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Focal Clear vs. Sennheiser HD 800s

solderdude

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Probably you could get some chinese options on Ali Express?

I did, they aren't the same but not drastically different either.
hd800-pad-tests.png
 

tomtrp

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If you prefer linear bass or very slight bass boot, HD800/s with EQ is currently very close to the best headphone you can get, excellent tonality, great imaging and spatial effects and very low distortion across the whole bandwidth. From my personal experience, when all EQd to Harman Target with around 1db-3db bass shelf or linear bass, HD800 with EQ provides much more enjoyment for me than my HD6XX and K371.
If you prefer Harman bass shelf in the 2018 research(+5.5-6.5db to linear bass), HD800's bass distortion is then a bit concerning(you need more than 10db boost in EQ to tune HD800 to get Harman bass), Focal clear has much lower bass distortion but it also has clipping issue in subbass, depending on the music content and your listening volume.
 

Jimbob54

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Thanks a lot for the feedback. I guess I'm looking for something different than the clears, not really a step up. The law of diminishing returns really kicks in after you hear something like the Hifiman Sundara, Anything more expensive than that feels more like a side step, even compared to my focal clears. Anyway, If I find a good deal on a used HD800s I guess will give them a try...
I wouldn't get the 800. Its not suitably different to the Clear and as others have said , if comfort and soundstage aren't a priority, look elsewhere. A decent planar, maybe closed, will provide a good counterpoint to the airy and possibly sharp Clear sound. Look at the dan clark audio cans reviewed on here. I'd get the Ether CX
 
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Luke Lemke

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I wouldn't get the 800. Its not suitably different to the Clear and as others have said , if comfort and soundstage aren't a priority, look elsewhere. A decent planar, maybe closed, will provide a good counterpoint to the airy and possibly sharp Clear sound. Look at the dan clark audio cans reviewed on here. I'd get the Ether CX
Thanks for the recommendation, I will take a look at the Ether CX. As far as getting a "decent planar" I just bought the Hifiman HE6se V2 from Adorama, I will get them in about a month since I'm importing.
 

Jimbob54

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Thanks for the recommendation, I will take a look at the Ether CX. As far as getting a "decent planar" I just bought the Hifiman HE6se V2 from Adorama, I will get them in about a month since I'm importing.
That would be more than satisfactory. Interested to hear your comparison of the dynamic vs planar
 
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Luke Lemke

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That would be more than satisfactory. Interested to hear your comparison of the dynamic vs planar
As soon as they arrive I will post my comparison. I will try to drive the HE-6 with my Magni Heresy, let's see if they can handle these cans.
 

NDRQ

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If you prefer linear bass or very slight bass boot, HD800/s with EQ is currently very close to the best headphone you can get, excellent tonality, great imaging and spatial effects and very low distortion across the whole bandwidth. From my personal experience, when all EQd to Harman Target with around 1db-3db bass shelf or linear bass, HD800 with EQ provides much more enjoyment for me than my HD6XX and K371.
If you prefer Harman bass shelf in the 2018 research(+5.5-6.5db to linear bass), HD800's bass distortion is then a bit concerning(you need more than 10db boost in EQ to tune HD800 to get Harman bass), Focal clear has much lower bass distortion but it also has clipping issue in subbass, depending on the music content and your listening volume.

I think you probably hearing clipping artifacts, not bass distortion.
You just need to set -15 or -20 preamp gain, so no clipping and no distortion.
 

rodbass

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LOL, buying and selling headphones, story of my life. I've bought and sold the HD6XX a couple of times, it's like a love and hate relationship. I do like the "Slam" and "Punch" of the clears, it's really good for the kind of music I listen to the most (metal, prog, etc.). I also like bluegrass and classical music, so I guess the HD800s would give me a different experience with these genres.

I just got the Focal Clear and I think I might want to sell it (no returns). I think I'll probably prefer the Sennheiser+Drop HD8xx when it comes later this year. How do you go about selling hi-end headphones? Any details would be appreciated (where to sell, pricing, photography, packaging/shipping, etc.)
 

Helicopter

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I prefer the sound and build of Original Clear to HD800s, but HD800s is super light and comfortable and has more spatial effects. Clear still has good spatial effects though so not a big leap. And Clear has better raw FR and is way easier to drive.

If you want to compliment the Clears, I would get planars. If you want to step up from Clear, maybe consider Utopia.
 
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Luke Lemke

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I just got the Focal Clear and I think I might want to sell it (no returns). I think I'll probably prefer the Sennheiser+Drop HD8xx when it comes later this year. How do you go about selling hi-end headphones? Any details would be appreciated (where to sell, pricing, photography, packaging/shipping, etc.)
Any specific reason you didn't like the clears? Too bright for your taste? What kind of music do you listen to the most? If you EQ them and add a little bit of bass, you might change your mind. You could try the Focal Clears MG as well, they are my favorite cans at the moment and have a different tonal balance (more bass, less treble).

When it comes to buying and selling, currently I buy headphones from the US and sell them in Brazil at a profit, it's kind of a small business that adds to my income. That being said, I used to sell headphones on Ebay when I lived in the US. My tips are:

-If you've only used the headphones for a few hours and they look and sound PERFECT, you can sell them as "New (other)" on Ebay.
-Take the best pictures you possibly can, always with a white background.
-Take a picture of all of the accessories coming with it, preferably everything that comes with the brand new cans, such as manuals, case, cables, etc.

If you're a smart / patient buyer, you can get headphones at great discounts from Adorama, Drop, Newegg, Headphones.com etc., and sell them on Ebay at a profit.

The only issue is, if you're a new seller, you may have a hard time selling expensive stuff since you have no feedback on ebay.
 

tomtrp

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I think you probably hearing clipping artifacts, not bass distortion.
You just need to set -15 or -20 preamp gain, so no clipping and no distortion.
Nope. My preamp headroom is more than enough and there is for sure no clipping. Most Sennheisers just don’t have the ultra low bass distortion and hence clean bass like HE6, when all EQd with around 3db boost above flat bass.( Note HD800 has bass roll off and hence more boost than HE6, the actual subbass SPL can be around 110db after EQ in subbass heavy tracks and in this case, HE6 provides “cleaner’’ bass in my subjective experience.)
 
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watchnerd

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Considering cross-shopping between the Clear MG Pro and the HD800s.

Caveat:

I can easily EQ when listening to streaming via Roon, not so easily when listing to LP* or reel to reel.

My favorite headphones, overall, are probably the Senn HD-6XX, although I have moments when I like my Hi Fi Man 400's.

Given the similarity in price, cost isn't really an issue,

Caveat: I've never heard any Focal cans, just speakers


*although I guess I could sort of half-EQ using the EQ functions of the Puffin
 

watchnerd

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What is a Puffin?

 

Doodski

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*although I guess I could sort of half-EQ using the EQ functions of the Puffin
The EQ and Room EQ seem to be limited in adjustment when compared to a regular EQ/PEQ. It seems that it will be limiting your new headphones potential. Is there another possible solution?
puffin 1.png

puffin 2.png
 
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