I posted this already XC vs 820: Thanks to all for highlighting the arrival of the 820HD on the scene. As a bit of background as context for this contribution my Hi Fi history began with Stax headphones in 1974 and on the speaker side of things Quad ESLs, BBC monitors, Quad 63s and currently Martin Logan Spire with Velodyne DD12+ eq’d from 200Hz down. Amplification and Streamer DAC Simaudio Moon 780D and Arcam rHead H-amp, and Linn LP12. I enjoy a diverse range of listening and also play various acoustic guitars! Okay .... unfortunately my wife finds it increasingly wearying to block out the sound bleeding from my Stax 009s and after making do with KEF M500 on ear ‘phones to obviate this, the 820 announcement motivated me to try harder on the isolating hp front.... so thank you guys! My first step was to have a listen at a local shop, taking my M500s with me. I found the difference in quality a bit disappointing with the Senns unsurprisingly having a more sophisticated presentation, less distorted (‘squeaky”) treble and improved bass and overall detail but would they be worth the £1800 extra? I then arranged to try them at home and compare with Audeze XC, and also AKG 872 reference. The AKG was guickly eliminated on grounds of poorer bass definition despite a revealing and fairly neutral presentation and a generally open sound, they were also very comfortable, light and with a good seal. The 820s upped the overall quality with again an open slightly dry presentation with much improved bass definition and in particular excellent production of the bass harmony line (think Linn “tune dem”) The overall sound was surprisingly neutral (despite some concerns voiced here re frequency response) with excellent detail across all frequencies. They were light and comfortable but the ear pads seemed slightly too hard in that the seal could be poor as others have observed and it felt as if an edge of the padding was in contact with your head rather than it’s full width. By contrast the pads on the Audeze were much softer and more forgiving and allowed the headphones to feel part of your head (!) even though your head (okay, my head...) had become significantly heavier. At last.... the sound. These were a revelation to me. Gone was the more academic presentation of the the other two, replaced by a joyful sound full of emotion and with each element represented by a richness of tone and timbre that was quite beguiling. (I later read the John Darko review and found it very similar to my experience, so I’d recommend that if you’ve not seen it). Listening to Michel Petrucciani Trio live in Tokyo for example, was so involving because of the peerless and melodic mid range coupled with fabulous underpinning of the bass line - which extends particularly low in this recording and is at times rather quiet within the mix. I repeatedly went back to the Sennheiser to check because I would have preferred something lighter !! But on each occasion I enjoyed the music less, even when strings were presented more prominently by the Senns. Vocal harmonies, woodwinds, all types of piano, kora, balafon or electric guitars were produced with stunning realism timbal character and subtlety, by the XC. I did not find there to be any impairment in reproduction of the trailing edge of notes either. The Creator edition also happens to be £800 cheaper, but I would have bought the Audeze even if priced the same as the Sennheiser. So there we are, my individual findings on a home trial. Hope it’s of some interest and thanks for the inspiration.