I'm sure I'm a relative noob compared to most when it comes to comparing cans, but I've got a lot of music under my belt. This concept of detail "extraction" (paging the Death Dentist ;-) is interesting. One of my fav songwriters/guitarists/sometimes-one-man-bands is Nick Saloman (AKA, The Bevis Frond). Great English psychedelic rock with occasional fits of trad. folkiness thrown in for good measure. A lot of his stuff is self-recorded (and self-released), but his catalog is extensive. Some of it has fine production values, while others are a bit on the thin, self-produced side. North Circular is one in the latter category. Some brilliant songs, but on certain cans it's... difficult to listen to.
I was comparing that album between Q701s (forget that schiit!), HE-500s (not bad, but lack of low-end in the recording is exposed; still, not as harsh as with the Qs), and the HD 650s. The Senns tamed it a bit and give it a little oomph. I think I was using '67 Orange Globes in my Lyr.
Now there are albums that lose the upper mids and overall energy with HD 650s, whereas they shine on HE-500s. And to me, between those three cans, the HE-500s tend to find the happy middle ground between energy, detail and accuracy. But in the end, they all have a place, even the 650s, about which I'm still on the fence, though sliding off onto the side of keeping them.
Haven't heard the HD 800s. I'd be willing to test someone's out
Don't you find that the treble response of the HD650's a little rolled off? That may be why you say, "Now there are albums that lose the upper mids and overall energy with HD 650s"