The (new) HD800 Impressions Thread
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deserat

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  I once had the opportunity to listen to a Mainline/HD800/Yggy combo, and I passed.  Still kicking myself.  To be fair I got to listen to other great gear, but didn't have time for Mainline.
 
Would very much love to hook a yggy up and hear the difference between it and the Gumby someday.. Again, I've heard the Gumby MJ2, stack and the Yggy/Ragnorok stack... but only at a CanJam.... granted the Schiitr is only 5 hours  from here ( 30 miles, in LA travel time  ).
 
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JamieMcC

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  Just finished building and burning in a Bottlehead Mainline. Gumby > Mainline > HD800 ... Best bass I have heard short of the HE-1 (Orpheus). Powerful, tight, impactful, rumble the side of my head bass. Beyond anything my HE 560, Ether C, or the Oppo PM-3's I've borrowed can even come close to. While I've heard the HE 6, HE Edition X, Stax 007 and 009 they were all at CanJam - so it's hard to call since I don't listen to them regularly in a quiet environment. 

Actually the stack I now have feeding the HD800 is producing music like I never imagined headphones could. Ya I've plugged the other phones into the mainline - they are nice - but the HD800 takes flight and leaves them all behind. Fly little angels, fly.
 
Congrats on your Mainline build and welcome to the club.
 
Your Mainline is only going to get better with use as all the components burn in probably for the next 20-40hrs or so at least. If your not running your HD800 balanced I would recommend doing so.
 
PS If you ever want to crank up the perfomance even further the Mainline responds well to upgrading the Dayton 10uf parafeed output capacitors.
 
Enjoy your Mainline
 
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Would very much love to hook a yggy up and hear the difference between it and the Gumby someday.. Again, I've heard the Gumby MJ2, stack and the Yggy/Ragnorok stack... but only at a CanJam.... granted the Schiitr is only 5 hours  from here ( 30 miles, in LA travel time  ).
 
I'm still amazed how close my $250 Modi Multibit sounds to the Yggy.  There are differences, but they are small.  Mimby was a game changer for sure.
 
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And granted dynamic drivers have their fair share of limitations for sure but in our case the 800's can rattle our heads and deliver powerful subsonic bass with detail and nuance the likes of which the other classes of drivers have a really hard time matching.
And especially when the rest of the audio spectrum is taken into account, ie listening to music not just bass, the 800's, when dialed in, can simply deliver astounding bass, more than I ever thought would or could be possible.
 
JJ
 
This has been a somewhat shocking discovery for me as well. Given the reputation of the hd800 as thin, bright etc, I never would have thought that they were capable of some of the best if not the best bass response in the game...they are. 
 
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This has been a somewhat shocking discovery for me as well. Given the reputation of the hd800 as thin, bright etc, I never would have thought that they were capable of some of the best if not the best bass response in the game...they are. 
Well, I agree in the quality of the bass.  I think the level of bass is still low making the stock headphones sound bright, and that the reputation is well earned.  
 
I'm assuming from his sig he has modified his to get a larger bass response.  My entire set up is literally based around increasing the bass response in my HD800s.  I have warm tubes, a Cayin iDac-6 with it's tube buffer, and the SDR mod all to boost the bass.  The quality of it has always been incredible, it's just not very loud compared to the treble at stock.
 
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I find the level of bass to depend on the recording, I've heard some serious punch from these babies.  I just think people are used to overemphasized bass, which seems to be the overwhelming aspect of modern headphones.  Nothing wrong with that, but I think it's inaccurate to label the 800s bass light.  They are bass accurate.  I am not hearing light bass on certain hip hop and pop albums, or even dynamic orchestral music.
 
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deserat

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PS If you ever want to crank up the perfomance even further the Mainline responds well to upgrading the Dayton 10uf parafeed output capacitors.
 
 
Thanks! I've burned in now for a bit over 100 hours, the SQ changed quite noticeably over that time. At first I'd have put the Mainline at or slightly below my HDVA 600, after burn in I've decided to sell HDVA 600.   

I've already picked up the EC 6c45pi  based on reading both your and @Loquah ranking of the tubes. Though I want to enjoy the stock sound for awhile so haven't rolled 'em in yet. 

Any recommendation on Caps? I seem to recall you are partial to the Russians though I'd prefer something I can put in with a zip tie and plastic mount. 

 
 
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Sell the Gumby too and get the Yggy.
 
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  I find the level of bass to depend on the recording, I've heard some serious punch from these babies.  I just think people are used to overemphasized bass, which seems to be the overwhelming aspect of modern headphones.  Nothing wrong with that, but I think it's inaccurate to label the 800s bass light.  They are bass accurate.  I am not hearing light bass on certain hip hop and pop albums, or even dynamic orchestral music.
Perhaps true.  However, I find on a lot of rock albums the guitars over power the bass making it rather difficult to hear.  My ie800s offer a more balanced sound to my ears despite being V Shaped as I can hear all the instruments about the same (although V Shaped should be about neutral with increasing volume or whatever).
 
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The HD800 also presents bass in accurate locations in the headstage... that can make it seem like the bass is lighter, when in fact it's just coming from somewhere in the soundstage and traveling and dispersing as actual bass would.  Most headphones have bass being pumped straight out of the headphone in a one-note manner, giving the feeling there is more bass, on top of bass being overemphasized.
 
For instance, I'm listening to Lenny Kravitz's "5" album.  There are a number of tracks where the bass seems to be coming from across a room, rather than just materializing out of the drivers.  It hits hard, but has a diffuse kind of dispersment, like sound echoing in a real space.  It sounds more accurate, but less in your face.  I think this characteristic can lead to misunderstanding how the HD800 presents bass, leading people to believe they are "bass light".  I think people are not really used to hearing accurate bass with this much resolution and texture.
 
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Thanks! I've burned in now for a bit over 100 hours, the SQ changed quite noticeably over that time. At first I'd have put the Mainline at or slightly below my HDVA 600, after burn in I've decided to sell HDVA 600.   

I've already picked up the EC 6c45pi  based on reading both your and @Loquah ranking of the tubes. Though I want to enjoy the stock sound for awhile so haven't rolled 'em in yet. 

Any recommendation on Caps? I seem to recall you are partial to the Russians though I'd prefer something I can put in with a zip tie and plastic mount. 

 

The Russian caps can be good value especially the Teflons but you wont find any close to the 10uf value used in the Mainline which means they really could only be used for bypass duty.
 
Mundorf supreme are always a good choice and wont break the bank but there are lots of other brands availiable places like partsconnexion and hificollective often run promotions but I would suggest a bottlehead mainline google image search and having a look what others are using. It is possible to score some great deals off of ebay if you are patient and persistent in looking for them.
 
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The HD800 also presents bass in accurate locations in the headstage... that can make it seem like the bass is lighter, when in fact it's just coming from somewhere in the soundstage and traveling and dispersing as actual bass would.  Most headphones have bass being pumped straight out of the headphone in a one-note manner, giving the feeling there is more bass, on top of bass being overemphasized.

For instance, I'm listening to Lenny Kravitz's "5" album.  There are a number of tracks where the bass seems to be coming from across a room, rather than just materializing out of the drivers.  It hits hard, but has a diffuse kind of dispersment, like sound echoing in a real space.  It sounds more accurate, but less in your face.  I think this characteristic can lead to misunderstanding how the HD800 presents bass, leading people to believe they are "bass light".  I think people are not really used to hearing accurate bass with this much resolution and texture.
Totally agree with you,alot of new headphones have got unrealistic bass,in fact what-hifi have just review the folac utopia and said their glad that focal didn't overemphasised the bass,because they said alot of headphone manufacturers are at the moment.
 
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I have to give the nod to a well driven 007mk1 it terms of bass from an overall perspective. The Teton and Ravenswood with the hd800 comes close but ultimately falls short. The hd800's biggest standout to me is its crappy treble. Might leave your ears ringing if you pair with a dry SS amp or bright sounding stock cable but it is what gives the hd800 its soundstage imo and that is what really sets it apart from other headphones other than maybe k-1000 or Quaila which are much more expensive now.
 
The hd800's comfort too also sets it apart. At least for my head it is the most comfortable out of many.
 
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For the record I have no issues with the 800s treble.  Of course pairing it with a bright amp wont do it any favors, like any headphone that is extremely resolving in the upper frequencies.  Also, I hear alot of flak about the stock cable, but I have tried two aftermarket cables and they both were inferior.  The stock cable is very very good and I have no desire to upgrade it at this point having heard supposedly "better" cables. 
 
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  For the record I have no issues with the 800s treble.  Of course pairing it with a bright amp wont do it any favors, like any headphone that is extremely resolving in the upper frequencies.  Also, I hear alot of flak about the stock cable, but I have tried two aftermarket cables and they both were inferior.  The stock cable is very very good and I have no desire to upgrade it at this point having heard supposedly "better" cables. 
Isn't the peak in the treble somewhat objectively not reference?  I mean that's one of the main things the S version did, and was definitely a noticeable improvement for me after doing the SDR mod.  I found, though this is more personal, that before the mod the sound was more sibilant, but even more so very fatiguing.
 
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