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REVIEW: Sennheiser HD 800 - Page 3

post #31 of 629
Nice review and honest impressions.
post #32 of 629
Finally a real review of these cans. Thanks a lot. This is a wonderfully detailed review.
post #33 of 629
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CDBacklash View Post
You mention you wouldnt buy it for its current retail price. How low would it have to go for you to buy it?
Ahhh...what an excellent question! I wondered if someone would ask it

We all have our different financial pain points. The HD800, in addition to having some very special qualities, also for me have the advantage of the fact that the high-ish impedance means that they do not hum at all with any of the tube amps I own. If they were $700, I'd buy them in a heartbeat. If they were $900, I'd still seriously consider it.
post #34 of 629
Skylab, I strongly suggest to try balanced setup for HD800.

While there is somewhat more very slight control on treble, the bass response of HD800 dramatically improves with balanced setup.
post #35 of 629
Skylab, thanks again for a very well-reasoned review.

Some thoughts that come to mind: In the back of my mind has been the importance of headphone preferences in how one appreciates any pair of cans. Specifically, in my case, when D5000s were my choice, many other headphones sounded anaemic. I attributed this to the body given to the music by the bass, and mid-bass. Audio Technicas, for example, just sounded dull and flat. After spending a lot of time without the Denons and listening a lot with Stax instead, my preferences have moved towards the effortless presentation they give.

For me, then, I share much of your opinion of the HD-800s, but find, so far, that the bass is "just right". If I still was using my Denons, I might feel otherwise. In contrast to your experience, I also found that upgrading my amp from the C2C to the Phoenix resulted in less irritation with sibilant tracks, more in line with the lack of irritation I get even with bright-sounding Stax. (It should be noted there isn't much in the way of comparison of the Phoenix with other amps so nothing should be concluded from this as yet.)

Lastly, it's a pity you couldn't write about how they sound balanced, but I think since that just improves on their strengths it's a small thing IMO.
post #36 of 629
Sticky this mofo!
post #37 of 629
Excellent full review Skylab. You and others on this site continue to be great assets to Head-fi. Your desciptions of the HD 800 kind of remind me of the SA5000, which I find in my stable to be to be great headphones for my needs. Some hate them, and some love them.

Others please start posting your full reviews, stating equipment used, and songs listened to, as I am still on the fence since canceling my order months ago of the HD 800, and ordering the D7000's. Help this young old man get off the fence. I am a speaker guy first, and headphone guy second, but we all need our privacy and intimate listening. ; )

Happy listening!
post #38 of 629
Did you get a chance to compare the soundstage against the AKG K-1000? Although the HD-800 soundstage is wonderful, I've found that the K-1000 still gives the most speaker-like presentation, especially when you put the earspeakers out and feed it a fair bit of power.

I disagree about the bass - I had originally thought it a little too much, but it's starting to sound more and more right to me. Granted, I avoid bass monster closed headphones and had spent a bit of time with the K-501, K-1000, DT48, and Quad ESL-63s. The good news, from where I sit, is that the HD-800 offers the same quality of bass those do, but in greater quantity. I think it's a matter of perspective from where each listener lies on the bass spectrum.

Also, I have noticed a fair amount of sensitivity to amplification. The HD-800 is sensitive enough to demonstrate the slightly rolled off lows on the Si2A3 - though the DHT mids are also plainly displayed. They take on a less lush, but more authoritative character with the Zana. Those are the two I have in my system right now, but plan to change up with a few others in the near future.

And thank you for your review!
post #39 of 629
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by wnmnkh View Post
Skylab, I strongly suggest to try balanced setup for HD800.

While there is somewhat more very slight control on treble, the bass response of HD800 dramatically improves with balanced setup.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post

Lastly, it's a pity you couldn't write about how they sound balanced, but I think since that just improves on their strengths it's a small thing IMO.
I would like to try them balanced someday, but this would require my being able to borrow a balanced pair

Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post

For me, then, I share much of your opinion of the HD-800s, but find, so far, that the bass is "just right". If I still was using my Denons, I might feel otherwise. In contrast to your experience, I also found that upgrading my amp from the C2C to the Phoenix resulted in less irritation with sibilant tracks, more in line with the lack of irritation I get even with bright-sounding Stax. (It should be noted there isn't much in the way of comparison of the Phoenix with other amps so nothing should be concluded from this as yet.)
Interesting - I will be getting a Phoenix to review, but unfortunately probably will not have the HD800 anymore when I do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Erik View Post
Did you get a chance to compare the soundstage against the AKG K-1000? Although the HD-800 soundstage is wonderful, I've found that the K-1000 still gives the most speaker-like presentation, especially when you put the earspeakers out and feed it a fair bit of power.

I disagree about the bass - I had originally thought it a little too much, but it's starting to sound more and more right to me. Granted, I avoid bass monster closed headphones and had spent a bit of time with the K-501, K-1000, DT48, and Quad ESL-63s. The good news, from where I sit, is that the HD-800 offers the same quality of bass those do, but in greater quantity. I think it's a matter of perspective from where each listener lies on the bass spectrum.

Also, I have noticed a fair amount of sensitivity to amplification. The HD-800 is sensitive enough to demonstrate the slightly rolled off lows on the Si2A3 - though the DHT mids are also plainly displayed. They take on a less lush, but more authoritative character with the Zana. Those are the two I have in my system right now, but plan to change up with a few others in the near future.

And thank you for your review!
My pleasure!

I have only heard the AKG K1000 for about 15 minutes, which was not enough to make any kind of evaluation about them, other than they were certainly different. But I know many people agree with you they are the king of soundstaging.

And yes, if my point of reference where the headphones you list, which are well known for not having a lot of bass (especially the DT48!), then I'm sure the HD800 would seem to have a lot of bass! Definitely a matter of perspective on that. And with some kinds of music you'd never miss the extra bass weight. But my problem with the HD800 is that it does not reproduce rock kick-drum in full measure. This I would miss, given my general musical tastes.
post #40 of 629
as others have mentioned, nice review skylab ... I'm glad to see that all that 800 bitchin didnt go to waste
post #41 of 629

reproduce rock kick-drum in full measure

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skylab View Post
But my problem with the HD800 is that it does not reproduce rock kick-drum in full measure. This I would miss, given my general musical tastes.
Which headphones do you feel are best at reproducing rock kick-drum in full measure? ah-d2000 or it's big brothers? grado r1?
post #42 of 629
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sling5s View Post
Which headphones do you feel are best at reproducing rock kick-drum in full measure? ah-d2000 or it's big brothers? grado r1?
The JVC DX1000 and the Denon D2000 and 5000 can, as could the Grado GS1K and the AT L3000. And IIRC,so can the HD650, although it has been long enough I can't be certain about that.
post #43 of 629
Quote:
Originally Posted by sling5s View Post
Which headphones do you feel are best at reproducing rock kick-drum in full measure? ah-d2000 or it's big brothers? grado r1?
The best? For me the L3000. No comparison. The RS1 after that, possibly along with the Edition 9. The Denon's sound like a more complete Grado line to me, yet with not as much magic. The Grados do upfront excitement like no other, but the Denon's sound relatively close with more openness and versatility. I have yet to hear the PS1's, and I should also mention that the HP1000 comes closest to that type of sound while being neutral. No other "neutral" can comes close in the aspect of also having adequate bass and punch.

I have not heard the JVC, but hope to one day hear it as it seems to also fit the bill in that respect.

Also in regards to kick-drums and punch/dynamics the HD800 do NOT strike me as one of the best. For me the HD800 is perfect for more mellow music like Jazz, Classic, Alternative Rock, and Soul. That is when they sound nearly like the 'best I've ever heard'.
post #44 of 629
Thanks for the thoughtful and well-written review, but your findings regarding the HD800's treble and bass are inconsistent with my own. By way of example, as I type I am listening on HD800's to the John Scofield Trio's "Live EnRoute" CD on Verve Records, which was recorded during a run of shows at the Blue Note in NYC in December 2003, one of which I had the pleasure of attending. Bill Stewart's drum kit sounds much like I remember it from the show -- dynamic, swinging and intricate without being grating over overpowering.

Steve Swallow's electric bass on the recording also accurately reflects my memory of that great show. It is fast, deep and tuneful and just right in the mix.

As for Mr. Scofield, the HD800's make it sound like I am at Table One in front of the stage with his electric guitar amp about six or eight feet from me.

In short, the cans reproduce a realistic aural depiction of the concert experience. I cannot ask more than that from a transducer.

Were you able to try more than one pair of HD800's? If not, have you at least considered the possibility that you may have reviewed a bum pair of HD800's? (Heck, even top-tier car makers turn out a lemon every now and then.)

Thanks again for the review and keep up the good work.

_________________
Quad 99 CDP-2 > Quad 99 Pre > RSA XP-7 (AD-797 & DPS) > Senn HD800
post #45 of 629
Thread Starter 
I did briefly hear another pair of HD800's and they sounded identical to the ones I have fo the review. So I do not think there is any problem with the headphones themselves, no.
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