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Does it get much better than the HD800? - Page 2

post #16 of 349
Quote:
Originally Posted by sonq View Post

I think buying the HD800 is just the 1st step towards making it sing. It can sound totally sterile and uninspiring. The amp & source plays a crucial role to milking it; even cables matter.

Not in my experience, but whatever floats your boat. wink.gif

Does it get much better? Every time I listen to my SR-007s I get this blissful ****-eating grin on my face and they sooth me down to my toes. Such sublime headphones these are.
post #17 of 349

I've listened to the HD800 on a good many headphone amps, and did A/B comparison listening on a number of amps with the HD800.  My conclusion is that if you have a nice class-A solid state amp with adequate power you will have good sound,but it will be bright as the HD800's have pretty big peak in their treble.  The HD800's have quite a peak around 8~10 kHz. A bad solid state amps will sound extra brittle with the HD800's; my favorite solid state amp is the Beta 22, "active ground"  or full balanced.  Many Audio-Gd amps sound fine, too.

 

Many tube amps sound really nice on the HD800's too.  The Bottlehead Crack, with Speedball upgrade, is one of my favorites.

 

Almost all desktop amps have plenty of power for the HD800's, although a few portable amps are a bit on the weak side.

 

Overall they are one of the most revealing headphones in existence, with tremendous clarity, detail, resolution and so on.  Bass is tunefull, deep and well textured. 

 

HOWEVER the HD800 does have that treble peak, and that peak makes my ears hurt. I love the HD800 but I want to be able to wear it longer without pain from that peak.  I am preparing to do the "Anaxilus" mod which is said to tame the peak some

 

The HD800 has some of the cleanest waterfall plots seen from any headphone- dynamic, planar or electrostatic.  It is right up there, one of the very best headphones made.

post #18 of 349

People who tell you that the SR-009 is better, "but not by much", probably haven't spent enough time with it.  The SR-009 does everything the HD800 does well but kicks it up a notch, especially in the low end, which is clearly lacking in the HD800.  If the SR-009 was only marginally more expensive, it'd be no contest as to which would be better, and it wouldn't even be close.

 

I will say that I prefer the HD800 over both the LCD-2 and the SR-007 though, but that's probably because I don't particularly like warm headphones.  Actually, I'm pretty sure I prefer the HD800 over most headphones in the < $2k range -- aside from the AKG K1000, which doesn't really count -- and I've owned quite a few.

 

Also, IMO, the HD800 is the most comfortable hifi headphone ever made, besting both the HE90 and the SR-009 in that regard.  It doesn't even feel like you're wearing it at times!


Edited by akwok - 5/5/12 at 3:27am
post #19 of 349
The SR-007 isn't warm, it's just about the most dead-on neutral set of cans you can get. No way they should be lumped with LCD-2s, that's almost as bad as saying they're similar to HD650s. Kinda makes me wonder if we've even listened to the same model of headphones. HD800s are cool and even a little brittle with some material, at least from my listening. Now, I'll admit, I only had them in-house for a week, but I did log quite a few hours with them. Ended up, I didn't hate them, or even dislike them, they simply left me indifferent. It's probably the excessive sizzle around 7kHz that kept them at arm's length for me, it was annoying and almost like having a bug buzzing my ear or a pebble in my shoe.
post #20 of 349
Quote:
Originally Posted by Magick Man View Post

The SR-007 isn't warm, it's just about the most dead-on neutral set of cans you can get. No way they should be lumped with LCD-2s, that's almost as bad as saying they're similar to HD650s. Kinda makes me wonder if we've even listened to the same model of headphones. HD800s are cool and even a little brittle with some material, at least from my listening. Now, I'll admit, I only had them in-house for a week, but I did log quite a few hours with them. Ended up, I didn't hate them, or even dislike them, they simply left me indifferent. It's probably the excessive sizzle around 7kHz that kept them at arm's length for me, it was annoying and almost like having a bug buzzing my ear or a pebble in my shoe.

I've owned multiple sets of SR-007 MK1s and one set of SR-007 MK2 over the past 6 years, out of a variety of different electrostatic amplifiers, and my impressions haven't really changed much during that time.  I currently have an MK1 sitting right here next to a SR-009 and HD800.  While I agree that the HD800 is bright (mainly due to the 7KHz spike you mentioned), I wouldn't classify the SR-007 as neutral at all -- they're definitely more neutral than the LCD-2s (which, IMO, are just excessively warm), but they're still warm.  The SR-007 has the most bass out of all of the electrostatic headphones I've owned (which is pretty much all of the > $1ks), and IMO, it's bassier than even a few popular dynamic headphones.  I also consistently find myself needing to turn up my KGSS excessively whenever I listen to the SR-007s, just because the highs would sound muffled and the mids distant at lower volumes, but that might be an issue with a perceived lack of dynamics rather than warmth.  

 

Regardless, I'd still classify the SR-009 as being perfectly neutral on both ends of the spectrum (alongside with the K1000 out of a proper amplifier), but I can also definitely understand why some people would prefer the SR-007's sound signature over it for some genres of music.  I can also completely understand why so many people dislike the HD800s, but its pros outweigh its flaws for me.


Edited by akwok - 5/5/12 at 4:05am
post #21 of 349
Quote:

Originally Posted by akwok View Post

I wouldn't classify the SR-007 as neutral at all -- they're definitely more neutral than the LCD-2s (which, IMO, are just excessively warm), but they're still warm.  

 

 

 

So the LCD2 is excessively warm. I'll get to listen to the LCD2, HD800 and T1 soon(before end of this month) and form my own impression. Whether the LCD2 is warm and the HD800 neutral, or the LCD just right and the HD800 too bright. Of course the T1 slots in between the LCD2 and HD800 from what I gather on the threads here.

post #22 of 349

FWIW...

 

I like the HD800 better than the LCD2 or 3. I find the soundstage on the LCD's too closed in and diffuse. I also think people make too big a deal out of the differences of headphones at this level, they all sound pretty amazing. But orthos seem to have a little more trouble presenting the exact location of the instruments properly especially at center stage. I also don't like the stax 009 as much as the 02.I do like the 02 better than the HD800. But no headphone presents as realistic a soundstage as the HD800.

 

However, my neck hurts after a short time with the Orthos and the they aren't all that comfortable, neck issues aside.

 

Last point, which for some reason doesn't get discussed enough around here. I will bet you anything that nearly all the senns and stax will still be sounding great and fully functional in 10-15 years but many fewer LCD's and Hifi-man phones will. A quick look around the forums and you can see how much the orthos have had quality problems. Sure Audeeze and to a lesser extent Hifi-man have ok customer service, but for the money these things cost, I don't want to hear how great the return policy is. I don't want to hear about defects at all!

 

In the 1000 dollar plus category I just want great sound, comfort and hassle free operation so I can sit back and enjoy the tunes.

 

HD800 rocks!

post #23 of 349

^^

 

I agree that the sound staging of the HD800s is quite a bit better than the LCD-2s. But the LCD-3s (most recent versions anyway) on a great setup have imaging that is quite a bit closer. Not to the HD800's level, but more akin to the T1's imaging (which is to say fantastic and not closed-in in any way). No headphone on the planet has the expansiveness that the HD800s have though.

post #24 of 349
Thread Starter 

I haven't tried any other orthos than the HE-500, but the comfort is pretty important to me as I wear them for many hours every day, and after wearing the HD800 I can't stand the HE-500 for more than a few minutes. 

 

I don't know if the Audezes are more comfortable though, and I would love to try them some day. As there are no headphone shops in my little town, I would have to take the train for an hour or two to try them out, but it might be worth it. 

 

In my opinion, the HE-500 feel somewhat more realistic, in a sense, than the HD800, but I've fallen in love with the soundstage and the details of these things. Voices feel so much closer and clearer and I love that. 

 

I don't even know if this is possible, but my ideal headphone would have the soundstage and detail of the HD800 while keeping the realistic feel of the orthos. (Maybe I'm describing some existing headphones... ) 

Originally Posted by shabta View Post

However, my neck hurts after a short time with the Orthos and the they aren't all that comfortable, neck issues aside.

 

post #25 of 349
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacedonianHero View Post

^^

I agree that the sound staging of the HD800s is quite a bit better than the LCD-2s. But the LCD-3s (most recent versions anyway) on a great setup have imaging that is quite a bit closer. Not to the HD800's level, but more akin to the T1's imaging (which is to say fantastic and not closed-in in any way). No headphone on the planet has the expansiveness that the HD800s have though.

And I agree the LCD-3s are much better than the LCD-2s in pretty much every respect including imaging. But I still like my HD800s better. But perhaps it is because I can't stand the total lack of comfort of the LCD-3s an that colors my opinion. But it is good that there are so many great headphones these days, everyone can find one they like....
post #26 of 349
Quote:
Originally Posted by davidgotsa View Post

I haven't tried any other orthos than the HE-500, but the comfort is pretty important to me as I wear them for many hours every day, and after wearing the HD800 I can't stand the HE-500 for more than a few minutes. 

I don't know if the Audezes are more comfortable though, and I would love to try them some day. As there are no headphone shops in my little town, I would have to take the train for an hour or two to try them out, but it might be worth it. 

In my opinion, the HE-500 feel somewhat more realistic, in a sense, than the HD800, but I've fallen in love with the soundstage and the details of these things. Voices feel so much closer and clearer and I love that. 

I don't even know if this is possible, but my ideal headphone would have the soundstage and detail of the HD800 while keeping the realistic feel of the orthos. (Maybe I'm describing some existing headphones... ) 

The Audeze are perhaps marginally more comfortable than than the Hifiman. frown.gif
post #27 of 349

I have to say that I think the LCD2 and LCD3 are simply the most uncomfortable headphone ever released. Even after working with them for some time, I find that they could have made the headband so much better. Im hoping they do it with the LCD4. It needs a 'ground up' overhaul.

 

The R10's and HD800 are the reverse side of the coin. Can wear them for hours without a hitch. I feel the value of comfort is really overlooked.

 

My friend has the Ultrasone Edition 10 and they seem very comfortable too, although I have a problem with the sound signature of those headphones, they need recabled and tamed or perhaps delicately paired with an amplifier to sort out the 'fizz'


Edited by zardon - 5/6/12 at 10:58am
post #28 of 349
Thread Starter 

Have you tried any Hifimans?

Quote:
Originally Posted by zardon View Post

I have to say that I think the LCD2 and LCD3 are simply the most uncomfortable headphone ever released. Even after working with them for some time, I find that they could have made the headband so much better. Im hoping they do it with the LCD4. It needs a 'ground up' overhaul.

 

The R10's and HD800 are the reverse side of the coin. Can wear them for hours without a hitch. I feel the value of comfort is really overlooked.

 

My friend has the Ultrasone Edition 10 and they seem very comfortable too, although I have a problem with the sound signature of those headphones, they need recabled and tamed or perhaps delicately paired with an amplifier to sort out the 'fizz'

post #29 of 349
Quote:
Originally Posted by akwok View Post

People who tell you that the SR-009 is better, "but not by much", probably haven't spent enough time with it.  The SR-009 does everything the HD800 does well but kicks it up a notch, especially in the low end, which is clearly lacking in the HD800.  If the SR-009 was only marginally more expensive, it'd be no contest as to which would be better, and it wouldn't even be close.
...
Also, IMO, the HD800 is the most comfortable hifi headphone ever made, besting both the HE90 and the SR-009 in that regard.  It doesn't even feel like you're wearing it at times!

Agreed. Although you also have to factor in the tremendous soundstage the 800s can throw. Although there are quite a few people who feel it is too diffuse or call it unnatural, the atmospherics of the 800 are unmatched even by the 009. And the 800 is also one of the few dynamics with no distortion & lightning-quick decay in the bass. Ultimately though, 9 out of 10 times I reach for the 009s instead of the 800.

For the money it is also worth checking out the Stax Lambdas. Like the 800 they are burdened by a couple of frequency response quirks, but their strengths still beat all comparably priced dynamics (especially when bought used).
post #30 of 349
Quote:
Originally Posted by davidgotsa View Post

Have you tried any Hifimans?

Yeah, he500/he6 both comfortable phones. Although ive heard some people say they are uncomfortable. Not sure why. Clamping pressure seems fine and they are large enough pads,
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