or Connect
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Summit-Fi (High-End Audio) › High-end Audio Forum › The (new) HD800 Impressions Thread
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

The (new) HD800 Impressions Thread - Page 1620

post #24286 of 24297

Wow more detail retrieval? I listened to SR009 out of BHSE for several hours at the SF meet and it really killed it on detail retrieval. Even K1000 I sometimes think gives me more detail—though the rattle—I know.

post #24287 of 24297
Quote:
Originally Posted by bosiemoncrieff View Post
 

Wow more detail retrieval? I listened to SR009 out of BHSE for several hours at the SF meet and it really killed it on detail retrieval. Even K1000 I sometimes think gives me more detail—though the rattle—I know.

I owned the HD800s for about 6+ years and now own the HD800S and think the world of them. They are still very unique, but with "detail retrieval" while back in the day they were the standard, they have been usurped by the SR-009 & Utopia (and a few others). But that said, they (HD800/HD800S) still stand out as "reference level headphones" in my book.

post #24288 of 24297
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacedonianHero View Post
 

I owned the HD800s for about 6+ years and now own the HD800S and think the world of them. They are still very unique, but with "detail retrieval" while back in the day they were the standard, they have been usurped by the SR-009 & Utopia (and a few others). But that said, they (HD800/HD800S) still stand out as "reference level headphones" in my book.

 

More detail in the mids yes (since it's a more mid-forward headphone), but in treble heavy songs like Asian pop songs the HD800/S is more detailed. It's simply a matter of frequency response. Both have extremely low distortion, but the HD800 is simply a brighter headphone, whereas the Utopia follows the traditional loudspeaker NRC/Harman based curve with comparatively rolled off highs.


Edited by alcoholbob - Yesterday at 12:28 am
post #24289 of 24297
Quote:
Originally Posted by bosiemoncrieff View Post
 

Wow more detail retrieval? I listened to SR009 out of BHSE for several hours at the SF meet and it really killed it on detail retrieval. Even K1000 I sometimes think gives me more detail—though the rattle—I know.

Which is the reason why I put detail retrieval at the 3rd in the order. Unfortunately the highest Stax I've ever owned was the 007MK2 thus I kinda made the generalization based on my experience with owning Staxen. Of course I've heard the 009 several times as well but it wasn't enough for me to make a valid comparison since the environment was completely different.

 

I also keep wondering if something can reveal more details than the HD800 system I currently own, but a brief demo of 009 or Utopia did not really tell anything. Spending money on either of them would be hard on my life so I guess gotta be satisfied with what I have.

post #24290 of 24297
When I demoed Utopia it was amazing, but not worth $4K. The soundstage wasnt that impressive (relative to the 800). I found it had a specific tonality that was unique.
post #24291 of 24297
Quote:
Originally Posted by alcoholbob View Post
 

 

More detail in the mids yes (since it's a more mid-forward headphone), but in treble heavy songs like Asian pop songs the HD800/S is more detailed. It's simply a matter of frequency response. Both have extremely low distortion, but the HD800 is simply a brighter headphone, whereas the Utopia follows the traditional loudspeaker NRC/Harman based curve with comparatively rolled off highs.

 

I agree the HD800 is a brighter headphone, thus my preference for the HD800S. ;)

post #24292 of 24297

Sennheiser HD800 vs. AKG K1000 (bass light)

 

Fourth Installment - Chamber

 

Note: this is an ongoing series of posts comparing classical music as rendered by the old champ (K1000) versus the reigning champion (HD800). Opinions are strictly my own, and reflect my personal taste, biases, preferences, what I had for lunch, etc. For previous installments, see prologue, solo keyboard, and opera.

 

So I’ve let this go for a couple months now, partly because I just started teaching (middle school lol), partly because I listen to less chamber music—and am less confident in my ability to listen to chamber music—than opera. Chamber music is also just much more diverse than other genres, so the following impressions are necessarily less comprehensive than my survey of solo keyboard or opera.

 

I will in the interest of transparency begin with my general conclusions and follow them with my specific listening impressions. The An Die Ferne and Oboe Quartet impressions were made some months ago.

 

The Swivel

There are no rules about how wide to open K1000. However, I find that closed, it requires less power and retains more bass. For chamber, I leave it open just wide enough not to touch my ears (perhaps 25%).

 

LISST (Mjolnir 2 digression)

Bass extension has always been a K1000 complaint. I think LISST has gotten a bad rap, but solid state definitely goes further in the low end than tubes, and whatever claimed ‘taming’ of high end tubes offer, I think this makes it a worthy option to look at when pairing it with K1000. I used LISST only for the Schubert and Schumann, but the results were excellent on both headphones, so shoutout to Jason, you’re good at your job! LISST exceeds its reputation. Subjectively, I detect less rattle than usual, but this could be from any number of things (smaller ensembles, in particular). Furthermore, I think the necessity for pairing tubes with HD800 is overstated. LISST is not, to my ears, excessively bright, fatiguing, “over-revealing” (???), or in any other way undesirable. (But if you’re buying, skip the stock tubes, they’re a piece of schiit. Get iFi, Reflektor ’75, or Amperax Orange Globes.) 

 

Differences

As in every a/b, they will be overstated. Part of the months-long delay for this section is indeed that the two cans are quite similar for chamber music—both excellent picks, as long as you can afford at least a Mjolnir 2 for your K1000. 

 

Transparency

While HD800 are I think more accurate headphones (with a caveat about my misgivings concerning their rendering of the piano), something about K1000 captures the live essence of performance—probably their ‘near field monitor’-ness. Does anyone else hear colorations in the sound? They must be minor, but I detect a secret sauce somewhere. Nevertheless, I think HD800 conveys strings with a touch more richness and authority, even if the overall effect isn’t quite as dazzling. K1000 captures (inserts?) some of the magic of live performance, thanks probably to its extraordinary soundstage.

 

Value

I haven’t yet decided whether to do a final comparison on symphonic and choral music (please let me know if you are interested). Nevertheless, in case I don’t, I want to add a word here about value for money. I bought mine for $1650, whereas HD800 was about $950 after I replaced the aging ear pads and headband. Used HD800 have dropped a few hundred dollars in the 18 months I’ve owned mine. It’s difficult to swallow the pill of Audeze prices for something with as narrow a set of use-cases as the K1000. I unhesitatingly recommend HD800 to virtually everyone with even a casual interest in acoustic music, but K1000 is both a worse value and less broadly useful purchase. It should be bought only by those for whom classical music is a primary genre. For these, as I implied in my bang/marry/kill point in the prologue, I think HD800 must still be everyone’s first choice (marry), but that K1000 is an unbelievable complementary headphone(/ear speaker). Prices seem to range from $1400 to $2000 on the used market. 

 

Should I buy?

The engineers behind K1000 have gotten back together and are planning a successor, the “MySphere”: http://www.mysphere.at/

 

I would wait to purchase K1000 until this headphone has been released, as it claims to have (1) great comfort, (2) no rattle, and (3) much smaller power demands. However, word on the street is that it will also have (4) a Focal Utopia-level price. Still, if you’re seriously interested, you should wait until a price and initial impressions of MySphere come out in 2017.

 

 

Beethoven - Cello Sonata #3 - Richter and Rostropovich

This gem is the perfect storm for the K1000—the low FQ of the cello mitigates its natural tendency toward the treble. 

 

K1000 continues to showcase its solo piano black magic: it manages to thread the needle between solidity and resonance on the lower end and effortless, airy precision up top. The effect is sublime and breathtakingly transparent. HD800 sound accurate but mundane. The recording dates from the early 1960s, and the sound, though good, is not pristine in the manner of contemporary recordings. Ultimately HD800 lacks the suppleness and finesse that this recording requires; it brings Angela Merkel when Kate Middleton is really all you need. 

 

Mozart - Oboe Quartet in F K370, Amadeus Quartet and Lothar Koch

 

Really lovely oboe playing here; strings allow the instrument to show off all of its lovely intricacies. HD800 is more earthy and intimate; K1000 is more airy and soaring, and its insensitivity means a blacker background, a greater sense of instruments emerging out of the room you’re sitting in. Can’t pick a definitive imaging champ; they are both at the absolute top of the pack. My own classical preferences recommend neutral, reference cans, and owning both of these, I can’t imagine life without them; they are different flavors (HE-6, which I hope to mod further, and amp better, is a third) but both glorious. I recall Captain Von Trapp from the Sound of Music saying at one point “We are not German, we are Austrian—and that is a very different thing.” So too is the German Sennheiser clinical in ways that the Austrian AKG is organic, a point made before but which bears repeating. 

 

Beethoven: An die ferne Geliebte (Wunderlich, Diesen)

 

No question that Fritz Wunderlich was a premature loss; his voice is made for lieder: bright, smooth, expressive. I’ve often said K1000 stamps its own ethereal sense of space over what HD800 renders in more prosaic, but plausible, terms. The barest hint of echoes of the hall that Wunderlich is in is perceptible on the K1000. The main problem I have listening to the NBC Symphony recordings with Toscanini is that there is no decay, no resonance in their recording space, which robs it of grandeur. K1000 threads this incredible needle of conveying “inches from the singer’s mouth” immediacy and capturing the acoustic of the space. Lieder, I think, might be the deadliest weapon in K1000’s arsenal, not least because they are not weighty enough for EQing them to waken The Rattle such as larger orchestral works do.

 

HD800 - Interestingly enough, although I’m still tepid about the HD800 and piano (EQ is slowly narrowing the gap), the prominence of vocals in lieder and the HD800’s command with all things vocal makes lieder a strength, if not an equal strength, for them. Thicker rendering of voice and piano, less separation between the two, and more closed-in space, but perhaps more technically perfect.

 

Schumann - Frauenliebe und -leben (Anne Sofie von Otter, Bengt Forsberg) - LISST

 

Perhaps giving us the definitive liederkreise for the female voice, Schumann runs the emotional gamut, daring to let the piano fill emotional space that Schubert never would have (especially in the final song).

 

Reading the above remarks two months on, I can only underline my preference for K1000 for lieder. Vocals are essentially a wash, HD800 renders piano through a window that K1000 removes. (I recall someone posting somewhere that K1000 sounds “better than live,” i.e., in every live performance, you will hear some slight muddiness that K1000 artificially removes.) HD800's soundstage, too, feels closed in, and yet the performance simultaneously feels more distant. I am surprised that I find the smaller ensembles to be where K1000 surpasses HD800 most, and the larger symphonic stuff where (at least without a better amp) it can’t compete as plausibly.

 

Schubert - Trout Quintet (Emil Gilels & Amadeus Quartet) - LISST

 

Piano remains the question over which I despair most: the impact that is lessened in K1000 seems to be replaced in HD800 by occasional bloat somewhere in the upper bass/low mids. HD800 images beautifully, as does K1000; the quartet is very clearly in front of me, with the cello off to the hard right and violins to the left—only the viola seems to sink into the woodwork (it’s just off dead center to the right, but audible rarely). Detail retrieval is a wash, but K1000 gets the nod for delineating complex passages. Strings have more bottom with HD800, and are more polished. Yet they sparkle more with K1000, and have a certain rust, or musk, or sepia quality that moves me from the recording studio in which the recording was invariably made to the concert hall in which I would like to imagine the performance taking place. This effect of conveying live performance is subtle and counterintuitive: K1000’s signature is tilted upward, which would suggest an even more clinical sound. It also has difficulty coming off in orchestral music because of the sheer lack of impact. But in solo piano and chamber and lieder it is uncanny.

 

HD800 is Tebaldi; K1000 is Callas.

 

Beethoven - Große Fugue - Emerson Quartet - LISST

 

Gonna call it a wash. K1000 is more spherical in the soundstage, HD800 more left-right. K1000 more thrilling, HD800 more weighty. Apologies for ending with a whimper. 


Edited by bosiemoncrieff - Yesterday at 7:37 pm
post #24293 of 24297

Thanks.

 

With regards to "I haven’t yet decided whether to do a final comparison on symphonic and choral music (please let me know if you are interested)."

 

I am interested.

 

I've never heard the K1000 (and most likely won't). The HD800, warts and all, is still my first choice over my Oppo PM-1, Senn HD600, and 7 to 10 day in-home auditions of; Abyss 1266, Dharma D1000, and HiFiMan 1000 (original). And it was a very close call with the HD800S (still not absolutely certain I prefer the 800 to the 800S in all scenarios).

 

I have not heard either of the Focal's. I tried 2 of the Audeze models but could not get a comfortable enough fit for an extended listening session and in general find all of the planar magnetic types to exhibit a coloration that adds too much body or thickness of texture in the mids and bottom. They never take me by surprise as in "that's very realistic sounding". But, that's just my personal listening take on the planar magnetic's I've heard so far.

 

I found the 800 (and S) to be just about perfect for everything classical from Gregorian Chant to just before Bruckner. I'm still looking for a phone that can maintain it's composure on the full-blown Late Symphonic and 20th century stuff so I'd like any input you'd care to give. Per Faber; "Knowledge is Good".

post #24294 of 24297
post #24295 of 24297
Quote:
Originally Posted by ColtMrFire View Post
 

Wonder how the 800s would sound through this...

 

http://www.theverge.com/2016/8/15/12480856/select-dac-ii-amplifier-audiophile-experience

don't think the HD-800 would work on it, its a electrostatic amp

post #24296 of 24297

After going back and forth with having the dust covers in or out, I decided to keep them in.  

 

While having them out added some clarity and smoothness, it was missing some fullness.  Almost like the sounds coming from a void with no anchor.  This was mostly bothersome with classical, didn't seem natural in terms of presenting the soundstage and instruments.  Like everything with this headphone, I'm sure the covers were very carefully designed for a reason.

post #24297 of 24297
Quote:
Originally Posted by ColtMrFire View Post

After going back and forth with having the dust covers in or out, I decided to keep them in.  

While having them out added some clarity and smoothness, it was missing some fullness.  Almost like the sounds coming from a void with no anchor.  This was mostly bothersome with classical, didn't seem natural in terms of presenting the soundstage and instruments.  Like everything with this headphone, I'm sure the covers were very carefully designed for a reason.

Yeah, primarily to prevent dust from accumulating on the driver, which deadens the sound over time.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: High-end Audio Forum
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Summit-Fi (High-End Audio) › High-end Audio Forum › The (new) HD800 Impressions Thread