Sennheiser HD 820 Closed-Back Headphone - Official Thread



I agree with you. We expect much more with these price differance.


Well, I must say these are something to hold in the hand! Surprisingly light, also one of the better looking headphones I’ve seen. Also very comfortable on the head. The glass is such a cool component and functional too as it directs reverb away and into sound dampening in the cups. So far I’m really enjoying these, I’ve only listened to about an hours worth of music, and have them next to my Focal Elegia for comparison. The Elegia is more relaxing to listen to and is more closed in sounding. The HD820 is wide surprisingly so for a closed back. It is very much so a similar experience to the HD800. There is some odd things happening that I can’t pin down as of yet…more to follow as I get more time with them. Oh one more thing…just like other TOTL headphones source matters and these will highlight bad quality recordings/compressed sources…


Ok, more time with them, I have a bunch of pictures I need to get off my camera. I’ll start pulling notes together and thoughts for the review. I will say these are amazing, but I’ve been spoiled by the Elegia. Spoiler the HD820 is probably my favorite looking headset I’ve played with to date.


Not wanting you to spill the beans too much re your review, but which do you like best?


To be fair it is like comparing apples to oranges, they both are closed back, but they both do different things. I would say that the HD820 is as close as you will get to closed back HD800(s). I honestly prefer the design and comfort of the HD820 to the Elegia, which says a lot, as the elegia is also one of the most comfortable headphones out there. The Elegia is very close to the Focal Clear tone, and balance. Elegia has an “easier” listening experience. The HD820 is more reference and detail oriented. I would say it is a very similar experience to A/B HD800 to the Focal Clear, as it is to the HD820 to the Elegia. As you have the previous mentioned you can get a feel for what it would be like to listen to them.

I still can’t get over the aesthetics of the HD820…

Anyhow I hope I sufficiently meandered around your question :wink:


Most definitely. Thank you for taking the time to answer. I appreciate it. I haven’t seen an HD820 in the flesh so to speak, but the way you speak of it’s look it would seem it looks even better than in pictures. I cannot get over the price of it though.

In very simplistic terms it looks like a HD800 with a bit of glass on the sides. I know that that isn’t the case. There must have been vast resources poured into R&D but still it’s pricr seems excessive.


I think that the majority of the cost is in the R&D of the glass and dampening, then fitting that into the HD800s frame. I also don’t think it justifies the cost for the average consumer, unless you very specifically need reference closed back HD800s. In that scenario the price is worth it. But for average everyday listeners I personally think that the Elegia fits the bill just fine as a everyday closed back with better than average sound profile in the TOTL lineup of closed backs.Now taking cost out of the equation, I would buy these in a heartbeat.


My feelings exactly. I haven’t had the head time with either of these but reading between the lines and what you’ve been experiencing I would definitely go towards the Elegia, if I was in need of a closed back headphone. Headphone prices are crazy and it seems to get worse as every month passes.


I’m enjoying these… this picture was from when I unboxed it last week. I’ll hopefully get a rough draft impression, and more “stylin” photos over the upcoming week, brother is retiring this upcoming weekend so that might be a wash…we’ll see lol.


I really enjoy these…but I’ve come up against a wall with them… they are fatiguing for me, specifically in that the reverb gets to me and causes discomfort. I get ringing in my ears after a bit of listening, I can’t fault these for a personal issue though =) before I have problems they are everything I would want in a closed back reference set. I still can’t get over how much I like the aesthetic either, that glass view is just…wow factor :wink:


That’s a real shame. I had the same experience with the iSine 20’s in that I liked everything about them but the fit. I just couldn’t gel with them and for that reason I sold them. So I feel for you.


@prfallon69, so I am doing an a/b with the CA Andromeda to the HD820, and they come surprisingly close to each other. I think the only major differences are the staging/width and imaging. Tone/treble/mids/bass are all much closer. Now mind you the HD820 is still in my opinion the better of the two across the board but, I was surprised at how close the Andromeda got to the HD820. It is like eating vanilla icecream from different boutique shops lol, it is vanilla, but “different” …


That’s nice to know. I am a great fan of the Andromeda’s and they’re in near constant use when I listen to my Dap. I need to get rid of some gear and free up some funds. I feel the need for another great iem. Talking of which have you seen the Zeus-XIV on Massdrop? It’s piqued my interest.

Of course I won’t be selling any of my iem’s though.:grin:


Thanks! You might have saved me some dough. I loved @Torq Ians review and started gearing up, since I’ve never had Closed Cans in all my yearsI depend on reliable reviews from folks like Ian.
Also my problem is location in Florida. i ave to travel quite a bit for auditioning. I would now have to hear them before buying. One thing about is they will take them back if you have made a poor selection. Something I hate to do, but shows their credibility.


As always a great review. Thanks for your continued dedication to our forum. We are very fortunate.


Honestly this is a personal/biological issue. I am writing my review of them now, and should have it finalized over the coming week or two (pictures is the part I struggle with).
I have a call into my ENT due to some other issues that started flaring up around the same time (inner ear wonkiness, due to probably too many blows to the head as a scrappy youngster) so in all truth it could be related more to that than the headphones. But yes 100% you should listen to them in person. I find that they are very close to what the HD800s sound like but as closed back.


I look forward to your review. I know about ent stuff. I had to do it myself. Mine was about balance, (almost 69). However in the process I was examined by the Audiologist and was very happy my hearing was very good.

I guess that means I’ll die of something, but listening to music while it’s happening.



I think this is generally universal with closed headphones across people (given enough listening time). Way back when someone told me about putting plastic drinking straws in their headphones as vents–I didn’t understand and laughed inside. Now I get it. The AEON Flow Closed also get to me after a while–my take away was that dynamics are the enemy. Compress the signal for better endurance.


While I experience more fatigue with closed-back headphones, and faster to boot, to various degrees (there are exceptions, e.g. the Elegia, the Fostex TH900-Mk2 and TR-X00), it’s with IEMs that I really find fatigue sets in quickly … either due to the raw discomfort of the way they seal or the pressure they exert, and that seems to build, while listening.

The ADEL and Apex equipped stuff (Empire Ears, 64 Audio, InEarz …) is the difference between being able to listen comfortably for hours, even all day in some cases vs. maybe making it two two hours … and this is aside from any acoustic/balance/signature issues (e.g. punishingly bright treble or massively overdone bass).

Be interesting to see such capabilities on headphones (beyond the Elegia, for example, which already does something similar, if for somewhat different reasons).


Now that you mention it, I can listen to the Elegia for dang near all day at work with out the fatigue…

I also get fatigue rather quickly with IEMs mostly due to ear pain from the way they sit in my ears, but comfy ones do get fatiguing on longer sessions…

:thinking: more to think about I guess. I know that I have a sensitivity to pressure in my ears so that could be what is happening here. For example I get sharp pain from ear pressure when diving more than 15’ free form or even literally diving into a pool or water etc.