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The (new) HD800 Impressions Thread

Discussion in 'High-end Audio Forum' started by valentinhogea, Feb 10, 2013.
  1. DavidA
    While I have both the HD800, HD700 and a few other headphones for gaming its been the HD700, mainly because its easier to drive with a sound card and in a pinch even the on-board audio of a laptop/desktop will drive the HD700 to listening levels while they will struggle with the HD800 due to the slightly higher impedance.
  2. Slashn77
    What do you think about the difference with gaming?
    I still use a Schiit stack to plug my headphones in while gaming(I only game on PC)
  3. DavidA
    I used to use a Asus STX sound card when I was playing a lot but have since moved on from gaming since I'm getting older (retired from work) and my GF takes up most of my time these days playing golf, having friends over of dinner/wine.

    The biggest difference to me between the HD700 and HD800 for gaming is I've never like the tone of the HD800 from any sound card or built-in sound chip and I've only really enjoyed the HD800 with a tube amp while the HD700 can sound quite good with some of the warmer SS amps (Polaris, G-109, HA-501). If your Schiit stack is Modi MB and Magni3 then I think the HD800 might sound decent/good playing games but its not something that I've tried so YMMV. I've tried my HD800 with a BH Crack and played games but I still like the HD700 out of the STX better since the positional audio was better to me.
  4. Slashn77
    Ok thanks for the insight. Maybe I will get the 700’s as they seem more comfortable not that the 800’s aren’t comfortable but 700’s are slimmer profile.
    I will have to keep an eye out because I don’t want to buy both and have a $500 hd700 for gaming only if they’re underwhelming when it comes down to music when I could get the 800 and do both.
    Plus if I were to get the 800 I would definitely get an upgraded amp from modi2 and magni3 to a tube or probably hybrid tube since I’ve never owned or used a tube amp before.
    Some of these tube amps are very big or are pretty tall with the tubes sticking out and would take up too much desk space. Thinking maybe a schiit vali 2 hybrid amp but I have to find the right 800s first
  5. DavidA
    The HD800 doesn't really sound all that great with some of the under $500 amps that I've tried it with and to me a BH Crack with a few mods and decent tubes is about the minimum to get the HD800 to perform while the HD700 is easily driven by even a cheap Fiio X3 and it sound quite good to me and my old GF who used to use it almost daily when walking the dog. I take it that you are not in the US since the HD700 is normally around $420 (Amazon) these days and some of my friends got new ones for $375.
    The Magni3 and HD800 is not a bad pairing and I think the Magni3 its one of the best amps under $250 these days but I'd still recommend a decent tube (OTL) amp for the HD800 but this is just my preference.
    BunnyNamedCraig likes this.
  6. Slashn77
    I actually am in the USA (MI) I am just new (almost 2 years) to the hobby as my first passion is PC gaming.
    Then I got HD650’s with modi2 magni2 (now magni 3 and Mayflower ARC when I’m on my laptop in my lazy boy because it’s a compact dac/amp combo and got tidal lossless/masters and discovered music without $30 ear buds.
    Then I got CA Lyra II and cascades with an ifi xdsd for portable use on my deck in the backyard listening to edm and 90’s
    hip hop.
    So I am completely new to tube amps but want to upgrade from 650’s as it is very nice but not my ideal sound signature for all different genres(want the focal elex or clears or 800s but I was told focal clears are amazing but wouldn’t be ideal for my duo purpose of music and gaming)
    Once I find the right headphone I would spend $600 new or used on the right dac and amp for the headphones when listening to music but then plugging them into my magni for great imaging and soundstage gaming
  7. rutter
    Who the hell told you that the Focal Clear would be bad for gaming, lol? If you like it for music it'll be fine for gaming. That's so pretentious. I happen to not like it for music but the notion that it "wouldn’t be ideal for a duo purpose of music and gaming" is asinine. If you care so much for imaging and soundstage I get the impression upgrading the amplifier is more important than upgrading the DAC. If you really place a ton of weight on imagining and soundstage for gaming then you pretty much have to get either the HD800 or HD800S. I've listened to the three Focals, heard three Audezes, Aeon Flow Open, and have the most experience with a Hifiman Edition X v2 (which might edge the others in this respect and it's still mediocre in an absolute sense, especially from a Schiit stack [have the Modi Multibit with a Magni 3]). Imaging and soundstage is supposed to be something noteworthy pretty much only on the HD800 headphones. Other soundstage+imaging competitors are either obscure or even more expensive.

    Here's another question. One shot at it, HD800 or HD800S?
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2018
  8. DavidA
    If you can keep the HD650 and get other headphones I'd suggest going that route since there are many who sell their HD650 and end up buying them again, some for the 3rd or 4th time. I do agree that for gaming they are meh but for music they are hard to beat at times with the right amp. One friend considers the HD650 her end game headphone along with a EC ZDS and I'd say its a great pairing but since I like many genres its not quite a "do it all" headphone/amp combo for me. I actually find the HD800 not a great all around headphone since it does make some tracks a bit weird sounding due to the overly wide sound stage, especially some vocal centric tracks and with some tracks the mids are just a bit too recessed IMO.

    The HD700 has its flaws also like the HD800 in that the mids are too recessed at times and for some the 6khz peak is annoying but to many its not a problem and since its sound stage is not as exaggerated as the HD800 its not as weird sounding with most vocal tracks to me. For gaming the flaws are not really an issue for me and they are one of the most comfortable headphones IMO while the HD800 is almost as good in comfort but I've noticed that some of my friends complain that its uncomfortable due to a hot spot on the top of their head which I've also heard mentioned by another in this thread a while back.

    For EDM and other fast paced genres I usually go with a planar like HE560, LCD-2/3 or similar since they also have a nice bass kick to me. Another headphone that I've used for gaming is the K7XX, cheaper and slightly easier to drive than the HD800 to me but its not the most musical IMO.
  9. Slashn77
    800S but might be a bit more than I want to spend same as the Clears from what I’ve seen in classifieds here $1100+.

    Maybe the exact words were more like the focals aren’t as ‘ideal’ for gaming compared to the 800s.
    Crazy wide soundstage isn’t that important for gaming(cannot be hd600 soundstage though) it is more in the treble for hearing footsteps and the imaging.

    Unfortunately I have not heard either one myself and no where to audition them anywhere near me in MI so I am taking a general consensus from several reviews from reviewers I have agreed with on other headphones hearing and many people’s opinions which I know is not ideal because of how subjective this hobby is.

    When it comes to dac and amps I can and plan to upgrade in the near future after I find the headphone.
    I do like the focal options as well though because they can also be ran just fine from a xdsd or maybe micro black label when I am not in my office at my computer at home.

    Edit to last reply while typing: I am definitely keeping my 650 not selling anything to fund this purchase
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2018
    DavidA likes this.
  10. Slashn77
    Yeah I am not selling my 650s.
    I am still waiting on my 4xx to come in end of this month to see how I like planar(not in same league as lcd2-3 but still ‘planar sound’) but I already love edm with the cascades.

    Maybe I should take a closer look at the 700’s if they can really be had brand new for $400-$420 because I don’t see many used sets on here for sale much cheaper. When I look online at amazon and B&h photo I see hd700s for $497

    It does sound like the 800s are going to require a lot more money put in to make them worth it which I was prepared for but maybe I should look closer for 700’s to get my feet wet but they have been given such a bad rep maybe because Sennheiser wanted $1000 for them when they dropped.
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2018
  11. DavidA
    @Slashn77, I'm one that took a chance on the HD700 and to me its one of the best bargains out there. I think they got a bad rep from a few "reviewers" and it snow balled from there and I think there are a few "reviewers" that just parroted what they read without even hearing them but at the original asking price of $1000 I'd have to agree that they are not worth it but for anything under $600 to me they are quite competitive and at the current $400 they are a bargain IMO. I just check Amazon and the prices have gone up to $500 again so you might want to shop around since MassDrop had them for $400 IIRC and Amazon used to have them for $422 for a while. (might be better to ask in the HD700 thread since this is getting a little off topic from HD800)
    BunnyNamedCraig likes this.
  12. johnjen
    I agree that the 700's are WAY under rated.
    I don't own a pair but I did have a chance to play with a pair and they responded well to 'adjustments' (eq, better cabling, and other more involved tweaks).
    And while not as 'robust' as 800's that doesn't mean they are 2nd class HP's by any means.

    Just my 2¢
    DavidA likes this.
  13. pietcux
    I just got me my second pair of a used HD800. When I got the first pair I didn't have proper gear to drive them and was underwhelmed. Sold the soon. Now my gear has evolved and even my DAP Sony WM1A can properly on the balanced out. The Sennheiser HDVA 600 does even better. So yes you need proper upstream gear to get the most out of high end headphones. You should listen to the HD650 running balanced from the HDVA 600 though. It is a revalation.
  14. BunnyNamedCraig
    Come on man!!! That should mean you are gaming more!! :)

    ButI cant blame you for wanting to go golfing, and throw dinner parties. Especially the way you cook!:wine_glass::sushi::ramen:

    Take care @DavidA
    I can understand someone thinking "not ideal" compared to the HD800. The sound stage of the Clear (and Utopia for that matter) aren't super wide like the HD800. I just read on the Utopia thread that someone likes using the Utopia more then the HD800 for gaming since the depth is great and its very pinpoint accurate. They think that the Utopia sounds are more realistic and that they can hear the differences between movement better. I think you would be in great shape to get a Clear for both purposes! All that matters is that you like the Clear's sound to begin with.
    DavidA likes this.
  15. rutter
    Didn't find the Clear to lack treble. You can expect sharp sound in general.

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