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Sennheiser HD 800 S

High resolution over-the-ear headphones

6 Reviews | 2 questions - 2 answers

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Our take on the Sennheiser HD 800 S

The HD 800 over-the-ear headphones have been Sennheiser's flagship model for over half a decade. Trust me, that's real staying power in the headphone world. And the fact that they not only still exist, but are still well-loved by Crutchfield customers and audiophiles everywhere speaks volumes to their stellar quality. It also means when Sennheiser created the HD 800 S headphones to improve on the original, they didn't take the updates lightly — if you're going to mess with this kind of success, it better be worth it.

Sennheiser HD 800 S stereo headphones

The Sennheiser HD 800 S headphones sport a new matte black look and a wide-open, remarkably lifelike sound.

New take on a timeless classic

The HD 800 over-the-ear headphones have been Sennheiser's flagship model for over half a decade. Trust me, that's real staying power in the headphone world. And the fact that they not only still exist, but are still well-loved by Crutchfield customers and audiophiles everywhere speaks volumes to their stellar quality. It also means when Sennheiser created the HD 800 S headphones to improve on the original, they didn't take the updates lightly — if you're going to mess with this kind of success, it better be worth it.

The result of their efforts? A fresh new look and an even more natural sound that reveals the absolute finest of music details... a new Sennheiser flagship.

Updated drivers for optimal clarity

Rather than reinvent the wheel, these open-back 'phones use much of the shape and design of the original, including the unique positioning of the drivers. Sound waves are sent to your ears at a 45° angle, creating a spatial, three-dimensional effect. The 56mm sound transducers — the largest found in any dynamic driver headphones — are also a pretty good starting point. Air moves freely, and rather than "between the ears" sound, your music surrounds you like a set of speakers. 

To further fine-tune the sound in HD 800 S, Sennheiser used an innovative driver absorber technology. The acoustical absorber reduces distortion for smoother highs and more nuanced bass. It prevents sharp treble peaks and loud bass from overtaking more subtle sounds, making your tunes sound crystal-clear and true to the recording.

Built with care, from the finest materials

Sennheiser assembles the HD 800 S headphones at their German headquarters with some of the same strong, lightweight materials used to make aircrafts. The drivers are protected by stainless steel, and the headband uses layers of metal and plastic to help dampen vibration. Earcups are oversized, but the weight is distributed so they feel light. And plush, microfiber earpads ensure the fit is first class.

Two high-quality cables included

Another new addition to the HD 800 S is a cable terminated by a balanced XLR connector, for optimum performance with a headphone amplifier like  Sennheiser's HDV 820. You also get a cable terminated by a standard full-size 1/4" plug like the one included in the original HD 800. Both have oxygen-free copper center conductors for accurate signal transmission without interference.

The Sennheiser HD 800 S headphones need the power of a headphone amplifier to reach their full — incredibly high — potential.

Product Highlights:

  • over-the-ear, open-back design for spacious sound and reduced vibration
  • high-definition dynamic drivers produce natural, lifelike sound
  • acoustic absorber technology reduces harsh frequency extremes for smoother highs and detailed low end
  • 56mm sound transducers create a large soundstage
  • a separate headphone amplifier is required to properly power these headphones for optimum sound quality
  • assembled at Sennheiser's headquarters in Germany
  • drivers direct sound waves to the ear at a 45° angle for a more natural listening experience
  • matte black finish
  • metal headband with layers of plastic to dampen vibrations
  • earcups padded with soft, durable microfiber fabric
  • two oxygen-free cables:
    • 9-foot shielded cable with 1/4" stereo plug
    • specially tuned cable with balanced XLR4 connector (for use with compatible headphone amplifiers)
  • cleaning cloth included
  • frequency response: 4-51,000 Hz (-10 dB)
  • impedance: 300 ohms
  • total harmonic distortion: less than .02% at 1Khz/1Vrms
  • warranty: 2 years
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

What's in the Box:

  • Over-the-ear audiophile headphones
  • 11.5' Cable with 1/4" plug (attached)
  • 11.25' Balanced cable with 4-conductor XLR plug
  • Microfiber cloth
  • USB Flash Drive
  • Instruction Manual

Featured Video

Great detail. Very authentic. That is all we need to say.

William, Los Angeles, CA


Sennheiser HD 800 S Reviews

Average Customer Review(s):

(6 Reviews)

Literally perfect.

Doug from Southeast USA on 8/22/2018

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Every time I take them off my head after listening, that's what I always say to myself. These have no flaws. OK, they're expensive. But they define endgame. Perfect sound. Everything is balanced tonally. They're the most comfortable headphones I've yet to wear, and I've worn HUNDREDS after 35 years in broadcasting, and being an audiophile longer then that. And the soundstage? Go to a live concert. Get home and put these on. Eerily similar! Listen to a binaural recording on them and be prepared to freak out. I love buying gear. But at some point you get ready to settle down with your one true love. For me, it's these. I do not believe I'll ever need to buy another pair of headphones for the rest of my life. It hurts to spend this much money on headphones, but you'll never need to again after getting these. At least, I won't need to. My flirting days are over. Also, I'd never buy anything like this from anyone other than Crutchfield.

Pros: Nothing sounds better. Nothing.

Cons: A little pricey. Sheesh. Really expensive.

Sennheiser HD 800 S

William from Los Angeles, CA on 7/8/2018

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Great detail. Very authentic. That is all we need to say.



Sennheiser HD 800 S

Paul P from Madison, WI on 3/25/2018

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I've owned many different types of Head Phones. Previously owned the Sennheiser HD598, HD600, HD700 and now the endgame, HD800S. Never owned or even listened to the original HD800 but read a lot about them. Here is my set up for reference: CD, SACD, DVD-A, Blu-Ray, ALAC 96/24 files > OPPO BDP105D > balanced interconnects > Sennheiser HDVA600 > a balanced cable > HD800S. I am totally satisfied with this setup - the HD800s with the balanced cable are perfect for my tastes (light jazz, classic rock, folk, some alternative rock). The cable added a bit extra weight to the low end and smoothness to the top end - they already sounded pretty great but this is an additional enhancement. Everything you read about the wide sound stage on these HPs is true - astounding. Everything you read about them being light on bass is not true - if there is heavy bass on the recording it will be faithfully reproduced. Just like everything else on a recording, you will hear it accurately, good and bad. Some of my albums were not well recorded (muddy, harsh, compressed, etc.) and the flaws are certainly shown up by with these HPs. On the other hand, well recorded albums sound fantastic and these HPs bring that wonderful music that was well recorded, mixed and mastered to the fore in glorious fidelity. I have to believe this is the end game for me.

Pros: Excellent fidelity, accuracy, construction, comfort, sound stage. End game HPs for a reasonable price.

Cons: Need a good amplifier to be driven to their heights (but it's worth it).

Sennheiser HD 800 S

Crutchfield customer from Pearl City, HI on 2/16/2018

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I have been running an extensive performance review of this product and have found very disappointing results. I have checked the performance against two of my audio systems and have distinct audible distortion ("chatter", "rushing wind", occasional "chirping",etc.) I have three other "good" headphones which do not show these symptoms under the same conditions, so I must assume the Sennheiser HD 800S to have a defect. I would like to have a return/exchange for this item as it does not meet my expectations. Apparently, this is a "lemon".



Sennheiser HD 800 S

don from Texas on 5/19/2016

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

In the ultimate headphone category, the HD800S is by far the best buy. In my opinion, the HD800S still comes out on top with it's big soundstage, excellent imaging, just right bass and crystal clear treble. I may never own a BMW or a Mercedes, but I can still enjoy German engineering at it's best with the HD800S.

Pros: Build quality and comfort in a state of the art headphone.

Cons: none

Awesome set of cans!

Russell from Oak Point, TX on 5/1/2016

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

This is an excellent improvement over its predecessor. Not nearly as bright - much more well rounded sound. Great soundstage, excellent vocal rendition. Very comfortable to wear. These represent an excellent value over some of the more absurdly priced offerings from others, etc...sound quality is as good if not better.

Pros: Comfortable Great Sound Excellent value compared to other "super cans" whose prices reach into the stratosphere

Cons: Still a significant investment for a pair of headphones


Hands-on research

Features and Specs

Earcup Type Open
Earcup Width x Height 4.292" x 4.815"
Noise-canceling No
Bluetooth No
Mic For Taking Calls No
iPhone Control No
Lightning Connector No
Android Control No
Frequency Response 4-51k Hz
Sensitivity N/A dB
Impedance 300 Ohms
Weight 11.64 ounces
Cord Length 138" + 135
1/4-inch Adapter Included No
Volume Control No
Parts Warranty 2 Years
Labor Warranty 2 Years

Product Research


Overview: The Sennheiser HD 800 S is the new flagship in the Reference Class of wired headphones. The headphones are designed to give you an optimum natural listening experience, with a realistic sound field and extremely low distortion. The HD 800 S comes with two cables, including a balanced cable for use with headphone amplifiers. The headphones and cables can be stored in the elegant, padded box.

Open Design: The HD 800 S circum-aural (over-the-ear) headphones feature an open design to give you an exceptionally natural, spatial, and accurate sound. Unlike closed, noise-isolating ear cups, the HD 800 S's ear cups have a specialty steel mesh, molded to the natural shape of the acoustic chamber, to provide an open environment.

Angled Transducers: The HD 800 S has very large 56mm sound transducers to resemble the perfect positioning of a pair of reference monitors to put you in the center of the sweet spot. The ear cups are designed to direct the sound waves toward the ear at a slight angle to provide a natural, spatial listening experience. The ear cups also feature handmade microfiber ear pads for exceptional comfort over extended listening sessions.

Headphone Cables: The HD 800 S comes with two interchangeable headphone cables. The cables split a short distance from the headphones, and plug into each ear cup with a special, high precision connector. The 11.5' unbalanced cable is terminated with a standard, heavy-duty 1/4" plug. The 11.25' balanced cable has an XLR-4 connector that offers the best sound quality when used with the Sennheiser HDVD 800 headphone amplifier. Both cables feature a nylon outer covering that quiets contact noise from the cable.

Storage Box: The HD 800 S has a sturdy, hinged box with cut-out foam padding for storage of your headphones and cables.


  • Frequency Response: 10-44,100 Hz (-3dB); 4-51,000 Hz (-10dB)
  • Nominal Impedance: 300Ω
  • Max. Sound Pressure Level: 102 dB (1 kHz, 1 Vrms)
  • Long-term Input Power: max 500 mW
  • THD (1kHz / 1V): ±0.02%
  • Ear Cup Dimensions: Width 4.292", Height 4.815", Depth 1.9"
  • Weight: 11.64 ounces (w/o cable)

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 verify what’s in the box, 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.

Staff Reviews

Product reviews from the Crutchfield Labs

Sennheiser's HD 800 headphones are known for their realistic, natural sound, and now they've received an update for 2016, including a redesigned diaphragm.

What are the Labs?
Q & A

Customer Q&A

Crutchfield asked  
Why did you buy this?

Sennheiser's reputation [ SALVATORE  Dec 26, 2018 ]
I researched them for weeks as I live in NYC and could actually try them out. I bought a Scratch and Dent from you as I wanted the best price with the warranty! [ Philip  Nov 20, 2018 ]
NONE BETTER! [ EARL  Oct 25, 2018 ]
I have one HD 800 S already and like it very much. This one is for my wife. My setup is JRiver Media Center -> Gungnir DAC -> two Mjolnir headphone amps-> each to an HD 800 S. Currently have a Senn HD 660 S plugged into the second amp. [ Pat  Jul 30, 2018 ]
The good reviews [ PAUL  Nov 23, 2017 ]
I wanted to upgrade from my long-held Senn. HD-580 and decided to try one of the best (HD-800S), and see/hear what all the buzz is about - I love listening and being transported to a beautiful place inside. [ New User  Jun 28, 2017 ]

2 questions already asked

If they even have a scratch or blemish, it would be very minor and not affect the performance or capability of the product in any way. Scratch & Dent items are completely bench-tested to ensure full functionality and are covered by the full, original, manufacturer's warranty as a result. They are also covered by our 60 day satisfaction guarantee period. I hope that helps. My bio: [ Ryan  Dec 27, 2017 ]  Staff
Thanks for your question. Yes it does. This is the 11.25' Balanced cable with 4-conductor XLR plug listed in the section "What's in the Box". You are also correct, the manufacturers 2 year warranty still applies as well as Crutchfields 60 day satisfaction guarantee. Hope this helps. [ Kenny  Apr 14, 2017 ]  Staff