Hi friend and Welcome!
The best headphone amp for the Sennheiser HD 800? That’s a great question indeed. Read on to find out, but before we get started:
Grab a snack, sit back and relax because..
You’ve come to the right place!!
What I will bring you in this Review
- Video Review
- Amp/DAC requirements
- (Best headphone amp)
- Final Word
Now without further ado, let’s get rolling!!
Sennheiser HD 800
best price: check amazon!
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)
Now for the question:
The best headphone amp for the HD 800?
More affordable pairings:
I’ve done a lot of research on this subject, and a tube amp is most definitely recommended. The Woo Audio WA2 gets a lot of mention as being the best overall pairing. It warms up those harsh treble peaks, and is just a highly regarded amp in general. So a list of more affordable options:
- Matrix M-Stage HPA-2
- Woo Audio WA2
- Woo Audio WA5
- SPL Phonitor
- Vioelectric V200
- Fostex HP-P1
More expensive pairings:
Another amp that I’ve come across is a very unheard of option: The Eddie Current Balancing Act. Sounds like a routine out of a Circus show. Lol.
Click here to read the The Eddie Current Balancing Act on Inner Fidelity! Just be aware that this amp is almost $4000. Lol. More expensive options:
- DNA Stratus
- Eddie Current Balancing Act
- Eddie Current Super 7
- Cavalli Audio’s Liquid Glass
To narrow it down:
Best affordable option (subjective)
- Matrix M-Stage HPA-2
Best expensive option (subjective)
- DNA Stratus
All this being said, it’s hard to come up with a definitive answer to such a loaded question, and any of these options will sound phenomenal with the HD 800. It really does come down to personal taste when dissecting them further.
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!
As mentioned above, coming up with one single recommendation is almost an exercise in futility. There are so many factors that go into choosing an amp, but hopefully I’ve given you a good starting point to make a decision.
I also hope you’ve come away with some valuable knowledge today regarding the best headphone amp for the Sennheiser HD 800!
If you have any questions, comments, or feel I left something out, please let me know below or Contact me! I would love to hear from you..
All the best and God bless,
The best headphone amp for the Sennheiser HD 800 | REVIEW + OPTIONS!
- Extreme clarity
- Amazing sound-stage
- Neutral and flat. Brutally honest
- Great for jazz and classical
- High quality materials
- treble can be a bit harsh
- amp requirement is picky
- too clinical and boring to some