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The (new) HD800 Impressions Thread - Page 1224

post #18346 of 18354
Originally Posted by holyindian View Post

I heard the WA22 with the HD800 at AXPONA last week, and was completely blown away. The music sounded so much rich and smooth, extremely organic.
Eric Clapton sounded amazing.
Do you think the Schiit amp's that you mentioned above play similar to WA22 or the WA22 definately better?
Imo, to my ears n with my set up, if my wa22 is a 10 then the Vali will be 8ish. This is simply amazing for 20x less money (stock)
If u take into account my $800 upgraded tubes, the Vali will impress even more. Let me put it this way. I will be content using the Vali to drive hd800 for my office rig.
post #18347 of 18354
Originally Posted by johnjen View Post

Try placing them on your head and see if this positioning helps.


Move the ear cups forward such that the backs of your ears are close to, or in contact with, the backs of the ear cups.

Then rotate the head band forward so that it rests on the forward half of your noggin.


For me this is the best SQ and the best most secure fit.





post #18348 of 18354

Hello! I know asking about amps/DACs is a very old topic but I'm wondering if I could solicit a few more opinions from my fellow HD800 users :)  In my mind I'm leaning towards pairing up a Shiit Valhalla 2 with the HD 800 and either using a Modi 2 U but I'd like to ask these questions that came up after trying some equipment at a local dealer. I'm using the Fiio X3 currently since that's what I have and I mainly listen to FLACs of classical and rock/pop/Christian genres.

Sadly the Val2/Lyr2 were out of stock and the demo Bifrost was non-Uber. Listening with the Bifrost/Asgard 2 using Co-ax out from my Fiio X3 I couldn't hear much of any difference in the HD800 (standard cable) compared with the X3 directly. However comparing the Moljnir/Gungnir with balanced cable the sound was definitely fuller, making the Fiio X3 itself sound almost somewhat tinny (like those cheap PC speakers). The Oppo HA-1 was similar and an AuneS16DAC/Audiovalve Luminare Amp on Balanced cable was nice. Mellower and fuller then the Mol/Gung stack. Having said that, the difference was subtle rather than obvious and in-your-face. The Aune S16/AV stack did reveal new instrumentation I never heard before but on going back to the X3 I now hear it, probably because now I know its there. It was explained to me that the HD800 needs current, lots of it and it was recommended that I look at least at the Lyr 2 rather than the Val 2, when they come in. So now I've got lots of questions that I'm hoping your folks here can help explain :)


1. Exactly how much current/power do I need out of the Amp? I know the HD800 is a 300Ohm headphone and I believe under 1Khz frequency its more towards 600Ohm so clearly its inefficient. MY X3 puts out 30mW at 300Ohm, which is very little, to be sure. However, the Val 2 puts out 800mW, the Lyr 2 puts out 660mW. Will this be enough power? The AV Luminare puts out 1.5W at 300 Ohm and it was the nicest sounding piece of kit (way above my budget) but they were all paired up with difference DACs so I can't tell what is due to the amp and what is due to the DAC. It was explained to me that more current = more dynamic range hence the sound is nicer even though the volume can still be achieved at lower power.


2. Can I use my Fiio X3 as a DAC to the Val 2? Physically its possible of course but I'm wondering the difference will be great if I get a separate DAC, say the Bifrost Uber or the Aune S16 since the X3 itself is a fairly capable device although lacking in power. If not I'd rather not spend extra money :)


3. The Aune S16 itself has a headphone amp that puts out 600mW at 300Ohm. Will this be enough to drive my HD800 in which case its a nice, integrated DAC/Amp package at the cost of a Bifrost Uber (plus shipping and tax). I've heard  a report that it sounds thin with the HD800 but I'm wondering if there are any other opinions as well :)


4. Finally a question which I'll ask in the Gustard H10 thread is how this amp compares to the Val 2


So from the above I'm sort of leaning towards a Fiio X3/Val 2 setup vs an Aune S16 stand-alone if the DAc component will make a big difference and the amp is comparable but thanks for your opinions and also advice on the power/current ratings of amps. I've read the articles on amps and power (thanks but a bit too technical for me to fully understand!)  and my take-away is that any amp above 210mW (I read that somewhere, something about ability to produce at least 110db outout - which is far too loud for me) at 300ohms ought to be sufficient for the HD800.


Once again, thanks! If you have any recommendations for equipment about this price point I'll be happy to consider them as well but sadly I don't have the budget for top of the line amps and DACs. The reason I selected ther Aune S16 specifically is because my local dealer has a demo set hence I can go listen but I'm happy to hear other suggestions as well :)


Again, thanks!

post #18349 of 18354

Hi newtoears,


You seem to have made a very good effort doing your homework.  :D


I've had the HD800 for 16 months and personally didn't care for the way it sounded with the Valhalla 2, but don't let that discourage you, as your tastes may be entirely different from mine. Without hesitation, I recommend you get it and listen to it for a few days.  I had the Vali before that, and didn't like it either, but if you haven't heard it, you should get it and listen to it for a few days.  ;)   


Regarding power requirements for the HD800, I've recently discovered that low-power operation can actually bring what is to me, some favorable changes to the HD800, as long as the DAC and amp are highly resolving, neutral and transparent, having no grain or coloration.  


I posted this once before in this thread, recently, but keeping in mind that my tastes may be different from yours, as a "budget" HD800 solution for both DAC and amp, I think the $299 OPPO HA-2 portable, which only delivers 30 mW into 300 Ohms, beats every other DAC + amp rig under $600, that I've ever tried with the HD800.  


I actually prefer the HA-2 to my HA-1, which can drive the HD800 with about 270 mW into 300 Ohms via the TRS jack or 1080 mW via the 4-Pin XLR jack.


That said, I have to explain that the HA-1 DAC + amp is too bright for my tastes with the HD800, though absolutely wonderful with darker headphones, like the LCD-2 Rev.1 (shelved highs) and OPPO PM-1 (slightly rolled-off highs).  The HD800 also reveals the HA-1's "Sabre glare" that I find objectionable.  And lastly, the HA-1's USB receiver is a bit grainy, as revealed by the HD800, compared to even the affordable TeraDak TeraLink X2 USB-to-SPDIF converter - supplying a Coaxial input to the HA-1.  


So... there are a lot of reasons the HA-1 fails, in my opinion, as a DAC + amp solution for the HD800, and everywhere the $1199 HA-1 fails with the HD800, the $299 HA-2 succeeds!  The USB receiver of the HA-2 is cleaner. The ES9018K2M DAC implementation has almost none of that "Sabre glare" (in fact, I find it almost as non-ESS-sounding as the Resonessence Concero's amazing ESS9023 implementation), and the overall signature is not as bright.


That said, the 30mW into 300 Ohm HA-2 appeals to me (and perhaps not to anyone else), in part because the lack of power into 300 Ohms actually takes the edge off the HD800 by slowing it down - by not controlling it as tightly as is possible with more power. This makes the bass sound fuller by nature of it being more "woolly," the mids being much better controlled, and leaving the treble pretty much as it would sound with a lot more power - still pulling in lots of micro details at a very high resolution, with a very low noise floor (I actually prefer the Low Gain setting with the HA-2), all the while retaining the HD800's marvelous sound stage and imaging, both of which are heavily dependent on low energy signals being properly rendered - which they are.  


What I'm describing (underpowering the HD800 so that it's not as fast) is sacrilege for most HD800 owners and, in a heartbeat, I'd rather listen to the HD800 on my $2200 "Metrum stack" (Metrum Acoustics Octave MkII + Aurix), where all the unsavory traits of lesser DACs and amps are eliminated without robbing the HD800 of its greatest strengths - allowing it to be (almost) all that it can be. (I would need to spend a lot more money to find the limits of the HD800.)  


But if you're searching for a "budget" solution, having tried several different options over the past 16 months, I'm very comfortable recommending you give the OPPO HA-2 a try with your HD800. Not only do you get a great little DAC with a very clean amp, the HA-2 allows you to connect Apple and Android devices, in addition to using its USB receiver.  And hey, the HA-2 does a great job with efficient headphones, too. 






(Disclaimer:  I was a Beta tester for the HA-1, PM-1, PM-2, PM-3 and HA-2.)

Edited by zilch0md - Today at 5:40 am
post #18350 of 18354
Originally Posted by johnjen View Post

Try placing them on your head and see if this positioning helps.


Move the ear cups forward such that the backs of your ears are close to, or in contact with, the backs of the ear cups.

Then rotate the head band forward so that it rests on the forward half of your noggin.


For me this is the best SQ and the best most secure fit.




I do nearly the same thing. I set the headband just forward of the crown of my head. Seems the band does its best if I avoid angling the headset too far back. Once the headband angle is set, I position the cups so my ears don't touch the insides.


I use click stop 9 (the last before the band maxes), and I have no problem. Neither too loose nor too tight.


In fact, I found out that 1) now that I've had a bit of practice, I settle the 800 correctly (for me) almost immediately, and 2) the comfort factor of the HD800 is such that the longer I wear them, the less aware I am that they're on my head. This is a trait unique among all headphones I've ever owned.

post #18351 of 18354
Originally Posted by inseconds99 View Post

Initial impression of my HD 800 from 1 hour of listening, LOVE THEM, but I do have 1 issue and that is comfort. They are so loose on my head, I move my head left and right and the headphones move. If i look down, they nearly come flying off my head. I have a big head as well, the Fidelio X1's don't even fit my head and the HD 650's are tight as hell on my head. 


Am I doing something wrong? Do I have a headphone that was made incorrectly? Am I wearing this wrong?


Remove the headband padding, then gently bend the metal band to adjust the clamp.

post #18352 of 18354
Are there 10 clicks for sure?
post #18353 of 18354
Originally Posted by pearljam50000 View Post

Are there 10 clicks for sure?


I don't have them with me right now, but as I recall:


From the minimum terminus, where the adjustment arm's at it's smallest point, I recall counting 9x clicks, then one more to reach the maximum terminus. So, that would make 11x actual sizing points.


But if I'm wrong, and whether it's 10x or 11x, they adjust plenty wide for my large head.


I wonder that the headband width, earcup size, and gimbal/pivot design, work altogether to create a firm grip while reducing nodes of acute clamping force.


I noted, too, the metal headband has notched lines etched perpendicular to the headband's length, to mark stop points. And when the headband clicks in at one of those points, it does so precisely on mark, with no wiggle or mush. The mind boggles at the R & D resources Sennheiser must have spent to execute headband adjustment just right.

Edited by mrmarano - Today at 6:52 am
post #18354 of 18354
Excellent post!
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