So here we are again everyone. It’s time to inspect the Dekoni Audio HD800 Ear Pads and see where they lie in the “spectrum” of things. This is a pad we’ve been working on for a long time and I’m personally proud of the way they sound and the way they feel. The first thing I will say is that the Sennheiser HD800 has a peak at around 5khz that has always bugged me. It seemed out of place and when listening to certain songs it makes things stick out like a sore thumb! In designing this pad, one thing I have tried to do was to smooth out that peak and by testing with different baffling materials, we’ve managed to do just that.
Now, the Sennheiser HD800, that we all know and love, is a VERY open headphone with a massive driver. That said, when the pads are swapped the differences aren’t nearly as stark as they would be with a closed back headphone. They are, for the most part, very subtle. The biggest difference, IMHO, is that while they don’t necessarily change the frequency response much, they move the drivers away from the ear and create more space within the headphone. This has the effect of opening the sound stage and widening the image while also creating more depth. In fact, an employee of Sennheiser who has listened to this ear pad on their headphone even said that he felt our pads made the headphone sound better!
Let’s move on to the frequency analysis, shall we? First up is the Hybrid pad. As you can see in the image below there is VERY LITTLE difference in the sound signature all the up to about 2khz. You will also notice a smoother transition out of the “conchal bowl” and a nice arch over the peak while maintaining a little more of the higher 10khz+ material which, to my ear, adds some air and a hint of sparkle to the sound.
Next up is the Fenestrated Sheepskin. The frequency response on this one is almost identical to the Hybrid Pad. That is because the hybrid pad uses the same fenestrated Sheepskin on the inside of the pad. The main difference between the two is comfort. Do you like Sheepskin on your face or do you like Velour? I have a beard and sometimes the velour can get caught and pull. It’s mostly personal preference though. Let’s move on….
Now let’s have a look at the Elite Velour pad for the Sennheiser HD800 Headphone. This one is super cozy and also looks remarkably similar to the other 2 above. As I stated before, the ear pads don’t make as much of a frequency signature change as they would if you were to put them on closed back headphones. The biggest difference here is the Elite velour pad will absorb a little more of the high frequency material and so you see an ~3db dip between 10khz and about 14khz. It seems to take away some of the sparkle but causes the overall warmth to get accentuated a bit. Again, though, we see that 5khz peak diminished and the high frequency material smoothed out. Diana Krall’s Temptation sounds amazing here!
Finally, we have the Dekoni Audio HD800 Sheepskin ear pad for the Sennheiser HD800 Headphone. This one is probably the one that makes the most sonic difference as the Sheepskin material by nature is thicker and less porous than the others. By “the most difference” I need to point out that the change is still subtle. What this means is that the sheepskin does NOT absorb much of the material that hits it. I like to call them sonic funnels! It just keeps the material moving on through to your ear. Starting at around 200hz you can see the frequency graphs start to diverge. It creates an even smoother run-up to about 4khz before it dips slightly and then maintains the high frequency material. Here you can really see the difference a smooth shiny surface does in comparison to a dull, porous one. The high frequencies don’t get absorbed at all and you maintain more material and “air” to what you’re listening to. This pad is great for a little extra lit in the top end. Great for Classical listening. Try it out on Claude Debussy’s “la Mer.” Debussy’s use of the French horn really shines here!
That’s it for the Dekoni ear pads for the HD800 from Sennheiser. Thanks for reading and I hope this can better inform your decision about which pads are right for you. As always, I’ll say you should buy them all, but I would say that- I own the company! If you want to comment or just chat about life feel free to reach out to me.
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