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Sennheiser HD820

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by Dulalala, Apr 29, 2017.
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  1. sleeping_citizens
    Just got mine. One of the first 500 produced, which has never happened before. My first major headphone purchase was about 15 years ago when I got the Sennheiser HD600. That was my main headphone and my "TOTL" for many years. For the past few years, I've very much drifted towards IEMs and CIEMs (Etymotic, then Campfire, then CIEMs A12t and A18t from 64 Audio). I'll post a full review once I have a few good listening sessions but right off the bat...wow, love the separation. Soundstage is great, and more than enough depth. Only con at the moment was that - the first song I play on every new headphone/IEM is "Lonesome Tears" by Beck. This was the first time Beck's vocals on that song sounded nasally. Other than that one instance, I'm highly enjoying these and they seem to fit beautifully into my collection (on top of the C/IEMs I mentioned as well as the HD600s, I also have Audeze LCD-XCs and recently got the Massdrop Hifiman HE-4XXs. I'll most likely do a comparison with the LCD-XCs if anyone is interested).

    EDIT: The nasally vocals on Lonesome Tears has seemingly vanished after several hours of listening time. Most likely due to the CIEMs I was using all day prior to receiving the 820s. No huge cons at the moment for me, currently. Will post larger review and comparison to LCD-XC within the next week.
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2018
    trellus, CactoesGel and Audiotic like this.
  2. SeanS
    From the Fiio website the X5 Gen3 delivers ≥26 mW(300Ω / THD+N<1%). It's probably not capable of pushing either the 300Ω HD800s or HD820s to their full potential.
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2018
  3. mihaig
    Of course it's not pushing them to their full potential. But it's good enough for me to use when testing headsets and even for casual listening on my HD800 at home.

    That being said, it seems like sleeping_citizens heard a similar thing: "This was the first time Beck's vocals on that song sounded nasally."
  4. Audiotic
    Love to here your comparison. I compared mine (just above 500...) to the LCD. And the nasality, noticed that to, bit goes away if pressed a bit to the head, so must be sound leakage. I will try some alt headpads at the West German Hifi in September, guess they’ll have some. I hope.
  5. SeanS
    That's a bummer. Midrange/presence anomalies are the bane of closed backs. I still haven't found one that is perfect in that regard.
  6. sleeping_citizens
    Yeah, I should say before I give off the wrong impression that after adjusting the headset and listening for a longer period, the nasally vocals on that song are not as present anymore. Not a major con in any way, and was isolated to that one song so far.
  7. SeanS
    I would be most interested. The XC's are the best closed back's I've heard so far, but they have a midrange unevenness and congestion that bothers me on some recordings.
  8. 8bitme
    I just listened to Beck's Lonesome Tears to hear what you guys meant by the "nasally vocals". What you have to keep in mind is that these are very revealing and transparent headphones that is not only targeting the audiophile market but will also be used in studios by professionals. I can understand what you are coming from with the "nasally vocals" in this song but this is actually not about the headphones but how the song was produced. The 820 are just detailed and transparent enough to reveal it for you. If you want headphones that have a more colored sound and will just always sound good then these are not the headphones for you because there will be songs that can actually sound worse on the hd820 then what you are used to.
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2018
    trellus and Mark Up like this.
  9. mihaig
    Have a pair of HD800 which, by pure chance, has its curve very similar to the HD800S 'official' curve and its highs sound OK to me (both on the Fiio and Woo WA6 amplifier). Actually prefer the Fiio because it doesn't color or soften the sound. This detailed sound is why I bought the HD800 and this is what I am comparing HD820 against.

    The 1st time I listened to them the comparison headset in the showroom was an HD800 with a generic playlist from their Tidal account and a Woo Wa7 amplifier. And I have to say I did not perceive anything wrong with it. Just an improvement, as I mentioned in my post on this thread a few days ago.

    The 2nd time (today) I got my player and compared with a HD800*S* (the HD800 was nowhere in sight today). The highs getting 'crisper' were clearly audible to me when switching from HD800S to HD820 on several tracks where highs were occupying a lot of space.

    It could be that the WA7 softened the highs and the Fiio doesn't do this.
    It could be that I know my own playlist better than a generic one so I could perceive the differences better.
    It could be that the HD800 also had the usual highs issues so I did not notice anything different when switching to HD820. While today I used anHD800S which normally tames this issue.

    Will go soon for another audition and make some amplifier/DAC combinations, including checking for different headset position on the head.
    trellus likes this.
  10. up late
    if the vocals on that track sound nasally or honky with the hd820 but not with the hd800/s, would you be open to the possibility that it's more likely to be attributable to the hd820 rather than the recording itself?
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2018
    koiloco likes this.
  11. 8bitme
    Or possibly hd820 is just actually capable of doing something hd800/s wasn't? I haven't listened to this track in a A-B with the hd800/s, but I've listened to a lot of other singers on my hd820 and none of them does this. So no I'd say it's obviously about how the song was recorded.
  12. QueueCumber
    Can people give the time ranges where they hear the nasally sound during Lonesome Tears? I’ll compare between some of the headsets I have on hand.

    I notice on the Stax SR-009 that there are quite a few portions of that song where the vocals seem close mic’ed and veiled, likely to add to the dark ambience of the instruments and give the sense of the artist drowning in emotion. It’s a stark contrast to a song like End of the Day and Already Dead on the same album.

    There are quite a bit of vocal effects in different parts of songs on that entire album as well.
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2018
    trellus likes this.
  13. up late
    well if you consider nasal or honky sounding vocals a benefit rather than a flaw, then maybe the hd820 is the more capable headphone. :wink: vocals that sound "cupped" are usually regarded as an undesirable coloration that is more commonly associated with closed-back headphones. if you haven't compared the track in question on the hd820 and the hd800/s, then your claim doesn't carry much weight tbh.
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2018
  14. 8bitme
    No what you seem to fail to understand is that vocals don't sound "cupped" as you describe it in these headphones if they are not recorded in a certain way. Do you own the hd820? Because I do and I can tell you they don't sound cupped in most music at all. (Probably) unlike you I also actually work with recording music so honestly I don't really care if you feel my claim carries any weight. But audiophiles often don't have any idea what a mixing engineer is looking for in speakers and headphones and it's not necessarily the best sounding headphones but the most transparent that will reveal mixing mistakes that other speakers and headphones simply won't. If you want to learn a little bit you can google the yamaha ns-10 studio monitors that have been used while mixing 1000's of the records you love. And then if you ever get a chance to actually hear these speakers in person I can guarantee you you would absolutely hate them.
    trellus likes this.
  15. 8bitme
    Anyway I don't work for sennheiser and it's not my job to sell these headphones to you. My first impression of these headphones have been that they are going to do very well on the pro market. As I belong to that group and not the audiophile market (which really is worlds apart) I'm just going to withdraw from furthering arguing with you here. There are for sure many great closed-back alternatives for audiophiles and some can sound better to you.
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