Oct 14, 20181918 views

A Massdrop version of the Sennheiser HD700

Having had 2 home-run hits with the HD6XX and HD58X Jubilee, I'm hoping that Sennheiser and Massdrop can take some time to explore the possibility of a custom Massdrop version of the HD700. Even though I haven't had the opportunity to hear the HD700, I have a pretty good idea of what I'd like to see in a Massdrop version, based on owning the first two collaborated releases and hearing the HD800 as well. The HD700 really does appear to be the neglected middle-sibling that I think could get some much needed love with a few changes based on some opinions I've found while combing through reviews.
As seemingly typical of Massdrop, the first thing to change for sake of differentiation is to darken the colorway to a mostly matte-black finish, as I approximated in the poorly-edited photo I'm attaching to this post. It could definitely stand to look something like what Massdrop did with the Focal Elex, which I own and love.
Perhaps the model number could be HD 7X7, to avoid confusion with AKG's K7XX.
Build quality changes are the bulk of what I'd like to propose, and as I have yet to hear a stock HD700, I'll leave desired sound-signature changes for others to speak of (aside from what I hear is a general love or hate of the 5.5KHz peak and the 11Khz peak).
I'll start off with the headband. The rubberized top portion has been said to add a bit of unnecessary weight for some, and could probably be changed to plastic in order to lighten it a bit. This would also help with color consistency when going for the all-black look.
Next, perhaps a more robust click-adjust mechanism. I've read and watched many a review complaint about these being a little too light with the clicks (noticeably, Zeos of Z Reviews shaking the HD700 lightly and having them fall all the way to the lowest setting rather quickly).
Another point of dismay for several reviewers was the rather unwieldy 10-foot cable. As with previous Sennheiser collabs, this one could be cut from 10' to 6', terminated in 3.5mm with a 1/4" adapter instead of the monstrosity of its current stock form.
Otherwise it is apparently a pretty comfortable headphone, with many reviewers enjoying the ear-shaped pads. However, I think it's probably worth experimenting with an alternate material to see if that will yield positive sound-signature changes. Some modders out there have experimented with that, to varying levels of success.
Others, feel free to chime in about the sound-sig. I'm hoping this can be the humble start of some much needed love for a very polarizing and somewhat overlooked headphone.

Eric Nielson, Aja12, and 34 others

@CEE_TEE What would this post have to do or how much attention would it have to garner for Massdrop and Sennheiser to start talks for this to become a new collaboration?
Hey, I own a pair of HD700's, and I got the opportunity to borrow my buddy's HD800S's when he went out of town. That said, I like the HD700 better. Day four I had put his back in the box and just went back to mine. Audio quality is marginally worse if you're really focusing on it on a higher-than-normal volume on a song you've heard a billion times, but the HD700 is so much more comfortable it really decided the difference for me almost immediately. It's not a big difference. I do have one issue with the 700's and that's the band adjuster being too loose. I've thought about taking a heat gun to the stickers on the inside of the band that seem to cover the adjustment mechanism screws and seeing if I can do something to tighten them up, but just haven't yet. However, your photoshop rendering is absolutely gorgeous. To the point where if you did a black theme and fix the adjustment band, I'd be down to pay between $450 and $500, depending on accessories, and just sell my stock 700's (Which don't have the treb issue. They fixed it a while ago).
Thanks for your impressions! Interesting, I didn't know they adjusted the treble.
The last thing I need is another set of phones. I joined the Meze drop, and they haven't even been delivered yet. Having said that, the HD700s recently dropped to $370 on Amazon, and I was sorely tempted. As to the supposed treble issue, more recent reviews imply that it doesn't exist anymore, at least not to the extent it originally did. Some reviewers openly wonder if Sennheiser has done an unannounced in production revision (many claim they have done this before). If it happens, the price will need to be quite good for me to join (I passed at the $370 on Amazon, so it needs to be significantly better than that).
I second! a modded hd700 with the treble issue fixed would be great!
This already pretty much happened IMHO; the HD 58X Jubilee has similar drivers to the HD 660 S, which in turn has drivers from the HD 700. Just doesn't have the frame and earcups. The HD 700 actually has great drivers; it's the s*** pads that makes them sound....polarizing. I highly recommend anyone who has a pair of these to give velour pads a try; my friend had me take a listen after the pad roll and I was shocked that a headphone I originally absolutely hated could actually be something I'd seriously consider buying.
I just got in a pair of HD 700 and some Dekoni velour pads, I second that this is great! Fills in some of the upper mids dips, making the whole sound more coherent and the brightness less stark and fatiguing. Changing pads was tricky at first, but the secret is to pull the little mounting ring off the Dekoni (or stock pads) off and attaching that to the headphone first, then the pad clips in really easy after that. Still sounds different from the HD 58X Jubilee though. I’ve heard from my Sennheiser employee contacts that the driver parts are different for all three models, similar in design but the HD 58X Jubilee’s driver is the least expensive to produce. I have a HD 58X Jubilee, but the HD 660 S always puts a smile on my face when I hear it at shows.
HD800 is still a flagship from sennheiser. They won't do a Massdrop version because it would damage the sennheiser image. That's the main reason the price does not drop even though 7 years have passed. In fact it has even increased price.
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Thank you so much for sharing these pictures and your experiences! Sennheiser have such an important history for headphones and audio electronics, what a treat to be able to tour their German site. I was able to visit the Bose HQ here in the US several years ago, and that 'high school/ campus science lab' feel you describe would be very accurate in many ways for them as well. I don't think they are on the original site (I don't know for sure tbh), however. . . It is very special that Senn has kept the original farm :)
Cool to hear that the people trying to make fun music entertainment products for us aren’t super industrial at heart!
The HD 700 is a piece of crap. Massdrop should do a version of the HiFiMan HE-500 instead.
700 gets hated alot,i dont think massdrop will support that.Maybe a hd 600 clone? but the 6xx exists idk?
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I would say fix the treble spikes known to the 700,velour instead,shorter wire. Keep the D shape though.The price shold be around 300 i think for the 700 remake
I agree to keep the shape if possible (should be), the wire is probably more expensive than it has to be (and that jacket does kink easily), also Velour Earpads (I like Sennheiser’s microsuede on the HD 800 and 800 S, but never liked the stock HD 700 pads), more realistic price of $400. I’m wearing a pair of HD 700 with Dekoni’s Velour Pads right now, they already to a lot in making the sound more cohesive, sounding even better integrated than the less squiggly lines on their published FR Graphs suggest. I would have to look it up again, but I believe the HD 800’s treble peak is even higher than the HD 700’s, but because the rise is gradual rather than coming from a dip the HD 800 is easier to digest, stock. My ears are treble sensitive (can’t listen to Beyerdynamics for long), and this HD 700 + Dekoni Velour sounds like it’s still on the right side of treble being balanced between too little/too much. Having Sennheiser’s engineers look at the treble again and see if a bit of treble absorption (or some of the HD 800 S’ tech improvements over the HD 800) makes sense wouldn’t be a bad idea, but it may not be strictly necessary if it would hurt the detail/soundstage of the HD 700.
Maybe it could use build changes to lower the price, but its actually one of the lightest and comfiest headphones on the market, IMO. Much better than k7xx, hd650, etc. Still, the sonics could stand to be improved, and I think different pads could do a lot for them. The treble could use a bit more damping, but mids need to get brought up into the mix more. its a very open headphone and the treble isn't as bad as it might seem from measurements. I wonder what those dekoni pads do for FR, though that's an expensive experiment to take
Did you see Dekoni published graphs using their new measurement rig? I’m wearing the Dekoni Velours on a pair of HD 700 right now, it’s a good change, less distant sounding and less jarring rise in the treble.
but the hd800 already sells very well without price cuts. the hd700 sells less well and far below msrp and is also an older headphone
I’d present the Massdrop production of the standard HD800 headphone over the HD700. The HD700 is nice headphone, but the HD800 series would sell (and perform) far better. I own both.
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That’s kind of like the hifiman edition xx instead of the hifiman he-1xxx. It would dethrown the crown jewel.
I’ve heard Sennheiser has sold every Orpheus they make (takes a long time to make them), and have a waitlist. I don’t know what the sales numbers are on the HD 800. I just know that there is still strong demand, but many people publicly say they wouldn’t buy the improved model for more money, because the perception is that they don’t sound different (or the DuPont mod makes them sound the same, which is a bit optimistic). The same perception would happen for a sub-$1000 HD 8xx. The demand would remain the same, Sennheiser would just be competing with itself, which is never a good economic position. There currently is not much demand for an HD 700, but an improved HD 7xx might be able to compete with the HiFiman Edition X(X), so that model is ripe for a special edition.