I woke up this morning sleepy from the wonderful, exciting, chaotic, and thrilling energy present at Can Jam NYC 2018. All weekend I was vigorously running from booth to booth to try some of the new and exciting products on the floor. One of the headphones I was most curious about was the new Sennheiser HD 820 closed-back headphones. So now I shall recall what I heard with this Can Jam NYC 2018: Sennheiser HD 820 First Impressions Review.
Can Jam NYC 2018: Sennheiser HD 820 First Impressions Review
Build and Feel
The first thing I noticed when I picked up the Sennheiser HD 820 was their beautiful earcups which, as you probably know, display the mechanical innards of the driver housing through concave gorilla glass. This glass reflects sound back into sound absorbers. As a result, it levels out spikes in resonant frequencies that are so common in many closed back headphones according to Axel Grell, the headphones’ designer. I was lucky enough to speak with him about it at their booth and his description was more eloquent than mine. So if you want to know more about the technology, I recommend looking for direct quotes from him.
The headband of the Sennheiser HD820 is super light, and the headphones in general were very comfortable. While the headband is made of plastic with a thin strip of metal supporting its extension, it still felt durable with very little stress on the yolk.
Lastly, the earpads were super soft and light. They were thin but still felt comfortable. They felt a little big for my head, and as a result didn’t seem great at sound isolating. However, perhaps they would isolate better for folks with bigger heads. It’s worth taking a listen to them for yourself to see how they perform.
The low frequencies of the Sennheiser HD820 felt tight and responded quickly to transients. Therefore, the lows sounded balanced and realistic. Their lack of exaggeration felt particularly good with classical, jazz, and music with mainly acoustic instruments.
The midrange felt strong and detailed. They reproduced midrange heavy instruments (like guitars, strings, horns, and pianoes) very musically and beautifully. The sound was less warm and more detailed, although I don’t think it was overly analytical. It maintained a sense of quick dynamics and so preserved musicality.
While vocals sat in a healthy and natural place in the mix, vocals in some mixes felt a little bit sibilant. However, they were also airy and pretty sounding due to superb high frequency extension. Although, the preference of the high frequencies in this Sennheiser HD820 will come down to what particular recordings and mixes you have, overall I felt like the highs contributed to the overall accuracy of the imaging and liveliness of the tunes.
The sound stage was remarkable, especially for a closed back headphone. They portrayed a great sense of depth and width, and height.
The Sennheiser HD 820 is a truly unique closed-back headphone. They sounded great with acoustic instruments, like those in folk, classical, and jazz. I highly recommend getting your hands on a pair to hear them for yourself if you’re curious about buying them.
The Sennheiser HD820 is available for pre-order at Audio 46.