Sennheiser HD800 fans - stand united



This is my experience too. Amps and DACs are often combined and called DACs for short so I think a lot of people attribute sonic improvement to the DAC when it was really the amp.

I think this is a common and understandable mistake among those who are just getting in to DACs/Amps.

Generally, the amp is going to make a way bigger difference than the DAC


Thank you for the information.


Thanks,so I’m leaning towards getting the HD800S,and Planars as a one two punch.


I have a pair of HD800S that I purchased from late last year.

Ashamedly, life stuff has kept them new in box, so I haven’t had a chance to listen to them yet! But that will all change within the next week or so as I have finally settled into my new home office.

I am hoping they will complement my love of Classic Rock and Jazz. Plus, as mentioned here, the long-term comfort should be outstanding. I am especially sensitive to hot spots on top of my head by headphones with poor padding and/or poorly distributed weight.

I plan on pairing them with Schiit stack consisting of Gungnir Multibit DAC + Lyr 3 Hybrid Tube amp. This is a single-ended only chain. Balanced duties will be handled by a Cavalli Liquid Carbon v1 amp.


I have a pair of HD800 and the LCD3s. They are both my primary listening sets (different systems). They are both setup to run balanced (which makes a huge difference to me) although I have just added a DarkVoice 336SE OTL tube amp that right now is burning in hooked up to an LH Labs Vi DAC, so one of them is probably going to go unbalanced. The others hook up to an Oppo HA-1 which works just fine.
For nothing but sound, I’d go with the LCD3s. But at least with my LCD3s, I am having maintenance issues with the wood, so if I take into account usability the HD800s pull ahead a little.


I actually own both the HD 800 and the Audeze LCD-3. They are different from each other and I find they complement each other.

The HD 800 does soundstaging better than any dynamic headphone that I have ever heard. The instruments aren’t beamed into your ears they are on a stage in front of you. The effect is amazing. This cans excel with all acoustic music. They are unmatched on jazz or classical music and extremely well-recorded rock and pop.

Their weakness is that they can be a bit bright on some recordings and styles of music. I have paired them with a tube based amp/dac from Red Wine Audio, but on some styles of music they are a bit hard on the ears.

The LCD-3 on the other hand may not match the soundstaging of the HD 800, but it is a superb all around headphone that excels at all styles of music. For me, they are my rock and roll headphones. They handle this music really well without some of the glare of the HD 800.

I would recommend you buy the headphone that matches your musical taste best. If you listen to pop/rock/dance music primarily, then you should go for the LCD-3. If you listen primarily to classical or jazz music, then I would go for the HD 800. In my case, my tastes are eclectic, therefore, I bought both sets of cans.


Most of the general characterisations of the sound signatures of HD800 and LCD-3 are spot on. If you do won a HD800 and haven’t done the SD mod, I recommend on doing it. It is a cheap mod and reversible. Further, if you know anybody who owns a Glenn OTL amp, try to pair your HD800 with it. Even a friend who is a LCD-3 guy, liked this pairing.


I have a pair of HD800s but am not familiar with the SDR mod. Could you elaborate or provide a source. Thanks very much, JS


I am using the Bottlehead Crack with a variety of tubes. My favorite is the Tung Sol 6F8G, but any 6F8G in good shape will have very fine sound. While its pins will fit directly into the socket, it requires and adapter that is readily available on eBay. This tube runs really cool as compared to some 6080 tube that heats up everything around it. Good listening, JS


I have listened to the Audese for almost a month. In my humble opinion they do not compare with the 800s. I am however sure that your selection will be right for you. Best, JS


Thank you,but would you be able to explain.
They don’t compare in what way.


This provides a more in detail explanation but essentially the SDR mod just tames the treble a bit and brings it closer to the HD800S without paying like twice the price.


I keep my HD800S on my nightstand paired with a Schiit Jotunheim DAC/AMP…more than plenty clean power for those pups. I usually plug into my Samsung Note 5 running Neutron which streams music from my Mac Pro which uses JRiver MC 24 server.


My HD800 is paired with a Matrix M-Stage HPA-300u. I know it’s quite an outdated Dac/amp and there are better ones out there, but I got a good deal on it in perfect condition. It does a great job. I am aware though that I haven’t heard many alternatives so it is what it is. I would love to get the Bottlehead Crack with speedball upgrade. I have also been looking at the Massdrop Cavalli tube amp. Lots of good reviews around.


I want so many headphones. The HD 800S are on the top of the list. I’ve owed HD 600s and still own HD 650s
I’m now looking for very good condition HD800S. I’ve been continuously checking Head-Fi and Audiogon. If anyone someone who wants to part with some with fair price, have them PM me.


You probably know this already, but be warned that the 800/s are very different beasts than the 6xx series. The 6XX is varying degrees of nailing tonality, but with pretty disappointing bass quality detail that is only good, and a relatively narrow soundstage. HD800/S is a technical marvel with a wide soundstage (almost unnaturally so, partly due to it’s FR), but a pretty wonky midrange (its biggest sin, in my opinion) and a sibilance spike (that I would personally say people make too big of a deal about, but this is down to how much it bothers you).

I still have a love/hate relationship with the HD800. Love, because it’s about as clean as a dynamic headphone can be with amazing detail that works really well with my tube amp. Hate, in that I found myself being overly critical of pretty much every singer while listening to them (hint: it wasn’t really the singers…at least not all the time). And critical of entire genres of music (to be fair, that was often the fault of the recording).


Thanks for your detail and impressions. I currently listen with Audeze LCD 2 Fazer and iSine 20s. I love their bass, not perfect but better than most I’ve heard. I did notice no mention of bass quality, as you hear them. Given I am attracted to bass oriented headphone, what would you or anyone for that matter tell me about their bass.


I honestly like the bass out of the HD800. It’s a bit of a different experience compared to my LCD-2C.

The LCD is the cleanest bass I’ve probably ever heard, but it doesn’t hit very hard. Some people like to say it’s “pillow soft”, which I do not hear, but it is a planar, and obviously doesn’t have a mid-bass bump.

I find that the HD800 can actually have a bit of a punch to it. It rolls off less than the HD650 (sub-bass is actually present). Instead of a mid-bass bump, it kind of has a bump that sticks into the lower midrange, which is slightly annoying, but not the worst. The bass is not as clean as a planar, but it’s not so egregious that I outright dislike it (like with the HD600/HD580 for songs that require more bass).

One last note - the midrange is kind of like taking the Audeze’s mid to upper midrange dip, but without having it extend into the low treble. Then warm up the low midrange a bit.

If all this is damning with faint praise, note that I’m being picky. But I do think that the HD800 is not a “purchase before listening seriously” headphone (as someone who did exactly that…).


I’ve a HD800 — with this tweak:

that is to say something between the original HD800 and the HD800S

b r :wink:


Still consider the HD800 the cheapest headphone worthy of being called “summit-fi”. Nice that the mids aren’t in your face like with most other analytical cans. Has decent punch as well, and its EQability is unmatched. I was really surprised when they started dipping under $600 for a bit on the used market.

I do think people over-exaggerate the soundstage. It probably is the widest I’ve heard, but I would never claim that it feels like I’m not wearing headphones. A large soundstage is nice to have but in reality, as long as it isn’t narrow, it’s kind of a non-factor.

Also really dislike the SDR mod. The bite is gone but not worth the tradeoff of a muffled sound.