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Review: Beyerdynamic T1 vs Sennheiser HD800 - Page 8

post #106 of 110

I vastly prefer the T1 to the HD800 by quite a bit. It just seems to fit my tastes much better than the HD800, though I will still buy a HD800 down the road.

post #107 of 110

 

Quote:
The T1s are great headphones but more forgiving than the HD800s. The Sennheisers almost NEED tubes to shine, but then they reward with a very fine, fatigue-free sound that is very realistic and natural with great vocals and a very deep warm unbloated bass. The T1s also respond well to better upstream gear, but they also work well with lesser equipment and solid-state amps.

 

I use both my T1s and HD800s with tubes and solid state - a Darkvoice 337SE, Meier Prehead, Ray Samuels HR-2 and SPL Auditor. I get the same results whether using tubes or solid state, and prefer both with solid state.

 

Quote:
I would say the T1s are more like Harbeth or other British-sound speakers, that, by design, work well with lots of sources. (But the T1s actually sound better than Harbeth speakers to me in terms of detail retrieval and truth-in-tonality.)

 

As a Harbeth SHL5 owner, I also don't agree with this.


Edited by Ross - 9/24/10 at 4:08pm
post #108 of 110
Thread Starter 

Amp Comparison: Rockhopper M3 vs SPL Auditor, w/ Sennheiser HD800

Music used for this comparison:
- Eva Cassidy - Songbird - "Autumn Leaves"
- Julia Fischer - Bach Concertos - Concerto for two violins in D minor - "I. Vivace", "III. Allegro"
- Katie Melua - Piece by Piece - "Shy Boy"
- Laika - Sounds of the Satellites - "Almost Sleeping"
- Priscilla Ahn - A Good Day - "Dream"
- Trifonic - Emergence - "Transgenic"
- Zero 7 - When It Falls - "Home"

Between these two amps for the HD800 specifically, I thought the M3 was the better amp and that the SPL was flat out not very good for it. I also ended up concluding that the SPL and T1 paired well together while the M3 and HD800 also paired well together - and that these are probably the ideal pairs from the equipment that I own.

When paired with the SPL, the HD800 consistently revealed a less-than-desirable quality that was sort of hard to pin down exactly - I can't really find the words to express it, but it almost felt like an artificial, synthetic type of sound, most noticeable around vocals and full-range instruments. It almost made music sound like it was being waveguide MIDI-synthesized, not particularly "real" or "physical." I considered this a detraction from the music - but will add that this wasn't an issue on the T1, just the HD800. In contrast there were no such issues on the M3, which had a nice full mid-range, nothing "synthetic" about it. The M3 brought proper body and fullness to instruments and vocals and made them sound "existential" while the SPL tended to make things sound almost "ghostly" in contrast. It could be said that the SPL had a thin, disembodied mid-range compared to the fuller, rich mid-range of the M3, and since the HD800's sound lacks mid-range to an extent (IMO at least), I thought the M3 filled in for this weakness nicely. It definitely added some much-needed balance to the violins on the Julia Fischer CD as they sounded too wispy on the SPL, with not enough substance, but they sounded more natural on the M3 and the "character" of sound from a wooden source (as in, a violin) was correctly conveyed only on the M3.

In the aspect of treble, the SPL's highlighting of details like guitar plucks and sliding made the HD800 sound more treble-tilted than usual, but it wasn't too bad. Some people would probably find it too grating though, and in my case, I thought the resulting treble was not really pleasant to listen to (and I personally like treble in general). Conversely, the SPL had a relative bass sinkhole to match and didn't really help out the HD800 in that aspect. It mostly simply lacked a heavy bass presence in general. The M3, on the other hand, had strong & deep bass, with good impact and power, allowing the HD800 to really assert its bass power. The SPL simply held back too much and did not produce what I thought was a satisfactory level of bass quantity.

Finally, the HD800 clearly showed the soundstage differences between the two amps and revealed a facade behind the SPL - it tended to sound more like it was translating "air" as literal displacement of every layer in the music. Or in other words, the SPL seemed to push everything backwards for the illusion of a deeper soundstage instead of accurately depicting the size. This double-expansion of soundstage with the HD800 (as I also think the HD800 has a larger-than-necessary soundstage) made for distracting listening sessions where it just seemed too over-the-top. Fortunately the M3 recovered a much more accurate soundstage in comparison, smaller in overall depth but it actually seemed to have more width, with a better lateral left-right span that really accentuated the positions of musical elements panned hard left or right.

If I had to sum up the "sound" of each amp, I would describe the SPL Auditor as "pure, colorless, ghostly, synthetic" and the M3 as "vivid, physical, tactile."


Edited by Asr - 10/11/10 at 12:34am
post #109 of 110

As a Harbeth SHL5 owner, I prefer my PS1000s and my T1s to my speakers.

I never thought I'd say this because I've been a speaker guy

all my life but the newest crop of phones in the last year or 2 have been a breakthrough I believe.


Edited by rgs9200m - 10/11/10 at 2:58pm
post #110 of 110

Complements on a very thoughtful, detailed review.

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