Hi friend and welcome!
The similarities in the HD800 vs. T1 are many, but there are a few differences to speak of as well. Before we get started though ..
Grab a snack, sit back and relax because..
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What I will bring you in this review
of each headphone
- Video Review
- Amp/DAC requirements
- Who these headphones benefit?
- Similarities & Differences
- Final Word
Now without further ado, let’s get rolling!
Sennheiser HD 800
best price: check amazon! | check eBay!
type: open back
fit: circumaural (Over-ear)
impedance: 300 Ohm
frequency response: 6–51,000 Hz (-10 dB); 14–44,100 Hz (-3 dB)
material: alcantara, stainless steel, teflon, velour
headband: metal, alcantara
color: Black and Grey
These are some of the most highly regarded headphones in existence today, and are almost an overall perfect set.
They are meant to reproduce the sound you hear at it’s most natural state, and therefore can be called the most honest, and neutral pair available on the market. If you value an even sound across the entire frequency spectrum, and appreciate things like sound-stage, neutrality, detail, honesty, and comfort, then this may be the headphone for you. One concern that I’ve found to be quite common in my research is that this headphone may become boring to some. It’s almost too much of a good thing, and can be exhausting and fatiguing after awhile.
One of the main concerns is that they may sound a bit too bright for some peoples taste, even bordering on sibilant sounding. It isn’t a perfect headphone by any stretch, but still maintains an A rating across the board despite some shortcomings (Outlined in “Cons”).
That said, The HD 800 excels with nearly everything that makes a listening experience great. It boasts a wide and amazing sound-stage, with depth and width being the standouts here. The height doesn’t quite measure up, but for classical music in particular these really excel in startling ways. The mid-range is also exceptional, and instruments such as Pianos, acoustic guitars, trumpets etc. all sound about as uncolored as it gets.
- extremely comfortable. The velour ear pads are like pillows.
- a great sound-stage.
- use of silence/clarity.
- Phenomenal mid-range. Perhaps it’s bread and butter.
- neutrality and even sound across the spectrum
- remarkable amount of detail present.
- great for in studio mixing and mastering
- natural and dreamy sound. This reviewer on amazon said that they re-invigorated his spirit and hope after 40 years.
- unlike anything you’ve ever heard, the thrill of music returns with these.
- a tad bright in the treble range
- may be a bit too clinical for some. The sound may become fatiguing, or dare I say “boring”, and lack personality.
- Amp requirements are pretty hefty. These are very picky about which amp you choose. More on that in a jiffy!
- reveals all flaws, so be aware of your sound source. The HD 800 can be rather unforgiving of poorly mastered songs in general.
- no going back to other headphones once you hear these. Is that a con? Depends on who you ask I suppose.
Check out the video!
The Amp/DAC requirements for the HD 800 are a bit on the picky side, as alluded to above. After careful research, I can give my best endorsement for some great options here:
- Woo Audio WA2
- SPL Phonitor
- Vioelectric V200 (high end amp without the high end price tag)
- Fostex HP-P1 (a great and more affordable pairing)
Who this headphone benefits?
- Does very well with classical, acoustic, jazz, and well recorded music.
- people who appreciate the most honest sound reproduction
- people who want to re-discover music
- People who like a big sound-stage and extreme clarity
A headphone that is as faithful and accurate to the original recording as anything else in existence. Great sound-stage, use of silence and clarity, as well as a very durable and comfortable phone overall. May be a bit too bright in the high end, and generally boring and clinical for some. All flaws are revealed when you put these on! It has been said that the HD 800’s are like living with a genius. They will give you a newfound appreciation for all of your music, new and old. The downside is that they will also reveal every flaw in said music. You know, stuff like warts and other imperfections 😛 They are also almost universally considered harsh in the treble range. The right tube amp as mentioned above warms up the sound considerably. Considering the “Sennheiser veil” that was apparent in a couple of their mid fi offerings, I’m pretty sure Sennheiser decided to try and remedy that with a brighter top end this time around. The problem is now it may be TOO harsh and shrill!
- best price: check amazon! check eBay!
- type: semi-open
- fit: circumaural (over ear)
- impedance: 600 ohms
- frequency response: 5 – 50,000 Hz
- material: velour ear pads, leather head band, metal cups
- color: silver, black
Some people consider these the finest dynamic headphones on the planet. They are very natural sounding, open, and airy. They are very neutral, and transparent, and only fall behind the HD 800’s in terms of sound-stage realism.
Check out my Sennheiser HD 800 review!
It should be noted, that both the T1 and T90 use what Beyerdynamic calls “Tesla drivers”.
“The Tesla nomination relates to the amount of magnetic force in the driver mechanism of the headphone. In general terms, 1 tesla of magnetic force is massive and it means that the drivers are very sensitive. I want to equate it to a car with lots of power and huge brakes, but that doesn’t account for the handling and the T1s are also nimble and agile, not just quick to stop and start.
In a speaker (or headphone) driver, the ability of the voice coil (the bit that drives the movement) to respond rapidly and accurately is the key to transparent and accurate sound as well as efficient creation of volume without requiring massive power. At 600 ohms, the T1s would traditionally be considered “hard to drive”, but the Tesla driver means it produces volumes comparable to 350 ohm headphones like the Sennheiser HD6X0s given equal amounts of power.”
Other than that, these babies are so good that they may even reveal flaws in mastering that were previously unheard for years.
- tight, realistic sounding bass response. clean and punchy.
- really a joy to listen with, even being as neutral as it gets in regard to sound.
- really really comfortable, again a standard with Beyer products.
- versatile with many genres of music.
- design is clean and functional, yet attractive.
- angled drivers (inside the headphones) make for a more natural presentation of sound, imaging, and staging.
- mid-range is smooth and clean with exceptional detail.
- sound-stage is incredible. one reviewer noted that with some songs, as soon as he put his headphones on and pressed play, the sound seemed as though it was coming from his speakers. Even though he knew it wasn’t, he still had to take the cans off and check to make sure. It won’t happen with every recording, but it gives you a sense of how good the staging is. What is Soundstage?
- Bass is similar to that of the HD 600, although it reaches more into the sub bass frequencies. The upper bass is also has a bit more energy. It’s overall warmer and more lush.
- Build quality is phenomenal. Headband is made of real leather, and feels great.
- adjustment mechanism of the head-band is a bit imprecise
- treble presentation has been called “debatable”. There is a bit of a spike at 8-9 KHz, resulting in sibilance. Some say this is the source of their magic
- a bit heavy, with underwhelming cable that isn’t as nice as the rest of the headphone
- needs pretty beefy amplification to power correctly
- Bass is a bit confusing and strange, with a mind of it’s own. On some tracks it really lacks a certain impact.
Check out the video review!
At 600 Ohms, I wouldn’t purchase these without some thought on proper amplification. Regardless, the T1 is less amp picky than you would think.
Good amps to pair with these:
- Schiit Valhalla 2
- Woo Audio WA3.
Who these headphones benefit?
- They do extremely well in rendering the electric guitar in particular.
- They have an amazing sound-stage. If you want to feel immersed in the music, there’s arguably no better option out there.
- Pin point accuracy for gamers. There may not be a better headphone out there for FPS gaming.
- Great for Classical, Jazz, and generally more toned down music. Will bite at you in higher volumes. Tube amp is recommended, as they kind of tend to warm up the sound.
An amazing sounding can given proper amplification, and proves extremely versatile with a wide variety of musical genres. From Pink Floyd to Beethoven, these really shine..
Similarities & Differences
- Both are flagship models. This just means that they are Beyerdynamic and Sennheisers absolute top of the line offerings.
- Both come in at similar price points.
- Both are open back dynamic headphones, and leak sound. They are meant for isolated studio and office environments.
- Both have superior build quality and comfort. Almost perfect in all aspects.
- Both have that hot, harsh, and bright top end. It seems to be the one major flaw in each actually.
- Both benefit from EQ, or a tube amp to warm the sound of said treble range.
- Both have a remarkable sound-stage. This seems to be each of their strongest qualities.
- Both have a phenomenal mid-range. This is also a strong suit in each.
- Both have angled drivers, which is meant to give you a more realistic sound-stage. Having angled drivers also aims to replicate the effect that real speakers have on your ears.
- Material. The headband on the T1 is made of leather, while the HD 800’s consists of alcantara, which is found on the interior of high end sports cars. Both use velour ear cups. The T1’s sport a lot of metal, while the 800’s utilize teflon and stainless steel. Both are immaculately built however.
- Amp. Both basically require amplification, but the T1 is overall less picky than the HD800.
- Price. The HD800 is considerably more expensive than the T1.
I would say if you are prepared to spend on the appropriate amp, the Sennheiser HD800 is your best bet over the T1. In actuality, the T1 is a bit more affordable and very similar. It’s also less cold and analytical, and may be more enjoyable with a wider variety of music. That said, today I’m going to recommend the Sennheiser HD 600 for all of your audiophile needs. It’s just about the best option in terms of price to performance ratio, and has been called the Gold Standard. It also does well with any type of music, and remains a “Genre master” to this day. It’s the perfect starting point for budding enthusiasts, and provides that benchmark which all other headphones should strive to be. Many consider this to be Sennheisers cream of the crop. Their best offering. The list goes on but..
CHECK OUT MY OFFICIAL SENNHEISER HD 600 REVIEW!!
Well that’s about it for today my friend! I hope I’ve answered all of your questions regarding the HD800 vs. T1!
Did you come away with a better idea of each headphone? Did I miss something? Let me know by leaving a comment below! You can also Contact me with any questions or requests. I would love to hear from you..
All the best and God bless,