them in more than 150 hours additional before the formal review, and they have 300+ on them now.
Did you notice a phase distortions in the mid-spike or in the treble spikes that flow the hollow feeling?

There is any big change in the burn in process with the HD-800?
post #116 of 629
Thread Starter 
I did not find huge changes during burn in (again 50 hours plus was on the pair I have when I got them).
post #117 of 629
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skylab View Post
I did not find huge changes during burn in (again 50 hours plus was on the pair I have when I got them).
What about phase distortions in the spikes, mids and highs?
post #118 of 629
Thread Starter 
At least as I understand your question, this was not something I noticed.
post #119 of 629
Skylab, Thank you for taking the time to write that beautifully epic review. It defiantly gives a different flavor, than what I/we've been used to.

Currently, I own both the DX1000 and the HD 800 (had the HD 650 for years) and while I agree on most points, I disagree on some others, and others I simply cannot relate to. The point that I disagree with you on, is the bass, because initially, when I first received the HD 800, I gave them a 10 minute listening and I was off on a 3 week trip. Pre-burn in or whatever the cause, I remember thinking, no-way they are worth $1400--no way! Don't get me wrong, they sounded good, but not that good. Fortunately, during that timeframe I heard speakers, the balanced R10s, HD 600, and the HD 800 on Rays B52 (A10/B52 for the speakers), thanks again Ray. The rig that I have a home is the P-1. I came away thinking I had to have the R10 and contemplated selling the HD 800 and going for the HD 600. Many a different reasons, factors and emotions were going on, too many to go into great detail about, because they will vastly differ from others for many like or different reasons.

However, unfortunately/fortunately, I do not have as much time or writing ability, to write as epic a review as yours, but I can note that (as noted above) I have heard the HD 800 on a couple of pretty decent setups. And to make a long story short, what I've found is unlike the HD 650, introducing less is more on the HD 800.
post #120 of 629
Hi Rob, I enjoyed the review. I'll probably never own the HD800, and might never get to hear them but having you compare them to my new love makes me feel better anyway.

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