An intimate afternoon with the Sennheiser HD800

Discussion in 'Audiophiles: Headphones, Earphones, etc.' started by thechungster, Oct 3, 2009.

  1. thechungster

    thechungster Super Moderator Emeritus

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    Introduction


    So the Sennheiser HD800. Sennheiser’s latest flagship dynamic headphone. Sennheiser decided to completely change the design and start again from the beginning into creating the ultimate headphone there is. The amount of talk of these on the Internet is amazing. It’s talked by consumer sites and as well as the audiophile ones. So ever since I heard about these in March ’09, I just wanted to try them. I remember someone showing me an amazon link of them and I saw the price. My initial reaction? “Oh...my...god!” I didn’t understand who would actually spend £1000/$1400 on pair of headphones. A couple of months after that, I decided to watch the promotional video of the HD800. Temptation then consumed me as I wanted to listen to a pair of £1000 headphones and see how it would actually sound. A month ago, I saw a post on head-fi saying that a local hifi shop in my city will have a demo of the HD800s. They had not arrived yet when I asked but said that they would receive them by roughly the end of September. They had arrived on the 31st September, and I arranged an appointment to audition these beauties. I promised to myself to write a small review on these on iPTF and that time is now. Here is my review of the Sennheiser HD800.

    Walked into the shop this afternoon at 1PM and said I had an appointment with the HD800s. There they were, lying on a glass table. I then became a giddy child going hyper, just a bit like Christmas day when you can’t wait to open your presents from Santa. I picked them up and placed them upon my head. There were also the HD600’s, but I didn’t pay much attention to them.

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    Fit and Comfort


    Before I had placed them on my head, I thought that they wouldn’t actually fit my head after seeing how big they were from pictures from the Internet. Placed them on my head and realised they fit! Then I realised the comfort. The Japanese alcantara pads were super soft and super comfy. There was also not much pressure going into my head which I liked. After wearing them for a little bit over an hour, I actually forgot that I was wearing them. They are that comfortable for me.

    The Aesthetics

    Not an important area to cover in a review, but still I thought I’d cover it. When I picked them up, I found them to be of an ok weight. They weren’t really light, but weren’t really heavy. A decent weight I think many would find non fatiguing. The driver used is a 56mm ring driver, which is shown behind the dust protector. I have included a picture of that below. The cable was not microphonic at all, which was nice. The body of the headphone are made of a special polymer called Leona. At first when seeing the headphone, I thought the headphone was made out of metal but I was wrong. Sennheiser states that Leona is an:

    “An extremely stable, high-tech, plastic with top-notch damping properties ensures that vibrations are not felt on the headphone support.”

    The headphone also supports angled drivers which I am quite new to. Shown in the picture below are the angled drivers.

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    The Sound


    Now here comes the part we all look forward to. The sound. Sound is a very subjective thing, so what I hear might differ to someone else’s views. The headphone was connected to a Naim CD player and there was a headphone amp that didn’t have a make printed on but I’d assume it was Naim as well due to the general similarities in looks. I decided to listen to some Jimi Hendrix, Katie Melua, Michael Jackson, Kings of Leon and some Jamiroquai

    Midrange


    This was the first thing that struck me when I listened to the first song. They were unbelievably good and transparent. It had lots of body and they just seemed to be the correct and right. There was no peaks in the sound and it was all smooth. Yummy mids. Unfortunately, because this is the first pair of headphones I have heard that is over the £500 area so I couldn’t exactly compare them to something of the same price range. Female mids sounded right without being too harsh and male vocals sounded incredibly natural. They were the first thing I noticed, and I love them.

    Bass

    The bass was absolutely incredible! It went incredibly low and was tight. I compared the bass of the HD600 to the HD800 for a few minutes and found the HD800’s bass to be “better” than the HD600. I personally found that it had enough weight to it, and the impact of it was sufficient. There could have been a tad more bass impact, but I enjoyed the detail of the bass. Thankfully for the HD800, the bass wasn’t overemphasised so that pleased me.

    Treble


    This was a bit of a weak area for me when I was listening. I can examine the bass and the midrange so I could write at least a paragraph of it but for the treble, I can’t. Well I found the treble of the HD800’s to be very transparent, alongside with the bass and the midrange. It wasn’t fatiguing for the past hour, but it could, at times, be occasionally bright. Not much to say unfortunately.

    Soundstage

    “Oh my god!” came into my head again! I have never heard a headphone place the singer in front of me rather than in my head. It was easy and not hard work just to imagine the singer in front of you, singing. Normally I have to concentrate slightly to work out instrument placements, but with the HD800 I could just listen to it like I’m there. It was effortless and the soundstage had superb depth. The width was even better! This was actually the second thing that struck me on initial impressions, straight after the midrange.

    Conclusion


    So after auditioning them for an hour, I have decided that these are one of the best headphones I have ever listened to. It’s incredibly tempting to purchase them, but then I thought. “Are these really worth £1000/$1400?” I’m not so sure about that, but that luxurious midrange, the detailed treble, that tight and clean bass and that amazing soundstage is making me think “Yes, they are worth it”


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  2. Abcmsaj

    Abcmsaj Retired Moderator

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    Why didn't you review some Skullcandies?
  3. rileyman

    rileyman Banned

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    sennheiser is crap skullcany is 10000038x better they r so sik i luv them they hav such g00d bass
  4. Chicken

    Chicken Retired Moderator

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    Even though I'm not an audiophile this made for an interesting read....

    Although my next goal in headphones, is to move away from Apple headphones and my Sony MDR - V150's and get a pair of Skullcandy's

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    According to chungster after you become an audiophile, you stop craving for bass and start wanting lovely mids....
  5. P0150N0U5 F15)-(

    P0150N0U5 F15)-( Banned

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    LMAO. You have just awoken the beast within Chung D:
  6. Abcmsaj

    Abcmsaj Retired Moderator

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    Good review by the way, lol. We probably should mention that!
  7. thechungster

    thechungster Super Moderator Emeritus

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    Rawr?

    Thanks.
  8. studangerous

    studangerous Super Moderator Emeritus Staff Member

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    Dear Santa, for Christmas can you bring studangerous a pair of these please. Oh and get a pair for Chung while you are at it.
  9. Mgssidley

    Mgssidley Member

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    Look nice but cost a bit more than I would wanna pay.
  10. glassguitar75

    glassguitar75 Member

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    They look fantastic but idk if i would want to spend that much on a pair of headphones.

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