Jump to content

HD800? Another rumor?


riceboy
 Share

Recommended Posts

I also use the Zana Deux.

I don't have a lot of experience with amps, certainly a lot less than most people here. I've never heard a balanced amp. Besides the ZD, I only have the Lehmann BCL and a AT-HA5000.

I've been more interested in electrostatics than dynamics for a while, but maybe the HD800 will kick-start my interest in a better dynamic amp. I'm thinking about how to acquire a balanced Beta22. ;D

You didn't get a Balancing Act? Wahh??? Dew eet already.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 1.9k
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

I also use the Zana Deux.

I don't have a lot of experience with amps, certainly a lot less than most people here. I've never heard a balanced amp. Besides the ZD, I only have the Lehmann BCL and a AT-HA5000.

I've been more interested in electrostatics than dynamics for a while, but maybe the HD800 will kick-start my interest in a better dynamic amp. I'm thinking about how to acquire a balanced Beta22. ;D

I'm not sure tube amps can handle properly the low PS-1's impedance. Of course they sound good, but there's a part of the bass control the cans ask for that I think is better attainable using SS, or at least a tube amp optimized to work with as a low output impedance as possible.

The PS-1 are very revealing and will show upstream components flaws and character pretty well. I haven't tried your other SS amps, so I don't know how they handle the PS-1. Among my stash, the amp that gives the best (for me, of course) results with the PS-1 is the B22.

The B22 is an excellent amp, but it's so overkill already on SE that I'm not sure at all that using a balanced one is really necessary or would offer any benefit. In any case I wouldn't rewire to balanced my PS-1, they're quite well as they are ;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't think either the Lehmann BCL or AT-HA5000 drive the PS-1 or other Grados very well, at least not as well as the Zana Deux. The PS-1 is fun to listen to, but I think it lacks some refinement compared to the 'top tier' headphones.

Balancing Act?! I wasn't considering other amps, you big meanie! Now you're making me think.

Did I say yesterday that the HD800 lacked some bass impact? I must have been smoking something weird. Its bass is very well-balanced, not lacking and not too dominant. Kind of reminds me of the SR-007's bass. In fact, I think the HD800 is a lot more like the SR-007 than the K701. Similar combination of detailed sound plus smoothness and refinement. I can't remember why I mentioned the K701.

I think the HD800 is deserving of being considered one of the 'top tier' headphones. I like it very much. Maybe a Top 5 favorite?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'll do some looking into our impedance measurement.

We do do it with the cans on the dummy, and it does change the impedance curve a little. But usually just a little, no where near the the difference between our data and Stereophile's.

I'll let you guys know in a week or two.

IMO using the dummy is a more accurate procedure, after all the amplifier will drive the cans while you're wearing them, that's the real impedance it'll have to drive.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

But luvdunhill's thought on head-vs.-no-head might be a legitimate one. I'd be curious if there's anything to that.

No contest. Head is always better than no-head. And now back to headphones.

HD800 was incredibly frustrating for me. Easy to drive? You've got to be kidding. Maybe the SDS-XLR would have done the trick, but I didn't have a balanced cable, nor the desire for another headphone for that amp. With the amps I wanted to use, the headphone just didn't sound right. Not definable why, nor really worth the effort to track it down. I've got some nice headphones and didn't really want to enter another long effort to find exactly the right amp and tubes (or transistors, or op amps, or whatever). I wanted something better than the Denon D-5000 for my work rig, but the HD800 isn't it. Oh well, at least it's superior to the production GS-1000 (this is not my idea of a ringing endorsement). Weird thing is, I'm almost certain that in the right rig both of those headphones could be made to shine.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think I was too hasty proclaiming the HD800 a possible Top 5 favorite. I listened to the HE90 yesterday and its level of refinement, smoothness and effortlessness was definitely a step higher than the HD800.

The HD800 does everything well, but I don't think it excels in any particular area when compared against other 'top tier' headphones. This is the same with most other headphones, of course. It gets very competitive and no single headphone leads most categories.

For example, I think that the following headphones are definitely better than the HD800 in these categories; there may be more, these just seem to be the more obvious ones to me:

Refinement: HE90, O2mk1, O2mk2, SR-Omega, R10

Imaging precision: O2mk1, O2mk2, Qualia

Soundstage size: R10, Qualia

Soundstage coherency: Qualia, O2mk1, O2mk2

Tonal balance & naturalness: HE90, SR-Omega

Bass quality: L3000

Bass quantity just right: O2mk1, Qualia

Midrange quality: HE90, R10, O2mk1, O2mk2

Special magical female vocals: R10

Treble quality: HE90, SR-Omega, R10

Speed: most of the electrostats, Qualia, R10

Details: not really sure yet, probably O2mk1, O2mk2, Qualia

I've left out some headphones I have less experience with such as the K1000, PS-1, HP-2 and Jade.

My Top 5 favorites, HE90, O2mk1, O2mk2, SR-Omega and R10 are tough to beat. The most important category for me is refinement. I can sacrifice some bass quantity, some imaging, some soundstage/headstage size, etc. but refinement is top priority.

With improved amplification, maybe balanced, the HD800 will probably be more competitive. I don't think it'll be easy or cheap, maybe I should just stick with electrostats.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's interesting you mention electrostats. If I turned the volume up with the HD-800s, I find them fatiguing. I don't have this issue with the Stax I have here. At moderate listening levels though the HD-800s are rather pleasant. IIRC someone from Sennheiser recommended moderate and not loud listening levels with them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No contest. Head is always better than no-head. And now back to headphones.

HD800 was incredibly frustrating for me. Easy to drive? You've got to be kidding. Maybe the SDS-XLR would have done the trick, but I didn't have a balanced cable, nor the desire for another headphone for that amp. With the amps I wanted to use, the headphone just didn't sound right. Not definable why, nor really worth the effort to track it down. I've got some nice headphones and didn't really want to enter another long effort to find exactly the right amp and tubes (or transistors, or op amps, or whatever). I wanted something better than the Denon D-5000 for my work rig, but the HD800 isn't it. Oh well, at least it's superior to the production GS-1000 (this is not my idea of a ringing endorsement). Weird thing is, I'm almost certain that in the right rig both of those headphones could be made to shine.

I think I was too hasty proclaiming the HD800 a possible Top 5 favorite. I listened to the HE90 yesterday and its level of refinement, smoothness and effortlessness was definitely a step higher than the HD800.

The HD800 does everything well, but I don't think it excels in any particular area when compared against other 'top tier' headphones. This is the same with most other headphones, of course. It gets very competitive and no single headphone leads most categories.

For example, I think that the following headphones are definitely better than the HD800 in these categories; there may be more, these just seem to be the more obvious ones to me:

Refinement: HE90, O2mk1, O2mk2, SR-Omega, R10

Imaging precision: O2mk1, O2mk2, Qualia

Soundstage size: R10, Qualia

Soundstage coherency: Qualia, O2mk1, O2mk2

Tonal balance & naturalness: HE90, SR-Omega

Bass quality: L3000

Bass quantity just right: O2mk1, Qualia

Midrange quality: HE90, R10, O2mk1, O2mk2

Special magical female vocals: R10

Treble quality: HE90, SR-Omega, R10

Speed: most of the electrostats, Qualia, R10

Details: not really sure yet, probably O2mk1, O2mk2, Qualia

I've left out some headphones I have less experience with such as the K1000, PS-1, HP-2 and Jade.

My Top 5 favorites, HE90, O2mk1, O2mk2, SR-Omega and R10 are tough to beat. The most important category for me is refinement. I can sacrifice some bass quantity, some imaging, some soundstage/headstage size, etc. but refinement is top priority.

With improved amplification, maybe balanced, the HD800 will probably be more competitive. I don't think it'll be easy or cheap, maybe I should just stick with electrostats.

It's interesting you mention electrostats. If I turned the volume up with the HD-800s, I find them fatiguing. I don't have this issue with the Stax I have here. At moderate listening levels though the HD-800s are rather pleasant. IIRC someone from Sennheiser recommended moderate and not loud listening levels with them.

I was ready with cash on hand to purchase the HD800, but when I auditioned them, I really shared the same sentiment with the last three posts above.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's interesting you mention electrostats. If I turned the volume up with the HD-800s, I find them fatiguing. I don't have this issue with the Stax I have here. At moderate listening levels though the HD-800s are rather pleasant. IIRC someone from Sennheiser recommended moderate and not loud listening levels with them.

IIRC the reading materials that come with the HD800 also hint at not turning the volume up too high.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's interesting you mention electrostats. If I turned the volume up with the HD-800s, I find them fatiguing. I don't have this issue with the Stax I have here. At moderate listening levels though the HD-800s are rather pleasant. IIRC someone from Sennheiser recommended moderate and not loud listening levels with them.

Hehe, I'm Team Electrostats, what did you expect? :) I used to be a gopher/driver in the Stax Mafia and got kicked out after I said the O2mk1 and O2mk2 sounded very similar. :(

You might find higher volumes fatiguing with the HD800 because of its brighter and crisper treble compared to what you're used to. But it could be due to other factors.

I think that the audio chain has effects on a headphone's brightness, harshness, brittleness and listening fatigue. And if your background is a bit noisy and not really that black, listening fatigue can easily occur. You'll feel like turning up the volume because you're not hearing the details clearly, but the higher volume exacerbates treble and upper-midrange harshness.

A good recording + good system + good headphone should allow you to listen at whatever volume you feel like. Ultra-low and barely audible late at night when it is super quiet, without a sense of missing anything or lacking details. Or high head-banging volume (in my case butt wriggling) without any treble harshness, just crystal clear, smooth and crisp treble.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You might find higher volumes fatiguing with the HD800 because of its brighter and crisper treble compared to what you're used to. But it could be due to other factors.

One possibility I see is the harmonic distortion graph, it looks like something you'd see on a solidstate amp where the 3rd harmonic is higher than the 2nd.

graphCompare.php?graphType=1&graphID[]=863

Contrast this with the Senn 650 where the 3rd is lower than the 2nd, and which as far as I can remember, no one has called bright nor fatiguing.

graphCompare.php?graphType=1&graphID[]=853

And here's a K701, no wonder I didn't like the darn thing.

graphCompare.php?graphType=1&graphID[]=703

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think I was too hasty proclaiming the HD800 a possible Top 5 favorite. I listened to the HE90 yesterday and its level of refinement, smoothness and effortlessness was definitely a step higher than the HD800.

The HD800 does everything well, but I don't think it excels in any particular area when compared against other 'top tier' headphones. This is the same with most other headphones, of course. It gets very competitive and no single headphone leads most categories.

For example, I think that the following headphones are definitely better than the HD800 in these categories; there may be more, these just seem to be the more obvious ones to me:

Refinement: HE90, O2mk1, O2mk2, SR-Omega, R10

Imaging precision: O2mk1, O2mk2, Qualia

Soundstage size: R10, Qualia

Soundstage coherency: Qualia, O2mk1, O2mk2

Tonal balance & naturalness: HE90, SR-Omega

Bass quality: L3000

Bass quantity just right: O2mk1, Qualia

Midrange quality: HE90, R10, O2mk1, O2mk2

Special magical female vocals: R10

Treble quality: HE90, SR-Omega, R10

Speed: most of the electrostats, Qualia, R10

Details: not really sure yet, probably O2mk1, O2mk2, Qualia

I've left out some headphones I have less experience with such as the K1000, PS-1, HP-2 and Jade.

My Top 5 favorites, HE90, O2mk1, O2mk2, SR-Omega and R10 are tough to beat. The most important category for me is refinement. I can sacrifice some bass quantity, some imaging, some soundstage/headstage size, etc. but refinement is top priority.

With improved amplification, maybe balanced, the HD800 will probably be more competitive. I don't think it'll be easy or cheap, maybe I should just stick with electrostats.

Your thoughts on the HD800 pretty much mirror mine. It is a great all-around headphone, and certainly the best dynamic in current production. But it just doesn't quite do anything special enough to stack up to the very best of the best in any one category of performance. So it's not a top 5 all-time headphone, but certainly a top 15, if not top 10.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is a great all-around headphone, and certainly the best dynamic in current production.

Good enough for me. :)

I'd also posit that, though we're talking mainly about absolute performance, it's also a relative bargain compared to the cost of the company it's keeping.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Your thoughts on the HD800 pretty much mirror mine. It is a great all-around headphone, and certainly the best dynamic in current production. But it just doesn't quite do anything special enough to stack up to the very best of the best in any one category of performance. So it's not a top 5 all-time headphone, but certainly a top 15, if not top 10.

Good enough for me. :)

I'd also posit that, though we're talking mainly about absolute performance, it's also a relative bargain compared to the cost of the company it's keeping.

Yup and yup.

After living with the HD800s for a couple weeks now, and genuinely appreciating them as one of the best headphones currently available, I just sold my pair to another, who is fortunately letting me keep them for a couple weeks so I can continue to enjoy them as I do. They just aren't R10s or O2s, and my HF2s have rounded out all the full-size joy I need at home. It feels rather strange to be giving up headphones I like as much as these, but I'd rather send them on to a good home.

I also just picked up NoNoNoNoNoNo YH100s to ease the pain of my loss. This should be fun.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yup and yup.

After living with the HD800s for a couple weeks now, and genuinely appreciating them as one of the best headphones currently available, I just sold my pair to another, who is fortunately letting me keep them for a couple weeks so I can continue to enjoy them as I do. They just aren't R10s or O2s, and my HF2s have rounded out all the full-size joy I need at home. It feels rather strange to be giving up headphones I like as much as these, but I'd rather send them on to a good home.

I also just picked up NoNoNoNoNoNo YH100s to ease the pain of my loss. This should be fun.

:cool: the Yamaha YH-100 when modded is a kick ass little bugger.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So much for Team Minimal, neh?

Still working: one killer 'stat (O2), one killer dynamic (R10), one all-rounder (HF2), one fun 'phone (225), one closed portable (esw10), one killer iem (JH13), one gym iem (UE11), one great earbud (PK1), one beater (PX100), and now one ortho (YH100).

Only one of each in a category is the rule of Team Minimal.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share


×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.