Sennheiser HD820.

Sennheiser sent me their HD820 to review. The first pair of closed back headphones I’ve reviewed over £1000.
Are they a hit or miss? read on to learn more…

Disclaimer:
Sennheiser sent these in for review. I am not paid or sponsored by Sennheiser. The views in this review are unbiased and my own.

Emily and Sennheiser kindly provided these for review & they currently retail for £1,799.

You can find them here by following this link:
https://en-uk.sennheiser.com/high-end-headphones-audiophiles-hd-820

Review equipment:
Sennheiser HD820.
Sennheiser Single ended and various balanced cables to match.
Schiit Audio Jotunheim. ( Balanced/Single ended DAC/Headphone amp/Pre. )
Eufonika H7. ( Single ended Tube Headphone amp. )
Musician Audio Pegasus. ( Balanced/Single ended DAC. )
MacBook Pro 2015 15″ Retina.
Qobuz Studio Premier.
Technics SL1200MKII.
Ortofon Quintet Red.
KECES AUDIO ePhono and linear psu.
AFAudio mains and interconnect cables throughout.
Audiowalle TP1000 mains conditioners x2.
Custom Cans balanced cable with pigtail. ( 4 pole XLR with pigtail to 4.4mm Pentaconn. )
Grado quarter inch to 3.5mm stereo stepdown pigtail.

Custom Cans to the rescue with some very nice balanced cable options.

Music:
Various new and old albums on vinyl.
Qobuz streamed over Bluetooth or direct over USB.

What’s in the box:

  • Headphones HD 820 (closed, dynamic headphones)
  • connection cable: ¼” (6.35 mm) stereo jack plug (connected ex works), unbalanced
  • 4.4 mm stereo jack plug, balanced
  • USB flash drive (SD-U16L version) with instruction manual (as PDF file) and individually diffuse-field frequency response curve
  • instruction manual
  • storage box
  • microfiber cloth

Spec:

  • Impedance 300 Ohms.
  • Frequency response (Headphones) 12 – 43800 Hz (-3 dB) 6 – 48000 Hz (-10 dB).
  • Sound pressure level (SPL) 103 dB at 1 kHz, 1V.
  • Ear couplingaround the ear.
  • Jack plug 6.35 mm / 4.4 mm XLR-4 ( optional ).
  • Cable length 3m.
  • Weight 360g without cable.
  • Transducer principle ( headphones ) dynamic, closed.
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Build & finish:

Another presentation box! And a nice one at that.
Sennheisers HD820 are built to a high standard, as is to be expected from such a renowned brand.
The styling is unique, yet also a little reminiscent of the Sony MDR SA5000 of yore.
I warn you now, the glass panels are finger print, lint and smear magnets! If your OCD like myself, you’ll find youself cleaning them a LOT! Aside from this they truly are a beauty to behold.
The adjustment clicks are smooth and solid.
Headband and inner parts of the ear pads in exquisite alcantara.
The mat finish metal is flawless, has a wonderfully smooth satin feel and looks perfect!
What little plastics there are, are smooth, strong and used sparingly.
As for the cables, we find two very well made cables with a tough sleeving.
The plugs are constructed robustly, yet retain an ellegance in their style.
And the cables snap into place into each cup with a solid click!

Well done Sennheiser, in this section at least, you’ve knocked this one out of the park!

Comfort:
The HD820 is comfortable, but it takes a bit of adjustment to get a decent fit . Clamping force is light to medium and the headphone isn’t too heavy either, but be aware that the light clamping force adds to the issue of getting the right fit.
They fit my head and ears pretty well and are also very comfortable over glasses which is a bonus!
With sublime microfiber ear pads that both look beautiful and are functional in the same instance, I could wear them for hours without any discomfort, heat or fatigue. I just wish there was a little more clamping force & toe-in adjustment. ( Meaning I wish I could turn the fronts of them in toward my temples more. )
The cables are not too heavy either and I heard no microphonics whilst in use.

Sound:
At 300ohm the Sennheiser HD820 need some power behind them.
Luckily with my two amplifiers of choice this was not an issue.
The Jotunheim did particularly well with it’s raw grunt and balanced out,
although slightly lacking the organic feel & warmth of the tubes of the H7.
Both were fed by the Musician Audio Pegasus DAC and KECES Audio phonostage,
both of which offer a clean, noisless signal to the amps.

Soundstage is surprisingly wide and spacious considering these are a closed back headphone.
they offer a lot of headroom and depth, and separation is pretty damn good. I was able to pin point the various instruments or vocalists in live recordings or acoustic tracks with ease.

Low end carrys some heft and texture, hitting hard and sweeping low with little difficulty.
The midrange is the HD820’s sweet spot, it’s full bodied yet full of grace and detail.
It adds some accuracy to the mid bass and rolls into the higher end of the frequency range smoothly.
It’s quite forward but doesn’t drown out the rest of the soundscape.
Highs are articulate, fast paced and super crisp without sounding too bright.

All together creating a super detailed headphone with a surprising soundstage and image.


Final thoughts and recommendation:
I was very impressed with the HD820.
Sonically and aesthetically they are superb, and I love the glass panels.
The build quality is good, although I found a few little gripes with adjustability and getting the right fit.
Meaning the comfort levels were great but at this price point could be a little better.
Do I think they’re worth the £1,799 asking price?
If the gripes I mentioned before were ironed out I would say yes.
The sound and aesthetics tip the scales toward a yes.
Personally I would look for a better deal.
It’s close, but I think I would say yes I recommend them, but with reservations.

Thanks & Sponsors:
Thank you to all of you, my readers for your time and support.
Please remember to follow/like/subscribe etc, as it helps my stats and in turn helps me provide better content.

If you take a look to the right, you will see the blogs sponsors in the sidebar.
Thank you to you all for the continuing support!

Many thanks, my best regards, stay safe.
Paul.

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