Sennheiser HD800s or HD800 with amp?
Aug 12, 2017 at 2:28 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 30

gstepic

Head-Fier
Joined
Nov 21, 2014
Posts
92
Likes
21
I am looking to upgrade my audio experience. I know there are diminishing returns but I also know from experience spending a bit more can make a huge difference. I originally started out with a Fijo X5 paired with PSB MAU1 headphones which I thought sounded great. Then I purchased the iBasso DX80 along with the Beyerdynamic T5p version 2 which to me sounded much better, probably more due to the phones than the DAP. What I enjoyed most about the upgrade was the soundstage. I did some research as I wanted closed end but the T5p seemed to have a very good soundstage for a closed end design, The iBasso also probably contributed to good soundstage as well.

Now I am considering upgrading to the iBasso DX200 along with the Sennheiser HD800s. From what I have researched with the balanced output the iBasso could probably drive the HD800s just fine. I am wondering if getting a headphone amp such as the Woo Audio WA2 would make even more if a difference. Also, if I got the amp would I really need the s version of the HD800 phones?

I like all kinds of music, country, jazz,, and classical. As far as classical music goes I am a little disappointed and it could be the music collection or the playback setup, it is the least enjoyable music right now. I remember years ago getting a tube amp for my CD player and violins just sounded amazing to me. The problem was tubes kept burning out so I gave up on it. I still remember how good classical music sounded with my speakers.

My wife passed away several months ago (music helps me with the grieving process more than anything else) so now an open ended design may be more desirable because from what I have read it gives the best soundstage and the Sennheiser seems to excel in that area as well. I want to feel like the stage is in front of me and not around me, another area where the HD800 or HD800s could help.

I mainly want to know if I would need the s version of the HD800 if I got the WA2 amp? Any comments welcome though considering my thought process.

Gary
 
Last edited:
Aug 12, 2017 at 3:03 PM Post #2 of 30

Bern2

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Nov 4, 2015
Posts
611
Likes
261
Location
Allegan Michigan
My experience...I did not research as well as you have...

I went with the HD800. I could not EQ manually to my satisfaction , and ended up trying Sonarworks (which I love for the 800) which solved my problem. I am driving them with the Teac HA-501.

I'm not sure I've read too many posts that preferred the 800 over the 800S.

Bern
 
Aug 12, 2017 at 3:15 PM Post #3 of 30

Galm

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Feb 17, 2017
Posts
427
Likes
108
My experience...I did not research as well as you have...

I went with the HD800. I could not EQ manually to my satisfaction , and ended up trying Sonarworks (which I love for the 800) which solved my problem. I am driving them with the Teac HA-501.

I'm not sure I've read too many posts that preferred the 800 over the 800S.

Bern
I prefer a heavily modded HD800 to the HD800s. You can do the SDR mod to tame like the treble like the HD800S did and then pair it with a warm amp. This makes a good combo as the HD800 doesn't have the bass distortion present in the S.

Anyway I own a DX200... I'm not really sure it would drive HD800 to its full potential. You would definitely need to use the balanced connector and it's kind of a bright amp at stock. Personally I would want a tube amp with HD800 (and did).

My condolences by the way. I know that this must be a really hard time. If music helps you than definitely embrace it!

I used WA7s with my HD800s and had nice warm tubes with them. I did have a tube die once, but it doesn't seem to happen all that often.

Anyway sorry, don't take that as a sales pitch. My experience was the tubes smooth out the HD800s well because they have a lot of treble and treble detail. The soundstage is amazing though, my Utopia can't compete in that aspect for classical music at all. So if you like a wide sound stage these are a great pair of cans. I'd say it probably sounds like you're near the front of a concert hall. It's not like super in front of you, but it is crazy wide and engaging. Classical was more its strong suit as opposed to like rock music or metal or something.
 
Last edited:
Aug 13, 2017 at 5:40 PM Post #6 of 30

gstepic

Head-Fier
Joined
Nov 21, 2014
Posts
92
Likes
21
A warm amp will help, but the treble spike is more the issue.

Eq can fix it.

I ordered the S version after reading a bunch if reviews. I do understand it is a matter of taste but I do like a slightly warmer sound and love the punch of quality base in the right music. I will keep my Beryerdynamic T5p version 2 which may be the best choice for some types of music and certainly is best choice for times when a closed end design is needed. From my research those phones had very good soundstage for closed end design and I agree, I really like the headphones.

I miss the enjoyment I used to have listening to classical music and would always want a better soundstage if I can get it. I have read that is a huge advantage of open ended design and HD800 excels in a good soundstage. I remember years ago owning a tube amp and how great classical music sounded, especially the strings, with my speaker system. The problem I had was the tubes kept burning out so had to return it for a more traditional amp. I am going to get a headphone amp and it will be a tube amp. I can't remember if I already mentioned this in my original post but my choice is between the Woo Audio WA2 or the Schiit hybrid amp (can't remember the name but runs around $800).

Good quality music brings so much enjoyment to me. I originally thought getting good headphones was a compromise to a good speaker system. I live in an apartment and have no desire to buy a home again so a good speaker system is not an option. I am thinking good headphones are actually superior to a good speaker system but the weakness is always the soundstage. At one time it seemed outrageous to spend $900 for a DAP, $1700 for headphones, and up to $1200 for an amp. My wife liked music but nowhere to the degree I did. It is a shame so many people can never take the time to just sit back and really listen to good quality music. I think one reason this does not happen is the gear is mediocre at best so sound is nothing close to live experience and of course the lack of a good soundstage is probably the main reason. I thought the highly touted Bose QC phones were really good until I started to listen to headphones that brought me closer to that live experience. They had the thump I liked but not the soundstage. I could be wrong about this but I am thinking a good amp is the final piece of the puzzle toward that realistic musical experience ..

Sorry for getting kind of preachy, I just want to share a little about how I feel and why I am excited about my new gear that is on the way, and that will include an amp soon enough. I am so technically ignorant compared to most of you so I really appreciate your responses.

Gary
 
Aug 13, 2017 at 5:46 PM Post #7 of 30

Galm

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Feb 17, 2017
Posts
427
Likes
108
I ordered the S version after reading a bunch if reviews. I do understand it is a matter of taste but I do like a slightly warmer sound and love the punch of quality base in the right music. I will keep my Beryerdynamic T5p version 2 which may be the best choice for some types of music and certainly is best choice for times when a closed end design is needed. From my research those phones had very good soundstage for closed end design and I agree, I really like the headphones.

I miss the enjoyment I used to have listening to classical music and would always want a better soundstage if I can get it. I have read that is a huge advantage of open ended design and HD800 excels in a good soundstage. I remember years ago owning a tube amp and how great classical music sounded, especially the strings, with my speaker system. The problem I had was the tubes kept burning out so had to return it for a more traditional amp. I am going to get a headphone amp and it will be a tube amp. I can't remember if I already mentioned this in my original post but my choice is between the Woo Audio WA2 or the Schiit hybrid amp (can't remember the name but runs around $800).

Good quality music brings so much enjoyment to me. I originally thought getting good headphones was a compromise to a good speaker system. I live in an apartment and have no desire to buy a home again so a good speaker system is not an option. I am thinking good headphones are actually superior to a good speaker system but the weakness is always the soundstage. At one time it seemed outrageous to spend $900 for a DAP, $1700 for headphones, and up to $1200 for an amp. My wife liked music but nowhere to the degree I did. It is a shame so many people can never take the time to just sit back and really listen to good quality music. I think one reason this does not happen is the gear is mediocre at best so sound is nothing close to live experience and of course the lack of a good soundstage is probably the main reason. I thought the highly touted Bose QC phones were really good until I started to listen to headphones that brought me closer to that live experience. They had the thump I liked but not the soundstage. I could be wrong about this but I am thinking a good amp is the final piece of the puzzle toward that realistic musical experience ..

Sorry for getting kind of preachy, I just want to share a little about how I feel and why I am excited about my new gear that is on the way, and that will include an amp soon enough. I am so technically ignorant compared to most of you so I really appreciate your responses.

Gary
Cool! I think you'll be really happy with it!
 
Aug 13, 2017 at 6:11 PM Post #8 of 30

Brahmsian

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Feb 21, 2017
Posts
524
Likes
233
Location
Miami, Florida
Good quality music brings so much enjoyment to me...It is a shame so many people can never take the time to just sit back and really listen to good quality music. I think one reason this does not happen is the gear is mediocre at best
People still listen to a lot of music, but it's often in the background or an accompaniment to some other activity, like a movie soundtrack. I can't stand background music. It all sounds bad to me. Unless I'm giving it my undivided attention, to me music just becomes a distraction from the primary activity. I will never play music when I read or work, etc. For me, music is the main event, not some ancillary thing.

The only reason I would pick the HD800 over the new version is price since I hear they're both great at classical music. Classical would also be the only genre I would buy an 800 for. The S is better at other genres, would that be a correct statement?
 
Last edited:
Aug 13, 2017 at 6:29 PM Post #9 of 30

endgame

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Feb 25, 2017
Posts
433
Likes
165
I ordered the S version after reading a bunch if reviews. I do understand it is a matter of taste but I do like a slightly warmer sound and love the punch of quality base in the right music. I will keep my Beryerdynamic T5p version 2 which may be the best choice for some types of music and certainly is best choice for times when a closed end design is needed. From my research those phones had very good soundstage for closed end design and I agree, I really like the headphones.

I miss the enjoyment I used to have listening to classical music and would always want a better soundstage if I can get it. I have read that is a huge advantage of open ended design and HD800 excels in a good soundstage. I remember years ago owning a tube amp and how great classical music sounded, especially the strings, with my speaker system. The problem I had was the tubes kept burning out so had to return it for a more traditional amp. I am going to get a headphone amp and it will be a tube amp. I can't remember if I already mentioned this in my original post but my choice is between the Woo Audio WA2 or the Schiit hybrid amp (can't remember the name but runs around $800).

Good quality music brings so much enjoyment to me. I originally thought getting good headphones was a compromise to a good speaker system. I live in an apartment and have no desire to buy a home again so a good speaker system is not an option. I am thinking good headphones are actually superior to a good speaker system but the weakness is always the soundstage. At one time it seemed outrageous to spend $900 for a DAP, $1700 for headphones, and up to $1200 for an amp. My wife liked music but nowhere to the degree I did. It is a shame so many people can never take the time to just sit back and really listen to good quality music. I think one reason this does not happen is the gear is mediocre at best so sound is nothing close to live experience and of course the lack of a good soundstage is probably the main reason. I thought the highly touted Bose QC phones were really good until I started to listen to headphones that brought me closer to that live experience. They had the thump I liked but not the soundstage. I could be wrong about this but I am thinking a good amp is the final piece of the puzzle toward that realistic musical experience ..

Sorry for getting kind of preachy, I just want to share a little about how I feel and why I am excited about my new gear that is on the way, and that will include an amp soon enough. I am so technically ignorant compared to most of you so I really appreciate your responses.

Gary

I own the 800S and used to own the T5P v2. So I can honestly say, if the treble of the T5P doesn't bother you, you will have no problems with the 800S. You're in for a treat, because those are amazing headphones with the best soundstage I've ever heard. Congrats!
 
Aug 13, 2017 at 6:58 PM Post #10 of 30

gstepic

Head-Fier
Joined
Nov 21, 2014
Posts
92
Likes
21
I own the 800S and used to own the T5P v2. So I can honestly say, if the treble of the T5P doesn't bother you, you will have no problems with the 800S. You're in for a treat, because those are amazing headphones with the best soundstage I've ever heard. Congrats!

Very encouraging to know there will be an improvement in my listening experience. I have been listening to the T5ps straight out of the iBasso DX80. I think they do not need as much power to drive them and I can fit them in my "man purse (a camera bag where I always have a camera, laptop, music player, kindle and headphones - in other words the essentials of life)". When I am at my favorite brewery or just sitting somewhere in public (I enjoy escaping to the beaches of California and watch the waves while listening to music) where the closed end design is necessary so I more than likely will keep the T5p. I will be curious if an amp will help with the T5p as well as the HD800 S.

And I totally agree with a previous poster in that music as a background does not cut it for me, when I am in my apartment the only time I listen to music is when that is all I plan on doing.
 
Aug 13, 2017 at 7:27 PM Post #11 of 30

Ivan Makarov

Head-Fier
Joined
Nov 14, 2012
Posts
75
Likes
8
Location
Ukraine Kyiv

Users who are viewing this thread

Top