Picture Sunday – Sennheiser HD820 : under the dome

Today we take a good look at the Sennheiser HD820, the new German flagship.


Disclaimer: This post is part of our Picture Sunday series, you can find all of the previous ones here.

Sennheiser HD800 – The reference

The Sennheiser HD800 and the latter HD800S are the top models from the German brand, if you don’t take in to account the Sennheiser Orpheus. Wide sound stage, good comfort, great build and amazing sound once properly driven, that made this headphone a best-seller. The only drawback ? The (very) open design, which forces you to use it in a very silent room. Or maybe some engineers at Sennheiser thought : “What if I could use my HD800 in the bus ?” Whatever happened, they ended up with this : the Sennheiser HD820.

Sennheiser HD820 – close call

The HD820 is basically an HD800S, closed-back. Yes, this big can is now available for audiophiles who seek closed-back Sennheiser high-end headphones. It’s a niche but the Germans didn’t deliver a half-assed solution, the Sennheiser HD820 promises to immerse you in your music without compromising on any frequencies. To do so, they totally redesigned the driver and put massive convex glasses on each side of the headphone. Of course, it’s a gorilla glass frame, when you get a 2399€ headphone you expect at least scratch-proof glasses.

And yes, you read that right, the new Sennheiser HD820 is one thousand USD more than the open-back version. And you know what’s the worst ? You can really feel it in your hand, this headphone screams high-end and hifi. The full black body is gorgeous, the weight makes it feel even more luxurious and of course you have the glass. They feel definitely premium and if you let your finger slide on it, there is this satisfying feeling of thickness, like the one you have with a big glass of whisky for example.

Sennheiser HD820 – lord of the bling

The Sennheiser HD820 is now provided with a 4.4mm TRRS plug and the XLR 4-pin that came with the HD800S. It looks like it’s definitely time a switch to the new Pentaconn standard for me too, even if I only have one compatible player. The cable is still big, thick and long, and it comes in black like the headphone. It’s only compatible with the HD800 series though. I plugged it in to my good old HDVD800 using XLR and you just know it is made by the same brand, at the very moment music comes through.

The ear pads feel more plushy and they offer a much better isolation than the previous ones, but be aware, they tend to boost the bass. Compared to the previous version, the Sennheiser HD820 is much more lows-oriented, as if the bling glasses lead to bling sound. For me, it’s one of the nicest headphone out there, the industrial look contrasting with the latest high-end headphones without taking it too far like Abyss. It’s a good contender for the new Focal Elegia, design wise.

How it sounds ? We’ll see about that in a review next time !

4/5 - (23 votes)

A nerdy guy with a passion for audio and gadgets, he likes to combine his DAC and his swiss knife. Even after more than 10 years of experience, Nanotechnos still collects all gear he gets, even his first MPMAN MP3 player. He likes spreadsheets, technical specs and all this amazing(ly boring) numbers. But most of all, he loves music: electro, classical, dubstep, Debussy : the daily playlist.

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