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Sennheiser HD800 S Review

The Sennheiser HD800 S is a truly remarkable headphone, and while many people will comment negatively on the £1,199.00 price tag – in high end audiophile headfi circles this price, considering what you get … is significantly inexpensive. I say significantly because it is clear in my mind that Sennheiser are issuing a statement to their competitors.

Before you start questioning my sanity on the price point, take any of the other flagship headphones from the likes of Audeze (LCD 4), Hi-Fi Man (HE 1000) or Stax (009), JPS Labs (Abyss 1266) and you will be charged between £2,200 and £4,500 to take any of them home with you. The fact that Sennheiser are now including their (previously optional) £250 XLR 4 pin balanced cable makes the deal just a little bit sweeter.

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The Sennheiser HD800 S scores very highly against any of the competition regardless of price and considering all the finest headphones right now utilise Planar or Electrostatic technology it highlights that Sennheiser have been able to push their dynamic driver technology further than anyone else.

I wouldn’t go as far to say that the Sennheiser HD800 S are the best headphone on the market. The Stax 009, HiFi Man HE1000 and Audeze LCD 4 are, to my ears, superior headphones when driven properly but the Sennheiser HD800 S offer without question the highest value for money of any flagship headphone on the market today.

They are half the price of the HiFi Man HE1000 and one third the price of the Audeze LCD 4 and Stax 009. You could easily get the Sennheiser HD 800 S with a quality amplifier for the price of any of the other headphones alone and that fact alone could be the deciding point for many people.

Sennheiser have completely succeeded in their drive to improve the iconic HD800. They have smoothed out the rough edges which irritated me so much when using the original headphones, and they have not compromised on the epic sound staging, articulation and detail that ensured the HD800 have been a big seller since their launch 7 years ago. It is worth pointing out that Sennheiser have earned a reputation over the years for building headphones that last for decades. The HD800 has been one of the most reliable headphones on the market, while some of Sennheisers competitors have suffered from driver issues at launch, and even product recalls.

If you want to dive into the high end market by purchasing an ‘end game’ headphone, then the Sennheiser HD800 S is one of the most cost effective ways of doing so. Just make sure you don’t skimp on amplification as you will never truly experience their full potential.

Pros:

  • Incredibly detailed.
  • built to the highest standards.
  • smoother and more ‘musical’ than the original HD800.
  • well priced.
  • 4 pin XLR cable now included in the box.

Cons:

  • Easy to drive with almost any amplifier, but correct partnering will unlock their full capabilites.

KitGuru says: The Sennheiser HD800 S is an update to one of the most iconic headphones released in the last decade. £1,199 is a lot of money, but compared to some of the ‘flagship’ competition they seem almost bargain basement.

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Rating: 9.0.

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