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Sennheiser HD 800: Are they worth the premium? Or are the overrated?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
I have been looking into open back headphones lately, I have a very basic pair of open back cans and I'm just absorbed in the sound. I've seen Sennheiser's flagship HD800 and I'm considering. Is it really worth $1500?
post #2 of 15

To me the HD800 headphones have a few issues that keep me from considering them for my setup:


1.)  Fit:  They are quite large and unless you have a larger than normal head they fit loose and look ridiculous.


2.)  Sound:  They sound OK, but have some serious flaws like excessive treble at times and lack of low end punch.  Tyll Hertsens over at Innerfidelity.com really likes them for imaging, but I do not think he prefers them over the LCD-3 for general listening.


3.)  Cost:  For $1500 they should be smaller, have more low end punch, and have reduced treble.  They have a bit too much bite on the top end to listen to tracks on random.  They are a very selective headphone.


Some users really like them, but they can be finicky because they are so revealing and with the very frequency dependent impedance curve they can be a tad hard to drive properly.  There are amps that mellow the sound a bit like the Woo WA-6SE, but why tune an amp to a headphone instead of buying the correct headphone.


In the end it comes down to what gear you have, how neutral of a sound signature you want, what you plan on using them for the most, and how much you can spend.


Other headphones to look at are:

1.)  HE-500

2.)  Sennheiser HD650

3.)  LCD-3 / LCD-2

Edited by NA Blur - 8/5/13 at 9:53am
post #3 of 15

I have tested them ones paired with Beyerdynamic A1 and iBasso DX100! For the price, I am not very much impressed by it! It is not by any means, it's a bad pair of headphone but for $1500 I believe it can do better! The very bad side of it is that it does female vocals very badly specially for the price but the overall presentation are airy and I like it when I can point out from where the instruments are coming from! It can be on the heavy side.

Putting it next to AKG K550, which is about the same SIZE as the HD800 but smaller! The AKG K550 offer a more resonable price! It also have better clarity and female vocals but other than that, HD800 does better!

It is to your preference to get the HD800 but if you are a basshead, the HD800 are definately not for you

Hope it helps!
Billson smily_headphones1.gif
post #4 of 15

yep, more natural sound.

post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your feed back guys! For the more experience d fellows out there, whats a good budget pair of headphones similar to the HD800?
post #6 of 15

I'd say most Grado's headphones have a similar sound signature, which is bass light, forward mids, and bright highs. 

post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 
Hmm...the Grados sound nice for Rock frok your description. Is that the case?
post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 
post #9 of 15
Yes. Grados are known to be excellent for rock and are often recommended to rock/metal listeners.
post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks!I got myself the Grado SR80i. Worth every penny ;p
post #11 of 15

Well, if you are not really really into headfi, HD800 is not a very "musical" phone. It only performance well with very well recordings, if you feed "normal" music in it, you will find it very "bad". It is a very flat detailed phone, so if there your recording is lack of detail and space (most of the pop and hip-pop does tends to have no details at all), most of time the sound you hear will not be better than an 80 dollar headphones. It is only when you plug them into the right gears and source, they can shine.



It is very very hard to get "WOW" effect from this headphone, but trust me, If you wear them long enough with the right gear, you will notice big difference when you try other phones. I have mine pair with the HDVD800, and so far they live up with the price~~~~~~~

post #12 of 15
It is one of the most neutral phones out there. And I have just tried it once but fell in love instantly. Only if I could afford it frown.gif
post #13 of 15

HD800s are one of the greatest headphones on the planet, and probably have the most detail of any dynamic driver-based headphone, and best soundstage of any headphone period, except for maybe the AKG K1000. You need proper amplification to drive them (600 ohm impedance, so you want lots of voltage), but when you do, pure bliss.


Definitely not overrated IMO.

post #14 of 15
Thread Starter 
The thing for me is I could buy the JH13 pro freqphase I believe its called, for $1,099 and it supposedly has the same sound quality. Does anybody know if this is true? The HD800s sound nice but to get the same sound quality and have them custom fitted is a steal.
post #15 of 15

I do have custom, they do tends to be very comfortable and detailed. BUT, they will never reached the sound stage and bass response of an proper FULL size headphone. They can be close, but still falls behind. I think the only advantage of an CIEM over an OPEN headphone is the seal and the fact it is easy to drive.


If you want to spends $1000 dollar on a earphone and try to get the best sound possible with possible outside applications, by all means, get the CIEM. They can reach 80% of their potential by just plug into any decent mp3 players. And also the perfect seal gives you very good isolation and comfort. If you only listen to music at home with a quiet environment, HD800 is a better to go since they do offer you much much more in terms of sound. (But you have to have a deep pocket, since you need at least $2000 to get a decent DAC+AMP combo system to drive it well).



For me, it is safer to go with T1 since it is cheaper and easier to drive. And AKG K702 also shares similar signature of HD800.


Bottom line, in headfi, normally you pay for what you get, but the more you pay, the less you get~~~~~

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