Sennheiser HD 800 S Review

by Alex Chang
Sennheiser HD 800 S

In the realm of high-fidelity audio, a name that has always been synonymous with exceptional sound quality and unparalleled craftsmanship is Sennheiser. Today, we delve into the world of the Sennheiser HD 800 S headphones, a masterpiece of engineering that has captured the hearts of audiophiles worldwide. This article/review will explore the unique features and exquisite design of these remarkable headphones, offering a comprehensive look at what makes them a must-have for any serious listener.

Throughout the following pages, we will discuss the design principles behind the HD 800 S, the innovative technologies used to achieve their impressive performance, and the attention to detail that sets them apart from the competition. By providing you with a better understanding of what makes these headphones so exceptional, we hope to inspire you to embark on your own journey into the world of high-end audio.

Sennheiser HD 800 S product information

Sennheiser HD 800 S
Sennheiser HD 800 S


The history of the Sennheiser HD 800 S headphones is a testament to the company’s dedication to innovation and the pursuit of audio perfection. The story begins with the founding of Sennheiser in 1945 by Fritz Sennheiser, a German engineer passionate about audio technology. Over the decades, the company has earned a reputation for creating groundbreaking products that redefine the boundaries of audio performance.

See also  Sennheiser HD 600 Review

The original Sennheiser HD 800 headphones, released in 2009, were a milestone in the company’s history. They were designed to provide a listening experience that was as close to the original recording as possible, pushing the limits of headphone technology. With a unique open-back design and innovative transducer technology, the HD 800 quickly gained recognition as one of the best headphones on the market, loved by audio enthusiasts and professionals alike.

However, Sennheiser didn’t rest on its laurels. In their relentless pursuit of perfection, the company sought ways to improve upon the original HD 800 design. After years of research, development, and feedback from users, Sennheiser unveiled the HD 800 S in 2016. These new headphones built upon the strengths of their predecessor while addressing some of its weaknesses.

One of the key improvements in the HD 800 S was the implementation of Sennheiser’s patented absorber technology, which had previously been used in their IE 800 in-ear headphones. This innovation significantly reduced the treble peaks that some users found to be too pronounced in the original HD 800, resulting in a smoother, more refined sound signature.

Additionally, the HD800 S featured an updated design with a subtle, yet elegant matte black finish, distinguishing it from the silver aesthetic of its predecessor. The headphones also incorporated improved ear cushions and an optimized headband for greater comfort during extended listening sessions.

Sennheiser’s dedication to craftsmanship and quality is evident in every aspect of the HD 800 S, from the use of high-quality materials like stainless steel and aerospace-grade aluminum to the meticulous hand-assembly of each unit in Germany. These headphones are not only a testament to Sennheiser’s engineering prowess but also to their commitment to delivering a truly extraordinary listening experience.

See also  Apple AirPods Max Review

Over the years, the Sennheiser HD 800 S has become a benchmark in the world of high-fidelity audio, earning praise from critics and users alike for its unparalleled sound quality, superb comfort, and striking design. The rich history behind these headphones serves as a reminder of the passion and innovation that continue to drive Sennheiser as a leader in the audio industry, always striving to create products that bring us closer to the true essence of music.


Year of Manufacture2016
Official Website
Fit TypeOver-ear
Item Dimensions10.7 x 5.7 x 13.8 inches
Item Weight330 grams (11.6 ounces)
Special FeaturesOpen-back design, Patented absorber technology
Driver Size56mm
Frequency Response4 Hz – 51,000 Hz
Impedance300 Ohms
Bluetooth VersionN/A (Wired)
Bluetooth RangeN/A (Wired)
ANC ModesN/A
Audio CodecN/A (Wired)
Battery LifeN/A (Wired)
Charging TimeN/A (Wired)
Quick ChargingN/A (Wired)
PriceApproximately $1,600 (as of 2021)

What is included in the delivery set?

The Sennheiser HD 800 S delivery set includes the following items:

  1. Sennheiser HD 800 S headphones: The main attraction, these high-fidelity open-back headphones provide an exceptional listening experience.
  2. Premium cable: A high-quality 3-meter (approximately 9.8 feet) cable with a 6.3mm (1/4-inch) stereo plug. The cable is designed to ensure minimal loss of signal quality and optimal sound reproduction.
  3. Balanced cable (optional): Some packages may also include a balanced cable with a 4-pin XLR connector for use with compatible amplifiers or audio interfaces, further enhancing the audio quality.
  4. Storage case: A luxurious storage case designed to protect your headphones when they are not in use. The case is made of durable materials and features a custom-molded interior to securely hold the headphones and accessories.
  5. User manual: A comprehensive guide detailing the features, specifications, and proper care for your Sennheiser HD 800 S headphones.
  6. Warranty documentation: Information about the warranty provided by Sennheiser for the HD 800 S, which typically covers manufacturing defects and workmanship for a specified period.

Please note that the contents of the delivery set may vary slightly depending on the region or retailer. Always refer to the specific product listing or consult the manufacturer for the most accurate and up-to-date information.

What about design, materials, assembly?

The design, materials, and assembly of the Sennheiser HD 800 S headphones showcase the company’s commitment to delivering a product that is both visually striking and built to last, without compromising on comfort.


The HD 800 S features an open-back design, which is integral to its exceptional soundstage and natural sound reproduction. The open-back design allows air to flow freely in and out of the ear cups, minimizing resonance and creating an immersive, spacious listening experience.

The headphones are designed with ergonomics in mind, ensuring that they can be worn comfortably for extended periods. The large ear cups are shaped to fit comfortably around the ears, while the padded headband is adjustable to suit various head sizes.


Sennheiser has employed high-quality materials in the construction of the HD 800 S to ensure both durability and premium aesthetics. The ear cups are crafted from aerospace-grade aluminum, which is both lightweight and strong, contributing to the overall comfort and sturdiness of the headphones.

The headband is made of a combination of metal and high-grade plastic materials, providing a balance of strength and flexibility. The ear cushions are covered in soft, high-quality microfiber fabric, ensuring a comfortable fit while maintaining breathability.


The Sennheiser HD 800 S headphones are hand-assembled in Germany, a testament to the company’s commitment to quality and craftsmanship. This meticulous assembly process ensures that each unit meets Sennheiser’s stringent standards for performance, build quality, and overall customer satisfaction.

The combination of innovative design, premium materials, and expert assembly results in a pair of headphones that not only deliver an unparalleled audio

Sennheiser HD 800 S
Sennheiser HD 800 S

What about ergonomics and usability Sennheiser HD 800 S?

Ergonomics and usability are essential aspects of the Sennheiser HD 800 S headphones, as they directly impact the overall listening experience and user satisfaction. Sennheiser has taken several measures to ensure that the HD 800 S is comfortable to wear and easy to use, even during extended listening sessions.


  1. Large, comfortable ear cups: The ear cups of the HD 800 S are designed to fully encompass the ears without applying excessive pressure, ensuring a comfortable and secure fit. The open-back design also allows for better air circulation, reducing heat buildup and providing a more comfortable listening experience.
  2. Padded headband: The headband of the HD 800 S features ample padding to distribute the weight of the headphones evenly across the head, minimizing pressure points and discomfort. The headband is also adjustable, accommodating a wide range of head sizes.
  3. Lightweight construction: Despite their large size, the HD 800 S headphones are relatively lightweight at 330 grams (11.6 ounces), thanks to the use of high-quality materials like aerospace-grade aluminum. The lightweight design reduces fatigue during long listening sessions.


  1. Detachable cable: The HD 800 S features a detachable cable that can be easily replaced or upgraded, depending on the user’s preferences. The cable connects to the headphones via a secure two-pin connector, ensuring a stable connection and minimizing the risk of accidental disconnections.
  2. Cable options: The headphones come with a high-quality 3-meter cable with a 6.3mm stereo plug. Some packages may also include a balanced cable with a 4-pin XLR connector for use with compatible amplifiers or audio interfaces, providing additional versatility and enhanced audio quality.
  3. Easy storage and transport: The included luxurious storage case ensures that your headphones are well-protected when not in use. The case is made of durable materials and features a custom-molded interior to securely hold the headphones and accessories, making it easier to transport and store the HD 800 S.
  4. Wide compatibility: The Sennheiser HD 800 S is designed to work well with a variety of audio sources, from professional-grade amplifiers to consumer devices like smartphones and portable music players. The 300-ohm impedance ensures compatibility with a wide range of equipment, allowing you to enjoy the exceptional sound quality of the HD 800 S in different setups.
  5. Low maintenance: The open-back design and use of high-quality materials minimize the need for regular maintenance. The detachable cable design also ensures that any potential cable-related issues can be easily addressed by simply replacing the cable.
  6. Overall, the ergonomics and usability of the Sennheiser HD 800 S headphones contribute to a comfortable and enjoyable listening experience, allowing users to fully appreciate the exceptional sound quality and expansive soundstage offered by these high-end headphones.

What about connection, control and software?

The Sennheiser HD 800 S headphones are primarily designed for high-fidelity listening experiences, which means that their focus is on delivering exceptional audio quality rather than incorporating advanced connectivity options or control features. Here’s an overview of the connection, control, and software aspects of the HD 800 S headphones:


The HD 800 S is a wired headphone, which means it relies on a physical cable to connect to audio sources. This is a deliberate choice by Sennheiser, as wired connections generally offer better audio quality than wireless connections, such as Bluetooth. The headphones come with a high-quality 3-meter cable with a 6.3mm stereo plug, and in some cases, a balanced cable with a 4-pin XLR connector for use with compatible amplifiers or audio interfaces. The two-pin connector on the headphones ensures a secure connection and minimizes the risk of accidental disconnections.


As the Sennheiser HD 800 S is focused on audio performance, it does not feature any built-in controls or buttons for adjusting volume, skipping tracks, or managing calls. Users will need to control these functions through the connected audio source, such as a smartphone, audio player, or amplifier.


The HD 800 S does not come with any accompanying software, as it is a wired, analog headphone that does not require digital processing or customization through an app. The headphones are designed to deliver an accurate and natural sound signature without the need for additional software-based enhancements

How’s the sound quality? 

The Sennheiser HD 800 S headphones are renowned for their exceptional sound quality, which is characterized by their impressive soundstage, accurate frequency response, and remarkable detail. Here’s a detailed analysis of the sound quality offered by the HD 800 S:

  1. Soundstage: One of the standout features of the HD 800 S is its expansive and immersive soundstage. The open-back design and the unique positioning of the large 56mm drivers within the ear cups contribute to an incredibly spacious listening experience. This allows for precise imaging and a sense of depth, making it easy to pinpoint the location of individual instruments and vocals in a recording.
  2. Bass: The HD 800 S provides tight, controlled bass that is both accurate and well-defined. It does not emphasize or overemphasize the lower frequencies, instead delivering a balanced and natural representation of the bass. While it may not satisfy bassheads looking for a more pronounced low-end, the HD 800 S offers bass that complements the overall sound signature without overpowering the mids and highs.
  3. Midrange: The midrange on the HD 800 S is detailed, transparent, and natural-sounding. Vocals and instruments are reproduced with clarity and precision, allowing for an engaging and lifelike listening experience. The patented absorber technology implemented in the HD 800 S helps to reduce any potential masking effects, ensuring that even subtle nuances in the midrange frequencies are not overshadowed by other elements in the mix.
  4. Treble: The treble on the HD 800 S is smooth, detailed, and well-extended. The headphones offer exceptional resolution and accuracy in the higher frequencies, capturing the delicate nuances of cymbals, strings, and other high-frequency instruments. The patented absorber technology also plays a role in smoothing out the treble peaks, addressing a common criticism of the original HD 800 that some users found to be overly bright.
  5. Balance and coherence: The HD 800 S maintains a remarkable balance across the entire frequency spectrum. No particular frequency range dominates the overall sound signature, resulting in a cohesive and natural listening experience. The headphones effectively reproduce the subtle details, dynamics, and tonal balance of the original recording, delivering an accurate and faithful representation of the music.
  6. Resolution and detail: The Sennheiser HD 800 S is known for its ability to reveal the finest details in a recording, making it a popular choice among audiophiles and professionals alike. The high-resolution drivers and open-back design contribute to an impressive level of clarity, ensuring that even the most intricate elements of a recording are reproduced with precision and accuracy.
  7. In summary, the sound quality of the Sennheiser HD 800 S is truly exceptional, offering an immersive soundstage, natural tonal balance, and remarkable detail across the entire frequency spectrum. These headphones are designed to provide a faithful and accurate representation of the original recording, making them an ideal choice for those seeking a high-fidelity listening experience.

What about the energy efficiency and battery life?

As the Sennheiser HD 800 S headphones are wired, analog headphones, they do not have an internal battery or rely on any power source other than the connected audio device. Therefore, energy efficiency and battery life are not applicable to the HD 800 S.

However, it is essential to consider the power requirements of the headphones to ensure optimal audio performance. The HD 800 S has an impedance of 300 ohms, which means that they require a more powerful audio source or amplifier to drive them effectively. While these headphones can be used with portable devices like smartphones and portable music players, their performance may be limited due to the lower power output of such devices.

To get the best audio performance out of the Sennheiser HD 800 S, it is recommended to pair them with a dedicated headphone amplifier or an audio source with a robust built-in amplifier capable of driving high-impedance headphones. Using a suitable amplifier will help ensure that the headphones receive the necessary power to deliver their full potential in terms of sound quality and dynamic range.

Comparison & Review

What are similar headphones in features and cost?

There are several high-end headphones that share similar features and are in the same price range as the Sennheiser HD 800 S. Two notable alternatives are:

  1. Audeze LCD-X: The Audeze LCD-X is an open-back, over-ear headphone that features planar magnetic drivers, which are known for their low distortion, fast transient response, and excellent detail. The LCD-X has an impedance of 20 ohms, making it easier to drive with portable devices compared to the HD 800 S. The headphones are designed for both professional and audiophile use, with a neutral and accurate sound signature. The price range of the Audeze LCD-X is similar to that of the Sennheiser HD 800 S, placing it in the premium headphone category.
  2. HIFIMAN Ananda: The HIFIMAN Ananda is another open-back, over-ear headphone that utilizes planar magnetic drivers. The Ananda offers a wide soundstage, precise imaging, and a balanced sound signature, with an emphasis on detail and clarity. The headphones have a relatively low impedance of 25 ohms, making them more compatible with portable devices. However, using a dedicated headphone amplifier is still recommended to get the best performance. The price of the HIFIMAN Ananda is slightly lower than the Sennheiser HD 800 S, but it is still considered a high-end headphone option.

Both the Audeze LCD-X and the HIFIMAN Ananda offer excellent sound quality, comfort, and build quality, making them viable alternatives to the Sennheiser HD800 S for those seeking a high-fidelity listening experience. Each of these headphones has its unique sound signature and characteristics, so personal preference and listening habits will play a significant role in determining which model is the best fit.

While the Audeze LCD-X is known for its neutral sound signature and the planar magnetic drivers’ low distortion, the HIFIMAN Ananda is appreciated for its detailed and balanced sound with an emphasis on clarity. Both options provide wide soundstages and precise imaging, which are essential aspects of an immersive listening experience.

In summary, the Audeze LCD-X and HIFIMAN Ananda are two high-end headphones that offer similar features and are in the same price range as the Sennheiser HD 800 S. These headphones cater to audiophiles and professionals who seek accurate sound reproduction, comfort, and premium build quality. It’s essential to consider individual preferences and listening habits when choosing between these models, as each has its unique characteristics and sound signature.

Compare with similar items

SpecificationSennheiser HD 800 SBose QuietComfort 35 IISony WH-1000XM4
Year of Manufacture201620172020
Fit TypeOver-EarOver-EarOver-Ear
Item Dimensions11 x 10 x 6 inches3.2 x 6.7 x 7.1 inches7.27 x 3.03 x 9.94 in
Item Weight330 g235 g254 g
Special FeaturesOpen-back designActive noise cancellationActive noise cancellation, Speak-to-chat, Adaptive sound control
Driver Size56mmNot specified40mm
Frequency Response4 – 51,000 Hz20 – 20,000 Hz4 – 40,000 Hz
Impedance300 OhmsNot specified47 Ohms
Bluetooth VersionN/ABluetooth 4.1Bluetooth 5.0
Bluetooth RangeN/AUp to 10 metersUp to 10 meters
ANC ModesN/A32
Battery LifeN/AUp to 20 hoursUp to 30 hours
Charging TimeN/A2.25 hours3 hours
Quick ChargingN/A15 minutes for 2.5 hours10 minutes for 5 hours
ControlsWiredTouch and physical buttonsTouch and physical buttons

How do Sennheiser HD 800 S users describe their experience with these headphones? 

Sennheiser HD 800 S users generally describe their experience with these headphones as exceptional. They praise the headphones for their natural and detailed sound reproduction, comfortable fit, and luxurious build quality.

Many users note that the HD 800 S has an expansive soundstage that provides a sense of space and depth to their music. They also mention that the headphones excel at producing clear, accurate, and balanced sound across a wide range of frequencies.

The comfort of the HD 800 S is another commonly cited positive aspect of the headphones. Users note that the large ear cups and well-padded headband provide a comfortable fit for long listening sessions.

Some users mention that the HD 800 S is an expensive headphone, but they feel that the sound quality and comfort justify the cost.

Overall, Sennheiser HD 800 S users generally have very positive experiences with these headphones, and many consider them to be among the best headphones available on the market.

Sennheiser HD 800 S
Sennheiser HD 800 S

Pros and cons of headphones Sennheiser HD 800 S

Positive AspectsNegative Aspects
Exceptional sound quality with natural, detailed sound reproductionExpensive price point
Expansive soundstage that provides a sense of space and depth to musicRequires a powerful amplifier to get the most out of the headphones
Clear, accurate, and balanced sound across a wide range of frequenciesOpen-back design allows sound to leak out and can be distracting to others nearby
Comfortable fit with large ear cups and well-padded headbandNot ideal for use in noisy environments due to lack of noise isolation or active noise cancellation
Luxurious build quality with high-end materialsHeavy weight may cause discomfort or fatigue during extended use
Detachable cable and replaceable ear pads for easy maintenanceSome users may prefer a more bass-heavy sound signature
Widely regarded as one of the best headphones available on the marketNot ideal for mobile use due to large size and open-back design


The Sennheiser HD 800 S headphones are a high-end, open-back headphone with exceptional sound quality, an expansive soundstage, and a comfortable fit. They are well-regarded by users for their natural, detailed sound reproduction and luxurious build quality. However, they are relatively expensive and require a powerful amplifier to get the most out of them. The open-back design may also be distracting to others nearby, and they are not ideal for use in noisy environments. Overall, the Sennheiser HD 800 S headphones are widely considered to be among the best headphones available on the market.

Our Review

Sennheiser HD 800 S. Basic questions, basic answers

  • Why is Sennheiser HD 800 S so expensive?

    The Sennheiser HD 800 S is a high-end, flagship headphone that is designed to deliver exceptional sound quality and comfort. There are several reasons why it is so expensive:
    1. Materials: The HD 800 S is made with high-end materials, including stainless steel, aluminum, and synthetic leather. These materials are expensive and add to the cost of the headphone.
    2. Research and development: Sennheiser has invested a significant amount of time and resources into researching and developing the HD 800 S. This includes designing a unique open-back driver that provides an expansive soundstage and natural sound reproduction.
    3. Handcrafted: Each pair of HD 800 S headphones is handcrafted in Germany by skilled technicians. This level of attention to detail and craftsmanship adds to the cost of the headphone.
    4. Limited production: The HD 800 S is not mass-produced, and Sennheiser only produces a limited number of headphones each year. This limited production contributes to the high cost of the headphone.

    Overall, the Sennheiser HD 800 S is an exceptional headphone that is designed for audiophiles and music enthusiasts who demand the highest level of sound quality and comfort. The cost of the headphone reflects the high-end materials, research and development, handcrafted production, and limited availability.

  • Which is better Sennheiser 800S or 820?

    The Sennheiser HD 800S and HD 820 are both high-end headphones with exceptional sound quality, but they have some differences that may make one better suited for your needs than the other.

    One of the most significant differences between the HD 800S and HD 820 is their design. The HD 800S is an open-back headphone, which means that it has an open design that allows air and sound to pass through the ear cups. This design provides an expansive soundstage and natural sound reproduction, but it also means that sound can leak out and you can hear ambient noise.

    On the other hand, the HD 820 is a closed-back headphone with a more traditional design that provides excellent noise isolation and prevents sound leakage. This can be an advantage if you plan to use the headphones in noisy environments or want to avoid disturbing others around you.

    In terms of sound quality, both headphones are exceptional and have received high praise from audiophiles and reviewers. The HD 800S has a more neutral sound signature with a slightly bright treble, while the HD 820 has a warmer sound with slightly boosted bass.
    Overall, the choice between the Sennheiser HD 800S and HD 820 comes down to personal preference and how you plan to use the headphones. If you prioritize natural sound reproduction and an expansive soundstage, and don’t mind some sound leakage, then the HD 800S may be the better choice. If you want excellent noise isolation and a warmer sound signature, then the HD 820 may be a better fit for you.

  • When did the sennheiser hd 800 s headphones come out?

    The Sennheiser HD 800S headphones were released in 2016 as an upgraded version of the original HD 800 headphones, which were released in 2009. The HD 800S features a refined driver design and improved frequency response compared to the original HD 800.

Last Updated on November 9, 2023

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1 comment

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Alex Chang April 4, 2023 - 3:52 am

Dear readers,

I hope you found this review of the Sennheiser HD 800 S headphones informative and helpful. As the author of this article, I would love to hear your feedback and thoughts about these headphones. Have you had a chance to try them out? Do you agree with the positive aspects highlighted in this review, or do you have a different opinion? Please feel free to share your comments and join in the discussion.

Thank you for taking the time to read this review, and I look forward to hearing from you.


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