Sennheiser HD800 Headphones only £995 delivered @ Hifigear (was £999) + free gift!
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Sennheiser HD800 Headphones only £995 delivered @ Hifigear (was £999) + free gift!

31
Found 19th Jan 2013
I've seen a few Sennheiser headphones on here recently and thought what the hell, let's really push the boat out!

The Sennheiser HD800s are Sennheiser's premium open-backed headphones which you can buy today for £995 delivered, saving you £4 and you also get a free gift! More info in 1st post...
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Original Poster
Link to Product Video

Product Review (by me):
Before I review the performance of the Sennheiser HD800s, I’ll say a quick word about packaging and presentation. The HD800s are packaged inside two black cardboard boxes. The outer box shows various images of the headphones while the sturdier and more luxurious hinged-inside box, is unobtrusively adorned by the Sennheiser name and insignia. Inside the box, the foam on which the headphones rest is dressed in a soft silky material and although the box seems inordinately spacious, the HD800s store snugly away when not in use. The actual headphones look quite large due to the size of the adjustable circum-aural ear pieces and are predominantly silver in colour with black padding on the headband and ear pieces. They look retro or futuristic in style, but I’m not sure which; you decide!

http://i991.photobucket.com/albums/af36/djwindhoek/IMG_0603.jpg

Removing the headphones from the box for the first time was like raising the Holy Grail from its solemn resting place; it was a moment of reverence and awe! Kneeling beside my hi-fi, I gently unfurled the cable, ushered my head towards the headphones then slowly and surely, slid them onto my bowed head. Now almost trembling with insatiable excitement, like a rabid beast, I feverishly embraced the urge to hear these silvery sirens sing. Even though I knew I ought to burn them in for 100+ hours before I’d get anywhere near aural nirvana, I reached for the remote, took a deep breath, and pressed Play.

First impressions? Upper-mid and treble notes sounded absolutely amazing! Bass and lower-mid notes however, sounded tame and weak as they lacked oomph. Somewhat disappointedly, I took the headphones off, pressed Repeat on the remote and left them to burn in for 100 hours. Before I go on, it’s worth noting that my previous headphones were Sennheiser HD650s and the other equipment used for the purpose of this review is:

CD Player: Naim CD5i (MkII)
Headphone Amp: NJC Audio Monitor II
Interconnect: Cambridge Audio 900 Series


So after 100 hours of burning in, I put the HD800s back on and listened to Pink Floyd’s The Final Cut (2004 Remaster). I chose this album because it’s peppered with background detail and I wanted to find out how revealing the HD800s are. In short, the HD800s are extremely revealing, much more so than the HD650s. Quite often I thought to myself ‘Wow! I’ve never heard that before’. But it’s not just that they reveal more detail than the HD650s (and they do), it’s the way they reveal detail. The HD800s seem to bring background detail closer to the foreground in a way that compliments the actual foreground. And Gilmour’s guitar solos? Wow! They were thunderously majestic and at times gave me goose bumps.

http://i991.photobucket.com/albums/af36/djwindhoek/IMG_0606.jpg

Next up, I listened to the Red Book layer of Carol Kidd’s Nice Work (2004 SACD/ Hybrid) because it’s an excellent recording of acoustic jazz and I wanted to see how authentically the HD800s reproduce acoustic instrumentation. I’m pleased to say the HD800s excelled in this area. Piano, brass and drums sounded very authentic; cymbals in particular, had a spectacular zing! Although bass guitar, snare and bass drums sounded authentic, they still lacked the kind of oomph I get from my HD650s. Nevertheless, I found it easy to enjoy the album; emoting with the slow and gentle songs and toe-tapping and singing my way through the livelier ones.

I then listened to Shostakovich’s 5th Symphony (HMV Classics 1997) to hear how well it handled classical music. The HD800s revealed the minutest detail (including creaking seats and sniffs etc). For instance, notes I previously thought were played staccato weren’t really staccato at all, they were actually loud notes followed by whisper quite ones I just hadn't heard before and violins, well they sounded as sweet as honey. Deep brass and kettle drums varied in their oomph; sometimes they oomphed and sometimes they didn’t. I found tears welling up in my eyes during the tortuous and oppressive 3rd movement – fortunately, redeemed by the 4th movement and its glorious finale. All in all, very satisfying although the moody passages didn’t seem as menacing as when I use the HD650s.

I also listened to Kraftwerk’s Computer World (2009 Remaster) to hear how well the HD800s reproduced synthetic sound. Again, I was not disappointed. Like the other albums, it felt like I was hearing it for the first time because the headphones gave so much clarity and detail. The bass notes on this album sounded better as they were delivered with a bit of oomph. I could also appreciate how the widened soundstage benefited the quieter notes as they didn’t seem compressed and thus, sounded more audible.

Some general thoughts about the HD800s are that they fit a little too loosely on the head. If I lean forward, they slide forward. This never happened with my HD650s, but then again, they were like clamps with a vice-like grip on my head. Hopefully, the next range will be somewhere between these two extremes. They also appear to be genuinely well crafted, including the cable.

http://i991.photobucket.com/albums/af36/djwindhoek/IMG_0607.jpg

In summary, even though they tend to lack oomph with regard to bass notes, the HD800s are terrific headphones. What Sennheiser have done with the upper-mid and treble is nothing short of a triumph - cymbal zing is spectacular and violins sound as sweet as honey. It almost seems like a veil has been lifted from these notes so that every detail is laid bare before the listener, for better or worse! And what’s more, because they’re so revealing, music I’ve heard lots of times now sounds fresh and new, so it seems like I now own 100s of CDs I’ve never heard before. With regard to the lack of oomph, I noticed that it varied from CD to CD, so perhaps oomph depends on the attack and intensity of the note being played. Anyway, I think an acclimatisation period is required in order to forget the aural colour of previous headphones because the more I use them, the more I like them.

For me, the Sennheiser HD800s are a means to an end i.e. enjoyment. I don’t listen to music to analyse it (even though I kind of did for the purpose of this review), I want to emote and toe-tap and the HD800s allow me to do this, even though I think the bass is a bit too neutral. In short, if you like a lot of bass, these headphones won’t do it for you. If however, you prefer a more neutral and honest sound, they could be the ones for you because...they’re almost perfect!


Caveat:
My conclusions are inevitably influenced by the synergy of my equipment, so presumably, I might conclude differently with different interconnects or equipment. I’ve been told that my headphone amp is very neutral, so maybe a warmer or bass prominent amp would add that extra bit of oomph to make them truly perfect. I'm now experimenting with different phono cables to see if I can tweak the tonality.

EDIT: With regard to the lack of oomph, I'd like to add that it's not that the HD800s lack oomph, but rather they don't have artificially enhanced bass like the HD650s do, which I'm so used to.

Edited by: "windhoek" 19th Jan 2013
You are having a laugh right?
Original Poster
Marky67

You are having a laugh right?



Sort of
I'd want a Porsche as a free gift
have u ever had a girlfriend?
100 hours burning in - quality!!

An Audiophile and their money is parted faster than any other group of people ......... fact.

The only thing slighlty sadder than this is the lonely Train Spotter stood on the end of Crewe Station
Now you have put this up as a deal. I wonder how many of the 721,000+members will buy.

And you can get them here for £966 delivered... so rubbish deal anyway.
Cheap!!!
do they do them in red
Original Poster
MP3 players and cheap Sony hifi systems aren't necessarily the be all and end all when it comes to gadgets for listening to music; I reckon these headphones will increase your music listening experience by a factor of 100*

* As long as your ears aren't filled with too much wax and you don't use the headphones to listen to music encoded in mp3 format

Edited by: "windhoek" 19th Jan 2013
how do these compare to beats tho
Whats with all the headphone deals ?
Banned
MrRee

An Audiophile and their money is parted faster than any other group of … An Audiophile and their money is parted faster than any other group of people ......... fact.



Anyone remember the Silver Rock Audio knob?

It was an audiophile control knob, made out of polished wood, which you used to replace the knob on your amplifier. The theory was that the knobs supplied with the amplifier would allow micro-vibrations to be transferred through to the poteniometer, which would in turn affect the sound.

The Silver Rock Audio knob would eliminate these micro vibrations..

If that wasn't enough, the price was $500 per knob. Even funnier, people bought them in droves!
Banned
machinadynamica.com/

Quote: "Machina Dynamica's amazing new product - the CD Re-Animator - a palm size Multicolor, Multibeam stroboscopic Light Gun. The CD Re-Animator is a highly modified, battery-powered 12 LED light gun that permanently upgrades CDs, DVDs, SACDs or Blu Ray discs. The CD is upgraded by selecting MODE 1 of the CD Re-Animator and placing it directly over the data side of the CD for 3 minutes. MODE 1 sequentially fires Red, Green and Blue LEDs. Batteries included. Price $179"

Eh? It looks like a bicycle light!

One thing sennheiser have never managed to do right is aesthetics. And when you're paying this much for headphones, they should look good as well as sound good.
MrRee

100 hours burning in - quality!!An Audiophile and their money is parted … 100 hours burning in - quality!!An Audiophile and their money is parted faster than any other group of people ......... fact.The only thing slighlty sadder than this is the lonely Train Spotter stood on the end of Crewe Station



Apple fans?
Original Poster
MrRee

An Audiophile and their money is parted faster than any other group of … An Audiophile and their money is parted faster than any other group of people ......... fact.

davehills9

http://www.machinadynamica.com/Quote: "Machina Dynamica's amazing new … http://www.machinadynamica.com/Quote: "Machina Dynamica's amazing new product - the CD Re-Animator - a palm size Multicolor, Multibeam stroboscopic Light Gun. The CD Re-Animator is a highly modified, battery-powered 12 LED light gun that permanently upgrades CDs, DVDs, SACDs or Blu Ray discs. The CD is upgraded by selecting MODE 1 of the CD Re-Animator and placing it directly over the data side of the CD for 3 minutes. MODE 1 sequentially fires Red, Green and Blue LEDs. Batteries included. Price $179"Eh? It looks like a bicycle light!





What have these things got to do with headphones?

Fwiw, some electro-mechanical hifi kit IS sensitive to micro-vibrations - turntables in particular. Whether the wooden knob could make a difference, I don't know, but the problem does exist.
Edited by: "windhoek" 19th Jan 2013
windhoek

MP3 players and cheap Sony hifi systems aren't necessarily the be all and … MP3 players and cheap Sony hifi systems aren't necessarily the be all and end all when it comes to gadgets for listening to music; I reckon these headphones will increase your musical listening experience by a factor of 100* * As long as your ears aren't filled with too much wax and you don't use the headphones to listen to music encoded in mp3 format



Brave listing, > £19.99 for headphones isn't going to get you any heat on this site, could get colder than my ebay listing -500!!

As we talk the same language I hope you got a better discount (£4) AND compared these with the Stax Lambda electrostatics, always found the Sennheiser range to be tonally on the bright side.
Original Poster
mysticjenny

Brave listing, £19.99 for headphones isn't going to get you any heat on … Brave listing, > £19.99 for headphones isn't going to get you any heat on this site, could get colder than my ebay listing -500!!As we talk the same language I hope you got a better discount (£4) AND compared these with the Stax Lambda electrostatics, always found the Sennheiser range to be tonally on the bright side.



You could be right about how cold this deal gets lol. I've never tried Stax headphones myself, but the word on the web is they make good headphones! Fwiw, I did get a better deal than £4 off, but I better not say how much in case this deal gets really cold
Original Poster
davewave

how do these compare to beats tho



I don't know, I've never heard music through a pair of beats headphones. In saying that, I've heard of anyone who's ever heard music through a pair either!
windhoek

You could be right about how cold this deal gets lol. I've never tried … You could be right about how cold this deal gets lol. I've never tried Stax headphones myself, but the word on the web is they make good headphones! Fwiw, I did get a better deal than £4 off, but I better not say how much in case this deal gets really cold



My Stax retailed at £470 for the headset & £999 for the valve energiser many years back. Didn't pay that, got them trade - less than a grand, but people still thought I was mad, ( how much do people waste on cars) X)
Anyway enjoy your headphones and have some heat, you will need it (_;)
Nice cans. Cheaper that a pair of decent speakers.
Cold, hot if they were £990
I'm not a huge fan of the HD800s presentation. A little too much treble and not enough bass for my liking, thus I find a more entertaining sound in the £150 arena by comparison. If I was going to spend this kinda money I'd push the boat out a bit further and get the Fostex TH900.

I have heard Beats and these, although not on the same day. Yes the HD800 are way better, but because of my reasons for disliking them I imagine anyone who finds Beats remotely intersting isn't going to pick up the HD800 and think 'wow that's perfection'.

To the person who says Sennheiser need to improve their styling. Generally yes you're right, but at least with the HD800 and the Momentum they are trying
I'd rather get the Audeze lcd-2/3 if I was to spend this much.
I tried these for fun whilst in Harrods and thought they were bog average. Nothing special and not much better than my Bose AE2's which aren't great themselves.
Prosamuraiman

I tried these for fun whilst in Harrods and thought they were bog … I tried these for fun whilst in Harrods and thought they were bog average. Nothing special and not much better than my Bose AE2's which aren't great themselves.

It's because you didn't spend enough time with them and you didn't get on with the overly analytical presentation I suspect as they aren't that bad. what did you listen to on them btw? Not mp3s through an iPod I hope :P
grillnun

have u ever had a girlfriend?



Yes he has.

Stand by for my review.
Original Poster
brett1985

Yes he has.Stand by for my review.



Eh!?

Have we met? Is your name Tracy by any chance?
Heat, just for the entertainment value.
toaster

Heat, just for the entertainment value.



Same
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