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Stock pads were a huge pita, Dekoni pads just clicked in place with no issues for me. YMMV
Installing the Dekoni pads is insanely easy. they just snap in & are million times easier to put on that the stock ones.
Getting them off is a little harder. They give you a small prying tool & you have to pry one side off & then twist it off.
Been very pleasantly surprised at the headphone out performance of the OPPO 205 with my HD800.
I have been proudly owning the HD 800 for several months now and wanted to share an important observation I made when reinserting the dust cover after doing a cleaning. Correct me if I am wrong, but do not replace the dust cover into the earpiece without making sure to slide the entire circumference of the dust cover into the lip of the clear plastic film behind the ear pad. Misleadingly, both InnerFidelity and Hi-Fi Insider in their various videos on YouTube replace the dust covers stuffing them back in and fitting the edges of the covers behind the cushions. I tried both ways for myself to see if it makes a difference and the wrong way sounds confused and lacking in detail compared to stock.
Aren't the earpads sealed flush? How did you stuff them in? Seems like it would be hard to do?
It is very easy to just place the edges of the dust cover over the black plastic that is underneath the cushion by pushing that dust cover in quickly. This is wrong. The edge of the dust cover needs to be pushed carefully beyond that point, so that its entire circumference or edge is carefully slid within the lip of the clear plastic film underneath the ear pad. This way, if you were to remove the ear pad unit, the dust cover should come off with it. Additionally, this fits the dust cover far tighter and more snuggly against the ear pad unit so that the dust cover has no means of vibrating or blocking the sound. I presume the reason the HD 800’s sounded more confused and undetailed to me when inserted improperly is the dust cover’s mesh material is constricted and less porous, lending to it blocking more of the sound, and the dust cover as a whole is loose and more apt to jostle around within the earpiece, lending to unnecessary vibrations and added distortion.
I find that 1Z can drive 800s out of balanced 4.4mm. Not at best, but it is acceptable. Surprisingly for a portable player and especially a Walkman
Though, where is the sub-bass ? Lol ?
Do all HD800 come with USB drive that contains the measurements? My friend's 49xxx serial had it but my 46xxx serial didn't. We bought from different dealers. Is this normal?
I had to request my chart from Sennheiser. This is the first time I ever heard of them coming with a drive loaded with measurements. Use caution when accessing it...
I ripped off my Dekoni sheepskin dust cover and use the stock HD800 instead. Everything seems so clear, more detail and deeper soundstage. I wonder what have I missed all this time.
It seems like a newer production thing. I looked up a few unboxing videos to sate my nervosa and it seems like nobody else had them.
How I got my HD800s
I’m a happy camper at the moment. My new HD800s sit on my head most all day while working and then when relaxing at night. I discover more details in favorite songs and sound is natural enough for me to be content without speakers.
In case it is helpful to anyone else stumbling into the world of choosing a headphone in this category, here is my journey that ended with the HD800s. The problem to solve: Allow me to listen to binaural nature soundscapes and baroque music for a full workday in a small room (11x9 ft). But also listen to varied mainstream music in the other end of that same room.
TL;DR; Visit a dealer, compare models for comfort and how you like the sound of a complete system. Please buy from this dealer so we all have dealers in the future.
I went from Shure SE-535 and Sennheiser HD595 to Hifiman HE400S. This was an unauditioned buy just based on reviews like on Innerfidelity. I appreciated the differences compared to what I had before but a few months later I still felt the sound was blurred. That my wife thought I looked like a space alien didn’t help. I ran the HE400S from my iPhone and that simplicity was part of the appeal. Still I wanted to try what an amplifier would do. Off to a hifi store I went. Yes, my HE400S sounded somewhat better out of a Marantz HD-DAC1. But the store also had the full Focal line up. In short, I left the store thinking I needed to upgrade to Clear or Utopia. The appeal was still the ability to get decent sound without an amplifier.
Months went by reading professional reviews, impressions on head-fi, and checking prices. My head was spinning and I learned nothing conclusive. It was also surprisingly hard to find a store where I could compare headphones of this category. It was actually easier to find a store to audition speaker setups (Hegel, Rogue Audio, Splendor, Harbeth) but the prices ended up being too steep. Plus, I wasn’t convinced this would work well for my two listening positions in my small room. Finally the stars aligned and I could visit a store in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: Music to My Ear. I checked out YouTube videos showing the selection in the store and started chatting with @MTMECraig who works in that store.
The day arrived and walking into such a nice music store was wonderful. Craig and Kerry made me feel welcome and let me calmly listen as long as I needed while offering me guidance. Here’s what I ended up listening to:
Mr Speakers Ether Flow Open
Noisy leather pads against my glasses. Detailed and full sound but clearly the ‘close’ sound of headphones.
Mr Speakers Aeon Flow Open
Leather pads start squeaking as they warm up. Sound is similar to Ether Flow. Cool design. Light weight.
Pads were silent with my glasses but the pressure on the crown of my head was new. Why hadn’t I noticed that the first time I tried them? Really painful. Sound is intense and the soundstage tight.
What a relief! Finally a pair of headphones I felt were worth spending money on. Comfortable and no squeaking against my glasses. I can finally focus on listening. They are detailed and natural but with the occasional treble squeaks using an Elemental Watson tube amplifier. Switching to a Questyle CMA400i the treble spikes get to painful levels. Listening to Jean C Roche’s recording of a Musician Wren makes me cringe and take the headphones off. When playing the same track through a Lehmann Audio amplifier and the CMA400i as a DAC only helps quiet down the treble. This gives me the confidence to move forward with these headphones after all. At some point I listened to them through a Rogue Audio RH5 which was enjoyable but when I heard the price that was not worth pursuing. I had read about how the soundstage would be large and even unnatural. I feel the opposite, it is just natural.
BeyerDynamic DT990 (comfort test only)
I wished there were BeyerDynamic T1s to audition but no luck today. I’m told they would be less detailed and the soundstage would be smaller than the HD800s anyway. Just for the heck of it, I try on a pair of DT990s. The comfort is great. Feathery. Possibly better than HD800.
Remembering how blown away I had been the first time I heard them, I had to try them again and compare to the HD800. The main downside during the first audition was the extreme weight of the stock cable. The weight is now ok with Nordost replacement cables but the headband still quickly gives me a headache due to pressure on the crown of my head. Sound placement is lovely but soundstage is smaller.
Several hours later, I left Music to My Ear with a pair of HD800 on order and certainty that I had found the right headphones for me. But no amplifier. The options I liked were out of my budget. But I still had a good idea of what would work. Several weeks of eBay bidding and head-fi trawling resulted in a Violectric V181 amp and a Lake People RS 06 DAC for a manageable amount.
Sean at ZeroFidelity for your thoughtful advice on what matters.
The Headfonia crew for consistent reviews
Tyll at Inner Fidelity for being a reference in this ocean of opinions.
@ZeosPantera for pulling me into this by being irreverent when it felt like this hobby was too exclusive for me.
@fdg and @ArthurPower at Violectric for being approachable and customer friendly.
@MTMECraig, Kerry, and Mark at Music to my Ear, Pittsburgh, PA for running an awesome music store.
Enjoy the gear and the music!