They also have a larger soundstage thanks to their open-back design. Conversely, the HD 800 S has emphasis in the lower lows. Both the Sennheiser HD 820 and the Sennheiser HD 800 S have a high-mid emphasis. Comparison winner. The HD820 is basically an HD800S, closed-back. 31 points. Keeping with The Who, the Mobile Fidelity mastering of Quadrophenia presents that somewhat murky mix at its best. So, just as Sennheiser has nearly perfected its flagship open can by revising the HD800 into the HD800S, it’s also introduced a technically impressive but tonally flawed top-of-the-line closed can in the HD820. For example, in the song Highways and Clouds by Amos Lee, his voice seems to sit more evenly in the mix when I was listening to the HD 800 S. However, the HD 820’s boost helps melodies in strings, pianos, synths (etc), especially in meaty arrangements, stay on top so they are easy to follow and don’t disappear in the thickness. The string section on the HD800S gets a bit more of a "outside of the head" experience compared to the HD820. All of the included cables are sort of big and bulky. The HD800 definitely are bright. The sound coming out of the back of the unit reflects off the curved glass and is directed towards sound-absorbing chambers, so avoiding the downsides of a closed design (in theory at least). Sennheiser has fixed the original HD 800's Achilles' heel. The big question is of course, does it do what that very famous headphone has been able to do, just with a closed-back design. Could Sennheiser capture the HD800S series sound in a closed back design? As a result, they both have a similar vibe to their look. Today, we’re going to start at the top, both in terms of price (U.S. MSRP of $2,399) and in terms of expectations, with Sennheiser’s HD820. The Sennheiser HD 820 look similar to the HD 800 S but have different, closed-back ear cups. The HD 820 has a boost in the high part of the lows, almost bordering on the low-mids. As the piano and drums kick in, the impressive bass slam of the HD820 becomes obvious, but so does its somewhat disjoined presentation. I like them in that order from most harsh highs and lacking bass, to smoothest highs with the best bass. For example, when I was listening to MUNA’s song, Winterbreak-Tiesto’s Deep House Remix, the bass synth seemed to have more energy when I was listening to the HD 820. Physically, the HD820 also resembles the HD800S. And although both headphones’ drivers are covered (the HD 820 by glass and the HD 800 S by a metal grill), they are both visible. Like the HD800S, the HD820’s clamping force is minimal, and with proper adjustment both the HD820 and HD800S are comfortable over long listening sessions. The cables of both the Sennheiser HD 820 and the Sennheiser HD 800 S are pretty much identical. (I think I may have screwed up HD800 data because it was so long ago - I will revisit the above the post. While the dip seems to accentuate the instrumental separation and reduce muddiness with well-recorded, well-mixed material, the HD820’s unique frequency response makes some sonically less-than-stellar material even cloudier. Looks like the HD800S and HD800 S Anniversary Edition are the same. Like any non-neutral set of cans, the ear becomes more accustomed to the HD820’s presentation the longer you listen to it, making it easier to appreciate its strengths. Befitting its extra cost, Sennheiser has included three cables (rather than the HD800S’s two) with the HD820: an unbalanced 1/4-inch stereo cable, a balanced XLR-4 cable, and a balanced 4.4mm Pentaconn cable. By What Hi-Fi? The opening synth line of “Baba O’Riley” sounds “scooped out” on the HD820, suppressing harmonics that are usually front-and-center and revealing others that are usually inaudible. Focal Clear vs Sennheiser HD 800 S. Focal Clear. Both headphones high frequency responses have a very similar vibe, it’s just that the HD 800 S tilts up. Sennheiser HD 800 S $ 1,490. The only difference is that the HD 820, in addition to the cable with the 6.3 mm connector and the cable with the 4-pin XLR, it has a 4.4 mm Pentaconn cable. It's the kind of brightness people eventually learned to love, You need to be a member in order to leave a comment. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org, Sennheiser HD 820 vs Sennheiser HD 800 S Comparison Review. It is a separate layer from the thicker frame around it. As a result, their earpads are the same shape as each others. Lastly, both headphones’ earcups house the connector for the cables. On the other hand, the ridged piece of the HD 800 S is super thin and pliable. The dip creates a separation between the bass and the mids that, besides affecting tonality, leads to a notable sonic incoherence. Both the Sennheiser HD 820 and the Sennheiser HD 800 S are available for the best price here: To save 10% on your first purchase at Audio46, use code “majorhifi” at checkout. Like any daring and controversial deviation from neutrality, the pros and cons of the HD820’s unique presentation become apparent very quickly. https://www.youtube.com/majorhifi For the HD820 (red) and HD800s (green) measurements below, my EARS were calibrated with a slightly modified version of Marv from SBAF’s compensation curve, where a flat frequency response is represented by a flat line: With the EARS, the the HD820’s upper-bass/lower-mids dip appears to be what the kids call “lorge.” However, the size of the dip as captured by the EARS is in line with other other measurements of the HD820. Otherwise, enjoy the showdown… Focal Utopia, Sennheiser HD820, Hifiman Arya On the other hand, the HD820 has been somewhat divisive in audio forums for not sounding as open as the HD800S despite the higher price, but I … The German company has taken what was a … The Sennheiser HD 800 S are a better critical listening headphone than the Sennheiser HD 820. But the HD820’s elevated lower bass and upper-bass/lower-mids dip renders Quadrophenia a bassy mess. They made the Gorilla Glass panels in the cups convex to direct reflections into dampened chambers so that “reflected sound waves have virtually no chance of disturbing the movement of the HD 820's advanced 56 mm transducers and of compromising the precision of the audio reproduction,” as Sennheiser puts it. Introduction. The good news is that the HD820’s dip doesn’t sound quite as large as it measures. The price of the HD800S is a lot higher though. My recent review of the Sennheiser HD 820 prompted from questions from our subscribers, and inspired curiosity in me as well. Freed from the sometimes piercing high end of the HD800, it’s easy to enjoy the HD800S’s impressive soundstage (or “headstage”), which is arguably the widest and deepest of any set of cans currently available. The Sennheiser HD800s still seems the standard which people judge headphones by, although I notice that there are some high end closed back by Sennheiser now (HD820 at 2K), I personally didn't get on with the Focal's but this is a really personal thing due to fit and weight. The HD 820’s lows are modest in volume, although have a feeling of evenness and realism to them. The HD 800 S is the result of Sennheiser following its users' example. In general, the biggest difference between the Sennheiser HD 820 and the Sennheiser HD 800 S is, of course, one has a closed-back design, and the other has an open-back design, respectively. Add that to the fact that "headstage" is something I find more elusive than most other HP enthusiasts (It's all "between the ears" and nothing compared to a normal two channel image IMO), the Sennheisers are a bit flawed - but I know I swim upstream in this opinion. Could this be the headphone that finally delivers a reference level, open back experience in a fully sealed, noise isolating design? I own both HD800S and HD820. ". As a result, vocals sound more natural and brighter in the HD 800 S than the HD 820. But it's undoubtedly a very colored headphone, and I just can't get past that huge dip, as someone who prefers only modest deviations from neutral.
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