Sennheiser HD800 Measurements
Dekoni Audio is pleased to share a “deep dive” look into our Sennheiser HD 800 line of Earpads, specifically tuned to elevate your listening experience.
We start with comfort, using our soft, high density, slow rebound memory foam for an extra plush experience that conforms to the shape of your face (and accommodates glasses stems). Like all our earpads, they are offered in a wide range of fabric options, including Elite Sheepskin, Elite Fenestrated Sheepskin, Elite Velour, and our Elite Hybrid pads. We ensured the pads mount just as securely as the stock pads – these pads will fit the HD 800 and HD 800 S, but they will not fit the HD 820, which has a different mount. Finally, we shaped and measured the pads to tune the sound and share a preview of how they sound compared to stock pads.
In our measurements, we use the measurement data from the headphone coupled with the realistic ears of our microphone dummy head. We have been fortunate to have acquired a certain well-known Audio Precision-based measurement rig, and will continue to keep the measurements coming! The data is presented raw and uncompensated, except to cancel out the ear response of our microphone dummy head, and it’s the average data from 5 slightly different seatings of the headphone. Some measurements by others are made without headphones actually sitting on ears, or with adjustments to reflect the effect that the shape of a generic inner and outer ear will have on the sound waves – we don’t do that, because as every experienced audio enthusiast knows, we all have different ears! So, as part of a series of Dekoni Describes posts, we will walk our readers through understanding our graphs.
The first thing to understand about an uncompensated graph is that it will sound different to the listener than the graph will show. For one, we haven’t smoothed our graphs, so there are many peaks and valleys that would have been lost information, but also there are other factors, such as the effect from the earcups and pads resting against a head and around ears, the human ear’s extra sensitivity to vocals, and that the shape of our ears and depth of our ear canals can actually amplify certain frequencies. For the purposes of swapping earpads, it is enough to say that a flat line along the 0 dB line wouldn’t sound “good” on these uncompensated graphs, a dip in the midrange is to be expected since human ears are more sensitive to that region, and mainly we want to focus on how a Dekoni pad compares to the Stock pad. With our measurements, we used the classic HD 800, which comes Stock with Sennheiser’s microsuede pad.
We use supple, natural Sheepskin that is the softest and most breathable available today, available in solid or Fenestrated. With our solid Sheepskin, overall we see a similar frequency response curve shape as stock, except the sub-bass “rumble” response gently rolls off more than before. Great for anyone who chooses the HD 800 for tight bass, emphasis on the midrange and treble, and prefers the feel of leather (and thicker, memory foam pads).
Our Fenestrated (French for “windowed,” it has little holes in it) Sheepskin also has lighter sub-bass than stock, and a little more midrange relative to the bass. One thing the graphs don’t show but we hear all the time from our customers: the Fenestrated Sheepskin seems to unmask extra detail. This has been very popular for this model! Fenestrations are also airy in that they allow some more heat to escape through the pads, but the holes are small enough to allow a damp cloth to wipe away sweat and grime easily without damaging the memory foam beneath.
Our Elite Velour has a higher thread count and tighter weave than typical velour pads, soft and breathable but as you can see the performance is similar to sheepskin, with a bit more upper midrange and lower treble energy, so choose based on your textile preference! Also worth mentioning is the improved comfort due to the less stiff, deeper memory foam which also retains its shape better through repeat listens.
Our Hybrid pads, which are sealed with sleek and solid Sheepskin on the outside face, neutral Fenestrated Sheepskin on the inner face, and sweat-wicking Velour on the face facing your face, measure the closest to Sennheiser’s stock pads, with less sub-bass roll off compared to the other pads, and a bit more upper-midrange energy and “air” in the highest ranges of our hearing which helps with positional accuracy and sense of soundstage space.
The subjective factor of experiencing headphones and earpads matters the most, of course. If it sounds good, it is good! We listen with our pads for several revisions before release, and we want to thank the reviewers and our patrons on Head-Fi and other platforms who have shared their experiences. Real user experience is the best judge, and we thank everyone who has tried to describe their experience!
Our Sennheiser pads are available now at our fine dealers internationally, and dekoniaudio.com.