The HD800 & HD800S thread

Discussion in 'Headphones' started by sorrodje, Oct 11, 2015.

  1. Ruined

    Ruined HD700 ruined my ear holes

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    HD800S 75th Anniversary Edition vs HD820 on Liquid Platinum fed by MXDAC. No EQ.


    First few days impressions

    THE TREBLE: Tie

    HD800S keeps up the brilliance of OG HD800 (owned this a few yr ago), but dials it down to the level where it rides the cutting edge of being brilliant yet not irritating like the OG HD800 can be.

    HD820 takes it down a notch further from "brilliant" to "superbly detailed". So if the HD800S was too much treble for you, the HD820 is tweaked bit downward a bit further; but for some this may be a downgrade

    I personally would give this to HD800S but I can see some give it to HD820 if they are annoyed by "brilliance" sparkle or super treble sensitive, so preference is where its at here.


    THE BASS: Winner HD820

    HD820 is overall more satisfying. The HD800S has very satisfying bass as well, but it just doesn't dig as deep as HD820 and thus HD800S is just a bit less satisfying on some material. Maybe you'll like the HD800S just as much or better if your music has no deep bass, but I find most music I listen to does.


    THE MIDS: Winner HD800S (biggest advantage)

    HD800S has more lush mids and feels more emotive. HD820 still quite good, but not HD800S level. HD820 is two steps down from "lush and emotive" to "very impressive". The HD820 is less "live" sounding.


    THE SOUNDSTAGE: Tie

    Now this was even a surprise to me. A closed back at dead heat with one of the most expansive open backs? Yes. Definitely.

    WARNING: AUDIOPHILE BS DESCRIPTORS AHEAD. But, best way I can describe.

    The HD800S is like walking out into a beautiful pasture in the bright sunlight, with sound showering down all around you, your music happily mixing with the natural ambience

    The HD820 is like taking a seat in a concert hall with spectacular acoustics, and you are the only one in the audience - then the performance starts.

    In both cases, the soundstage is incredibly impressive and all around you. But they are different. At different times, with different content you may prefer one or the other. Both are interesting in their own way.

    and I would say it also depends how you are feeling in terms of mood which one you might prefer at any given time. There is no clear winner given the advantages and extremely impressive technical executions of both approaches. HD820 a good headphone to drown out the world with, HD800S a good headphone to let it all in.


    ISOLATION AND LEAKAGE: Winner HD820 (biggest advantage)

    Well this was pretty obvious. The HD820 isolates pretty decently and leaks much less. Any noise at all in in environment and HD820 is easily the better choice, while not noise canceling it does enough to kill off background noise pollution. Not much else to say.


    FIT AND WEIGHT: Winner HD800S

    Again pretty obvious. HD800S is less bulky, stays on the head better, and weighs less. Because it doesn't need the extra weight of a closed back, of course; makes sense, and the HD800S fits better as a result. Additionally, since the HD800S cups are smaller, they are better for when you want to rest your head back on a chair or pillow.


    INITIAL FEW DAYS CONCLUIONS: Tie.

    They serve different functions and each sound and work a bit better with different content & scenarios.

    Put on some broadway or classical and you are going to get more emotion and brilliance with HD800S

    Put on some R&B or synthwave and you are going to get more low frequency enjoyment from HD820

    Put on the HD800S in a quiet environment and the sound floats around you. HD820 still good but maybe 20% less "float."

    Put on the HD820 in a noisy environment and your sound is still good. HD800S still listenable but the music is spoiled at times by obvious background interruptions. HD820 keeps you isolated when HD800S you're at the mercy of your surroundings

    They are complementary, one is is not better than the other. Both are cool. If you are a fan of HD800 sound sig buying both of these is a smarter decision than a more expensive headphone if you have both times you will be using with and without background noise IMO. You get two very similar, yet different sound profiles that are functionally usable in different scenarios - whereas with a more expensive headphone maybe you will like it when things are silent, but you lose the versatility of isolation. HD820 on its own is a valid option for this scenario as well, but HD800S eeks out more emotion and offers differing soundstage and better fit during those times you don't need the hd820 isolation - making hd800s additionally worthwhile if you have the cash.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2020
  2. Ruined

    Ruined HD700 ruined my ear holes

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    I am really glad I bought these as I am digging the color. The silvery tan looks really nice, but it's hard to capture in a photo since it appears to change from tan to dark matte silver based on angle viewed. Kind of a "future retro" look which is my style

    Only concern with the matte tan is if it will absorb oils (mmm pizza!) or chip like the old silver hd800 did over time.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2020
  3. Prtuc2

    Prtuc2 Acquaintance

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    Hello everyone, new to forum but long time reader on this site. After waiting 11 years finally able to get a hold of a used Sennheiser HD800 serial number 38xxx if that matters. I always read the HD800 was much better in terms of details and soundstage than my current HD650, but upon the first listen it is very similar to the HD650 with less fuller mids, perhaps tad less bass (quantity). Didn't get blown away from what I had been reading. My gears: Schiit Yggdrasil A2 gen 5, Bottle head crack with speedball upgrade to my pc via USB connection. Anyone else got similar experience? Thanks.
     
  4. Ruined

    Ruined HD700 ruined my ear holes

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    This is the original silver HD800? If so, this is a fairly normal experience as the original one had a higher than usual amount of treble and lower than usual amount of bass - and often the high amount of treble prevents increasing volume for mids, which are slightly recessed for perception of greater soundstage. If it is the silver hd800 and does not have a lot of treble detail I'd question if it was already modified in some way.

    Sennheiser later rereleased this headphone as a revised version colored black & called the HD800S with a more balanced bass/treble and with no modifications most people overall like this HD800S variant much better than the original silver HD800. There is a modification for the silver HD800 called the SDR mod that will make it have similar treble to the black HD800S and many with the silver HD800 perform this mod but it requires taking apart the headphone. The bass can be addressed on the silver hd800 with EQ if desired.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2020
  5. loadexfa

    loadexfa MOT: rhythmdevils audio

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    The HD 800 is notoriously amp picky and supposedly not great with the Crack (haven't listened to that combo personally). There are some sub $500 amps that pair well with it, you don't have to go too crazy but they do scale well with the right gear.
     
  6. Prtuc2

    Prtuc2 Acquaintance

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    Maybe is the amp, but I will probably go to one of the meeting test out before making another purchase. Thanks everyone.
     
  7. loadexfa

    loadexfa MOT: rhythmdevils audio

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    Yeah, hearing for yourself is always best. A couple recommendations to try in the sub $500 category are the Drop CTH and Drop Eddie Current ZDT Jr.
     
  8. Rob the Comic

    Rob the Comic banned from ASR

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    Just bought a SD modded pair of 800's and looking forward to them. I have the 600 and 650's. I get the feeling the the 800's are going to be slightly less resolving then my Utopias and will have a wider sound stage. Anyway, I will know in a couple of days.
     
  9. rrwwss52

    rrwwss52 Rando

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    Three dislikes for asking that. SBAF sures has a lot of wingnuts. Might as well add a few more. LOL.
     
  10. rrwwss52

    rrwwss52 Rando

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    Thank you @murphythecat for following instructions. That was the desired result.
     
  11. rrwwss52

    rrwwss52 Rando

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  12. Baten

    Baten Friend

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    What's going on here
     
  13. exsedol88

    exsedol88 Rando

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    I have the HD800 with SDR mod paired with the Gungnir Multibit/Mjolnir2 (telefunken ECC88 tubes) and also own the HD650. The HD800 are on another level in terms of sound stage, imaging, detail retrieval. Bass is similar to my ears, but I have always preferred the Sennheiser sound with less bass emphasis. Have you tried using EQ to adjust bass levels to your liking?
     
  14. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    Looking at the post histories: basically whining about dislikes and rando quote/reply comments.
     
  15. zerodeefex

    zerodeefex SBAF's Imelda Marcos

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    reverted edits. Crappy behavior stands. Just own it. I've had my share of dumbass posts and the world can see them.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2020
  16. Rob the Comic

    Rob the Comic banned from ASR

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    The SD modded 800's arrived a couple of days ago and have had a good work out. I was wrong about them being less detailed than the Utopias; I think they are very similar in resolution maybe even a little more detailed IMHO - but with a wider sound stage. I am not one of those that think them 'dry' or unmusical but I would still put the Utopias over them as 'all rounders'. I can see the 800's replacing my 650's occasionally for classical music. In fact, I think I will keep the 650's for anything that is not up to scratch in recording quality. I can't imagine what the 800's would do to some old Sviatoslav Richter offerings.
    My age, ears and experience do not warrant me giving a more detailed review of my thoughts to you guys who are already far more versed in these cans than I am, but I am really pleased to have added them.
     
  17. exsedol88

    exsedol88 Rando

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    Anyone else compare the HD800 SDR vs Verite Closed (leather auteur pads)? I know it's a little unfair as the HD800 has been out for 11 years and the other for only a couple, and one is significantly more expensive than the other. Still, I've been comparing them for ~4-5 weeks, listening to one for a few days then switching back. Here are my thoughts:
    • Verite Closed sound more lush/full, rich, musical and engaging. Noticed this from day one and stand by it today. The HD800 tonality seems more artificial/mechanical and less lifelike to the VC.
    • Verite Closed either can have a very wide sounding sound stage, or gives the illusion of it (maybe it's greater dynamics making sounds seem further away?). I know everyone says the HD800 has possibly the largest soundstage of any headphones, but I'm quite impressed by the VC in this regard.
    • The HD800 SDR driver lacks the speed of the Verite Closed. Certain very fast music is blurred by the HD800 but comes out in full definition with the VC.
    • At first I thought the HD800 had as much detail or close to the VC. The more I listen to the VC, the more I feel it is significantly technically superior. There are certain microphonic details that seem more apparent with the HD800, but the VC brings forward what seems to be more important/significant/musical details.
    • Obviously, bass on the VC is far superior to HD800 which seems recessed.
    • HD800 comfort is 9/10 whereas VC is 8/10 mainly for being heavier. I've worn both for 12+ hour listening sessions without significant discomfort. The VC does improve in comfort with the ZMF suede pads, but I much prefer the sound from the leather auteur.
    Bottom line: I enjoy the HD800 SDR (also been using it for gaming), but the VC is the headphone that makes me tired at work because I stayed up way too late listening to "just one more song". I am captivated by the VC, but if I didn't already own the VC, I would probably be in love with the HD800 SDR.

    P.S. I also enjoy my HD650, but it hasn't gotten much attention with the HD800 SDR and Verite Closed to compete with my attention.
     
  18. ColtMrFire

    ColtMrFire Writes better fan fics than you

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    I always thought the Verite had noticeably better microdynamics than the HD800SDR. Both are probably about equal in resolution though.
     
  19. Elysian

    Elysian Friend

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    Hoping to solicit earpad recommendations for the original silver HD800. I currently have the OEM earpads and they're the things I like least about the HD800. They don't feel comfortable, get dirty, and they deteriorate into a mess of black dust. My earpads are getting old and I'm looking to replace them.

    Are there recommended options out there other than the OEM earpads? I was looking at the Dekoni sheepskin HD800 earpads as they seem to have the best reviews, though overall people seem mixed on the Dekoni series for the HD800. I like the Audeze leather pads and am not a big fan of velour. My favorite aspect of the HD800 is the soundstage but the headphone has too much treble for me. I like darker voiced headphones overall.
     
  20. Erroneous

    Erroneous Friend

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