Headphone King of Soundstage?


Hello I had pulled the trigger for Sennheiser HD 800S and expect to receive it next Monday.

How much break in time is needed for new HD 800S?

I had been using Stax 009S driven by KGSSV Carbon amplifier.

The source is Chord Dave and Mscaler using Cocktail Audio X30 music server with SSD.

Stax 009S give very musical sound with nuanced details and nice decay.

But it falls short of my 2 channel system , Lansche 4.1 speaker driven by Line Magnetic 508 SET in soundstage depth, width and dynamics.

I heard that 800S is the king of soundstage beyond Stax 009S.

Also I heard that Chord Dave could drive 800S pretty well.

After I receive 800S next Monday, I will report my impression.

Thomas
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I've really never heard a headphone that could portray soundstage. How could it? The sound is in your head.
I am also curious how 800S headphone turn out in soundstage.

Let me see what happen next Monday.
I own and listen to a lot of headphones.  I have to be honest, "soundstage" is not something I've ever bothered to think about when listening to headphones. 

Listening to headphones is a completely different experience than listening to speakers.  Not only are you surrounded by sound, but you often have a visceral sensation of the sound waves, even at lower volumes.  With headphones you have two little speakers right next to your ears, so you can't have that same immersive experience. 

There is some trickery that can be done, for example one of my headphone amps has a "crossfeed" circuit to send some of the right signal to the left side and vice versa to help simulate "spacialization" and reduce listening fatigue.  I've never used it. 

I have the HD800 and they are fine headphones, and from what I've read, HD800S may be even better.  I bought my HD800 second hand, so I can't speak to break in.  

If you want the sound of speakers, listen to speakers.
The only phones I've heard that produce "out-of-head" sound are the old Stax Lambda Pros, whose drivers were situated slightly in front of and aimed at the ears.
@ big_greg

Chord Dave has "crossfeed" function in it with 0 to 3.

0 means no crossfeed with 3 strongest.

I had done experiment to find some subtle differences.

Now I use 1 setting.

Of course headphone sounds different from speaker with dynamic limitation but more intimacy.

But I noticed some depth even with Stax 009S.
I'll have to try that cross feed thing sometime.
"Cross Feed". Isn’t this what the new Polk "Legend" speaker does? Also, there is (was?) a technology called MARS (McShane Ambience Retrieval System) that did the same thing. As for soundstage, sound goes into those holes on the sides of your head and your brain decodes them to reconstruct the original event. Why does the source of the sound make a difference? Speaker or headphones the result should be the same. I would recon the headphones should have a better soundstage as it’s removing the room effects from the equation.
I received new HD 800S headphone yesterday.

Without any break-in, it did not show any hard edge.

Some IEM like Hifiman need more than 100 hours of break in before harsh treble is gone.

But after playing it for few hours, it seems to show more details and bass resonance.

From the review, I had expected HD 800S to sound bright and be prepared to apply equalization using Lyngdorf 2170 presets.

But driven by Chord Dave and Mscaler, it sounds neutral without any equalization.

I had played Chesky Jazz Sampler and Test disc to test soundstage width and depth.

It shows very sharp and precise focus but falls short of my 2 channel system in soundstage width and depth.

But placement of instrument is more precise with HD 800S than my 2 channel system.

When I play "Surround Sound Demonstration CD" by Telarc, HD 800S gave very exciting presentation with fast and tight bass and precise focus without any hard edge.

I have two headphones and one IEM to compare with HD 800S.

The first one is 1MORE Triple-Driver Over-Ear Headphones sold by Drop at 130$.

This is light, pretty efficient and excellent value at 130$.

But compared with HD 800S, 1MORE Triple gave loose bass, less details and not precise focus.

1MORE Triple is no match at all with HD 800S.


The next one is Empire Zeus IEM sold by Drop(1k$ and 14 drivers in it).

Zeus IEM gave more sparkle with nice details.

But without equalization of 3db down at 6khz, Zeus sounds too bright overall while HD 800S sounds neutral without any eq..

Nice thing of Zeus IEM is very high efficiency to be driven by regular cell phone like Galaxy Note4.

Thus I will be happy to carry Zeus IEM out of town.

The placement of each instrument is slightly more precise with HD800s.

I will prefer playing HD800S to Zeus IEM at home.

The last one to compare is Stax 009S driven by KGSSV Carbon amplifier.

HD 800S gave wider and deeper soundstage than Stax 009S with more precise focus.

But Stax 009S give more musical sound with nuanced details, nice decay , more bass slam and texture.

HD800S give very tight and fast bass but not matching the authority of Stax 009s.

It bass sound like one note without texture.


The conclusion is that it is fun to listen to HD800S with sharp focus, wide and deep soundstage and tight and fast bass.

But HD800S falls short of either Stax 009s or my 2 channel system in musicality.

I will keep HD800S for at least one year to enjoy its precise imaging.

Thomas

I am listening to opera "Aida" through 800S now.


The placement of each singer and instrument is so precise that it sounds more live than my 2 channel system.