Your browser is not supported or outdated so some features of the site might not be available.

Drop + Sennheiser HD 8XX Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.5
Reviewed Nov 15, 2021 at 10:33 am
Drop + Sennheiser HD 8XX Picture
6.6
Neutral Sound
3.8
Commute/Travel
5.0
Sports/Fitness
4.4
Office
4.0
Wireless Gaming
6.1
Wired Gaming
1.4
Phone Calls
Type Over-ear
Enclosure Open-Back
Wireless No
Transducer Dynamic
Noise Cancelling No
Mic No

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.

Our Verdict

6.6 Neutral Sound

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.

Pros
  • Spacious and immersive passive soundstage.
Cons
  • Prone to inconsistencies in audio delivery.
3.8 Commute/Travel

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.

Pros
  • Comfortable and well-built design.
Cons
  • Bad noise isolation performance.
  • No controls.
  • Bulky design that isn't very portable.
  • Leaks a lot of audio.
5.0 Sports/Fitness

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.

Pros
  • Comfortable and well-built design.
Cons
  • No controls.
  • Bulky design that isn't very portable.
  • Leaks a lot of audio.
  • Can fall off your head with moderate movement.
4.4 Office

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.

Pros
  • Comfortable and well-built design.
Cons
  • Bad noise isolation performance.
  • No controls.
  • Bulky design that isn't very portable.
  • Leaks a lot of audio.
4.0 Wireless Gaming

The Sennheiser HD 8XX are wired-only headphones, and you can't use them wirelessly.

6.1 Wired Gaming

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.

Pros
  • Spacious and immersive passive soundstage.
  • Comfortable and well-built design.
Cons
  • Prone to inconsistencies in audio delivery.
  • No controls.
1.4 Phone Calls

The Sennheiser HD 8XX don't have a mic and can't be used to make calls.

  • 6.6 Neutral Sound
  • 3.8 Commute/Travel
  • 5.0 Sports/Fitness
  • 4.4 Office
  • 4.0 Wireless Gaming
  • 6.1 Wired Gaming
  • 1.4 Phone Calls
  1. Updated Nov 15, 2021: Review published.
  2. Updated Nov 08, 2021: Early access published.

Check Price

Black + Sennheiser HD 8XX
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

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.

Compared To Other Headphones

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.

Sennheiser HD 800 S

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.

Sennheiser HD 6XX

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.

Sennheiser HD 599

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.

Sennheiser HD 650

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.

HiFiMan Sundara 2020

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.

HiFiMan Arya

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.

+ Show more

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style
Type Over-ear
Enclosure Open-Back
Wireless No
Transducer Dynamic

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.

8.0
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.86 lbs
Clamping Force
0.7 lbs

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.

0
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
No Controls
Ease Of Use No Controls
Feedback No Controls
Call/Music Control No
Volume Control No
Microphone Control No
Channel Mixing
No
Noise Cancelling Control No
Talk-Through
No
Additional Controls No
5.1
Design
Portability
L 7.5" (19.0 cm)
W 7.7" (19.5 cm)
H 4.6" (11.7 cm)
Volume 264.53 in³ (4,334.90 cm³)
Transmitter Required No

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.

0
Design
Case
Type No case
L N/A
W N/A
H N/A
Volume N/A
8.5
Design
Build Quality

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.

6.5
Design
Stability

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.

Design
Headshots 1
Design
Headshots 2
Design
Top
Design
In The Box

  • Drop + Sennheiser HD 8XX headphones
  • 1/4" TRS to L/R connectors cable (unbalanced)
  • Manual

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
-4.44 dB
Treble Amount
-3.52 dB

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.

6.0
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
0.92 dB

These headphones have passable frequency response consistency. They're prone to inconsistencies in both the bass and treble range, so you may need to adjust their fit, seal, and positioning on your head for them to deliver the same sound each time you use them.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
5.2
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
7.16 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
132.62 Hz
Low-Bass
-12.44 dB
Mid-Bass
-7.09 dB
High-Bass
-1.49 dB

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.

6.8
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
4.32 dB
Low-Mid
0 dB
Mid-Mid
-1.23 dB
High-Mid
-6.94 dB

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.

5.2
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
6.83 dB
Low-Treble
-7.61 dB
Mid-Treble
-4.58 dB
High-Treble
-11.49 dB

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.

7.1
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
1.89 dB
Dips
1.5 dB

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.

8.6
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.2
Weighted Phase Mismatch
6.37
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
0.38
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
1.96

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.

8.5
Sound
Passive Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
3.39 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
5.02 dB
PRTF Distance
15.63 dB
Openness
9.2
Acoustic Space Excitation
8.3

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.

0
Sound
Virtual Soundstage
Head Modeling
No
Speaker Modeling
No
Room Ambience
No
Head Tracking
No
Virtual Surround
No App
7.8
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.296
WHD @ 100
0.110

These headphones have a very good weighted harmonic distortion performance. All frequencies fall within good levels, resulting in clear and pure audio reproduction.

Sound
Test Settings
Firmware
No Firmware
Power
Passive
Connection
Wired
Codec
PCM, 24-bit, 48kHz
EQ
No EQ
ANC
No ANC
Tip/Pad
Default
Microphone
No Microphone

These are the settings used to test the Sennheiser HD 8XX. Our results are only valid when used in this configuration.

Isolation
2.2
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-5.48 dB
Noise Cancelling No
Bass
0.33 dB
Mid
-2.94 dB
Treble
-14.04 dB

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.

2.2
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
61.03 dB

The leakage performance is bad by design. Since they have an open-back enclosure, they leak a lot of audio across the frequency range. Even if you're listening to audio in a moderately noisy environment like an office, others around you can hear it.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
No
In-Line
No
Boom
No
Detachable Boom
No
Mic No
0
Microphone
Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
N/A
LFE
N/A
FR Std. Dev.
N/A
HFE
N/A
Weighted THD
N/A
Gain
N/A
0
Microphone
Noise Handling
SpNR
N/A
Noise Gate
No
Speech + Pink Noise Handling
N/A
Speech + Pink Noise Audio Sample N/A
Speech + Subway Noise Handling
N/A
Speech + Subway Noise Audio Sample N/A
Active Features
0
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
No Battery
Continuous Battery Life
N/A
Additional Charges
N/A
Total Battery Life
N/A
Charge Time
N/A
Power-Saving Feature
No
Audio While Charging
No
Passive Playback
Passive Headphone
Charging Port None
0
Active Features
App Support
App Name No App
iOS No
Android No
macOS No
Windows No
Equalizer
No
ANC Control
No
Mic Control No
Room Effects
No
Playback Control
No
Button Mapping No
Surround Support
No
Connectivity
0
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
No Bluetooth
Multi-Device Pairing
No
NFC Pairing
No
Line Of Sight Range
N/A
PC Latency (SBC)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX HD)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX-LL)
N/A
iOS Latency
N/A
Android Latency
N/A
0
Connectivity
Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line Of Sight Range
N/A
Non-BT Latency
N/A
9.5
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
Yes
USB Audio
No
Detachable Yes
Length 11.15 ft (3.40 m)
Connection
1/4" TRS
Analog/USB Audio Latency
0 ms

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.

Connectivity
PC Compatibility
Analog
Audio Only (Adapter not included)
Wired USB
No
Non-BT Wireless
No

These headphones are compatible with PCs, but you need an adapter, which isn't included in the box. However, you can only receive audio.

Connectivity
PlayStation Compatibility
PS4 Analog
Audio Only (Adapter not included)
PS4 Wired USB
No
PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No
PS5 Analog
Audio Only (Adapter not included)
PS5 Wired USB
No
PS5 Non-BT Wireless
No

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.

Connectivity
Xbox Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
Audio Only (Adapter not included)
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Non-BT Wireless
No
Xbox Series X|S Analog
Audio Only (Adapter not included)
Xbox Series X|S Wired USB
No
Xbox Series X|S Non-BT Wireless
No

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.

0
Connectivity
Base/Dock
Type
No Base/Dock
USB Input
No
Line In
No
Line Out
No
Optical Input
No
RCA Input
No
Dock Charging
No
Power Supply
No Base/Dock

Recommended Articles

Discussions