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Is the HD800 overpriced? - Page 37

post #541 of 684

Lets not overstate the difficulty in driving them; a cheap Matrix M-Stage or a Bottlehead Crack+ Speedball fed from a Xonar Essence ST can make them sound amazing as it is, better than any mid-fi can. The upper bass impact on the HD800 is tremendous, with razor-like clarity, matching or surpassing that of the TH900. What it loses out mainly is in sub-bass impact.

post #542 of 684
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyle 491 View Post

Lets not overstate the difficulty in driving them; a cheap Matrix M-Stage or a Bottlehead Crack+ Speedball fed from a Xonar Essence ST can make them sound amazing as it is, better than any mid-fi can. The upper bass impact on the HD800 is tremendous, with razor-like clarity, matching or surpassing that of the TH900. What it loses out mainly is in sub-bass impact.

rolleyes.gif

 

If you think the M-Stage or Crack+Speedball can make the HD800s sound their best (especially from a Xonar Essence ST), then I think you haven't heard them at their best (or far from it). Sub-bass on my rig is amazing (and better defined than my TH-900s). As I've stated, many who compare the HD800s to say the TH-900s are doing them a dis-service. The TH-900s sound great straight out of my iPad, while the HD800s needs so much more. So comparisons are very hard to get right.

 

I've improved my gear from a MAD Ear+HD/DacMagic, to a WA2/PS Audio DLII to a WA22/Cary XCiter DAC to a Liquid Fire/W4S DAC-2 and now I'm here with the GS-X MKII and while I thought they were "nice" with my initial rig, they have scaled and scaled along the way!!


Edited by MacedonianHero - 7/7/13 at 1:16pm
post #543 of 684
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacedonianHero View Post

rolleyes.gif

 

If you think the M-Stage or Crack+Speedball can make the HD800s sound their best (especially from a Xonar Essence ST), then I think you haven't heard them at their best (or far from it). Sub-bass on my rig is amazing (and better defined than my TH-900s). As I've stated, many who compare the HD800s to say the TH-900s are doing them a dis-service. The TH-900s sound great straight out of my iPad, while the HD800s needs so much more. So comparisons are very hard to get right.

 

I've improved my gear from a MAD Ear+HD/DacMagic, to a WA2/PS Audio DLII to a WA22/Cary XCiter DAC to a Liquid Fire/W4S DAC-2 and now I'm here with the GS-X MKII and while I thought they were "nice" with my initial rig, they have scaled and scaled along the way!!

I don't think he's saying that that setup makes the HD800s sound their best. He's saying that even with that setup the HD800 already sound very good, so you don't need $10k+ equipment to make the phones sound good and better than mid-fi phones. Of course better gear will make the HD800 sound better.

post #544 of 684
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jd007 View Post

I don't think he's saying that that setup makes the HD800s sound their best. He's saying that even with that setup the HD800 already sound very good, so you don't need $10k+ equipment to make the phones sound good and better than mid-fi phones. Of course better gear will make the HD800 sound better.

Did you read my post? I stated while sounded "nice" with my MAD Ear+HD/DacMagic, they continued to scale to new heights with each upgrade. I never stated that they sounded bad. Though with some mid/low-fi gear, they can very certainly sound "boring or off".


Edited by MacedonianHero - 7/7/13 at 1:23pm
post #545 of 684

I'm not saying that all my friend, perhaps my use of the word "Amazing" in the context of your post is implying that I am.

Quote:
Having a headphone that sounds very good with average gear and amazing with great gear would be ideal.

I'm saying that its indeed possible for them to sound very good with average gear like the M-Stage.

post #546 of 684
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyle 491 View Post

I'm not saying that all my friend, perhaps my use of the word "Amazing" in the context of your post is implying that I am.

I'm saying that its indeed possible for them to sound very good with average gear like the M-Stage.

They can sound good (though I wouldn't extend the term "very good") with the M-Stage. I would strongly suggest you get out to a local meet and hear other gear with them. You might be surprised. smile.gif

post #547 of 684

I've listened to them from the Manley Neo-Classic 300B and a few other top tube amps. I have an idea of just how high they can scale up. But my point still stands, they sound significantly better than mid-fi headphones and the flagships of yesteryear on average equipment. I think we're quibbling over semantics now; good, very good and amazing. I framed mine in the context of mid-fi gear from the outset.

post #548 of 684
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyle 491 View Post

I've listened to them from the Manley Neo-Classic 300B and a few other top tube amps. I have an idea of just how high they can scale up. But my point still stands, they sound significantly better than mid-fi headphones and the flagships of yesteryear on average equipment. I think we're quibbling over semantics now; good, very good and amazing. I framed mine in the context of mid-fi gear from the outset.

I agree with that, except for the Manley Neo Classic as an endgame amp for the HD800s.
I don't recommend speaker amps for the HD800s. Especially tube speaker amps, the 300 ohm impedance of the hd800s may damage the output transformer (that was designed for 4/6/8 ohm speakers).
post #549 of 684
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacedonianHero View Post

No worries Dave...beer fridge is always full too. smile.gif

 

The HD800s are a very tough nut to crack. And my thinking is that this isn't a good thing for a pair of headphones...having to drop a bundle to really hear what they are about. They scale/change quite a bit with amplification/dac/source and can sound "off" when there's issues with the upstream gear. I think this is one of the main reason's why some who have heard them don't love them. Having a headphone that sounds very good with average gear and amazing with great gear would be ideal....but the HD800s don't fit that bill...just the latter and not the former.

Cool! biggrin.gif

 

Also, the HD800's 300 ohm impedance precludes using them with lesser amps. You need some dedicated power to make them sound anything decent. I used a couple of very good but not great amps with them.

post #550 of 684
Quote:
Originally Posted by meyner View Post

lol perhaps but then your not really complaining about sennheiser's HD800 flagship in particular. (Although it can be an important example in what you want to say) According to u, all the super high end headphones may have glaring flaws in certain fields whether it is the build or sonic. Its just the industry and the market itself that you may find unreasonable rather the sennheiser so much in particular. Or is it the fact that sennheiser's HD800 flagships flaws are just much greater than the flaws of other company's nearby priced flagships? Because i don't quite feel like that the case. But i do find the whole flagship highend market to be a bit riduclous. It just feels like a lot of the people in the community have just come to terms with it though for better or for worse. (especially for those with real jobs cough* cough* -poor graduate student me) And if your talking about headphones that may seem overpriced i would like to point my fingers at TH900 first not because i think they did anything wrong. I just don't think their sound warrants such a price when comparing to its competitor's flagships. 

 

Also you were talking about blatly obvious problems but it may be the case that they knew about it or found out later but compared the cost of making the change vs the impact in the market for their target audience may have had to do with their decision. It may sound ridiculous considering we're paying such top dollar for their product but if you consider the fact that there have been car companies that choose not recall cars after finding a problem based on profit margins (thats life and death) its not that ridiculous. (They made the assumption making compensation payments may be cheaper than full on recall. not so bad anymore since the media is more sensitive) At some point you just have to shoot the engineer and get the product through. They could've easily fixed it? it doesn't matter to the people in the higher up. Every day delayed from the production line is millions lost in opportunity cost. This is especially true a larger the company gets. 

Actually yes, I am complaining about the HD800 in particular. The SA3000, okay, I understand a $150 headphone having some bad flaws. The HD600.. I guess its ok for a $400 headphone to have a crippling issue... but a headphone costing well over a thousand dollars? What? That makes absolutely no sense to me.

 

Please keep in mind that we're talking four digit prices for a god forsaken headphone. Back in the 70's and '80s, even the most expensive headphones (except for extremely exclusive boutique products like high-end electrostats) would have costed no more than $700 in today's money. Like seriously, the 4AAA was KOSS's flagship back in the late 70's. It was quite literally the best dynamic headphone in the world at the time of its introduction, and its starting pricetag was $100. Taking inflation into consideration, that translates into about $486 in today's money. For the best dynamic headphone. Plus, after a few years it could be had for as little as $40.

 

My point is, Sennheiser could make quite a large profit off the HD800 at a price point well below what they're asking for it, and they haven't even put in enough effort to make their best headphone as good as they possibly can. Headphone companies have just gotten incredibly greedy and incredibly lazy in the past few decades, Senn of course being one of the worst offenders. It's inexcusable.

 

Also uh, I'm sorry, but the TH900 is easily the absolute best headphone we've seen since the MDR-R10. That's a very, VERY bad example. The TH900 doesn't do anything wrong and it's from a company with a HELL of a lot more experience than Sennheiser, and it only costs $500 more than the HD800 (which does a hell of a lot of things wrong). The TH900 uses biocel for its diaphragm, just like many of the best headphones ever made. Add the urushi laquer on the earcups and you've got a very logical reason to charge ~$2k. Definitely a lot more of a luxury product than the HD800.


Edited by takato14 - 7/7/13 at 4:55pm
post #551 of 684
Quote:
Originally Posted by Seamaster View Post
Talk about over pricing, Grado has been doing it for years.

I seriously hope you're joking. Grado's in any price bracket will 7 time out of ten beat out any other can in that price range. At least I know my SR80i does. As does my friends SR325i I had the pleasure of listening to. And the RS1 I heard at a recent meet.

post #552 of 684
Quote:
Originally Posted by takato14 View Post

Actually yes, I am complaining about the HD800 in particular. The SA3000, okay, I understand a $150 headphone having some bad flaws. The HD600.. I guess its ok for a $400 headphone to have a crippling issue... but a headphone costing well over a thousand dollars? What? That makes absolutely no sense to me.

 

Please keep in mind that we're talking four digit prices for a god forsaken headphone. Back in the 70's and '80s, even the most expensive headphones (except for extremely exclusive boutique products like high-end electrostats) would have costed no more than $700 in today's money. Like seriously, the 4AAA was KOSS's flagship back in the late 70's. It was quite literally the best dynamic headphone in the world at the time of its introduction, and its starting pricetag was $100. Taking inflation into consideration, that translates into about $486 in today's money. For the best dynamic headphone. Plus, after a few years it could be had for as little as $40.

 

My point is, Sennheiser could make quite a large profit off the HD800 at a price point well below what they're asking for it, and they haven't even put in enough effort to make their best headphone as good as they possibly can. Headphone companies have just gotten incredibly greedy and incredibly lazy in the past few decades, Senn of course being one of the worst offenders. It's inexcusable.

 

Also uh, I'm sorry, but the TH900 is easily the absolute best headphone we've seen since the MDR-R10. That's a very, VERY bad example. The TH900 doesn't do anything wrong and it's from a company with a HELL of a lot more experience than Sennheiser, and it only costs $500 more than the HD800 (which does a hell of a lot of things wrong). The TH900 uses biocel for its diaphragm, just like many of the best headphones ever made. Add the urushi laquer on the earcups and you've got a very logical reason to charge ~$2k. Definitely a lot more of a luxury product than the HD800.

 

Well rate of return is much lesser the higher bracket you go. Its pretty unfair to compare value with 300, 400 dollar headphones with HD800 (4 digit cost headphone) and complain about value. If you want dollar for dollar value its very hard to beat something like grado sr80i or HD 600. You can compare it with other headphones that are much more similar in price like $1350, $1100 headphones. Plus a very large group of people myself not included would easily claim that HD 800 sounds better than TH900 by a noticeable margin. (i would choose to listen to the TH900 over HD 800 anyday unlike a lot of people i've seen post on the forums but i do not find the price diff agreeable) A lot of people will claim that TH900 is a great pair of headphones but in general purely sound wise it will fall behind T1, HE-6 (well driven), and HD800. (if youo include LCD 2 to the mix, it would be the 4 that generally has the opinion of great value high end in thsi community although it is very divided in whcih is the best) I generally find the term "great value" to have some what of a different meaning when comparing value with headphones sold at a few hundred to over a thousand. (maybe this is where our fundamental differences in opinion lie)

 

Also the biggest factor for price when you go to high end is not production cost or R&D cost. (like you said i bet they would have sizable margins even if it wasn't 4 digit cost) But the cost is very strongly dictated by its direct competitor product specifically which would mean flagship products that other companies are made in similar price. (T1 vs HD800 is the most ideal example in my opinion) Normally this wouldn't matter as much in a monopolistic competition market but this happens because it is a olipology based market (cheaper headphones would be closer to monopolistic competition market). These types of market also attributes to a very large price margin difference between the actual cost to make the product and price sold. Yea it sucks for us. And no it is not worth it to me in my books (as you have made it clear it is not to you either). But its selling well and they're making profit so the market disagrees in general good for me,you, and them. They just doing what it takes to make the most profit as possible and frankly any company would do this. I would find it unfair to call them greedy since it is something any company would usually do. If the marketing division told the higher ups we have to price this product as "x" to make most profit. Pretty much any company would set the price that way. Also i doubt companies were noble in the past but turned greedy in the recent years. I would mostly attribute to the fact that more people than in the past would be willing to purchase high end headphones and people in general have more purchasing power today than 30, 40 years ago. so even if quality/standard dropped or remained the same since demand is higher they would have no problem selling their product. (company in certain situations can make more money by not making the best product possible cause there are also costs associated to it. As long as the quality is similar to their direct competition market they will just live with it) With more and better market and mathamatical model the company can also set a price that is closer to what would maximize their profits as well. People have always been greedy if you can call it that its just that the environment back then and now is pretty different. (that include the cost of labor in germany today vs 1980 as well unless you want your flagships made in china) (but perhaps i have digressed too much here)

 

But i would like to give you a challenge to go around and try to find people that would claim that HD 800 is noticeably worse than its direct competitors. (T1, HE-6, etc) You may find some people since nothing is absolute but i'm pretty confident that the general concensus would be HD 800 is not noticeably worse than its direct competitor. A lot of people here will prefer one to the other but most will agree that they're different style of headphones but on relatively equal grounds and in the end thats the reason for quality drop(although some will disagree), pricing increase, etc. Basically the point i want to make is that fundamentally its price as well as the quality of the product came out as it did because sennheiser had a specific price bracket in mind (targeting a specific market) and also specific competitor products in mind. Frankly I would give them a check mark for both boxes in terms of executing what they had planned to do. A goal of a company is not to make the best possible product even if it may be the very highend side as long as the consumer thinks its competitive to its similarly priced products. (I would not considere 300, 400 dollar headphones or even higher priced headphones like TH900 to be HD 800's intended direct competition when they made this product nor do i think it is possible for any 4 digit headphone to emulate the kind of dollar for dollar value like HD 600 can) But if you think that HD 800 does a noticeably worse job than T1, HE-6, LCD 2 then i will say that you have a good point that it is unacceptable/ridiculous that HD 800 make such a product with such a price tag


Edited by meyner - 7/7/13 at 9:28pm
post #553 of 684

I agree, the Grado SR80i is a steal. for $100.

post #554 of 684
Quote:
Originally Posted by meyner View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by takato14 View Post

Actually yes, I am complaining about the HD800 in particular. The SA3000, okay, I understand a $150 headphone having some bad flaws. The HD600.. I guess its ok for a $400 headphone to have a crippling issue... but a headphone costing well over a thousand dollars? What? That makes absolutely no sense to me.

 

Please keep in mind that we're talking four digit prices for a god forsaken headphone. Back in the 70's and '80s, even the most expensive headphones (except for extremely exclusive boutique products like high-end electrostats) would have costed no more than $700 in today's money. Like seriously, the 4AAA was KOSS's flagship back in the late 70's. It was quite literally the best dynamic headphone in the world at the time of its introduction, and its starting pricetag was $100. Taking inflation into consideration, that translates into about $486 in today's money. For the best dynamic headphone. Plus, after a few years it could be had for as little as $40.

 

My point is, Sennheiser could make quite a large profit off the HD800 at a price point well below what they're asking for it, and they haven't even put in enough effort to make their best headphone as good as they possibly can. Headphone companies have just gotten incredibly greedy and incredibly lazy in the past few decades, Senn of course being one of the worst offenders. It's inexcusable.

 

Also uh, I'm sorry, but the TH900 is easily the absolute best headphone we've seen since the MDR-R10. That's a very, VERY bad example. The TH900 doesn't do anything wrong and it's from a company with a HELL of a lot more experience than Sennheiser, and it only costs $500 more than the HD800 (which does a hell of a lot of things wrong). The TH900 uses biocel for its diaphragm, just like many of the best headphones ever made. Add the urushi laquer on the earcups and you've got a very logical reason to charge ~$2k. Definitely a lot more of a luxury product than the HD800.

 

Well rate of return is much lesser the higher bracket you go. Its pretty unfair to compare value with 300, 400 dollar headphones with HD800 (4 digit cost headphone) and complain about value. If you want dollar for dollar value its very hard to beat something like grado sr80i or HD 600. You can compare it with other headphones that are much more similar in price like $1350, $1100 headphones. Plus a very large group of people myself not included would easily claim that HD 800 sounds better than TH900 by a noticeable margin. (i would choose to listen to the TH900 over HD 800 anyday unlike a lot of people i've seen post on the forums but i do not find the price diff agreeable) A lot of people will claim that TH900 is a great pair of headphones but in general purely sound wise it will fall behind T1, HE-6 (well driven), and HD800. (if youo include LCD 2 to the mix, it would be the 4 that generally has the opinion of great value high end in thsi community although it is very divided in whcih is the best) I generally find the term "great value" to have some what of a different meaning when comparing value with headphones sold at a few hundred to over a thousand. (maybe this is where our fundamental differences in opinion lie)

 

Although high end is very strongly based on personal preference i have very rarely seen people claim that TH900 sounds better than the previous 3 with the correct setup. (but they do exist) And personally i do not find the price difference margin between the 3 phones and TH900 to be marginal at all. To me $500 margin is a lot of money even in the high end. Also headphones like LCD 2 have a pretty noticeable issue of discomfort due purely the weight of the phones itself, costs 4 digits but is considered great value yet many people would still consider HD 800 to be better than LCD 2 although i personally prefer LCD 2 over HD 800. Lastly you were talking about $700 dollar headphones like 30, 40 years ago. Unfortunately i would say that there is a noticeable inflation rate between such a time period. Very possible and unsuprising if its higher price today even after inflation margin, but this gap is smaller than you may think is all i want to say for that.

 

Also the biggest factor for price when you go to high end is not production cost or R&D cost. (like you said i bet they would have sizable margins even if it wasn't 4 digit cost) But the cost is very strongly dictated by its direct competitor product specifically which would mean flagship products that other companies are made in similar price. (T1 vs HD800 is the most ideal example in my opinion) Normally this wouldn't matter as much in a monopolistic competition market but this happens because it is a olipology based market (cheaper headphones would be closer to monopolistic competition market). These types of market also attributes to a very large price margin difference between the actual cost to make the product and price sold. Yea it sucks for us. And no it is not worth it to me in my books (as you have made it clear it is not to you either). But its selling well and they're making profit so the market disagrees in general good for me,you, and them. They just doing what it takes to make the most profit as possible and frankly any company would do this. I would find it unfair to call them greedy since it is something any company would usually do. If the marketing division told the higher ups we have to price this product as "x" to make most profit. Pretty much any company would set the price that way. Also i doubt companies were noble in the past but turned greedy in the recent years. I would mostly attribute to the fact that more people than in the past would be willing to purchase high end headphones and people in general have more purchasing power today than 30, 40 years ago. so even if quality/standard dropped or remained the same since demand is higher they would have no problem selling their product. (company in certain situations can make more money by not making the best product possible cause there are also costs associated to it. As long as the quality is similar to their direct competition market they will just live with it) With more and better market and mathamatical model the company can also set a price that is closer to what would maximize their profits as well. People have always been greedy if you can call it that its just that the environment back then and now is slightly different. (but perhaps i have digressed too much here)

 

But i would like to give you a challenge to go around and try to find people that would claim that HD 800 is noticeably worse than its direct competitors. (T1, HE-6, etc) You may find some people since nothing is absolute but i'm pretty confident that the general concensus would be HD 800 is not noticeably worse than its direct competitor products and in the end thats the reason for quality drop(although some will disagree), pricing increase, etc. Basically the point i want to make is that fundamentally its price as well as the quality of the product came out as it did because sennheiser had a specific price bracket in mind (targeting a specific market) and also specific competitor products in mind. Frankly I would give them a check mark for both boxes in terms of executing what they had planned to do. A goal of a company is not to make the best possible product even if it may be the very highend side as long as the consumer thinks its competitive to its similarly priced.  Its to maximize profit.

You're not listening. The HD800 is cripplingly flawed and it shouldn't be. That's what I'm trying to say. It doesn't matter how its direct competitors perform. Flagships are supposed to be as good as possible, they're supposed to be the representation of the best the company can do. Sennheiser could very easily fix the HD800's treble peak (*cough* anax mod *cough*), they just won't. Hell, if they did they'd probably bump the price up another $500 and call it the HD850.

 

I thought I made it clear that I took inflation into consideration. The highest MSRP for a headphone (not counting electrostats) I found from the 70's was $150. Some simple calculations using inflation rates proved that's about $720 or so today. Headphones are still headphones. They aren't just all of a sudden worth more because time has passed.

 

I know quite a few people who would vouch that the HE-6 is indeed a better listening experience than the HD800 when properly powered.

 

But that's not the point. The point is headphone companies aren't even ******* trying anymore. Think of it like this, headphones are basically small speakers strapped onto your head. Do you know how speakers are tuned? Their housings are painstakingly tuned and dampened to make the frequency response as perfect as they possibly can. This requires the use of extensive acoustic dampening and tweaking. Headphone companies don't do this anymore. They just slap their drivers into an enclosure and call it good. Which leads to a slew of problems, like the HD800's massive 10kHz peak. TheyTheFostex is the ONLY one left who's actually investing time into damping their headphones (TH600 and TH900) to make them as good as they can.

 

Here's a challenge for you: name one headphone in production today, from any other company, that actually has acoustic damping in the earcups. One. I guarantee you can't. 


Edited by takato14 - 7/7/13 at 9:27pm
post #555 of 684
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyle 491 View Post

Lets not overstate the difficulty in driving them; a cheap Matrix M-Stage or a Bottlehead Crack+ Speedball fed from a Xonar Essence ST can make them sound amazing as it is, better than any mid-fi can. The upper bass impact on the HD800 is tremendous, with razor-like clarity, matching or surpassing that of the TH900. What it loses out mainly is in sub-bass impact.

This. The HD800 is <not> hard to drive by any means, it just soils its pants like a 2-year old when the amp is poorly designed. My Pandora can easily power the HD800 to near deafening levels.

 

And yes, before the question comes up, amping is only about volume. Any sound quality changes you are noticing are due to the better or poorer design of the amplifier in question and synergy with a particular headphone. The HD800 is quite transparent so it's difficult to please, and as amplifiers get more expensive you're paying for the better circuit design and better parts. Often times these better designs also have considerably more power than lower-end equipment. The idea that the HD800, HD600, etc are difficult to drive is a misconception caused by coincidence.

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