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Sennheiser HD800S Review (Headphone)

BrokenEnglishGuy

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@solderdude
sennheiser could do it.
it's the killer headphones. the one who rules them all. ok, not he90 rules them all. but a headphones everybody could buy. only a good a90 amp, which brings this headphones 2 levels more. after 25 years the he60 is the best of them all. i havent heard a phones which is better. i dont understand sennheiser. it's a killer. i've heard hd600 or 650. it's nothing compared to a he60. now, i know why every sennheiser engineer bought a he60 in the 90's. they knew.
1625864950561.png

This is not perfect..., i think the DCA VOCE is better tech.
 

19lexicon78

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well, some calibration with a great a90 amp =an electrostrat amp. you get alot of levels up. sennheiser can kill it. it's far more better than a hd600 or 650 or 800s. it's the he60 which gives me a smile, not the hd800s. it's ok, but not sparkling, not giving that extra level. and after 25 years the he60 can give 2 levels more with some help from sennheiser. sennheiser can kill the headphones world like 25 years ago, only if...
 

BrokenEnglishGuy

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well, some calibration with a great a90 amp =an electrostrat amp. you get alot of levels up. sennheiser can kill it. it's far more better than a hd600 or 650 or 800s. it's the he60 which gives me a smile, not the hd800s. it's ok, but not sparkling, not giving that extra level. and after 25 years the he60 can give 2 levels more with some help from sennheiser. sennheiser can kill the headphones world like 25 years ago, only if...
I found the measurements from he60, he60 is far from perfect in sub- bass, great job in mids and highs
1625865769788.png
 

Jimbob54

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well, some calibration with a great a90 amp =an electrostrat amp. you get alot of levels up. sennheiser can kill it. it's far more better than a hd600 or 650 or 800s. it's the he60 which gives me a smile, not the hd800s. it's ok, but not sparkling, not giving that extra level. and after 25 years the he60 can give 2 levels more with some help from sennheiser. sennheiser can kill the headphones world like 25 years ago, only if...

How do you kill the same thing twice, in the same post? Or at least 3 times in the last half hour? And can we define a level?
 

19lexicon78

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yeah i like mids and high. i don't like bass.
jimbob54
level? i prefer the he60 more hd800s. it makes me smile which the hd800s cannot. that's my level. ok , it's personal touch not a math thing.
let's say, if i could choose, hd800s or he60 i would prefer the he60 100%. i gives me a smile it connects with music which hd800s cannot. i think the difference is it's fastness of electrostat. it has more detail, more umpfh. it's more on the note. fastness, it brings you closer to the music, composer. you're on it.
 
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BrokenEnglishGuy

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yeah i like mids and high. i don't like bass.
jimbob54
level? i prefer the he60 more hd800s. it makes me smile which the hd800s cannot. that's my level. ok , it's personal touch not a math thing.
let's say, if i could choose, hd800s or he60 i would prefer the he60 100%. i gives me a smile it connects with music which hd800s cannot.

Well, both headphones are good in mids/highs but not in bass. Similar performance but much different tonality, do you need to do a heavy EQ to hd800s for get similar sound
 

Jimbob54

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yeah i like mids and high. i don't like bass.
jimbob54
level? i prefer the he60 more hd800s. it makes me smile which the hd800s cannot. that's my level. ok , it's personal touch not a math thing.
let's say, if i could choose, hd800s or he60 i would prefer the he60 100%. i gives me a smile it connects with music which hd800s cannot. i think the difference is it's fastness of electrostat. it has more detail, more umpfh

Then that is all that matters. Enjoy.
 

Fortheriblles

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Hi Amirm I dont know how to say but thank you so much for this EQ i just can stop listening anymore. good EQ do wonders with the hd800s. now i dont have to buy other headphones for the bass. THANKS!!! greetz from Belguim.
 

MrEWhite

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Sennheiser HD800S Listening Tests
As I noted, the best way to know if our preference curve is correct is to try to approach and see if the subjective results are better. So let's do that:

View attachment 99391

I have eliminated the headroom allowance to make the graph easier to read. In reality I had to dial in 6 or more dBs depending on what I was playing to avoid digital clipping. You have a trade off between how much you boost the bass and the headroom you need to allow. I love the clean presentation of deep bass from headphones so dialed in what the preference graph said and results were excellent. My "speaker killer" tracks with their sub bass sounded wonderful. Despite the sharp rise in the distortion graphs, there was no penalty that I could detect in that department despite the high level of boost.

Next job was to fill the gap between 1 and 4 kHz. That is a complex shape to fill in but I approximating it by putting in the conjugate filter to knock off the resonance peak at 5.4 kHz. Once there, I thought the result was a bit bright. A quick shelving filter of 10 kHz solved that problem nicely.

The overall tonality was still "light on its feet" for lack of a better phrase to describe it. There was this lack of congestion and ease to everything I played. What was remarkable and uncanny was separation of instruments. It was as if this headphone would take every element in the music, pull it apart, and then position it in different spatial locations in a 6 inch space around each ear. I wouldn't call it "soundstage" as much was it was this fun and captivating effect.

I made a comparison against the HD650 which sounded far more balanced and nicer than HD800S without EQ. With EQ, the HD800S sounded a lot more competitive and that had the above layering that the HD650 did not have. I played by boosting the region in the HD800S that has peaking and that seemed to help create a bit of that effect. Likely the cup size and reflections in HD800S are creating this effect.
I use JRiver Media Center instead of Roon, and, I was wondering if these EQ settings would be identical to the ones in the EQ image above (minus the gain recommendation, I put that to -3 instead of -6:
4j0BJbB.png
 

Jimbob54

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I use JRiver Media Center instead of Roon, and, I was wondering if these EQ settings would be identical to the ones in the EQ image above (minus the gain recommendation, I put that to -3 instead of -6:
4j0BJbB.png
Think so, yes. But you can't add that much bass but only have 3db of preamp reduction. Unless you don't listen to music with much bass. Does jriver have a clipping detection /prevention setting? If so, use it. Or up the pre amp back to the suggested.
 

MrEWhite

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Think so, yes. But you can't add that much bass but only have 3db of preamp reduction. Unless you don't listen to music with much bass. Does jriver have a clipping detection /prevention setting? If so, use it. Or up the pre amp back to the suggested.
Yes, JRiver has "clip protection" on by default. I'll probably just put the volume to -6, though. By the way, should I be adjusting the volume before applying the EQ, or after?
 

Skeptischism

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This doesn't surprise me in the least. having owned and used my HD600 until they literally disintegrated (at least the pads and drivers anyway) and spent a great deal of time with (but never owned) the HD800. I found the hd600 a much more neutral headphone. Now, that comes with a proviso, even though they are both (contrary to popular belief) not super difficult to drive, they do enjoy a bit more voltage swing than the average headphone amp (at least back when I was looking at them). seeming to come alive and lose the somewhat anemic bass response. of course, both being open back headphones, they will never have the visceral bass response of speakers, or even Sony R1, but it is CLEAN.

the HD600/650 are much less fatiguing too. Agreed Amir, the mid-treble peakiness is likely caused by the frame/cups and I believe at least one user tamed it by applying some damping to the frame. some sort of resonance just never sat well with me and I would always find myself getting fatigued within minutes. I also find them rather ugly to look at, but of course that is 100% personal taste.

Regarding electrostats. I always prefered the STAX 009 and even the 007, to the HE90, but maybe that was more about the quality of amp I heard them with (Blue Hawaii). for the price of the HD800S, I would personally just throw another $900 at the problem and get some STAX O2. they do everything the HD800 are trying to do and better, while not looking like a Swedish vacuum cleaner. My friend gave me one of the most memorable audio experiences of my life. turning off his monitors, leaving only the subs and feeding the BH->SR-007 with the pre-out. My jaw hit the floor.
 
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Max_32

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I have the Arya and to me, it is not worth it. I'll be sending them back.
 

Sharur

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Tyll from innerfidelity pointed out how the HD800 has lower 2nd order harmonic distortion in the bass

HD800:

Screen Shot 2021-08-06 at 1.44.09 PM.png


HD800S:
Screen Shot 2021-08-06 at 1.44.13 PM.png
 
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Dipypang

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I can't speak to a variety of headphones, but in my speaker system I find my subwoofer to be more important for classical than pop music. It seems to me that most pop is mastered to sound good and full on bass-light systems used in noisy environments. For classical, the presence of percussion, double bass, etc. all rely on the subwoofer. I may just have a poorly tuned sub, but I frequently have to turn it down when listening to pop and hip hop. In general, rock likes the sub. FWIW, I'm in my early 30s and studied french horn performance in music school and therefore have lots of experience with live classical music, although mostly from on stage.
Mind to share your speaker system? I'm looking for speaker+sub..
 

TulseLuper

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Mind to share your speaker system? I'm looking for speaker+sub..

It's DIY. Sub is the SEAS L26ROY kit, passive radiator version. Speakers are 2-way, sealed bookshelves (7" ScanSpeak Illuminator woofers powered by a fat old Soundcraftsmen amp) with f3 just under 50Hz, but cross to the sub at 60Hz. Since that post I've made some adjustments to the speaker filters and crossover, and re-configured DIRAC as well. MiniDSP DDRC-88A is used for speakers/crossover/bass management. The new config has better subwoofer integration for sure, and I also now have a vintage preamp (Yamaha C-4) with tone controls which are handy for quick and dirty and totally adequate bass adjustment.
 

Meagan_02

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If you use those EQ settings, what sort of amp does it require?
Most of the people praising these cans dont seem to use eq.
Agreed. Most serious audiophiles won't touch EQ. Plus, that's not even possible using a quality headphone amplifier unless, egads...you hook up a separate equalizer to it. Shades of 1975.

All this talk of EQ must be for gamers and computer geeks.
 
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