Well.... to show what it is we appreciate, of course : )
I am in awe of the HD-800, but not inspired to pay the price of entry quite yet, nor the price of appropriate extraction regarding the pressure one now has to find the right amp and make that investment as well. I think "irrelevant" is a bit pedantic, here are the reasons why I would honestly prefer the HD-700 to the HD-800:
1) I personally don't get that excited with super spacious and super detailed sound stages... not what I am all about
2) I don't like huge ear cups and ear pads, I prefer a modest physical profile and place ergonomics very high on my list of priorities. The HD-800 is also highly ergonomic, but the size and the fit feel awkward to me, a different kind of feel and I don't like the intrusion down into my upper jaw line.
3) I prefer a little excitement and what I value most in the music spectrum is found from 40Hz to 2kHz. In that range, the HD-700 is very smooth and balanced, with good punch, control and detail resolution
4) For pop, alternative, rock and jazz, the treble peaks and dips do not detract from my enjoyment, in fact they add to it 90% of the time or more...
5) A decent sub 1k DAC and a Bottlehead Crack/Speedball is a reasonable "end-game" rig with HD-700 at the end... while those with HD-800 are probably still chasing the audiophile rainbow a bit deeper into the woods.
6) 150 ohms and generally better efficiency means I still have fun direct into phone or laptop, not sure I would enjoy those times as much with an HD-800.
7) Much respect for Purin's review, because even though he clearly hates it, he reinforced the reasons why it just might work for me ,and it does. I had always thought there was something to the Grado sound, but knew it was probably too much for me. The HD-700 isn't afraid to step out of line a bit and make things more exciting, but in a more restrained and much more refined way than the Grado phones do (my interpretation of many posts/comments from both camps, I have only heard the entry Grado's from friends many years ago...)
I hope to add an HD-800 at some point down the road, but it will be for certain moods and certain music. It's stark neutral nature will not always be a welcome sound, though it will admittedly open a whole new door when I am in the mood to walk through it. I see the HD-800 as the high end carbon racing bicycle where the HD-700 is a cyclocross bike with a little bit of mountain bike geometry in the mix for a more comfortable upright riding position. Both are high performance machines, but one is a bit more flexible and forgiving of terrain for those of us who venture out a bit, but not as perfect as the other when the road is smooth. Neither one ever makes the other irrelevant in my world.
Edited by Greggo - 1/18/14 at 2:30pm