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REVIEW: Sennheiser HD 800 - Page 2

post #16 of 629
Excellent review, skylab... Let me ask a specific question... If I upgrade to the HD800 from my K701, what differences
would I hear in terms of tonality and timbre? I know that the HD800 has far better resolution.
post #17 of 629

I'm more than a little surprised....

...that no one ever seems to comment on what is probably the most immediately noticable aspect of this phones performance out of the box - specifically related to soundstage and imaging within that stage. While the soundstage is strikingly immense it seems to be paralleld by two other immediately noticable caharcteristics. Vocals and instruments in the foreground are rendered quite large. And images in that stage seem to suffer slightly for their size and spread in terms of reduced image densitiy. Rather than hearing lead vocals being presented with tactile palpability and density they seem to be presented with an empashasis on size and texture instead. Mine are not fully burned in yet but in this regard they sound very different from any of the top Grados and I suspect thats going to make them hard to warm up to for many Grado fans. That said, they do present a remakably textured sound. I don't hear any hotness on top (then again that's driven by a Crimson through a Moth) but I do also hear a less harmoinically rich presentation than Grados typically offer as well. If one values an organic stage filled with dense images I'm not so sure it will ever be found here. But I'll keep burning-in and see. I really doubt that will change the image density issue though.....

Joe
post #18 of 629
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sanderman View Post
While the soundstage is strikingly immense it seems to be paralleld by two other immediately noticable caharcteristics. Vocals and instruments in the foreground are rendered quite large. And images in that stage seem to suffer slightly for their size and spread in terms of reduced image density.
yes. i noticed this "diffuse" aspect of the headphone. you should look at my impressions of the 800.
post #19 of 629
And you described them and their flavour extremelly well, like always. It's very interesting the flavour you mentioned.

I was hoping to read your impressions about them.
Thanks a lot for posting them and congratz again
post #20 of 629
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bhanja_trinanjan View Post
Excellent review, skylab... Let me ask a specific question... If I upgrade to the HD800 from my K701, what differences
would I hear in terms of tonality and timbre? I know that the HD800 has far better resolution.
Thanks! I'm not sure I'm the best person to answer this question, though, since I haven't had K701's in a long time. But I sold the K701 because I found the mids too dry - and that certainly is not the case with the HD800. But I think the bass has a little more weight with the HD800 if memory serves. Anyway, I'm sure an HD800 owner who has the K701 also can help.
post #21 of 629
Good review.

I agree with a lot with what was said, strong points and set backs.

In regards to the treble, the HD800 definitely falls in line with most other neutral headphones that at times will have "hotter" treble, so to speak. The reason I truly believe it is mainly the recording coming into play is because of the fact that it is only on 5 - 10% of my music, and the same thing is shown with the K1000 and W5000(on the same music), as well as all of the grados I've owned. But it's all perspective, as plenty of people have said that each of those are bright at some point. Regardless of it being either the headphone or the tracks, it is something to take into consideration if you are sensative to a brighter, more neutral sound, or prefer a smoother or darker sound. It is no coincidence that bassier headphones often have a smoother sound and vice versa. Neutral cans sacrifice the low end for detail/neutrality and the bassier cans sacrifice the extension of the highs for smoothness and bass response. But this is just all IMHO.

I'm also confused in regards to the treble, because it seems like with some people, it's all of their recordings, or even most. Mine is basically the same 20 songs that when I hear, I must skip immediately. lol It would be interesting if we could find out if this is simply due to hearing preferences, gear, or what.

In regards to the bass, I agree with everything you said and that is exactly how I feel about it. The bass is there, it is quality, but it needs just a pinch more quantity wise. There is more bass quantity than the K501/K701/W5000, but probably not as much as the HD650. Now, the quality is better than on any of those cans, but it would be nice to have our cake and eat it too. Reading early impressions, I dreaded this, and if it weren't for this aspect, I could live with the HD800 as my only can permanently. Unfortunately I will need a second, bassier can.

I won't comment on everything else, as the areas where the can does great is pretty easy to see.

Thanks again for the review.
post #22 of 629
I can't overstate how much I appreciate your sensitivity to the various non-acoustic (ie: human) factors that can influence one's perception of a particular piece of gear. It's a testament to both your experience and desire to be objective.

Your conscious effort to try to qualify your perceptions and define your assumptions and possible biases is a shining example of how reviews should be conducted. So much of a review is based on relative expectations and experiences, that painting a picture of your own unique vantage point, can be as important as the observations themselves.

I also appreciate that you raised your level of critical attention to a place that was appropriate to the cost and expectations of the headphone. If it sounds like I'm being effusive in my praise, it's because I am.

It's just very rare that you find reviewers who are capable of this type of rigorous methodology. I believe it is aided by not having a personal investment in the product.
post #23 of 629
Nice review Skylab.

I spent several hours on two occasions with the HD800...but they were pre-production models. To me, they seemed neutral, natural, and revealing....VERY revealing. I was, frankly, blown away. The pairing with a Wadia 301 and Luxman P-1 might be the best I've ever heard.

I'm wondering whether there's any difference between the prototypes and the final production model. This makes me want to go out and get a pair all that much more, just to be sure.
post #24 of 629
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skylab View Post
Thanks! I'm not sure I'm the best person to answer this question, though, since I haven't had K701's in a long time. But I sold the K701 because I found the mids too dry - and that certainly is not the case with the HD800. But I think the bass has a little more weight with the HD800 if memory serves. Anyway, I'm sure an HD800 owner who has the K701 also can help.
Don't you have the feeling that HD800 competes on the same market as the 701?
post #25 of 629
Even handed. Fair. Openly disclosing biases and tastes. You showed us strengths and weaknesses. A most excellent review sir!
post #26 of 629
I can't say I agree with it all (the HD800 is almost exactly what I've been looking for most of which is probably attributable to differences in equipment and music choice) but I am absolutely flattened by how comprehensive and detailed this review is. I think it's your best one which is saying a lot considering the rest of your work.
post #27 of 629
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Acix View Post
Don't you have the feeling that HD800 competes on the same market as the 701?
Hi - I'm not sure I understand your question. Both are "high-end" headphones, yes, absolutely. But they sound very different, as best I can recall. But as I mentioned, I haven't heard the K701 since I sold it 2 years ago.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadrangulum View Post
I can't say I agree with it all (the HD800 is almost exactly what I've been looking for most of which is probably attributable to differences in equipment and music choice) but I am absolutely flattened by how comprehensive and detailed this review is. I think it's your best one which is saying a lot considering the rest of your work.
Thank you very much for that - it is sincerely VERY gratifying to me that people who do NOT agree with my findings will still appreciate the time I took to try to describe things in as much detail and I could. So thanks!
post #28 of 629
Skylab, I so much look forward to your reviews whether it is for equipment I already own, hope to buy in the future or can never imagine owning. I always learn something new and for that I thank you. Bravo!
post #29 of 629
Wonderful review, Skylab. It was very thorough in its analysis and rigorous in its methodology. A review truly befitting such an anticipated statement product.
post #30 of 629
You mention you wouldnt buy it for its current retail price. How low would it have to go for you to buy it?
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