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Sennheiser HD800S Review (Headphone)

Robbo99999

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Just thinking about this... a claim frequently made in the electrostat community is that very powerful third party amps are needed to drive the bass properly on many electrostatic headphones (especially the SR-007).

If this is correct, and who knows whether it is or not, would the problem be exacerbated by EQ-ing electrostatic headphones to increase the bass?
I don't know much about electrostats and their need for powerful amps or not, but certainly if you EQ up the bass then that means you have to apply a negative preamp to avoid digital clipping, which is essentially lowering the volume across the whole frequency range, therefore you loose volume headroom so that increases your potential need for a more powerful amplifier - with my various headphones I don't require any additional amplification (I use Unity Gain) even though I'm using up to -12dB negative preamp, my hardest to drive headphones are only the K702 and HD600, so they're not that difficult to drive. Normally if a headphone amplifier gets your headphone to a loud enough level without signs of clipping then you don't have anything to worry about re amplifier power.
 

Maki

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Just thinking about this... a claim frequently made in the electrostat community is that very powerful third party amps are needed to drive the bass properly on many electrostatic headphones (especially the SR-007).

If this is correct, and who knows whether it is or not, would the problem be exacerbated by EQ-ing electrostatic headphones to increase the bass?
Yes and no, it depends on your listening volume and the amount of bass boost. A SRM-727 level amp should be enough for almost everyone I'd think, and most would be fine with SRM-353X and similar. I have a 450V carbon and I measured its output with a scope and I don't get anywhere near the maximum output before clipping with my normal listening levels. The "better bass" claims are pretty much the usual audiophile mythology.
 

John_M

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Yes and no, it depends on your listening volume and the amount of bass boost. A SRM-727 level amp should be enough for almost everyone I'd think, and most would be fine with SRM-353X and similar. I have a 450V carbon and I measured its output with a scope and I don't get anywhere near the maximum output before clipping with my normal listening levels. The "better bass" claims are pretty much the usual audiophile mythology.

I am using 353X with SR-009. Currently trying equalizing to Harman with oratory1990's settings. I listen to about half the maximum volume on the amp.

The "better bass" claims appear to be expounded by two of the "High Wizards" of the Stax mafia, Kevin Gilmore and spritzer, who do have a scientific background and so I would assume/ hope are not just spouting audiophile mythology. If you don't believe them, may I ask why you've bought a Carbon? :)
 

Maki

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I am using 353X with SR-009. Currently trying equalizing to Harman with oratory1990's settings. I listen to about half the maximum volume on the amp.

The "better bass" claims appear to be expounded by two of the "High Wizards" of the Stax mafia, Kevin Gilmore and spritzer, who do have a scientific background and so I would assume/ hope are not just spouting audiophile mythology. If you don't believe them, may I ask why you've bought a Carbon? :)
Built not bought, it is objectively one of the most powerful amps on the market that is for sure. Do I need it? No, but it was fun to build and sounds transparent.
 

garbulky

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... maybe you should try some phones you can use without chains ...
My preference is to use without eq. I think it's ridiculous we have to spend so much and then drop more money essentially jerry rigging the thing. Having said that, the HD800S is just soo much better with eq. Like it's not even close.
 

hellshinoda

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Finally sell my kidney to purchase a discounted hd800s. I’m currently using E30 and L30 combo. Is it ok to drive it for now since I definitely cannot afford any new gear for the next 1 year.
 

maverickronin

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I’m currently using E30 and L30 combo. Is it ok to drive it for now since I definitely cannot afford any new gear for the next 1 year.

Definitely. Don't believe the mythology about the HD800 requiring pseudo-magical amplification.
 

BaltColts

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Hello everyone, I noticed that Amir's EQ had 6db dialed in for headroom. I am also using a RME ADI-2 Dac. Can anyone tell me how to dial that -6db headroom in? My apologies if this is not a great question. His EQ has made a great difference. Thanks.
 

Jimbob54

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Hello everyone, I noticed that Amir's EQ had 6db dialed in for headroom. I am also using a RME ADI-2 Dac. Can anyone tell me how to dial that -6db headroom in? My apologies if this is not a great question. His EQ has made a great difference. Thanks.
I dont think you need to . The RME has a good deal of headroom already
 

BaltColts

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Hello Everyone,
I was trying to enter Amir's setting and I saw this on page 33.
Allow me to suggest a setting to configure Amir's EQ in RME ADI-2:
LS G +11 F 50 Q 1.0
PK G -0.5 F 20 Q 0.5
PK G +3.0 F 2700 Q 1.0
PK G -3.0 F 5400 Q 3.0
HS G -2.0 F 10000 Q 1.0
Does this exactly match what Amir did on page 1?
Or do I need to make some adjustments?
Also, I am using Soundsource on Mac. Should I enter his values on Soundsource or is it better on the RME ADI-2?
Thanks so much everyone. I am new to setting everything up.
 

hellshinoda

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Definitely. Don't believe the mythology about the HD800 requiring pseudo-magical amplification.
Had the 800S for a couple of weeks already. I would say if we don't do eq, the E30/L30 combo should be perfectly capable of driving HD 800s even on Medium Gain.

However, when I want to apply EQ with -6db headroom, I'll need to go near 3 o'clock on High Gain. It is good for me now but for someone who wants more headroom, you might look into Topping new line-up of L50 or the bigger brother A30 Pro.
 

hellshinoda

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Hello Everyone,
I was trying to enter Amir's setting and I saw this on page 33.
Allow me to suggest a setting to configure Amir's EQ in RME ADI-2:
LS G +11 F 50 Q 1.0
PK G -0.5 F 20 Q 0.5
PK G +3.0 F 2700 Q 1.0
PK G -3.0 F 5400 Q 3.0
HS G -2.0 F 10000 Q 1.0
Does this exactly match what Amir did on page 1?
Or do I need to make some adjustments?
Also, I am using Soundsource on Mac. Should I enter his values on Soundsource or is it better on the RME ADI-2?
Thanks so much everyone. I am new to setting everything up.
I think if you already use Soundsource, you should enter the value suggested by Armir directly into Soundsource. Just be aware that the built-in PEQ of Soundsource use Width value instead of Q (if I remember correctly). You can quickly search for online tool to convert Q into Width quite easily.
 

edahl

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For the purpose of EQ, is there any practical difference between the HD800 and the HD800S? Apart form different filters of course.
 

Xenio

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Hello,

I really have the same question as the person above me... But for the HD 8XX (drop) vs the other two.

From what I saw the HD 800 and HD 800S are close enough so that after EQ there isn't that much of a difference.
However the measurements I saw from the HD 8XX are... Well, let's say they are surprising. And we do need to apply some filters with an amplitude of almost 8dB ! (According to oratory measurements)

At this point I'm wondering if distorsion can become an issue and if they even have the same drivers. Any thoughts ?
 

solderdude

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For the purpose of EQ, is there any practical difference between the HD800 and the HD800S? Apart form different filters of course.

Aside from the treble filter the EQ is basically the same.

I really have the same question as the person above me... But for the HD 8XX (drop) vs the other two.

With EQ for the HD8XX (which differs from HD800 and HD800S EQ) they will sound the same/very similar.
The HD8XX will need a bit more gain in the upper mids.

Lifting the upper mids 5dB more than for the HD800(S) won't cause audible distortion.

For Service the HD8XX will have to be sent to Drop, the others are dealt with by Sennheiser so depending on the country you live in this might be an issue.
 

Xenio

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Okay perfect thanks!
Yeah for service it will be bothersome, but the price difference is big enough so that I can accept that
 
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