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Sennheiser HD 800 Headphones

  1. Deadmeat20
    The most accurate headphone result yet.
    Written by Deadmeat20
    Published Jul 30, 2010
    Pros - With modification: Extremley neutral and true
    Cons - Possibly price compared to materials. (more case)

    A way to Truly real sound.

    There has been many headphones over the year to come closer and closer to The "Non plus ultra" of headphones (terms ex: timing and power).
    This headphone has come so close to the most accurate results both technically and audibly wich will be explained below.

    The Initial impression

    At first this headphone was pretty extraordinary in Detail.Transparency.Attack.Stability.Comfort and overall close to all aspects of it. It was a few places even in this great headphone that could use a slight improvment though.
    Treble some people have reported problems with and what not. I myself found that compared to most other phones this was a pretty small problem. Since there was not much else to say besides that some might not like the massive soundstage, It was really only a slight bit of focus and treble "smoothing" that might have been necessary in order to achieve close to Total perfection.

    The second impression (Mod).

    A very detailed modification was done later to it that completely removed all of the troubles that had been found in the headphone before.
    It now had a much better focusing of the sound imagein all areas, together with a treble with 0 indication of +/- audible deviations or any hars sound.
    There was now also even greater detail and attack than before completed with a much more natural response overall in the frequency range. With this mod that was done to the custom built amplifier and a certain material that was put inside the earcup, (sadly not able to go into much more detail due to not enough info), The phone was now so natural and transparent, Nothing I have heard from neither headphone nor speaker came close no matter the price range. ( 138.11- 1381100 dollar).
    This truly is the most perfect audio I have ever experienced in my life in terms of neutrality and transparency.




  2. monsieurguzel
    Amazing headphones that will reward you with every system upgrade!
    Written by monsieurguzel
    Published Jun 1, 2010
    Pros - Bass, Mids, Highs, Soundstage, Solid Construction, Supreme Comfort
    Cons - Needs better cable to excel, paint job a little fragile
    What is there to say about the new flagship Sennheiser that hasn't already been said over the past year.  With that in mind, I will give my impressions about this headphone and why I believe that most people that don't like it haven't listened to it properly amped and for long enough time.  This is a headphone that easily wows for the first few minutes you try it on....often blowing away any other headphones you've heard before.  However after that initial honeymoon is over, many are very bothered by the highs, lack of bass, large soundstage on certain kinds of music, and being overly analytical.  To me, the HD800 is very much of a Chameleon, like the Stax SR-007 Omega, meaning that even though they are easily amped, they are extremely revealing of the power, source, cables, amp, etc. and will drastically change in sound signature depending on what equipment you have them hooked up to.
    As other have said, these are probably the biggest and most comfortable headphones you'll try on.  They are so airy that you don't feel that your ears are enclosed inside the cup of a headphone.  The construction is impeccable with perfect weight distribution and styling to match.  The cable / connectors are very well designed for a stock cable and reeks of quality.  I upgraded mine eventually and found there to be positive benefits.  Otherwise, the paint can get slightly dinged up over time, but that is nitpicking.
    These headphones are ruthless (much like the Stax O2) and have caused me to upgrade my source to a Perfectwave DAC and my amp to a Woo Audio 5.  Even then I wasn't content and had to roll in a bunch of tubes until I found the ones that had the best definition, bass, and impact.  Because of the difficult nature of these, I've had a love hate relationship with them but believe that I've recently built my system such that I'm extremely happy with them with almost all music I listen to.   I have tried the HD650, Denon D7000, Beyerdynamic T1, Hifiman HE-5, and Stax Omega 2 hoping that they will displace my HD800s, but at the end none of those were good enough in my eyes to keep.
    For people that own HD650s, you will be in for quite a change of sound.  Gone is the Sennheiser veil and the enclosed soundstage, but the mids in my eyes are pretty close to the signature Sennheiser sound.  When not amped properly, these will sound thin, sibilant, with too much instrument separation.  When properly amped with an amp that has enough power and has a sound signature that will complement the HD800s, they will have the deepest bass you will hear (if the song is meant to have bass), wonderful instrument separation and soundstage, and beautiful highs without being sibilant or shrill.  Because they have such an amazing dynamic range, songs are rendered beautifully, with good timbre, and with a ton of impact.  Songs that have acoustic passages like jazz or guitars are the best I've ever experienced by far.  Granted they are not bassy like the D7000s, but in my eyes those are overly bassy even on songs / passages that aren't meant to be.  On a good system play "Hyper-Ballad" by Bjork and you will be amazed by how deep these headphone can go, its astonishing!
    With all of this said, I highly recommend these headphones only if you are willing to invest in the rest of your system to make these shine.  There are easier headphones out there such as the T1, but in my book the HD800 rewards extremely well as your system progresses up.  I also suggest that you don't look into too many people's impressions of these based of a few hours of listening because they require a whole lot more time to adjust to and fully appreciate.  As for price, based on the recent trend of headphone flagship pricing (Audeze LCD-2, Stax O2, AKG K1000, Beyer T1, W5000) I think they are very appropriately priced for their amazing technical proficiency that I find unrivaled, especially in the dynamic headphone arena.  Good job Sennheiser!! Its pretty obvious that you have spend countless years of R&D to make these headphones just right!!
    1. SilentFrequency
      These are pretty great headphones and I really love them!
      SilentFrequency, Feb 12, 2015
  3. stainless824
    Smoothing out treble and giving more bass
    Written by stainless824
    Published May 21, 2010
    Get a different cable. One fault is the stock cable of the hd800, it's 36AWG, perhaps the bottleneck you are finding with this headphone. Get a different cable because the anemic bass and the hot treble on this is mainly due to this fault in engineering, using 18awg will make it a lot better
    1. View previous replies...
    2. nicholars
      Maybe you should go and work for Sennheieser and inform the engineers what they are doing wrong... All that R&D and they used too thin cable! Solved!
      nicholars, Jun 24, 2013
      basdek likes this.
    3. DarKen23
      Theres nothing wrong with the stock cable. Does it fair better with aftermarket, sure. Doesnt mean the stock is bad. Go stick the 1/4' plug into a vintage pioneer receiver, I doubt youd shame the stock cables again.
      DarKen23, Aug 31, 2013
    4. Headzone
      Trolls are not funny anymore.
      Headzone, Nov 5, 2013
  4. mikemalter
    HD 800 Startles
    Written by mikemalter
    Published May 8, 2010
    Just a short review to add my experience of the HD 800.
    There are times when I am simply startled at the aliveness of the music.  There will be silence after a musical passage or between pieces, and when the music starts up again, it's like when someone walks into a room and you don't hear them and then they start talking to you.
    The sound is so real, so natural so alive, for that moment it is as if the ensemble were next to me.
    I did jetteson the stock cord and replaced it with a Cardas single ended for better results.
    I am very happy I got them.
  5. Suntory_Times
    HD800 review
    Written by Suntory_Times
    Published May 8, 2010
    Pros - Excellent sound, very comfortable, excellent sound stage and bass extension
    Cons - Are quite big and are expensive if you wont to properly frive them (amp, dac etc).

  6. dpmaui
    Written by dpmaui
    Published May 7, 2010
    Pros - Certainly Unique, Nothing else like it , however,
    Cons - Sure have my "personal preferences" these aren't quite,,
    Have tried them all now, after reading all of your fine reviews,,,,, whew,,, what an experience!  HD-650, DT-990, AK-702, AD-2000, AH-D7000, and of course the HD-800.  First, I am in complete agreement with SKYLAB's review,, remember it's mostly positive and I will write more later.  My initial impressions?  Give me the AH-D7000 with it's wonderful smooth, articulate mid definition, and a bit less "over" bass, give me the even consideration of the DT-990 with more of the air that the HD-800 offers and a whoop of the .AH-D7000 bass, and finally, please give me the HD-800 with all it's own built in delivery,,and a bit more of the wooomfy 7000 bass so low, even some of the even, comfortable wallowing serenity of the DT-990 upper mid definition ( that freq isn't  there in the other cans?)  and ,,,, I will have the perfect headphone!  I will sans comment on the AK-702 and the HD-650, neither of which I believe can provide anything near the "overall" package of the aforementioned.  The HD-800 is quite breathtaking, yet lacks in just these few areas. A bit anemic in the bass department, although very well defined. A bit over concerting in the high end register, just enough to muddle the middle a bit, enough to confuse it's awesome soundstage a bit.  Since I can't have it all? For the money. I'll take the DT-990, wire it up, amp it up and have a whole lot of fun and money left over. For a lot more money, give me the AH-D7000's too.  I'll still have some left for  an amp, and some extra cans for my girlfriend,  I am an retired sound engineer/recordist and performer, forced to headphones by proximity.  My Hi Def sound is in the closet.   DP
    ps: something of interest,, the AH-D7000 is an awesome headphone but can be overbearing on BASS material.  try this, flip the left with the right and voalla!  Less boom and still excellent!!. It's that pointed driver config? Like having 2 headphones?
  7. shabta
    My HD800 equals Aural Bliss
    Written by shabta
    Published May 6, 2010
    Pros - Incredibly Detailed, Amazing Sound, Especially Classical
    Cons - cost is high
    Will enter Later