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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. llcook51
    I use the Modi Uber with the Cavalli Liquid Platinum hybrid amp. The sound is sublime to my ears.
  2. sarga
  3. joseph69
  4. llcook51
    Best advice of all. Nothing beats actually listening to the equipment. Even then, if your ears are like mine, they seem to hear slightly differently from day to day. No one else hears as you do. No one can explain in words a sound that you would hear.
    Phronesis likes this.
  5. Phronesis
    I listen to a lot of acoustic jazz recorded in recent years, and normally it sounds great with the HD800S. But I'm currently listening to the album Blue Dream by the Jamie Saft Quartet, and it sounds WAY to bright and sizzly to my ears, unbearably so. If you have access to the album, see if you agree or disagree. This can be a good test of how much our ears are the same or differ.
    ZappaMan likes this.
  6. Thenewguy007
    Any specific song, maybe something on youtube to test?
  7. Phronesis
    I listened to parts of the first 2 or 3 tracks and concluded that the problem is general to the album.
  8. Luke Thomas
    Any good deals available? Used or new.
  9. nariza7
    prosoundgear has demo unit for 1899. can use switchnew to get it replaced with new i think
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2019
  10. Luke Thomas
    Not so sure 1899 is a good deal.
  11. koven Contributor
    Mint HD800S goes for $1000-$1100 quite often on eBay and this forum, just keep an eye out.
  12. kumar402
    That's true keep an eye out on ebay, I got one used for $899 after some 15%off coupon
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2019
  13. TYATYA
    Did you mention Track no.3?
    Listened no1 to no4 and I found track 3 is no bass and no upper bass. Just very weak low note at certain freq apprx 60Hz existing there in a bad melody. To my ear it is unlistenable.
  14. nariza7
    Oops sorry. My mind was stuck on hdv820
  15. Robonaut
    I haven't purchased a new pair of full-sized headphones in years, but I'm in the market now, so I decided to give the HD800S a try. I'd always owned closed headphones in the past, so I was curious what a high-end open design was like.

    I've been listening to them all evening, taking breaks here and there to give my ears a rest. They're hooked up directly to the headphone out of my Marantz SA8001 SACD player, which doesn't seem to be having any trouble driving them (having the volume anything higher than about a third of the way up on a rock/pop song is REALLY DAMN LOUD!).


    I have to say, not good.

    It didn't start out that way, though. The first thing I listened to was the Rene Jacobs SACD of Le Nozze di Figaro, an opera recording that I have listened to many times. On this recording, I was blown away by HUGE soundstage that the HD800S threw out, as well as the ridiculous amount of detail. Every little breath or rolled consonant from the vocalists stood out in a way I'd never heard before. The amount of bass that the HD800S produced was also better than I was expecting, adding some good heft to the overture.

    Next up was the SACD for Depeche Mode's Violator album, another recording that I was intimately familiar with. The HD800S did great on this, too. The opening bass on "World in My Eyes" was full and deep, and every little percussion pattern and sound effect stood out in the stereo field with absurd clarity. I did find, though, that Dave Gahan's voice did seem to lack a bit of heft -- sounding more "nassally" and less "chesty" than I remember hearing it before.

    Next was something a bit harder: Ghost's Prequelle album on CD, which has been on heavy rotation for me since it was released. After my pleasant experience with my first two selections, I was shocked at how much I hated the way that the HD800S handled this album. On "Witch Image", for example, the guitars sounded way too trebly and the constant splish of the hi-hats was very upfront and annoying. "See the Light" was handled a bit better, with the quiet beginning portion with the piano sounding very nice. But, in the more "rockin'" parts of this track, the treble was, again, too much, with even the vocals having a piercing edge to them that wasn't fun to listen to.

    Switching back to classical, I popped in the SACD of Carmina Burana with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Once again, I was loving the HD800S. The massive soundstage was still breathtaking. And it was able to handle the vast dynamic range of "O Fortuna" wonderfully, with the drums having plenty of impact. "Omnia sol temperat" with it's solo male voice also sounded beautiful, although the voice did seem to, again, sound a bit nassaly instead of chesty.

    Next I listened to Clan of Xymox's Medusa album on CD. I love the gothic beauty of this album...well at least I usually do. What I usually consider a dark, moody album was suddenly a sibilant mess of overpowering cymbals and shrill synths.

    Sticking with more moody music, I listened to Brendan Perry's Eye of the Hunter CD. This album has a lot of Brendan's somber baritone with fairly minimal instrumentation. And it sounded mostly great...but once again I noticed that Brendan's voice, which I normally think of as rich and resonant, sounded nasally and a bit thin.

    Upping the tempos quite a bit, I put in Can't Stand the Rezillos. I normally love this album's punk energy and straightforward, clear production. But, Christ, I couldn't pull this disc out fast enough. The treble overwhelmed everything, and the female singer's Scottish-accented vocals, which I normally enjoy, became a shrieky annoyance,

    I finished up with BoA's Best of Soul SACD. The throbbing bass on "Listen to My Heart" was rich and deep, and all of the synths and the zip of the percussion elements were crystal clear. But there was still the impression that the sparkle was overwhelming the rest of the elements. I switched from the SACD layer to the CD layer of the disc, and this effect was even more pronounced.

    I can see why people like these headphones for classical, but I don't feel confident that I would enjoy them as my main set of headphones. I also find it interesting that I seemed to enjoy my SACDs much more than the CDs that I listened to--I guess the HD800S might be a good way to demonstrate to someone the superiority of the SACD format.
    kumar402 likes this.
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