Sennheiser HD800 Headphone Reviews

Manufacturer Sennheiser Model HD800
Headphone Type Open Circumaural Headband Type Single
Weight (g) 330 Driver Type Dynamic
Enclosure Material Other Isolation (dB) 102
Impedance (ohms) 300 Cable Length (cm) 30
Frequency Response (Hz) 6 - 51000  
Connector 3.5mm Street Price US$1399
Buy from Amazon.com  
Average reviewer scores
Bass Extension 8.7 Bass Impact 8.2
Bass Quality 8.8 Mids Quality 8.7
Highs Quality 8.5 Soundstage 8.2
Detail 8.5 Portability 3.0
Isolation 0.0 Comfort 6.8
Durability 8.2 Improvement With Amplification 8.3
Value for Money 6.0    
Overall Score 8.1 Total Reviews 6

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Reviews by our members

Review by Senior Member chunkage on 14 Nov 15  15:00
Individual review
Bass Extension8
Bass Impact8
Bass Quality9
Mids Quality9
Highs Quality9
Detail8
Comfort8
Durability8
Value6

The HD800 is currently at the top of the Sennheiser line, and by some commentators perhaps one of the best dynamic headphones ever.

- On arrival, the HD800 comes in a black wooden box that is foam-padded with luxurious velvet. It also contains a full-color, richly detailed booklet.

- The HD800 is rather bulky, even a bit heavy. At the same time, the weight helps increase the isolation - but it's also an open phone. There's an enveloping feel with the phones that are easy to enjoy.

- The sound is full, but relaxed - not bassy like earlier HD650s. These phones are exceptional in its sound imaging, the instruments occupying discrete parts of the sound spectrum. While the sound spectrum is 8-51,000 - there's no question you're getting the full range of music available.

- The trebles are clear but steers away from over-detail. The deep bass is relaxed and, in some music, enveloping - but not as heavy as the D5000, but the mids are the biggest surprise: much more detail and musical variety. The HD800 tries to fill in the full range, top to bottom, and quite successfully. It doesn't have the Grado \"snap,\" but the makes up for it with added accuracy.

- Some low-fi recordings may be revealing with the HD800, but rarely harsh. There's always just enough deep bass to supply just enough richness - but not enough to give the a \"thump-thump\" response. But the mids are front and center, giving much more precision and detail, and a more satisfying sound. Don't look for a Grado \"snap;\" the HD800 goes for a more accurate sound.

- Good news - by using after-market vendors, you can apply special colors and finishes to the HD800 - for no added cost. The result is even more impressive than the Beyer configuration.

Review by Senior Member dalethorn on 14 Nov 15  15:00
Individual review
Bass Extension9
Bass Impact8
Bass Quality8
Mids Quality8
Highs Quality8
Detail8
Comfort9
Durability9
Value4

The HD-800's lows are near ideal, lacking only the maximum clarity of live music. The highs are fine, again lacking only in the detail of live music. The mids are slightly boosted in the presence range, perhaps around 6 to 8 khz. They are never irritating, but do have more crispness and \"air\" than live music. The comfort is near ideal, bettered only by the very light on-ear models like the PX-100 series. The 800 is quite bulky and will not be ideal for walking around, particularly outdoors, but they do sit securely enough on the head so that normal moving around does not disturb the sound. After nearly 20 months of use they are still like new, and seem like they would last forever. They play well from iPods and the like as long as the media has average or better volume. The overall balance of lows and highs is the same on iPods as on desktop amps, but again, the volume must be adequate on the source material. Compared to the Sennheiser 650, the previous model I owned, the 800 has greater clarity and detail, but otherwise is very similar in sound, and very neutral to my ears.

Review by Senior Member carstens on 19 Feb 11  00:28
Individual review
Bass Extension8
Bass Impact8
Bass Quality9
Mids Quality9
Highs Quality9
Detail9
Comfort2
Durability9
Value5

I use Sennheiser HD800 together with Musical Fidelity M1 HPA headphone amp.
The soundquality is amazing, the best I have heard in a headphone.
The sound is very rich and clear with great dynamic.

But the comfort is very bad. The headband is very hard and uncomfortabel. It pressed uncomfortably on my head so I forget how good it sounds.
Nor the earpads are not very comfortabel.

I bought the headphone by mail order. I would never chosen HD800, if I had the opportunity to try it. I would probably have bought Denon AH-A100 or Beyerdynamic DT 880.

Review by Senior Member quaddy on 16 Mar 10  08:51
Individual review
Bass Extension8
Bass Impact7
Bass Quality7
Mids Quality7
Highs Quality7
Detail8
Comfort8
Durability8
Value8

The Sennheiser HD 800 is a purists headphone.

at first audition this headphone may not seem to live up to its own hype, and indeed its price tag - it doesnt shout out about its technical abilities in listening, it doesnt seem to strike you as being fantastic in one particular area.

if it did, i would be a bit worried, as normally when this is the case, a headphone that does this is slanted to much in one way to appease and please the novice ear, and make things warm and coloured and gentle on the ears

no, rather than try and appeal to one crowd, be it bassheads, or fans of coloured reproduction it quietely and efficiently does the opposite, it garners your attention and grabs and demands your listening time, you will soon, without realizing it, realize that hours and hours have passed listening to your favourite albums and tracks, and makes it fly by, a pleasure and such an immersive and easy ride.

the sound is very accurate, and i say that as someone who is a huge fan of his pair of probably the best dynamic headphones ever created, the AKG K1000 - they are unique and a law unto themselves and am so glad that the differences, and the pros and cons of the HD800 and the K1000 still allow me to justify keeping both for different diciplines and moods

the HD800 are great all rounders, normally this is a metaphor for average, in this case, oh contrare, they do nothing badly at all, and do 99% of everything right, this is of course highly dependant on your setup, source, and amplifier - although, ironically not as dependant as many a reviewer would have you believe, these headphones scale very well, and enable you to listen from mediocre sources and amps and still enjoy their prowess, sure to a degree they will expose recording imperfctions with low rate lossless, but these are more forgiving than headphones several rungs from below, which is a great achievement

for anyone reading this who has had the privelidge to listen or indeed own the AKG K1000, let me give a brief comparison as a marker for you

the hd800 feels slightly more closed in and suffocated than the ridiculously airy and holographic K1000

the K1000 wins in absolute micro detailing and layering of background instruments and low level effects and auditory minutia, but can, because of that sometimes feel quite harsh and quite an exercise in critical listening, when perhaps all you want to do is to have your toes tap to a smooth accurate and enveloping relaxing sound - the HD800 just warm things up an iota and smooth out that detail ever so slightly and provide a more bassy 'closed-back' kind of effect

considering that the K1000 is a pig to drive and requires a juicy power amplifier to run and is now out of prouduction, then the HD800 more or less fills the gap of that type of amazing recreation of the sound spectrum

comfort wise, the HD800 have great clamping and circumaural capabilities, the ear pads totally cover the ears and are very comfortable and the clamping force is just right and will adjust to each listeners own shape and size head, the only physical attribute on the HD800 that could be improved is the adjustable headband, it is too easily adjustable, by that i mean just picking them up can cause it to drop down and change its former position, it needs to be more robust in terms of the click levels and needs more force to deliberately adjust them, rather than them doing that with the slightest touch.

to summarise, it seems, ironically, it takes someone who has clocked up many thousands of hours listening to other 'high-end' headphones to realize that when something just seems to work and do its thing and do everything right sound wise, then thats one hell of an accomplishment, its the very fact that these headphones almost seem to be average that is their secret ingredient, but it takes costly experience to realise this in my opinion and may give any new to the game, lucky, prospective owner the 'grass-is-always-greener' syndrome upon initial listening, give them a few hundred hours for them and for you to burn in to truly allow them to quitely yet seductively impress you.

if you want a bit of advise, that will save you time, tears and money, go straight to these if you have the budget and be happy with the HD800 for many years - there isnt anything currently in production that is better out there in the dynamic world that touches their all round true to life experience, whatever the cost.

Review by Senior Member DavidMahler on 29 Nov 09  22:28
Individual review
Bass Extension9
Bass Impact8
Bass Quality10
Mids Quality9
Highs Quality8
Detail8
Comfort9
Durability8
Value8

I am going to make this review short. These headphones are amongst the best I've owned and heard. I also own the Edition 8s and the R10s which are considered world class headphones. For classical (and pretty much any acoustic music) these headphones outshine all the others I've heard.......their bass response is the most natural I've heard on a headphone and suits anything recorded in a natural environment such as an orchestra or a live jazz combo. The transient response on these outshines all the others......The R10s exceed in the mids and possibly the highs. The highs can be smoothed with the proper tube amplification.

All in all I think these headphones are the best bang for the buck because in my opinion once you reach a certain level of quality there is no better, there is only "better for this recording" for instance I may prefer Steely Dan with the R10, Led Zeppelin with the Edition 8 and Beethoven with the HD800..........none of them are BETTER..... Headphones I look forward to trying in the future are the Hifiman HE5, Qualias (though chances are slim), AKG K1000, the entire Stax line, and of course the HE90.

But if I never heard classical music produced as well as the HD800 produces it I'd be perfectly content. I've spent much time in carnegie hall which is arguably the greatest acoustic hall in the world, certainly in the top 10, and when I listen to the HD800 I am hearing exactly what needs to be heard.........if you are looking for a great headphone for non-acoustic music look elsewhere..........sidenote though, if you love trance or electronic, I have a suspicion these will be just about as good because the detail is so immense and the transient control is unreal! But for rock, metal, pop I could see other headphones being better possibly for cheaper. Check out the Edition 8s if that is you favorite genre selection, the Edition 8s are the best all round headphone I've ever heard, while they can't quite do classical with the same finesse as the HD800. I think Jazz is best on the HD800 as well, but the R10s are surely brilliant at it.

Finally I will say, that when I'm in the mood to just sit back and listen with a cup of coffee in my chair and just kick back, the HD800 are 70% of the time what I reach for. SO comfortable, the sound is pretty darn effortless......there are some headphones that while listening you can't imagine better sound, this is one of them.

Other headphones I've owned and heard...

Sennheiser HD600
Sennheiser HD650
Beyerdynamic DT880
Beyerdynamic DT990
Beyerdynamic DT770
UE10 (great IEM which I subsequently reviewed quite some time back...........I think at the time they were very possibly the greatest headphone on the market......at this point I would move some of the ratings a bit lower to make room for other headphones I've heard since which exceed it in some areas)
Westone3
Sennheiser IE8
Sennheiser HD595
Sennheiser HD280
Ultrasone HFI700
Ultrasone HFI550
Ultrasone Proline 650
Ultrasone Proline 750
Denon D5000
Shure SE530
UE Triple Fis
AKG K701
Sony SA5000
AT W5000 (hated these, but I was told the early models had a defect...mine was an early model)
Sensaphonics 2XS
Out of the bunch listed here the HD600 and SA5000 are my favorites.

Review by Member CraneyR on 26 Jul 09  15:05
Individual review
Bass Extension10
Bass Impact10
Bass Quality10
Mids Quality10
Highs Quality10
Detail10
Comfort5
Durability7
Value5

The model,Sennheiser HD 800, is capable of producing of one of the sweetest, complex, and smooth melodies which are enjoyable even at high volume. They are incredibly comfortable to wear. They really depend on amplifier. Sennheiser HD 800 are really worth to be called one of the best headphones in the world. They are great and make other fancy headphones sound inferior.

Sennheiser HD800