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HD800 and T1 musings...

post #1 of 913
Thread Starter 
As promised...

Now that I've got about 100 hours on my HD800s and some time to do a little A-B 'ing...here are some of my thoughts:

To level set, the my gear/rig used for this comparison:

HP Laptop Apple Lossless --> Cambridge Audio DacMagic DAC --> Kimber Hero 0.5M RCA Cables --> Mapletree Audio Ear +HD (with 12AX7 Sylvania Grey Plate Triple Mica Gold NOS tube and 2x RCA NOS 12B4 tubes) --> Headphones

Music: Pink Floyd (Dark Side of the Moon and Meddle), Led Zeppelin IV, Michael Buble (Crazy Love), Rush (Moving Pictures), Jazz at the Pawnshop

Both are the best two headphones that I've ever heard and very neutral. I do find again that the T1s are very slightly on the warm side of neutral (confirmed with a direct A-B with the HD800s).

Construction and Comfort:
Both are incredibly well made. They exude $1000+ quality IMHO. But I prefer the more solid feeling T1s for construction. For comfort, it's the opposite: the HD800s (along with the DT880s) are the most comfortable headphones I've ever had on my head. The T1s are very comfortable and most likely a close second or third.

Bass:
The HD800s are slightly more revealing and controlled in the bass, but the T1s have more of an impact. Both seem to go down pretty deep. I'm not sure how people can compare the HD800s bass to the K701s? Being a former K701 owner I would have to EQ the bass to make it at least acceptable, whereas with the HD800s, no EQ'ing is needed. Not to mention, it is deeper, better controlled and more impactful (than the K701/2). The best presentation of my home theater with my 12" subwoofer still goes to the Denon AH-D7000s.

Quality: Slight win to HD800
Impact and Presentation: T1 (don't confuse this as a bass monster because it is far from that. They are quite neutral, with just the right amount of bass impact (along with great depth, control and quality)


Mids:
Both have outstanding and clear mids. Human voices are incredible...and don't sound like your hearing the human voice through a headphone (hello K701). If you like the Shure SE530s, then you'll love both of these.

Quality: Tie
Presentation: Tie

Treble:
Again, like the mids, both headphones are outstanding in this regard. The T1s do seem to have softer treble. Please note they are not rolled off by any means, just when compared to the HD800s and Grado RS1s, the treble is what I would call "sweeter".

Quality: Tie
Presentation: T1s

Sound Stage / Imaging:
While the T1s have an incredible ability to project sounds and location on stage, the HD800s win this comparison. Don't get me wrong the T1s sound staging abilities best the DT800s and HD650s (from memory), but the HD800 is something to really behold! I must admit, the first thing that gave me the wow factor between both of these headphones is the sound imaging capabilities of the HD800s.

Quality: HD800
Presentation: HD800

Detail Retrieval:
Both headphones have revealed things in some of my very favourite recordings that I have never heard. Sometimes very small footsteps, microphone pops, etc... On some of these recordings (like Dark Side of the Moon), I've listed to pretty much monthly for the last 25 years, so I'm pretty familiar with them.

The major difference is that they seem to stand out a little more with the HD800s over the T1s. I think this might be what makes the HD800s seem somewhat clinical to the T1s. Don't get me wrong, with detail retrieval I was only able to really hear these small differences with these 2 headphones and not with my other cans (present or past).

Quality: HD800 (awesome sound and micro detail retrieval, you hear everything, but can seem too clinical and very dependent on quality of the source material)
Presentation: T1s (incredible detail retrieval, only slightly behind the HD800s, but still better than my other cans (RS1s, DT800, HD650, K701, SRH-840s). Due to this they do seem more musical to my ears.

Summary:
You can't really go wrong with either here. I don't think I can say one is better than the other overall. It's more of a personal preference issue and what matters to you.

For me, both will be in my stable (along with my RS1is) for a long time . Both have some real strengths that are really leading edge. Both Sennheiser and beyerdynamic should be commended for their advancements in headphone technology.

But if you asked me: If you could only have one, then I would say the T1s by a nose (or an ear).
post #2 of 913
Excellent review for owners who own the HD800 and are thinking about the T1!

Thanks
post #3 of 913
Excellent write-up. I can't say that I disagree with a single thing you said, with the one exception that I find the T1's very slightly more comfortable than the HD800's.
post #4 of 913
Thread Starter 

Head size?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skylab View Post
Excellent write-up. I can't say that I disagree with a single thing you said, with the one exception that I find the T1's very slightly more comfortable than the HD800's.
Maybe it's my large Canadian/Macedonian melon that works with the HD800s better?
post #5 of 913
We all experience comfort a little differently - just as we all experience sound a little differently, although I do think you nailed this in your comparison
post #6 of 913
Thread Starter 

Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skylab View Post
We all experience comfort a little differently - just as we all experience sound a little differently, although I do think you nailed this in your comparison
Thanks Skylab...it means a lot coming from you!
post #7 of 913
Succinct yet contains pretty much all the necessary info one would need when contemplating b/w the 2. Absolutely agreed w/ m3ntal.
post #8 of 913
Great comparison; we have similar taste in music!

I've been doing very light thinking for my next headphone setup (many many years down the road, hopefully) and I've liked everything I've read about the T1s. I think they would be a welcome change and smooth transition from the D7000s. But again, this is a long time away.
post #9 of 913
Nice write-up, MH.
Must've been fun conducting the experiment! Will you add the RS1i for a little three way... or is that a subject for another thread? ; )
post #10 of 913
Awesome write up as usual. Thanks for all the help! Now if beyer would just ship them out!
post #11 of 913
Nice one... Two cans to definitely keep on the "to audition" list
post #12 of 913
Beyerdynamic for life !

btw, how would you rate the comfort of both of these cans? Which one would you prioritize as being the "most" comfy for long long hours

and i wonder if they're more comfy than the 880/990 series
post #13 of 913
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheAudioDude View Post
Great comparison; we have similar taste in music!
It's really funny because it was a coin toss for me between my Zeppelin avatar and your Dark Side of the Moon avatar!

For me, nothing beats the big four: Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Beatles and Rush!
post #14 of 913
Thread Starter 

Hard to do...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Palpatine View Post
Nice write-up, MH.
Must've been fun conducting the experiment! Will you add the RS1i for a little three way... or is that a subject for another thread? ; )
I was thinking about that last night, but I thought it would be too difficult to add a third can to the mix.

The RS1/RS1i are definitely one of my favourite cans for rock/hard rock/metal and hold a very special place (heck, I've even bought them twice)!

I might add an addendum at a later date with the RS1i in the mix.

And yes it was quite fun to do!
post #15 of 913
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by David.M View Post
Beyerdynamic for life !

btw, how would you rate the comfort of both of these cans? Which one would you prioritize as being the "most" comfy for long long hours

and i wonder if they're more comfy than the 880/990 series
For my head, I preferred the HD800s for comfort (I would say a virtual tie with my old DT880s) and the T1s would slip in right after these two.

The T1s are slightly heavier than the DT880s and therefore didn't seem as comfortable. But then again, that's with my 7 5/8" noggin.

Skylab had them the other way around. But I would say that they would ALL be comfortable for long listening sessions!
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