Senn HD-800S - changes after break-in period?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Doug Walton, Sep 7, 2017.

  1. Litejazz53

    Litejazz53 Enjoying Sparkling Crystal Clear Digital

    Nothing like taking a pair of Sennheiser HD-800 headphones and cutting up some old Shure earbud pieces and sticking them in your $1,200.00 headphones and calling it an SBAF modification, I would call that a shot in the dark, oh my. I believe I would let Sennheiser do the extreme resonator design and implementation, probably a better idea, as well as tailoring the improved low frequencies.:agree:
     
  2. Thomas_A

    Thomas_A Member

    Location:
    Uppsala, Sweden
    The 800S seems to be bass-elevated. The H650 is a bit bass-elevated as well but the HD600 is better balanced in my ears. The AKG K271 Studio were really good, but there appear to be variations in the follower AKG K271 Mk2, a bit bass-shy. However, for closed cans it really depends on the fit and position on the head and just a tiny leakage will cause bass to suffer.
     
  3. murphythecat

    murphythecat Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    I havent used shure buds, but the SDR which is hardly a shot in the dark. its well documented and measured that it affect the 6khz peak similarly then the hd800s built in resonator
    Sennheiser HD 800 S: Tweaked and Delightful...and a French DIY Response Page 2

    I also think that the hd800(S) need bass boost. I couldnt appreciate the hd800 without both SDR and SBAF mod and analog bass boost.
     
  4. Litejazz53

    Litejazz53 Enjoying Sparkling Crystal Clear Digital

    Well for me, it's the factory 800S with the Sennheiser HDVD 800 amplifier, and I'm a very happy camper, lots of good listening. :righton:
     
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  5. Doug Walton

    Doug Walton Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    United States
    I hear your message, but apparently the people who came up with those mods have some relevant background in stuff like that and went through a lot of quantified iterations. The numbers of people who have done those relatively simple mods and noted positive improvements implies that it wasn't a guess. I'd rather just get the HD800S myself, but there was a period of time when that options wasn't available, and from what I've read, a fair number of people who did those mods to their HD800 prefer them over the HD800S now.
     
  6. petertakov

    petertakov Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Sofia, Bulgaria
    Whenever you switch between headphones the main thing you notice immediately is the difference in EQ and it seems significant and you tend to prefer the one you are more used or inclined to. You seem to prefer brighter sound and upon direct comparison hd800 will probably sound "better" than hd800s (or any less bright headphones) but give them some - listen without switching between them and other phones and then make up your mind.

    If you still don't like them after that don't bother with "break-in" - it won't change much if anything. "Break-in" is placebo, mental adjustment and wishful thinking/justification in about equal measures.
     
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  7. Doug Walton

    Doug Walton Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    United States
    Yep - I'm now finding this to be true. I try to listen to one pair for an entire evening of listening, or at least an hour straight. I'm learning a lot from this.
     
  8. Litejazz53

    Litejazz53 Enjoying Sparkling Crystal Clear Digital

    That is an interesting assessment, that many people that have done the DIY mods prefer their mod over the newer product. I have never heard anyone say that, and of course the small engineered difference in the low end on the headphones is not addressed in the DIY fix. I'm very sure some detailed engineering was done on the DIY fix, and this fix is the only thing available to people that have the HD-800 phones as I did. I was very fortunate to be able to work with the sales manager of Sennheiser and move into the HD-800S, just a very short time after I had actually purchased the HD-800. He assured me I would be much happier with the HD-800S and he said much, much engineering went into that little piece to calm the high frequency bump, it was not some quick fix, it was highly engineered, size, shape, material, positioning, no little thing, although it appears small, it was not a small thing to Sennheiser. We certainly agree that if we had or have the option, both of us would opt for the new and improved HD-800S. As I have said in other postings, I have never heard a headphone that has the ability to place sounds in such a large space, the sounds are literally all over my head, they throw a sound field out like a set of speakers, it's really just amazing! You know, I honestly thought by now Sennheiser would alter the original HD-800 headphones for people that wanted the modification, but that has not happened, and that could have something to do with the change of the low frequency response. You know, it would be interesting to know exactly how they made that low frequency modification to the product! :righton:
     
  9. petertakov

    petertakov Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Sofia, Bulgaria
    They used a resonator tuned at the high frequency peak that plagued the original hd800 to basically cancel it. I'm afraid your sales manager friend from Sennheiser exaggerated quite a bit the ingenuity and effort that went into the "official mod" for hd800s. He had to for the price they ask, I guess :) Designing a resonator tuned at specific frequency is not particularly difficult or time-consuming but is quite difficult to implement in practice without proper high-tech tools that are mostly unavailable to common people.

    And finally, the only difference between the regular and the S model is said resonator, which only affects a very specific high frequency. Any perceived difference in low frequency response is the result of tuning down the irritating high frequency peak that previously masked it.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2017
  10. The difference in bass with the 800S is due to other tuning and not due to the resonator thing. Otherwise the people adding the after-market resonator thing would also be getting a similar change in bass tuning as the 800S, and they don't. The 800S has more harmonic distortion in the bass region. That extra distortion will make the bass sound more full.

    I have a different take on doing mods on headphones. You really shouldn't be doing mods unless you have a headphone measurement rig that you can use to verify the mods are done correctly and that they're doing what they should. You should also retest the headphones periodically after modding them to make sure the mods haven't shifted or deteriorated or gone out of spec. If you don't have a measurement rig to test and verify then mods are just a crapshoot, a game of chance.

    Most people don't have a measurement rig or have access to someone who does. For those people I would say the 800S is a better choice because they do not have the means to test and verify the mod and don't have the ability to retest and make sure the mod hasn't deteriorated in 6 months or 12 months or 18 months.

    You can say buy a used HD800 and do the mod and save $800+. I can say that if you do that without doing measurements to verify then you have no idea if the mod was done correctly. If you just buy an 800S you know that it is all correct and isn't going to deteriorate due to materials deteriorating or shifting. What is worth more? An 800S that you know is correct. Or a hand modded 800 that causes audiophile nervosa because you have never measured and verified that the mods are correct.
     
  11. petertakov

    petertakov Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Sofia, Bulgaria
    ... or you might just buy headphones that YOU like in the first place instead of spending crazy money on something just because everyone else is hype about it and then modding it or hoping it will magically transform by itself (break-in :)

    I bought Senn Momentum On-Ear based on hype and these are still the worst headphones I ever owned (apart from those that come with some phones, obviously). I recently bought some Philips phones without having read a single review of them - I was just mighty impressed after listening to them out of curiosity and I still think they are amazing and much, much better than the Momentum.
     

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