Sennheiser HD800 S Impressions Thread (read first post for summary)
Jan 19, 2018 at 5:38 PM Post #3,031 of 6,409

TenMoonsNorth

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Noise level is relevant. Let's talk about THD and THD+N -- that's total harmonic distortion, and total harmonic distortion plus noise, these being two different kinds of measurements.

With THD+N, noise is part of the measurement. AP defines THD+N as "the sum of all the harmonic distortion products in a measurement, as opposed to selective harmonic distortion, which measures discrete harmonic products separately. THD+N adds noise to this figure." Further:



You can see, then, if the system in question is measuring THD+N, then noise should be considered. From the Audio Measurement Handbook by Bob Metzler:



That books has been around for many years, so let's discuss THD measurement (as opposed to THD+N). For a THD measurement (not THD+N) in Audio Precision's APx, what's being measured are only the bins that contain harmonic distortion products. If that's the method being used, does that mean exogenous noise has no effect? No, that's not what it means. Especially in an acoustical measurement, noise can still affect a THD measurement. Even if measuring only the bins that contain harmonic distortion products, external energy that reaches the mics and gets into those bins can be reflected in the THD calculation. This can be more evident, for example, if the FFT length is short and the bins are wide.

For passive headphones, we go with THD. InnerFidelity measures THD+N. (As for anyone else, I can't account for the different software various people are using and how distortion measurements are determined across the many different apps used.) I do believe Tyll mentioned in a recent post that InnerFidelity will soon be switching to Listen, Inc.'s SoundCheck measurement system, which is an excellent system, especially for electro-acoustic test. When he makes the switch, perhaps he'll continue to stick with THD+N to represent the distortion of passive headphones, but I am guessing that perhaps THD will come to the fore at InnerFidelity for that purpose after the system changeover.

Again, noise can definitely affect THD, and especially THD+N, measurements.

(Perhaps we can run a special set of measurements with the HD800 and/or HD800S to illustrate this, when time permits.)

We are talking about comparative differences between the HD800 and HD800S as measured on the same setups. So I don't see how noise floor is the answer.
 
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Jan 19, 2018 at 6:05 PM Post #3,032 of 6,409
We are talking about comparative differences between the HD800 and HD800S as measured on the same setups. So I don't see how noise floor is the answer because it's not remotely likely that everyone was just getting noisy HD800S measurements but not HD800.
I was addressing your statement that noise is irrelevant to a THD measurement.

As I mentioned previously, I actually think the main reason for the Sennheiser-deliberately-engineering-2nd-order-harmonic-distortion-into-the-HD800S theory is a single FFT that showed a characteristic that we have not yet measured from a single stock HD800, and we've now measured five across a wide serial number range, three of which are brand new and never worn. The characteristic that was shown in that FFT was higher H3 distortion than H2 with the HD800. Again, in that FFT the HD800 was labeled "HD800 DP Mod," so it raises the question of whether or not that was a modified HD800 or not.

As for why the hullabaloo, it's because that theory became the prevailing assumption (or pretty much assumed fact) for the last couple of years for why these two models sound different.

Again, when it comes to the DIY headphone measurement systems, as I stated previously, I'm not as concerned with weighing the results from those -- they all have a lot in common, and yet are still kind of all over the place at the same time. I understand at this point that you're inclined to go with the results from those, so okay.
 
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Jan 19, 2018 at 6:17 PM Post #3,033 of 6,409

TenMoonsNorth

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I was addressing your statement that noise is irrelevant to a THD measurement.

As I mentioned previously, I actually think the main reason for the Sennheiser-deliberately-engineering-2nd-order-harmonic-distortion-into-the-HD800S theory is a single FFT that showed a characteristic that we have not yet measured from a single stock HD800S, and we've now measured five across a wide serial number range, three of which are brand new and never worn. The characteristic that was shown in that FFT was higher H3 distortion than H2 with the HD800. Again, in that FFT the HD800 was labeled "HD800 DP Mod," so it raises the question of whether or not that was a modified HD800 or not.

As for why the hullabaloo, it's because that theory became the prevailing assumption (or pretty much assumed fact) for the last couple of years for why these two models sound different.

Again, when it comes to the DIY headphone measurement systems, as I stated previously, I'm not as concerned with weighing the results from those -- they all have a lot in common, and yet are still kind of all over the place at the same time. I understand at this point that you're inclined to go with the results from those, so okay.

I go by the Innerfidelity Head Acoustics HMSIL3 setup as well unless that is considered DIY as well now.

Why does your current THD measurements for the HD800 look so different to the HD800 and Utopia comparison?

The THD shown in the HD800 and Utopia comparison look representative of what I have seen elsewhere with a increase in THD between 3-4Khz and a rise from 500Hz which matches RTings results for the HD800S well.
 
Jan 19, 2018 at 6:26 PM Post #3,034 of 6,409

wldcohso

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wow, just wow at the extensive research done by Jude.. He really went out his way and included professionals that actually get paid doing this for a living. Then Sennheiser comes out with HD 820.. i mean other than Focal and maybe a few other players this HD 820 is going to shake up the audiophile field. Sennheiser is on a roll and they not slowing down at all.. Thanks Jude for all you do...
 
Jan 19, 2018 at 6:53 PM Post #3,035 of 6,409
I go by the Innerfidelity Head Acoustics HMSIL3 setup as well unless that is considered DIY as well now...
No, I definitely do not consider InnerFidelity's setup DIY. That's actually the system that generated the FFT that we're comparing to.

...Why does your current THD measurements for the HD800 look so different to the HD800 and Utopia comparison?

The THD shown in the HD800 and Utopia comparison look representative of what I have seen elsewhere with a increase in THD between 3-4Khz and a rise from 500Hz which matches RTings results for the HD800S well.
The measurements in the Utopia / HD800 comparison were made using the GRAS 45CA with standard pinnae and GRAS RA0045 standard 60318-4 ear simulators. Also, loading that project file, I see the THD data came from sweeps that had the KEMAR diffuse field EQ applied to the APx input filter, which is probably the main reason for the differences. The latest measurements were made with the GRAS 45CA with the newer GRAS anthropometric pinnae and GRAS high-resolution ear simulators (RA0401), with no EQ or filters applied (so raw).

In the past year, we've also come up with better ways of using the real-time instrumentation to get more consistent seating on the two different test fixtures we're using, which we're posting a video about (hopefully in the next day or two). For these reasons, I'd go with the latter measurements.

Given the different setups, we try to always list what system configuration any given measurement was done with, and have become increasingly thorough in our notations and documentation over time.
 
Jan 20, 2018 at 12:22 AM Post #3,036 of 6,409

Swiftfalcon

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I understand that open cans are more difficult to get bass extension from. I don't expect Fostex TH type subs from the Sennheiser open. That said, they can do better. If you buy a pair of stock Audio Technica ATH-R70x and put on tracks with very low HZ sub bass content you barely hear on the HD650, you'll hear it there. Kelis - The Weekend - is my favorite track. There are pre-choruses in the arrangement where she says "...and the beat goes, boom" and the first set of low 808 sub booms are audible in any headphone. The second set goes down to 17 hz and has almost no harmonics in higher octaves. Meaning, if your subwoofer or headphones don't reproduce stuff well below 20-30 hz, you're not going to hear it. It's barely audible on the HD600, a little better on the HD650 and you easily hear it on sub bass cannons like the Fostex TH, Meze 99, Sony MDR-1A, etc. Play it on the ATH-R70x and it's half way between the HD650 and the Meze 99, definitely there, you really feel it. Those are VERY open cans. They have a modest 45 mm driver. That's also with stock velour pads, that aren't unusually shallow or deep or other tricks done to enhance bass. If they made pads that actually were designed to enhance bass, they could probably get them close to the Meze 99 in sub bass. It can be done. Some MrSpeakers AEON Flow Open say they get response like this as well. That is hardly a distorted mess of a headphone. The sound is warm yet pristine, the same with the ATH-R70x. The ATH lacks some high mids, but that is not due to the bass response in those at all.
Every hp has its signature which includes their own level of bass. I am thinking its probably based off driver’s ability and manufacture’s tuning (maybe again based on their measurement of driver capabilities and their philosophy of frequency response). Whatever bass senn HD800S has is what it has. The manufacturer made their choice of tuning, as customers we can make a choice based on various factors. I for one love the bass on 800S including the level and extension. I think its perfect and any manipulation would detract from its overall cohesiveness. I am sure I m not alone in this line of thinking considering the 800S popularity. And if bass is somehow felt inadequate, there are methods available to tweak it. Also variety is awesome...gives options.
 
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Jan 20, 2018 at 5:03 AM Post #3,037 of 6,409
Since we've been talking a lot about headphone measurements on the forums (and in this thread) lately, I wanted to share some of the video PowerPoint slides from a talk I gave at ALMA's annual conference a couple of weeks ago. (ALMA International is the International Association of Loudspeaker Manufacturing & Acoustics.)

In these video slides, we show you Head-Fi's measurement systems, and walk you through how we position headphones on the measurement fixtures.

If you can't see the embedded video above, please click here.
 
Jan 20, 2018 at 1:55 PM Post #3,038 of 6,409

daltonlanny

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Personally, I prefer sonic impressions, sonic comparisons, and impressions on how the graphs relate to how they sound over pure measurements.
I also enjoy comparing different measurements, and comments on how the graphs relate to the sonics, from lots of different sources, not just one source.
And also some headphones that measure badly in certain areas sound great, and some that measure excellent sound bland or unimpressive.
Everyone hears differently, so I base my interests in headphones that I haven't tried on measurements and sonic impressions from several different sources, and compare the different graphs, measurements, and impressions, and then I audition the headphones at home.
In my opinion, I feel this is the best way to do it :)
 
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Jan 20, 2018 at 3:34 PM Post #3,039 of 6,409

james444

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Why does your current THD measurements for the HD800 look so different to the HD800 and Utopia comparison?

The THD shown in the HD800 and Utopia comparison look representative of what I have seen elsewhere with a increase in THD between 3-4Khz and a rise from 500Hz which matches RTings results for the HD800S well.

Good catch. Even considering the EQ-ed input filter, they don't look very consistent with results from the newer rig to me. On the one hand, diffuse field EQ shouldn't change anything below 200Hz. On the other hand, 1kHz should be lifted by about 5dB, due to EQ. So, if I understand this correctly, if both are calibrated to 1kHz, the older measurement would actually show bass distortion for levels about -5dB lower than the newer raw measurements, and upper mids distortion for up to +10dB higher levels.

Just goes to show that you can't realiably compare measurements from different setups, even if both are $$$$$ ones.
 
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Jan 20, 2018 at 6:00 PM Post #3,040 of 6,409

Mshenay

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Personally, I prefer sonic impressions, sonic comparisons, and impressions on how the graphs relate to how they sound over pure measurements.
I also enjoy comparing different measurements, and comments on how the graphs relate to the sonics, from lots of different sources, not just one source.
And also some headphones that measure badly in certain areas sound great, and some that measure excellent sound bland or unimpressive.
Everyone hears differently, so I base my interests in headphones that I haven't tried on measurements and sonic impressions from several different sources, and compare the different graphs, measurements, and impressions, and then I audition the headphones at home.
In my opinion, I feel this is the best way to do it :)

Yeap, I do the same graphs and measurements with impressions from a variety of people. A single source of Hard Data is useless imo especially if it's from any one who stands to profit from the release of said data such as a manufactor, multiple data points and providers are always better...
 
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Jan 20, 2018 at 10:32 PM Post #3,041 of 6,409

daltonlanny

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Yeap, I do the same graphs and measurements with impressions from a variety of people. A single source of Hard Data is useless imo especially if it's from any one who stands to profit from the release of said data such as a manufactor, multiple data points and providers are always better...

I totally agree with you.
I actually go to a variety of different sources and print off reviews, frequency response graphs, distortion and impulse response graphs, compile all of them, and then read and compare them all, then listen to the headphones when I get an opportunity.
I never ever rely on just one source for measurements, reviews, or information.
Sources such as Innerfidelity, Head-fi, DIY- Audio-Heaven, Earphiles, Head-case, The Headphoneer, The Verge, Headphone.com, and Others, make for interesting reading and comparisons.
The more impressions, comparisons, data, and graphs, the better, imho, and it's also fun and interesting :)
 
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Jan 23, 2018 at 10:18 AM Post #3,042 of 6,409

Jimmy Gazelle

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Hi Head-fiers,

I am currently considering getting myself the hd800s. So far I have always been listening on my oppo pm-2 on a revox b250 s amplifier with a revox b226 s cd-player and a revox vinyl player. So I did not use a special headphone amp or dac at all.
Should I get a dedicated headphone amd/dac for the hd800s? If so, will something like the chord mojo (so I could also use it on the go) be good enough for high quality?
In the hifi store I am demoing it on a Lehmann Linear D, which obviously sounds great, but costs something along the lines of 1300€..
So, how big of a difference is a dedicated headphone amp to a soundsystem like the revox one? and the dac?
Thank you very much.

Best regards
 
Jan 23, 2018 at 11:02 AM Post #3,043 of 6,409

ljperez84

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Hello guys, looking for some advice here

Since yesterday I’m the proud owner of a brand new pair of HD800 S . Having had the HD650s for about 4 years I used to drool about buying some HD800 and the the HD800S when they came out.

I was quite happy with the HD650s but I wanted and upgrade because 1- was looking for a wider soundstage 2 - sound was too relaxing (when I put them on I fall asleep 80% of the time, not kidding!)

My current setup is a Hifiberry Digi pro > Schiit mimby > Schiit Valhalla 1. The setup is modest but does wonders for the HD650s but I think is not getting the best of my new babies: I’m not hearing the massive soundstage everyone talks about (yeah it’s obviously bigger than the HD650s but I expected more) I really would like a warmer sound. Not as warm as the HD650s but something in the middle.

I’m broke as f*** right now because this purchase but you now how this hobby is. So here goes the question: where should I start first?

Some constraints / considerations:

I do believe in break in. But I think half of it happens in our brains, the other half in our gear, so I do expect some changes but nothing too radical.

I’m not really fond of amp - dac single box combos. I prefer separate components that allow versatility and scalability.

I prefer best value offers. I think we all recognize this is a diminishing returns hobby. So if there is a $800 amp or dac that does 90% of a $2000 one, give me the $800 option.

I’d like to stick below the $1000 mark per component (or close to it) and it may take a year or so to get another one. Also incremental upgrades are a no go because I live in Mexico and selling used gear is almost imposible, the market for it is very small.

Was thinking about Schiit MJ2 + some warming sound tubes. But I’m not sure if that gets me what I’m looking for.

I’d really appreciate your advise!
 
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Jan 23, 2018 at 11:25 AM Post #3,044 of 6,409

Jimmy Gazelle

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Better save your money and don't buy the HDVD 600. It only works for a limited set of headphones. Also you need high end cables to get the best out of an amplifier which is going to cost you alot of money.

So unless you have a lot of money, then stick with the Mojo. If you have the money, there are better options than the HDVD 600. But perhaps try out also the Hugo and Hugo TT rather than going for the HDVD 600.

Better save your money and don't buy the HDVD 600. It only works for a limited set of headphones. Also you need high end cables to get the best out of an amplifier which is going to cost you alot of money.

So unless you have a lot of money, then stick with the Mojo. If you have the money, there are better options than the HDVD 600. But perhaps try out also the Hugo and Hugo TT rather than going for the HDVD 600.

Hey ubs28,
srry to jump on this reply. I am recently searching the forum for answers so I don´t have to open another thread about something that has possibly been answered somewhere. Looking at the equipment you possess, have you ever listened to the hd800s straight out of the chird mojo? Is the mojo powerful enough to drive the 800s to satisfying extend?
thank you, best regards
 
Jan 23, 2018 at 1:16 PM Post #3,045 of 6,409

ubs28

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Hey ubs28,
srry to jump on this reply. I am recently searching the forum for answers so I don´t have to open another thread about something that has possibly been answered somewhere. Looking at the equipment you possess, have you ever listened to the hd800s straight out of the chird mojo? Is the mojo powerful enough to drive the 800s to satisfying extend?
thank you, best regards

I would say the Mojo is powerful enough, but the HD 800 sounds better with better quality equipment. I find the soundstage quite limited on the Chord Mojo and I find the Chord Mojo a bit harsh sounding at times (which is not good for headphones like the HD 800).

If you can afford it, I find the Hugo 2 + HD 800 S pairing nicer. But if you don't mind using an EQ, the Hugo 2 + HD 800 is also nice.
 
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