Best Headphones in the World? – The Sennheiser HD800s Reviewed

Headphones for When You Want the Best.

All the major Headphones manufacturers have a ‘state-of-the-art’ headphone set in the $1,000 range: Grado, AKG, Audio-Technica, and Beyerdynamic all have flagship headphones that are considered the best of the best. Sennheiser’s new HD800 flagship headphone, however, blows them all out of the water.

How Sennheiser Creates Its Famous ‘Soundstage’

sennheiser hd800 - best headphones in the world.
A cross section of the HD800’s Earpad

When you try Sennheiser headphones, the first thing you notice is how you feel like you’re present in the very room where the music is being recorded. Not only that, but it feels like you’re standing next to Miles Davis as he performs, his breaths, the steps on the stage, the air in the room.

Whereas other headphones will give you the feeling that you’re at the bar enjoying the live show, Sennheiser’s soundstage will make you feel like you’re on stage with the performers. Not only that, but the spatial awareness means that the soundstage you’re on is wider and deeper.
Sennheiser’s ring-shaped transducers are angled so that the sounds hit your ear canal at slightly different times, which creates this sense of spatial awareness. Also the ring-shape of the transducer reduces unnecessary oscillations (outside of our hearing) that creates more voluminous sound waves and greater clarity. The result is a wider and deeper soundstage than any other type of headphone and an unrivaled clarity for live recordings.

Luxury Comfort From Your Headphones

The first thing you notice when you put on these headphones is how comfortable headphones could be. The ear pads are made of a type of Japanese Alcantra fibre that feels much more luxurious and soft than the leather earpads you find on most headphones.

The light weight materials are also perfectly distributed, so you quickly forget that you’re wearing headphones. You can also wear these for hours without any worry about your ears becoming too hot or worn.

The Sound Itself

  • Pianos and vocal are better represented on HD800s than any other headphones. The vocals are warmer and more full-bodied.
  • The air captured in the recordings is dispersed and gives you a sense of atmosphere, as if you’re in the recording hall.
  • The HD800s have much more of a natural timbre on the strings, and the overall sound is smooth and full-bodied.

The Drawbacks:

The larger soundstage isn’t ideal for rock music. It seems to take away some of the rock music’s energy by dispersing the instruments. For more energetic sounding rock, check out the Beyerdynamic T1 Tesla and the Grado Prestige Series Headphones.

The Takeaway

Because we tend to focus on classical music headphones on this site, you can see how the HD800’s stand out from the other flagships headphones. It excels at classical music and live jazz: the better the recording the better. In short, if you want the best, the HD800s are it.

The HD800s cost a pretty penny, and you’ll need an amp to get the most out of the headphones. But people don’t need to drive Porsches: they do it because they want to drive the best. The HD800s truly are the current champions of the flagship headphones, and deserve the title:

“Best Headphones in the World”


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