Drop x Sennheiser HD8XX measurements, analysis, review

Discussion in 'Headphone Measurements' started by purr1n, Mar 23, 2021.

  1. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    I'm pretty sure it was s/n < 20000. On Changstar we did an analysis up to around that with six different pairs from low hundreds to 20000 s/n are some. Some very small variance - but in the end they were all HD800s. Some of the claims early on that later models were warmer or less bright are likely bullshit and have more to do with different chains, using more synergistic amps and DACs, or amps with higher Z out. The industry did change a bit with respect to components because of the HD800.

    The very late HD800s > 30000 s/n could have been different. I have never touched one of these.
     
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  2. Royaume

    Royaume Rando

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    Huh, fascinating. I mean, we are chasing very small differences at this point. Like you said; they are all HD800s.
     
  3. zerodeefex

    zerodeefex Grumpiest admin

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    Welp, mine is 01620.
     
  4. E_Schaaf

    E_Schaaf MOT: Upscale Audio; recovering HFM addict

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    @Royaume The mid dip and absurd treble are due to the housing shape and distance from the ear and will not be magically fixed by a unicorn unit even if there are driver variations between pairs. Mods like rug liner, cork, and other cup lining will smoothen this area but not reduce general quantity or bolster the mids. Any driver would still show a similar FR contour when mounted in the same shells as HD800. I have been proto testing sunken baffle 3DP enclosures with Peerless 50mm drivers and see a similar sunken-midrange response with comparable internal cup volume and driver angling. Beyer T1 also has this sort of thing going on with the heavily recessed driver arrangement. Personally I think it's just a terrible idea, chasing a poorly rendered simulation of extra space... but at what cost?

    Measurements with OG HD800 drivers transplanted into 3DP shells (with much closer proximity to the ear and less cup volume) show much smoother responses and no xtreme peakage that the HD800 is infamous for. You won't get that trademark 'fake but fun' HD800 diffusive hEaDsTaGe but who cares when you can have a much better tonal response and pull more performance out of the drivers themselves...

    In other news, foam donuts have been overnighted to @purr1n . Marv if you feel they're worthwhile you can pass them onto @zerodeefex after you're HD800-variant free!
     
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    Last edited: Mar 24, 2021
  5. Grattle

    Grattle Friend

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    I get where you’re coming from, but not everyone can still hear past 16Khz. A reference and high priced headphone should be accurate and correct however.

    Does this iteration respond well to equalization?

    Edit: formatting.
     
  6. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Not really. It's the interaction between the basket, the driver, and the head that causes the FR screwiness more than the driver. So physical EQ via mods are better IMO.

    Even with the metal mesh removed and the driver in the basket, the highs are still screwy on a flat plate coupler:

    #1 Metal mesh intact
    #2 Metal mesh removed (ripped out) - basket is open.
    #3 Metal mesh removed but replaced with a layer of felt and lined with rug liner.

    [​IMG]

    And this is with the driver removed from the basket:
    #1 free-air
    #2 on flat plate coupler
    [​IMG]

    Look at @Bill-P's transplanted HD800S driver in a Orpheus type frame:
    https://www.superbestaudiofriends.o...e-with-hd800s-drivers.9023/page-3#post-312625
     
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  7. Bill-P

    Bill-P Level 42 Mad Wizard

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    Yeah, I can confirm. HD800(S) drivers suspended in free air does respond... very interestingly. The V-shaped response is very intentional by Sennheiser. They could always tune the drivers more like HD6XX series.

    I don't have much more to share on that other project but I do still have a HD800 with S/N 00348. It has bass that sounds a lot faster than the many HD800S drivers I have bought over the years. I swapped the HD800S into the HD800 casing to confirm this. Same pads, same baffle, same everything. Just different drivers. The HD800S drivers are markedly warmer and slower. Even when the "resonator" is ripped away (oh yeah, you can totally rip it away).

    Measurements-wise, there's not much that I can see with any random HD800S driver that can explain the difference in sound. But the older HD800 driver I have just sounds... faster, and lighter? It doesn't sound like it's missing bass per se, but it sounds like it's not hitting as "hard" as the HD800S driver. In contrast, the older HD800 does sound more airy, even if the treble is a bit harder to deal with. SBAF and the various other mods do help take the edge off a bit.

    P.S.: oh, before someone asks, yes, I "transplanted" the resonator from HD800S driver over to the old HD800 driver for fun as well. Didn't diminish the speed. Did help with the 6KHz peak.
     
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  8. Ruined

    Ruined HD700 ruined my ear holes

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    Oh no do I have to buy another HD800 variant :( hope this isn't *that* much different in sound sig

    Measurements aside I can't say that I like the styling of the HD8xx. The blue ring looks tacky IMO.
     
  9. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Foam ring mod per @E_Schaaf:
    PXL_20210327_201608830.jpg

    This results in a smidge more lower mids, more even upper mids (less dip) and less bright in the highs.

    Drop x Sennheiser HD8XX (BLU/RED) vs HD8XX w/ foam mod
    Frequency Response
    EARS
    upload_2021-3-27_15-28-37.png

    Drop x Sennheiser HD8XX (BLU/RED) vs HD8XX w/ foam mod
    Frequency Response
    FPC
    upload_2021-3-27_15-25-19.png
     
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  10. E_Schaaf

    E_Schaaf MOT: Upscale Audio; recovering HFM addict

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    Meh.

    Still not great but a touch more listable (at least to me).

    Not sure if it matters but on my HD800 I had removed the jersey-ish fabric piece from the shells. Just bare metal with the foam. Could help more with the upper mids to take it out. Regardless, drivers are still best used in other shells entirely per @Bill-P and @tommytakis efforts. Probably not worth using 8xx drivers for that purpose over OG 800 drivers. Moving on...

    Thanks for taking the time to measure Marv!
     
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    Last edited: Mar 27, 2021
  11. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    FWIW, CSD. Bam. Quick stop decay. Foam ring does wonders on the measurement.
    FPC HD8XX foam ring R.jpg

    The fabric piece should be removed with the foam rings. Subjectively, the foam rings kill a bit of that top end air, so removing the fabric piece restores this. One side effect of the foam rings is that the headstage depth, arguably one of the HD8**s strongest points, is impacted negatively. The HD8** ends up being a headstage width monster instead of a depth monster. Another side effect is, at least with the foam rings, is that the over presentation now becomes a bit dark with the side effect of cloudy bass as it does not fully restore the upper mids.

    Agree the OG HD800 is still the platform to get. However, the OG HD800 isn't available anymore. As such, I think folks wanting to go for an HD8** should seriously consider the HD8XX over the HD800S (I personally would). I think we haven't fully explored what mods can do. My thoughts on the HD8XX in a nutshell are summarized here:
    1. The additional lower-mids is very welcome - I like this very much.
    2. The bass performance with respect to low-end extension and distortion is somewhat superior to that of the HD800S.
    3. The 6kHz peak is tamed just as well as on the HD800S.
    4. The upper-mid dip is lower / mid-treble upwards is just a tiny bit hotter.
    5. It's still an HD8**, and as such, it will scale like mad with better gear, resolve fine detail, and have an awesome deep soundstage, bettering the likes of the MySphere and SR-1a I dare say.
    P.S.

    I will close this off with impedance and distortion (D2, D3) at different SPL measurements later tonight...
     
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    Last edited: Mar 27, 2021
  12. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Now this is super interesting. I checked my gear with other headphones just to make sure, but the impedance curve for the HD8XX does look very different from that of the HD800 or HD800S. The impedance actually goes downward as the frequency rises. The little bump just past 2kHz, also seen on the HD800, is more pronounced. The bass bump is much broader but more shallow - it only reaches 480-ohms at the resonant frequency which appears to be around 85Hz. The HD800 peaks well over 600-ohms.

    HD8XX
    Impedance Curve (YEL = free air, GRN = on head)
    upload_2021-3-27_23-44-12.png

    Note: impedance data in ZMA file is attached.
     

    Attached Files:

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  13. Bill-P

    Bill-P Level 42 Mad Wizard

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    Wait, so... does that mean the HD8XX driver is actually more efficient than all other HD800(S) thus far? That is interesting to me.
     
  14. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    No idea. Just different impedance. I don't think sensitivity is that much different. I never took sensitivity measurements for HD800S or HD800 and I don't have one of those on hand.

    However, the behavior will be slightly different with higher Zout amps compared to HD800/HD800S. Higher Z will result in a broader but less intense bass bump in addition to the rolloff from upper mids up. I'll let @Biodegraded crunch the numbers as I left the ZMA file.
     
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  15. Biodegraded

    Biodegraded Friend

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    Because the ratio of the highest and lowest impedance values is low - about 1.6x - the effect is only about 1 dB even for a Garage amp at the 120 Ohm setting. The HD800 & S had slightly higher peak to trough ratios, but as you say very different looking curves (here are Innerfidelity impedance measurements of the HD800 & HD800S). That reflects the changes in the driver as well as the housing, I guess - mainly the driver?
     
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  16. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    I didn't note any changes in the housing. Would have to assume driver.
     
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  17. Biodegraded

    Biodegraded Friend

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    From the flattening and broadening of the hump in the bass it seems like they might deliberately have tried to suppress the driver resonance - maybe that's a large part of the reason for the better sub-bass extension and improved bass quality.

    Could the little 2k bump be due to the "new resonator system"?
     
  18. Ruined

    Ruined HD700 ruined my ear holes

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    Is it really realistic though that Sennheiser would work with drop to make an "improved" HD800S that would incent people to buy the drop one instead of the HD800S Sennheiser sells? You'd think they'd release it Sennheiser-branded as the HD801S or something and let drop sell the old one if Senn had an improved design; perhaps these differences are a side effect of some cost reduction measure or lesser quality control / increased sample variation, that seems to make more sense from a marketing perspective.
     
  19. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Last set of measurements...

    Note: 200Hz spike in the 3rd harmonic is a measurement artifact.

    HD800X Harmonic Distortions (H2 and H3) for various SPL (1kHz)
    Traditional View
    upload_2021-4-1_11-4-52.png

    HD800X Harmonic Distortions (H2 and H3) for various SPL (1kHz)
    Alternate View
    upload_2021-4-1_11-4-7.png
     
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