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Advice on Sennheiser HD800s

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
I have been pretty happy with my current headphone setup (HRT MusicStreamer II+ > Bottlehead Crack w/ Speedball > HD650s/DT990s) for the past few months. My "dream headphones" have been Sennheiser HD800s for a while now, but I didn't expect to be able to afford them anytime soon. Then I got my work bonus and they are suddenly seeming very affordable indeed, so I find myself seriously considering "pulling the trigger" in the next few weeks. Before making a purchase of this size, I wanted to get some help thinking it through. (Live-previewing a set isn't an option for me)
  • People have commented that on my current setup, the MS II+ is very clear and transparent (like the HD800s) while the Crack is warmer and less precise (like the HD650s). If I put a warm, imprecise amp between a transparent DAC and headphones, will this create a messy sound signature?
  • If the Crack is a suboptimal amp to put between the MS II+ and HD800s, can anyone recommend a better amp? Will my current DAC allow me to get the most out of such top-end headphones? With my bonus, I could probably spend up to around $1000, though only for a good reason.
  • Or would another headphone just be a better fit to complete my signal chain? I'm pretty attached to the HD800s, but could perhaps be talked into something else.
  • Anything else I should consider about buying the best headphones I will (likely) ever own?

My "dream setup" will also probably involve buying a nice balanced DAC and amp, but I hope it will include the HD800s.

post #2 of 25

balanced... hm. Maybe look into the 3 or 4-board beta22 (active SE and balanced respectively). 

 

As for cable upgrades later- very controversial. Cables make a very minimal sound impact compared to the rest of the chain (amp, dac, shown to only make a 1% difference). Though the gauge of the wire is 36, so idk. Though paying $200+ for a cable... better spent on amp/dac.  

Get yours from colorware. The OEM paint chips. Easily. Same price as standard hd800 or so the last time I checked and played around. 

 

Congrats on the bonus!

post #3 of 25
Thread Starter 

I'm going all-out. Currently in the planning stage of a 6-board Beta22. (Want to be able to run balanced and unbalanced headphones) That should happen by this summer, so I guess how the HD800s sound with the Crack isn't too important.

 

What do you mean about cables? I didn't mention cables. (Though I will obviously need some balanced ones for my HD800s at some point)

post #4 of 25

Have you had a chance to hear the HD 800s yet? You're going about it the right way in that you're trying to find a DAC/amp pairing that synergizes well with the headphone, but be sure the HD 800 is your end-all in regards to sound signature preference before you "pull the trigger". Just throwing that out there since the 800s sound very different from the 650s you currently have.

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post #5 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by HideousPride View Post

Have you had a chance to hear the HD 800s yet? You're going about it the right way in that you're trying to find a DAC/amp pairing that synergizes well with the headphone, but be sure the HD 800 is your end-all in regards to sound signature preference before you "pull the trigger". Just throwing that out there since the 800s sound very different from the 650s you currently have.


I would second this. The HD800 is a completely difference sound from the laid-back presentation of the HD650, if that is something you have grown accustom to, you might be wholeheartedly disappointed. Also I should mention that the HD800's sounds great with a B22, I had the chance to hear the combo and I was impressed. I usually tend to not like solid-state amps paired with colder, more analytical sounding headphones.. but the pairing was great. With that being said, I still do prefer a nice tube amplifier with the HD800. I'm not sure on how the Crack and HD800 sound, but it might be good tbh.

post #6 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrViolin View Post

balanced... hm. Maybe look into the 3 or 4-board beta22 (active SE and balanced respectively). 

 

As for cable upgrades later- very controversial. Cables make a very minimal sound impact compared to the rest of the chain (amp, dac, shown to only make a 1% difference). Though the gauge of the wire is 36, so idk. Though paying $200+ for a cable... better spent on amp/dac.  

Get yours from colorware. The OEM paint chips. Easily. Same price as standard hd800 or so the last time I checked and played around. 

 

Congrats on the bonus!


Do you own Colorware of OEM painted HD800?

Is Colorware paint in your experience more durable than OEM?

post #7 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greed View Post


I would second this. The HD800 is a completely difference sound from the laid-back presentation of the HD650, if that is something you have grown accustom to, you might be wholeheartedly disappointed. Also I should mention that the HD800's sounds great with a B22, I had the chance to hear the combo and I was impressed. I usually tend to not like solid-state amps paired with colder, more analytical sounding headphones.. but the pairing was great. With that being said, I still do prefer a nice tube amplifier with the HD800. I'm not sure on how the Crack and HD800 sound, but it might be good tbh.

I have not heard the HD800s yet (I wish). I do also have a pair of Beyerdynamic DT990s, which sound completely different than my HD650s--still good, though I slightly prefer the HD650s. Do the HD800s sound anything more like these?

post #8 of 25
Thread Starter 

Also, if I end up ordering them new (which would be nice, though I am pursuing one thread in the marketplace forum), is there anywhere that sells them for less than $1500? I saw one mention that they can be gotten for $1299 new, is this true?

post #9 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarthMarth View Post

Also, if I end up ordering them new (which would be nice, though I am pursuing one thread in the marketplace forum), is there anywhere that sells them for less than $1500? I saw one mention that they can be gotten for $1299 new, is this true?


Crutshfield sells factory refurb with 2-year Senns warranty for $1100. Jan Meier (Meier-Audio) brand new for $1320 shipped (email for exact quote), used to be $1150 before recent EU price jump.


Edited by Andrew_WOT - 2/28/13 at 11:34am
post #10 of 25
Thread Starter 

The reviews on the refurbished headphones sound like they are nearly indistinguishable from new ones, so I might do that. Thanks for saving me a few hundred!

post #11 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarthMarth View Post

I have not heard the HD800s yet (I wish). I do also have a pair of Beyerdynamic DT990s, which sound completely different than my HD650s--still good, though I slightly prefer the HD650s. Do the HD800s sound anything more like these?


To be honest, neither of your headphones will compare sonically to the HD 800. They are a completely different beast, whether you like them or not. There really isn't a cheaper version of the HD 800, I guess they do share some sonic similarities to the HD 600 with it being rather neutral and airy. But detail retrieval, imaging, instrument separation, and the massive soundstage pretty much sets the HD 800 apart from most headphones in the market today. The DT 990's are a U shaped headphone with emphasis on both the bass and treble so that would differ a lot from the HD 800. I actually bought my HD 800 from Crutchfield refurb'd and they are no different from a new set. To be honest, I was talking with a sales representative from Crutchfield and they told me that most of their refurbished models are just returns and that they didn't actually have anything wrong with them. I tend to agree with that assessment and I'm happy I went the refurbished route to save a few hundred.

post #12 of 25

I really enjoyed the Crack + Speedball with the HD800's, and coincidentally the MSII+. I did prefer them with the Mjolnir/Gungnir, but that's a whole other price tier.

 

Edit: I heard these rigs at a meet recently, I do not own them. (...yet.... very_evil_smiley.gif)

post #13 of 25

I'm running my 800 with MS2+ using the WA6.  

 

The combo is quite fine but upgrading both the 800's cable and the USB cable to the MS2+ made quite obvious improvement in terms of image definition and tonal balance (more body and weightier bass)

post #14 of 25
Thread Starter 

Ordered the headphones refurbished from Crutchfield and a stand from Meier Audio. And now I will struggle to wait until they come next week.

post #15 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarthMarth View Post

Ordered the headphones refurbished from Crutchfield and a stand from Meier Audio. And now I will struggle to wait until they come next week.


Wow, these are some nice stands Jan has, never heard of them before.

 

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