The (new) HD800 Impressions Thread
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DavidA

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Anyone find that the HD 800 is quite non fatiguing when listening to well mastered recordings? I do . I can listen for hrs and hrs on end provided the recordings are nice.
I know very well as the many of you do that the 800's absolutely suck when you have poor sources, especially music recordings .
Honestly . Try listening to a Disturbed album at 50 db . I bet none of you would last 5 mins with that **** . The 800's are certainly the most critical headphone I know. I love them and hate them for that characteristic . They taught me a lot about how my music should really sound, but at the same time that is both a curse and a blessing to know such things .
Since 2009 has their ever been a more critical and reavealing headphone? I think not. Some argue that the stax 009 would match the 800 for sterile criticism, however due to the unatural width that the 800's have I think they are the most revealing.
Just my 2 cents, since we are approaching 10 years since this wonderful headphone has been around. It has been a pleasure. I have had my 800's since 2012 and have catered the best I could a system built for its needs .I have to say it was not easy and money had to spent...a lot of it but my god it was and still is to me...totally worth it.

Happy listening everyone . :)
Agree that what genres one listens to plays a fairly large part in what headphones an individual will like. Since I like mostly jazz, classical, blues, and classic rock/rock the HD800 is a decent headphone for these genres but when I want to listen to newer pop, R&B, jpop, kpop and EDM I'd never reach for the HD800, HE560 or T1gen1 but more forgiving headphones like HD650, LCD-2f, EL-8, SRH-1840 or the newest addition HD58X.

I used to have a SR009 but traded it to a friend due to the fact that its even more genre limited than the HD800 IMO but with high quality classical recordings they can't be beat IMO.
 
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nephilim32

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Fat margin and dealer fee?

We're talking about audio here, mate. In reality, nothing really slays anything. I have heard over $100k piece of DCS stack. it doesn't slay anything too. In fact, I struggled to find noticeable strengths over much cheaper gears.
Maybe you just find subtle differences then, but over longer listening sessions those subtleties might become quite large with in your listening sessions . :)
I have only biggy'd up the Qutest because that DAC saved me from having to buy a more expensive amp. I am real happy about that.
This special interest of ours is expensive, but of course I know there is no best headphone...DAC...amp etc. Only different. You would think with the price point of some gear v.s other gear that the price increase would justify the performance increase . Doesn't always...sadly.
 
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nephilim32

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Agree that what genres one listens to plays a fairly large part in what headphones an individual will like. Since I like mostly jazz, classical, blues, and classic rock/rock the HD800 is a decent headphone for these genres but when I want to listen to newer pop, R&B, jpop, kpop and EDM I'd never reach for the HD800, HE560 or T1gen1 but more forgiving headphones like HD650, LCD-2f, EL-8, SRH-1840 or the newest addition HD58X.

I used to have a SR009 but traded it to a friend due to the fact that its even more genre limited than the HD800 IMO but with high quality classical recordings they can't be beat IMO.
Certainly there are more suitable headphone sound sigs that Really do some music genres true justice . Absolutely . However, my feeling is the hd 800's can really kickass with quite a lot of music genres, but it usually always comes down to the mix and mastering process of that music to be acceptable listening pleasure.
I think you are dead right about the stax for classical music though .:)
 
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zakazak

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[QUOTE="



Uhm Solist SL Mk2 or non-Mk2? I would buy the Mk2 which is the "newest" generarion.
The MK2 is newest however the SL is more expensive .[/QUOTE]

And more expensive = better? :D
I thought the Mk2 would be an improvement and there for better.
 
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zakazak

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cshop87 on Etsy sells pre build bottlheads for people in europe.

Ships from united states.. 90$ shipping + 100$ taxes + custom duties + custom handling fee... 300$ in total or so that I would need to pay additionally.
 
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omniweltall

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Any summit fi that sounds worse than mid fi is not true summit fi. I'm talking about gear that actually performs.

You're right that there are alot of imposters. Alot of snakeoil. That's why it's better to get informed opinions and not hype.

And yes, difference can be exaggerated, but generally really good gear is gonna perform better with headphones that actually scale.

The 800 is great in that it will not lie to you about how good (or not) your chain is. Torpedo 3 and Black Widow are definitely not imposters. Ragnarok is also TOTL but just barely. T3 I feel is better.

Ultimately if you want the best for the 800, no shortcuts.
Too bad I havent tried the T3 and Black Widow, but trusted ears say very good things about its synergy with hd800. T3 would be a better deal in the secondary market, compared the black widow, but it has limitation in driving planars. Both are highly recommended amps.

The hd800 is actually the can that is stopping me from buying a lot of newer cans that I tried. The improvement delta is just not there. If anything, many newer cans are still below its overall performance. Now, my hd800 is not lean and mean. It sounds thick and has plenty of bass slam. Sounds fantastic even for rock.

I only buy new cans if they bring enough different flavor to hd800.
 
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Rayzilla

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Too bad I havent tried the T3 and Black Widow, but trusted ears say very good things about its synergy with hd800. T3 would be a better deal in the secondary market, compared the black widow, but it has limitation in driving planars. Both are highly recommended amps.

The hd800 is actually the can that is stopping me from buying a lot of newer cans that I tried. The improvement delta is just not there. If anything, many newer cans are still below its overall performance. Now, my hd800 is not lean and mean. It sounds thick and has plenty of bass slam. Sounds fantastic even for rock.

I only buy new cans if they bring enough different flavor to hd800.
Well said. And if it wasn't for my weak mind and addiction, I would have stopped at the HD800. Now pairing it with the Master 9 on High gain, it has a new life again.
 
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zakazak

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Someone lists thr Burson Soloist as a rather bad amp for the HD800.

I am really unsure what to buy. The most praised one (and there for probably the safest bet) seems to be the BH Crack Speedball... But that means tubes.

Tubes means break in, some time of good usage before the get worse and eventually die :frowning2:

What I like about the BH Crack is its simplicity. I feel like in 15 years, if something breaks, I will be able to repair it on my own and keep using it for a lifetime?
....or Valhalla 2....:S
 
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omniweltall

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Someone lists thr Burson Soloist as a rather bad amp for the HD800.

I am really unsure what to buy. The most praised one (and there for probably the safest bet) seems to be the BH Crack Speedball... But that means tubes.

Tubes means break in, some time of good usage before the get worse and eventually die :frowning2:

What I like about the BH Crack is its simplicity. I feel like in 15 years, if something breaks, I will be able to repair it on my own and keep using it for a lifetime?
You see, other than technicalities, audio gears are very very much into synergy. I would rate synergy and tonality first before technicalities. Many times less capable amps can sound better due to synergy. And I see a lot of people get mixed up between these 2. Someone tries an amp and praise it to the moon, only to realize it doesn't do so well with some songs, or with other cans.

I had the Burson Conductor and then switched it to the CV2+. Quite familiar with Burson tonality. The Burson (Conductor) previously had rather warmish tonality and more boomy bass. Soundstage was wider but less precise. More diffused. I think they changed this right at the CV1 offering. My CV2+ sounds thinner and tighter, including soundstage and bass. Brighter too. Technicality has gone up one notch, but a different tonality altogether. The Conductor matched the HD800 better tonality wise, but I didn't like the boomy bass and diffuse soundstage. And for me, CV2+ itself matches planar better. I don't feel it is a good match with HD800/650/650. I drive all these of them with my tube amp.

Don't worry about tube lifespan. I just bought a new set of tubes for my tube amp. I think worry about tubes are mostly unjustified. A lot of people (including myself in the past) have reservations about tubes, and missed all the fun. I'm not saying tube amps are better than solid states. They each bring different things to the table, but I mostly use tube amps now.

Get a tube amp that use commonly available tubes, or hybrid amps that only use simple tubes. And just enjoy it. Some strong choices below to consider:
- Maxed-out T3
- Schiit Lyr 3
- Massdrop ZD Jr.
- A&S Kenzie
- Used DNA Sonett
- MCTH

But remember, every amp has its strengths and shortcomings, depending on song tracks and gear synergy (headphone, source). It is like looking for a girlfriend. There is no perfect one. But you are looking for an overall good one, and with strengths that match your tonal and song preferences. But don't get disappointed if you find one or two shortcomings from her in the future. Even DNA Stellaris and EC Studio have shortcomings.
 
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ColtMrFire

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Agree that what genres one listens to plays a fairly large part in what headphones an individual will like. Since I like mostly jazz, classical, blues, and classic rock/rock the HD800 is a decent headphone for these genres but when I want to listen to newer pop, R&B, jpop, kpop and EDM I'd never reach for the HD800, HE560 or T1gen1 but more forgiving headphones like HD650, LCD-2f, EL-8, SRH-1840 or the newest addition HD58X.

I used to have a SR009 but traded it to a friend due to the fact that its even more genre limited than the HD800 IMO but with high quality classical recordings they can't be beat IMO.
This is also heavily dependent on the amp, especially for the 800. Solid state generally didn't allow me to listen to alot of popular music with it. Tubes were better for that.

Also depends on hearing tolerances as some are more sensitive to the 6khz peak than others. YMMV.

But yeah, it's going to be brutal about badly mastered albums.
 
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ColtMrFire

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Someone lists thr Burson Soloist as a rather bad amp for the HD800.

I am really unsure what to buy. The most praised one (and there for probably the safest bet) seems to be the BH Crack Speedball... But that means tubes.

Tubes means break in, some time of good usage before the get worse and eventually die :frowning2:

What I like about the BH Crack is its simplicity. I feel like in 15 years, if something breaks, I will be able to repair it on my own and keep using it for a lifetime?
....or Valhalla 2....:S
If you're looking to go cheaper, Valhalla 2 with the 6CG7 tubes is pretty amazing for it. I owned it until I bumped up to T3. The only limitation of that amp is that it has a bit of a haze to it and a lack of slam, but euphonics, holographic staging, plankton, microdynamics, are all very high, which is what the 800 needs to scale. The 6CG7 tubes remove the haziness and adds some slam.

The V2 is highly regarded as THE amp for the 800 under $500. For a little more, Lyr 3 is supposed to be excellent but I haven't heard it. V2 is not terribly tube-y sounding either but has all the best qualities tubes offer. I think you may really enjoy this pairing. Schiit also has a 15 day return policy so you can send it back if you don't like it. But the 6CG7 tubes are kind of a must IMO.
 
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zakazak

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Thanks guys... so:

Burson Soloist SL Mk2 (Non-Tube) - 350€
Not many reviews, not many comparisons, some say yes, some say no.

Schiit Valhalla 2 (Tube) - 400€
Widely known, seems to be often recommended for the HD800.

Bottlehead Crack Speedball (Tube) - 700€
High impedance for HD800

Whats else could I add to the list? So far I would prefer either the Soloist or the Valhalla 2.
 
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omniweltall

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Thanks guys... so:

Burson Soloist SL Mk2 (Non-Tube) - 350€
Not many reviews, not many comparisons, some say yes, some say no.

Schiit Valhalla 2 (Tube) - 400€
Widely known, seems to be often recommended for the HD800.

Bottlehead Crack Speedball (Tube) - 700€
High impedance for HD800

Whats else could I add to the list? So far I would prefer either the Soloist or the Valhalla 2.
Skip the Burson. Better for planars.
 
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DavidA

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Thanks guys... so:

Burson Soloist SL Mk2 (Non-Tube) - 350€
Not many reviews, not many comparisons, some say yes, some say no.

Schiit Valhalla 2 (Tube) - 400€
Widely known, seems to be often recommended for the HD800.

Bottlehead Crack Speedball (Tube) - 700€
High impedance for HD800

Whats else could I add to the list? So far I would prefer either the Soloist or the Valhalla 2.
I'd take the Valhalla2 of the list since it wasn't a good pairing with the HD800 when I tried it, sound was a bit thin and sibilant at times and even rolling driver tubes didn't help much. I think that the power tubes used has more of an influence on the Valhalla2 and since there are very few option IIRC its not as versatile IMO.
Have you tried looking for a used Liquid Carbon or Hugo? These are 2 of the better SS amps IMO and what I would consider if I was looking for a non-tube solution. One other SS amp that I'd consider is Teac HA-501, a pretty good versatile amp due to its ability to vary the output resistance to better match various headphones.

These work wonders with all headphones and amps combinations:
New Years Wine-2.jpg
but the effects are only temporary :beerchug:
 
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zakazak

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Oh lol... :frowning2:

The recommendations you are giving arent obtainable in Europe.
 
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