After trying the HD800 and HE-6 with an AURALiC Vega / Taurus MKII combo it was an easy call. FWIW I took up headphones to get some music back after a hearing change from a round of experimental drug treatments. I've added the sound of air-hoses blowing in both ears. Listening to speakers became frustrating so the YG's and Marten's were sold. Headphones tho provide about an 80% distraction and at times I can completely tune out the extraneous noise. Back to the test.
The HD800's have been run in for 2 weeks to acclimate. Only hi-rez, including DSD files, but all up-sampled to DSD126 was played.
The HD800 win the comfort category hand's down. Initial impression was how spacious the HD sound was compared to lesser products. Lower bass/sub-bass was present and well balanced for my genre's. But the mid/upper above 2000 kHz was annoying - not a sibilance issue as some have reported, but simply a thinness in the upper harmonics. A lack of extended harmonics made the overall sound fall well short of a good speaker/room set-up.
Then HE-6 arrived and the out of the box impression was strong on 2 fronts. They weren't comfortable for my big ears but the sound was more complete and compelling throughout the frequency range. It's too early to gauge or measure as a percent how much better in the mid to upper frequencies, but it was better. While the HD800 had moments of 'that's nice', the HE-6's provided many more times when I would think that section or track sound better, more detailed so that I could identify what was making sounds in the back ground or when notes would noticeably sustain and decay as a good speaker would.
That's my quick take. I'm new and I have no idea how much detail is distorted from the hearing issues, but I used the same set of defective ears for each session.
I'm enjoying the head-fi community as well. Thanks for that. LCD-3 vs HE-6 will be up next.
Edited by thirdcoastaudio - 3/7/14 at 11:45am