A story of what could’ve been and what can be!
PROS: Excellent craftsmanship, highly attractive design, technical performance – soundstage, detail retrieval and resolution, easy and warmer sound than HD800S, cheaper pricing than HD800S, shines and performs really well with corrective EQ.
CONS: Tonal issues – particularly dipped upper-midrange along with boosted lower-midrange and mid-bass region, needs corrective EQ to shine.
HD8XX was born out of a collaboration between DROP (previously Massdrop) and Sennheiser as a revision to Sennheiser’s highly acclaimed flagship, the HD800 series.
Introduced with the 800 Series, Sennheiser’s ring-radiator drivers are a groundbreaking innovation in headphone performance. Unlike the traditional dynamic driver, which moves a conical dome to create sound, the ring-radiator driver uses a ring diaphragm attached at its inner and outer surfaces. This dramatically increases stability, radiates sound uniformly, and eliminates cone breakup. With these drivers, the HD 800 was an undeniable step forward—but many audiophiles felt that it had too much treble and not enough low-end response. Sennheiser responded with the re-tuned HD 800S, and using that as a base, we worked with Sennheiser to further balance the midrange and extend the bass response. With a new resonator system and driver materials, The HD 8XX has a balanced upper midrange and sub-bass that extends to 10hz. Completing the package, the HD 8XX is finished with signature Drop midnight blue accents.
Priced at $1100, HD8XX is currently sold out on DROP’s website but available in their Amazon US store.
- Drop + Sennheiser
- Headphone type: Open-back
- Ear coupling: Over-ear
- Drivers: 56 mm ring radiator dynamic drivers
- Impedance: 300 ohms
- Frequency response: 4 Hz – 51,000 Hz (-10 dB)
- THD: 0.02 % (1 kHz, 1 Vrms)
- Contact pressure: ~ 3,4 N (± 0,3 N)
- Weight (without cable): 11.6 oz (330 g)
Included in the box.
- Sennheiser HD8XX
- Cable with 6.35 mm (1/4″) TRS single-ended plug
- Cable length: 9.8 ft (3 m)
- 2-year warranty
Build Quality and Design.
HD8XX’s body is mostly made of plastic with the headband adjuster being the only metal part in there but is put together very well owing to Sennheiser’s manufacturing prowess. HD8XX is built in Germany and basically has the same excellent build quality as any of the HD800 series of headphones except for the colour, which is the signature Midnight Blue that a lot of DROP’s collaboration headphones have. I don’t know if I even need to mention but I think HD800 series design is the most catchy and iconic headphone design of all time.
Cable – I can see that Drop and Sennheiser tried to include a pretty nice cable in the package from their end but honestly, the cable is a bit too long and has a single ended 1/4″ jack, which will have balanced and portable equipment users looking for 3rd party cable options when ordering the HD8XX. I think Drop should’ve offered choice of cable length and jack termination for versatility or just included a decent extra 4-pin XLR or 4.4mm balanced cable in the package.
Fit and Comfort.
The fit is very easy and comfortable as the headphones are light, the ear pads cover my whole ear and are padded enough for my ear to not touch the driver assembly. The clamp force is extremely comfortable and I can go on wearing the headphones for hours and days without any discomfort. The HD800 series of headphones are probably the most comfortable headphones I’ve used.
Even though it is a 300Ω impedance headphone, it can be driven to fairly decent levels with a good phone + dongle setup but it benefits greatly when powered with good juice via the balanced output of a powerful DAP like iBasso DX240 and HiBy R6 2020 or even better – a nice desktop setup.