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Sennheiser HDVD 800

Headphone amp/digital-to-analog converter

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  • Sennheiser HDVD 800

    Front

  • Sennheiser HDVD 800

    Balanced XLR headphone outputs

 

Our take on the Sennheiser HDVD 800

by Dave Bar
Sennheiser

Why buy a headphone amp?

High-performance headphones need high-quality amplification to perform up to their full potential. If you connect them directly to the headphone jack on your computer, iPod®, or stereo receiver, you may be disappointed. A separate headphone amplifier sends a stronger, cleaner signal to your headphones.

Hear your music like never before

For more than 65 years, Sennheiser has been building top-quality headphones for discerning listeners. Now at last, they have created a digital headphone amplifier built to power their finest high-end designs. Engineered and manufactured in Germany, the HDVD 800 stands ready to deliver an extraordinary listening experience to the owners of Sennheiser HD 800, HD 700, HD 650, and HD 600 headphones, as well as other high-end headphone models. If you want to hear the best that your  'phones have to offer, treat yourself to this amp.

Cutting-edge design for crystal-clear, low-distortion sound

Sennheiser chose a fully symmetrical, or balanced, design for the HDVD 800. This advanced type of circuitry provides two completely independent signal paths for the right and left channels, extending all the way from the inputs to the outputs to provide exceptionally quiet, low-distortion sound free of interference. That extremely low noise floor lets your music emerge from a dead-silent background to reveal fresh layers of detail and dynamics hidden within your favorite recordings. You can take full advantage of the symmetrical design using the HDVD 800's two four-pin XLR outputs and headphones specially wired for balanced operation. The amp also features two standard 1/4" jacks for normally wired headphones, and can power up to four pairs of headphones simultaneously for doing quick comparisons or having group listening sessions.


High-res audio

Top-quality performance from your digital and analog sources

The HDVD 800 handles all of your music sources with the utmost care, and includes both symmetrical and asymmetrical analog inputs for your audio components. But this amp was designed especially for use with digital sources. It features optical, coaxial, XLR, and USB inputs for your digital gear, and a high-quality Burr-Brown digital-to-analog converter that turns digital audio files up to 24-bit/192kHz resolution into clear, precise analog signals. (Free USB driver download required for Windows® PC playback.) This allows the HDVD 800 to play both standard and high-resolution music, amplifying the entire spectrum of high-res audio sources without any loss of detail. The amp's symmetrical XLR outputs also provide an easy connection to a compatible audio system for use as a stand-alone preamp/DAC.

Built by music lovers for music lovers

As beautiful to look at as it is to listen to, the HDVD 800 features a glass panel embedded in its aluminum housing to provide a clear view of the top-quality components inside — each carefully selected for its sonic performance, and used only after passing stringent listening tests. The amp's premium ALPS quadruple potentiometer volume control provides precise channel balance and is mechanically connected to the volume knob by a long shaft. This unusually long potentiometer shaft allows the signal path between the audio source and the potentiometer to be kept very short, preventing any possible interference of the signal. To top things off, the amp's front panel and control knobs are milled from solid metal, adding both a luxurious feel and long-lasting durability.

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Highlights:

  • built-in Burr-Brown digital-to-analog converter
  • all digital inputs support up to 24-bit resolution at 192kHz sampling rate for playback of high-res music files
  • symmetrical (balanced) circuitry throughout reduces noise and distortion for maximum sound quality
  • premium ALPS quadruple potentiometer volume control for precise channel balance
  • rear-panel 5-stage gain switch for optimized use of low impedance headphones
  • sophisticated metal housing protects against signal interference and vibration
  • controls machined from solid metal for long-term reliability
  • three digital audio inputs: one AES/EBU (XLR), one optical (Toslink), and one RCA coaxial
  • USB (Type B) input for connecting a computer
  • 1 pair symmetrical (balanced XLR) line-level inputs
  • 1 pair asymmetrical (unbalanced RCA) inputs
  • two 4-pin XLR symmetrical (balanced) headphone outputs for compatible headphones
  • two full-sized (1/4") headphone outputs
  • 1 pair symmetrical (balanced XLR) preamp outputs for connection to a compatible audio component
  • plays up to four pairs of headphone simultaneously
  • dedicated Sennheiser USB Windows driver required for playback on a PC (included on supplied CD and available free Sennheiser's website)
  • no driver required for Mac OSX 10.5 or later
  • detachable AC power cord
  • THD: less than 0.001%
  • frequency response: 0.3Hz to 100,000 Hz
  • 8-9/16"W x 2-3/16"H x 14-3/8"D
  • weight: 4.85 lbs.
  • warranty: 2 years
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

Hands-on research from the Crutchfield Labs (what are the Labs?)

Product Research
What's in the box?

Download owner's manual

  • Digital headphone amplifier
  • Manuals on CD-ROM
  • Quick Guide
  • Safety Guide

Our Product Research Team

At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team — they open the box, verify contents, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.

Features

Overview: The Sennheiser HDVD 800 digital headphone amplifier helps you get the most out of your high-end headphones. You can connect up to four pairs of dynamic headphones at one time--two by 1/4" jacks, and two by XLR-4 jacks. There are multiple input jacks, both analog and digital, for connecting source units.

Symmetrical Signal Processing: The HDVD 800's symmetrical signal processing provides exact signal transmission over the entire frequency spectrum with very low harmonic distortion. Very short signal paths are used, resulting in a wide dynamic range, wide bandwidth, and high transient response. The use of high quality components gives you the pure musical enjoyment from any source.

Built-in D/A Converter: The HDVD 800 is equipped with a high quality Burr-Brown digital-to-analog converter with a resolution of 24-bits and a sampling rate of up to 192 kHz for crystal clear, distortion-free audio quality. The sampling rate is automatically adjusted between 44.1 kHz and 192 kHz.

USB Input: The headphone amplifier features a USB Type B input so it can be connected to a computer and use it as a high-quality sound card. If your computer has a Windows OS (XP, Vista, 7, 8), you will need to install the driver from the included CD-ROM. (The driver is not needed for Mac OS X 10.6.4 or later.)

Input Connections: The rear panel is divided into three sections: Digital, Analog, and Power. The available connections are as follows:

  • Analog Section:
    • XLR-3 Balanced Input: Separate 3-pin XLR connectors for left and right channels
    • RCA Unbalanced Input: Left and right RCA connectors with an input attenuation rotary switch
    • XLR-3 Balanced Output: Separate 3-pin XLR connectors for left and right channels
  • Digital Section:
    • USB: Type B USB port (USB Audio Class 2--24 bit/192 kHz)
    • Optical: S/PDIF input, Toslink digital connection (depending on the connected hardware and the file being played, the HDVD 800 may not be able to play 192 kHz files using the optical input)
    • Coaxial: S/PDIF input, RCA digital jack
    • AES/EBU: XLR-3 Digital Input
  • Power Section: IEC 3-prong mains socket

Input Selection: The input can be selected using the rotary, 6-position switch on the front panel. An LED will glow to indicate which input has been selected. The input positions are labeled: AES, COAX, OPT, USB, UNBAL, and BAL.

Specifications:

  • Frequency Response: 0.3 Hz to 100 kHz
  • Crosstalk Attenuation: min. 93dB @ 1 kHz
  • THD+N: <0.001%
  • Gain:
    • RCA Input/XLR-4 Output: adjustable 14dB, 22dB, 30dB, 38dB, 46dB
    • XLR Input/XLR-4 output: 16dB
  • Dynamic Range: >115dB @ 600Ω load (A-weighted)
 
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Sennheiser HDVD 800 Reviews

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5 out of 5

The Head Phone Receiver that you should take a second look at

Written By TonyB, Manhattan, NY on Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
Head Phone experience with this receiver is unmattached, and once you have used the system you may agree too.
Pros:
Best Audio Reception ever, and you have multiple inputs for both sources of sounds. Crutchfield technical support went beyond and recommend the Arcam Doc for the outpit of the SPDIF to the input of the receiver, so I can listen to my iphone/ipod in digital via the receiver using the HD headphones.
3 out of 6 people found this helpful
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For a more in-depth review and enhanced detailed information on the Sennheiser HDVD 800, please visit the Crutchfield website product page (/ISEO-rccbcspd/p_143HDVD800/Sennheiser-HDVD-800.html ).

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