Source/Amp/Dac/Cable Suggestions for the PERFECT HD 800 Sound
Apr 19, 2018 at 12:21 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 14

kylewit

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Here is my chain: Lossless TIDAL stream on Acer R11 Chromebook --> USB2 --> DacMagic Plus --> HDVA600 --> Standard 800s cable --> Senn HD800s. I prefer sound that is highly detailed, perfectly imaged on a deep soundstage, as close to the original recording as possible. I appreciate warmth and smoothness on rap/electronic/phonk, but that is what the HD650s are for. If you have any recommendations for my chain based on my preferences I would greatly appreciate it!

Otherwise I would really like to know what you guys chains are like for the 800s. I am interested to hear what you guys prefer and what you think has proven to make major improvements. I am an amateur music lover who just wants to bring out the best that these spectacular HPs can offer. :smile_phones:
 

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Apr 19, 2018 at 1:06 AM Post #3 of 14

kylewit

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I am satisfied with my HDVA600 for an amp. I am uninterested in upgrading my cables unless I have the opportunity to try out cables--like the CH 800s-- at B&H where I am in NYC at some point. But although I'm pretty set on my amp setup, I would be willing to upgrade the dac in the future. And I am certainly willing to throw another $1000-1500 into this thing if the sound improves very noticeably in whatever way I spend that money.
 
Apr 19, 2018 at 1:16 AM Post #4 of 14

koven

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HD800S are not the headphones to have if your main genres are rap/electronic. I suggest reevaluating your setup by demoing the Focal Clear/Utopia for starters, there should be dealers in NYC.
 
Apr 19, 2018 at 1:36 AM Post #5 of 14

kylewit

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Thanks for the recommendation! I will say though rap/electronic is a side interest, and I point it out only because that is where I feel the 800s dont quite blow the roof open. I listen to a variety of genres--classic rock, classical, raga, low-fi hip hop, psy rock, jazz, reggae, blues. I like the feeling of clarity and detail like a breath of fresh air. I prefer that much more to the occasional earthshattering and trancelike feeling, which I think I can get middle-end.
 
Apr 19, 2018 at 2:30 AM Post #6 of 14

kylewit

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Btw. How do you think the Focal Clear would pair with the HDVA600? I think the Cambridge dac would work bc of the warm signature. But the impedance on the clear is 55ohm and Im curious your thoughts on the amp for that. I will definitely try that pair somewhere though, looks great. At that, do you have other recommendations for a pair like the focal clear that would pair decently with the hdva600?

I figure if Im budgeting 1500 to get an endgame, why upgrade the dac on the hds when I could add something totally different with another HP for when im in that warmer mood
 
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Apr 21, 2018 at 11:01 PM Post #8 of 14

B1ll

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I think I have the best sounding single ended HD800 rig possible aside from really really expensive cabling. Would consider the EC Studio if I ever go balanced.
 
Apr 21, 2018 at 11:12 PM Post #9 of 14

kylewit

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I think I have the best sounding single ended HD800 rig possible aside from really really expensive cabling. Would consider the EC Studio if I ever go balanced.
I've done some forum reading on the difference between the standard and balanced cabling for HD800. Apparently the need for balanced is only to counter electrostatic interference from nearby objects, but since the impedance is so high on the 800s any cable interference would be negligible and rare and would not be worth getting balanced for normal listening. Then I've heard some people on audiophile forums say there was a difference and the balanced made the HD800s sound clearer, etc. when using the HDVA600 amp. However, I am skeptical about the latter, and I think what may be happening is a placebo effect. My bottom line is if the difference is barely noticeable and the headphones will satisfy, I can do without a $350+ cable.
 
Apr 25, 2018 at 3:57 PM Post #10 of 14

B1ll

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I was referring to the interconnects/AC/power conditioning side, but there are definitely noticeable changes just with headphone cable upgrades. Just depends how detailed you really want the experience to be, to each their own!
 
May 19, 2018 at 2:24 AM Post #11 of 14

TYATYA

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My chain :
Tidal @ A$K SP1000 ---->Furutech ALD 3.5 to dual rca,
Or Furutech Usb Pro2 GT,
Or 2.5 to dual XLR-3 handmade
----> Hdvd800 ----> stock HD800s SE cable or stock balance cable ----> hd800s.
That is main chain. Some alternative is hd650 with balance diy cable, ak120ii as source.
For hd800s : type of cable (se or ba) seems not a change in sq.
I dont have other cable for hd800s so I cant say how sq change by cable material.
For hd650 : type of cable and material DOES big sq improvement (enough to make you decide to throw away stock cable imediately).
For ak120ii, balance 2.5 does nothing in sq, it is better to use 3.5 SE. Also ak120ii is not better than sq from digital line in of hdvd800 amp (it is dac/amp while hdva600 is just amp).
Cable for hp and for source to amp is importance, realy, not placebo effect. For your audio path, if your hdva600 WAS a hdvd800 then many element can be taken out. Tidal on Acer R11chromebook ---> usb ---> hdvd800 ----> hd800s stock cable +hp
 
Jun 16, 2018 at 1:19 AM Post #12 of 14

336881

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HD800S are not the headphones to have if your main genres are rap/electronic. I suggest reevaluating your setup by demoing the Focal Clear/Utopia for starters, there should be dealers in NYC.

I agree but I kind of feel that all headphones kind of lack with electronic and rap. Maybe it is because most of my electronic and rap that I listen to is records and I don't care for the exaggerated pops and ticks.

Still a big part of me feels like those 2 genre's really need that visceral bass that is best provided in a well trapped room with quality woofers and amps.
 
Jun 16, 2018 at 1:28 AM Post #14 of 14

Rhamnetin

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I agree but I kind of feel that all headphones kind of lack with electronic and rap. Maybe it is because most of my electronic and rap that I listen to is records and I don't care for the exaggerated pops and ticks.

Still a big part of me feels like those 2 genre's really need that visceral bass that is best provided in a well trapped room with quality woofers and amps.

All dynamic headphones definitely lack too much for rap (can't speak for electronic).
 

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