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How would the HD800 sound without an amp?

post #1 of 52
Thread Starter 

I'm not getting these headphones anytime soon (Fall the EARLIEST) but how would these sound without an amp?

My source is a computer and an iPod with flac quality (and sometimes vinyl rips) though I do have quite a few MP3's but I have my good old Superlux for those cause apparently the HD800 sound terrible with MP3, right?

 

Anyways, how would these headphones sound without an amp?

and do they sound as bad as people say with M4A/MP3 files?

 

Thanks.

post #2 of 52

I hear that the HD 800's sound good without an amp, but your volume will be limited. The HD 800 needs a good amp and careful amp selection to really make it sing though. There is a lot of debate about SQ when it comes to the different available formats. I think that is safe to say that the more uncompressed the file is, the better the SQ.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AddisonTaras View Post

I'm not getting these headphones anytime soon (Fall the EARLIEST) but how would these sound without an amp?

My source is a computer and an iPod with flac quality (and sometimes vinyl rips) though I do have quite a few MP3's but I have my good old Superlux for those cause apparently the HD800 sound terrible with MP3, right?

 

Anyways, how would these headphones sound without an amp?

and do they sound as bad as people say with M4A/MP3 files?

 

Thanks.

 

 

post #3 of 52
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by vo_obgyn View Post

I hear that the HD 800's sound good without an amp, but your volume will be limited. The HD 800 needs a good amp and careful amp selection to really make it sing though. There is a lot of debate about SQ when it comes to the different available formats. I think that is safe to say that the more uncompressed the file is, the better the SQ.

 

 

 

 

Thanks man.

Do you know what amp is needed for the headphone?

I'm sorta a new audiophile, how exactly will an amp make it sound better? what will it do?

 

 

Do you even recommend the headphones? Lots of people say they are amazing and the best headphones. but, then there is a crowd that says they are overhyped and aren't that good and are flat and boring..

Any idea?

Thanks again.

post #4 of 52

I suggest doing a search in the forum for "HD 800 amp" for example and you will find lots of links. Here is one:

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/505616/beginner-advice-for-hd800-do-i-need-an-amp-does-the-cable-really-matter

 

Tyll Hertsens over at InnerFidelity has a great review on the HD 800's. Make sure and watch the associated video. Here is the link:

 

http://www.innerfidelity.com/content/brilliant-sennheiser-hd-800

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AddisonTaras View Post

 

 

Thanks man.

Do you know what amp is needed for the headphone?

I'm sorta a new audiophile, how exactly will an amp make it sound better? what will it do?

 

 

Do you even recommend the headphones? Lots of people say they are amazing and the best headphones. but, then there is a crowd that says they are overhyped and aren't that good and are flat and boring..

Any idea?

Thanks again.

 

 

post #5 of 52

Why on earth would you like to buy the HD800 without an amp? It's like buying top of the line B&W loudspeaker and drive them with a 100$ JVC hifi receiver amp.. Dumbest thing to do..

post #6 of 52
How would you hear without ears?
post #7 of 52

There's no point in buying HD800 (or any other high end headphone) without an amp. It's like buying an expensive car and put square wheels on it.

post #8 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by AddisonTaras View Post

I'm not getting these headphones anytime soon (Fall the EARLIEST) but how would these sound without an amp?

My source is a computer and an iPod with flac quality (and sometimes vinyl rips) though I do have quite a few MP3's but I have my good old Superlux for those cause apparently the HD800 sound terrible with MP3, right?

 

Anyways, how would these headphones sound without an amp?

and do they sound as bad as people say with M4A/MP3 files?

 

Thanks.


It will still sound fine but not as good as with an amp. Dont buy any high end cans without seperately purchasing an amp coz you will just be wasting your money and you will look stupid on this forum. Its like buying an expensive car without putting gas on it. The car will still move if you push it hard but you will definitely look crazy!!!
post #9 of 52

The HD800 sounds unusually good without an amp - in fact, the unamped SQ of competing phones can be seriously flawed, while the HD800 holds its own. That said, amping radically improves the sound.

 

I don't have an external amp, but I cheat: I listen to music using iTunes with a iMac, the iTunes Sound Enhancer, and whatever EQ improves the sound even better. The sound is very well powered, and the quality is comparable to external amps. But without amplification, the sound is unerringly accurate if lacking power. 

 

Want to listen to your MacBook Pro, amped? Use an application like Boom, which substantially increases the volume and sound quality. Maybe not up the same level of a good external amp, but the sound is still quite good. You don't have to spend a lot of extra money to appreciably improve the sound of your HD800. It's just a matter of what you're willing to spend.

post #10 of 52

I've heard a lot about HD-800's needing insanely expensive amps to make them sound good. And I see why people say this. If you are going to spend that much money on a headphone, you should be willing to spend the proper amount of money to get the best out of it. Even Sennheiser has said this (and well, this was before they had their own amp coming out for it). 

 

But I also think people tend to...exaggerate how awful it would be without an expensive set up. I was over at my friends place and tried my HD-800 on his Fiio E9. And while it didn't sound as good as the expensive set up I have, it wasn't god awful. I didn't think it made it so it sounded like a $400 headphone. It still sounded pretty damn awesome, and had all the great qualities (sound) that the HD-800 is known for, it was just less of it.

 

Then again, what the hell do I know. I'm openly a casual listener to light-audiophile at best. 

 

 


Edited by satanigatan - 4/21/12 at 10:23am
post #11 of 52

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by qohelet View Post


It will still sound fine but not as good as with an amp. Dont buy any high end cans without seperately purchasing an amp coz you will just be wasting your money and you will look stupid on this forum.[...]

 

So even if you are happy with your headphones' sound quality unamped you are going to buy an amp just to look not stupid in others opinion?

Oh dear...

post #12 of 52

The question is wrong.  It should be "Can the HD800 sound good without an expensive amplifier?"

 

Your computer and iPod already have amplification circuits that are in place for headphones.  iPod sounds quite fine for my listening with some top tier custom IEM's - so the whole analogy crap up above is a bunch of b.s.    The HD800 still sounds like an HD800 in a round-about way out of the iPod... no it isn't great, but its qualities are still there. Do I recommend it as your final situation?... No certainly not.. I do recommend nice equipment at some point of your journey. 

post #13 of 52
I'll jump on the car analogy bandwagon :-) I'd argue it's more like buying a fast car then using low octane fuel. Will it work? Yes (okay, in most cases). Will you be getting the best out of it? No. As to whether it's better to run a 'worse' car with premium fuel (i.e. cheaper headphone with an amp) is then debatable. There's nothing inherent about high end that demands an amp. Lower end headphones can have the same power requirements. I think the difference would be that high end will have better fidelity and should therefore respond better to the control provided by an amp that meets those requirements.
post #14 of 52
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the responses, guys.

Who knows, after hearing all this stuff about needing a Hi quality amp I might skip on the HD800 because I'd have the money for the headphone and the headphone only by the time I would get it.

Plus, it's crazy expensive.

 

I'll continue to search around more..

 

Before I was looking at the:
DT800

HD598

Shure SR-840/SR-940

 

At the moment I have the HD681B (Superlux) and they've done me good and are amazing (especially for the price) but I need a serious upgrade.

post #15 of 52

The hd800 will sound much better than most other headphones even without an amp. However... 1) your volume will likely be very limited 2) they will improve GREATLY with an amp. 

 

Mp3 is a big no no with the hd800, it'll sound unlistenable. 

 

A cheap amp that will drive the hd800 is the lovely cube or m-stage matrix. Don't forget you'll also need a good DAC, I'd recommend the dacport lx if your looking for something affordable.

 

Edited by Chefguru - 4/21/12 at 12:35pm
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