The Sennheiser HD-800S is the German brand’s very high-end set of headphones. This model is an update of the Sennheiser HD-800. Unlike the Sennheiser HD-800 with its silver finish, the Sennheiser HD-800S stands out with its black coating. Apart from this change in colour, very few things differ between the two models, not even the reference embossed at the top of the headband (which remains HD-800).
Sennheiser HD-800S: presentation
The Sennheiser HD-800S is an imposing over-ear model, fitted with two large 56 mm diameter transducers enclosed in an open steel structure, just like the previous model. The latest model, however, features an acoustic absorbent, which aims to reduce resonance and get rid of peaks in volume in the high frequencies. The frequency response ranges from 4 Hz to 51 kHz (-10 dB), i.e. approximately ten Hertz lower in the bass range than the HD-800 model. Nominal impedance is 300 Ohms.
Two detachable cables come with the headphones ? one unbalanced with a 6.35 mm jack connector and a balanced with XLR connectors. When used with the Sennheiser HDVD-800 headphone amp, the amp’s balanced output can be used.
Sennheiser HD-800S: listening conditions
For the purposes of this test, we listened to the Sennheiser HD-800S with the Audio Technica AT-HA5050H headphone amp connected to both a computer (USB) and Thebit Opus #1 portable player. We didn’t test the balanced connection. Our sources were CD and studio quality FLAC files and Deezer.
Sennheiser HD-800S: comfort
The Sennheiser HD-800S is well balanced and doesn’t exert any uncomfortable pressure on the user’s head. As the headphones use an open-back design, listeners are not isolated from any external noise interference. The Sennheiser HD-800 headphones are best used in quiet surroundings. Another drawback of this open design is that listeners aren’t the only ones to hear the music being played. This, however, is the price to pay if you want to benefit from the well structured wide sound stage.
Sennheiser HD-800S: listening impressions
These headphones deliver a perfectly clear sound with a very well centred distribution of energy in the medium range, which can prove catchy with an average quality source. The very large transducers, whilst not being incredibly dynamic in the bass range, nevertheless go down low. Compared to the HD-800, the Sennheiser HD-800S demonstrates better control in the bass range and is slightly more fluid in the treble range. In spite of all this, the tone balance rises slightly which doesn’t suit all types of music. Users should play around with the sound equalizer in order to consolidate the presence of the low-medium and to improve the delivery of certain vocal styles. Good sound takes, particularly with classical and jazz, highlight the qualities of the Sennheiser HD-800S.
Sennheiser HD-800S: conclusions
The Sennheiser HD-800S clearly benefits from audiophile properties. The quality of these headphones is unrivalled when it comes to the medium range and texturing of vocals and instruments. Pair them up with a powerful headphone amp, such as the Sennheiser HDVD 800 and above all use them to listen to good sound takes.