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Sennheiser HDVD800 Headphone Amplifier - Page 151

post #2251 of 2262
Quote:
Originally Posted by Windsor View Post

I just bought an HDVD 800 to complement my HD 800 and I'm very much enjoying the combo so far, 20 min in and already posting to Head-fi about it smily_headphones1.gif

And I have some questions... 


I didn't realise the HDVD 800 came without a power cable nor a USB cable, so I'm using what I have available which is currently a standard appliance e.g. computer power lead and an old USB cable that I used to use to connect to my old printer (the cable's probably 10 years old). I'm experienced with amps, dacs, headphones and headphone cables, but not yet so with how USB cables and power cables affect sound quality. Has anyone here found a notable increase in sound quality of the HD 800 / HD 800 by means of upgrading the power cable and USB cable above standard such computer cables?


Additionally, when I listen closely I can hear the treble and overall clarity of my rig clear though somewhat muffled, which could be due to the DAC or the cables (my files are mainly ALAC format btw) - what do you guys think?


Previous questions aside, I'm so far regularly experiencing goosebumps listening to this rig!

smily_headphones1.gif  
Mine, which it got colorized in red and black through the Sennheiser partner Colorware, did Not include the power cord, nor have I received the Sennheiser individual frequency response graph for my HD 800 headphones. Sennheiser's website does not mention the inclusion of a power cord or USB cord.
Edited by kayandjohn - 8/23/14 at 12:02pm
post #2252 of 2262
Quote:
Originally Posted by James-uk View Post


Did you do these comparisons Double blind? Did you pass the double blind with at least 90% accuracy? I'm sure sighted you think you hear a difference. We are all susceptible to expectation bias.

There's no expection bias here. I didn't expect any difference as i wasn't going to belive anything until i had tried it myself. and yes both me and my girlfriend tested and switched the cables while the other was listening. I know i know, one's and zeros and power is just power and on the theory goes. But in practice - when you're actually listening to music and not thinking about it, it very obviously makes a difference. 

post #2253 of 2262
Quote:
Originally Posted by kayandjohn View Post

Mine, which it got colorized in red and black through the Sennheiser partner Colorware, did Not include the power cord, nor have I received the Sennheiser individual frequency response graph for my HD 800 headphones. Sennheiser's website does not mention the inclusion of a power cord or USB cord.

To get your HD800 graph you have to register your headphones online and you will receive your graph in the post soon after. This link apparently works well for that: http://reg.sennheiserusa.com

There's a whole thread about the HD 800 graphs here.

smily_headphones1.gif
Edited by Windsor - 8/23/14 at 2:08pm
post #2254 of 2262
Quote:
Originally Posted by Windsor View Post
 

I just bought an HDVD 800 to complement my HD 800 and I'm very much enjoying the combo so far, 20 min in and already posting to Head-fi about it :)

 

And I have some questions... 


I didn't realise the HDVD 800 came without a power cable nor a USB cable, so I'm using what I have available which is currently a standard appliance e.g. computer power lead and an old USB cable that I used to use to connect to my old printer (the cable's probably 10 years old). I'm experienced with amps, dacs, headphones and headphone cables, but not yet so with how USB cables and power cables affect sound quality. Has anyone here found a notable increase in sound quality of the HD 800 / HD 800 by means of upgrading the power cable and USB cable above standard such computer cables?

Additionally, when I listen closely I can hear the treble and overall clarity of my rig clear though somewhat muffled, which could be due to the DAC or the cables (my files are mainly ALAC format btw) - what do you guys think?

Previous questions aside, I'm so far regularly experiencing goosebumps listening to this rig!

:) 

 

I realized that since my HDVD 800 and balanced cable were straight out of the box that the muffled sound was probably due to the new unit and cable needing burn-in, so I've been feeding them music for many hours now and the sound seems to be opening up a bit. The sound seems less muffled and things generally sound clearer, though this will probably change slightly in due course as the equipment burns in.

In terms of USB cables, I still want to upgrade mine from the old one I dug out of storage and was wondering if there's any of you that have found a decent USB cable for the HDVD 800 / HD 800 that enhances the sound in a natural sounding, neutral way. I don't want to colour the HDVD 800's sound. My preference is for a neutral sounding rig that presents the recording as intended to be heard and I have been thinking about getting an Audioquest or Wireworld USB cable for now, but I'm open to more options. Any thoughts?


Edited by Windsor - 8/24/14 at 10:18pm
post #2255 of 2262

Difficult to say for sure, but i think burn-in was more effective for my HDVA than for HD800-s. As for the signature of the Sennheiser amp, compared to other gear i have heard with HD800 it has softer, more delicate highs and with what i have compared it with i would say more natural sound across freq range.

How i know about burn-in? I compared to my Yulong DA8 hp out to HDVA when i got the HDVA and then a month later with some 200+h on it. At first the HDVA sounded slightly dull, lacking clarity, but still with superior detail extraction, better bass and better midrange balance. Then a month later i made the same test. HDVA isn't dull no more, it has even better clarity than the amp in DA8, but with less treble harshness my DA8 gives me.

 

This is my most expensive piece of headphone gear yet, but it had the least amount of wow factor to me. Why i bought it was that it was the first amp i heard that sounded just right with HD800. And it grows every day on me.

I can finaly listen to metal with HD800s, and enjoy what i hear.

post #2256 of 2262
Quote:
Originally Posted by Windsor View Post
 

 

In terms of USB cables, I still want to upgrade mine from the old one I dug out of storage and was wondering if there's any of you that have found a decent USB cable for the HDVD 800 / HD 800 that enhances the sound in a natural sounding, neutral way. I don't want to colour the HDVD 800's sound. My preference is for a neutral sounding rig that presents the recording as intended to be heard and I have been thinking about getting an Audioquest or Wireworld USB cable for now, but I'm open to more options. Any thoughts?

I wouldn't count on a premium usb cable. What other have said that helps with HDVD800 inner dac is something that cleans up the usb front from computer. Something like Schhit Wyrd (99$), or Off-Ramp (>1300$). Read ALRAINBOW's comments on this.

post #2257 of 2262
Quote:
Originally Posted by EvenR View Post
 

There's no expection bias here. I didn't expect any difference as i wasn't going to belive anything until i had tried it myself. and yes both me and my girlfriend tested and switched the cables while the other was listening. I know i know, one's and zeros and power is just power and on the theory goes. But in practice - when you're actually listening to music and not thinking about it, it very obviously makes a difference. 

Measurements science haven't developed far enough to prove you wrong.

Scientificly (today) all a human ear+brain can extract from music is HD800 + a 100$ dac+ 100amp, with cables designed to get trough narrow band signal in audio range with sufficent conductivity. 

Somehow people hear significant improvements with other gear over these scientifically proven components before HD800, i do too. Although I can't comprehend why would a power cable make a difference, from electronics standpoint it makes no real sense to me, but i wouldn't dare to say there is nothing to it.

post #2258 of 2262
Quote:
Originally Posted by Priidik View Post
 

Difficult to say for sure, but i think burn-in was more effective for my HDVA than for HD800-s. As for the signature of the Sennheiser amp, compared to other gear i have heard with HD800 it has softer, more delicate highs and with what i have compared it with i would say more natural sound across freq range.

How i know about burn-in? I compared to my Yulong DA8 hp out to HDVA when i got the HDVA and then a month later with some 200+h on it. At first the HDVA sounded slightly dull, lacking clarity, but still with superior detail extraction, better bass and better midrange balance. Then a month later i made the same test. HDVA isn't dull no more, it has even better clarity than the amp in DA8, but with less treble harshness my DA8 gives me.

 

This is my most expensive piece of headphone gear yet, but it had the least amount of wow factor to me. Why i bought it was that it was the first amp i heard that sounded just right with HD800. And it grows every day on me.

I can finaly listen to metal with HD800s, and enjoy what i hear.

 

I'm loving the HDVD 800/HD 800 combo more and more too and I agree with your description of the highs being delicate. At present I would describe them as slightly rounded, and nice to hear that you found the clarity of the HDVD 800 to increase with time too. :)

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Priidik View Post
 

I wouldn't count on a premium usb cable. What other have said that helps with HDVD800 inner dac is something that cleans up the usb front from computer. Something like Schhit Wyrd (99$), or Off-Ramp (>1300$). Read ALRAINBOW's comments on this.

 

I am still going to get a new USB cable and power cable as in my experience cables make a difference, but I haven't experimented with power cables and USB audio cables yet. I hadn't thought of the Wyrd as a way to clean up the USB audio before and will look into it. Initially I'm thinking that to get optimum audio performance the Wyrd it would have to have a high quality audio cable between it and my laptop's USB port to allow the highest quality signal being sent to the USB cable between the DAC/Amp and the Wyrd. Thanks for the suggestion though! :)


Edited by Windsor - 8/25/14 at 12:46pm
post #2259 of 2262
Hey there,

I'm new to head-fi but I've been lurking around this site for a long time. Ive learned a lot just reading and appreciate everyone's knowledge and input. I've read this thread up to page 131 now and have noticed that almost everyone agrees that the amp sounds better with a better DAC. I own the HDVD800 and the Schitt Gungnir and decided to do my own little mini test, by no means strictly controlled, found it quite revealing but also led me to a couple questions that hopefully somebody here could help me with. First of all headphone is the hd650 and I was using the amp single ended. Speakers used were emotiva stealth 6's. Source was iTunes with audirvana integrated with several different lossless tracks from electronic to classical to metal. I also used a raw mix of mine in Logic X. I used the USB input for both the gungnir and the hdvd. Only cables used were 25ft Mogami 3-pin XLRs. First test was to test the DACs with the speakers. Test was done in my home studio and the room is treated. The gungnir won hands down, more precise and extended bass, clearer seperation between instruments, reverb tails were more pristine and the speakers had a tendency to disappear as the the music filled the room. The first thing I noticed when i plugged the hdvd into the speakers via the analog out is that the volume is significantly lower despite the same settings in iTunes and Logic, odd for a line level out. The highs were crystal clear but the bass and low mids tended to blur together and the extension was gone. Reverb tails were less precise and the stereo field narrowed. The differences between the DACs were apparent even when the gungnir was lowered to a perceived volume LOWER than the hdvd. Thinking I had a clear winner on my hands I decided to see how much different they would sound on my headphones. Now here's where things got interesting. Almost everything changed. When the gungnir was fed into the hdvd's XLR input using the same Mogami cable that drove the monitors, the input was significantly lower than the hdvd coming straight in on USB. Now all of a sudden once brought up to the same perceived level, the gungnir now sounded muddy in the low mids and the bass lacked the extension and the precise start/stop that allowed me to hear the gating and compression in the recordings. The hdvd's internal dac was the clear winner here. I am wondering if there is possibly an issue with my particular input board or if anybody else had had similar issues using an external DAC with the hdvd? I would like to point put that my hdvd800 only sounds marginally more detailed than my apogee duet 2 on the headphones, but the gungnir sounds way more detailed than the duet on the monitors. Any insight would be greatly appreciated
post #2260 of 2262
Quote:
Originally Posted by Windsor View Post

 

I realized that since my HDVD 800 and balanced cable were straight out of the box that the muffled sound was probably due to the new unit and cable needing burn-in, so I've been feeding them music for many hours now and the sound seems to be opening up a bit. The sound seems less muffled and things generally sound clearer, though this will probably change slightly in due course as the equipment burns in.

In terms of USB cables, I still want to upgrade mine from the old one I dug out of storage and was wondering if there's any of you that have found a decent USB cable for the HDVD 800 / HD 800 that enhances the sound in a natural sounding, neutral way. I don't want to colour the HDVD 800's sound. My preference is for a neutral sounding rig that presents the recording as intended to be heard and I have been thinking about getting an Audioquest or Wireworld USB cable for now...

 

Update: I bought two new cables yesterday, both by Wireworld: a Stratus 7 power cable and Starlight 7 USB cable, and I'm fascinated by the results!

 

Briefly, I found that when I changed the old USB cable to the Starlight 7 the general sound of the HDVD 800 / balanced HD 800 became cleaner, the background became 'blacker', instrumental became definition clearer, and weight was added to the bass region as was sparkle to the treble region. Changing the standard power cord to the Stratus 7, the overall sound was boosted and more forthcoming with added presence and sonic weight - simpler put, the sound felt much stronger with the Stratus in the system. Compared to the older cables, the new cables add more clarity, weight and definition across the board and I'm enjoying this a lot! 


I would still describe my HDVD 800 / HD 800 rig to be playing recordings clearly but with a sound that is slightly soft around the edges. Given that my HDVD 800 and balanced cable only have about 20-30 hours play time, based on what I have read and heard and on my intuition, I feel that the sound will open up to bring deeper bass and more overall clarity with time, and I'm very looking forward to hearing the appearance of that whilst savouring every moment of this great-sounding rig along the way.

:)

 

Update part 2: After writing the above, which I stand by, and after listening to tune after tune with the HDVD 800 / HD 800, even after only thirty or so hours of playing time, I'm stunned! It's easily the best sounding headphone rig I have ever heard so far. Wow, just wow! Everything I play through the HDVD 800 / HD 800 in balanced mode, from pop to punk, from funk to fusion, from R&B to rock, from metal to meditation music, it all sounds phenomenal, and I'm utterly speechless, and no words can adequately describe the astonishment I'm feeling at this marvellous moment! The HDVD 800 / HD 800 in balanced mode portrays every recording perfectly, and though I could analyse the highs, mids and low frequencies presented as I listen, I don't want to at all because I've never experienced music played through any headphone rig speaking in my heart as directly as I'm experiencing the HDVD 800 / HD 800 right now as I type this... What sublime synergy, sexy aesthetics and such soul serenading treat I'm finding my experience of the HDVD 800 / HD 800 to be. It is everything I have ever wanted in a headphone rig. I'm in heaven! 10/10


Edited by Windsor - Today at 12:08 am
post #2261 of 2262

If you think those cables are good then you  will be blown away when invest in a proper hifi storage drive for your music. It makes all the difference, the musically simply flows into your ear canals beautifully. You should look into it.

post #2262 of 2262

I have to say the Senn amp makes the HD800 easier to listen to with bad recordings. I was very close to pull the trigger on the BHA-1, which IMO works exceptionally for certain genres with the HD800 but makes bad recordings impossible to listen to. 

 

But still, the BHA-1's transparency still haunts my dreams...

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