The (new) HD800 Impressions Thread
Oct 11, 2015 at 8:37 AM Post #20,732 of 28,535

JaZZ

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Originally Posted by JaZZ /img/forum/go_quote.gif
 
 
Yes. Or more precisely: There's no headphone amp in the Hugo; the DAC drives line out and headphones in parallel. You can't improve the signal as it is – there's no internal amp to be bypassed and to improve upon. That said, it's possible that you'll prefer the amped signal – many amps have a euphonic and more forgiving characteristic than the pure direct signal, moreover the HD 800 may benefit from a smoothing and full sounding amp. Or you may think the Hugo doesn't have the ideal synergy with the HD 800 in terms of sonic balance. Or your listening level is too loud for the Hugo's output power (unlikely with the HD 800). However, you'll sacrifice accuracy and transparency compared to the direct connection in any event. There are better methods for correcting the sonic balance according to individual preferences without needless electronics in the signal path and the corresponding signal corruption.
 
 

 
Let's clear something up first. To say there is no internal amp in the HUGO is a load of excrements. People here are going to get the wrong impression. Here's what Rob Watts said:
 
Quote:
Now Hugo has a single active stage - a very high performance op-amp with a discrete op-stage as a hybrid with a single global feedback path. This arrangement means that you have a single active stage, two resistors and two capacitors in the direct signal path -  and that is it. Note: there is no headphone drive. Normal high performance DAC's have 3 op-amp stages, followed by a separate headphone amp. So to conclude - Hugo's analogue path is not a simple couple of op-amps chucked together, it is fundamentally simpler than all other headphone amp solutions.

 
There is no HEADPHONE DRIVE. Meaning, there isn't a separate dedicated amplification active stage for headphones only. THERE IS AN AMP. You cannot make a DAC with no amp stage. 
 
*sigh*
 
The line-out amp stage is just shared with the headphone drive. This actually isn't a good thing, as the swing in headphones like the HD800 require a well-made amp.

 
Several off-topic posts deleted. Thread title is "The (new) HD800 Impressions Thread."

 
I'm baffled: What has a load of excrements to do with HD 800 impressions? And my reply to this polemic post has been deleted?
 
Just to respond again: I wasn't stating the Hugo have no amplification stage – it just doesn't have a dedicated headphone amp built in. And since headphone out and line out are the same, you can't improve the signal with the use of an external amp, only deteriorate it. You may like the result nonetheless, because it comes with a synergetic change if sonic balance which the HD 800 will benefit from. In fact I agree that an umodified and unequalized HD 800 doesn't build up an ideal synergy with the Hugo's headphone out which I consider relatively neutral.
 
So this concept of renouncing a headphone amp in the Hugo isn't a good thing, as kapanak seems to know. That's a statement that's hard to technically justify.
 
Oct 11, 2015 at 8:57 AM Post #20,733 of 28,535

h1f1add1cted

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I'm still always impressed with my HD 800's its still one of best headphones I ever owned and I tried all flagship headpones (Hifiman, Beyer, AKG, Audeze, etc.) up to Stax SR-009 which is again a level up (as I'm classical music lover), but far to expensive.
 
I really like a good analog crossfeed implementation with a headphone amp (like the one with the iFi micro iDSD, or micro iCAN with highest crossfeed level) in addition to the HD 800's to make them a way more impressive for classical music listening:
 

 
Oct 11, 2015 at 9:07 AM Post #20,734 of 28,535

JaZZ

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  I'm still always impressed with my HD 800's its still one of best headphones I ever owned and I tried all flagship headpones (Hifiman, Beyer, AKG, Audeze, etc.) up to Stax SR-009 which is again a level up (as I'm classical music lover), but far to expensive.
 
I really like a good analog crossfeed implementation with a headphone amp (like the one with the iFi micro iDSD, or micro iCAN with highest crossfeed level) in addition to the HD 800's to make them a way more impressive for classical music listening.

 
I agree – crossfeed has even become mandatory for me.
 
Oct 11, 2015 at 9:09 AM Post #20,735 of 28,535

Wildcatsare1

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^Are there "cross-feed" software packages one can purchase to add to traditional amps, if so do you have any recommendations? Thanks!
 
Oct 11, 2015 at 9:35 AM Post #20,736 of 28,535

JaZZ

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There's a software implementation of Jan Meier's «Natural Crossfeed» for foobar 2000. I haven't tried it, but according to my experience with his Corda amps it should be good.
 
Oct 11, 2015 at 9:44 AM Post #20,737 of 28,535

h1f1add1cted

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The Meier Crossfeed is a very light crossfeed, but in gernal not bad. It's still DSP if you use software. I prefer ASP crossfeed. So in ASP units for crossfeed like real amps I like the implementation from iFi Audio it's really well done, it's sound much more "right" compared to i.e. Meier Crossfeed plugin like in foobar200 or in Rockbox.
 
Oct 11, 2015 at 9:52 AM Post #20,738 of 28,535

JaZZ

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Don't know iFi, but to my ears the Hugo's crossfeed sounds close to ideal (and my own implementation).
 
Oct 11, 2015 at 1:54 PM Post #20,740 of 28,535

BobFiggins

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Has anyone had a chance to compare the Valhalla 2 to the Mjolnir 2 with the HD 800? What are the notable differences? I'm able to find some impressions of both, but have yet to find someone who has had both, or heard both. Hard to get a good sense of what the differences are without a comparison.
 
Thanks!
 
Oct 11, 2015 at 1:55 PM Post #20,741 of 28,535

joespride

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More detailed initial impressions
 
Sennheiser HD800 in the house, My expectations were I would find a bright analytical can that was weak on bass with an out of the head soundstage. This is what I was expecting based on the hundreds of threads / reviews / comments...........My reason for wanting to try them was I wanted a better presentation / soundstage

Actually hearing them was a shock to the system, 

1st they were not overly bright and analytical, though they could sound piercing I found that was more source related, in order to attribute that quality to the cans one would expect they sound the same on all material. They sounded sublime on some material and like crap on other material. I started paying attention to selection and using long time considered standards for QUALITY RECORDINGS and I was richly rewarded (dont confuse this statement with meaning high resolution 24 /192 etc...etc...etc... I am talking about albums that are well known as being masterfully recorded and mastered like Steely Dan Aha, all the resolution in the world will not cover up a poor recording and in fact may make it sound worse IME.)

Next was the Bass, not sure where this reputation was garnered for light on bass perhaps it started with people comparing them with planers or bass heavy cans, I was nearly floored by the impact the HD800 presented, Listening to Sometimes God Smiles Prism track and the superb Sheffield Drum Tracks, and SMV Thunder albums proved anything but lacking in bass. Bass was deep with texture and impact, not Bloated or exaggerated. I is true they dont dig down in to the sub bass regions as well as my HE500 they also dont muddy the waters. color me very happy with the Bass

Soundstage, My expectations of some miraculous out of head experience was daunted It has been my experience that headphones do MANY things correct, soundstage is NOT one of them, I feel like all the press concerning the soundstage on the HD800 is more about the spatial imagery and not what I consider soudstage, I came to headphones out of necessity from systems that consisted of SET amps and Horn Speakers those systems presented an almost physical image of the material in front of you allowing to to Hear / imagine the individuals and instruments in there perspective places. while headphones can recreate the space in the material it is all still firmly inside your head, I have heard only a couple examples of material which can create that out of head experience Chesky Records Ultimate Headphone is one of those. While I dont see the HD800 as having a true soundstage experience I admit its spacial separation and imagery is better 

An unexpected Benefit The Hd800 is SUPERB at low level listening, while my HE500 tends to need quite a bit of volume to really shine and open up the HD800 seems to care less, it plays very well at about any volume. My Wife & Ears thank you Sennheiser 

As I see it the largest drawback to having the HD800 is now something like 25% of my music is unlistenable unless I keep both the HE500 and the HD800, suggestions on how to break that news to the better half will be appreciated.........I have long said I see no reason for multiple cans the HD800 has shown me I was wrong 
L3000.gif

 
Oct 11, 2015 at 2:50 PM Post #20,742 of 28,535

JaZZ

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  More detailed initial impressions
 
Sennheiser HD800 in the house, My expectations were I would find a bright analytical can that was weak on bass with an out of the head soundstage. This is what I was expecting based on the hundreds of threads / reviews / comments...........My reason for wanting to try them was I wanted a better presentation / soundstage

Actually hearing them was a shock to the system, 

1st they were not overly bright and analytical, though they could sound piercing I found that was more source related, in order to attribute that quality to the cans one would expect they sound the same on all material. They sounded sublime on some material and like crap on other material. I started paying attention to selection and using long time considered standards for QUALITY RECORDINGS and I was richly rewarded (dont confuse this statement with meaning high resolution 24 /192 etc...etc...etc... I am talking about albums that are well known as being masterfully recorded and mastered like Steely Dan Aha, all the resolution in the world will not cover up a poor recording and in fact may make it sound worse IME.)

Next was the Bass, not sure where this reputation was garnered for light on bass perhaps it started with people comparing them with planers or bass heavy cans, I was nearly floored by the impact the HD800 presented, Listening to Sometimes God Smiles Prism track and the superb Sheffield Drum Tracks, and SMV Thunder albums proved anything but lacking in bass. Bass was deep with texture and impact, not Bloated or exaggerated. I is true they dont dig down in to the sub bass regions as well as my HE500 they also dont muddy the waters. color me very happy with the Bass

Soundstage, My expectations of some miraculous out of head experience was daunted It has been my experience that headphones do MANY things correct, soundstage is NOT one of them, I feel like all the press concerning the soundstage on the HD800 is more about the spatial imagery and not what I consider soudstage, I came to headphones out of necessity from systems that consisted of SET amps and Horn Speakers those systems presented an almost physical image of the material in front of you allowing to to Hear / imagine the individuals and instruments in there perspective places. while headphones can recreate the space in the material it is all still firmly inside your head, I have heard only a couple examples of material which can create that out of head experience Chesky Records Ultimate Headphone is one of those. While I dont see the HD800 as having a true soundstage experience I admit its spacial separation and imagery is better 

An unexpected Benefit The Hd800 is SUPERB at low level listening, while my HE500 tends to need quite a bit of volume to really shine and open up the HD800 seems to care less, it plays very well at about any volume. My Wife & Ears thank you Sennheiser 

As I see it the largest drawback to having the HD800 is now something like 25% of my music is unlistenable unless I keep both the HE500 and the HD800, suggestions on how to break that news to the better half will be appreciated.........I have long said I see no reason for multiple cans the HD800 has shown me I was wrong 
L3000.gif


I see you're not averse to modding. You're not bound to the factory setting with the HD 800 either. Some reflection damping will make it compatible with a broader range of recordings.
 
Oct 11, 2015 at 3:08 PM Post #20,743 of 28,535

joespride

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No not opposed to modding are we talking about the Anaxilus Mod", I have saved the stencil and may try it in the not to distant future,  I will admit I was less hesitant to try mods on a 550.00 can, the 1500.00 scares me a bit but as long as the mods are reversable with no cosmetic / functional damage I will be game
 
Post some links to the mods of which you speak, and please share any you have performed and your impressions of the improvements
 
Joe
 
Oct 11, 2015 at 3:29 PM Post #20,744 of 28,535

JaZZ

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  No not opposed to modding are we talking about the Anaxilus Mod", I have saved the stencil and may try it in the not to distant future,  I will admit I was less hesitant to try mods on a 550.00 can, the 1500.00 scares me a bit but as long as the mods are reversable with no cosmetic / functional damage I will be game
 
Post some links to the mods of which you speak, and please share any you have performed and your impressions of the improvements
 
Joe

 
The link is in my previous post (and my signature). It's the predecessor of the Anaxilus mod (actually the same apart from the materials) – and I clearly prefer it to the latter.
 
Oct 11, 2015 at 5:11 PM Post #20,745 of 28,535

Taowolf51

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An unexpected Benefit The Hd800 is SUPERB at low level listening, while my HE500 tends to need quite a bit of volume to really shine and open up the HD800 seems to care less, it plays very well at about any volume. My Wife & Ears thank you Sennheiser 
 

 
This is because the HD800 has superb CSD's even at extremely low volumes. Most headphones (even TOTL's) fall apart at low volumes.
 

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