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Sennheiser HD820

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by Dulalala, Apr 29, 2017.
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  1. up late
    touchy response. before i bring you back to the point of this exchange, i am compelled to make you aware of the fact that you have no idea what i do when i'm not posting here, and suggest that you leave your assumptions about me out of this, which are irrelevant anyway.

    while vocals don't sound cupped, nasally or honky to you, a couple of other folks who have also heard the hd820 remarked that they do compared to the hd800/s. the salient point of this exchange is if you haven't compared the hd820 to the hd800/s, then you can't claim with any credibility that it doesn't have more of that colouration than they do, let alone less or none. i haven't heard the hd820 but i intend to, and i'll also compare it to the hd800/s and come to my own conclusion, but that's also beside the point.

    closed-back headphone designs are inherently more prone to resonances caused by sonic back waves that are trapped within the ear cups than open-back headphone designs. these resonances can cause colourations - the kind of colourations that make vocals sound nasally and music sound congested or muddy, but don't take my word for it - google it.

    btw, i don't have to google the yamaha ns-10 to know how it sounds - i'm familiar with it as it turns out :wink:
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2018
    SigFrued and SeanS like this.
  2. 8bitme
    Alright my bad if you're in the industry. Of course I'm aware of the problems with resonances in closed-ear headphones. The whole point of the 820 design is that they prevent this and my impression is I feel like they are succeeding in doing this. But of course since I've only had them for a very short time I can't give an definitive answer on how everything translates yet. But sure you shouldn't take my word for it but go listen for yourself and come back to us with your own opinion.
    trellus likes this.
  3. zolkis
    First impressions matter a lot, especially from owners, please continue reporting them, together with their context (music + equipment + personal listening preferences) and comparisons to others. It's really what this forum is for. Everyone can then make a decision for themselves. We don't need to judge each other's taste, but we need to know if there is a personal preference for this or that type of sound (it's part of the context).
    trellus likes this.
  4. andromeda1954
    Axel Grell about the HD 820 https://musicphotolife.com/2018/04/...w-canjam-singapore-2018-interview-axel-grell/
    raypin and QueueCumber like this.
  5. up late
    whether i'm in "the industry" or not is also beside the point, but i do intend to post my impressions of the hd820 and how it compares to the hd800/s here
  6. sleeping_citizens

    I'm tweaking my original post. The nasally vocals on Lonesome Tears only occurred once, most likely due to me using my 64 Audio A18T CIEMs all day before the 820s arrived. Now that I've had several hours of playtime, I no longer notice a nasally vocal on that one song. And again, it was only that one song.
    trellus likes this.
  7. zolkis
    Count me relieved, since even a hint of nasality or honkiness would be a show-stopper for me, like it was with the AKG 872.
  8. sleeping_citizens
    Same, which is why I originally mentioned it. But I wanted to correct myself before any arguments over one song spewed out further into this thread. Also, a few years ago I switched professions from working in music studios and producing bands to supervising a QA team at an audiobook company, so headphones with artificially nasal vocals would be a giant no fun scenario for me.
  9. Mark Up
    I too am an engineer. What'd struck me about the HD820 was the accuracy and lack of peaks or hype. I'm going to go at this from a different angle. In mastering some work I will often hear too much going on between 1 khz and 2-3 khz. That area can be nasally and as so much of what we hear has a lot of that, many could lose hearing in that area. If not you will notice a peak or peaks if there, and it will bother you. Some hear it but their mind masks it, so when they hear a version where those peaks are brought down, the mix will seem to open up to them. Open is the key word. Many closed cans try to scoop out the mids to fight resonance, and the result in what you hear in a lot of Beyerdynamic, or Fostex. It gives some artificial sense of space at the same time, explaining why so many closed cans are "V" shaped. The HD820 from what I heard doesn't do that explaining why many say the spatial presentation is natural vs. an overly wide soundscape. Also this could cause some anomalies to be heard otherwise missed. Beck indeed has a nasally voice, it's bound to happen, and these cans just aren't hiding it as much.
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2018
    SigFrued, trellus, Beagle and 2 others like this.
  10. QueueCumber
    He does appear to sing more from the mouth than the throat and lungs. It’s even more noticeable on the Stax 009S. It doesn’t sound nasally to me on either set, but on the 820 Beck’s vocal range has less clarity and presence compared to the 009S, which makes Beck’s vocals on the 820 seem veiled and slightly cavernous when switching from the 009S to the 820. Conversely, the additional clarity and presence on the 009S, while adding incredible detail and realism to acoustic instruments and higher octaves of piano, accentuates the sibilance of more mouthy singers when switching from the 820 to the 009S.
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2018
    trellus and Mark Up like this.
  11. 329161
    So...as always YMMV.

    Just my short impressions....

    I took a listen to the 820 today. It was through the Sennheiser 820 amp. Let's get this out of the way first - I did hear a slightly nasally/boxy midrange. It was on all tracks and the 2 workers in the store heard it too.
    Now if you're going to charge this amount of money for a headphone, it's got to be damn near perfect, or with no fatal flaws. This nasal sound, to me, is a fatal flaw at this price point. The other bad points - the sound is pretty unexciting. Not really suited for dance and electronic styles, which call for punchy bass, or rock to a lesser extent. Highs seem rolled off, especially compared to the other 800's.
    The good - jazz and classical sound awesome on this. There is refinement and smoothness up the ying yang. Resonances seem to have been neutralised, except for that boxy midrange. Soundstage is as wide as I've heard on a closed can. Imaging is impeccable. Just pinpoint accurate.
    Now for about a third of the price you can get the Aeon Flows, which achieve similar levels of smoothness and refinement (probably missing 5-10% of the 820). However, IMO, the AF is much much more exciting to listen to with a wider range of genres. There is also the possibility to tune the sound to suit your preference easily with the tuning filters.
    I'm not going to labour my point. I think it's a bit rude to trash the subject of a thread too much in it's own thread. My intention is not to sour the purchase for any owners. If you don't hear the flaws or share my opinion, then that's cool.
    At the end of the day the price is too rich for me, and that's a moot point because I don't like the overall sound signature anyway.
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2018
  12. QueueCumber
    I wish people would specify the areas of tracks where they are hearing “nasality.” It’s not very useful when someone makes claims but doesn’t provide tangible reference points for us to try and reproduce the issue and troubleshoot it. No offense, but it ends up coming off as contrived to me without tangible reference points.
    melons likes this.
  13. sleeping_citizens
    In my case, Lonesome Tears, it was the entire vocal. But it was ONLY the first playback. I've addressed this before, but I haven't noticed it on several playbacks. I was most likely still acclimating to the headphones, it was the first song I played when I put the headphones on. Jeez, I mentioned some nasal vocals on one playback of one song and now everyone is calling the headphones nasally.

    Sennheiser employee/lurkers are now probably like, "Ugh it's that god damn nasal guy again."
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2018
    QueueCumber likes this.
  14. 329161
    I just heard a general boxiness, and nasality in the midrange. So did the salesmen in the shop selling them. I'm just relaying my impressions in this impressions thread. I don't think they necessarily should be "contrived" if you don't agree or hear it. People hear differently. If you don't hear it then you've got nothing to worry about. I don't doubt you don't hear it, but at the same time can't see why you doubt that several of us do.
    Edit: let me stress this boxy, nasal quality is only slight, but I did notice it. Maybe it's because the rest of the spectrum is so very good that this slight flaw shows up? I don't know.
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2018
    up late likes this.
  15. 329161
    I had no idea about your particular post until this quote. I had no idea about this whole "nasal" controversy until after my listening session today.
    up late likes this.
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