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Sennheiser Gives HD 800 An Upgrade

Sennheiser has debuted a new sibling for the HD 800 headphone, the HD800S. Acoustically, the transducer technology and the ear cup design of the HD 800 are still being employed, while the sound image has once again been further optimized in the medium and low frequency range, the company said. It has also enhanced the equipment level of the HD 800 S with the addition of a symmetrical XLR4 cable, and the color was also slightly changed: The ear cups of the new model boast a matte-black finish.

With the HD 800 S, sound reproduction has been optimized beyond the benchmark set by the HD 800, said Sennheiser, made possible through the same absorber technology that was first introduced in the IE 800. This patented technology ensures that the so-called “masking effect” is neutralized. (This acoustic phenomenon that diminishes sound quality, said Sennheiser, arises as the human ear is unable to perceive higher-pitched sounds that have low-volumes, at the same time that significantly louder sounds in a lower frequency range occur.) Through the application of the absorber technology, the energy of the resonances is absorbed, thus preventing any unwanted peaks in the frequency response and ensuring that even the finest nuances in the music remain audible over the entire frequency range.

The improved audio quality of the HD 800 S is based on the technology of its predecessor. Measuring 56mm, Sennheiser said it is the largest transducer currently to be found in a set of dynamic headphones. In spite of the size of the transducer, the patented diaphragm with its ring design minimizes any distortion that might occur especially at higher frequencies — keeping total harmonic distortion to less than 0.02 percent, it added. The ear cups are also designed in such a way that the sound waves are directed to the ear at a slight angle. This ensures a particularly natural and spatial sound perception.

In order to achieve even better audio quality in the reproduction of audio sources with a symmetrical output, such as the Sennheiser HDVD 800, the HD 800 S comes with a symmetrical XLR4 cable.

Like the HD 800, the HD 800 S is hand-crafted at the company’s German headquarters in Wedemark, Germany. It is priced at $1,699 and scheduled for shipping in early January.