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Sennheiser HD820

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by Dulalala, Apr 29, 2017.
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  1. Amberlamps
    When I bought my 800S, I did look at the 820s, but realised that me, headphones and glass do not make for a good combination.

    Plus they are closed, and I am not sure if closed cans are worth £2000 ?

    Probably are good, but 2k good ?
  2. LaCuffia
    I have ordered from World Wide Stereo in the past and they are a very good company with a generous return policy.
  3. PointyFox
    They still have a store in Pennsylvania.
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2018
  4. Beagle
    I don't doubt it. It's just that their name is very misleading.
  5. QueueCumber
    Still loving the 820 sound compared to the Utopia. Vocals and high-mid range seem more present/forward and fuller on the utopia to me. But that difference comes at the expense of softer instrument sounds being lost in busy passages. The 820 soundstage allows me to focus in on even the smallest sounds in complex passages. I prefer the more laid back presentation overall on the 820 because it keeps higher toned female vocals from becoming grating, which is a problem I have when listening to the Utopias for long periods of time. Ambient sounds (sounds of the room, such as echoes of the instruments off walls, etc,—in case that’s not the right terminology) are more realistic on the 820 to me whereas on the Utopia they are constrained by the limited soundstage. Listening to Steve Vai’s Passion and Warfare (or PF’s DSotM) on the 820, the ambient sounds are incredible and express more realistic space and depth.

    Bass is still a bit wonky, as mentioned previously. There is that disconnect still between the extremely low bass and mid-range bass. The disconnect seems to be more apparent with instruments when they’re panned to extreme right or left. I don’t notice it when bass is centered or near center stage.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2018
    trellus and Beagle like this.
  6. Beagle
    Sounds nice. The bass issue seems consistent with many closed phones that have too tight a seal? Perhaps a bit of breathing room (less tight seal?) can alleviate this?

    It appears that it's the pre-orders that are currently being filled and nobody has actual stock. I gather they will come August.
    QueueCumber likes this.
  7. Audiotic
    You asked for it, so here I go. Mind you, this is my personal opinion, purely mine! For those who noticed: I posted this in another group too, same question was raised

    To start off - when reading the comments on the web about these headphones: they are very very controversial. Yes they are expensive, but “worth it” is a matter of what one wants to and can shell out. Like getting a sportscar - a matter of taste plus e.g. not very family-friendly. I respect your opinions. Please respect mine. And I do not become overly positive just to make me feel good about shelling out 2400€, my set is a multitude of that... let alone my music collection, which spans several 1000 albums.
    What I wonder about all the comments is - as I have these with a serial number somewhere around 500, with most likely still as demo at the dealers, plus me being close to the source, how many people can actually have audiotioned them for a good long time?? Did they really listen to them for say an entire evening? Did they allow the running in? Did they use a dedicated amp? Did they use their own choice of music? This, as will show below, is very critical. Bad recordings sound bad, on these headphones: worse, sometime awful.

    My first impressions of the Sennheiser HD 820 closed back headphones. After overnight “play-in”.
    I got them to be able to listen to my music in the living room without disturbing my family. I auditioned them at my local hifi-dealer (Linzbach, Bonn, Germany). I was their first customer for these, we unpacked them together, they had just arrived. They had also never heard them, and we both listened in awe. It was almost as-if they were sad when I decided to take them home with me .
    Set-up: Roon on MacMini, with loads of hi-res music. Wired gigabit ethernet to Auralic Aries Femto, via USB to Marantz NA 11-S1, XLR to Schiit Mjolnir 2 (tube-rolled, NOS Philips MiniWatt, NL, 1962), headphones connected via XLR cable.
    Generally playing native, apart from CD quality which I have Roon upsample to DSD.
    Comparison is my “old” Audeze LCD-X (also XLR, custom made cable).

    I played music ranging from The Köln Concert by Keith Jarret (96/24), Dead Can Dance’s Aion (DSD), Pink Floyd (several, typically DSD or 96/24), The Beatles (the 44.1/24 versions from the USB apple), to Handel’s Concerto Grossi Op.6 (96/24) and Donald Fagen’s The Nightfly (192/24), Steely Dan’s Gaucho (Japanese DSD) and, sounding superbly: Tom’s Diner by Susan Vega (CD). And a revelation: Simon & Garfunkel’s remastered collection as 192/24 - if you don’t own those yet I suggest: get them!! (HDTracks e.g.)

    First notice: it does not sound like any closed headphone I ever had. It almost does not sound like a closed back headphone at all. It sounds... open.
    The soundstage is about as wide as I remember from the HD 800 I had recently - I sold it to get money for this one. It is very clear, bright, but without the sharpness of that same HD 800. It is not as dark, warm as the LCD-X. That said, the bass extension is at least as deep, just lighter. Very nice balance, that I can listen too without tiredness. The Audeze’s will be a bit tiring after some hours, albeit are still fantastic headphones. The Senn’s are in the mid-base a bit, just a tiny bit, “boxy”, this is the only range you might hear they are not an open design. Here the Audeze is better, but by a small margin.
    The mids are natural, voices are amazingly clear, listening to Susan Vega is an experience like I never heard. You can hear her in the room, very close to the microphone, you can just picture the room (small) she was in when recording the song. Absolutely amazing, never heard that detail in this (just...) CD. It takes my breath away, really.
    Parsley Sage, ...by S&G (192/24) is, as I said, a revelation. The harpsichord (?) is just... there. The guitars: you hear every finger touchings. The drums are beating on your ears, even though I do not play very loud. But most fantastic are the voices of the two. Yes, the sss-es are very clearly there, but that is I think in the recording, it is not unnatural, on the contrary, the recording is just like that. The headphones are for sure a sibbling of the HD 800, but less overly bright. They are Sennheisers, that you can hear! If tou aren’t a gan of that, prefer darker sound, these my not be your friend. For me they are. And when I want to have something warmer, I have the LCD-X’s.
    The hires version of The Concerts in Central Park now shows me this is actually a quite good live recording for being in the wide open, and back in the 80-ies. It is a bit mid-heavy, but that was the style those days, seemingly. The voices are ok, but not necessarily as natural as they could be, as on some of their other albums.
    Jarret’s Köln Concert, first track, around 8 minutes where he starts to get “loud” you hear him making his noises, his feet, his fingers touching and running over the keyboard.
    Pink Floyd’s DSotM (DSD), with the very heavy drum at the opening, shows how effortlessly deep these ‘phones go. I almost feel the bass. They also show you, when I compare the sound with other recordings, how extremely well PF recorded, or, how mediocre many recordings are. The cymbals, the voices - the balance is clearer and more detailed than on the LCD-X’s. The space is much wider. On the HD 800 I found the stage almost too wide, here: it fits. And even though I have a pretty good system, I again heard details I never heard before - a discovery tour. E.g. the room where the clocks are in is there too, instead of just the clocks.

    To picture it: you switch for HD TV to ultra HD TV. So much nicer on the eyes or here: ears. Your brain just has it easier to picture the place where the recording was made, and although 2D, as with ultra HD, it looks 3D. The extra detail, the small differences in focus sharpness just makes the picture from flat to having depth. And that is just due to these very small differences in focus that now become visible - hearable.

    Are they the last word in sound quality? Unlikely, I want to audition e.g. the LCD-4, the Highest-end Hifiman, but these are out of my league. For now

    Fitting on the head is good, they are very light, especially compared to the Audeze. Positioning on my head is however quite critical, as it changes the signature. For best tonal balance I found it needs to sit exactly over the middle of my ears and a bit high-up (touching my earlobes) for best sound. Some fiddling initially, I now have it set perfectly.
    Even in this very warm weather the ear-pads are good, not very sweaty. Yes, of course it does get warm(er) inside, but hey, it’s summer

    Some extra notes: I will try some other tube-rolling, as I think these very revealing headphones will magnify the differences even more than the Audeze’s. I first heard them, in the store, connected to Sennheiser’s own HDV 820. These may actually be an improvement, not sure, would have to test “head to head”.

    In Roon you have the option to use CrossFeed. OK nor the Audeze’s. Not so for the Senn’s! It reduces the space, you loose the openness, the width. A don’t do for me.

    A warning: as they are so completely distortion free even at very high levels, be careful, I found myself more than once with the volume at 2/3rds up. Not food for the ears on the long run. But - very much fun...!

    Another word of warning: because the headphones are so revealing, good recordings sound amazing. Bad ones however become a nuisance, you may stop enjoying them. Compressed remasters become unlistenable, bad sound balance (voices!) become a pain to the ears, almost make the ‘phones sound the culprit, sound cheap. But they are not the problem!

    So... do I recommend them? Well, I bought them and they are far from cheap at almost 2400 €. But I think it depends on your taste. I like the Sennheiser hi-end sound signature: more light and bright than bassy, warm. If you prefer the latter, these may not be yours. But I would recommend to give them a listen. A looooong listen, to appreciate them, and then make the choice. I love them, for me it was truly love at first hear.

    Now all I need is a new relax-listening chair, close to the set

    Sit back, and enjoy the ride! 683351DA-A91D-4587-AA18-ADE8BE59D066.jpeg 9BCBD1A8-0338-430A-9071-DD53B1A6A679.jpeg 683351DA-A91D-4587-AA18-ADE8BE59D066.jpeg 683351DA-A91D-4587-AA18-ADE8BE59D066.jpeg 9BCBD1A8-0338-430A-9071-DD53B1A6A679.jpeg BE56328B-B277-4A51-BBE2-5F66089874A0.jpeg 8C7C6B29-7D74-4911-BD0B-3B0457CC5DFF.jpeg
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2018
  8. QueueCumber
    They seem sensitive to placement on the head. Moving them around my head didn’t lessen the issue. I’ll try clamping them down and moving them around when I’m listening to them next to see if it helps with the more problematic tracks.
  9. sikki-six
    Deleted.. I jumped to conclusions.

    My bad, sorry folks.
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2018
    Audiotic likes this.
  10. QueueCumber
    My pre-order was initially pushed back to August, and they sent me a free pair of CX Sports as a consolation. The date was moved forward and I still got the CX Sport wireless IEMs. Definitely not complaining about that...:ksc75smile:
    Sennheiser likes this.
  11. Amberlamps
    I just got hd800s other day, wish they looked like the 820, all black.

    Like the pads also, stuck dekoni pads on mine, first time I didnt like it, but then I took out the sennheiser dust screen and tried again, pretty decent now.

    Still wish they looked like the 820s, black metal mesh etc.
  12. QueueCumber
    It seems to have been alleviated on most of the tracks by wearing them up higher than I normally would. The difference is especially noticeable with the panned right acoustic guitar in that Nora Jones track mentioned previously.
    Beagle likes this.
  13. Audiotic
    A what? Can’t find that word.
  14. 480126
    Lockvogel - Aufreißer!!
  15. Audiotic
    Sorry that is SO UNFAIR!! Why do you think that?
    I am just a chemist with audio as a hobby. Trying to describe my opinion. What did I do wrong?
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