The (new) HD800 Impressions Thread
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Hmmmm, so maybe a stand alone DAC is unnecessary..
 
I'm used to using the DAC in my laptop (SoundBlaster X-Fi MB5), but I wonder if buying a stand alone DAC will give me a more clear, refined sound.  I was hoping to reduce clipping, background noise, or any graininess, yet I'm not sure if these things are possible. 
 
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  Hmmmm, so maybe a stand alone DAC is unnecessary..
 
I'm used to using the DAC in my laptop (SoundBlaster X-Fi MB5), but I wonder if buying a stand alone DAC will give me a more clear, refined sound.  I was hoping to reduce clipping, background noise, or any graininess, yet I'm not sure if these things are possible. 
 
I think you should listen to the advice already given.  A standalone DAC is going to be better than a DAC inside a PC for the HD800.  There's really no point in getting an HD800 if you're unwilling to feed it an adequate signal, because the HP is going to give you what you feed it, far more than any other.  You already have an amazing amp percfect for it, so you may as well get the best DAC you can for the money and an overwhelming number of people say this is the Modi multibit, including me.  
 
If you are not wanting to get adequate gear, you may as well sell the HD800 and get a HP that is not going to be as dependent on upstream gear.  We're not saying this stuff to be difficult, we're saying it because we've already been in your place and many of us have already trial and error'd this HP and know what the pitfalls are.  I am hoping to save you time and money.  You have a great experience just waiting for you.
 
At this point it's up to you what you want to spring for.  Let us know.
 
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Thank you to everyone for the advice!  Wow, what a community

 
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Yes it sounds very good. Though my DV has upgraded output caps and potentiometer 
 
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  Thank you to everyone for the advice!  Wow, what a community
 
I ran a Pavane (used) and Teton (new/hd800 combo deal). Total $8kish. Still thought it was good for the money and that is compared to many more expensive headphones with around the same $8k spent with dac and amp factored in.
 
I downgraded but not by allot.
 
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Well, I was somehow able to find a used Burson Audio DA-160 DAC.  I pulled the trigger and got it for just under $250. 
 
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I've had the HD800 for about 1-2 months now, only other headphone is the HD 650. Running it out of Modi 1 (will upgrade to Modi MM one day) > BHC Crack + Speedball. 
 
I didn't really notice the 6 Khz peak until I began to read about it, which prompted me to notice it more. Since then, I've been using Equalizer APO to bring down the peak by about 2 db. 
 
It sounds better overall, but I still hear some "ringing" around the 6 Khz area. However, I also hear the same ringing, albeit a bit quieter, with the HD 650. If this is the case, is this "ringing" that I am hearing characteristic of the 6 Khz peak/ringing that people are talking about? In other words, if I hear this "ringing" with both the HD 650 and HD 800, does this represent a fault of the headphones, or is it just because the track is poorly recorded/mastered?
 
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But HD 650 has not the 6 Khz peak. Compare:
http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/SennheiserHD650.pdf
http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/SennheiserHD800.pdf
 
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@jamesino I was quite worried about the 6K resonance prior to buying the HD800.  So much so that I purchased a SuperDupont Resonator kit with plans to install as soon as I received my HD800.  Upon receipt of the HPs they did not annoy me at all in that frequency range so I have not yet installed the SDR kit.  I like the sound I hear fine without changing the stock configuration.  Some have even postulated that the newer HD800's sound different than the original lower S/Ns.
 
Reading the threads you will find everyone hears differently and I would venture all actual ear hearing curves are different accounting for that.  Bottom line is the HP has to satisfy your expectations, and a bit of equalization can certainly fix most any problem;
 
Recordings though can vary widely.  I keep a separate folder for the music I like best and find the audiophile picks  (binaural+, 2xHD)  labeled recordings never disappoint 
 
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  @jamesino I was quite worried about the 6K resonance prior to buying the HD800.  So much so that I purchased a SuperDupont Resonator kit with plans to install as soon as I received my HD800.  Upon receipt of the HPs they did not annoy me at all in that frequency range so I have not yet installed the SDR kit.  I like the sound I hear fine without changing the stock configuration.  Some have even postulated that the newer HD800's sound different than the original lower S/Ns.
 
Reading the threads you will find everyone hears differently and I would venture all actual ear hearing curves are different accounting for that.  Bottom line is the HP has to satisfy your expectations, and a bit of equalization can certainly fix most any problem;
 
Recordings though can vary widely.  I keep a separate folder for the music I like best and find the audiophile picks  (binaural+, 2xHD)  labeled recordings never disappoint 
 
I've had my eye on the HD800s for a few years now, but finally decided to pull the trigger on them.  I'm going to be getting an A16 Realiser as well, so I decided I may as well just get the headphones they seem to exclusively demo the unit with.  Anyway, I was considering getting the SuperDupont kit too due to all of the complaints about the treble spike, but I think I'll just wait a few weeks first to see how noticeable it is.  I'll actually be using them primarily for movies/games anyway, and the A16 already tries to equalize all headphones to sound somewhat similar, so that alone might remove any harsh sibilance.
 
That being said, the first pair of "audiophile" headphones I ended up buying years ago were the Ultrasone Pro 900.  Those were easily one of the worst sounding headphones I had ever heard before and since due to their completely recessed mids with an emphasis on bass (albeit stellar bass) and treble.  The treble on those was so sibilant though that after only a few hours my ears hurt really bad.  Kind of like if you've been too aggressive cleaning your ears with a Q-Tip.  That and the price are kind of why I waited so long to get the HD800s, but after the "S" version was released, it was less of an issue. Hopefully they don't have a similar effect with treble though; ugh.  In the meantime, I've just been primarily sticking with some DT880 600 Ohms with some Jmoney pads, and I've seen those to be considered "bright" headphones too, although I honestly can't tell aside from infrequent recordings that didn't have a good production with the drums.  It will be interesting to compare the two.
 
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I've had the HD800 for about 1-2 months now, only other headphone is the HD 650. Running it out of Modi 1 (will upgrade to Modi MM one day) > BHC Crack + Speedball. 

I didn't really notice the 6 Khz peak until I began to read about it, which prompted me to notice it more. Since then, I've been using Equalizer APO to bring down the peak by about 2 db. 

It sounds better overall, but I still hear some "ringing" around the 6 Khz area. However, I also hear the same ringing, albeit a bit quieter, with the HD 650. If this is the case, is this "ringing" that I am hearing characteristic of the 6 Khz peak/ringing that people are talking about? In other words, if I hear this "ringing" with both the HD 650 and HD 800, does this represent a fault of the headphones, or is it just because the track is poorly recorded/mastered?
jamesino, forgive me for sounding a bit like "tech support," but I have a few questions and possible things for you to try out.

1.) is this ringing present constantly throughout the song? If so, it could possibly some microphonics in your tube, some tubes never seem to settle down.

2.) Do you hear ringing just when certain notes are played? Sometimes output ports are defective, and can introduce unpleasant artifacts. If you can, try using a different port (different USB port, or try connecting to Optical, or coax, whatever you can try) or a different source (computer, smartphone, game console/home theater, a friend's source).

3.) Do you hear this ringing with other tracks? I have an HD800 right here, let me know what track it was that bothered you and I'll share some personal thoughts :)

The HD650 an HD800 have fairly different tunings and designs, to hear the same "ringing" in both suggests something else could be going on. In any case, enjoying the headphone and the audio is the end-goal, right? Keep us updated!


I've had my eye on the HD800s for a few years now, but finally decided to pull the trigger on them.  I'm going to be getting an A16 Realiser as well, so I decided I may as well just get the headphones they seem to exclusively demo the unit with.  Anyway, I was considering getting the SuperDupont kit too due to all of the complaints about the treble spike, but I think I'll just wait a few weeks first to see how noticeable it is.  I'll actually be using them primarily for movies/games anyway, and the A16 already tries to equalize all headphones to sound somewhat similar, so that alone might remove any harsh sibilance.

That being said, the first pair of "audiophile" headphones I ended up buying years ago were the Ultrasone Pro 900.  Those were easily one of the worst sounding headphones I had ever heard before and since due to their completely recessed mids with an emphasis on bass (albeit stellar bass) and treble.  The treble on those was so sibilant though that after only a few hours my ears hurt really bad.  Kind of like if you've been too aggressive cleaning your ears with a Q-Tip.  That and the price are kind of why I waited so long to get the HD800s, but after the "S" version was released, it was less of an issue. Hopefully they don't have a similar effect with treble though; ugh.  In the meantime, I've just been primarily sticking with some DT880 600 Ohms with some Jmoney pads, and I've seen those to be considered "bright" headphones too, although I honestly can't tell aside from infrequent recordings that didn't have a good production with the drums.  It will be interesting to compare the two.
Sanctuary,
Congrats on reaching your goal/prize! I remember when I first got my HD800. It wasn't what I was expecting... it was better! No harm in listening to what the headphone sounds like stock, in case it ends up being lovable as-is. Have you started building an "HD800 first impressions" music playlist yet? What is going to be your first song? :D

There are some songs which just sound soooo special, the kind that give good chills down the spine!
 
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I've had my eye on the HD800s for a few years now, but finally decided to pull the trigger on them.  I'm going to be getting an A16 Realiser as well, so I decided I may as well just get the headphones they seem to exclusively demo the unit with.  Anyway, I was considering getting the SuperDupont kit too due to all of the complaints about the treble spike, but I think I'll just wait a few weeks first to see how noticeable it is.  I'll actually be using them primarily for movies/games anyway, and the A16 already tries to equalize all headphones to sound somewhat similar, so that alone might remove any harsh sibilance.

That being said, the first pair of "audiophile" headphones I ended up buying years ago were the Ultrasone Pro 900.  Those were easily one of the worst sounding headphones I had ever heard before and since due to their completely recessed mids with an emphasis on bass (albeit stellar bass) and treble.  The treble on those was so sibilant though that after only a few hours my ears hurt really bad.  Kind of like if you've been too aggressive cleaning your ears with a Q-Tip.  That and the price are kind of why I waited so long to get the HD800s, but after the "S" version was released, it was less of an issue. Hopefully they don't have a similar effect with treble though; ugh.  In the meantime, I've just been primarily sticking with some DT880 600 Ohms with some Jmoney pads, and I've seen those to be considered "bright" headphones too, although I honestly can't tell aside from infrequent recordings that didn't have a good production with the drums.  It will be interesting to compare the two.

Not everyone is bothered by the 6khz peak. Its on a case by case basis. It also depends greatly on the amp and any power issues. The power in my house is dirty and it would manifest in a tizzy top end. I got a noise reducer and that took care of it. So the peak is not necessarily bad it may just be reproducing something in your chain that's flawed. At least this is what happened in my experience.
 
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@Sennheiser, thanks a lot for reaching out to me!
 
1) & 2) Nope, the ringing is not throughout the song. It usually occurs during vocals as a singer is holding a long note or belting out a loud note, but I don't think it's a natural vibrato. I want to say that it's usually only certain notes that are affected, but I'm poor at identifying pitch. I'm currently using a USB port on my computer, and the ringing still persists after trying different ports. The ringing is worse when I switch from the BHC Crack + Speedball to the Valhalla 2.
 
3) I hear the ringing with multiple tracks, but not every track, do you have Spotify? Here are some examples:
 
Emmylou by First Aid Kit: https://open.spotify.com/track/3UzvFIyu5qdRepwJViDwjN
At 2:38 when she holds the long "Hoowww"
 
Something About the Way You Look Tonight by Elton John: https://open.spotify.com/track/5LjSxAIKwyZvQqJ04ZQ0Da
At 0:14 when he holds the word "One." I think this tone is a bit lower than the one above, yet the ringing still happens. 
 
Closer To Fine by Indigo Girls: https://open.spotify.com/track/7rKyITVLEwldhdXIy7P6Vw
0:21 when she holds the word "Me." The ringing is especially prominent here. 
 
Thanks so much for your help. 
 
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I'm going to be getting an A16 Realiser as well, so I decided I may as well just get the headphones they seem to exclusively demo the unit with. 
 
That being said, the first pair of "audiophile" headphones I ended up buying years ago were the Ultrasone Pro 900.  Those were easily one of the worst sounding headphones I had ever heard before and since due to their completely recessed mids with an emphasis on bass (albeit stellar bass) and treble.
 
I am unfamiliar w/A16 but see from the web it is commonly posed with the HD800; let us know how it works out.  I have used the Creative SoundBlaster E5 which has some nice DSP & virtual surround effects, but find I like it best in direct mode, the effects always seem to add a higher noise floor which I find undesirable.  My daily driver for the HD800 is Sennheiser's own HDVD800 which I use in balanced mode for the sound I like best.
 
Your Ultrasone Pro 900 experience is an example of how differently we all hear.  Just last week I picked up a pair of Pro 900i (supposed to be exactly like the 900 but with a new headband design) w/Adorama's $199 special.  I am quite impressed with their S-Logic® Plus Technology giving an amazing 360 soundstage from a closed HP.  Yes they are bass heavy but in a very fun way (nothing like the Beats phenomena), easy to drive from a portable device and IMO no noticeable undesirable mid of high end sound.  
 
I will admit that I also have always enjoyed the Grado sound that many complain about being shrill....guess maybe I'm a closet bass-head.  The Grado GS1000i is right there next to my HD800 in terms of the sound signature I like best.
 
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