Sennheiser HD 800 Review BEST Headphones in the World


Consumer Research Studios


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hey everyone Lance here welcome today to my review on Sennheiser's HD 800 headphones these are the best sounding headphones I've listened to yet and I can understand why a lot of people are calling these one of the best headphones in the world now whether or not these end your quest for the perfect sound experience or not will depend and I'll get into that more today as I talk about the sound quality comfort and features of these headphones now you can check below in the description area for additional information about the HD 800 as well as additional information about headphones songs I listen to and other equipment mentioned throughout this video also if you're interested in a group review of several Sennheiser videos all at the same time including the HD 800 check below for a link to that video as well I'll start out by giving you a closer look at these headphones and walk you through some of the features now these headphones are actually hand-built at Sennheiser's worldwide headquarters in Germany each drivers tested measured and given its own unique identifier which you can see at the top of the headband you can actually use this number to get a frequency graph to see how your particular headphone performed in their lab now the headband that connects the earpieces is laminated from steel and plastic and is covered in microfiber the cushion on the headband is removable and then it just snaps back into place the headband is also designed to reduce vibration from the drivers by incorporating vibration dampening properties the headband has a slight adjustment and what's nice about this as you can see is it slides outward at an angle as opposed to just sliding up and down the way most headphones do no matter the shape size or how large or small your head is you're able to get a perfectly comfortable fit this way now the major technological advancement in the Sennheiser HD 800 is the 56 millimeter ring radiator driver I believe it's still currently the largest dynamic driver currently in use in any headphones what happens when you normally listen to speakers is the wave front is hitting the side of your head and here's at an angle so to mimic this effect Sennheiser has position at the HD 800 drivers slightly forward of your ears and slightly angled back towards them this produces a wave front that arrives at your ears any more natural way compared to traditional headphones and this allows more of the normal reflections at the outer ear to occur basically this is what allows your brain to understand and localize the sound it's hearing significantly so because of this HD 800 is able to mimic more closely what happens when you listen to live music or a conventional loudspeaker system the end result is you get amazing imaging and soundstage with these headphones now you have a permanently installed synthetic mesh mature material that covers and protects the driver from dirt and hair the main earpiece housings are framework cast of Leona plastic which is 60% glass fiber field it's a specialized plastic that helps to reduce vibration then you have a very fine acoustically transparent stainless steel mesh which is supported by the framework as well a ball and gimbal assembly attaches the headband to the rear of each earpiece and has two pivot points this gives freedom for each earpiece to tilt and swivel to align with the side of the head for a proper fit and you'll notice that when you're pressing the ear cups here that there's it almost feels like it's a little bit spring activated and it really helps you get a comfortable fit when you're wearing these your pad cushions here are extremely large so they easily accommodate your ears no matter how large your ears are and you can even see the cutout here is the shape of an ear as well the cushions are very pliable and made of a special microfiber which was inspired by the luxury auto industry so cars like Maserati and Lamborghini they feel very soft and luxurious to the touch and of course while wearing them there's also a cloth on the inside here which is removable and hand washable this covers the inside of the earpieces to help protect them so overall I think the HD 800 does have a very striking design which really sets them apart from other headphones but it's not just a design for designs sake the large ear cups are specifically designed to place the drivers farther away and slightly to the front of your ears then what's possible in smaller headphone designs and again this is what contributes to the exceptional sound experience you get with these regarding the cable that comes with these headphones the HD 800 uses a Y cable harness which has a removable braided cable with a kevlar reinforced oxygen-free copper wire the cable is 8 feet long and is covered with a fabric sheath making it flexible and non microphonic the cable is terminated with a substantial quarter inch bono plug at one end and to proprietary Sennheiser connectors at the earpieces these new connectors which provide a far more substantial termination than Sennheiser's old two-prong mini connector is designed to eliminate that jiggle effect where in the past you may need to jiggle the cable to try to restore sound when it starts to cut out or reduce volume and of course you can use aftermarket cables with these if you'd like to upgrade to something different one thing to note is a quarter inch to eight inch adapter is not provided with these headphones now regarding the comfort and fit of these headphones they do a nearly perfect job of distributing the weight around my head here what I like about these is that you're able to wear these with or without glasses and even when you're wearing these with glasses it doesn't take away from the comfort at all the ear cups are the largest I've worn they fully surround my ears and give plenty of room they also breathe very easily so you have to worry about your ears getting too hot while you're wearing these the padding on the ear cups and on a headband feels very comfortable it has a very luxurious feel and what's nice is I quickly start to not notice the headphones are on my head even though there are larger headphone it's really impressive that they kind of disappear especially once as you start listening to your music you start to forget you're wearing headphones one feature I really like about how you adjust these is that when you're adjusting the the size of the headphone and the where the ear cups are positioned you're adjusting them kind of out to the sides as opposed to just straight up and down and what I found is that really helps give you a perfectly snug fit not only do you get the ear cups positioned right but it also seems to help with with the force the clamping force of the ear cups it doesn't feel like it's cramping too hard on your head at the same time in terms of clamping force these really don't clamp down on your head at all there's enough pressure there to to give you a snug fit but there's certainly less clamping force than say what you get with the HD 650 or 600 now there was just one thing that took away from the comfort of wearing these headphones for me and that was over time I started to get a hot spot up here under the headband and what I noticed is it was just due to the weight of these headphones so from a comfort standpoint I think they're very comfortable they're just not a comfortable that personally I could wear all day long without experiencing a little discomfort up around the headband next I'll talk about the sound quality and there is plenty to talk about when it comes to the HD 800 overall the sound quality of these headphones is absolutely spectacular as I said earlier these are the best sounding headphones I've listened to yet when I first started listening to these was really struck by how intensely realistic and natural the sound is it's so real in fact that it feels like you're hearing music straight from the source you feel like you're getting a direct connection to the music the other thing that hit me is the resolution at which the 800s reproducing music every single detail is painstakingly portrayed without any coloration everything just comes together with the HD 800 s the bass the mid-range the treble all are beautifully balanced and almost without false the frequency response across the board is excellent these headphones also disappear more than any other headphones IV used they brought me closer to the experience of speaker listening again and any other headphone I've tried yet and what further added to the excitement of the listening experience is the speed and impact of these headphones the HD 800 czar the first headphones I've listened to that reproduce the impact of drums and percussive qualities such as like acoustic guitars flawlessly it is so exciting to listen to because every hit sounds so lifelike and vibrant even an immensely complex passages in music the drivers managed to keep up and maintain all the original qualities it's truly impressive now something I wanted to share that I found interesting is that over and over with all kinds of music I've set the volume where I thought it should be at only to find myself reaching over after a couple minutes and turning it down over time I started to realize I was doing this because the HD at hundreds do everything so well that when you're not missing anything you realize you just don't need the volume so loud you're not having to compensate for anything by increasing the volume now I also want to talk about some of the specifics of course about the sound quality I'll start with the bass the bass is definitely there into my ear it's perfect there's not too much and there's not too little so if your bass head these will probably not do it for you but otherwise the intensity is just perfect the bass is very present it's well defined it's very fast and impactful and also the bass extension is very good but what's especially fun about these is how the bass comes through with such great clarity control and resolution that in particular it puts the 650 to shame but I've never heard bass notes as clearly defined as through the HD 800 now to give a comparison other headphones with good bass response might feel like rubber now let's pounding on your eardrums but lausanne the HD 800 are much more natural sounding and go very deep with none of the pounding feeling and for really low notes the effect is much more apparent the mids are also just fabulous overall the HD 800 has more extended and detailed mids there is incredible musicality honestly every note just sounds perfect within the mid-range also as a side note the HD 800 also has a special affinity for movie dialogue they're the most natural sounding I've ever heard on a headphone now for the highs the treble has both great extension and detail without being fatiguing or excessively bright the level of detail you get in the highs is just crazy now as an example for those of you who are gamers and play battlefield when you're firing an ar-15 in that game you will get the same piercing high-pitched noise you hear as if you're firing a real ar-15 in life in in real life the HD 800 reproduces that perfectly and in a way that no other headphone I've used yet has been able to do it's just phenomenal how accurately these are able to reproduce high pitched sounds with such true-to-life detail and regarding the soundstage of these headphones it's extremely good in fact it's almost like listening to speakers as I mentioned earlier you almost forget you're wearing headphones even if you're to compare these to the k7o ones they just do not have that same spatial sound stage of the HD hundreds I did some home theater testing with these as well in the open quality was definitely a plus because of this soundstage the sound almost appears to come from the screen and again you soon forget you're wearing headphones you're just getting lost in the film to give you another specific example when I was listening to Chicago symphonies symphony for the orchestra spread from wall to wall all the way back to the rear of the stage they are amazingly convincing even comparing these to the k7o ones which do have a big and impressive soundstage but it's just not as real as the HD 800 clearly the HD 800 I found is just a spatial champion now I did want to bring up using these with an amp these are 300 ohm headphones so you will want an amp and a good one in order to really experience the magic of these headphones these headphones definitely scale well with different equipment so the better equipment you use the more you'll get out of these now something you should really keep in mind is that the HD 800 is very revealing of the component behind them and so make sure that your amplifier can produce good clean signals because any kind of distortions will sound ugly on these headphones but even more important than the amplifier use is the source you're using so the better your source the better these headphones will shine and again you can check below in the description box for some different examples or ideas to pair with the HD 100 now I also want to make another comparison to bear dynamics t1 generally there's more mid-range and low-end presence in the HD 800 where the t1 has more presence in the treble as a result the HD 800 is warmer sounding and fuller bodied while the t1 sounds more crisp and precise so many times vocals will sound warm or smoother and fuller bodied in the HD 100 also notice that the HD 800 consistently gives a more in the venue feel whereas the t1 gives a sharper and clearer view of the music for faster music the t1 tends to carry the pace a little bit better the HD 800 tends to work better for medium and laid-back music compared to the t1 but overall it seemed that the HD 800 works for a wider range of music now a great test piece is the opening part of Symphony of sorrowful songs this work starts out with the Contra basses and cellos plane and their bottom most registers as softly as possible very slowly they get louder they slowly move up the scale and start to split off after a while the violas join in in their lowest register as well and then eventually the violins each section then splits into two or more sections playing different lines now at the average set of headphones you usually don't hear anything until about two to five seconds into into this piece but with the HD 100 you actually hear the start of this work the headphones actually deliver the extremely soft low tones of the opening bass line and you can even hear when the section splits into two parts you can hear the entrances of the cellos and when they branch off into different melodies it is so wonderful and so moving to listen to it's truly what I think high-end audio is all about as another example listening to I'm confessin from jazz at the pawn shop the HD 100 puts you more inside the music instead of taking a back seat on the bar you're now sitting at the table area and very close to where the band is instruments are placed very wide even wider than what you'll find on the t1 and they're more present the presentation you get with HD 800 is really really special with this piece so to sum up the sound quality of the HD 100 it is a headphone with a lot of potential yet at the same time it is a hard headphone to please there is nothing polish or boosted about the HD 100 your music better be well recorded your source better be a good quality source in your amplifier better deliver some clean power but if you feed a good signal into it it will spit out some of the best sound you'll ever get from a headphone when you have everything just right it's like the stars aligning themselves together and music listening finally becomes perfect so now go ahead and wrap things up with some final thoughts also some consideration about these headphones whether or not they may be a good fit for you're looking for or not so even though these are a world class headphone that gives you one of the best listening experiences in the world there's still some reasons you might want to consider a different pair of headphones first these headphones are open headphones which means they leak a lot of sound and you can certainly hear ambient noise around you so if you think that might be an issue you definitely want to consider a closed back headphones instead also another consideration is just going to be not only the cost of these headphones but if you don't already have a good quality amp already that would be an additional investment as well so something to consider is looking at just not only the cost of these headphones but just the total cost to really get the sound you're looking for out of these headphones and to really feel the magic so to speak that these headphones are capable of reproducing and along those lines is the idea that these headphones are very picky about the amp and source so for example if you're driving these with a portable amp it probably will make sense to get these sure you'll have killer instrument separation and soundstage compared to cheaper headphones but again that magic just won't be there you're more likely to get much better more musical results with less expensive headphones such as the HD 650 with these headphones your music needs to be well recorded your source needs to be a good quality source in your amplifier need to deliver some clean power if not you just won't get the listening experience these headphones are capable of and then a final consideration is these headphones might be too neutral sounding for some the HD 800 is a very neutral headphone it's free from coloration and this much neutrality isn't something you may immediately appreciate for example if you're listening to the HD 650 and you just love its laid-back and dark sound realize that on the HD 800 though a lot of things will be improved you're gonna lose that laid-back and dark HD 650 sound so you have to ask yourself if that's a trade-off you're willing to make or not but overall it's become clear to me that the HD 800 is an all-around stellar performing pair of headphones every single performance aspect is just so close to perfect so the bottom-line question you might be wondering is are these worth the money you know if you have the money and you need a pair of high-quality headphones that will reveal all say if you're a recording engineer or producer and you have to hear what's on the master recording you not only should you must get these or if you're the type of audiophile who's not content with less than the best you need to at least hear the HD HD hundreds and probably own them as well the HD 800 headphones are about as close to perfect as it gets they are the best sounding headphones again I've heard to date I love that Sennheiser has managed the difficult balancing act of making an interesting sounding headphone and is still very neutral they have an ultra wide and deep soundstage that envelops you in a sonic Oasis every note sounds perfect from the deep bass to the trebles they are smooth focused and effortlessly natural sounding they have pitch perfect accuracy and neutrality you're getting near perfect all-around performance in one set of headphones if you want to truly hear your music the way it was intended to sound then you will be extremely happy with the HD 800 so hopefully this review was helpful for you if so leave a thumbs up I always appreciate that and again check below in the description area for additional information about these headphones including other headphones and songs and so forth that I mentioned throughout this video also include a link to where you can get these out for the best price and as I mentioned earlier if you're interested in a group review of Sennheiser headphones all at the same time including the HD 800 check below for a link to that video as well otherwise thanks so much for your I really appreciate you guys watching and hopefully I'll see you in another video