Sennheiser HD820
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QueueCumber

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More expensive doesn't always have to be better people often have difficulty to accept this
That's for sure. I've been listening to High Fidelity sources since I was a teenager in the 80's when I picked up a Bob Carver system and JBL speakers from a local shop. I've heard a lot of high priced speakers over the decades that should be in a garbage can rather than a stereo shop. I've played electric and acoustic guitar for thirty years as well. I base my transducer choices on their ability to trick my brain into thinking the musician is actually in front of me playing an instrument (3-Dimensionally), not the price. For me the 800 did not fair as well as the 820 in that regard, and both the 820 and 800 were far below the 009S and Susvara in their ability to create lifelike images. Sadly, all headphones fail for me to one extent or another with extreme panned material, as the illusion of the musician being there collapses for me and either ends up right next to one ear or gives me an odd sensation of vertigo, unless some form of electronic crossfeed is used.
 
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up late

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Still a lot of us want the best closed headphone we can get! Not too complicated, and I believe you too.
i'm not always looking for the ultimate in transparency. sometimes i feel like luxuriating in the additional warmth, bass and isolation that a closed can offers. something that the z1r excels at i think.
 
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This thread is dying..
 
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raypin

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More expensive doesn't always have to be better people often have difficulty to accept this

Mm..from my experience, No. It is better not because they are expensive. It is expensive because they are better. That is true for headphones, for cars, for hotels, for TVs, for watches, name it. That is how the world works. There are exceptions but the exceptions are exceedingly rare. Again, the hierarchy.

If I had to start all over again, my headphone and in-ear collection and other mandatory headfi equipment would be much smaller. I would choose: one electrostat, one dynamic or planer open back, one closed-back, one universal in-ear and one or two CIEMs, one desktop-class tube amp, one desktop-class solid state amp, one desk-class DAC, one portable solid state DAC/amp, one DAP. Top-tier all the way. No compromise. I just want the best in class. Not interested in “80% as good, for 1/3rd the price.” Just the very best. Then with the savings, diversify to two channel audio.

Back to topic, the 820 remains my top choice for closed-back. Admittedly, my first impression (first few days of listening), I was not impressed. It sounded sharp and too bright. Soulless even. But after extended use, my brain has adjusted and began to appreciate the strength of the 820. It is a top-in-class performer. Do I miss my 800s? No (not that it is going anywhere). 820 is unique and different enough to be considered on its own merits.

My hearing is less than perfect now (deteriorating even). Time will come when it will not be good enough. That is why I am tremendously enjoying headfi listening now (and during the past 6 years) while there is still time left. Cost is a secondary concern. What good is money when the only headfi equipment that you will be wearing is a hearing aid?
 
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Mm..from my experience, No. It is not better because they are expensive. It is expensive because they are better. That is true for headphones, for cars, for hotels, for TVs, for watches, name it. That is how the world works. There are exceptions but the exceptions are exceedingly rare. Again, the hierarchy.

If I had to start all over again, my headphone and in-ear collection and other mandatory headfi equipment would be much smaller. I would choose: one electrostat, one dynamic or planer open back, one closed-back, one universal in-ear and one or two CIEMs, one desktop-class tube amp, one desktop-class solid state amp, one desk-class DAC, one portable solid state DAC/amp, one DAP. Top-tier all the way. No compromise. I just want the best in class. Not interested in “80% as good, for 1/3rd the price.” Just the very best. Then with the savings, diversify to two channel audio.

Back to topic, the 820 remains my top choice for closed-back. Admittedly, my first impression (first few days of listening), I was not impressed. It sounded sharp and too bright. Soulless even. But after extended use, my brain has adjusted and began to appreciate the strength of the 820. It is a top-in-class performer. Do I miss my 800s? No (not that it is going anywhere). 820 is unique and different enough to be considered on its own merits.
That’s basically the route I went, with the 820 being my closed-back best of class, but I had the foresight provided by years of bumbling with two-channel and surround audio.

More expensive is not always better from my experience. There are plenty of companies willing to take advantage of that expectation bias in audio and other industries. A fool and his money are soon parted...
 
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More expensive is not always better from my experience. There are plenty of companies willing to take advantage of that expectation bias in audio and other industries. A fool and his money are soon parted...
This is true. And "better" is often misconstrued as "different". It is initially better because it is different, or it does one of two things better than another, and eventually you find more things that it does worse. And this is why we keep spending money and going in circles, chasing our tails.
 
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i'm not always looking for the ultimate in transparency. sometimes i feel like luxuriating in the additional warmth, bass and isolation that a closed can offers. something that the z1r excels at i think.
Agree 100%
 
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Mm..from my experience, No. It is not better because they are expensive. It is expensive because they are better. That is true for headphones, for cars, for hotels, for TVs, for watches, name it. That is how the world works. There are exceptions but the exceptions are exceedingly rare.
Agreed. However, one is usually served by applying an appropriate reference for diminishing returns, if not as a monetary practicality, but as a matter of integrity and self respect.
 
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PhilW

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Yeah agree very much. Expensive doesn't always mean better certainly in this case. I personally still can't get the HD820 it does some strange things with vocals for me and I love my vocals. Haha
 
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Rchandra

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I actually think that’s an important conversation to have. Just look at the price variation between 820 and the 800S it’s pretty darn big, obviously it would come down to what suits ones needs more and if you require a closed setup because of your living situantion and not wanting to annoy others with sound leaking.

In saying that however a lot of us are just looking for great sound which then puts these two headphones up against each other if you like the sennheiser house sound in general, and for the hd820 to come in over $2k more (here in Australia anyway) what are you getting for that extra cash apart from a nicer box and glass enclosure? Obviously reviews, listening session and general research will give us the answers we’re looking for and personal taste will play a key part. But from the general consesus I’ve been hearing these do not sound that much, if any better than the hd800S which as mentioned is $2k less and a open headset with larger sound stage.

My personal impressions are, if you don’t absolutely require a closed back experience then the HD820 which is still a good headphone don’t get me wrong but they’re simply not worth it and you’re just better off getting the hd800S and put the $2k towards a nice dac/amp or save it all together if you’re on the fence.
What's not worth it to you maybe priceless to someone else.
 
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raypin

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Mmm...if you are unwilling to compromise, take the Senneheiser HE 1 challenge. Forget the price tag. Just listen. For me, it is the perfect headphone sound.
 
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Mmm...if you are unwilling to compromise, take the Senneheiser HE 1 challenge. Forget the price tag. Just listen. For me, it is the perfect headphone sound.
It is very good, indeed. Unfortunately, direct comparison was not an option, but I'd say that what concerns the musical experience, it is about similar class as much cheaper setups (e.g. Stax SR-Omega/009/007 or Phenomenon or Perun headphones + BHSE + good enough DAC) that actually feel like having bigger and more realistic sound stage. In-memory comparison, the HE-1 felt a bit damped and with a more constrained sound stage (it wouldn't be me if I didn't say this was because the pads could be further optimized :) ).

Nevertheless it's a good reference about how Sennheiser means state of the art (all variables controlled in the listening environment), and it is very good indeed, a best-of experience. Good for reference.
Also, it demonstrates that serious people should build their sound-insulated booth for serious headphone listening :).
 
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ot: mmm...no need to go to extremes by building a sound-isolated room. Any normal relatively-quiet room will do for the HE1.

You know why I can confidently say that it is the best of the best? My HE 1 never fails to put me to sleep. Every single time, for more than a year now. So relaxing. The equipment just disappears.....just you and your music to enjoy. I ve given up trying to find fault.

It is there. Minute details? It is there. Soundstage? It is there. Realistic or natural sound? It is there. Bass? It is there. Midrange, treble etc etc etc. They are all there. Musicality? It is there. It is the most balanced sounding, incredible headphone machine ever.

Of course, it has a few rivals, some costing considerably less. But I am not interested in 80, 95 or even 99%. I just want 100% of what is possible in the world of headphones. Absolutely zero compromise. The HE 1 fits the bill, or in my case, fits the bill and paid the bill more than a year ago with no regrets.
 
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zolkis

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Owners long term impression is the best input. It's so nice when someone has found/settled with audio system allowing to enjoy music without thinking about the equipment.
 

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