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Excellent post, nails it.
Totally concur with th900 vs hd800S complimentary cans, about as polarized refrence hp as one needs. However while lately I have been marvelling at th900 presence and speed at the low end and the inherent thump of closed cans, the hd800S has grown on me quite a bit lately. Maybe the cable mod helped the low end a tad and filled out the spectrum a bit more, but for now it's a go ahead can for me. I'm not genre specific yet, more like nibbling appetizers to see which I like better, for now it's hd800S.
Now not a fan boy, just listening and telling.
I kind of agree with you about over hype when comparing both phones, however this would not of been so bad if Sennheiser had named it something other than HD800 S, I really wished they named it HD850 because to my ears they are quite different, not better or worse just different similar to HD600 and HD650 but in different ways....... if you know where I'm coming from
I used to own the Essence 1 with the Muses great smooth sounding dac but I found the amp side lacking, maybe they have improved the amp on the E3 I don't know
The Senns do sound much better fed correctly with a capable amp, the HD800 has always been amp picky and I'm not sure if the HD800 S will follow this trend but I would say so. I've only heard the HD800 S on the HDVD800 and my GS-X mk2 both of which easily pull everything out of these phones. For my ears and setup I've only had the 800 S for a few days but I really like them more.... That said if I owned a warmer setup it would be much harder to decide.
You and I are on the same page about the TH900's. See you have the black scorpion cable so I assume that you also have the Lawton mod? For the electronica genres the TH900's are just outstanding. The bass is the best-in-class in what I own. I just love them for that genre.
great post !
I would like to add my experience. I believe that HD800S is so wastly different from Audeze LCD-3F or X that it can't even be compared. For me LCD-3F is like a blunt hammer, blaster gun or tank ... depending on what metaphor suits you best while HD800S sounds like scalpel, sniper rifle, supersport car.
There certainly are music genres where one will provide more enjoyable experience to the other. Personally I feel like I'll stick with HD800S and let LCD-3F go, since I can't keep two high-end heapdhones and HD800S gets 90% of headtime.
E: Btw, Schiit Stack with nice tubes is amazing pairing with HD800S
Agree with you about the the naming. HD 850 might have been more suitable. And I know amp-pairing is a huge topic and lots of truths to it. In my case, the outlier, I'm mostly using my AVR. Is the Asus Essence III a good match for the HD800/S's? Found some articles saying yes but it doesn't matter to me too much as I'm mostly using my Fostex and Audeze with my Asus. This summer I'm going to mod my Essence III with Muses01 op-amps and give that a try.
Tune up as well cause I found the bass a bit much on some uber slam tracks. But I'm going full bore and ordered cups and will try the pads. Agree at first when I listened to hd800S after th900 I thought this can't be right, now I marvel at hd800S mid detail during the down beat electronica or funk, the bass is represented pleasantly while the 900 low end makes you feel it and sub bass rumble is something to awe at.
I use TT with hd800S and hpa8 with the th900. Nothing to complane about there.
@flisker, great analogy of scalpel, sniper, tuned sports car. Maybe a little shy on personality but it's an honest can putting in a full day's work happily. sliding up and down the transmission with silky speed.
I chose the LCD-X because of it's neutrality and low resistance (20 ohms). I've read quite a bit about the different LCD's in the series and a lot of people are moving away from the LCD-3 with or without Fazer so I get you point about preferring the HD 800 S. As we all know, the HD 800 series is very revealing, too revealing with lesser quality recordings. That could explain why I prefer the LCD-X's in many cases and "put the scalpel down". Staying on topic in this thread regarding the HD 800 S, I wonder what the head-to-head contest is between the HD 800 S and the Audeze LCD-4? But that's a $4000 pair of cans. Or even Hifi Mans latest and greatest? Granted, we are comparing apples to oranges as these manufacturers are using two different technologies.
I previously owned the TH900s as well amazing phone for EDM, but for most other genres the mids for my ears are lacking, so I let them go with a little bit of regret, I do miss that bass slam
The Muses are a perfect match for both Senn phones, I'm still smitten with that muses sound even though I haven't heard it for quite sometime......
I'm a little on the crazy side so I purchased the Fostex TH900, never heard them before in my life, sent them straight to Mark Lawton and got the full tune up with everything. I heard about the U-shaped frequency response with the TH900's with a weak midrange and vocals which is why I did the full upgrade package. I was not disappointed. Perhaps this explains your experience and preference with the HD 800 S and the midrange in this genre. You know I am in no way trying to put down the HD 800 series, Just questioning the hype and mentioning viable alternatives. I after all own both HD 800's and have no plans of letting them go and have spent a pretty penny on cable upgrades.
Sorry to hear you let the TH900's go. You might have liked the Lawton upgrade which lifts the midrange. If you like vocal trance, which is 99% female vocals, the Lawton mod brings the mids and vocals forward while maintaining that awesome bass.
Good to know, I was reluctant to let the urushi cups go but a few have said to mod complete is the way to go. So looking forward to museum grade Hawaiian koa.
Nice! I just took a look at them. I went for aesthetics so I got the black gaboon ebony cups. They weren't the preferred wood for my preferred genre on Lawtons " tone wheel" but I was not disappointed.
Back on topic to the HD 800/S's when talking about mods (we digressed talking about LCD's and TH900's), It's too bad that colorware.com no longer accepts "send ins" for color modding. I tried to sent my original HD 800's for an all black paint job but they said they weren't doing that any more. Apparently you have to get the HD 800 series new from them to get them painted. I was happy that the HD 800 S came in black but I would have liked to get my HD 800's painted black as well.
Headphone stands for HD 800 S (and of course HD 800). Any of you here on Massdrop? If not, register! They had a drop for Klutz Design Can Cans and I missed it. The minimum required number of people interested to get a new drop is 200. We're now up to 230 but the more people interested, the better. Can Cans are very expensive. Via Massdrop Klutz only sold B-stock but most people said that there was no real aesthetic problem with the B-stock. I'm gonna get two, one for each of my HD 800's, so I'm really looking forward to a new drop to save some money. What I like about the Can Cans for the HD 800's is that they have a nice cradle up top for the headphone band and they don't put any pressure on the ear pads. Of course there are plenty of other options for the HD 800 series but to me it's almost like the Can Cans were made for the HD 800's. Check out this image that I found.