Sennheiser’s standard setting HD 800 headphones and HDVD 800 Digital Headphone amplifier redefine what you can expect to hear from a state-of-the art model.
Within seconds of setting the pair up in our listening room, we were hearing every last bit of detail from our signal sources that included CD, SACD, Hi-Res music files and the glorious sound of vinyl played back by the legendary Yamaha PX1 turntable.
Colleagues in the reviewing game who are veterans of the industry listened to the Sennheiser HD 800 and HDVD 800, and were just as stunned by the sound quality as I was.
The general consensus was the Sennheisers were delivering a pellucid midrange, taught informative bass and crystalline treble with consummate ease.
Moreover the timing and dynamic range was also extraordinary. We all agreed that Master Tape quality was an apt description for the music making ability of the Sennheiser HD 800 and HDVD 800.
Listening to Alan Taylor’s Colour Of The Moon on CD imparted a wide-open view of the studio acoustic including the thwack of Taylors fingers on the his guitar’s fret board.
Point is, Sennheiser’s HD 800 and HDVD 800 don’t favour a particular genre of music. Jazz, Acoustic, Punk, Classical are each handled with an evenhanded reproduction. A quality, which includes music, reproduced with abundant detail and immeasurably, low levels of distortion.
When asked John Davies, Specialty Consumer Products Head Man for Sennheiser Australia how Sennheiser continues to conjure up these class leading products, his answer wasn’t surprising to those of us familiar with this elite brand’s pedigree.
“Sennheiser has been engaged in the pursuit of perfect sound for over 60 years. It is a passion that drives every facet of the business, and there is no better example of this than the HD 800 headphone and the matched HDVD 800 amplifier,’’ he said.
‘’Designed to the most exacting standards that push the very boundaries of manufacturing, each set is hand-built in Germany and represents the pinnacle of headphone engineering.’’
‘’ All over the world, the HD 800 / HDVD 800 is acclaimed as the benchmark for audio excellence in headphones; it is the standard that others aspire to.’’
Davies pointed to the painstaking detail with which Sennheiser fashions all of its products. A great example is the optional CH8005 cable that links the headphones and amp in a fully balanced connection mode to further lift performance.
The HD 800 are so musically compelling, they easily earn the epithet, State Of The Art.
They do this by being streets ahead of all rivals in their ability to replicate the basic acoustic conditions of natural hearing with consummate ease.
Sennheiser has given the HD800s a vibrant and visually classy finish. Handling the HD800 imparts a feel of elegant and refined luxury. Pride of ownership is a natural compliment of these headphones which are crammed full of premium, top-of-the-shelf parts and materials. A precision material crafted from stainless steel encases even the speakers in the ear pads.
The ear pads are also handcrafted from a high-quality microfiber fabric, which is ultra-comfortable, and a cinch to maintain. The same attention to detail has gone into the headband and headphone mounting. The metal headband is built for durability and comfort over long listening sessions and uses an inner damping element for minimal resonance,
Both are the result of developments made by the aerospace industry. Even the connections are cost-no-object designs and exploit the virtues of specially design, four-wire, high performance connections. The cables aren’t just any cable. It’s a specially tuned, symmetrical impedance matching cable with low capacitance.
To cap off this groundbreaking model, Sennheiser has equipped the HD800 with the biggest transducer/speakers ever used by a headphone until now.
Sennheiser’s HDVD 800 Digital Headphone Amplifier is clearly a natural partner for the HD 800. But the point needs to be made that it will sound compelling with any quality headphone connected to it.
Sennheiser’s mission when developing its high-end models sounds simple. The goal was to create products with virtually no distortion and that sounded like the real thing.
The HDVD 800 is also sonically and visually a state-of-the-art model. Having used it for several months with a range of mid and high-end Sennheiser headphones, the overwhelming impression is of a balanced sound where no frequency is privileged over another.
Allied to this is tonal neutrality where instruments and performers are playing in an acoustic space that has depth, height and width. The amount of detail captured by the HDVD 800 and its enormous measured and working dynamic range has to be heard to be appreciated.
The HDVD 800 sound and feels top quality. Styling is exceptional and includes a glassed panel embedded in the amp’s aluminum chassis to give the proud owner a clear view of the amp’s high-quality interior.
Coupled with the HD 800 headphones, both make for compelling, long listening sessions.
For more info: www.sennheiser.com.au