Help regarding Sennheiser HD800
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asif13666

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I have been using HD650 for a while as my most listened to headphone and also own a DT990 at the moment. But recently I wanted to try a headphone with a much wider soundstage and detailed sound.

I found a used HD800 for around $600 but without the chance to listen to them for a prolonged period( as the guy lives in another city), I am a bit skeptical about whether they would be to my taste. I did get a chance to try the HD800S with a very expensive Chord DAC/AMP setup and was completely blown away by it. The DAC/AMPs I own are fairly cheaper like the ones from SMSL, JDS Atom and a little dot MK2. So not sure if I would be able to replicate the success of HD800S if I bring it home.

Now the predicament is whether I should spend around $1400 on a brand new HD800s or a $1700 Hifiman Arya( never heard them) or just get the used HD800 for $600 and call it a day?

I haven't tried other planar magnetic headphones like Ananda, LCDs etc but then again I read they would just be an improvement over the HD650 I own currently and not something different like the HD800/S or the Arya. Something different is what I am after now.
 
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omniweltall

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The HD800 is definitely an amazing can. And it is actually a better base to adjust the sound, compared to HD800S. Though the two sound very much alike, I prefer HD800's slightly tighter bass. The HD800 has hotter treble, but that's something that can be fixed anyway. I don't really see the point of going for HD800S.

But.....HD800 requires work to fix and build your chain around it. It is not a plug and play headphone, like many planars. But once you fix it and feed it with appropriate gears, it is end-game level, at THAT price. I notice a lot of people use the HD800/HD6XX with mediocre chain, and complain that it is inferior to bla bla bla headphones. With your current chain, you won't be able to hear it at its best. At least start with the SDR mod, and something like the Schiit Loki to bring up the bass. That should be enough to get you going for now. You can improve your gears later on. But not Chord, unless it is Dave.

Technically speaking, I don't think a "maxed-out" HD800 is in the same class as Ananda or Arya. HE1000 is closer to it, bringing different strengths to the table. HE1000 has flatter bass extension, layering, and easier to max out. HD800 has better resolution (especially in the treble) and staging. The HE1000 is airy, but it doesn't have HD800 staging. The staging part should not be underestimated. I also prefer HD800 a lot more for vocals.

Good luck.
 
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tomb

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I can't add much to omniweltall's post, except to second most of what he says. My family has owned 6 Pugs over the years, so the avatar certainly caught my attention. :wink:

I strongly believe the HD800 (original) is still perhaps the most dependable and most prevalent top-of-the-line headphone in the market. Omniweltall is correct that the original is still probably better than the HD800s, because the bass is tighter with less distortion. The downside is that it does have the treble peak that everyone complains about, but it is mitigated with the correct amplifier and/or the Super DuPont Resonator mod (SDR) as he referenced.

Unfortunately, I think you will be disappointed with your present selection of amplifiers. None of those is going to address the treble peak in the original HD800, assuming you are sensitive to it (some people aren't). The SDR is proven with many tests and I've purchased it, too. It is far superior and technically rigorous compared to the earlier Anaxilus mod. That said, it still involves disassembling a $1500 headphone (or $600 possibly, in your case). I haven't done it, because I've found amplifiers that properly tame the treble peak without any loss in detail or soundstage, but those amplifiers are expensive and in the same price class (or higher) as the HD800/S. I'm a firm believer in matching headphone investment with amplifier investment (and DAC, too). It's extremely frustrating around here to see people purchase $1000+ headphones and then pair them with a $50 amp or smartphone and then wonder what they're missing - or worse, declare that they're not missing anything!

I owned a pair of HD800S for a while, until I decided that I could not afford owning two $1500 headphones that were very similar, so I sold the HD800S. That's only because the market for the original HD800 is quite discounted now, as evidenced by your $600 deal (that really seems too good to be true).

JMHO, but I do not think you would regret purchasing the HD800S. The black finish is so neat looking that if I were to purchase another $1500 headphone again, it would be the HD800S, even though I still own the original HD800. As for quality - it can't be beaten with the Sennheiser HD800, S version or original (no accounting for "used" conditions, though). The same cannot be said of HiFiMan, no matter how popular their products are around here. If you do that, however, please set yourself a goal of getting an amplifier of comparable quality.
 
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asif13666

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Thanks a lot guys. Thanks for taking time out to write derailed opinion on the headphone. Anyway I just went in and bought them today.

Since both of you said the DAC/AMP set up I have right now isn't going to pump the HD800 to its limits, I am wondering what particular amp or DAC do you recommend I buy from here? I don't want to go into the rabbit hole too much and spend 1000s of dollars. Have you got any suggestions about something more reasonable?
 
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You don't have to look very far. Though I don't have the pleasure of owning @tomb T4 (and also the maxed-out T3), they certainly belong to the camp that can bring out the best out of HD800(s) and also you HD650/600/6XX. Trusted ears have recommended me over the years.

If you don't have the budget, at the very least, try something like the ifi iDSD Black Label. I found it pleasing enough and the minimum I would recommend for HD800. But in the end, you want something that can preserve that staging and details, and synergizes well with the HD800. I would always recommend good hybrids or tube amps.

For pure DACs, the Bifrost 2 seems to be the Goldilocks between performance and price. Right now, I cannot think of any DACs below it that I would recommend.

It is definitely worth it to build a system around the HD650 and HD800(s). They both scale and will last you a lifetime. Take your time and build a good system around them. Don't fall into the rabbit hole. It really ain't worth it.
 
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Unequalized, stock HD800 on an average solid state amp is easily one of the worst headphones i know. However used it should be a safe pick since Sennheiser are really stable in their price and you can sell it with almost no loss. In opposite the Arya is most likely the safer pick but if you don't like it you take a huge resale loss.
 
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800s got obviously more bass but less lower end freqs
They are close, but not all same.

But regardless, if you can find a functioning 800 at 600 it's a nice deal.
 
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tomb

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Unequalized, stock HD800 on an average solid state amp is easily one of the worst headphones i know. However used it should be a safe pick since Sennheiser are really stable in their price and you can sell it with almost no loss. In opposite the Arya is most likely the safer pick but if you don't like it you take a huge resale loss.
Please understand that I'm not trying to pick at your opinion ... however, there is a reason for the disparity in re-sale value that you seem to be ignoring. :wink: :wink:
 
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Please understand that I'm not trying to pick at your opinion ... however, there is a reason for the disparity in re-sale value that you seem to be ignoring. :wink: :wink:
Yeah I think we should compare MSRP with resale value for both cans.
 
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Please understand that I'm not trying to pick at your opinion ... however, there is a reason for the disparity in re-sale value that you seem to be ignoring. :wink: :wink:
Yes the reason is that Sennheiser has very few models and a good built quality with very little driver failures while Hifiman releases every month a new headphone while being known for it's bad build quality and frequently driver failures.
 
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Yes the reason is that Sennheiser has very few models and a good built quality with very little driver failures while Hifiman releases every month a new headphone while being known for it's bad build quality and frequently driver failures.
Sometimes is cause by their selling strategy back in china.
Remember the RE2000 price drop and What happens with HE6 earlier this year.
 
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If you don't have the budget, at the very least, try something like the ifi iDSD Black Label. I found it pleasing enough and the minimum I would recommend for HD800.
Yes, although much more can be squeezed out of HD800, they're very listenable with micro iDSD BL.
 
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