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Sennheiser HD 800 Redux

The Monkey

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for anybody waffling: Joni Mitchell Blue DCC->Benchmark DAC-1->L2 Hi-Z->HD-800->balls tingling. I don't know what women get, but balls tingling is something that men will understand,

I get chills down my spine rather than balls tingling. But I get what you're sayin'! Edited by jvlgato
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Doug, what is their life expectancy?


Hard to know exactly. Any tube is going to slowly degrade over time, and at the point where it is too compromised to work well in one circuit, it may be fine in another. Or it may still meet its specs, but not be sufficient in certain circuits. But it is generally not a hard line of good vs. bad.


In the case of the L-2, the tubes are run only moderately hard, but they do need to maintain their Gm to work well. I'd venture that 1000 hours is a reasonable expectancy, but that will vary from tube to tube. I've personally never used a 6c45 for long enough to kill it, but then I have a lot of different amps so that is not necessarily surprising.

Edited by dsavitsk
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Things are much improved and this is a lovely combo indeed.  It doesn't have the "smack you in the face" presence of a SR-007 Mk1+KGSS setup (similar price point if you can find either of them) but I've never heard a dynamic anything that can match that.  My biggest issue with the HD800 is just how fucking bright they are and the L-2 mitigates that nicely without mucking up the rest of the spectrum. 

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I first heard the combo at MOA3.  Why did you? :)


Edit:  Oops, it wasn't the DSHA-1 that I was thinking of, it was the prototype Black Diamond (I think) amp.  The DSHA-1 is better than the BD and plays in the same league as the L-2 I think.  Unfortunately, I've never heard them side by side so I could be wrong.  No matter, the DSHA-1 is still an excellent match for the HD800.

Edited by guzziguy
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Regarding the life of 6c45pi tubes.

I haven't gotten to the point where one dies but I have had a couple get noisy. I'm guessing it was well over 1500 hours (maybe twice that).

I suggest polishing the pins.

A number of Russian tubes don't have the best pin construction and they get kinda dull sounding after a while. The noise floor will also rise.

I take some metal polish paste (my fav is Mothers Aluminum and Mag polish), put it on a half q-tip and put it in my Dremel tool. I slowly work my way around the pins, then clean it off and put a tiny bit of Caig Pro Gold on them.

Sometimes I'm positively shocked how much of a difference it makes to tubes I haven't treated this way before.

Think of it as a poor mans gold pins.

Edited by ironbut
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Haven't heard the combo myself. But didn't like the HD800 when it first came out at my local meet on a bunch of mediocre amps. The usual... Too bright, harsh. Then liked it a lot on Ari's Silver Ghost at Can Jam Chicago. So kinda curious...

Doug, let's make a mental note that if we get together before your big move, maybe I can have a listen? No biggie if it doesn't happen, though. :)

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