The HD800 & HD800S thread

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

  1. 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.
     
  2. 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.
     
  3. Erroneous

    Erroneous Friend

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  4. Elysian

    Elysian Friend

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    Was considering the Dekoni fenestrated sheepskin pads as a second option, too. The reviews seemed slightly worse than the sheepskin but the only place I could find impressions were HF and Reddit. The velour seemed the least favorable.

    I was thinking of the AliExpress route too after experiencing Sennheiser OEM sticker shock :)
     
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  5. Mindbender

    Mindbender Acquaintance

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    I really wish I'd read the above warning about not buying the exact pair listed. Because that's what I bought and they aren't great - the soundstage collapsed and I'm pretty sure that the HD800S doesn't sit correctly, resulting in some leakage (yes, I know these are open-back but it sounds off).

    I installed the original/stock pads and I'm trying to determine what's improved. I think the clamping force is slightly better but I'll have to listen further.

    Erroneous is correct - avoid those AHG aftermarket earpads.
     
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  6. faceyourfaces

    faceyourfaces Rando

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    I also wish I read this prior to purchasing. I think the AHG pads clamp harder, are more comfortable, and should last longer than the stock pads. But the sound is so much worse. The sub-bass hits harder with these pads, which I appreciate--but everything else about the sound is awful. The soundstage is significantly reduced. I also find my HD800 to be much more sibilant, which probably has more to do with the fact that I had to remove the rug liner mod to get the pads to fit.
     
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  7. wormcycle

    wormcycle Friend

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    How did you remove the AHG pads, I tried few days ago and gave up after the external ring detached and the pad pulled the driver, do not really know what to do?
     
  8. Mindbender

    Mindbender Acquaintance

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    I only tried the Dakoni pads, which had a small plastic tool included to gently pry the Dakoni pads off. You’ll have to insert the tool between the plastic frame of the headphones and pad frame and create a gap. Then shimmy down the gap and repeat.

    What I DO have problems with now is getting the stock HD800S pads to click or snap back into place like before. They don’t fully snap into position and nothing is broken, but I’m hesitant to force them back. So the stock pads are sort-of in place but barely.

    Btw, the driver for the HD800/800S is pretty well attached to the entire assembly. I’m not sure what you mean when you say that you’ve pulled the driver. Can you take a picture to show what’s happening?
     
  9. wormcycle

    wormcycle Friend

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    Thank you, but managed to get back to teh stock pads, but AHG pads clamp so hard that the removal was scary.
    I did it with the help of small plastic tool, from the cell phone battery replacement toolkit.
    And I also had a problem reattaching the stock pads, had to use help to push all around the cap at the same time before they stayed in place. Ordered new Senn pads and will stick to those.
    @faceyourfaces is right, the stock pads, even worn out, sound much better than AHG, even subbass may hit harder but it is getting loose. I tried to save buying AHG pads but is did not work well. I like stock pads except for their stupid price.
     
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  10. Elysian

    Elysian Friend

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    It sounds like the consensus is stock pads then? I haven't been able to find a ringing endorsement for the HD800 Dekoni pads anywhere and it sounds like the OEM knockoffs are even worse. Wish I could've gotten away from deteriorating foam pads when I sold my Grados.
     
  11. Baten

    Baten Friend

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    Pretty much, as seems to always be your best bet with Sennheiser cans.
     
  12. rrwwss52

    rrwwss52 Rando

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    I like the Dekoni Hybrids, but like all things YMMV.
     
  13. m17xr2b

    m17xr2b Friend

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    A friend sent me his HD800 to mod, this is timely as I've got a whole new system and was contemplating getting them again.

    Stock, the 6-7K region is troublesome and exaggerates detail, piercing and distracting, thin-ish. I can't imagine ever keeping them, warm tilted amps are need to calm things down and balance the FR at the expense of other qualities. Even so the midrange texture and low bass distortion is why I keep coming back to them, the soundstage doesn't do much for me.

    Ten minutes later I applied the SDR mod, an immediate improvement with 95% less spike, all other positives areas feel enhanced without any major or medium distractions. Also tried out the rug liner mod, this warmed up the sound, made the soundstage a tad smaller and overall added some meet on the bones. The downside is a reduction in depth and texture and a dealbreaker for me because it dumbs down the experience.
    If they were my pair I'd hardwire the cable, overall I'm impressed with the sound and hardwire might be enough to push it over to must have status.

    The low end remains a benchmark for me, lacking weight behind the punch it sounds extremely clean and resolving going surprisingly deep. Mids are resolving, oozing texture and detail with exceedingly realistic tone just a hair on the cool side.
    There's still a mild bump in the lower treble, prone mild sibilance on some tracks though not enough to be a nuisance but a reminder of one of two of my complaints.
    Treble is surprisingly grown up, integrated nicely with slight emphasis in the overall response but tastefully done. Can do medium to long listening sessions without being tiring.
    Imaging and layering are to die for, a well recorded large crowd clapping is a delight.

    Soundstage is a negative, while large there are large voids between instruments making ultimate involvement tricky, other headphone of similar soundstage height and width don't have this downside and I'd rather have a smaller complete and mature stage. Depth isn't best in class, just good enough.

    Overall it's almost an exceptional headphone, if it didn't have the lower treble bump, some more meat without sacrificing detail and a more involved stage it would be in my hall of fame. Even so it's damn impressive for a discontinued headphone, in 20 year this will be the vintage to get.
    Interesting the Hifiman HE1000 SE almost sounds like a fixed HD800 SDR, that has its own issues fixable with mods or to a lesser extent EQ.
     
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  14. Huhnkopf

    Huhnkopf Friend

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    HE-1000SE could have been the chosen one with its MSRP halved and less upper treble fuckups.
     
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  15. m17xr2b

    m17xr2b Friend

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    Oh yeah, HEK-SE has the weirdest treble overextension, hifiman made it appeal to the self proclaimed detail freaks with generic amps in an attempt to compete with cans like the Utopia I'd guess. To get it back to somewhat normal I used two layers of HD650 front foam to damp the driver a bit. It worked better than I expected and brought the treble extensions back to where it should be. That combined with a NOS filter on the DAC made it hit the sweet spot.
    HEKSe was my gateway drug to Susvara. Both cans I'd rate above HD800 but for different reasons.
     
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  16. m17xr2b

    m17xr2b Friend

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    Dusted off the modded BH Crack, medium OTL amp vs the medium SET DHT amp from before.

    At first listen OTL sounds like a match made in heaven, adds just enough weight to the low end and mids for a satisfying fulness, the lower treble peak while still there is a non issue, treble has changes from resolving to sweet. The slightly cool tone is slightly warm. The stage is 20% or so smaller without feeling empty.

    Audio is all about making the least amount of compromises and in this case many other flaws pop up.
    - low end is looser, traded quality for quantity
    - the sweet treble is masking smearing and lack of ultimate resolution
    - mids lack the incredible texture of depth of a proper DHT implementation
    - slight haze on imaging kills the pin point imaging
    - less 3D ness and toe-tapping ness
    - the initial OTL magic quickly faded away

    I used to love the Crack, as the whole system evolved it's now left behind and the few things it's very good at are overshadowed by the many I've come to appreciate and expect out of a tube amp that sadly are not found here.


    Now, with a higher end tube amp, things change a bit, this is one of the prototypes I've been working and fine tuning for a while now, a tube power amp, negative gain of 1/3 the original input, 300mW.
    [​IMG]

    This manages to pull off tricks I didn't think were possible before. A punchy fully controlled low end without wetness. Daft punk is my go to for low end performance, the third bass note of Doing it right needs to go deep and be almost felt without distorting, passed with flying colours. The low end gap between this and planars is narrower and just about manages to pull off a proper convincing low beyond even what dna amps can do if the chain is up to the task.
    I won't go into details but the only flaw is still a slight peak in the 6-7k region that rears its ugly head from time to time. Otherwise it's all the quality I need or want for full long term enjoyment from the HD800 while retaining the X factor that makes it unique.
     
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  17. Walderstorn

    Walderstorn Friend

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    Good to have you back (and now i can talk about that nifty thing you built for me, maybe?!). Anyway this new amp that you have been tinkering with was it used with stock 800 or with 800 sdr, as you mentioned them before?
     
  18. m17xr2b

    m17xr2b Friend

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    HD800 SDR, it's the only to enjoy the headphones, stock the treble peak is far to bothersome and any typical way of fixing it will add other issues mostly loss of resolution. Plus there's no downside of SDR, even the installation is dead easy.
     
  19. 7seven

    7seven Acquaintance

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    If anyone likes the cork mod I recommend lining the rest of the hard surfaces inside the cups with cork (or whatever, I used adhesive felt).
    It's quick to do if you arent worried about having 100% coverage, just cut a bunch of long 5mm strips with a blade+ruler, leave the pads on and run a strip round the outer edge, you can use the bottom of the pads to line them up snuggly, then cut some smaller pieces for the perpendicular parts (hold it up to the light to see where the frame is)

    It's just a ''plus'' version the cork mod, but the effect those remaining surfaces were having was much bigger than expected.
    What I like about the cork mod is it that it seems reduce treble or the perception of treble while maintaining or even improving it's quality and having minimal effect on the rest of the HD800's sound but alone it is not really enough to fix it, with the additional bits it now sounds just balanced enough to stop being constantly distracted by the treble.
    Sounds seems a little more ''boxy'', but could just be a side effect of reduced treble energy.

    I also removed my SDR before this to see if it really had any negative effects, hard to tell without more back and forth but seems to create a slightly flatter image, hearing that untamed peak again proves it's well worth it however. Though I dont feel a huge need to replace it anymore.
     
  20. 7seven

    7seven Acquaintance

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    To more easily compare the effects of blocking the back of driver hole , like the SDR does, I added a circle of card to the other side of the hole on the outside of the cups.
    It defintely has a subtle undesirable effect on the sound, like slight compression.
    I also notice there is no CSDs at all of the SDR vs no SDR, this is the closest: https://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/hd800-darth-vader-sdr-mod.3648/
    interestingly there is some evidence slight ringing in the mids with SDR, but could be withing margin of error for measurements and 'Bill-P' mods alone already add something in the same band.
     

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