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The (new) HD800 Impressions Thread

Discussion in 'High-end Audio Forum' started by valentinhogea, Feb 10, 2013.
  1. DavidA
    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.
  2. nephilim32
    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.
  3. nephilim32
    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 .:)
  4. zakazak
    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.
  5. zakazak
    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.
  6. omniweltall
    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.
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2018
    ColtMrFire and Rayzilla like this.
  7. Rayzilla
    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.
    omniweltall likes this.
  8. zakazak
    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
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2018
  9. omniweltall
    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.
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2018
    ColtMrFire likes this.
  10. ColtMrFire
    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.
  11. ColtMrFire
    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.
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2018
    omniweltall likes this.
  12. zakazak
    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.
  13. omniweltall
    Skip the Burson. Better for planars.
  14. DavidA
    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:
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2018
  15. zakazak
    Oh lol... :frowning2:

    The recommendations you are giving arent obtainable in Europe.

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