Few headphones have excited us as much as the HD 800 S. Since Sennheiser announced the follow-up to the top-of-the-line HD 800, we’ve been waiting on our tenterhooks with bated breath. But now we’ve actually got one sitting on our review desk, has all this anticipation been in vain? Or does the new HD 800 S actually live up to its hype?
The HD800 S is black, in comparison to the old silver HD800. This is perhaps the most noticeable difference between the two. But that being said, there’s still some novel goodness lurking under the hood of these headphones.
Still packed in the same posh case, the HD800 S impresses on the first look. With a removable cable and replaceable earpads, nothing has changed in terms of longevity.
The specs have seen a slight bump up in terms of frequency range, going from 6 – 51000 hertz on the old model, to 4 – 51,000 hertz on the newer model.
Okay, so big deal right?
But once you put these cans on, and juice them up with a decent amp, the difference becomes a little more apparent. For one thing, there’s a little bit more articulation and contrast to this new model. The HD800 S brings higher resolution to the table, while also bringing a smidgen more detail to the low end. And when you get to the high end of the frequency range, you get the impression of a slightly relaxed sound. Where we could sometimes get screeching, piercing highs on the old HD800, the S seems to handle these same notes with just a little more grace.
Of course, at the whopping cost of $1699, this may not be the upgrade or even the purchase for everyone. Even serious listeners on a budget may find that cost prohibitive, and we can’t blame them. However, for those of you looking for an endgame solution, the Sennheiser HD800 S can’t be discounted due to its high-level performance, it’s excellent design and build, and the fantastic degree of comfort (especially apparent during longer listening sessions).
Our recommendation? Buy these cans, if you can afford them. Or, if you’re a bargain hunter, at least snatch up a pair of the older HD800 now that the price has dropped.
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