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Friday, June 05, 2009
Sennheiser HD800 Launch
[ZOMBiE CyGiG] ranted at 3:39 PM --- Post#8852933313481497726

72-13 is the venue for Sennheiser HD800 Launch, and looking for 72-13 wasn't an easy feat, it took two military trained men one hour to locate its position, but the long journey there was definitely worthwhile. A little info-bite, 72-13 is not a block number, "72-13" is the building name, and it used to be a rice warehouse, but now converted to multi-purpose hall, capable of transforming into a gallery, stage, cinema etc. Its by International Centre of Asian Art (ICAA) and its the home to TheatreWorks.

Pic of 72-13. Taken from www.theatreworks.org.sg

Invitation card mailed to me.

After crossing the river, trekking up the hills and stepping on dog shit, we reached the building and was overjoyed by the "aura" of aircon. The personnel there were dressed in suites, which made my tee and jeans looked contrastingly informal. To my relief, a lot of the rest of the invited were dressed rather casually. We were given a goody bag containing a demo SA CD by Stockfisch-Records and a booklet on HD800.

Goody bag and its content.

We were brought to a holding area where its rather dark, and joined some other audiophiles and, assumingly, one of Senn's higher authority in a causal audio discussion. Titbits were served along with "Sennheiser Blue" drink, which tasted like 100Plus Lime. After about 20 minutes of waiting, we were ushered to the audition area.

Random: C-730UZ. Ancient camera that had its lens all dropped out due to some unknown reason (one day when I used it, the lens were already out of place). I managed to assemble the lens back and got it working again. Poor pic quality but its the only alternative I have other than my DSLR which was too heavy and bulky for this event. Pics below are shot using this cam.

Down a dark passage way barricaded with stage cloth (or whatever you call those velvet big cloths you use for a stage), videos were projected to show the history of Sennheiser's.

Making a right turn at the end of the passage brought us to the audition area. Its a wide and dark room measuring roughly half the size of a typical school hall. At the end is a screen with speakers.

In the center, there were two "audio cubes". Each cube measured around two meters on each side, and the walls were made out of clear glass. they looked like some futuristic chambers.

TheWicked's Audio Cube.

Stepping inside the cubes, I was told to enjoy the video and would be given 20 minutes to audit HD800. There was a comforty leather chair and in front was a table top with CD player, headphone amp and an array of CDs. A video played for about ten minutes before instructing us to audit the headphones.

The video on screen. Taken while inside my audio cube.

Equipment, with HD800 on the CD Player.

Equipment, without HD800.

Transparent Audio IC cables.

The HD800 definitely won the best looking headphones in my heart. The futuristic look is achieved by usage of aluminium in the housing, as well as stylish curves and prominent shapes. The cables are of Y-design and nicely sleeved. It fitted very comfortably on my head

Front view.

Side view.

Top view.

I did not use any of their CDs as I always believe that I should audition equipment using music genre that I like most. My taste is slightly different from the other audiophiles, as I mainly listened to Mando Pop and Rock, as well as Techno. I placed my own compiled disc into the T+A CD Player, upped the volume and listened. Later on, I tested on Chesky's Ultimate Disc as well.

T+A CD Player.

Load tray opened.

My own compiled CD.

Lehmann Audio headphone amp.

From the precious 20 minutes of audition. Here is my verdict of the HD800: It has exceptional details and imaging, and does very well in high resolution songs. The balancing was very well done, it does not have too much mids or bass that covers the highs, and yet it did not sound too boring and analytical. The sound stage waged between my RX700 and ESW9, and has that "airy" sound by most open cans, which is not in favour by me, who chose focus over sound stage and naturalness. I love HD800's dynamics, it was able to reproduce rapid high and low attacks without muddling up. The highs were fast, and seemed to do better than the bass, the treble seemed to be a mini little bit too high, but I liked it as it adds on to dynamics in the cymbals, but rest assured there was no sibilance at all. The bass was well controlled, but personally, I would prefer a much punchier and deeper bass.

On the other hand, I feel that, although HD800 is a marvellous headphone, it wasn't something as "WOW" as the advertising video portrayed (marketing?). There are definitely other headphones playing on the same league as HD800, many might even be a lot cheaper. Im not very sure of the pricing of HD800, but I heard it exceeds S$2000, which instantly killed all non-working audiophiles like students.

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