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Sennheiser HD 800 Open-back Audiophile and Reference Headphones Reviews

4.5 stars based on 12 customer reviews
Questions about the Sennheiser HD 800 Open-back Audiophile and Reference Headphones?

Questions about the Sennheiser HD 800 Open-back Audiophile and Reference Headphones?

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  • from Chicago, IL November 3, 2015Music Background:
    Lifetime Musician, Producer, Mix/Mastering Engineer

    The Holy Grail

    All professional engineers will tell you "it's not about the gear, it's about the engineer." While I agree with that statement, I'm going to make an exception for this particular piece of equipment. In the last decade there have only been a few instances where I've noticed a big difference in my end product because of a piece of equipment. Immediately after receiving my Sennheiser HD800 headphones I noticed a big improvement in my mixing. What they did was show me in detail all the imperfections in what I thought was a deliverable mix.

    The headphones reveal a relationship between the frequencies that no other listening medium has provided me before. The headphones reveal overbearing lows, "honky" mids, and ear piercing high frequencies. This "no BS" transparency allows you to make decisions in your mix that will ensure there is great translation between listening environments. As of now, I only have to make 1 trip for the infamous car test! In short, if your mixes sounding great on these, they'll generally sound great anywhere else you play them

    I've always been a fan of Sennheiser's passion for audio with perfection being their end game. The HD800's are no exception to their flawless track record.

    In short: If you're serious about mixing, invest in these amazing cans - you won't regret it!

  • from Boston, MA May 9, 2015Music Background:
    Composer / Producer / Multi-instrumentalist


    This is much better than HD650 and Shure's SRH1840.
    I've used Beyerdynamic's T1 as well. Shure SRH1840 beats T1 and H650.
    HD800 totally wins SRH1840 in every aspects.
    I highly recommend HD800 if you're looking for a professional reference headphone for monitoring, mixing, and mastering.
    HD800 is designed by a genius.

  • from United States June 27, 2014Music Background:
    Randy Rhoads Freak

    Fantastic Headphones!

    These are fantastic. My previous headphones were a $450 pair of Ultrasone headphones, the Sennheiser blows them away. I mainly use them to learn Randy Rhoads songs from the Tribute album. If you don't know, this is a live album released after he died. I can hear exactly what he's doing, every subtle pick scrape and harmonic. For my purposes these are it! Thank you Sennheiser.

  • from Los Angeles January 6, 2013Music Background:


    These headphones are great. I just got them and am still breaking them in. That is a must with these bad boys. They are literally like wearing a 5 in woofer on yoour ear with all the sonic capabilities of a full surround system. I noticed that at first they dont sound as good as they will when they have had some sound pushed through them for awhile. They sound like they are held back a bit. A solid pre amp is a MUST for these to get the full sound .. ALL in ALL i recommend

  • from Pa September 6, 2012Music Background:


    I am really happy with my new HD800 phones, they sound great with the right amp. The service was outstanding and with the 3 easy payment plan I was able to get them much sooner. A++ all around

  • from Trondheim July 23, 2012

    King of the hill

    I tested HD800 via the headphone out on an Avid Omni, mainly against Beyedynamic T1, but also Beyerdynamic DT770pro and AKG 271 MK II.

    It did not take many seconds to hear HD800 is head and sholders way above the competition.

    After finding the least expensive dealer in Norway i bought them straight away. I have had them for about 4-5 months now and they sound fabulous.

    Its easy to place sounds in the stereo field. Its also easy to set levels for eq, reverb, delay, compressor, etc.

    They are wonderfully clear sounding and also very detailed. I read somebody wrote they really make you focus on details, wich is very true and good when mixing music.

    I highly reccomend them!

  • from May 18, 2012

    Excellent headphones

    These are everything that they are hyped to be. In addition to being awesome headphones for general listening, these have been like a microscope for me when making EQ decisions. I went from barely detecting .5 dB changes with my old setup to clearly hearing .25dB changes with careful listening. If your mix sounds good on your main monitors, translates to mono, and sounds good on these, then you can be pretty sure it is a great mix. Put simply, if you are running through a good clean amp and quality DAC, these will always tell you the truth.

  • from March 30, 2012Music Background:
    Mixing and Mastering.

    Just don't hesitate and buy them now.

    This is unbiased and unsolicited by Sweetwater. These cans are a whole other level of experience. You can hear whether a fade was not ideally drawn, or whether you selected the ideal dither type, or whether you used too much compression, etc. These cans are painfully honest and relentlessly unflattering...except...if you feed them good audio. The masterpieces of audio sound sublime and the lemons of audio only teach you what went wrong in the process. I can also hear the limitations of my Apogee Duet 2 converters and amplification. These beauties beg for an excellent DAC+Headphone amp. The Violectric V181 and V800 DAC are a synergy made in heaven with these headphones, running fully balanced.

    I must note that it is critical to break them in with pink noise or via the old fashioned way: time. They sound a tad stiff and strident at first listen. But after about 50 hours of pink noise at a moderate level, they sound lovely and open and the sounstage is 360 degrees. Put on something like Thriller or The Nightfly and they will not come off your head no matter how hard you try.

    A good amp to pair with these is either a QES Labs HPBA-2 balanced (with balanced aftermarket cable), Grace M903, or a Violectric V100, V200, or V181 balanced amp. It's a shame Sweetwater does not carry the Violectric line of headphone amps and their Weiss-esque V800 DAC. Simply amazing quality for a great price.

  • from Metro Manila, Philippines January 29, 2011Music Background:
    Musical director, Record producer, Session keyboardist.

    OMG! What a sound!

    The price tag surely made me think twice (much more than twice, in fact), but I finally got it, and I wasn't prepared for the level of detail I heard. I'm looking forward to listen to this on a better headphone amp like the Grace m903 pretty soon. :-)

  • from Livonia, Mi January 6, 2011Music Background:
    Audio enthusiast

    Far better than expected

    My son and I drove from southeast Michigan for the rare opportunity to audition a Sennheiser HD 800, HD 650 and HD 595 (Sennheiser is no longer shipping HD 800's to standard brick and mortar stores, so Sweetwater is the only place that we could find to do this).
    I expected to find that the difference between the 800's and the 650's would be minimal, that it would take hours of critical listening to find some minor difference in sound quality. I was also concerned that none of these dynamic headphones would provide the accuracy and clarity in mid-range and higher frequencies that my Stax SR30 electrostatic headphones have given me for 25 years.
    I was completely wrong. After thirty seconds of listening I was convinced that I should buy the 800's. Compared to the 650's, the sound was lighter and clearer. The 650's have a slight over-emphasis of the the lower mid-range, giving them a somewhat dark sound. The difference is not subtle or fleeting, it was apparent in every selection I played. The 800's give up nothing to my Stax, and provide stronger bass.
    I also would like to comment about the professionalism of the sales engineer who assisted us, Greg Baum. He ensured that we had a suitable listening environment and provided insightful information, but never pushed one product over another. It was not until I announced my decision and the reasons behind it that he expressed any of his own observations and opinions.

  • from San Diego, Ca November 7, 2013Music Background:
    Advanced Amateur Pro Audio Producer

    State of the Art! but could be improved....

    We'll they are the finest head phones i've ever heard, no doubt.
    I use them to complement by flagship Focal SM9 Studio Monitors. They are helpful in dialing the precise reverb in your mix or aid in carefully dialing in equalizers.
    They are an improvement over the old flagship HD650's but not really a $1000 improvement in my opinion. But I dont see myself ever using the HD650's ever again after jumping to these bad boys.

    But lets discuss the draw backs, maybe Sennheiser can improve on the next models!
    Cons....Heavy, adjustment never seems like the perfect fit, poor styling, silver color only?, its possible you can dent the outer diaphragm with your pinky taking your head phones on and off (they always pop back into place though), cable doesn't like to coil and uncoil nicely, you may experience ear fatigue as they cover the 17-20KHz so well. Every hi-hat in every song sounds like crisp tin crinkling (very precise but can sound a bit painful at high volumes (be careful).
    I can still imagine better sounding headphones but the HD800's straight up blow away the current competition, no doubt!
    They wont replace professional studio monitors but they are the baddest headphones available for sure!

  • from November 7, 2013


    these headphones suck man they broke because they suck man they should be like 5 dollars

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