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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. headblid
    I agree with most of the opinions here, the stuff that's more expensive than the HD800 series doesn't necessarily play by the logic of past days, that includes the HD820. If Sennheiser could re-release the HD800 today, I wonder if they would ask for a higher price.
    I spent 10+ years with an HD600 before venturing into more expensive territory. One thing I learned after trying a gazillions mid fi cans is that I had to redefine my quest for end game past a certain point. Up to the HD650 (and comparable cans at other brands), it was just pure improvements across the board with price increases... beyond this price point, it really became a case of nothing is completely better all around but rather a quest to identify the key attributes that I couldn't live without and seeing which headphone takes those to the limit and at what cost... I only wish I didn't have to buy and sell and lose so much money to find that out but I guess that's the definition of the journey...

    Aside from the audio qualities, I also believe that the HD800S has a chance to bring this hobby back to earth, given how much it costs compared to the rest of the stuff with the crazy prices and the fact that it plays in the same league and sometimes beats some of them, maybe those companies will wake up and start selling stuff at more reasonable prices... although I'm just hoping at this point given how much Sennheiser charges for the HD820 :)
    TYATYA, Christer and Nik74 like this.
  2. exdmd
    Besides being the lightest and most comfortable set of phones I have ever owned, the HD800S still impress me after owning for a year. I have not heard anything I would rather listen with.
    headblid and Nik74 like this.
  3. headblid
    Indeed... sometimes I wish I could listen to the wife through the 800S, makes everything sound so sweet... :beyersmile:

  4. exdmd
    FYI there is a new pair of HD800S available on Amazon right now for $1200 (one left) see this listing. NFI just noticed what looks like a good deal for someone.
    ZappaMan likes this.
  5. S Crowther
    It is very difficult to say one headphone is better than another as so much of the performance depends on synergy with the other equipment in the chain, the DAC and the amp etc. For example I have HE1000v2 which sound great with one of my dacs but sound dull with another. My HD800s plays well with one of my amps but sounds shrill and thin with another.
  6. vlach
    Very true.
  7. Hoegaardener70
    I think the HD800s came out when the headphone market was at a critical junction, which means prices for totl were about to explode but not a “normal” yet. Since then, a lot has happened and even sennheiser “got it” that there is the market for nearly any asking price. And they do try it now with the sonically inferior hd820. I am totally sure, if the HD800s would hit the market now, it would sit somewhere between 2-3k as well.

    On another note, with a tube amp the HD800s/ sounds stellar and blows any Audeze or hifiman out of the water, in my ears.
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2019
  8. Phronesis
    For the combos of gear I’ve tried, I haven’t noticed DACs and amps making a difference when I matched up volumes and music segments, and switched quickly. But I haven’t tried any tube amps.
  9. ZappaMan
    I've upgraded Hugo 2, to Hugo TT2, and now my HD800s seem a lot better. Almost like an extra dimensional has been added to them. If you imagine electronic bass, i can now feel a depth with it, like there are invisible tunnels within the headphone cup and the bass is rolling down it - yeah - depth.
    Whether its the more powerful amp bits of the dac or other superior components, i cannot tell.
    But my unscientific impression was, Hugo2 didn't have enough oomph to reveal what the hd800s was capable of, even though it has all the plaudits, it seems like hd800s does benefit from a bit of ampage.....
  10. Phronesis
    Perceived differences can be due to differences in the gear, what's happening in our brains/minds (largely at the subconscious level), or both. It can be quite difficult to sort that out, and IMO no one has yet come up with a truly reliable way to sort it out.
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2019
  11. ZappaMan
    agreed, but in the absence of not being able to measure or to know, I think the 'reliable' way to sort it out, is through humans sharing experiences and letting the brain sum it up and come to its own conclusions (although each persons conclusions can differ). i think I saw most people report that hd800s perform better with some heavier weight amp behind them, i have no ideas the reasons why, but I'd accept that this is probably the case, even if it can't be measurably substantiated except through human experience.

    Now i remember, you couldn't detect a difference between Mojo and Hugo 2 :) A/B test suck :) I think we've all been there with you at some point.

    For example, between mojo and hugo2, i saw a big improvement in the performance of the hd800s, but it wasn't about the accuracy of the music, but how the analogue components within the dac were powering the headphones (i'd guess).
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2019
  12. Phronesis
    What I found with Mojo and Hugo 2 is that I perceived differences when the comparison was somewhat casual, but when I matched up volumes and music segments, and reduced switching times, the perceived differences diminished or went away completely. That could be due to my perception being affected by the evaluation process, but it may also be due to effects of expectations being reduced. In my experience, these kinds of issues come into play when comparing headphones too.

    Generally, I find that evaluation of gear is not at all an easy process, and I find it more tedious than enjoyable. Most enjoyable setting for me is to forget about the gear, don't listen to sound quality critically, and just get into the music.
    ZappaMan likes this.
  13. ZappaMan
    Cool, not to get off topic but instrument separation was one of the standout differences between these two dacs with the hd800s
    It may be interested if you retested with your hd800s
  14. TYATYA
    Does any1 want to listen to 800s w/o dust mask?
    Does it mask/absorb a bit of crystial high?

    I want to listen w/o the mask but dont like to make any dust on driver. So I used hot welding tip to clear the mask.

    Screenshot_20190102-214802_Gallery.jpg 20190102_215338.jpg
  15. chimney189
    Good day everyone, and Happy New Years!

    My friend has the HD 800S and I told him that I'm willing to sell him a Burson Soloist SL for pretty cheap as I feel that it goes really well with this headphone. However, I'm wondering what DAC that has a USB input that he should buy as well..

    I was thinking of just a Modi from Schiit .. I'm looking for something around $300 at most. Any suggestions?
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