HD 800 vs T1 - A comparison revisited
Jul 13, 2017 at 3:49 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 46

MorrisL

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It's a strange thing in this hobby how people judge a headphone by its price... Turns out even highly experienced users do this all the time.

I've been considering buying one of these flagships and started reading up various comparisons. Made a strange discovery.

So, when they were just introduced, their prices were roughly the same. And if you read the first comparisons, you're going to notice that impressions are generally equal. Regardless of what people preferred, they made it clear that these headphones were right up there, on a par with each other. All that mattered were individual preferences.

Well, time went on and the reviews slowly changed to a different tune. The new consensus has been that the HD 800 is clearly superior. Even those who prefer the T1 sound seem obligated to acknowledge that the HD 800 is indeed the better headphone technically, and they just happen to prefer the low-key T1.

Why did this change happen? Look in the forums and you'll see that very clearly. It happened just around the time Beyerdynamic started lowering prices way down; sometimes selling the T1 for less than $700 while the HD 800 would stay at double the price. All of a sudden people hear things differently.

And that carried on to the newer HD 800S and T1.2. ...Surely, the HD 800S is technically better, but the T1.2 is no slouch...

Interesting... Interesting...
 
Jul 13, 2017 at 10:42 PM Post #2 of 46

chillysalsa

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I've had the HD800 for several months, and just acquired the T1 g1 today and spent over 30 minutes with them.

So far I would say yes, they are definitely close. I actually never read general early conclusions, but my immediate feeling is that's pretty close. They are both very resolving, but rather different signatures and strengths.
The HD800 excels at soundstage and linearity of the bass.
The T1 has better timbre through the midrange and a more accurate imaging. They bring instruments in front of your mind to showcase them, whereas the HD800 keeps them placed in a more distant soundscape (though still precisely positioned in it).

Different tastes, both amazingly enjoyable.
 
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Jul 13, 2017 at 11:05 PM Post #3 of 46

Me x3

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Yeah... That happens all the time.

If the HD800 were made by Takstar and priced 299usd, you would have plenty of people saying it's just a faulty overpriced headphone with no bass and unnatural treble.
Little to no one would be searching for an uber amp to make a good match or trying endless mods to make it sound fine. That's granted.

For what it's worth, I have both and I'm very familiarized with their trade offs.
Both can be considered right up there but it really depends on how you weight their attributes.

I'll try to sumarize some of their main differences, then you decide which one makes the 'better' headphone according to your preferences.

- HD800 provides a big open stage that's unmatched by the T1
- HD800 provides a cleaner and tighter response in the upper bass and lower midrange which stands for a more tidy presentation
- HD800 has kind of a softer and more diffuse nature

- Tesla T1 is warmer/fuller sounding
- Tesla T1 is less steely sounding and more often than not, it offers a more natural tonality.
- Tesla T1 has a rounded soundstage with a little bit more precise imaging

- Tesla T1 rocks, HD800 doesn't
- Tesla T1 can get congested with certain recordings at loud levels. HD800 can't get congested.

- Tesla T1 is humanly sized, HD800 not so much
- Tesla T1 stays on your head if you move, HD800 not so much
- HD800 size adjustment is as good as it gets, while Tesla T1 adjustment decide for itself
- HD800 is very silent on the head, while the T1 has a material inside the cup that is prone to make little noises when you touch it with your hair.

- HD800 is just a tad easier to drive.

I've stopped trying to find out which one is best long time ago.
Recording matching and mood plays the bigger role for me here.

Hope this helps,
Me x3
 
Jul 16, 2017 at 12:20 PM Post #4 of 46

MorrisL

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Thanks, guys.

Me x3, I haven't heard any of these. Apart from music, a major concern for me is comfort - especially the depth of the cups. Did you feel the HD 800 cups were deeper? I don't like my ears touching inside the grill. If you remember, that was my #1 complaint about my beloved DT 990 when we used to discussed them a while back. Do the T1's fix that problem you think?

Also, I mainly listen to classical music, but I'm not one of those who thinks, for classical, soundstage has to be as wide as possible. I care more for warmth and fatigue-free experience that soundstage.
 
Jul 16, 2017 at 1:06 PM Post #5 of 46

Liu Junyuan

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Thanks, guys.

Me x3, I haven't heard any of these. Apart from music, a major concern for me is comfort - especially the depth of the cups. Did you feel the HD 800 cups were deeper? I don't like my ears touching inside the grill. If you remember, that was my #1 complaint about my beloved DT 990 when we used to discussed them a while back. Do the T1's fix that problem you think?

Also, I mainly listen to classical music, but I'm not one of those who thinks, for classical, soundstage has to be as wide as possible. I care more for warmth and fatigue-free experience that soundstage.

The HD800 is one of the most comfortable headphones I've owned. Cups are huge.
 
Jul 16, 2017 at 3:30 PM Post #7 of 46

Liu Junyuan

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Are they deeper than the T1's?

I don't know since I have never tried T1. What I do know is that comfort is not one of HD800s weaknesses, by a long shot. You should be considering sonics and not be worried about comfort with the HD800. You likely fear the T1 will resemble the comfort of the DT990. I had the same problem with the DT990, I remember, but I have no experience with the T1. I did not have this problem with the HD800, which is, again, a true marvel of ergonomic engineering.
 
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Jul 16, 2017 at 3:36 PM Post #8 of 46

ubs28

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Headphones are not judged by it's price. The HD600 and HD 650 are examples of that.
 
Jul 16, 2017 at 3:44 PM Post #9 of 46

xeriminox

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Headphones should not be judged by it's price. The HD600 and HD 650 are examples of that.

There. Fixed it for you.
 
Jul 16, 2017 at 3:46 PM Post #10 of 46

ubs28

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There. Fixed it for you.

You twisted it and not fixed it. The HD 650 and HD 600 are very highly regarded headphones and are very cheap (the HD 650 was the #1 headphone on head-fi I believe a while ago. )
 
Jul 16, 2017 at 3:55 PM Post #11 of 46

xeriminox

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Both the HD600 and HD650 are great examples of former flagship offerings from Senn and are, indeed, excellent headphones. However, that does not negate the human tendency to relate quality with price. Often, the psychology of higher priced items provides an aire of elitism or superiority. However, the two, as you are suggesting, are not necessarily interchangeable.

I'd argue the HD700 is an example of this. Upon its first release, many praised the HD700 as a fun sounding HD800 and well worthy of its $999 MSRP. Some even went so far as to claim it exceeded the performance of the HD800 referrencing its value / performance ratio. However, as measurements started becoming increasingly available the cheers from the hoards started to soften and, with it, the retail price.
 
Jul 16, 2017 at 4:05 PM Post #12 of 46

ubs28

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Both the HD600 and HD650 are great examples of former flagship offerings from Senn and are, indeed, excellent headphones. However, that does not negate the human tendency to relate quality with price. Often, the psychology of higher priced items provides an aire of elitism or superiority. However, the two, as you are suggesting, are not necessarily interchangeable.

I'd argue the HD700 is an example of this. Upon its first release, many praised the HD700 as a fun sounding HD800 and well worthy of its $999 MSRP. Some even went so far as to claim it exceeded the performance of the HD800 referrencing its value / performance ratio. However, as measurements started becoming increasingly available the cheers from the hoards started to soften and, with it, the retail price.

No it didn't. The HD 700 was not well received because it was priced too high as you could spend a bit more and get the HD 800. Alot of people preffered the much cheaper HD 650 over the HD 700 even also. That is why the price dropped.

I even bought the Shure SRH 1840 over the Sennheiser HD 700 back when the HD 700 still very expensive.
 
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Jul 16, 2017 at 4:07 PM Post #13 of 46

xeriminox

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Very well. So while we agree that a headphone shouldn't be judged on price, we will have to agree to disagree on our memory of the HD700 release--which is a little off point, but to highlight the nature of humans to imagine quality associated with price.
 
Jul 17, 2017 at 8:19 PM Post #15 of 46

xDaveyJ

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I don't find the T1 on the same as the HD800 and HD600 series. The problem with the T1 is also the tonal balance the treble is a mess.
 

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