Drop + Sennheiser HD 8XX Headphones

Drop + Sennheiser HD 8XX Headphones

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Product Description
The HD 8XX is based on the HD 800S; a flagship audiophile headphone produced by our partners at Sennheiser. Like the HD 800S, the HD 8XX is made in Germany at Sennheiser’s HQ factory Read More

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Will
8332
Chief Product Officer
Feb 18, 2021
Stickied
Hey Friends,  Announcing the DROP + Sennheiser HD 8XX.  This headphone is the result of hundreds of thousands of community posts and four years of collaboration between the teams at DROP and Sennheiser.  Analyzing discussions around the HD 800S, we saw clear mandates from the community around bass extension and midrange balance. The HD 8XX incorporates two novel changes to accommodate those mandates.  Where the HD 800S uses a single resonator in front of the driver, Sennheiser created a new resonator system for the HD 8XX, enabling bass extension down to 10hz (+5db @ 10hz vs 800 S) by changing the resonant properties of the housing. Sennheiser’s team, lead by Jermo Koehnke, reached the bass solution pretty quickly, but our goals for the midrange proved demanding... bordering impossible. After significant research, Sennheiser reached a solution; altered acoustic impedance in the transducer's dampening material to smooth the FR from 2.5k to 8k.  This means the transducer in the HD 8XX is unique, it’s a new ring driver. Launch pricing for the HD 8XX is $1100 and you’ll receive $200 worth of drop points (20,000 points) with purchase.  For future units, HD 8XX pricing will increase to $1200+. This is a pre-order, so you can cancel any time between now and shipping, and this product qualifies for Drop Studio 30 day satisfaction returns, so if you don’t like the sound in November, you can send it back for a full refund.  Note: Replies to this post are for product questions, not VAT and logistics.
Xunnobi
49
Mar 18, 2021
Well, to me its just their marketing. The JVC HA-FDX1 is now cheaper than the 1st run, when their 1st run is supposed to be cheapest =) Btw I pre ordered the HA-FDX1.
(Edited)
jkhmonkey
85
Apr 7, 2021
That's a great little iem. Getting the right fit is a bitch though... It's become more of a use at home hooked up to an amp iem than using it outside iem personally
Zeos
622
Mar 11, 2021
Stickied
So I got my 48+ hours with the 8xx Tuning Mule. I will only comment on the sound as the looks will change when drop is done with them. Best sounding version of the 800/800s I've heard. A friend brought back his SDR modded HD800 which was previously my favorite pair. That pair is warm and soft which is exactly the opposite of the standard tuning. Well the 8xx manages to surpass the display of treble accuracy and tone over the previous units I have used. This seems to come at the expense of the low end. These are not basshead cans, I wouldn't even call them neutral in the bass department. They are bass-lite. You get a sense that there is low end happening it just wont shake your head in any meaningful way. So to make up for it the midrange and treble are the stars like they always have been. Just far more depthy and accurate. Never-a-once did I wince in agony at a sharp violin or harmonica solo. Everything was riding right in the lines between too much and too little. In a word they are the perfect set of HD800s. I had wished drop would be able to convince Sennheiser to drop the basically proprietary wire connectors for standard 3.5mm but alas we are stuck with stock. I can't wait to get a production set back to see how they handle Dekoni pads, previously not the greatest pairing. I have made a short rambling, incoherent, chewbacca filled first impressions video which I will link here. Enjoy and I will be back when I have a production unit in hand. https://youtu.be/AoQZ3m-xbdE
Z-er0
2
Apr 1, 2021
"People say this all the time and have absolutely no idea what it means. " That the statement i was referring to your second part I agree with EQ can only do so much correct. I think we all know its not a miracle worker just a tool that can be used to help adjust the sound to your preference. with small corrections. Its all good wasnt trying to come off like a ahole :)
nlwouter
4
Apr 10, 2021
also consider the Campfire Audio cascade
JoshuaValour
62
Mar 10, 2021
Stickied
*Disclaimer, Drop loaned me a preproduction model of the 8XX for a few days. No cash or payment of any kind was exchanged. The unit I have, from what I am told, has the final version of the sound, though cosmetically, is identical to the HD800S.*  This is my first -written- review of any product, so bear with me here… Many questions to cover! How does it sound? Is it worth the price? Does it compete with HD800S? Did drop butcher your favorite headphone? I cannot tackle everything, so I will try to get to the heavy hitters.   Overall impressions: Positive! 8XX is a breath of fresh air, similar to its predecessors. It prioritizes clarity, sparkle, and positioning above most else.    Details - Well, still, after all the headphones I have reviewed, this headphone can still impress me. Sometimes presence and tangibility of something is just on the next level. Song: For those that follow - Annihilation Soundtrack. The subtle binaural mouth noises and humming make me shudder with what feels like a warm tickle on my ear. Honestly it feels gross, but I cannot deny it’s impressive haha. For a more technical showcase though, I might suggest “Fluid” by Yosi Horikawa.  Treble - Well, oddly, this is probably the area that most detractors of the 800 series had issues with. I think sennheiser and drop had a big opportunity to address this area to soak up some of the cynics and give everyone a version of the 800 series to enjoy. Sadly, this is one area of this headphone they seemingly left largely unchanged. Similar peaks and dips as laid out by head-fi’s graphs. Listening impressions align, but it feels very much like the same picture.  Tonality - Still has that ever so slightly metallic tonality up top. A little unnatural for some instruments, but also perfect for others! Strings can be some of the most enjoyable you’ve heard with the right recording - The Lion King Orchestra Suite (LIVE) - The World of Hans Zimmer, Long after you're gone  - Chris Jones (I know, this one deserves an eye roll for being the most overused audiophile song of all time, but it does sound fantastic on this)  Midrange - This is perhaps the most interesting area of this new design. A fresh take on a richer midrange in the 800 saga. 
  • Tonality, better actually. I feel this is a bit more natural through most male vocalists with less heat applied. A phenomenal song for testing here is “Devotional” by Sivert Hoyem. This song has layers and layers of tones, textures and nuances that few male recordings have. Giving me hard Chris Jones flashbacks. Female voices are also benefited, but not as much and can still sometimes feel a little far away, but also a bit shouty from time to time.
  • On a side note, If you are into vocals above any other aspect in music, I would recommend a 6XX instead of this.
Bass - A slight improvement over the 800S, but still not a bassy headphone, which for the purpose of the 8XX is kind of a good thing. I am not sure exactly what the difference in resonators are between this and 800S, but the bass does have a different attack between the two. The 800s sounds a little bit more distorted to me and almost “loose”. 8XX cleans this up a bit and hits a little bit harder under 30-40 hz, but is largely the same through the midbass.  Imaging and Staging - Of course it’s world class. Anything even breathing the same air as an HD800 is going to have both imaging and soundstaging that competes with the best of them, this being no exception. BUT! It has a specific flavor of staging. Instruments have a concrete like placement in the stage, with loads of room to breath between spaces. This headphone does lack a bit of a “height” factor to the soundstaging, like you might get with some planars, like an Arya.(you knew I would bring it up at some point). What I mean by this, is an orchestra on an 8XX largely feels like it’s playing on a horizontal plane, rather than sounding like it’s coming from the basement and the rafters.    EQ - Well, the bones of the HD8XX driver is the same as the 800S, and it seems to EQ to about the same amount. Pretty wide variability and control over what comes out, but, not some infinitely manipulatable sound. Small corrections to problem areas however, it responds to well.   Gaming - Hardcore Audiophiles might scoff at this part a bit, but everyone has their own use case for headphones, and part of my testing always includes a bit of gaming. I have been claiming for years that the 800S is the very best gaming headphone. The 8XX is now an equal to that headphone for gaming in my book. If you are one of them crazy gamer kids looking for the very best headphone exclusively for games (especially competitive shooters), I would look no further than this. To set some expectations. What I mean by the best, is when looking at this as a tool, not a fun having device. The bass is a little light for immersive explosions. This stands out for it’s god tier representation of player placement with sound. In some games, it’s like having wall hacks with your ears. That is what I mean by the best. As a tool, not as a toy. (reading this last part back, it sounds so dramatic… but hopefully you get my point)  Comparisons -  VS HD 800 S - HD8XX subbass is stronger, but not by much. Lower midrange "body" is a little beefier, but upper midrange "body" is a little muffled. Treble is largely the same with no major notable changes to my ear. Maybe a small change here and there, but it could easily be unit variance. Placement and positioning of soundstage also feels identical with the exception of voices being a tiny bit larger on 8XX, feeling a hair more present. Overall, it sounds like an 800s. If I put mine down for 2 weeks and you swapped it, I probably would not notice until I compared it to each other. Win for 8XX! VS HD800 (OG) - HAHAHAHA - Just get this. It is better. -Basically- an upgrade to the 800s for 500 cheaper. If you were considering it, now is the time, the used market for 800 is so good right now.  Conclusions - In the end, through all the comparisons and explanations, one thing is still very clear about the 8XX: It’s STILL, in 2021, a UNIQUE sound signature. Nothing really sounds quite like the 800 series, love it or hate it. Beyerdynamic had the opportunity to swoop in and scoop up this market with the T1 Gen 3, but really failed to deliver on any improvement over the Gen 2. So here we are, for this type of sound, the 800 series stands alone. Right now, it appears your options are 800S now or 8XX in a few months and save $500 for a good amplifier, like a THX 789 or Topping A90 or, idk, buy some GME or BTC lol. (last consideration - If you get a balanced amp, this does not come with a balanced cable, so factor that into your cost analysis).  So, is it worth the price if you are willing to wait? I have exactly the same reservations for the 8XX that I did the 800s. I also have largely the same compliments. If the sound signature appeals to you, I do think this is a good value, especially with the early bird perks.  PS. Excuse any brevity errors.
jkhmonkey
85
Mar 29, 2021
I think what he's saying is that the used market for the 800(S) is really good right now, so if you already own a HD800 (OG), you should sell it, and pick up the 8XX instead. Based on Josh's preferences and reviews, I can't imagine a world where he'd suggest buying an OG HD800
RayF
26475
Apr 16, 2021
I hear cats meowing in the distance. In fairness I confess up front I have no interest in purchasing a set of eleven-hundred dollar headphones; absolutely none. But I do find it interesting that so many folks seem to feel strongly the other way. I've read nearly all the comments and questions posted, and your pretty-damn-good-review of these yet unavailable HD 8XXs, and frankly I'm shocked! Shocked at the number of fans who seemingly can't wait to plunk down eleven big ones on a set of cans that basically no one has heard. I'm even more shocked that among those select few who have heard them, for every plus they offer in support of them, they almost immediately site an equal or greater number of reasons not to buy them! I've never heard so much equivocation! Between you and Zeos, if I had a dime for every apology, obfuscation or side-step the two of you offered while attempting to describe the bass performance of these these cans, I could probably buy a set! Just say the words--they don't do bass! And don't don't give us that maybe not for bass-heads BS. At eleven hundred bucks, no one here is talk'n that sheetmetal rattling bass coming from the '89 Impala with the circus wheels that just pulled up to the light along side of you kind-of-bass. In my case, I mean if I'm listening to a Scott LaFaro improvisation and he hits an E1, I wan't to hear it! And for eleven hundred bucks, I want to hear it the way he heard it! And wasn't it you who said: "If you are into vocals above any other aspect in music, I would recommend a 6XX instead…” ? Above any other aspect?!!! Not to put too fine a point on it, but the human voice is the primary way us humans communicate! Cellos, saxophones, and National steel guitars are much further down the list. Nope, there's just no rational explanation for all the excitement these headphones are generating. I don't doubt they're some kind of good, but good headphones have been available for ages--indeed most of them were mentioned your review and Zeos' video. So what explains it? Recently I read about an eerily similar case from the middle ages. It concerned a convent of cloistered nuns in France. For some unknown reason, one of the nuns took to meowing like a like a cat--initially only occasionally, but as time progressed, her meowing became more frequent and she often continued meowing for hours at a time. Soon, other nuns began to meow back to her. Eventually the entire convent of nuns began meowing, and soon the meowing went on nearly night and day! This was one of the first recorded cases of what would come to be known as mass hysteria. And by the way--those nuns didn't stop meowing until the towns people forced the local gendarmeries to intervene. Now I'm not certain who started meowing about these headphones first, but it's pretty obvious at this point some of the folks on this site are hell-bent on putting those poor nuns to shame! Well, nuns be damned—I’m still not a buyer for these headphones. Not that I’m against headphones--I have a few pair—even those 6XXs you mentioned above. And that brings me to the best part of your pretty-damn-good review! One of the things I enjoy about MD is occasionally discovering music I probably never would have found on my own. Your review was chock full of really great examples. Considering yours was a review about headphones I had no interest in, I’d say I got lucky! --The Annihilation soundtrack was a shocker for sure—I’d already forgotten seeing the film, but on my new speakers, that soundtrack was any eye ear-opening experience. --“Fluid” by Yosi Horikawa (indeed the entire Spaces album, especially as streamed in Hi-Res from Qobuz) turned out to be a new favorite. --And if anyone would have told me I’d be listening to The Lion King Orchestra Suite (LIVE) - The World of Hans Zimmer, a month ago I would have slapped him. One thing I can say now—I’d gladly have paid $1,100 to be in Prague that evening to have experienced that concert! Holy cow, it would have been the night of a lifetime.! By the way, his Batman Suite was even better than the Lion King and the Pirates of the Caribbean selections were nearly as good. Blown the fuck away is the expression I’d use for the entire concert. --After I found and listened to "Long after you're gone" by Chris Jones, I can assure you there were no eyes rolling in my living room. Excelent pick, excelent song! Thanks a million, I'll be enjoying the best part of your review many times over ;- )
Daniel_Lagoe
4
Apr 12, 2021
Everyone has their own opinions on who the best reviewers are and so forth, but from these reviews and from the measurements it does seem like the HD 8XX will most likely EQ in the low end better with less distortion than the HD 800S. I remember watching a few reviews from modders that modded and measured the HD 800S and HD 800 that would actually suggest a modded HD 800 over the HD 800S as it seemed some of what was happening to the bass response on the S was distortion to make it sound louder. Between modding the bass characteristics and adding in a mod to reduce the treble they concluded the HD 800 was a better headphone post mod and with EQ. I haven't tried any of the range, but from the measurements I'm very interested in this headphone as it's a lot cheaper and from these reviews it seems like the strong points of the HD 8** range are still there (imaging and soundstage). I'm sure I will get comments saying I'm stupid for whatever reasons for what I'm about to say, but... MASSDROP PLEASE send one of these to Amir at audiosciencereview to measure and do a review on, he already has a very nice review on the HD800S!!!
(Edited)
Skylordquasar
67
Apr 13, 2021
Seems perfectly logical to me. No way of knowing for sure how it will EQ but there will be plenty of opportunity to find out and it certainly could be better than the 800s.
Evshrug
2276
Apr 16, 2021
The HD 8xx takes a bass EQ boost just fine.
@Sennheiser. . . Thank you for the endorsement of my comments regarding the new Drop Sennheiser 8xx. It’s greatly appreciated. Can you please do me a favour and make contact with me at iam ...... com. Thank you. **can you please acknowledge this message when seen so I can remove my email address**
(Edited)
Jisheng
234
Apr 9, 2021
Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if they were endorsing the majority of comments that talk good about the HD8XX.
Evshrug
2276
Apr 16, 2021
Why not say they "like" good comments? @iAmBoomerStrong it was a good idea to remove your email, lol.
RayF
26475
Apr 4, 2021
I don't care what Will says--I'd put my DIY headphones up agains his fancy-pants 8XXs any time!
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Micron
15
Apr 6, 2021
Wearing your Princess Leia's a little high.
RayF
26475
Apr 6, 2021
I defer to your experience in all matters Princess Leia.
ciber
169
Apr 2, 2021
Will Drop ship the XLR Balanced cable with 8XX? If not, we will have to buy the cable from AliExpress (look like they have some nice deal on the cable)
Espen83
2
Apr 14, 2021
It will be the new standard kinda like USB-C is becoming one.
Evshrug
2276
Apr 16, 2021
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The HDV 820 has a combo 1/4" and 3-Pin XLR output, a dual 3-pin XLR balanced output on the back, a 4-Pin XLR balanced output, and two 4.4mm balanced outputs. So, you'd be fine with a 4 pin XLR cable. Pentaconn is easier to use and makes a more secure connection, and I like that it is equally at home on a desktop amp as it is on a portable DAP (both my Sony ZX300a and HiBy R6 Pro have a 4.4mm Pentaconn BAL output). I'd rather have all my cables in 4.4mm, and get ponytail adapters for other connectors, but that's just my opinion.
ThermalAlchemy
45
Mar 31, 2021
I so much wanted the HD 800. But drop took so long I got impatient and bought a used pair that were an excellent brand new condition in original box all the paperwork for $500. If you search and you can wait on the used market the HD 800s are going anywhere from $400-$700 used in excellent condition. And just think they’re already broken in and have many hours of break in time. And if you buy a original pair of HD 800s they have a serial number you can run back on the factory website to prove their authenticity and you can even get a print out of the original specs the day they shipped out when they were tested. Excellent combination with my DarkVoice. Tube headphone amp
WhiteCoatGeek
18
Mar 25, 2021
Who will offer support like repairs and parts once the warranty period expires? Sennheiser or Drop?
Yog-Sothoth
35
Apr 3, 2021
Seems to me buyer confidence here is pretty great if we look at the story of WhiteCoatGeek and his HD 6XX. It died, he got no support and yet he bought it again.
postwarscars
846
Apr 5, 2021
JJayJJ, as you know, we don't always see eye-to-eye, but are largely in agreement in most cases, so don't take this too much to heart: "HD800S Amazon average price is $1,500 (now increased to $1,700 at the behest of getting these sold on Drop obviously)." The 800S was $1700 before the Drop announcement, but was on sale at $1400 when the 8XX was released. Looking at the price history they were listed around $1700 as far back as 2016. The info I've found could be incorrect, of course.
(Edited)
inifist
97
Mar 23, 2021
Price point: Higher than expected Reviews: Not a clear improvement (granted that's harder to do at higher $$$) Accessories: Balanced XLR missing (guess, that's $100 of the credit?) In the end: $1k is better spent on my other pursuits than on something iffy. Kinda sad this didn't work out for me. Oh well, I'll use the balanced connection on my 789 one day. Guess i'll play with my JBL speaker collection in the meantime.
inifist
97
Mar 25, 2021
Yeah. $900 could be a good deal to some. I can see that. He was just contextualizing it to me instead of himself, and/or someone else, so I had to give it the hard pass.
(Edited)
Lolzicolz
4
Mar 31, 2021
Hey man, just so you know, the 789 balanced mode isn't technically balanced although it does something to retain the effective benefits of being balanced. Look into reviews and you'll see more about it if interested.
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