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

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What kinds of music exactly?
 
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post-15709655
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vlach

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Mark-sf

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does anyone know how the treble peaks in the HD 800S compare to the treble peaks in Grado headphones? I have a Grado SR225e, and I love it and hate it at the exact same time. The soundstage and imaging are incredibly real and airy sounding, but every time it hits that peak my ears die a little bit, and fatigue builds up over time. If the HD 800S is equally peaky, I wouldn't want to spend all that money to get it. But if it's any less peaky than the SR225e, I think I could live with it. Is it the treble quantity itself that causes fatigue? Or do the peaks cause it? It feels like its just the peaks causing fatigue, but I don't really know.
I find its not the “peakiness of the treble” but the forward presentation and lack of resolution in the 225e that is fatiguing. IMHO, you will not experience that in the HD800S as its presentation is very different and its clarity is stellar. Now, you haven‘t mentioned your audio chain nor your music preferences which play a huge role as you are comparing a headphones that are over $1000 apart. Before dropping that much I would examine your entire chain including media quality.
 
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vlach

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I'm using a Hugo 2, connected to a HiBy R5 via usb.
Oh, that's a very nice set up! Have you considered connecting the Hugo 2 to a tube amp?
 
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OM hawk

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I find its not the “peakiness of the treble” but the forward presentation and lack of resolution in the 225e that is fatiguing. IMHO, you will not experience that in the HD800S as its presentation is very different and its clarity is stellar. Now, you haven‘t mentioned your audio chain nor your music preferences which play a huge role as you are comparing a headphones that are over $1000 apart. Before dropping that much I would examine your entire chain including media quality.
amp/dac is a Hugo 2, with music coming from a HiBy R5 via usb. I listen to a very wide variety of music, but after enjoying the realistic soundstage and imaging on the SR 225e with some high res classical and jazz, I've become keenly interested in getting an HD 800S for that sort of music. What you are saying about the forward presentation and resolution of the 225e is very encouraging. If that's the source of the fatigue, then I might enjoy the HD800S even with the stock cable. But from what I've read, there seem to be tons of options for aftermarket cables, and some like the Black Dragon reduce the treble.
 
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OM hawk

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Oh, that's a very nice set up! Have you considered connecting the Hugo 2 to a tube amp?
So, I'm trying to limit myself to a purely portable setup at this stage in my life, in order to avoid endless upgrading cravings. Tube amps are certainly interesting to me, because as I understand it they have a fundamentally different sound. Zeos Pantera in his Youtube review says the Neuman NDH 20, which I also own, sounds amazing with tubes. Some day I'm sure I'll break down and buy some mega expensive, well reviewed tube amp, but I've got other things on my audiophile agenda before I explore that.
 
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bluenight

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For my hearing I would disagree. I love the HD800S, especially for its soundstage and separation, certain tracks come alive in a way they just don’t do on other headphone. However, I am sensitive to sibilance and the HD800S is ruthless at drawing that and any other harshness in the treble from a recording. It can be so bad that my general sensitivity is enhanced for days if I listen to the HD800S for too long.
I agree. It depends on chain and content. Well sibilant free recordings/content can sound very good and high resolution and peak free while bad recordings i cant play that loud that i want to. For exempel i whatched on netflix fast and furious 7 i had to lower the volume more then i wanted due to the peaks on my hugo 2. My optical cable i currently use from tv is also very unforgiving. I have another one that smooths out things more but dulls the sound more. Again the more revealing technical sounding optical cable for me brings more of an emotional ride with movie whatching and again peak free content sound really good.
 
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bluenight

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All my listeningen so far is with stock cable. But i got the tonekraft cable shipping at the moment from US. Looking forward to that and i will report my findings. I hope it can be smoother then stock. Someone liked it very much. But mine will be an updated version 2.
 
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Bompah

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What kinds of music exactly?
Many types of heavy metal, in particular metalcore, djent or polyrythmic metal, all of which can have a lot going on and aggressive trebel energy. I also find that many recordings sound slightly hollow on the HD800S because of how it expands the sound stage, this includes a lot of 90s rock/metal, including some progressive rock/metal. On the flipside, well recorded live perfomances sound fantastic and the HD800S really puts you in the concert hall. While the ruthless/analytical nature means that the sibliance and sharp consonants in Adele's Royal Albert hall performance cuts like a knife. The HD800S tend to play a lot nicer with older analog recordings and I expect they will sound great with most well recorded Classical or Jazz; and possibly even orchestral soundtracks.

If you contrast that to my Empyrean, all music sounds great and enjoyable on those headphones, but live recordings can't quite get to the greatness of the HD800S. So the HD800S defenitely have a place in my headphone collection, but they never come out to play if all I want to do is relax and listen to my music shuffled.
 
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Whazzzup

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Washed out mids say British grunge circa early 90 curve ice that melts the tips as an example can’t be saved by any hp. And yes speed metal may or may not be Hd800S wheelhouse, while I admit Hd800S is not a perfect all rounder i suggest that that’s hardly lots of music types and lastly I’d explore your source as A potential improvement area to explore, but not for everyone still applies in Hd800S world, but surprised it’s larger than I thought.
 
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If you contrast that to my Empyrean, all music sounds great and enjoyable on those headphones,
Some seems to hear things differently though , might have been because of the chain. Last Emyprean reviewer on head fi wrote this.
"Cons: Cost, unforgiving of poor sources".

I think most people say though its a smooth HP. Thats the impression i get after reading online.
 
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Some seems to hear things differently though , might have been because of the chain. Last Emyprean reviewer on head fi wrote this.
"Cons: Cost, unforgiving of poor sources".

I think most people say though its a smooth HP. Thats the impression i get after reading online.
I would agree with the reviewer to a point. They don't paint over the cracks so to speak, but even poor recordings are fairly listenable on the Empyrean; whilst they can be straight up painful on the HD800S. But the Empyrean won't be as forgiving as say the 99 Classics or a decent pair of bluetooth headphones. And I would agree that the Empyrean sound overall is smooth, and with a slight midbass hump if you listen with the leather pads. If you ever get a chance they are a great listen, and the alacantra pads will probably create the smaller shock if you're used to the HD800S.

Washed out mids say British grunge circa early 90 curve ice that melts the tips as an example can’t be saved by any hp. And yes speed metal may or may not be Hd800S wheelhouse, while I admit Hd800S is not a perfect all rounder i suggest that that’s hardly lots of music types and lastly I’d explore your source as A potential improvement area to explore, but not for everyone still applies in Hd800S world, but surprised it’s larger than I thought.
16/44K PCM should be more than good enough as a source for any headphone (I don't tend to stream any music) but I am looking to get a better tube amp (probably from Feliks or Icon Audio) for my chain to hopefully allow a wider use of the HD800S; and of course for all the tube rolling fun!
 
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gimmeheadroom

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To me they're really only great for big room music like orchestras, outdoor concerts, and also for checking something. An HD 600 is more enjoyable in most cases.
 
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Whazzzup

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Its not as fun but focus on the source if you find certain genres peaky, i did and now don't, i find hd800s competence way beyond concerts, orchestra but like audio and general, no one can or should agree on anything, but that doesn't stop folks from laying down a carpet of supposition, generalizations and just varying preferences.
 
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