Sennheiser Q&A: HDV 820 Digital Amplifier

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  1. Sennheiser

    Last edited: Sep 14, 2017
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  2. Sennheiser
    Next Generation Amplifier:
    HDV 820


    Is the HDV 820 an upgrade to the HDVD 800?
    Yes, both the digital and analog sections have new components and leading-edge design.

    What is the new DAC chip, and why did Sennheiser choose it?
    Digital to Analog Converters (DACs) are evolving fast, and the new top of the line ESS SABRE32 9018 Reference chip offers future-proofing with support for master-quality files. The most important reason we chose this super-chip was the excellent sound quality.

    What type of design is it?
    The HDV 820 is a fully balanced DAC/Amp design from input to output, which operates within Class A. Output impedance is approx. 40Ω.

    Does it have enough power output for
    my headphones?

    With two HD 800 S connected to the 4.4mm balanced outputs, the amp still carries enough reserve power to evaporate the drivers. Share without compromise!

    What kinds of connections are on the HDV 820?
    The HDV 820 has a full compliment of common inputs and outputs, both balanced and single- ended. The two highlight options are the 3-Pin balanced pre-outputs, for connecting the HDV 820 to powered speakers, and the two 4.4mm Pentaconn outputs.

    Pentaconn, what is that?
    Pentaconn is the new, non-proprietary balanced connector! It‘s as easy to plug in as normal 3.5mm and 6.35mm plugs, but more durable with long or thick cables than 2.5mm, and not orientation- dependent like XLR.

    Do the volume controls work for the 3-pin XLR outputs on the back?
    Yes! You can easily integrate the HDV 820 as a preamp at the heart of your audio system.
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2017
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  3. ahmadfaizadnan
    Wow! It's here!
    Sennheiser likes this.
  4. DrPiro
    Hello! Any idea when the HDV 820 will be available from outlets such as Best Buy or Amazon?
  5. Army-Firedawg
    Will there be an opportunity for current HDVD800 owners to upgrade to the new HDV 820?
    Jim Spec likes this.
  6. Sennheiser
    Thanks for the questions folks!

    Good things take time to ripen, but even so the HDV 820 should be available in the US from authorized resellers in just a month and a half from now.

    The HDVD 800 will continue to be sold alongside the HDV 820 for the time being. With different components, topographies, and enclosure sizes, the HDVD 800 is not able to be upgraded to the HDV 820.
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  7. YesThisIs
    Finally wound someone who can (maybe) answer several of my questions:

    - When will HDV 820 be available in Europe? (When does Sennheiser take orders from dealers)?

    - Does the DAC Support MQA Hardware-decoding out of the box? If not, is there a plan to upgrade Firmware through software update later?

    - At first, the plan was originally to release HDV 820 in July(?) Why the delay?

    - HDV820 will come with Power cable out of the box. Is this power cable "Normal" IEC Cable. Or is this power cable made in house by Sennheiser?

    One more question:

    - HDVD 800 successor prototype (HDV 820's early prototype) was shown by Axel Grell in 2015 October. During now and then there has been 2 years. Can you guys give us reason why it took so long, and why we still have to wait couple of months "extra" from the original planned July release date? ( For those of us who have waited 2 years, it would nice to know solid reason for this.)

    I have tried to contact customer support for these questions. But the only answer i get is this: "¯\_(ツ)_/¯"

    ps. I have heard the Amp with HD800S already... And going to order one ASAP. But when you have been waiting 2 years for single product release. It would be nice to have some of your questions asked...
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2017
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  8. Sennheiser
    Some more info...

    Are the 3-pin left and right analog outputs on the rear of the unit always active?
    Yes. These outputs can either be used for headphones terminated in dual 3-pin, or with the HDV 820 being used as a pre-amp to a power amplifier or active speakers. We recommend powering off the speakers or power amp to mute speakers connected this way.

    What is the release date?
    We are still anticipating a mid-September release, with more specific dates and regional dates to be announced when the product is ready.

    Can you share more about the prototype and development process?

    Sennheiser is constantly prototyping and testing possible future products, and almost always the final consumer product is changed and refined. The HDV 820 in it's finalized form was first shown this year in Tokyo, though efforts have certainly been made in the past along the way to reach the current state of the amp/DAC.

    Currently, the effort is to assemble and distribute units in preparation for sale... we are very happy that people want to buy the culmination of our efforts, and we want to have the HDV 820 units ready when they are bought.

    Is MQA supported or will it be supported in the future?
    MQA is currently not supported, but high-quality DSD and it's larger library of content will be supported on release. We cannot discuss future plans at this time.
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  9. Arnold Schwartz
    Does this DAC utilize the Sabre 9038PRO?
  10. cossix
    Where are the specs though!
  11. Sennheiser
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2017
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  12. Peti
    How will this amp synergize with the upcoming HD820 headphones?
  13. Arnold Schwartz
    Which version of the sabre dac does this use? what type of tuning or filters? heck what's the power output? There are questions here your potential and existing customers have posed and you're dodging us...might as well not bother posting in a thread. You see it's hard to get excited about a pre-order when we have bare bones information. BTW, I own the HD 600, HD 800 and IE 80.
  14. Giraku
    I totally agree. The DAC chip detail is crucial as well as the power output.
    I'm on the fence of ordering one. But without knowing the details, I cannot justify the expense.
    BTW, I have HD800S together with a bunch of others.
    Kneel2Galvatron likes this.
  15. Mav.
    I posted a few questions in another thread (some of which have been answered) but as this is the Q&A thread I'll repost my answered questions here.

    1. I know it's designed with full sized headphones in mind, but how does it preform with IEM's (Sennheiser IE 800's in particular)? I wouldn't use my IE800's with the HDV820 often as I live alone, but on the occasions I have guests I would like to be able to use them with it so they don't have to hear my music.

    2. I'm still new to the world of high end audio, and I don't have a very deep understanding on the subject, but from what I've read as a general rule of thumb you want the output impedance of your amp to be at least roughly 1/8th that of your headphones impedance. From what I can tell the HDV820 has a 16 ohm output impedance. So to tie this question in with my previous question would this negatively effect the IE800's for example, which have an impedance of 16 ohm? Even some high-end, full sized headphones have quite low impendence, such as the Fostex TH900 rated at 25ohm, or the Focal Utopia's I currently have on loan rated at 80ohm. This is my biggest concern with the HDV820, I would hate to buy something so expensive that would be an endgame amp / DAC for me, and have some of my headphones preforming poorly, or less then optimal on it. I realize a single amp will never be the perfect pairing with every headphone out there, but I would hope it at least wouldn't sound worse then my current Schiit Bifrost, and Joutnheim setup seeing as it's three times the price. Again I'm new to this, I may be worried over nothing, so any light you could shed on this would be appreciated.

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