• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). Come here to have fun, be ready to be teased and not take online life too seriously. We now measure and review equipment for free! Click here for details.

Sennheiser HD800S Review (Headphone)

Doodski

Master Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Dec 9, 2019
Messages
8,455
Likes
7,884
Location
Canada
Speaking of EQ'ing Sennheiser headphones. :D
Capture_12152020_033150.jpg
 

threni

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Oct 18, 2019
Messages
695
Likes
787
Location
/dev/null
Strange enough behaviour. But I think it requires a lot of self-confidence to have paid $1.500 plus other $1.500 for the amp and to admit one needs to EQ.

People can get used to anything. That's what "burn-in" is all about. Mental burn-in. By all accounts these headphones sound great. Objectively, they're not flat and you can fix that to some extent with EQ. Flat response is ideal because then your hifi has no "opinion" and you don't have to balance a "bright" amp with "dark" headphones... supposing you did but then you got a new "normal" amp; you'd notice the drop in treble and "have" to fix with eq. But once you have a totally flat system (to the extent that's possible, and/or you can afford/justify the cost) you might like a touch more bass. Different people like different guitars, pianos. Given these headphones, and another pair which are flatter but with, for example, less effective separation of instruments, who's to say which are "better". Depends what you're into, right? I have the objectively (according to amirm) well measuring Topping E30 and Schiit Asgard 3 with my HD 660 S and I still went for the Schiit Loki eq because personally I think the headphones sound better with a touch more high and low end. Couldn't tell you if that makes them more flat, couldn't really care less either. Zappa's Fillmore East sounds like the mics were under a few inches of mud so that's a good example of a recording where some treble boost improves things; do that on Autechre's Sign and you'll just get a headache.
 

Blumlein 88

Grand Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Feb 23, 2016
Messages
12,852
Likes
19,519
I dislike reviewing of headphones just about as I expected to on ASR. That field isn't on firm ground scientifically the way loudspeaker design is.

So much extra money for less accurate response needing EQ, but better subjective layering so recommended. Sounds more like something on SBAF than what belongs here. I think such continued reviewing will undermine what is otherwise the strong basis for so much reviewing of other gear on ASR. You'll end up having to use the same iffy practices to get a practical headphone review as is done elsewhere, but they don't limit it to headphones, rather having iffy practices for all gear. And people will be inclined to disbelief the best part of ASR when it suits them, because the site's owner does so himself on headphones.
 
Last edited:

MZKM

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Dec 1, 2018
Messages
3,876
Likes
9,676
Location
Land O’ Lakes, FL
Wait what? Most people consider 94dB as very loud and I certainly do. Most of my listening is much quieter than this. I'm wondering if you're going deaf Amir!
Keep in mind that headphones don't measure flat. 94dB (taken @1kHz?) for headphones is a lot quieter than 94dB for speakers.
 

Blumlein 88

Grand Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Feb 23, 2016
Messages
12,852
Likes
19,519
Keep in mind that headphones don't measure flat. 94dB (taken @1kHz?) for headphones is a lot quieter than 94dB for speakers.
Could you explain what you mean by this further?
 

MZKM

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Dec 1, 2018
Messages
3,876
Likes
9,676
Location
Land O’ Lakes, FL
Could you explain what you mean by this further?
Headphone SPL is usually reported at like 1kHz, but if we look at say the bass, it needs to be ~4dB higher at 30Hz for the Harman curve; and there is no boundary reinforcement like with speakers in a room. So, since we usually take vocals and bass as a reference (rather than say the loudness of the hi-hats of a drum), the 1kHz SPL can seen unusually high if one is accustomed to speaker SPL.

That’s just my thinking though, as I’ve done quick SPL calculations for my gear and I noticed how much higher the SPL was.
 

Fregly

Active Member
Joined
Dec 12, 2018
Messages
199
Likes
123
I scratch my head on the proven preference of the Harman bass. Much too much for me. Sounds incorrect on acoustic and classical. The 650 needs a little mid bass shaved off and slight boost in the lowest sub tones, but there is not much music down there in the low lows to matter to me.

The low e on guitar is 82hz I think and the curve adds a few db to that. Not good.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Sep 17, 2020
Messages
95
Likes
40
I dislike reviewing of headphones just about as I expected to on ASR. That field isn't on firm ground scientifically the way loudspeaker design is.

So much extra money for less accurate response needing EQ, but better subjective layering so recommended. Sounds more like something on SBAF than what belongs here. I think such continued reviewing will undermine what is otherwise the strong basis for so much reviewing of other gear on ASR. You'll end up having to use the same iffy practices to get a practical headphone review as is done elsewhere, but they don't limit it to headphones, rather having iffy practices for all gear. And people will be inclined to disbelief the best part of ASR when it suits them, because the site's owner does so himself on headphones.
I agree with every word. With every.
 

Joachim Herbert

Active Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 20, 2019
Messages
202
Likes
341
Location
Munich, Germany
That’s just my thinking though, as I’ve done quick SPL calculations for my gear and I noticed how much higher the SPL was.

I am afraid that 94dB (A) are the same no matter if speaker or headphone. Though the headphone is really close and the speaker in a distance of 3 or 10 foot. The consequences for your hearing will be quite the same. 94 dB (A) will cause irreversible harm if exposure is longer than one hour.
 

threni

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Oct 18, 2019
Messages
695
Likes
787
Location
/dev/null
I agree with every word. With every.

I didn't really understand it. It's not possible to measure headphones in a meaningful way? It wasn't explained why this poses a difficulty, nor why the quality of DAC (for example) reviews gets worse, or why I/other ASR readers would be interested in whether hypothetical potential future ASR readers disbelieve objective DAC (for example) reviews because they dislike the headphone measurement methodology.
 

solderdude

Grand Contributor
Joined
Jul 21, 2018
Messages
10,127
Likes
22,304
Location
The Neverlands
94dB SPL at 1kHz is VERY loud (94 Phon) and is something that you would normally not listen to for about half a song.
94dB SPL at 40Hz is about 80 Phon and what is aimed for during recordings (pleasantly loud)
When one has a bass note and wants to EQ to Harman and listen at a pleasantly loud listening level 85dB bass will be about 18dB higher in amplitude so around 104dB.
measuring 1kHz at 94 dB SPL means bass would have to be 112dB SPL. The total SPL would be much higher as the energy of all tones adds.
 

Frank Dernie

Master Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 24, 2016
Messages
5,814
Likes
13,387
Location
Oxfordshire
If your ears are less capable of physically receiving higher frequencies as well as you did when younger, and you want to be able to hear them like that now, then you need to turn up the treble, right? You can't do that in real life without a hearing aid or whatever, but I'm sure many people would if they could. No-one's doubting that the older you are the more potential there is for having learnt stuff and being wise etc, but I'm not sure what that has to do with natural physical damage to ears due to ageing.
Absolutely NOT.
This is a common but wrong point of view based on an illogical train of thought.
As long as we use the same ears to listen to things in everyday life changing the hifi to make a sound different to real life would obviously sound completely unnatural and wrong to anybody, whatever the state of their hearing.
I see this sort of comment over and over again and it does not make the tiniest bit of scientific sense.
It is far more likely that younger people haven't heard much, if any, live music in their lives and turning up the bass is what we do when we are young (I did), particularly if we are only used to only listening to music over little speakers.

Deliberately altering the frequency response may sound "nice", it may be "preferred" by a majority of people.
That does not make it more accurate, it makes it more euphonic.
It is not high fidelity IMO or IME.
 

Matias

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 1, 2019
Messages
2,765
Likes
4,677
Location
São Paulo, Brazil
@amirm Could you please attach the measurements files to the headphones reviews too so that people can import them and play around with EQ? Thanks.
 

MZKM

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Dec 1, 2018
Messages
3,876
Likes
9,676
Location
Land O’ Lakes, FL
94dB SPL at 1kHz is VERY loud (94 Phon) and is something that you would normally not listen to for about half a song.
94dB SPL at 40Hz is about 80 Phon and what is aimed for during recordings (pleasantly loud)
When one has a bass note and wants to EQ to Harman and listen at a pleasantly loud listening level 85dB bass will be about 18dB higher in amplitude so around 104dB.
measuring 1kHz at 94 dB SPL means bass would have to be 112dB SPL. The total SPL would be much higher as the energy of all tones adds.
I agree that the 94dB at 1kHz is loud, but I was saying that it may not sound that loud to Amir as the bass was so below target. So, it’s what your ear “references” as the baseline.
 
Top Bottom