Sennheiser HD 800 S: Features, Comparison, Pros And Cons

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Discover the features and performance of Sennheiser HD 800 S headphones. Compare them with HD 800, find the right amplifier, and learn how to properly maintain these high-end headphones.

Overview of Sennheiser HD 800 S

The Sennheiser HD 800 S is a premium open-back headphone that offers an exceptional audio experience. With its impressive design, outstanding sound quality, and comfortable fit, it has become a favorite among audiophiles and music enthusiasts.

Design and Build Quality

The design of the Sennheiser HD 800 S is both stylish and functional. It features a sleek and modern look, with a combination of matte black and silver accents. The headphones are meticulously crafted using high-quality materials, including a durable metal frame and plush ear cushions.

One notable feature of the design is the open-back design, which allows for a more natural and spacious soundstage. This design choice also helps in reducing resonance and distortion, resulting in a cleaner and more accurate sound reproduction.

The build quality of the HD 800 S is exceptional. Sennheiser has paid great attention to detail, ensuring that every component is precisely engineered and well-built. From the solid construction of the headband to the smooth adjustment mechanism, every aspect of the headphones exudes quality and durability.

Sound Quality and Performance

When it comes to sound quality, the Sennheiser HD 800 S truly shines. It is equipped with unique ring radiator drivers that are specifically designed to deliver an incredibly detailed and realistic audio experience. These drivers provide a wide frequency response, allowing you to hear every nuance and subtlety in your music.

The open-back design of the HD 800 S also plays a significant role in its sound performance. It creates a more natural and immersive soundstage, making you feel as if you are listening to music in a live concert hall. The soundstage is wide and spacious, with excellent instrument separation and imaging.

The HD 800 S offers a balanced and neutral sound signature, which is highly regarded by audiophiles. The bass is tight and controlled, the mids are clear and accurate, and the highs are detailed without being harsh. Whether you are listening to classical music, rock, jazz, or electronic music, the HD 800 S delivers an exceptional and enjoyable listening experience.

Comfort and Fit

Comfort is another area where the Sennheiser HD 800 S excels. The headphones are designed to provide long-lasting comfort, allowing you to enjoy your music for hours without any discomfort. The ear cups are spacious and well-padded, providing a comfortable fit for most head sizes.

The headband is also adjustable, allowing you to find the perfect fit for your head shape. The ear cups can be rotated and tilted, ensuring a proper seal and optimal sound performance. The weight distribution is well-balanced, preventing any unnecessary pressure or fatigue on your head and ears.

Whether you are using the HD 800 S for casual listening or professional audio work, the comfort and fit of these headphones will enhance your overall experience. You can immerse yourself in your favorite music without any distractions or discomfort.

Features of Sennheiser HD 800 S

When it comes to high-end headphones, the Sennheiser HD 800 S stands out with its exceptional features. Let’s take a closer look at what makes these headphones so special.

Open-Back Design

One of the standout features of the Sennheiser HD 800 S is its open-back design. Unlike closed-back headphones that isolate sound, the open-back design allows air to pass through the ear cups, creating a more natural and spacious soundstage. This design choice gives the HD 800 S an advantage when it comes to audio accuracy and imaging.

The open-back design also helps in reducing sound pressure build-up, resulting in a more comfortable listening experience for extended periods. However, it’s important to note that the open-back design also means that sound leaks out, making these headphones less suitable for use in public spaces or areas where you need to keep the sound to yourself.

Unique Ring Radiator Drivers

Another feature that sets the Sennheiser HD 800 S apart is its unique ring radiator drivers. These drivers are specially designed to minimize resonance and distortion, providing a more accurate and detailed sound reproduction. The ring radiator drivers allow for a wider frequency response, ensuring that you can hear every nuance in your music.

With the ring radiator drivers, the HD 800 S delivers a balanced and transparent sound signature. The bass is tight and controlled, while the midrange and treble are clear and well-extended. Whether you’re listening to classical music, jazz, or rock, these headphones excel in reproducing the intricate details that make each genre shine.

Detachable Cable System

The Sennheiser HD 800 S features a detachable cable system, which is a practical and convenient addition for both audiophiles and casual listeners alike. The detachable cables allow you to replace them easily if they get damaged or if you prefer a different length or termination.

Moreover, the HD 800 S utilizes a balanced cable connection, which provides a better signal transmission and reduces interference. This balanced connection can be particularly beneficial when paired with an appropriate amplifier or DAC (digital-to-analog converter). It ensures that the headphones receive a clean and accurate audio signal, resulting in improved sound quality.

Additionally, the detachable cable system makes the HD 800 S more portable. You can detach the cable when not in use, making it easier to store the headphones or transport them without worrying about tangled cables.

To summarize, the Sennheiser HD 800 S impresses with its open-back design, unique ring radiator drivers, and detachable cable system. These features contribute to the headphones’ exceptional sound quality, spacious soundstage, and convenience. Whether you’re a dedicated audiophile or simply someone who appreciates high-fidelity audio, the HD 800 S is a worthy investment that will elevate your listening experience.

(Note: The following sections will further explore other aspects of the Sennheiser HD 800 S, such as sound quality, comfort, and comparisons with other models.)

Comparison with Sennheiser HD 800

Differences in Sound Signature

When comparing the Sennheiser HD 800 S to its predecessor, the HD 800, one of the most noticeable differences lies in the sound signature. The HD 800 S offers a more refined and balanced sound, with improved bass response and a smoother treble. The highs are detailed and crisp, without any harshness or sibilance. The midrange is natural and transparent, allowing for a more immersive listening experience. Overall, the HD 800 S provides a more enjoyable and accurate representation of the audio, making it a preferred choice for audiophiles and music enthusiasts.

Upgrades in Design and Materials

In terms of design and materials, the HD 800 S has seen significant upgrades compared to its predecessor. The headband now features a metal construction, providing added durability and a premium feel. The ear cups have been redesigned with a black finish, giving the headphones a sleek and modern look. Additionally, the ear pads are made of a luxurious microfiber material, ensuring maximum comfort during long listening sessions. These design improvements not only enhance the overall aesthetics of the HD 800 S but also contribute to its exceptional build quality.

Price and Value Comparison

When it comes to price and value, it’s important to consider the differences between the HD 800 S and the HD 800. The HD 800 S is generally priced higher than its predecessor, but it offers several significant upgrades that justify the additional cost. The improved sound signature, enhanced design, and premium materials make the HD 800 S a worthwhile investment for those seeking the best audio experience. However, for budget-conscious individuals or those who are content with the sound quality of the HD 800, the original model may still be a viable option. Ultimately, the decision between the two models will depend on individual preferences and budget constraints.

To summarize, the Sennheiser HD 800 S stands out from its predecessor, the HD 800, in terms of sound signature, design, and materials. The HD 800 S offers a refined and balanced sound, with improved bass response and a smoother treble. Its upgraded design features a metal headband and luxurious microfiber ear pads, providing both durability and comfort. While the HD 800 S comes at a higher price point, the additional cost is justified by its enhanced features and overall value. Whether you choose the HD 800 S or the HD 800, both models deliver exceptional audio performance and are sure to satisfy even the most discerning audiophiles.

Pros and Cons of Sennheiser HD 800 S

When it comes to the Sennheiser HD 800 S headphones, there are several to consider. In this section, we will explore the advantages and disadvantages of these high-end headphones.


The Sennheiser HD 800 S offers a range of benefits that make it a top choice for audio enthusiasts. Here are some of the key advantages of these headphones:

  1. Unparalleled Sound Quality: The HD 800 S is known for its exceptional sound quality. With its open-back design and unique ring radiator drivers, these headphones deliver a detailed and spacious soundstage. The clarity and precision of the audio reproduction are truly remarkable, allowing you to hear every nuance and subtlety in your favorite music.
  2. Comfortable Fit: Sennheiser has paid special attention to the comfort of the HD 800 S. The headphones feature large, plush ear cups that provide a comfortable fit even during extended listening sessions. The adjustable headband ensures a secure and personalized fit, making these headphones suitable for long hours of use.
  3. Premium Build Quality: The HD 800 S is crafted with meticulous attention to detail. The headphones feature a sturdy and durable construction, with high-quality materials that exude luxury. From the robust metal frame to the luxurious ear pads, these headphones are built to last.
  4. Detachable Cable System: One of the standout of the HD 800 S is its detachable cable system. This allows for easy cable replacement and customization. Whether you prefer a shorter cable for portable use or a longer one for stationary listening, you have the flexibility to choose the cable that suits your needs.
  5. Wide Soundstage: The open-back design of the HD 800 S creates an immersive and spacious soundstage. This makes the headphones ideal for listeners who enjoy a more natural and expansive audio experience. Whether you’re listening to classical music or watching movies, the wide soundstage enhances the overall immersion and enjoyment.


While the Sennheiser HD 800 S offers a multitude of advantages, it’s not without its drawbacks. Here are some of the potential downsides to consider:

  1. High Price Tag: The HD 800 S is undeniably a high-end headphone, and with that comes a premium price tag. These headphones are an investment, and they may not be within everyone’s budget. However, for those who prioritize audio quality and are willing to invest in a top-of-the-line product, the price may be justified.
  2. Requires Amplification: The HD 800 S has an impedance of 300 ohms, which means it requires a dedicated headphone amplifier to reach its full potential. While this allows for greater customization and optimization of the sound, it also adds an additional cost and complexity to the setup. It’s important to factor in the cost of a suitable amplifier when considering the overall investment.
  3. Limited Portability: Due to their open-back design, the HD 800 S is not as portable as closed-back headphones. The open-back design allows for a more natural sound but also allows sound to leak in and out. This makes them less ideal for use in noisy environments or for those who prefer a more isolated listening experience. Additionally, the large size of the headphones may make them less convenient for travel.
  4. Lack of Noise Isolation: As mentioned earlier, the open-back design of the HD 800 S does not provide significant noise isolation. This means that external sounds may interfere with your listening experience, and your music may be audible to those around you. If you require a headphone that offers better noise isolation, it may be worth considering closed-back alternatives.

(Note: The following sections will provide more in-depth information on specific aspects such as sound quality, design, and amplifier recommendations.)

How to Choose the Right Amplifier for HD 800 S

Impedance and Power Requirements

When it comes to choosing the right amplifier for the Sennheiser HD 800 S, one of the key factors to consider is impedance. Impedance is the measure of electrical resistance that a headphone presents to an amplifier. The HD 800 S has an impedance of 300 ohms, which means it requires a powerful amplifier to drive it effectively.

To get the best performance out of your HD 800 S, it is important to match the impedance of the headphones with the output impedance of the amplifier. A general rule of thumb is that the output impedance of the amplifier should be less than 1/8th of the headphone’s impedance. This ensures that the amplifier can provide enough power to drive the headphones without causing any distortion or loss of sound quality.

In terms of power requirements, the HD 800 S is a demanding headphone that requires a substantial amount of power to deliver its full potential. It is recommended to use an amplifier with a high power output, preferably one that can deliver at least 1 watt of power into a 300-ohm load. This will ensure that the headphone is driven to its maximum capacity and delivers a dynamic and detailed sound.

Balanced vs Unbalanced Output

Another consideration when choosing the right for the HD 800 S is whether to opt for a balanced or unbalanced output. Both options have their own advantages and it ultimately depends on personal preference and the quality of the source material.

An unbalanced output uses a single-ended connection, which is the most common type of connection found in consumer audio equipment. It is compatible with most amplifiers and provides a good level of performance. However, a balanced output offers certain benefits, especially when it comes to reducing noise and interference.

A balanced output uses a differential signal, where the audio signal is split into two separate signals that are 180 degrees out of phase with each other. This helps to cancel out any common-mode noise or interference that may be present in the audio chain. It also allows for longer cable runs without any loss in signal quality.

If you decide to go with a balanced output, it is important to ensure that both the amplifier and the source device support balanced connections. This may require using a balanced cable and possibly investing in a separate digital-to-analog converter (DAC) that supports balanced output.

Amplifier Recommendations

Now that we have covered the key considerations when choosing an for the HD 800 S, let’s take a look at some amplifier recommendations that pair well with these exceptional headphones.

  1. Sennheiser HDV 820: This is specifically designed to complement the HD 800 S and offers a balanced output option. It provides a powerful and transparent sound reproduction, allowing the headphones to shine in all their glory.
  2. Audeze LCD-4: While not specifically designed for the HD 800 S, the Audeze LCD-4 is a high-end that delivers excellent performance and pairs well with many high-impedance headphones. It offers a balanced output and provides a wide soundstage and exceptional clarity.
  3. Chord Hugo 2: If you are looking for a portable option, the Chord Hugo 2 is a compact and versatile amplifier that can drive the HD 800 S with ease. It offers both unbalanced and balanced outputs, and its advanced DAC technology ensures exceptional audio quality.
  4. Schiit Audio Ragnarok: The Schiit Audio Ragnarok is a powerful and versatile amplifier that can handle a wide range of headphones, including the HD 800 S. It offers both balanced and unbalanced outputs, and its robust construction guarantees longevity and reliability.

Remember, choosing the right amplifier for the HD 800 S is crucial to unlocking its full potential. Consider the impedance and power requirements, as well as the benefits of balanced versus unbalanced output. With the right amplifier, you can truly immerse yourself in the breathtaking sound quality of the HD 800 S.

Tips for Proper Maintenance and Care

Taking care of your Sennheiser HD 800 S headphones is essential to ensure they continue to deliver the exceptional audio experience they are known for. By following these tips for proper maintenance and care, you can extend the lifespan of your headphones and keep them in optimal condition for years to come.

Cleaning the Headphones

Regular cleaning is crucial to maintain the hygiene and performance of your Sennheiser HD 800 S headphones. Here are some simple steps to keep them clean:

  1. Gently wipe the ear cups and headband: Use a soft, lint-free cloth slightly dampened with a mild cleaning solution. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive materials that could damage the delicate surfaces.
  2. Clean the ear pads: Detach the ear pads from the headphones and wipe them down with a damp cloth. If the ear pads are removable, you can also hand wash them using a mild detergent. Make sure to thoroughly dry them before reattaching.
  3. Remove dust and debris: Use a soft brush or a can of compressed air to remove any dust or debris that may have accumulated in the nooks and crannies of your headphones. Be careful not to apply too much pressure or insert anything into the drivers.
  4. Clean the cable connectors: Over time, dirt and grime can build up on the cable connectors, affecting the audio connection. Use a cotton swab lightly moistened with isopropyl alcohol to clean the connectors. Ensure they are completely dry before reconnecting the cables.

Storing and Protecting the HD 800 S

Proper storage and protection are crucial to prevent any damage to your Sennheiser HD 800 S headphones. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. Use the included storage case: When not in use, always store your headphones in the provided storage case. The case is designed to protect the headphones from dust, moisture, and accidental bumps or drops.
  2. Avoid extreme temperatures: Do not expose your headphones to extreme temperatures, whether it’s excessive heat or cold. Extreme temperatures can damage the internal components and affect the overall performance.
  3. Keep away from liquids: It’s important to keep your headphones away from liquids to prevent any damage. Accidental spills or moisture can seep into the drivers and compromise the audio quality.
  4. Handle with care: Always handle your headphones with care, avoiding unnecessary twisting or bending. Be mindful when adjusting the headband or folding the ear cups, as excessive force can lead to structural damage.

Cable Management

Proper cable management not only keeps your Sennheiser HD 800 S headphones organized but also helps prevent tangling and potential cable damage. Here are some tips for effective cable management:

  1. Use cable ties or clips: Invest in cable ties or clips to keep the headphone cables neatly organized. Secure the excess cable length to prevent tangling and ensure a clutter-free experience.
  2. Avoid sharp bends: When routing the cables, avoid sharp bends or kinks, as they can weaken the internal wires and lead to eventual cable failure. Opt for gentle curves instead.
  3. Disconnect the cables when not in use: If you’re not using your headphones for an extended period, consider disconnecting the cables. This helps prevent accidental tugs or pulls that can damage the connectors.
  4. Consider cable upgrades: If you’re looking to enhance your audio experience further, you may consider investing in high-quality aftermarket cables. These cables often offer improved durability and better signal transmission.

By following these tips for proper maintenance and care, you can ensure that your Sennheiser HD 800 S headphones remain in top-notch condition. Remember to clean them regularly, store them properly, and manage the cables effectively. With these practices in place, you can continue to enjoy the unparalleled audio performance that the HD 800 S delivers.

Frequently Asked Questions about HD 800 S

What is the Difference between HD 800 and HD 800 S?

The Sennheiser HD 800 and HD 800 S are both renowned for their exceptional sound quality and performance. However, there are a few key differences between the two models that set them apart.

One of the main differences lies in the sound signature. The HD 800 S is known for its improved bass response and overall tonal balance compared to the HD 800. This enhancement in sound quality is achieved by incorporating a unique absorber technology in the ear cups of the HD 800 S. This technology helps to eliminate unwanted resonances and deliver a more accurate and detailed audio experience.

Another difference is the design and materials used. The HD 800 S features a sleek and elegant matte black finish, while the HD 800 comes in a silver finish. Additionally, the HD 800 S utilizes a premium microfiber ear pad material, which provides enhanced comfort and durability compared to the velour ear pads of the HD 800.

In terms of pricing, the HD 800 S is generally priced higher than the HD 800 due to its upgraded features and improved sound quality. However, the value you get from the HD 800 S justifies the higher price tag for audiophiles and enthusiasts who demand the best audio experience.

Can the HD 800 S be Used for Gaming?

Yes, the Sennheiser HD 800 S can be used for gaming, and it offers a truly immersive and high-fidelity audio experience. The open-back design of the headphones allows for a wider soundstage, which enhances the spatial awareness in games. This means you’ll be able to hear the direction of in-game sounds more accurately, giving you a competitive edge in multiplayer games.

The HD 800 S also excels in reproducing details and nuances in sound, which is especially beneficial for gaming. You’ll be able to hear subtle environmental cues, footsteps, and other in-game audio elements with remarkable clarity. This level of audio precision can greatly enhance your gaming experience, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the virtual world.

However, it’s worth noting that the HD 800 S is primarily designed for audiophile listening and studio use, so it may not come with built-in gaming-specific features such as a built-in microphone. If you require voice communication during gaming, you may need to invest in a separate microphone or gaming headset.

How Does the HD 800 S Compare to Other High-End Headphones?

When it comes to comparing the Sennheiser HD 800 S to other high-end headphones, it’s important to consider the specific needs and preferences of the listener. However, there are a few standout features that make the HD 800 S a top choice among audiophiles.

One of the key advantages of the HD 800 S is its exceptional soundstage and imaging capabilities. The open-back design and unique ring radiator drivers create a spacious and natural soundstage, allowing for a more realistic and immersive listening experience. This makes the HD 800 S particularly well-suited for critical listening and audio production.

In terms of comfort, the HD 800 S is known for its ergonomic design and lightweight construction. The headphones distribute the weight evenly, making them comfortable to wear for extended periods of time. The premium microfiber ear pads provide a plush and luxurious feel, ensuring a comfortable fit without compromising on sound quality.

While the HD 800 S may come at a higher price point compared to some other high-end headphones, the level of craftsmanship, attention to detail, and sound quality it offers justifies the investment for discerning audiophiles. It’s important to consider your personal preferences and budget when comparing headphones, but the HD 800 S is undoubtedly a top contender in the realm of high-end audio.

In conclusion, the Sennheiser HD 800 S stands out with its superior sound quality, comfortable design, and attention to detail. Whether you’re a passionate audiophile, a gamer looking for an immersive experience, or a professional in the audio industry, the HD 800 S is a remarkable choice that delivers exceptional performance.

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