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The HD800 divide

post #1 of 252
Thread Starter 
Since it’s introduction the HD800 has caused a divide, almost to a point where for the price $1400 you either love or hate them. Unlike the JH13 for where there’s almost universal love for this IEM see this thread: http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f103/w...ml#post6174733

From what I understand, HD800 lovers are ready to blame associated equipment as the cause for the HD800 not performing well. I’ve read several heated debates after the owners have exhausted every attempt to get there HD800’s sounding the way they want them to - only to be told they must like a coloured signature and the HD800’s are simply not for them.

My own experience with the HD800 has been a rocky road, I disliked them from the initial start although they seemed better in a lot of ways than the HD650, a source upgrade made a world of difference along with a better cable I’m very happy with how it’s come together. But there was a point there where selling the HD800’s popped into my head several times.

If seems Sennheiser unleashed a beast that can only be tamed by few, or are our ears completely different when we don the HD800’s on our noggins.
post #2 of 252
I'm not sure I fit neatly on one side of your divide. I think that they're very good headphones indeed. And meritous of their price level if not exactly a bargain. But yes they are hard to drive and your other equipment must be up to snuff, a powerful amp is helpful in filling out the upper low bass (theres an axymoronic description).

That said you can certianly get to know what they sound like from a decent level amp without spending megabucks. A B22 does not miraculously turn them into some new headphone which is a bass monster.

That said. Even ignoring amp issues, I prefer the JH13 universal. But I sold my HD800 because it simply didn't please my ears as much as my Stax. Not because it didn't please them at all.

I can understand why they're a divisive headphone though. And I agree broadly with what you say.
post #3 of 252
You're sounding like it's the Ed8's being referred to.

If the HD800's didn't arrive with the amount of utterly incredible hype that came with it, then this little thread startup wouldn't seem appropriate.

It would seem that even at US$1400, not everyone will be pleased with what they bought. The hate may well be enhanced by the frustration felt when one isn't pleased after spending so much on them.
post #4 of 252
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnwmclean View Post
a source upgrade made a world of difference along with a better cable I’m very happy with how it’s come together.
I think this is the same MO whether you are auditioning $1400 headphones or $50,000 speakers. No?

It would be so much easier...and cheaper...if I could simply settle for just "good enough." (Yes, I've tried medication, thank you.)
post #5 of 252
I haven't tried the 800's, but both in terms of looks, approach to design and in terms of polarisation of preferences they seem an awful lot like the Qualia 010's to me. I wonder if someone in Sennheiser said three years back: "**** it, we're gonna rip them off!"
post #6 of 252
I think this is a mostly good summary. I guess people imagined that because they are brilliant headphones, that they would be equally enjoyable as they are brilliant. They were certainly frustrating for me in some ways, as they remind me of imperfections in the recordings of my favourite music. Dammit. I am reminded of a review of a $70k vinyl rig that rendered most of the reviewer's record collection unlistenable as it was just too revealing of imperfections.
post #7 of 252
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnwmclean View Post
From what I understand, HD800 lovers are ready to blame associated equipment as the cause for the HD800 not performing well.
Allow me, a person who personally doesn't like the HD800, to vouch for them. I heard the HD800's at the July NJ meet and heard them with two different CD/Amp setups, both extremely high end, and the HD800 sounded radically different through each of them, one of them clearly having a huge advantage. The HD800's must have a good combo feeding them, or they won't sound good.
post #8 of 252
The JH13's are Queens of fun, the HD800 is King of Serious. The JH13 sounds great with no amp other than the one in the sound device, and the HD800 will command the best around when obtainable.

The JH13 has a sound, within it's own envelope, and is geared toward modern Music (a repetitive one note Bass etc. as example). The HD800 has a soul and offers three dimensions with Timeless Music (Classical). The Sennheiser can rock with the best anytime, the JH13 rocks all the time...row Z all the way!

It's not actually the HD800 being hard to service...it's the HD800 showing the service level of the rest of the chain. I don't recommend the HD800 to others, because it's futile without the appropriate supporting cast.

I do recommend the JH13's..particularly for the novice wanting to get a tasty salvo of what the High-End is capable. The cost of the phone itself is the price of admission and will run on any device that the budding enthusiast has available.

The JH13 is the mischievous, wry smiling "girl next door" and is a comfortable fit (remember those fellas). The Sennheiser is a high maintenance "Super-Model"! Demanding, and miserable without the daily propping and servitude of others....
post #9 of 252
Alan, that was a great post!

Peace,

Lee

Quote:
Originally Posted by achristilaw View Post
The JH13's are Queens of fun, the HD800 is King of Serious. The JH13 sounds great with no amp other than the one in the sound device, and the HD800 will command the best around when obtainable.

The JH13 has a sound, within it's own envelope, and is geared toward modern Music (a repetitive one note Bass etc. as example) The HD800 has soul and three dimensions with Timeless Music (Classical). The Sennheiser can rock with the best anytime, the JH13 rocks all the time...row Z all the way!

It's not actually the HD800 being hard to service...it's the HD800 showing the service level of the rest of the chain. I don't recommend the HD800 to others, because it's futile without the appropriate supporting cast.

I do recommend the JH13's..particularly for the novice wanting to get a tasty salvo of what the High-End is capable. The cost of the phone itself is the price of admission and will run on any device that the budding enthusiast has available.

The JH13 is the mischievous, wry smiling "girl next door" and is a comfortable fit (remember those fellas). The Sennheiser is a high maintenance "Super-Model"! Demanding, and miserable without the daily propping and servitude of others....
post #10 of 252
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by guitarplayer View Post
Alan, that was a great post!

Peace,

Lee

X 2
post #11 of 252
Quote:
Originally Posted by achristilaw View Post
The Sennheiser is a high maintenance "Super-Model"! Demanding, and miserable without the daily propping and servitude of others....
Yet, as any high maintenance Super Model, it is never true to life, but rather, synthetic and comprising of the demands of some artificial definition, a product designed by those striving to make a profit, rather than those who want to express life as it is
post #12 of 252
I have been considering balancing my HD650 since HD800 is still not available in Australia.
post #13 of 252
The 800s convey what is put into them. That being said you need quality or it will sound like crap. I was thinking of a pair but I'm going to wait until after I upgrade my creek to a naim headline...that is the weakest link in my hifi (which is fine since 95% of my listening is through speakers).
post #14 of 252
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Audio-Omega View Post
I have been considering balancing my HD650 since HD800 is still not available in Australia.
how frustrating.
post #15 of 252
It seems like HD800 is similar to HD650 where it needs a good source and amp to shine.
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