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Sennheiser HD820

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by Dulalala, Apr 29, 2017.
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  1. prescient
    I find it odd that some people are defending the FR on this headphone. A -12db swing from 200hz to 300hz doesn't look like any target curve I've ever seen. If anything I'd expect the FR to be moving in the other direction. This is a flawed headphone, and rationalizing this headphone's response against other poorly performing headphones is equally strange.


  2. QueueCumber
    I’m wondering if that is what is causing the bass disconnect for me that is exacerbated at extreme pans.
  3. Rchandra
    I know the frequency response looks odd or different, but realistically a headphone that sounds different is also what makes this headphone special... Little food for thought.
  4. GREQ
    Headphone measurement science is still in it's infancy.
    How a headphone 'should' measure will have little correlation to how good it sounds for most people.
    It's better to learn what kind of headphones you actually like, learn how they measure and why you like those measurements, and go from there.
    Audiotic and Maelob like this.
  5. prescient
    How a headphone should measure has high correlation to how it sounds good to most people. That is exactly how they came up with the target curves.
  6. QueueCumber
    Even the info we do have on sound curve preferences, i.e. the Harman Curves, are based on random samples of people, not necessarily audiophiles with years of experience listening to audio. Likewise, they’re based on the preferences of the larger bulk of those people, inevitably excluding outliers. I can personally say after owning Revel Salon2 speakers (designed based on Toole’s Harmon research), that I wasn’t thrilled with their sound compared to the B&W 803 D3s I currently own, which I think sound much much better and holographic in comparison.

    I think your advice is sound. Buying on measurements alone is a mistake I would never make again. But, at the same time, I’m sure there should be some approximation of a linear response in the frequency. Perhaps not perfectly flat, and perhaps some variance for different people based on preference, but reasonably linear.

    I think the one advantage of a linear response is that from that point you can EQ it to sound however you prefer, whereas it’s more of a pain to tailor the sound if it’s already all over the place...
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2018
    Malfunkt likes this.
  7. Malfunkt
    Seems to be a matter of taste, art, and science rather than saying the headphone is flat out objectively wrong.

    Watch the video Jude shared, at a part in the middle, Axel Grell explains why they deliberately adjusted the curve as they have. I too am surprised at that approximate 10dB deviation, but I will hold out my opinion until I hear it. It comes down to a number of factors such as the volume you listen to, the effects of closed back headphone, and psychoacoustic perceptions. It is common to have a -5db dip from 200 - 300Hz (ie. HD630VB, HD250, DT1770, DT770) but also others don't have this (Denon AH-D2000, T5P, Aeon Closed). Personally, not quite sure what is ideal, and while my HD250 can sound more realistic, mostly because of its midrange tuning, I think I like the D2000 overall a bit more. In other open designs Utopia, HD540 and HD800 have no such dips, and sound sublime imo.

    Axel also mentions how others such as PSB have developed their 'RoomFeel' tuning on some similar grounds.

    Rtings came down on the 820 a bit based on the frequency curve - but do they understand the psychoacoustics of sound? Do they really know what curve is best?

    trellus likes this.
  8. 329161
    I think it's flawed considering it's cost. Perhaps Sennheiser could incorporate trickle down technology into the Momentum 3 where the price would make it more tolerable for flaws?
  9. QueueCumber
    Is it possible that the sealed ear cup when on the head acts as a helmholtz resonator across the frequencies where the dip occurs, and the dip is an attempt to alleviate the consequent resonance?
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2018
    trellus and Malfunkt like this.
  10. pietcux
    As I posted before, you can probably have this with the Sennheiser HD8DJ. Nice can btw. Look up the FR graph on Inner Fidelity. Looks quite similar and should be able to compete the Momentums.
  11. 329161
    I own the hd8dj and the M2. Love the 8. Blows the Momentums to hell for bass slam and it leaves the other frequencies relatively untouched. Fabulous for modern genres and criminally overlooked at headfi. However, not an open sounding can. Interested in how the reverse concave cup of the 820 could be applied with cheaper cans. Would it open the sound as intended?
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2018
  12. GREQ
    I wish you were right, that would be amazing for everyone, but it won't work because of 2 massive problems.
    - Everyone's hearing is different
    - Everyone has different taste in audio
    These two anomalies make audio enjoyment as colourful and varied as art, food or fashion.
    macbob713 likes this.
  13. kman1211
    Agreed. Nothing replaces listening. Measurements are a tool that may help one make informed decisions but I would never base a buying decision on measurements alone. I had to figure out what I find good on my own and I honestly learned to largely ignore measurements as purchasing guides after being underwhelmed by past experiences.
  14. prescient
    The NAD HP50 which incorporates room feel has doesn't have a frequency response rise/dip anywhere near as severe. There is a little up/down blip below 100K but overall it has a smooth response that is down about -4db from 200hz to 300hz. There aren't any 12db swings in that area of the FR:

    Similarly the DT770 mentioned above has a smooth 2db rise from 200hz to 300hz:

    While FR may not explain all preferences for audio it is highly correlated with our perceptions of audio. Preferences might be different, hearing might be different, but typically people aren't listening in worlds apart. We might not know what the best FR curve looks like, but we can make some educated guesses about what it shouldn't look like. If someone can find a target response curve with that kind of swing in the bass I'd be interested to see it.

    On the subject of speakers while someone might prefer the B&W to Revel and there is nothing wrong with that. However, if you look at trained listeners (Stereophile writers) preferences they tend to prefer speakers with flat FR. In fact John Atkinson did a little psuedo-scientific study on the likelihood to be one of Stereophile's recommended speakers and how that compared with the FR. Speakers with flat FR were significantly more likely to be selected as a recommended component. There is a significant amount of literature on this topic.
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2018
  15. QueueCumber
    I’m not sure why you’re using my post to make your point. I basically agreed that a linear response is desirable, but not to buy based on the measurements alone.

    Both speakers I mentioned have a relatively linear responses. But to me, one had a soundstage that was flat/2D (Salon2), while the other had excellent soundstage dimensionality (803 D3), perhaps due to its incredible off-axis response. Likewise, the 803 D3 has exceptionally clarity and detail over the Salon2 as well, due to the different drivers, IME.

    It reminds me of the difference between McLaren and Ferrari. Sure, the McLarens are designed stringently with every cutting edge scientific tool in the toolbox, but they’re boring as hell to drive. Sometimes the scientist needs to actually drive the thing to see if it’s fun aside from just measuring well.
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