The Sennheiser HD 800 S are excellent sounding reference headphones. They're comfortable and have a sturdy, durable build. However, they're not the most versatile. They're not designed for commutes or to use casually, but plugged into an amp, they deliver an exceptional listening experience.
- Excellent audio reproduction.
- Sturdy, durable build quality.
- Comfortable design.
- Can only be used in a well-isolated room.
- Sensitive to ambient noise.
- Bulky and heavy.
The HD 800 S are well-crafted, comfortable critical listening headphones. They feel sturdy and use a lot of metal to strengthen their build. The large, open ear cups are coated with a suede-like padding that feels good on the skin and promotes long listening sessions. However, they're not casual headphones. They're bulky, heavy and not designed to use outdoors or while doing any physical activity.
The HD 800 S are studio headphones, and it shows in their design. The massive open back ear cups and headband are reinforced with metal and padded with a suede-like material which makes these headphones look and feel premium. They may be a little too bulky to be worn on a daily commute but are stylish studio headsets that would look great on a stand by your amplifier.
The HD 800 S deliver a comfortable listening experience. The large ear cups easily fit around most if not all ears and are well padded with a suede-like material that feels good on the skin. Sadly, these headphones are a little heavy, and the ear cups may be too big for some.
These headphones are not designed for use during sports or physical activities. They easily slide off your ears when running or jumping. However, they will maintain their position during casual listening sessions even when tilting your head. The cable is detachable but takes a lot of force and may damage the headphones if violently removed, which slightly reduces their stability score.
The HD 800s are big and bulky headphones that do not fold into a more compact format for transport. They're not designed to be portable, and will take up a lot of space in a backpack and would barely fit in a regular handbag. The box they come in can be used as a substitute for a case. Unfortunately, it's far too large and cumbersome for regular use.
The HD 800 S have an excellent reference-quality audio reproduction. They have a neutral, even sound that feels open and spacious thanks to their great soundstage. Instruments and vocals are crisp and clear on every track they reproduce. Bass is not overpowering, and even the treble range, which most headphones struggle with, is well represented. They have no noticeable harmonic distortion, but may sound a little bass lacking compared to some other reference headphones.
Great performance. The bass response is extended down to 23Hz which is good, but low-bass is lacking a little bit. The 2dB overemphasis in high-bass adds to the warmth of the sound, but does not make up for the lacking low-end thump. The result is an even, warm and flat bass response, that is slightly on the light side.
Very good and even response. The only remarkable note here is the 3dB tilt favoring low-mid. It adds warmth and boominess to the lower instruments, and negatively affects the intensity and projection of vocals/leads. However, at 3dB this effect is very subtle.
Very good performance. The overall response is consistent and flat, but treble and high-treble are slightly on the bright side. This adds to the bass-light sound of these headphones.
- 100% Avg. Std. Deviation
Excellent soundstage. The deeply placed, large, and angled drivers of these headphones give the impression that the sound is coming from outside of the headphones' enclosure. In addition, these are one of the loudest and most open headphones we have measured, which opens up the sound and gives the impression of the music being part of the environment. However, despite being loud and open, the crosstalk of these headphones is not correlated enough to help the phantom center. The drivers are also well-matched, which is expected of reference-quality headphones.
Excellent Imaging. The HD 800 S produce the least amount of Phase Error out of all the headphones we have measured so far. This could explain the great reputation that these headphones have for Imaging. Additionally, the drivers of our test unit were quite well-matched, although 0.9dB of difference in amplitude is a bit too much for reference-quality headphones.
Very good performance. The overall amount of harmonic distortion is very low, especially at 90dB SPL, but could be considered slightly elevated for headphones of this caliber. At 100dB SPL, there is a general rise in the amount harmonic distortion, but it remains within good values.
These headphones are not meant to isolate listeners. The open-back ear cups encourages leakage, to improve sound quality. Unfortunately, this means they are not studio recording or casual headphones, and they will disturb anyone around you, with their loud, unobstructed leakage. They also don't block any noise, which makes them practically unusable outside of a well-isolated room.
Poor isolation. These headphones are very open and do not isolate well. The overall amount of isolation in bass and mid regions is virtually 0. In the treble range, these headphones fail to achieve more than 9dB of isolation which is very poor.
Poor leakage. With "Overall Leakage" of 59.08dB, these are one of the loudest headphones we have measured so far. The significant portion of the leakage is between 200Hz and 20KHz, which is extremely broad. These are not designed to be used in public, for recording, or in loud environments.
No active features.
No compatible app.
In the box
- Sennheiser HD 800 S Headphones
- 1/4" to 1/8" Adapter
- Audio cable (x2)
- Carrying pouch
- USB memory drive