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Sennheiser HD800 S Impressions Thread (read first post for summary)

Discussion in 'High-end Audio Forum' started by shabta, Jan 19, 2016.
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  1. donlin
    I bought my second HD800S a few months ago. I was without one for about a year and always missed it. When I got the second pair it was really shocking how good it is in comparison to what I had while it was away.
    swspiers likes this.
  2. ZenErik
    Oh yea. There is always the chance I will love it so much that I don't need the ADX5000 anymore, but I find the ADX5000 pretty special when it comes to speed and punch and will provide good contrast with its more intimate soundstage. The speed is something I don't recall from the HD800S. Never did get to compare directly. Compared to the Auteur I find the ADX5000 noticeably faster and punchier sounding. A little more snap to the percussion. A little more impact with the midbass. On the downside I believe the ADX5000 is a little hot in the treble and can add a little tizziness that shouldn't be there once in a while.

    I am also particularly sensitive when it comes to comfort. While the HD800S is very comfortable I think the ADX5000 also likely wins there for me. Basically hardly touches the whole top of my head.

    I think I sold my HD800S in January 2018. Not 100% certain. Definitely looking forward to reacquainting my ears with it. My memories probably aren't giving it enough credit.
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2018
  3. Whazzzup
    The hd800S is the most recycled hp I’m sure, well guessing. It’s a kinda hp that one thinks pastures are greener then you think twice after the fact. I’m not saying that susvara is not a better hp, different for sure, but couldn’t pull the trigger even with a 30% disc doing head to head. While one can find fault in any headphone, it’s your system really that’s the problem if you don’t like em... well not explained well but my take,
    donlin likes this.
  4. chimney189
    I find that the HD 800S sounds great out of my DragonFly Red!
  5. donlin
    You're exactly right about the greener pastures. Because Sennheiser is very steady and not as flashy as some of the others they can seem less impressive but the sound quality is still near the top of the heap at all price points. Just look at the HD600/HD600!
  6. ZenErik
    I actually never had an issue with the HD800S. Not saying it's perfect, but I stupidly sold them while waiting for my Auteur pre-order to feel less bad about the cost of the Auteur, I suppose.
  7. donlin
    The Auteur is a perfect example. It's a new model, hand made by a small company with a beautiful wood finish so it gets a lot of attention and is assumed to be superior. It's definitely a great headphone and quite different from the HD800S but not necessarily better sounding.
  8. ZenErik
    I love the Auteur. ZMF makes the best looking headphones to my eyes, and they also happen to sound excellent. In addition to that I find Zach very friendly and accommodating. I look forward to seeing them continue to grow.

    The issue I have with ZMF headphones is the comfort. A lot of people find them plenty comfortable and even I was able to adapt to the Auteur for a while. Once I got my ADX5000 it was hard to continue using the Auteur due to comfort issues. That said, I am particularly sensitive to being bothering by hotspots on top of my head. A lot of people don't seem to suffer from these issues.

    The HD800S does not have the best sort of headband design for my head. I love A-T's old wing system, full suspension systems, and whatever you call the ADX5000 system. That said the HD800S is quite light and also has that gap in the padding right on top of my head that helps quite a lot with comfort despite not being 100% ideal.
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2018
    Liu Junyuan likes this.
  9. smodtactical
    What did you miss when listening to the focal utopia ?
  10. smodtactical
    This is a review from reddit which I expected to be more in line with the auteur:

    Comparison to HD800S
    SB+++, B+, M+, T-

    Compared to the HD800S, the Auteur exhibits:

    Much deeper and much more satisfying sub-bass

    More heft and control to the rest of the bass

    Elevated and wetter/sweeter mids (more second-order harmonic distortion?)

    A treble slightly less detailed but still ridiculously detailed

    Moderately more intimate soundstage (but still wider than most headphones), likely due to the Eikon pads

    Slightly less instrument separation amongst instruments of the same type, perhaps a consequence of the wetter sound

    My Auteurs exhibit slightly less detail retrieval than the HD800S but also sound less "dry". For relaxed, fun music listening, the Auteurs are now my go-to. For more analytical music listening, or when I'm feeling more excitable or energetic, or when I long for a vast soundstage, I'll fire up the HD800S.

    More subjectively, the Auteurs definitely lend a more emotional experience to the music. The sound feels more organic, the bass feels deeper and more refined, the mids sweeter and more memorable. In short, the Auteurs feel like they are fuller and have more body than the HD800S. That said, I don't think anything will ever reach the overwhelmingly vast expanse of sheer jawdropping detail and soundstage and complexity of the HD800S. These are distinctly different beasts for different moods."
  11. chimney189
    Interesting perspective!
  12. Slim1970
    I feel the same way. The HD800S's are just a unique headphone. No other headphone can do what they do which makes them a keeper. Just add a little sub bass and it competes with just about any headphone in my opinion.
  13. vlach
    The way you describe the Auteur is exactly how i feel about the HE-500 (rich, organic, natural, moist, full bodied, gravity is lower, mass is higher) compared to the HD800 (detail, soundstage, separation, drier, wow factor). Different purpose headphones depending on mood.
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2018
  14. smodtactical
    After a bunch of testing and experimentation I made my subbass and bass ramp more modest and now have the best balance between giving the 800S a rich colour while still preserving probably 95% of the mid and treble detail. This is at least on my burson conductor SL 9018. I also use it for my HD650 which makes a bass thumpin party headphone! :D Also I do have the taction kannons coming so I'll probably think even the 650s are bass light soon lol.

    In case anyone wants the subbass ramp (you know the foobar graphic equalizer plugin) its here: http://www.diabolicaldesign.net/SmodsbassHD800S_650.xgeq
  15. wldcohso
    I absolutely love my Focal Utopia, HD800s BUT until you experience in ear monitors you’re really missing out. The music ooooooozzzzes out and the music flows so effortlessly into my ears. 64Audio A18t and Tia Fourte just a totally different experience...
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