Sennheiser HD 800 Headphones
More than 60 years of ingenious headphone engineering has been applied to the new HD 800. Incorporating Sennheiser's most advanced driver technology, these open, around-the-ear, dynamic stereo headphones redefine what reference-grade audio is all about. The HD 800 is hand-assembled in Germany with only the finest of materials. The transducer is encased in a precision material made of stainless steel, while the headband and headphone mounting utilizes the most advanced development from the aerospace industry.
Ratings & Reviews
These headphones allow you to hear into the music in a way which you haven't before, unless you already have the highest-end equipment. You can hear the position of individual instruments in a well recorded orchestra arrayed around you in space. The resolving power is such that you can hear the characteristic timbre of individual instruments, the fidget of a single musician in an orchestra and the exact location. I'm powering my HD800s with a Rolls Bellari HA540 class-A OTL zero-feedback tube headphone amplifier fitted with a gold-pin Tungsol 12AX7. I've read that this may not be the best amp for the HD800s, but if so I can only imagine how good they will sound with a better pairing. The headphone price may be very high, but in my opinion they are worth every penny given that unless you already have very high-end transducers they will immediately transform your entire music collection. And frankly by some criteria they will outperform speakers which run into tens of thousands of dollars. They are not for bass-heads, but if the recording has heavy bass they will provide heavy bass all the way down as far as human hearing can go such as giant pipe organs or synthesizers. They are very physically comfortable and the sound is non-fatiguing and utterly uncolored. It's such an individual preference that I encourage you to hear before buying - they might be a little bright for some tastes. I use a CD transport through a Rega DAC, and with the tube amp and Rega the sound is warmer. With good budget equipment (such as my AT-120E record cartridge) you can hear that your equipment is budget, but the headphones still help you hear into the music and enjoy detail you've never heard before. However, with poor recordings be warned - you can hear every issue. Professional reviews have suggested that unlike most headphones the sound is forward of your head, not inside it. I'd say this is somewhat true, but only marginally. They will not array the soundstage before you in the room like good speakers, but rather around you. It's like being in the room among the musicians. If you can't run to the price, or you like a strong lower midrange and upper bass, I'd also recommend Audio-Technica ATH-AD700 headphones - they also provide an excellent soundstage, are supremely comfortable if you have a huge head, and excellent detail (although not up to the supreme level of the HD800s). By comparison with the HD800s, the ATH-AD700's sound is colored accentuating the midrange. In sum, the HD800s are an utterly spectacular dynamic headphone with uncolored sound, huge frequency response range, and an almost supernatural resolving power. The build quality is superb. Best used with an excellent headphone amplifier.