The Drop + Sennheiser HD 8XX are the re-tuned update of the Sennheiser HD 800 S and are exclusively available via Drop's website. These audiophile headphones are advertised to have rebalanced mid and treble ranges compared to their original counterpart and an extended bass response. However, they sound warmer than the HD 800 S. The dip in the high-mid to low-treble also hurts the clarity and detail of vocals and lead instruments. On the upside, thanks to their open-back design, they have a spacious and immersive passive soundstage.
The Sennheiser HD 8XX are alright for neutral sound. They have a warm sound profile that brings extra boom to your mixes, and their passive soundstage is wide, spacious, and immersive. However, vocals and lead instruments are weak and dull. They also lack a thumpy low-bass, which is to be expected from open-back headphones. Their bass isn't as extended as that of the Sennheiser HD 800 S, though.
The Sennheiser HD 8XX are poor for commute and travel, but they're not really meant for this purpose. They're big, bulky, and since they use a 1/4" connector, you need a 1/4" to 1/8" adapter to connect them to your phone's AUX port. However, this adapter isn't included in the box. They also block out virtually no background noise like the low rumble of bus and plane engines, and they leak a lot of sound.
The Sennheiser HD 8XX are disappointing for sports and fitness, although they're not designed for this purpose. They have a very big and bulky design, and they can fall off your head if you're moving. Their audio cable can also get snagged on something, which can pull them off your head.
The Sennheiser HD 8XX are poor for office use. They're big, bulky, and leak a lot of audio, which can annoy others around you. They also don't block out office chatter and lack a mic, so you won't be able to take calls. On the upside, they have a very comfortable and well-built fit.
The Sennheiser HD 8XX are wired-only headphones, and you can't use them wirelessly.
The Sennheiser HD 8XX are mediocre for wired gaming. They don't have a mic, so you won't be able to communicate with teammates. However, if you're looking for an immersive gaming experience, they have a spacious passive soundstage, and their warm sound profile can help bring out sound effects in your gameplay.
The Sennheiser HD 8XX don't have a mic and can't be used to make calls.
The Sennheiser HD 8XX come in one color variant: 'Midnight Blue', and you can see our model's label here. If you come across another variant of these headphones, please let us know in the discussions, and we'll update our review.
The Sennheiser HD 8XX are the re-tuned counterpart to the Sennheiser HD 800 S and are exclusively available through Drop's website. However, they don't sound as neutral as the HD 800 S, and their bass isn't as extended. Their sound profile is warmer, and vocals plus lead instruments sound weak and distant in mixes. On the upside, their passive soundstage seems wide, spacious, and immersive. They also have a great build quality and very comfortable fit.
Check out our recommendations for the best audiophile headphones, the best studio headphones, and the best headphones for music.
The Sennheiser HD 800 S are better headphones for neutral sound than the Drop + Sennheiser HD 8XX. While both headphones are very comfortable and well-built, the HD 800 S have a more balanced and neutral sound profile, which some users may prefer. Their bass is more extended too, they can reproduce audio more consistently, and they come with a lot more accessories such as a 1/4" to 1/8" adapter and a carrying pouch.
The Sennheiser HD 6XX are better headphones for neutral sound than the Drop + Sennheiser HD 8XX. The HD 6XX have a more flat and neutral sound profile with more extended low-bass. They also reproduce audio more consistently, and they come with a 1/8" to 1/4" adapter. However, the HD 8XX are more comfortable and feel significantly better built. They also have a better passive soundstage.
The Sennheiser HD 599 are better over-ears for neutral sound than the Drop + Sennheiser HD 8XX. The Sennheiser are more comfortable, can deliver audio more consistently, and have a more neutral sound profile. They also come with more accessories, like a 1/4" to 1/8" adapter. However, the Drop + Sennheiser have significantly better build quality, and their passive soundstage performance is better.
The HiFiMan Sundara 2020 are better headphones for neutral sound than the Drop + Sennheiser HD 8XX. While both are comfortable, the HiFiMan are planar magnetic headphones that can reproduce a more extended bass and their passive soundstage seems more natural. However, the Drop + Sennheiser are dynamic headphones with significantly better build quality.
The Sennheiser HD 650 are better over-ears for neutral sound than the Drop + Sennheiser HD 8XX. The Sennheiser have a significantly more neutral sound profile and can deliver audio more consistently. However, the Drop + Sennheiser are more comfortable and feel better built. They also have a better passive soundstage performance.
The HiFiMan Arya are better headphones than the Drop + Sennheiser HD 8XX. The HiFiMan are planar magnetic headphones that can reproduce a more extended low-bass and have a more neutral sound profile, which some users may prefer. They also have a more immersive passive soundstage. However, the build quality of the Drop + Sennheiser is better.
The Sennheiser HD 8XX are based on the Sennheiser HD 800 S and are very similar in style. They have large open-back ear cups with ring-radiator drivers, which gives them their unique look. Most of their design is reinforced with metal and high-grade plastic, while their suede-like padding looks premium. However, unlike the HD 800 S, the HD 8XX have midnight blue accents.
The Sennheiser HD 8XX are very comfortable headphones. They feel very lightweight and don't clamp onto your ears very tightly. You can adjust the headband to fit a variety of head sizes, and the padding feels soft and good against your skin. However, the ear cups are big, so it could feel like you can't get a good seal, especially if you have a small head.
Like the Sennheiser HD 800 S, these headphones are big and bulky. They can't fold into a more compact form and take up a lot of room in a backpack. Unfortunately, they also don't come with a case to help protect them when you're on the go.
The Sennheiser HD 8XX have an excellent build quality. They feel equally premium and high-end to the Sennheiser HD 800 S, with sturdy metal and plastic design. Since they have an open-ear design, you can easily see through their design and into their ring-radiator drivers. Their padding also feels soft against the skin, and the cables can be used interchangeably with any other HD 800-series headphones like the Sennheiser HD 800 as they share the same connector design. That said, they seem to have the same hinge design as the HD 800 S, and the pins that keep the joints in place could come loose with regular use.
The manual recommends replacing the earpads from time to time for hygienic reasons. It also provides detailed instructions on how to replace them. If you're looking for spare parts, you can check out Sennheiser's service support page.
These headphones have a fairly stable fit, although they're not designed for sports and fitness. They can fall off your head quite easily if you shake your head, and their audio cables can get snagged on something and pull them off your head. However, if you're at your desk or on your couch, they shouldn't move around too much.
The Sennheiser HD 8XX have a warm sound profile full of boom. They lack low bass, which is to be expected from open-back headphones. However, compared to the Sennheiser HD 800 S, vocals as well as lead instruments sound dull, distant, and lacking in clarity. Unfortunately, they also lack an EQ to help you adjust their sound to your liking.
We expected our response to more closely match the advertised diffused field response found in their manual. Drop claims these headphones have a more extended bass response than the Sennheiser HD 800 S. They also advertised that they've re-tuned the mid-range to balance out their sound. When we did a subjective listening of the two headphones, we found that the mid to treble range of the HD 8XX did sound different than the HD 800 S, and we were able to confirm this with our testing. However, when we compensated the raw frequency response graph to produce the 'Sound Profile' graph, it caused the curve to shift downwards. Our level matching was placed at the high-bass and low-mid, which aligned with our compensated target response. That said, if we compare the level-matched HD 8XX with the HD 800 S, we get similar results when comparing them to the advertised curves. You can see a comparison of the HD 8XX and the HD 800 S responses when compensated and averaged here, with the flattened response on top and the non-flat response below.
The Sennheiser HD 8XX's bass accuracy is disappointing. The response is mostly underemphasized and is less extended than the Sennheiser HD 800 S. your mixes lack thump, rumble, body, and boom.
The Sennheiser HD 8XX's mid accuracy is okay. Like the Sennheiser HD 800 S, the low-mid is very flat and neutral, so vocals and lead instruments are clear. However, the mid to high-mid is underemphasized, which nudges vocals and lead instruments to the back of the mix and weakens their clarity and intensity.
These headphones have disappointing treble accuracy. Compared to the Sennheiser HD 800 S, the Drop + Sennheiser HD 8XX's treble response is more underemphasized, which hurts the detail and comprehensibility of vocals and lead instruments. Sibilants like cymbals also sound dull and lispy.
The peaks and dips performance is satisfactory. A prolonged peak from the high-bass to the mid-mid adds extra boom and muddiness to mixes while vocals and lead instruments are nudged forwards. A dip in the high-mid weakens vocals and lead instruments, while an uneven low-treble makes them alternatingly veiled and harsh. However, there's also a large peak in the mid-treble, so sibilants like cymbals are piercing.
These headphones have excellent imaging. The group delay falls under the audibility threshold, resulting in tight bass and transparent treble reproduction. The L/R drivers are also well-matched in phase, amplitude, and frequency response, ensuring the accurate placement and localization of objects like footsteps or voices in the stereo image. However, our results are only valid for our unit, and your unit may perform differently.
The Sennheiser HD 8XX's passive soundstage is excellent. Thanks to their open-back design, the soundstage seems large, immersive, and as if coming from speakers placed in the room around you, rather than from inside your head.
These are the settings used to test the Sennheiser HD 8XX. Our results are only valid when used in this configuration.
The Sennheiser HD 8XX have a bad noise isolation performance, but this is to be expected from open-back headphones. They don't block out the low rumble of bus or plane engines and barely reduce any mid-range noise like office chatter. While they do a better job of cutting down the high-pitched hums of an AC unit, they still do a poor job in this regard.
These headphones come with an unbalanced 1/4" TRS to L/R connectors cable. You can use it with any HD 800-series connector like that of the Sennheiser HD 820. However, it can only provide audio as they don't have a mic.
These headphones are compatible with PCs, but you need an adapter, which isn't included in the box. However, you can only receive audio.
The Sennheiser HD 8XX are audio-only compatible with PS4 and PS5 consoles via analog. However, since they have a 1/4" connector, you need to purchase an adapter separately.
These headphones are compatible with Xbox consoles, but you need to purchase a 1/4" to 1/8" adapter to use them. They can only receive audio, though.