Wider headband for Sennheiser HD 800S
Aug 6, 2019 at 10:36 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 1


New Head-Fier
Aug 5, 2019
Silicon Valley, USA
Hi All!
New member here, I'm Jeff Chan, and I've been an audiophile for more than three decades, including modifying early Phillips CD players for better sound, building audio electronics, etc. I've been using Sennheiser headphones for about that long, starting with 400 series on ear, eventually moving to HD 560, HD 650, and now the excellent HD 800S.

My main reason for coming here was to ask if anyone knows of an aftermarket replacement headband for the 800 or 800S. I guess I'm one of the few people who finds the 800 uncomfortable. The earpads are fine for me, but the headband presses too hard on the top of my head. I'm looking for a headband that's wider front to back so that it distributes the weight of the headphone over a larger area. DIY is also ok, though I'd sort of prefer a commercial product. Does anyone have any ideas?

(Being lighter, HD 560 and 650 did not have that problem for me.)

I do understand that headphone fit varies a lot by individual head shape, and I assume everyone here also knows this. So I definitely understand the HD 800 is comfortable for most people, and I'm glad for that.

The rest of my system is a Benchmark DAC2 HGC, and a recently added 2 meter Wireworld Silver Eclipse 7 headphone cable. I'm fully familiar with the benefits of better cables, but I was almost shocked how much better the Eclipse cable sounded over stock. The combination sounds almost like a direct connection to the original recording. The Eclipse has almost no sound of it's own. Is very transparent, clear and direct sounding. Sound is simply much clearer.

(Of course a major problem with high performance audio is that it reveals how bad most recordings are. I'd say the fraction of actually great sounding commercial recordings is unfortunately a small minority. I mostly listen to classical and pop, but also listen to some jazz. Far too many classical recordings are multi-miked and/or use close microphone technique, which can't possibly have realistic dynamics due to acoustical physics. Pop recordings almost universally are poor sounding. It's an unusual one that's well recorded in terms of sound quality. Sad but true. Jazz seems to be generally better recorded. But on a good recording, this combination is amazingly good. Sounds almost like plugging into the original mixing console.)

The Benchmark DAC2 HGC is excellent, though of course if I were buying today, I'd get a Benchmark DAC3. Both are exceptionally good, both with measured specifications and sound. The 2 is an major upgrade over the Benchmark DAC1 Pre, which I had before, in terms of sound quality. DAC1 was very good. DAC2 was a major leap in sound quality over the 1. The DAC2 got a lot nearer to the sound of the original recording than DAC1, with better noise, dynamics, instrument timbre, hall sound, reverberation tails, voice quality, etc.

I'm using JRiver Media Center Player, which has a much better user interface than Foobar 2000 which I was using before. JRiver also has much clearer sound quality, possibly due to using a ring buffer in RAM and very direct audio drivers. I'm sure there are many people who think "bits is bits" and a digital player or data path can't possibly sound different, but my ears say otherwise. They sound different to me in terms of clarity, realism, reverberation tails, hall sound, instrument sound, etc.

Anyway, thanks for any ideas for a wider headband. The sound from the 800S is VERY good, but I'm hoping to get better comfort.

Again this is no criticism of the majority of people who find HD 800 very comfortable. Please don't take it that way. We all understand that everyone has a different head shape and headphones fit different people differently. Please be kind to each other, including online.


Jeff C.

P.S. Naturally I tried to search for an answer to my question first, both here and online in general, but didn't find obvious answers.
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