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How would the HD800 sound without an amp? - Page 3

post #31 of 52

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lilkoolaidman View Post

I also think that there's not very many cans between the price of the 600s and 800s that are worth the upgrade. Also that way, you'll have plenty left over for a DAC/amp

 

HE-500's? LCD-2's?  Beyer T1's?  HE-6's? Just to name a few...

post #32 of 52

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by wdahm519 View Post

 

 

HE-500's? LCD-2's?  Beyer T1's?  HE-6's? Just to name a few...

 

I think those are all around ~$900 and up and close to the price of the HD800. I wasn't just talking about Sennheiser. But most headphones between $300 and $600 aren't that much better than the HD600s IMO. Maybe that's just the whole diminishing return thing.

post #33 of 52

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lilkoolaidman View Post

 

 

I think those are all around ~$900 and up and close to the price of the HD800. I wasn't just talking about Sennheiser. But most headphones between $300 and $600 aren't that much better than the HD600s IMO. Maybe that's just the whole diminishing return thing.

 

HE-500's sell new for $700...

 

Also, Shure SRH-1440 and Shure SRH-1840, which are about $400 and $600 respectively.  I've never heard these but I have heard good reviews, and Shure products are always good.  I wouldn't be surprised if either of those sounded better than the HD-600.  Maybe I'll buy the Shure 1840 and find out...

 

I didn't start seeing diminishing returns until I got the HE-500 using an HE-6 cable.  Not that they aren't amazing, but for the difference in price from a $300 or $400 headphone that the HE-500, you weren't getting $400 more sound for your money.

post #34 of 52
Once you buy high-end headphones, long long, very long journey is ahead of you :)

Sennheiser HD800 ~ $1500
Wyred W4S DAC2 ~ $1500
Woo Audio WA22 ~ $1900
Balanced cable ~ $600

All that without the source/upgrades/etc.. ~ $5500 + tax and shipping.


Just writing this cause you should aware what you are getting into.
post #35 of 52

Seriously man, you say you're a new audiophile so why are you considering the HD800. The only people who should buy the HD800 are people who know why and EXACTLY why they need it. That is to say most people who should buy it should not be using it as their only headphone because it cannot perform as a do-it-all phone.

 

How the heck do you come from a list like this:

Quote:

HD598

DT800 (600 OHM)

or SRH-840/940.

To looking at the HD800?

 

For what you're listening to:

Quote:

Hip-Hop is one of my main music tastes.

I have a very mixed music taste

Ranging from 

David Bowie, to Rammstein, to Nas, Kanye West, Childish Gambino to Coldplay, Marilyn Manson, Drake, to Pantera.

You get it, haha.

I can guarantee every one of those phones is going to sound better than an HD800 out of your ipod or wtv. Forget about what bit rate it is. Even if it's uncompressed lossless, the inherent recording quality of the music you mentioned is too bad for the HD800. If you listen to any of that through an HD800 you're just going to come back saying that it's grainy, there's no bass, lacking punch, etc. The HD800 isn't a studio monitor but it's not going to flatter any mainstream recordings either.

 

If you're going to gun for an expensive phone simply for the sake of it being expensive, get an LCD-2 or Hifiman. At least these are forgiving enough to glaze over badly mastered/over compressed mainstream recordings and give you something enjoyable. They're easier to drive as well being planars. You'll lose a lot more volume but a lot less dynamics.

 

 

Quote:
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.

If you're EQing your HD800, it means you could have saved yourself a lot of money by buying a different headphone. Seriously, forcing your headphone to sound the way you like it to is admitting outright that you bought the wrong headphone in the first place.

post #36 of 52
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by atomiccow View Post

Seriously man, you say you're a new audiophile so why are you considering the HD800. The only people who should buy the HD800 are people who know why and EXACTLY why they need it. That is to say most people who should buy it should not be using it as their only headphone because it cannot perform as a do-it-all phone.

 

How the heck do you come from a list like this:

To looking at the HD800?

 

For what you're listening to:

I can guarantee every one of those phones is going to sound better than an HD800 out of your ipod or wtv. Forget about what bit rate it is. Even if it's uncompressed lossless, the inherent recording quality of the music you mentioned is too bad for the HD800. If you listen to any of that through an HD800 you're just going to come back saying that it's grainy, there's no bass, lacking punch, etc. The HD800 isn't a studio monitor but it's not going to flatter any mainstream recordings either.

 

If you're going to gun for an expensive phone simply for the sake of it being expensive, get an LCD-2 or Hifiman. At least these are forgiving enough to glaze over badly mastered/over compressed mainstream recordings and give you something enjoyable. They're easier to drive as well being planars. You'll lose a lot more volume but a lot less dynamics.

 

 

If you're EQing your HD800, it means you could have saved yourself a lot of money by buying a different headphone. Seriously, forcing your headphone to sound the way you like it to is admitting outright that you bought the wrong headphone in the first place.

 

Alright, I wasn't fully committing myself to the headphone.

I was just highly curious about it cause I knew I'd have the money by then for it and was wondering how'd it sound without an amp.

I'm not interested in it anymore.

 

Thanks for answering.

post #37 of 52

Buy the HD800 first, then worry about an amp later. You can save up a bit afterwards and get an inexpensive matrix m-stage which will bring out their dynamics and soundstage and is 80-90% as good as amps 10 times their price when coupled with a decent DAC. FWIW, I tried the HD800 on my Samsung Galaxy S2 (terrible DAC) and it sounded surprisingly solid and cohesive, retaining much of its nuanced, spacious and well-balanced sound signature. I also tried it on my PSP with terrible video game music (yes I'm crazy) fully expecting it to rape my ears with shrillness, but nope the HD800 disappointed again by sounding pleasantly full-bodied and free from harshness. When I tried my mid-tier headphones on the same sources they were noticeably inferior, the K701 sounding anaemic with no bass impact or extension and the HD650 nigh unlistenable with a terribly confined soundstage and  a muffled and distant sound.

 

As others have said, a top-tier dynamic headphone like the HD800 separates itself from its inferiors by doing very little wrong at any level, even when driven off a cheap sources. Rather than spending money trying to get the most out of a mid-tier headphone(s), its more economical to go straight to the top, then slowly upgrade your other components up to par.

post #38 of 52

I had never tried listening to my HD800 out of anything else than the Lyr, but today I couldn't bring the Lyr with me when I was traveling so I just took the Fiio E10. 

 

In my opinion the HD800 doesn't sound nearly as good with it. I thought that some songs could be a little harsh and there was some sibilance with the Lyr, but with only the E10 it is almost unbearable. The bass is also worse. 

 

Not a surprise though, as the impedance of the HD800 is way way higher than 300ohms around the 100hz region, if I remember correctly.

 

post #39 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyle 491 View Post

Rather than spending money trying to get the most out of a mid-tier headphone(s), its more economical to go straight to the top, then slowly upgrade your other components up to par.

 

I agree with that, you're on Head-Fi, get a flagship headphone you know you will like. Be open to other headphones too, personally I'd take an Audeze or HiFiman over a Sennheiser anytime.

 

Headphone is still the part of the audio chain that makes the most dramatic increase/change in sound quality. It's also the thing I prefer to own and manipulate.

 

Once you'll like a Headphone, Kyle 491 said it, take your time working your way onto improving its sound (that's the lengthier quest). Plug it in everything you see with an audio jack and get a feel for which electrons would sound the best (what do you want, power, speed, extension, details, musicality, warmth, tubes?), that are good for your headphone (know your headphone). You will be able to read the review of an amplifier and make yourself an idea of the possible synergy your headphone could have with it.

 

Just make sure you buy the right headphone! Unless you are ready to feel regrets and sell it on the forums.

 

If you have money, go for it, even unamped... and don't wander around every other brands buying their mid to low models. If you're serious about it, and it will happen to most Head-Fi, you will want to upgrade, you will buy new headphones, and 2 years later you'll finally have a HD800 and feel like you've done a long way, (not) (you just lacked guts, and ended up paying more, desired many more things and tweaks, it took you time and plastic). That's what I did with Grado... should have bought that HP-2 already. End-game is end-game. Once you've found your love headphone I think the rest is fun (at least has been, and is for me).

 

Plugging it straight into you're iPod will not hurt the headphone. Listening to mp3s with a HD800 won't make you dislike your tunes, or make you want to start upgrading everything (file formats, computer, audio gear) compulsively, won't hurt your ears or your headphone either... I don't think you will get laughed at on Head-Fi either.

 

Now that this is said, you do, will want a amplifier (if you don't have a receiver or anything with juice) to get access to the higher and more exciting volume levels. Names of good entry amps has been given for the HD800, they will do their job and that's all you need to start with. But you can also buy the headphone before the amp, no problem to this.

post #40 of 52

Not the HD800 but I asked a Beyerdynamic dealer with almost 20 years experience about running the T1 unamped through i-devices, whether it will still sound acceptable. He mentioned it will still sound quite decent, though the sound will crack up at higher volume levels. In other words, it will probably sound decent at low volume levels, sound poor at moderate volume levels and crap at higher volume levels.

 

Of course, an amp is still mandatory for headphones of this calibre as others have pointed out here. Though there will still be sound coming out from the HD800s if you hook them up to your iPod or iPhone, if you get what I mean. Whether the sound is acceptable in quality to you is another matter.

post #41 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by davidgotsa View Post

I had never tried listening to my HD800 out of anything else than the Lyr, but today I couldn't bring the Lyr with me when I was traveling so I just took the Fiio E10. 

 

In my opinion the HD800 doesn't sound nearly as good with it. I thought that some songs could be a little harsh and there was some sibilance with the Lyr, but with only the E10 it is almost unbearable. The bass is also worse. 

 

Not a surprise though, as the impedance of the HD800 is way way higher than 300ohms around the 100hz region, if I remember correctly.

 

I'm in this camp.  I couldn't stand the sound out of even a DACport let a lone a DAP.  Thin, bright, overly analytical, weak bass.  Everything you hear people complain about the HD800's.  Not my kind of sound.  A proper amp does three things that come to mind for the HD800 IMHO.  One, creates a more linear response w/ proper low end extension.  Two, increases dynamics and imaging by powering the driver through the necessary transients, etc.  Three, opens up the tracks by removing itself from the chain and letting you hear everything on the track/source for better or worse.  I find number three to be the most costly and difficult for most amp builders out there to get right.  If someone is going to underdrive the HD800 I don't see why they wouldn't want to save about $1000 and get a phone that will sound better under those circumstances.  I'd rather listen to my $110 B2's from an iPod/Clip+ than my HD800.  Maybe I'm just no slave to fashion?  wink.gif       

post #42 of 52

I  found that the hd800 sound better than my srh940 & hd595, run from my xonar stx.

It doesn't sound thin, or bright. Soundstage  is bigger than for  hd595, details are great. It's very clean sounding.

 

But I  wouldn't be against: more speed, bass impact/ presence.   And for the dynamics, I'm unsure, perhaps more too.

 

In comparison I  found the srh940 excellent value, and the brightness easy to tame (using tricks I'm tired to repeat, just search my review).

Aggressiveness is part of the charm of srh940 anyway, and I  found it does wonders on music such like Rammstein, or Marylin Manson.

post #43 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by satanigatan View Post
 

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. 

 

 

Can't agree more! I'm actually listening to my HD800 directly through my macbook pro's headphone jack and it sounds at least 80-90% as good as on my woo audio wa6 (without AB testing, which I never bothered). My ears are not dumb, and it's just I don't need to listen on their "best" performance all the time. 


Edited by Lucaswonder - 1/10/14 at 3:00pm
post #44 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyle 491 View Post
 

Buy the HD800 first, then worry about an amp later. You can save up a bit afterwards and get an inexpensive matrix m-stage which will bring out their dynamics and soundstage and is 80-90% as good as amps 10 times their price when coupled with a decent DAC. FWIW, I tried the HD800 on my Samsung Galaxy S2 (terrible DAC) and it sounded surprisingly solid and cohesive, retaining much of its nuanced, spacious and well-balanced sound signature. I also tried it on my PSP with terrible video game music (yes I'm crazy) fully expecting it to rape my ears with shrillness, but nope the HD800 disappointed again by sounding pleasantly full-bodied and free from harshness. When I tried my mid-tier headphones on the same sources they were noticeably inferior, the K701 sounding anaemic with no bass impact or extension and the HD650 nigh unlistenable with a terribly confined soundstage and  a muffled and distant sound.

 

As others have said, a top-tier dynamic headphone like the HD800 separates itself from its inferiors by doing very little wrong at any level, even when driven off a cheap sources. Rather than spending money trying to get the most out of a mid-tier headphone(s), its more economical to go straight to the top, then slowly upgrade your other components up to par.

+2

post #45 of 52

HD800 sounds great with only the headphone out of a simple macbook pro + audirvana + good flac or mp3 320kbps.


Don't follow the marketing. A good headphone will sound GOOD on any correct headphone out. Try to concentrate on the source (flac, high res mp3...)

 

Lot of headphones sounds bad on usual jack output because they had been built to force the consumer to buy an dedicated amp. This is ********.


Edited by Modwright01 - 4/20/14 at 7:23am
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