Drop x Sennheiser HD8XX (final tuning)

Discussion in 'Headphones' started by Marvey, Jul 20, 2021.

  1. M3NTAL

    M3NTAL Friend

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    Just remember... Patrick82 aka Coconut Audio was the original youtube face of headphone type unboxing, cable reviews, ERS paper, and crystals...

    We've come along way - I never thought a hobby that is so selfish and individualistic by nature should ever be so commercialized, but here we are.

    I have yet to meet someone in the real world knows a thing about any of it except Apple & Beats. I have met people who use drop though for other hobbyist (cough *40 year old virgin*) gear. So they will cross paths with dee em ess and the other youtubers when trying to find out more information.

    Does anyone remember the thrill of renting a VHS tape? You better hope you had some good detective skills finding a film you liked. Maybe, you follow a director or an actor. Or maybe you just like box art? Who cares - you made that decision and you lived with it and you rewound it when you were done :D

    ___BACK TO HD8XXX___

    I don't see it in the OP - do the 8XX and 800S behave the same electrically/mechanically? Put some weight on that dome and lets get some real amplification behind it.
     
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  2. Beefy

    Beefy Almost "Made"

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    An old saying I rather like is, "A camel is a horse designed by committee"

    I mean, I get it, community involvement is great, it gets the community excited. But do it through a very small select amount of people. For something emotive like audio, it is better that a product is one person's focussed vision, rather than a Frankenstein's monster of groupthink and compromise.

    [EDIT] You know, I should add, I can see absolutely no evidence the HD8XX is compromised in any way. It is either to a listener's taste, or it isn't. But even the perception that it might be compromised could be offset by having a more focussed development process, with fewer cooks stirring the broth.
     
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    Last edited: Sep 17, 2021
  3. Vtory

    Vtory Audiophile™

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    Group think and community involvements are fine and can be very cool. I've seen successful cases in what Ev, ext1, Zampotech, and some others did in this forum.

    But one necessary (if not sufficient) condition is neither malicious nor profit-oriented wills AND testers complying common ethics well. And from this perspective, they should have excluded any people having conflict of interest (business models involving page views or patron sponsor have such conflict by nature IMHO). But Senn and Drop couldn't go that way. Hope both of them learned some lessons.

    Again, 8xx still seem promising to me. All the evidences collected so far predicts 8xx is weak only where my ears are rather tolerable (i.e., not much support needed). Whether I need another pair of headphones is truly difficult justification though.
     
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  4. HHS

    HHS Facebook Friend

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    Not to harp on DMS too much, but his conflict of interest extends beyond his YouTube business model given that he works for a headphone company that produces high end headphones
     
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    Last edited: Sep 17, 2021
  5. purr1n

    purr1n Super Friend

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    @CEETEE handled it well. The thing with social media "influencers" is that you need to be smart in picking the right ones and handle them. What you want are real influencers instead of wanna-bees and douchebags. Social media can be a double edged sword. Personally, I'd get Joshua Valour product. His presentations are polished and informative for his intended audience. However, I'd stay far away from the likes of DMS, Z-reviews. Currawanker is OK, good for the HF audience, so I would get him product too.
     
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  6. Cellist88

    Cellist88 Friend

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    Currawanker thought Hugo 2 with his contraptions was better than the yggy2.... Lol
     
  7. purr1n

    purr1n Super Friend

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    As I put in a later edit: good for the Head-Fi audience.
     
  8. Pancakes

    Pancakes Friend

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    Valour claimed the LP is a tube amp (during a review). If you can't do the bare minimum homework you're a hack.
     
  9. Woland

    Woland Friend

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    Does he though? Check the Abyss videos on Youtube and there's a couple with the title "Why we hired DMS" (the answer they give is social media and he likes Abyss), with him in the Abyss group from April 20 and then ...

    edit: deleted guess as found some mid 2021 social media content with abyss folk and DMS together. No real interest in getting more detail than that.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2021
  10. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    I think Drop community input is a good thing. If you don't have solid and good vision for product development, which I don't think they do without @CEE TEE then they need input from someone who knows good sound. Having Marv give input on the HD8XX was a good call.

    They just need to not reach out to people with no experience or knowledge..

    Also, as long as Drop's sales aren't affected too badly the only people who loose out here are the idiot consumers who listen to DMS, and other YT dumbasses. I could care less. Let evolutionary theory determine who gets the good stuff ;)
     
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  11. SchwizzelKick66

    SchwizzelKick66 Rando

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    While I appreciate FR and distortion graphs, I don't think they are the be-all end-all. I want to listen to it before making any judgement.

    My main hangup is brightness. I just can't really deal with any sort of brightness or sibilance. I do have tinnitus (from an illness, not headphone related), and brightness of any kind just kills me. That's why I've been hesitant to ever try the HD800s.

    What I want to know is- are the HD8xx bright? If they are a warmer HD800s, that would appeal to me. Unfortunately I feel like the few reviews out so far don't really go into it.
     
  12. M3NTAL

    M3NTAL Friend

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    Well - I'll paraphrase what I believe has been mentioned already in here that the 'HD8XX is no longer a face tweeter'

    It essentially is a modified ring radiator tweeter with room gain and low FS. It is still one of the most revealing headphones available - make sure your source material isn't hot in that region or EQ your problematic areas down. You might also look into different driver technologies that might not cause issues.

    The Focal Utopia fatigues me more than the HD800, but I doubt I can find a reason for that on a graph other than I end up turning up the Utopia too loud - because it's damn fun!

    My relaxation headphones would be - Nighthawk, Paradox, HD650, LCD2, LCD-R. Anything I want to hear on a record is presented by all those just fine - just different flavors.
     
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  13. Vtory

    Vtory Audiophile™

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    Just checked in Drop's page.

    upload_2021-9-27_18-41-46.png

    Now the product page says they're "ready to ship" and estimated ship day is Sep 30. Glad people don't have to wait until Nov or Dec.
     
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  14. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

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    Not to pollute the thread, but mine showed up this morning.
     
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  15. SchwizzelKick66

    SchwizzelKick66 Rando

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    What do you think of them?
     
  16. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

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    Still trying out different gear combos, break-in, yada yada; too soon for an extensive opinion. YouTube cancel-culture goons missed out.
     
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  17. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

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    Doing some listening tonight and looking at Marv's measurements has me wondering. Could the slight FR suckout at 3-ishkHz and the dominant 2nd harmonic in the 2-5kHz range be some bit of trickery to have your transient response target and decrease FR based listener fatigue cake-and-it-eat-too? It's my understanding (so please, correct me if I'm wrong or misunderstanding!) that part of a small boost to 2nd harmonics in that region is that it shifts the transient response steeper, i.e., leading edges tilt upward, sine waves shift toward square wares kinda thing, in the region of frequency response that we're usually most sensitive to emphasis. In other words, drop the FR by a couple dB, but add in a little 2nd harmonic in that region to keep the spaciousness and perceived "speed"? Couple that with the comparative "advanced mathematics" our brains do with the slightly elevated lower frequency response and maybe(?) there you have it? I dunno. I'm just listening to awesome headphones trying to figure out what people much smarter than me did to some facetweeters to make them sound awesomer.

    Edit: more time on them today. Major hat tip to @sheldaze: the current HD8XX quest is to (re)consider all the amp pairings dismissed due to HD800's pickiness. Can you save the princess? That, and EQ bass early and often. Wilford Brimley's advice, not mine.
     
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    Last edited: Sep 29, 2021
  18. roughroad

    roughroad formerly mephisto56, Rando

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    I received my pair of HD8XX yesterday 9/27. I have never done any sort of review thingy before so please be gentle with me. Anywho, these are very early impressions and more a stream of consciousness type of thing.

    BTW, my listening chain is as follows: I'm a disc spinner and have something that possibly none (or very few) SBAFers have listened to as a source. It's a VSE (Vacuum State Electronics) modded Level 7 w/Uber Clock Sony SA5400ES. I can only describe it as having no digititis, incisive, yet tending to sound vinyl-like. HP amp is a fully loaded T3 w/ GE 6414 tubes. HPs include ETA GenG and of course the HD8XXs.

    I gave the T3 a 45 min. warm-up. The CD/SACD player is always on. When I first plugged in the HD8XXs, I thought I spent $1100 for these?" I mean, I almost thought they were broken. The headstage was virtually non-exsistant as was imaging and tonality was just plain off. I soldiered on though. Boy, did things change in a hurry! After 30 minutes, the headstage had opened up considerably, instruments were beginning to be in their proper places, and tonality was much more natural. Not there yet, but much improved. All listening was done with Classical music, specifically some Beethoven symphonies (of which I'm a huge fan).

    I burned them in for another 3-4 hours tonight on the Oppo/Magni 3+ I use for watching movies, then took another listen. More improvement in all areas. These cans are surprising me in how dynamic they are, micro and macro. I don't have the proper vocabulary to describe this, but part of their macrodynamics seems to come from the fact that sounds emanate from a blacker background than other cans I've heard. I don't know if this a change b/t other iterations of the HD800's and these, but to my ears, the headstage did not sound diffuse.

    I bought these pretty much for playing Classical music. To me, the GenG's just didn't have enough detail for this genre. So far, the HD8XXs are meeting my expectations for the reason I bought them. I did listen to some jazz, prog rock, and bluegress through the HD8xx's, then the GenG's (that have about 70 hours on them), and definitely prefer the GenG's for those types of music.

    However, I am not a fan of the stock HP cable for a couple of reasons. It is too long and bulky. It likes to get curled up on itself. Also, I don't like that the cable material is SPC (bleh). I have never liked SPC IC's, always preferring all Cu cables.

    That's enough blather for now. I'll keep burning them in and give a listen every 10 hours or so. May report back after 50-60 hours of burn-in.

    Bill
     
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    Last edited: Sep 30, 2021
  19. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

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    HD8XX Brief Review

    [​IMG]


    Gear
    Yggdrasil A2 -> Jensen iso max P0-2XR -> Cavalli Liquid Glass -> HD8XX

    I got these in the mail last Monday.

    I know the Liquid Glass is a great match with the HD800 driver technically, @CEE TEE can attest to this, he spent a week with my Glass and his og HD800 and loved the pair. And he knows the HD800 as well as anyone. So I feel confident that I’m hearing these at their best at least technically, though I suppose the HD8XX could pair better with more colored amps that change the FR.

    Packaging and Build
    It’s the same as the og so I’ll be brief, but the box is huge. It’s bigger than many amplifier boxes. The Liquid Gold X comes in a smaller box. But for good reason, because the headphones are huge.

    I’ve never had an HD800 variant in home on my own before, and I was really blown away by the build quality. Something I never thought about before because I was always ripping them off my head due to the treble. But I think they feel like the most well crafted headphones I’ve ever felt. Even though they use plastic, it feels really high quality. All the adjustments are really well done, every material feels meticulously crafted and assembled. They feel like a Rolex or something. Just a really fine piece of craftsmanship.

    I’m going to keep this review brief because most things have been covered, this headphone has been on the market for 10 years or something. I’m just going to focus on what stuck out to me unique to the HD8XX. The rest is the same as the og HD800 from memory.

    TLDR;
    I listened to them for about 2 minutes, then put them back in the box to return them.

    Sound

    Treble
    I first checked their treble response because that's aways been the HD800’s Achilles heal and what this version was supposed to fix. I put on my favorite trebe test track. Wow! The treble sounds neutral, natural and has great tone. None of the exaggeration and tinny tonality of the og HD800. I was quite happy with this initial cursory examination of the treble.

    Midrange
    I then put on my favorite vocal test track because while the fixed treble is the selling point for these, I have always been worried about vocal recession from that big dip. It took me about 30 seconds into my vocal test track to know these are not for me. Vocals sound like they are being sung into a trash can. You can literally hear the FR drop off in the middle of the vocal range. It’s muffled and cloudy and recessed and has pretty bad tonality.

    I didn’t need to hear anything else, or do more listening, it was obvious these were not for me. I could have done more critical listening to write a more comprehensive review but I honestly just wasn’t in the mood this time.

    Something to take with a grain of salt
    I didn’t run these through my bass test tracks, but with the songs I listened to them with and know well, they sounded more bass lite out of my Yggdrasil - Liquid Glass than an SDR modded og HD800 I listened to straight out of an iPod touch. But take this with a grain of salt because I did not listen to bass test tracks or bassy music, I just noticed in recordings I know well that they sounded bass lite. I don’t know why, going by the graphs they should have more perceived bass presence. I could be totally wrong about this. Just thought I’d mention it.

    Mods
    I did try a simple mod before actually putting them away. I used the SBAF template to cutout some special fabric I use in damping orthos that tends to bring up the midrange and lined the cup walls with it, with a hole cut out in the middle and no dust screen. Bass quantity increased, the soundstage seemed less diffused, and vocals were a bit better, but not nearly fixed. I gave up at this point as I am not interested in tinkering with these a lot, I don’t think it would be easy to bring up the mids with mods.

    Final Thoughts
    The treble really is fixed with these in my cursory evaluation. But vocals are really bad. I would say that if you listen to a lot of music with vocals, and vocal tonality is important to you, or recessed vocals bother you, these are not going to be the headphones for you. The og HD800 with mods would probably be preferable.

    I know from memory, I preferred Marv’s modded og HD800 with Anax mods which I heard like 10 years ago to these.

    But if you listen to instrumental music, or have a need for a headphone for instrumental music, or maybe classical, I can see these working really well. Though I imagine for classical the exaggerated treble of the og is probably a good thing for most people.

    I definitely think some people will like these depending on your priorities, and what you listen to. I also think there may be an amp out there with super forward vocals that makes these sound better. I think with the HD8XX it will be less a matter of matching to amps for technical compatibility (like with the og HD800) and more a matter of matching for synergy. I bet some cheaper amps with the right tonal balance would sound better than very expensive, more technically capable amps with a mismatched tonal balance for the HD8XX.

    Not for me at all, but I do think they have merits and are worth hearing if you get a chance.
     
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  20. Cellist88

    Cellist88 Friend

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    I guess we did suspect that this would be the case in stock form, but a good thing to maybe test out is how well it respond to eq if you use a lokius for example, though I am in the camp of not using any EQ.
     

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