These Sennheiser HD800s look a tad ‘conventional’ at first glance, but they’re very far from being ordinary cans.

For starters, they use Sennheiser’s most advanced driver tech, a larger-than-usual 56mm diaphragm and a stainless-steel transducer. They’re also unusual in that they work by directing the sound into your ear at an angle – more like having a pair of speakers strapped to your bonce, in other words.

Sound spillage

The HD800s are designed for performance above all else, and should be approached carefully if you have any need whatsoever to keep your music private.

Although the open-backed Sennheisers don’t leak a massive amount of sound, there’s still enough spillage to cause an argument if a loved one is in the same room trying to read the latest ‘vampire romance’ novel. And to be fair, when music sounds this good, you won’t really want to turn it down.

Outstanding sound

The HD800s sound amazing. Bass kicks hard and deep, while there’s intense precision and detail on offer. A languid hour of sitting with these on your head is as good a way to waste time as we’d admit to knowing.


The Sennheisers can do punchy, raucous and ragged equally well – yet still have a pristine way with tonal clarity and rhythm.

They’re comfortable on the ears, too. The big ear cups will fit just about anyone (unless you managed to land a small role in Star Trek without the use of make-up), and they’re very likeable to use, even over very long listening sessions.

Lack a little realism

The only thing that counts against the HD800s is that for all their precise clarity, they don’t muster truly astonishing levels of realism. As great as these Sennheisers are, they lack a certain authenticity and openness, which makes them sound slightly sterile at times.

Make no mistake, though – these are terrific headphones and definitely worth a listen.


Stuff says... 

Sennheiser HD800 review

A very fine pair of headphones from Sennheiser, and worth an audition if you don’t get on with Grados