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The (new) HD800 Impressions Thread

Discussion in 'High-end Audio Forum' started by valentinhogea, Feb 10, 2013.
  1. Thenewguy007
    Well I compared the Yggdrasil to a mid tier DAC with a flip of a switch & the difference was with the mid tier DAC, everything sounded a few decibels quieter when both DACs were volume matched.
    Upping the volume on the mid tier DAC to try & match the loudness I was hearing with all the instrumentals & vocals on the Yggy, just made everything way too loud, everything just breaks up & starts sounding screechingly loud.
  2. BunnyNamedCraig
    What @bosiemoncrieff said is pretty much the smartest decision to help you with dacs/amps/headphones ect.

    That way it can help you learn about everything you have talked about, without all the preconceived notions about them all.

    To keep to the HD800 though- my whole drive home I was thinking about getting home, firing up the tube amp, taking a shower, and then just melting into my chair listening to the HD800 before I want to fall asleep.

    Perfect end to my perfect day with friends I just had. I hope you all enjoy your night!
    DavidA, whirlwind and bosiemoncrieff like this.
  3. Evshrug
    As in all things, not all DACs have the same flavor or above-average performance for the price level, BUT while the Modi is a good baseline for a DAC (better than many laptops/phones/etc), there are improvements possible. And, again, it’s easy to hear (if the upgrade jump is big enough) but hard to quantify in specs and numbers.

    A DAC is a little math calculator, applying 1’s and 0’s (which are never exactly sent error-free, “bit perfect” as a concept is a myth) to algebraic algorithms, while applying filters and error-correction, and more. Just like enterprise computers use error correcting CPUs and ECC RAM, accuracy is the main goal; and just like anti-aliasing for games, a DAC uses filters to smooth the dithered “steps” of the 1&0 coordinates into something approximating analog sine curves. Also, there is some amplification that occurs in a DAC as well (necessary to drive the circuit!), so a cleaner implementation of that pays dividends down the line to the rest of the audio chain, and also can determine the voltage output (which might partially explain the loudness difference heard by others). There’s more to it than that (I’m not a DAC engineer), but hopefully that conveys how a DAC is much more like a computer than a simple electrical circuit, and some areas for improvement.

    What are the audible results/benefits of better DACs? Most DACs will get the pitch right, but the timbre realism goes up with better DACs. One easy place to hear this is in Cymbals, how they can go from something that sounds like a digital note or effect into a more realistic shimmering instrument. That “digital hash” on lower quality DACs can translate to the screechy, unrefined, fatiguing sound, whereas better DACs can sound more refined without resorting to blunting the sound. Tiny details that our brains use to determine spacial placement come into focus, and complex passages with a lot of notes and instruments are easier to separate and keep track of... it’s not so much that it’s pulling out more resolution from your audio files, but that they’re portrayed more accurately. I can’t point to why, because I’m always learning and still on my journey, but music also sounds more lively, exciting, and “keen” for lack of a better word compared to the duller, flat sound I get when I go back to a downgrade.

    Though it may be unusual to describe this in a thread about a headphone that only diehard audio fans would buy, I like to give help when I find opportunity. Just curious, what encouraged you to buy an HD 800? For me, it was due to a search for a realistic, transparent sound which would also have a great “holographic” sense of things around me instead of an audio universe crammed inside my head (lol), and it came after many years of trying out $100 and $200 headphones (and a trip to CanJam where I got to demo pretty much all the best headphones on the market). I also felt like the HD 800 was going to be easier to plug and play with many more amp options than a STAX, though I have a vintage one of those.
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2018
  4. wazzupi
    I own Blackwood auteurs and i believe they have a better 3d holo soundstage of course i don't know when you went etc just teasing a bit i guess.
    Evshrug likes this.
  5. Evshrug
    Good natured teasing is fine :wink:

    I first went to RMAF in 2015, bought my HD 800 in 2016, and the ZMF Auteur was released later – I did see it at CanJam NYC this year, but I didn’t get a chance to really evaluate.

    Also, I’ll allow that what defines “better” soundstage for you might not be what I think of as “better.” Also, sometimes I enjoy a headphone so much that I don’t care if it seems smaller or more “in my head” than the HD 800, but the HD 800 was one I kept coming back to and finding really spine-shiveringly enjoyable on my setup while also adaptable for my uses (music, gaming, surround DSPs, gear evaluation). Glad neither of us regret our purchases, and there’s definitely room for both in a collection!
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2018
    wazzupi likes this.
  6. wazzupi
    I recently got a bargain on my hd800 on letgo for 500 bucks 44k serial number he said he received it as a gift in 2016 for Christmas.
  7. Evshrug
    Nice gift! If the Auteur is anything like ZMF’s other headphones and the Auteur reviews I’ve read, then the two headphones should be a great compliment! And wow, what a nice Christmas gift for that other guy, kinda sad that he’s letting it go for so cheap... lucky you though!
    wazzupi likes this.
  8. pietcux
    I bought the HDVA 600 from a fellow HeadFier for 600€. Once I got the amp, I wrote thanks for the nice deal. He responded by offerIng his HD800 for another 600€. I said yes. Added new head band padding plus new pads plus a ForzaAudioWorks Noir Hybrid 1.5m Pentaconn 4.4mm balanced cable for the use with my Sony WM1A. Then got the Super Dupont mod from @Sorrodje to tame the treble and installed it. Absolute bliss regarding sound now. Was like 1600€ total, for a perfect system I would say. Compliments my Sony Z1R perfectly.
  9. wazzupi
    Where do you get the headband padding ?
  10. pietcux
    wazzupi likes this.
  11. johnjen
    Or you can order them from Sennheiser directly.

    Sennheiser likes this.
  12. Evshrug
    I bought a Wireworld Elite 1.4m Pentaconn 4.4mm balanced cable made for me... it’s the perfect length to connect to the Sennheiser HDV 820 on my desk, and hopefully the right length and lightweight to use with a DAP using 4.4mm Pentaconn one day. I’ve looked at the Sony WM1A many times (and again almost every time you talk about it, haha!) and I like what I’ve seen, and AxelCloris let me borrow his ZX300 one night (But I drained the battery, and didn’t get to listen! Aaaah!). However, it would probably be more budget friendly for me to just pick up the new AM3P module from FiiO for my X7. I like using Pentaconn for both desktop and portable use.

    Though it’s more expensive than the Sennheiser Pentaconn cable, I like the custom length and sound quality I’m hearing in my Wireworld (pros and cons). I don’t feel the need to do a Full Super Dupont mod at all (or even just the little felt dampeners), though I like what Sennheiser did with the HD 800 S... I’m hoping to set aside enough funds to get an HD 820 one day, as I would enjoy the utility as my wife & I both work from home and the neighbors have awful taste in music (headaches!!).
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2018
    BunnyNamedCraig likes this.
  13. Slashn77
    $500 for a hd800?? If I could only be so lucky!
    Running hd650’s at my desk and CA Cascades portable but still had to get some 599 for gaming because 650’s weren’t that impressive.

    Been looking for a while for a hd800 here in classifieds for the right price for a nice upgrade for my desk and also for use as a great set of PC gaming cans. No boomy bass all soundstage imaging to hear them footsteps in gaming with battlefield pubg fortnite fallout etc.

    Almost pulled the trigger on hd 700’s for all the above uses for around $500 new but have been waiting and waiting for the 800’s (so I don’t have any regrets putting money into 700’s)
    But it’s hard to find 800’s in decent shape around $600 in a while or theyre already scooped up
  14. pietcux
    When the used HD800 looks kind wasted, all you need is new headband padding plus new earpds. Roughly 140€. The risk that the drivers are defect is rather low.
  15. WilliamLeonhart
    In my country well used HD800 cost around $700. Not a bad price for me, but the pads almost always need replacing

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