Auditioned HD700 and HD800 at the same time using thee dealers Arcam CD into a Naim DAC V1; headphones plugged into the V1's headphone socket.
Both models sounded absolutely superb but the HD800 could retrieve more detail, more clearly, more of the time. The HD800 were also able to cope with bursts of volume and still be transparent. Probably makes them good for watching movies too.
The wallet said the HD700 but the ears won the day and I went for the HD800.
I was also looking at a headphone amp but the hi fi dealer dissuaded me as my home sources and pre amp kit are more than adequate to drive the HD800.
Astonishingly at home the HD800 can be driven wonderfully by my Audiolab 8200A headphone out socket with the 8200CD as source.
This astonished me because I have a pair of Grado 325i and they sound abyssmal when connected to the 8200A.
I have also tried the HD800 with my Lehmann Rheinlander. They sound better than the 325i driven by the same means. But plugging the HD800 directly into the 8200A has yielded the best results.
My conclusion is that if your sources and pre-amp are good enough, the HD800 are a sound investment as you may well save money on an expensive headphone amp you don't need.
Update ... reading the finer detail, the headphone output of the 8200A is 330 ohms impedance; the HD800 are 300 ohms. A good match ... by luck.
I'd never tried the headphone socket on my Cyrus amp, mainly because it is a 3.5mm socket (thanks Cyrus). I bought one of the Grado 3.5mm socket to 6.5mm headphone plug adaptors and the HD800 were superb. I didn't need to adjust the volume from my normal speaker listening level. Again this points out that if your sources are top notch, you don't really need a separate headphone amp with the HD800
Had mine for six months now and my ears have had time to adjust to the sound signature of the HD800's. beautifully detailed sound, clear and be warned, rubbish recordings or 128kbps mp3's will sound terrible. Feed them decent lossless files and you'll be in listening nirvana.
Comparison of HD800 with Grados , HiFiMan HE6 and Beyerdynamic T1.
I think headphones are as subjective as all High-end kit. To my ears and tastes, the HD800 are way beyond the capabililities of similar priced headphones from other manufacturers. Whether those that critisise them can hear something that I can't, whether one of us haven't heard something at their best or not run in, I don't know. It might just come down to taste (which I may, or may not have!!)
In my most humble opinion my headphones (HD800) give a realism across the frequency range, a musicality and a level of comfort which isn't matched.
The T1s sound lovely, but much darker and don't give the depth of bass or the sparkle of treble that the HD800s have. But if I could afford it, I would have the T1s too. I have loved a pair of Senn HD650 for years and the T1 sounds like a grown-up version of those.
The Grados have similar issues to my ears and I find uncomfortable.
The HE6s are wonderful, but need a diesel loco to drive them. To me they also have a slightly 'unreal' sound with certain recordings, even when driven by the sta ship enterprise Almost as though someone has used artifical sweetener in your favourite pudding without telling you.
Before anyone asks - why 'Jitter?'. It just seems appropriate - I have just the worst timing.
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