Originally Posted by EveTan
I was listening through a Sennheiser HDVD 800 DAC/Amp. It made my C4 and the HD 800s sound slightly similar. I'm not too good at describing sound. But if I were to use a comparison, I would say that the C4 sounds like a miniature HD 800 with the 800s a lil more extended here and there and a much vaster soundstage. My C4s in comparison sound sort of like a more intimate 800. I probably won't get the chance to compare the two anytime soon again, but I don't really feel too motivated to get the 800s after ABing the two.
I actually haven't heard the HDVD 800 since availability is limited and no one in Texas that I know of has it yet.
Your impressions are similar to what I hear, intimate is a good word to describe the C4. You're also right in that with normal everyday recorded tracks, you are not going to be missing much in detail and clarity going from the C4 to the HD 800. The biggest win of the C4 is the simple plug and play nature of the CIEM. I enjoy the pairing with my Sansa Clip+ immensely. On the other hand, you won't be getting all of what the HD 800 has to offer unless you have the budget to invest into a good amp (priority) and DAC (to a lesser extent) to pair with it. Having heard quite a few different Head-Fier HD 800 setups with my own reference recordings, I can safely say the difference between a good and bad setup is extremely apparent to the ears.
With audiophile tracks and well mastered orchestral pieces, I significantly prefer the HD 800 setup I have. Also for home use, I prefer the HD 800 not only for the sound they offer, but for headphone soundstage and comfort. Sometimes I forego both in favor of speakers.
Is it worth $3000-$4000 to get a decent HD 800 setup if you already have the C4 in terms of improvement in sound quality? Only if you have the money and the financial ability to drop such an amount on this hobby.