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Reviewed on Aug 29, 2018 , Marc Henney, Yannick Khong

Sennheiser HD 820
HEADPHONES REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.2

Test Benches: test

  • 1.2: Winter 2018
  • 1.1: Summer 2017
  • 1.0: Winter 2017
  • 0.9: Winter 2016
6.4
Mixed Usage
What it is This is the combination of the different use cases to evaluate how versatile the headphones are. Therefore an everyday headphone should be well-rounded enough to adapt to most situations and environments without significant losses in sound quality, design ergonomics or isolation.
Score components:
7.7
Critical Listening
What it is The level of audio fidelity a headphone can reproduce. Therefore a balanced and true representation of bass, mids, treble, soundstage and imaging, as well as a comfortable listening experience, is essential for critical listening.
Score components:
5.8
Commute/Travel
What it is How well the headphones handle the loud environments involved in commuting or traveling. Therefore your listening experience should be comfortable, hassle-free and as isolated from noise as possible.
Score components:
5.7
Sports/Fitness
What it is How well-adapted the headphones are, to use while doing sports or strenuous exercise. Therefore the headphones should not be too cumbersome and deliver a stable and comfortable listening experience.
Score components:
6.2
Office
What it is How well the headphones can deliver a comfortable and isolated listening experience in an office-like environment. They should not leak much and should block the noise of a busy office.
Score components:
6.1
Home Theater
Score components:
5.8
Gaming
Score components:
Type : Over-ear
Enclosure : Closed-Back
Wireless : No
Noise-Cancelling : No
Mic : No
Transducer : Dynamic

The Sennheiser HD 820 are good critical listening headphones but do not quite surpass the HD 800 S. They have an excellent build quality and a comfortable over-ear fit that you can wear for hours. The closed-back ear cups also make them a bit more versatile than the HD 800 S, although not by much, since they are not designed for anything else but critical listening. Unfortunately, although they have a bit more bass on average, they do not sound as good as the HD800 S overall, which is a bit disappointing, especially considering their much higher price point.

Test Results
Design 6.8
Sound 7.6
Isolation 6.1
Microphone 0
Active Features 0
Connectivity 4.8
Pros
  • Good audio reproduction.
  • Excellent build quality and design.
  • Comfortable.
Cons
  • Bass delivery varies significantly across users. Sensitive to glasses.
  • Disappointing value to sound quality ratio.

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6.8

Design

Score components:
Sennheiser HD 820 Design Picture

The Sennheiser HD 820 have a great audiophile design that looks and feels very premium. The headband and yokes look almost identical to the HD 800 S but are slightly thicker at the hinges to support the new ear cups. The cups are also similar in shape and size to the HD 800 S, but a bit denser, and slightly more comfortable thanks to the thicker, more luxurious pads. They're also closed-back, with a great looking glass back that lets you see the drivers. Unfortunately, since the cups are quite large, they do not always create the best seal around your ears which causes a few gaps and that may be frustrating for some since closed-back headphones are more sensitive to seal issues (which cause a drop in bass). Also, like most critical listening focused headphones, the HD820 are bulky, cumbersome and not designed to be used outdoors even with the more versatile closed back design. They also do not come with any controls as expected for this type of headphones.

Style
Sennheiser HD 820 Design Picture 2

The Sennheiser HD 820 look similar to the HD 800 S but have different, closed-back ear cups. The headband and yokes are essentially the same, although the HD820 has slightly thicker hinges, most likely to better support the slightly denser ear cups. The ear cups have the same overall shape as the 800 S', but they are a bit denser and thicker with gorilla glass backplates that let you see the dynamic drivers inside. They look great, and most audiophiles and critical listeners will love the cool glass back design. However, like the open-back 800 S, they may be a little too bulky for some listeners, and even though they are closed-back headphones, they're not made to be used outdoors with your mobile phone but will look great sitting next to an amp in your listening room or on your office desk.

8.0 Comfort
What it is: Adjustability and degrees of freedom, pressure, stiffness and weight.
When it matters: When the headphones are going to be used for long durations.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
Sennheiser HD 820 Comfort Picture
Weight : 0.8 lbs
Clamping Force
What it is: The force that the headphones exert on your head, once you have them on. This is purely a measurement of the force applied, which does not take into account the earpad's surface area and the resulting pressure you will feel, on or around your ears.
When it matters: The tighter the headphones, the more force they put on your head. This can get uncomfortable or cause pain and soreness during long listening sessions.
:
0.7 lbs

The Sennheiser HD 820 are comfortable but a little bulky. Their ear cups are the same size as that of the Sennheiser HD 800 S, which will be a bit too large for some listeners. You may feel slight gaps in the fit around your ears which may a bit bothersome, but on the upside, the cups are exceedingly well padded and very spacious. They have thicker and softer pads than the HD 800 S which feel slightly more comfortable and somewhat helps with the seal issues. The headband isn't as well padded as the ear cups but since it's fairly wide and the HD 820 overall are surprisingly lightweight for their size, you do not feel the absence of padding much. You can easily wear the HD 820 for hours at a time and not feel any fatigue.

0 Controls
What it is: The control scheme of the headphones, the number of functions provided, button layout and ergonomics as well as the quality of tactile feedback.
When it matters: If you want to control volume, pause your music or make phone calls without directly interacting with your audio device.
Ease of use : N/A
Feedback : N/A
Call/Music Control : No
Volume Control : No
Microphone Control : N/A
Channel Mixing
What it is: Being able to mix audio channels directly on the headphones.
When it matters: This is most useful when using a separate chat software so that you can mix in-game audio and chat audio depending on your needs.
:
N/A
Noise Canceling Control : N/A
Talk-Through : N/A
Additional Buttons : N/A

These are critical listening headphones that do not come with any control schemes.

6.7 Breathability
What it is: How hot the headphones get when you wear them for an extended period of time.
When it matters: If you often have long listening sessions or use your headphones while doing physical activities like running or working out.
Score components:
Sennheiser HD 820 Breathability After Picture
Avg.Temp.Difference : 4.8 C

The Sennheiser HD 820 are fairly breathable and have large, spacious ear cups. However, since they are closed-back headphones, they will make your ears a lot warmer than the HD 800 S. On the upside, the ear cups are fairly large and do not always create the best seal around your ears, which does let a bit of air enter the closed-back enclosure and cool your ears. Unfortunately, they will not be as breathable as most open back headphones, on-ears, or in-ears so you may have to take a few breaks especially if you have really long listening sessions.

5.2 Portability
What it is: The volume of space occupied by the headphones when folded into their most compact format.
When it matters: If you're often on the move and need to carry your headphones in a bag, purse , or pocket.
Score components:
Sennheiser HD 820 Portability Picture
L : 7.6 "
W : 7.6 "
H : 4.4 "
Volume : 260 Cu. Inches
Stand required : N/A

Like most critical listening headphones, the Sennheiser HD 820 are not made to be very portable. They have some of the largest ear cups on any over-ear design that we've tested so far, and they do not fold or lay flat to make them easier to carry around in a case. This is to be expected though as most likely you will use your headphones in a dedicated listening room or at the office, but not out and about with your high-res audio player or with your phone.

0 Case
What it is: The provided carrying options to protect your headphones when transporting them.
When it matters: To prevent damaging your headphones, if you often carry them in your bag or pocket.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
Type : N/A
L : N/A
W : N/A
H : N/A
Volume : N/A

Unfortunately, the Sennheiser HD 820 do not come with a dedicated case. Like the HD 800s, you can use the box that they are packaged in as a case but, it's more than double the size of the headphones and not practical to carry around unless you have a dedicated bag or suitcase. As expected though, these are not headphones that you will be carrying around often.

8.5 Build Quality
What it is: Durability, material quality, cheap/expensive feel.
When it matters: When the headphones are going to be used by multiple users (classes/studios), by children, in tough conditions, on a daily basis, or for exercise.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
Sennheiser HD 820 Build Quality Picture

The Sennheiser HD 820, like the HD 800 S, have a good build quality that feels premium and well made. The ear cups are a mixture of dense plastic, metal and gorilla glass (for the see-through backplates). They look great and feel very high-end but less durable than some of the cheaper headsets we've reviewed. On the upside, the headband is also well made with a thin metal for support but plasticky yokes. The plastic does feel very durable and make the headset lighter than a solid metal frame but the yokes and swiveling hinges do not feel as durable as the rest of the design and are most likely the most susceptible parts of the HD 820.

6.5 Stability
What it is: How the headphones are designed to prevent them from slipping off your ears or falling off your head.
When it matters: If you plan on using the headphones while doing sports or other physical activities that requires a lot of movement.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
Sennheiser HD 820 Stability Picture

These headphones are not designed for use during sports or any physical activities. The ear cups have a large enough surface area that they will maintain their position during casual listening sessions even when tilting your head. However, they are not meant and will not be suitable for physical activity. Their cable is detachable but locks into the ear cups and will yank the headphones off your head or potentially damage the ear cups if violently removed.

Cable
Sennheiser HD 820 Cable Picture
Detachable : Yes
Length : 10 ft
Connection : 1/4" TRS

These headphones come with three cables; a 4-pin XLR balanced audio cable, a 4-pin 1/8" TRRS balanced audio cable, and a 1/4" unbalanced TRS audio cable.

Top
Headshots 1
Headshots 2
7.6

Sound

What it is: How accurately the audio is reproduced. The tests are performed with the headphones' most commonly used features enabled (noise-cancelling, wireless, etc.)
Sennheiser HD 820 Frequency Response

The Sennheiser HD 820 is a good sounding pair of closed-back over-ear headphones. Their bass, on average, is deep and neutral, their mid-range is even, and their treble is quite well-balanced. However, their bass response is prone to a lot of consistencies across multiple people, so depending on the shape and size of your head you may experience a lot less bass compared to what is shown here. Also, their mid-range is rather thin and prominent, especially on vocals and lead instruments, and their treble lacks a bit of detail. On the plus side, their soundstage is larger and more open sounding than most of the other closed-back headphones we have measured so far. Overall, if you are able to get a good bass response from the HD 820, then they will be well-suited for most use cases and music genres; however, they are not as good sounding as their open-back counterpart, the HD 800 S

8.9 Bass
What it is: Frequency Response from 20Hz-250Hz
When it matters: When the material is heavy on bass frequencies, such as those of kick drums and bass guitar.
Score components:
Sennheiser HD 820 Bass
Std. Err.
What it is: The amount of deviation (weighted standard error) in bass frequency response (20Hz-250Hz) as compared to a target response that would sound perfectly balanced to most people.
When it matters: When a balanced and neutral (reference) bass performance is desired.
Good value: <4dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
1.58 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
What it is: The lowest frequency at which the frequency response reaches -3dB of the target response.
When it matters: Shows how extended the bass is.
Good value: <40Hz
Noticeable difference: 5Hz
:
10 Hz
Low-Bass
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 20Hz-60Hz.
When it matters: Kick drums and low frequency effects get their 'thump' from this range. Mostly felt than heard.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
-0.52 dB
Mid-Bass
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 60Hz-120Hz.
When it matters: Melodic bass instruments have most of their fundamental frequencies in this range. This is where the 'body' and 'punch' of the bass sits.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
0.71 dB
High-Bass
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 120Hz-250Hz.
When it matters: Most instruments get their warmth and full-ness from this range. When over-emphasized, mixes tend to get muddy and boomy.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
1.89 dB

The bass is good. LFE (low-frequency extension) is at 10Hz, which is excellent. Also, low-bass, responsible for the thump and rumble common to bass-heavy tracks, is within 0.5dB of our neutral target. Mid-bass, responsible for the body of bass guitars and the punch of kick drums is also flat and within 0.7dB of our target. However, high-bass, responsible for warmth is overemphasized by about 2dB, making the overall bass of these headphones a bit muddy. It should be noted that this is the average bass response across 5 human subjects, and as you can see in the frequency response consistency section, the amount of bass delivered by these headphones can vary quite significantly from user to user.

7.3 Mid
What it is: Frequency Response from 250Hz-2KHz
When it matters: When the material is heavy on mid-range frequencies. This is the case for the majority of audio content.
Score components:
Sennheiser HD 820 Mid
Std. Err.
What it is: The amount of deviation (weighted standard error) in mid frequency response (250Hz-2.5KHz) as compared to a target response that would sound perfectly balanced to most people.
When it matters: When a balanced and neutral (reference) mid performance is desired.
Good value: <4dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
3.64 dB
Low-Mid
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 250Hz-500Hz.
When it matters: Most instruments have their fundamentals or low harmonics in this range. Over-emphasis in this range sounds muddy and cluttered. Under-emphasis, thins out the vocals and lead instruments.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
-2.29 dB
Mid-Mid
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 500Hz-1KHz.
When it matters: This range is occupied mostly by upper harmonics. Over-emphasis sounds forward and boxy. Under-emphasis pushes instruments to the back of the mix.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
3.81 dB
High-Mid
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 1KHz-2KHz.
When it matters: Most instruments, especially vocals, get their intensity and clarity from this range. Over-emphasis sounds honky and harsh, under-emphasis sounds weak and distant.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
3.09 dB

The mid-range of the Sennheiser HD820 is decent. The overall response throughout the range is quite even, which is good. However, the dip in low-mid around 300Hz makes the vocals and lead instruments noticeably thin sounding. The wide bump across mid-mid and high-mid makes their mid-range noticeably prominent and forward, which brings the vocals and lead instruments to the front of the mix.

7.5 Treble
What it is: Frequency Response from 2KHz-20KHz
When it matters: When the material is heavy on high-range frequencies, such as voice, cymbals, and any other material where brightness, brilliance and airiness is desired.
Score components:
Sennheiser HD 820 Treble
Std. Err.
What it is: The amount of deviation (weighted standard error) in treble frequency response (2.5KHz-20KHz) as compared to a target response that would sound perfectly balanced to most people.
When it matters: When a balanced and neutral (reference) treble performance is desired.
Good value: <4dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
3.94 dB
Low-Treble
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 2KHz-5KHz.
When it matters: Almost all instruments rely on this range for their presence, detail, and articulation. Over-emphasis can sound harsh and painful. Under-emphasis hurts the comprehensibility of vocals and lead instruments.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
-1.7 dB
Mid-Treble
What it is: The average amount of over/under emphasis in frequency response from 5KHz-10KHz.
When it matters: This is the sibilance range. Cymbals, vocals, and lead instruments rely on this range for brightness and presence. Over-emphasis sounds piercing and painful, under-emphasis sounds dull and lispy.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
0.2 dB
High-Treble
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 10KHz-20KHz.
When it matters: This range gives brilliance and airiness to the sound. Over-emphasis sounds hissy, under-emphasis sounds closed-up and lifeless.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
-4.39 dB

The treble is good. The overall response is decently even and well-balanced. The only remark here is the 5dB dip around 3.5KHz which will have a small but negative effect on the amount of detail and articulation of their sound. This will be mostly noticeable on vocals and lead instruments.

Raw Frequency Response
What it is: The average uncompensated frequency response of the headphone. For in-ears and earbuds, this corresponds to the average of 5 measurements/re-seats on the dummy head (HMS). For over/on-ear headphones, this corresponds to the average of 5 measurements/re-seats on the HMS (Head Measurement System) for the mid and treble ranges, and 5 measurements/re-seats on 5 human subjects for the bass range.
When it matters: This is for those who want to see the raw and uncompensated frequency response of the headphone. Some of the more advanced users, are able to read and evaluate headphone frequency response in its raw form and without compensation. This will be especially useful to them if they have their own headphone compensation/target curve, which may differ from the compensation curve/target response used by RTINGS.com.
Score components:
5.5 Frequency Response Consistency
What it is: The amount of deviation of each frequency response pass, from the average frequency response.
When it matters: Shows how consistently the headphones perform after re-positioning them.
Score components:
Sennheiser HD 820 Consistency L Sennheiser HD 820 Consistency R
Avg. Std. Deviation
What it is: The average amount of deviation in frequency response of 5 re-seats, from the average frequency response.
When it matters: Shows how consistently the headphones perform after re-positioning them.
Good value: <0.5
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
1.22 dB

The frequency response consistency of the Sennheiser HD 820 is sub-par. The bass delivery across our 5 human subjects was quite disappointing. The maximum deviation in bass response measured at 100Hz was more than 9dB, and at 20Hz more than 15dB. This is quite significant and noticeable. We noticed that not only wearing glasses could cause a big drop in bass, but people with different head shapes and sizes also experienced significantly different amount of bass. This is a big contrast to the very consistent bass of the HD 800 S and is probably due to the closed-back design and large ear cups, which left gaps around the narrower sides of the subjects' heads. On the plus side, their treble delivery is very consistent, even above 10KHz.

8.3 Imaging
What it is: Imaging qualities are inherent to the audio content, the headphones have to 'reproduce' them rather than 'create' them. They determine how accurately the objects are positioned in the stereo image, and how transparent the imaging is.
When it matters: When accurate positioning of the objects in the stereo image, and clear and transparent imaging is desired.
Sennheiser HD 820 Group Delay Sennheiser HD 820 Phase Response
Weighted Group Delay
What it is: The average amount of group delay calculated based on a perceptual weighting filter. Group delay indicates how long it takes for each frequency to reach their maximum amplitude. This is a monaural quality and can be perceived even with one ear.
When it matters: Headphones with lower group delay have more transparent imaging and a tighter bass. Headphones with higher group delay in the bass range tend to have a wimpy and loose bass, and headphones with higher group delay in the treble range tend to have a less transparent imaging.
Good value: <0.5
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
0.52
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
What it is: The Left/Right balance of our test unit, that is, the amount of amplitude difference between the left and right drivers. This is not a design test, but a marker for manufacturing tolerance and ergonomics.
When it matters: When a properly balanced stereo image and low manufacturing tolerance is desired. A poor score indicates a noticeable difference in level between the left and right drivers.
Good value: <1.5
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
0.93
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
What it is: The amount of difference (Std. Err.) between the frequency response of the left and right drivers of our test unit. This is not a design test, but a marker for manufacturing tolerance and ergonomics.
When it matters: When an even and stable stereo image, as well as a low manufacturing tolerance, is desired. A poor score indicates there may be 'holes' in the stereo image at certain frequencies.
Good value: <2
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
1.45
Weighted Phase Mismatch
What it is: The amount of difference (Std. Err.) between the phase response of the left and right drivers of our test unit. This is not a design test, but a marker for manufacturing tolerance and ergonomics.
When it matters: When an even and stable stereo image, as well as a low manufacturing tolerance is desired. A poor score indicates there may be inaccuracies in the stereo image reproduction at certain frequencies.
Good value: <16
Noticeable difference: 3
:
5.1

The imaging is great. Weighted group delay at 0.52, which is decent. However, the graph shows a deviation in group delay at 60Hz which is beyond the audibility threshold. This can result in a bass that is a little slow and loose around that frequency. The group delay performance in the mid and treble ranges is excellent. Additionally, the L/R drivers of our test unit were exceptionally well-matched in frequency, amplitude, and phase response, ensuring an accurate placement and localization of objects (voices, instruments, video game effects) in the stereo field.

6.8 Soundstage
What it is: Soundstage qualities are not inherent to the audio content, the headphones have to 'create' them rather than 'reproduce' them. They determine whether the sound is perceived to be coming from inside or in front of the head, how open and spacious the soundstage is, how much the headphones acoustically interact with the environment, and how strong the phantom center is.
When it matters: When an accurately produced, large and spacious soundstage, similar to that of a stereo loudspeaker setup is desired.
Sennheiser HD 820 PRTF
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
What it is: The standard deviation of the PRTF (Pinna-related transfer function) of the headphones compared to a reference loudspeaker's PRTF at 30°. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. This test does not apply to in-ears and earbuds, due to the lack of pinna interaction.
When it matters: An accurate pinna activation is mainly responsible for how natural and speaker-like the soundstage is perceived to be. The less error in the shape of the PRTF, the more natrual and speaker-like the perception of the soundstage will be. High amounts of error may indicate a soundstage that is unnatural or odd.
Good value: <2.5
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
3.21 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
What it is: The average amplitude of the PRTF (Pinna-related transfer function) of the headphones compared to that of a reference loudspeaker's PRTF at 30°. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. This test does not apply to in-ears and earbuds, due to the lack of pinna interaction.
When it matters: This value is responsible for the perceived size of the soundstage. The higher the value, the larger the perceived size of the soundstage. However, values above the reference (5.0dB) could result in a soundstage that is perceived as unnatural or odd.
Good value: >3.7
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
3.33 dB
PRTF Distance
What it is: The depth of the "10KHz notch" of the headphone's PRTF, which is caused by phase cancellations at the concha. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. This test does not apply to in-ears and earbuds, due to the lack of pinna interaction.
When it matters: This value is mainly responsible for the perceived distance and elevation of the soundstage. A small distance value may result in a soundstage that is perceived to be located inside the head. Larger values may help pull the soundstage out from inside of the head and bring it to the front.
Good value: >13
Noticeable difference: 1
:
24.23 dB
Openness
What it is: How open the headphones are, and how open and spacious they sound. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. This test differentiates between acoustically and electronically produced crosstalk and only takes the acoustically generated crosstalk into account. This value is the inverse of the Noise Isolation test score, and could be indirectly related the acoustic impedance of the headphones.
When it matters: When a headphone with a sense of an open, and spacious soundstage is desired. A value of 10 indicates a fully open headphone, and a value of 0 indicates a fully closed headphone.
Good value: >7.5
Noticeable difference: 0.5
:
3.5
Acoustic Space Excitation
What it is: How loud the headphones are, and how much they excite their environment acoustically. If the headphones are loud and open enough, the sound leaking from the headphones will be affected by the environment (reflections/reverb) before reflecting back into the open headphones and to the listener's ears. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. This value is the inverse of the Leakage test score.
When it matters: Headphones with higher excitation values, similar to openness, tend to have soundstages that are perceived as more open and spacious.
Good value: >7.5
Noticeable difference: 0.5
:
5.2
Correlated Crosstalk
What it is: How strong and solid the phantom center is. This is mostly a stereo quality and its effects on mono content are minimal. This test is sensitive to the phase of the crosstalk and whether it is produced acoustically or electronically.
When it matters: When a true reproduction of the stereo image is desired. A value of 0 indicates no crosstalk, or that the existing crosstalk is not correlated enough to affect the phantom center. A negative score means the crosstalk is out of phase with the original signal, resulting in a slightly wider stereo image at the expense of creating a 'hole' at the center of the stereo field. A positive score means the crosstalk is in phase and positively affecting the phantom center.
Good value: >1dB
Noticeable difference: 0.3dB
:
0.0 dB

The soundstage of the HD 820 is decent. Their PRTF response shows a decent amount of pinna activation and interaction, however, the accuracy of the interaction is not very high. They also have a closed-back enclosure. This and the low accuracy of their PRTF response make their soundstage less natural and open-sounding compared to open-back headphones like the HD 800 S. On the plus side, they have deep notch present at the 10KHz region which helps with moving the soundstage out of the listener's head, similar to that of the HD 800 S.

8.1 Total Harmonic Distortion
What it is: The subtle, unwanted frequencies (harmonics) produced alongside the intended frequencies.
When it matters: When clean and pure sound reproduction is desired, though its effect is not as noticable as frequency response.
Score components:
Sennheiser HD 820 Distortion
Weighted THD @ 90
What it is: The overall amount of harmonic distortion measured at 90dB SPL. To make the score more perceptually relevant, more weight is given to the higher frequencies.
When it matters: How pure the sound is at moderate listening levels.
Good value: <0.100
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
1.162
Weighted THD @ 100
What it is: The overall amount of harmonic distortion measured at 100dB SPL. To make the score more perceptually relevant, more weight is given to the higher frequencies.
When it matters: How pure the sound is at loud listening levels.
Good value: <0.300
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
0.633

The harmonic distortion performance of the HD 820 is great. The overall amount of harmonic distortion is low and within good limits, especially in the bass and mid ranges. They also don't show a large rise in THD at 100dB SPL, compared to 90dB SPL, which is good. However, the peaks in THD at 1.5Khz and 4KHz could make the sound of these frequencies a bit impure and harsh.

6.1

Isolation

Score components:

The Sennheiser HD 820 are closed-back headphones, unlike the HD 800 S, so they isolate a lot better in noisy environments and leak a lot less at high volumes. Unfortunately, the large ear cups do not always create the best seal around your ears, and since they only block noise passively, this means that a lot of low-frequency ambient noise will seep into your audio. They also still leak quite a bit despite their closed-back design so they will be distracting to the people around you in quieter conditions like using them at the office. Overall, the HD 820 have much better isolation performance than the HD 800 S but are still best used in isolation where you can fully enjoy their sound quality without bothering those around you or having your audio marred by the noise in your surroundings.

6.5 Noise Isolation
What it is: How much outside noise is blocked out by putting the headphones on.
When it matters: If the headphones are going to be used in a noisy envinronment (airplane, subway, etc.)
Score components:
Sennheiser HD 820 Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
What it is: The simulated noise isolation of the headphones, demonstrating how much outside noise is blocked out by putting the headphones on. This recording is created using an EQ and is not an actual recording. For headphones with ANC (active noise cancellation), the playback simulates the isolation with ANC enabled.
When it matters: When the headphones are going to be used in a noisy envinronment (airplane, subway, etc.)
:
Overall Attenuation
What it is: The overall amount of environmental noise reduction in dB.
When it matters: In loud envinronments like planes, trains, offices, etc.
Good value: <-20dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
-14.94 dB
Bass
What it is: The overall amount of noise isolation in the bass range (20Hz-250Hz).
When it matters: When the outside noise is bass-heavy, like in airplanes.
Good value: <-15dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
0.59 dB
Mid
What it is: The overall amount of noise isolation in the mid-range (250Hz-2.5KHz).
When it matters: When the environment's noise is mid-heavy, like in an office.
Good value: <-15dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
-14.45 dB
Treble
What it is: The overall amount of noise isolation in the treble range (2.5KHz-20KHz).
When it matters: When the environment's noise is treble-heavy. Although uncommon, areas with sharp sounds fall under this category.
Good value: <-30dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
-32.42 dB
Self-Noise
What it is: The amount of noise created by the active electronics of the headphones (if applicable), measured from 300Hz-20KHz. Applies mostly to wireless and noise-cancelling headphones.
When it matters: If too loud, it could become distracting when listening to quiet material like podcasts and audiobooks.
Good value: <16dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
0 dB

The isolation performance is average. Since these over-ear headphones don't have active noise cancelling, they do not achieve any isolation in the bass range. This means that they will let in all the low-frequency rumbles of airplane and bus engines. In the mid-range, important for blocking out speech, they provide more than 14dB of isolation, which is above-average. In the treble range, occupied by sharp sounds like S and Ts, they isolate by more than 32dB, which is good. Compared to the open-back HD 800 S, the HD 820 is noticeably more isolating.

5.5 Leakage
What it is: The amount of sound bleeding out of the headphones.
When it matters: When the listener doesn't want people around them (in office, recording studio, etc.) to hear what is being listened to.
Score components:
Sennheiser HD 820 Leakage
Leakage Audio
What it is: The simulated sound leakage heard 1 foot away from the user, while the user is listening to a 100dB SPL signal. This recording is created using an EQ and is not an actual recording.
When it matters: When you don't want people hear what you are listening to.
:
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
What it is: The amount of sound leakage heard 1 foot away from the user, while the user is listening to a 100dB SPL signal.
When it matters: When you don't want people hear what you are listening to.
Good value: <35dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
47.56 dB

The leakage performance is sub-par. Even thought these are closed-back headphones, they have a relatively loud and broad leakage partially due to their large drivers. However, they are significantly more quiet than their open-back counterpart, the HD 800 S. The significant portion of their leakage is between 300Hz and 6KHz, which is a broad range. This means their leakage will sound fuller than that of in-ears and earbuds. Also, the overall level of their leakage is relatively loud. With the music at 100dB SPL, their leakage at 1 foot away averages at 48dB SPL and peaks at 64dB SPL, which is noticeably louder than the noise floor of an average office.

0

Microphone

What it is: The microphone section shows the quality of speech capture and transmission by the mic, as well as how well the microphone under test handles noisy environments.
When it matters: For your speech to be transmitted to and understood properly by the listener, the microphone needs to have a good recording quality. If the environment the microphone is being used in is noisy, a microphone with a good noise handling performance would be needed as well.
Score components:
Integrated
What it is: The microphone integrated in the ear cup or ear bud of a wireless headphone.
When it matters: For calls, gaming and voice over IP software or for any other use of the microphone.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A
In-line
What it is: The microphone inside the in-line remote of audio cables for wired and wireless headsets.
When it matters: In-line microphone are usually better than integrated mics. If you need better recording quality and noise handling for calls, gaming and voice over IP software then use the audio cable of your wired or wireless headphone if it has an inline microphone.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A
Boom
What it is: A typically better microphone, that's also adjustable and extends so that the mic is closer to your mouth.
When it matters: Much better recording quality and noise handling than in-line or integrated mics. Primarily used for gaming and voice over IP software.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A
Detachable Boom
What it is: A boom mic that is detachable from the headset.
When it matters: If you want to use your headphone outdoors without the bulk and hassle of the Boom mic.
:
N/A

The Sennheiser HD 820 do not come with a microphone. For a wired headphone with a good in-line microphone, check out the Bose SoundTrue Around-Ear II, the Bose QuietComfort 25 or the Apple EarPods.

0 Recording Quality
What it is: Microphone recording quality shows how natural, neutral, extended and intelligible speech would be with the device under test, in a quiet environment.
When it matters: A microphone with a good recording quality ensures that the person listening to you would hear a full, clear, and easily understandable speech. Therefore, it is important whenever a good quality of speech transmission and intelligibility is needed.
Score components:
Recorded Speech
What it is: Actual audio recording of the headphone's microphone, recorded while placed on the dummy head, with speech being played back through the dummy head's mouth simulator.
When it matters: When a clean, full, and intelligible speech transmission is required.
:
N/A
LFE
What it is: Low-frequency extension shows how deep the bass response of the microphone is, and therefore, how deep and full your voice would sound to the listener. It is the lowest frequency at which the frequency response reaches -3dB of the target response.
When it matters: LFE is not a big factor in speech intelligibility and even speech recorded with a mic that has an LFE of 500Hz could still be easily understood. Therefore, it is mostly important if you are concerned with how deep and full your voice would be heard.
Good value: <150Hz
Noticeable difference: 30Hz
:
N/A
FR Std. Dev.
What it is: Frequency Response Standard Deviation shows how accurately and balanced sound is captured by the microphone at each frequency. FR Std. Dev. is calculated between LFE and HFE, and the rest of the spectrum is ignored.
When it matters: A good frequency response is desired when a natural and neutral speech quality is desired. As opposed to HFE which is more a metric for speech intelligibility, frequency response could be considered as a metric for a natural and neutral sound.
Good value: >3.5dB
Noticeable difference: 0.5dB
:
N/A
HFE
What it is: High-frequency extension is the highest frequency at which the frequency response reaches -3dB of the target response. It shows how extended the treble response of the microphone is.
When it matters: HFE is one the most important factors in speech intelligibility. The higher the HFE, the brighter, more open, and more extended the speech quality will be which makes it a lot easier to understand by the listener.
Good value: >8KHz
Noticeable difference: 1KHz
:
N/A
Weighted THD
What it is: The unwanted frequencies (harmonics) produced alongside the intended frequencies, which cause deformation of an output signal compared to its input.
When it matters: When clean and pure sound reproduction is desired, though its effect is not as noticable as frequency response.
Good value: <1.5
Noticeable difference: 1.0
:
N/A
Gain
What it is: Shows how much louder the microphone can go above our reference loudness level. The gain value is reported relative to our reference level, which is 94dB at a distance of 5cm from the mouth.
When it matters: A microphone with a high gain is important when the input signal (speech) is very quiet. For example when whispering, or talking on the phone in a library.
Good value: >18dB
Noticeable difference: 3dB
:
N/A

These headphones do not have a microphone so the recording quality has not been tested.

0 Noise Handling
What it is: How well the microphone is able to separate speech from background noise, so that the transmission would include more voice and less noise.
When it matters: When a clean and intelligible speech transmission is desired in a noisy situation like talking on the phone on a busy street or on the bus.
Score components:
Speech + Pink Noise : N/A
Speech + Subway Noise : N/A
SpNR
What it is: Speech to Noise Ratio is the difference in level between speech and background noise as heard by the listener
When it matters: If the microphone is going to be used in a noisy environment, it is important for it to be able to separate the speech from background noise, so the voice would be easily audible and understandable.
Good value: >24dB
Noticeable difference: 3dB
:
N/A

The Sennheiser HD 820 do not have a microphone so the noise handling has not been tested.

0

Active Features

What it is: Headphones with active components that require a battery. This includes noise cancelling and wireless headphones that actively reduce noise or transmit audio via a wireless connection.
When it matters: How suitable the power and wireless specifications of an active headphone will be, depending on your listening habits. The range and/or discharge time of the active headphone you select will be important if you're often on the move or have long uninterrupted listening sessions.
Score components:

The Sennheiser HD820 do not have any active features and therefore do not require a battery. They also do not have a dedicated app or software support for added customization options. 

N/A Battery
What it is: The power source of your headphones. All headphones with active features have a battery that will deplete over time.
When it matters: To continue using the active features of your headphones. Some models lose features or switch off completely when the battery is drained, which limits what you can do with them until the next charge.
Battery Type
What it is: The type of battery that the headphones use. Usually AAA or embedded, Li-ion rechargeable batteries.
When it matters: When your headphones run out of power. Rechargeable batteries usually charge via the headphones Micro-USB port whereas AAA batteries have to be replaced or charged with an external device.
:
N/A
Battery Life
What it is: The amount of time it takes for a headphones' battery to be completely drained. Battery life will vary depending on the active features used and volume level.
When it matters: For active headphones that connect wirelessly, have noise cancellation or other audio-enhancing features, that cease to work once the battery is dead.
Good value: >10hrs
Noticeable difference: 0.5hrs
:
N/A
Charge Time
What it is: The amount of time your active headphones have to be connected to a power source to charge from 0 to a 100%. However, charging time will vary depending on your power source.
When it matters: To be able to use the active features of your headphones. Especially, wireless ones that completely switch off and need to be recharged when the battery is dead.
Good value: 2h or less
Noticeable difference: 0.25h
:
N/A
Power Saving Feature
What it is: A feature that turns off the headphones, after a set time, when they're not in use.
When it matters: To prolong battery life when the headphones are not being used, or if you forget to manually turn off your headphones.
:
N/A
Audio while charging
What it is: Some active headphones remain usable while charging. They continue to stream audio and do not disable other active features.
When it matters: This makes sure that your headphones's battery are not being drained when your relatively close to a power source. However, this means wireless headphones will need a wired connection to the power source during the charging process.
:
N/A
Passive Playback
What it is: Active headphones that still work when all their active features are turned off or out of power.
When it matters: If you run out of power and do not have spare AA/AAA batteries or access to a power source to recharge your headphones.
:
N/A

These headphones do not have any active components and do not require a battery.

0 App Support
What it is: The additional app provided to enhance your listening experience. They typically deliver a set of practical features that give you more control over the sound, noise cancelling and effects that the headphones produce.
When it matters: An app with a lot of features allows you to customize your listening experience to suit your taste and preferences. For example, additions like an equalizer can give you more bass or treble and room effects can simulate a bigger Soundstage in closed back headphones.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
App Name : N/A
iOS : N/A
Android : N/A
Mac OS : N/A
Windows : N/A
Equalizer
What it is: Parametric, graphic or preset sound profiles that slightly alter the frequency response.
When it matters: If you want to tailor, your listening experience. Depending on what you're listening to you may want more or less bass for some tracks or more mid-range for vocals-heavy audio.
:
N/A
ANC control
What it is: Control over the Active noise canceling technology. This could be either a simple on/off button, and adjustable slider or even adaptive self-regulating noise cancellation.
When it matters: If you're in an environment where you need to monitor your surroundings or completely isolate yourself from ambient noise.
:
N/A
Mic Control : N/A
Room effects
What it is: Room effects that enhance the audio quality to make it more immersive.
When it matters: If you want to further tweak your listening experience. Adding room effects, can simulate a more spacious Soundstage or deliver a surround sound-like feel.
:
N/A
Playback control
What it is: An in-app player that gives you access to play/stop, track skipping or volume controls directly with the app.
When it matters: It's a shortcut that allows you to control your audio without leaving the application.
:
N/A
Button Mapping : N/A
Surround Sound : N/A

These headphones do not come with an app or software for added customization options.

4.8

Connectivity

What it is: The inputs and outputs of wired and wireless headphones, as well as their latency performance and range.
When it matters: To know how compatible your Bluetooth device, console or PC will be with your wired or wireless headset.
Score components:
  • 10% Bluetooth
  • 33% Wired
  • 10% Base/Dock
  • 22% Wireless Range
  • 25% Latency

The Sennheiser HD 820, like the HD 800 S, have a simple 1/4" TRS audio cable with no in-line remote. They will provide audio when connected to your console or PC if you have a 1/4" to 1/8" adapter and have practically no latency when watching videos since they are wired. However, this also means that they will not have the range and convenience of some wireless headphones although they do come with a longer than average audio cable.

0 Bluetooth
What it is: Bluetooth support for wireless headphones.
When it matters: To connect wirelessly to Bluetooth sources like your phone, tablet, console, PC and TV.
Score components:
  • 80% Multi-Device Pairing
  • 20% NFC
  • <1% PS4 Compatible
  • <1% Xbox One Compatible
Bluetooth Version : N/A
Multi-Device Pairing
What it is: A Bluetooth profile that allows some headphones to be simultaneously connected to multiple Bluetooth sources, and have full call and media support on both/all devices they are connected to.
When it matters: To quickly switch between your Bluetooth sources. For example, switching from your phone to your home or work PC and still have call and media support on both devices.
Good value: 2 devices.
:
N/A
NFC
What it is: Near Field Communication technology that allows you to quickly, pair your headphones with your Bluetooth and NFC-enabled device.
When it matters: This makes pairing with an NFC-enabled device a lot easier than the typical and often tedious hold-to-pair procedure that most wireless headphones have.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A
PS4 Compatible
What it is: Bluetooth compatibility with the PlayStation 4.
When it matters: To connect your headphones wirelessly with your PS4.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
N/A
Xbox One Compatible
What it is: Bluetooth compatibility with the Xbox One.
When it matters: To connect your headphones wirelessly with your Xbox one.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
N/A

These headphones are wired and do not have a Bluetooth connection. If you want a good-sounding wireless headset, then consider the Bose QuietComfort 35 II.

7.2 Wired
What it is: The type and compatibility of audio cables for wired and wireless headphones.
When it matters: For all devices with a regular audio jack (line-out) and also compatibility of the in-line remote/boom microphone with consoles and Personal computers.
Score components:
  • 13% Analog
  • 9% USB
  • 26% PS4 Compatible
  • 26% Xbox One Compatible
  • 26% PC Compatible
Cable Tested : Not OS specific
Analog
What it is: A regular 1/8" TRS audio jack or a 1/4 or 1/16 TRS with a 1/8 TRS adapter.
When it matters: For all devices with a line out.
Good value: Yes
:
Yes
USB
What it is: A USB or USB adapter to connect to your devices for audio and microphone.
When it matters: A digital USB adapter usually offers a slight advantages over a regular audio jack, like a DAC, and amplifier module or software support and compatibility with PCs. However it may not be as compatible with consoles.
Good value: Yes
:
No
PS4 Compatible
What it is: PS4 compatibility with a regular 3 or 4 pin 1/8 TRS audio cable.
When it matters: When you want to use a wired headphone with your PS4
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
Audio Only
Xbox One Compatible
What it is: Xbox One compatibility with a regular 3 or 4 pin 1/8 TRS audio cable.
When it matters: When you want to use a wired headphone with your Xbox One
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
Audio Only
PC Compatible
What it is: PC compatibility with a regular 3 or 4 pin 1/8 TRS audio cable.
When it matters: When you want to use a wired headphone with your PC.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
Audio Only

They have a simple 1/4" TRS audio cable with no in-line remote/microphone, so they will only provide audio when connected to your PS4, Xbox One or PC.

0 Base/Dock
What it is: The base station, dock or dongle transmitter of wireless headphones that receive data/audio via a proprietary frequency range.
When it matters: Knowing the inputs and outputs of the base/dock/dongle as well as its compatibility with consoles and Personal Computers. Also whether the base supports dock charging to easily recharge the headphones without any cables.
Score components:
  • 5% Optical Input
  • 22% Line In
  • 5% Line Out
  • 22% USB Input
  • 4% RCA Input
  • 9% PS4 Compatible
  • 9% Xbox One Compatible
  • 9% PC Compatible
  • 2% Power Supply
  • 13% Dock Charging
Wireless Type
What it is: The type of wireless connection used by the base station/dock to communicate with the headphones.
When it matters: For latency and range. For example Radio frequency has low latency but mediocre range when obstructed and proprietary docks have their own 2.x GHz or 5 GHz frequency which varies in performance.
:
N/A
Optical Input
What it is: Optical input for audio.
When it matters: Optical can carry a bit more data at faster speeds than typical wired connection which allows for more high quality, lossless audio.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A
Line In
What it is: The regular wired input via a 1/8" TRS audio jack.
When it matters: For any device that has a line out for audio transmission.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A
Line Out
What it is: A regular 1/8TRS audio jack output.
When it matters: If you need to share the audio source with other devices. A line out lets you connect other headphones or speakers to the dock/base station.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A
USB Input
What it is: A digital USB input instead of a typical 1/8 TRS line-in.
When it matters: A USB connection can provide both an audio input and power to the Dock or Base station.
:
N/A
RCA Input
What it is: Audio input using via an RCA connectors.
When it matters: Provides better stereo audio to the dock/base that's then transmitted to the headphones.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A
PS4 Compatible
What it is: Dock/Base station compatibility with the PlayStation 4.
When it matters: To be able to use all the features of the dock/base station with out losing audio or microphone capability.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
N/A
Xbox One Compatible
What it is: Dock/Base station compatibility with the Xbox One.
When it matters: To be able to use all the features of the dock/base station with out losing audio or microphone capability.
:
N/A
PC Compatible
What it is: Dock/Base station compatibility with your Personal Computer.
When it matters: To be able to use all the features of the dock/base station with out losing audio or microphone capability.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
N/A
Power Supply
What it is: The connector type of the power source.
When it matters: The accessibility of the power source. For example a power supply with USB/USB-C connects to multiple devices, PC , PS4, Xbox One or even with your regular phone charger whereas a A/C adapter is less common.
Good value: USB/USB-C
:
N/A
Dock Charging
What it is: Charging the headphones via the dock/base station instead of a charging cable.
When it matters: It makes charging your headphones easier and gives you a sport to store your headphones when they are not in use.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A

The Sennheiser HD 820 do not have a dock. If you need a headset with a dock that also has a wired connection for gaming or watching movies, then consider the SteelSeries Arctis 7.

0 Wireless Range
What it is: Headphones that offer a cable-free listening experience over a wireless network, typically via Bluetooth or radio frequency.
When it matters: If you don't want to be limited by the length of an audio cable. This means having the freedom to move around in your home or office with a much greater range than an audio cable could provide, especially, if the Bluetooth source is heavy or difficult to carry.
Score components:
Obstructed Range
What it is: The range that the wireless headphones can reach before dropping any audio when the Bluetooth source was placed in another room.
When it matters: If you can't or prefer not to carry your Bluetooth source on you, while listening to your audio in an indoor environment. Although, the obstructed wireless range will slightly depend on your home or office layout.
Good value: >35ft
Noticeable difference: 5ft
:
N/A
Line of Sight Range
What it is: The range that the wireless headphones can reach before dropping any audio when in direct line of sight of the Bluetooth device.
When it matters: If you can't or prefer not to carry your Bluetooth source on you, while listening to your audio in a large and open environment.
Good value: 170ft or more
Noticeable difference: 10ft
:
N/A

These headphones do not have a wireless range since they only connect via a regular audio cable with an in-line remote.

10 Latency
What it is: How long it takes for audio to play through your headphones once the audio signal has been sent from a source.
When it matters: When gaming or watching movies. High latency means you will hear the audio much later than the images you see on screen.
Score components:
Default Latency
What it is: The Base RF latency or the default sub-band coding (SBC) of most Bluetooth headphones.
When it matters: When watching videos a high latency can cause sync issues between the images you see and the audio you hear.
Good value: 50ms or less
Noticeable difference: 15ms
:
0 ms
aptX Latency
What it is: An audio coding algorithm (Codec) that improves bit rate efficiency. It reduces latency and improves sound quality over Bluetooth.
When it matters: For better sound quality if your often streaming music over Bluetooth. Also it slightly improves latency when watching videos with wireless headphones.
Good value: 50ms or less
Noticeable difference: 15ms
:
N/A
aptX(LL) Latency
What it is: Low latency variation of aptX that significantly reduces sync issues between video and sound when using Bluetooth headphones.
When it matters: When watching videos or gaming latency is a lot more noticeable than just listening to music.
Good value: 50ms or less
Noticeable difference: 5ms
:
N/A

The wired connection of these headphones has negligible latency which is suitable for gaming and home-theater use.

In the box

Sennheiser HD 820 In the box Picture

  • Sennheiser HD 820 Headphones
  • 1/4" to 1/8" Adapter
  • Audio cable (x2)
  • Carrying pouch
  • USB memory drive

Compared to other Headphones

Sennheiser HD 820 Compare Picture

The Sennheiser HD 820 are good critical listening headphones with an excellent and premium build quality. They feel exceedingly well-made, with great-looking closed-back earcups that make them a bit more isolating than the HD 800 S, so you can listen to them in more environments without distracting the people around you with leakage. They have a good sound that, on average, packs a bit more bass than the similarly designed but open-back HD 800 S. Unfortunately, their sound quality is slightly disappointing when compared to the HD 800 S or even some of the other critical listening headphones compared below at a fraction of the price.

Sennheiser HD 800 S

The Sennheiser HD 800 S are a better critical listening headphone than the HD 820. The HD 800 S have a better-balanced sound that is more neutral and even with instruments, more consistent with their bass and slightly more detailed on lead vocals and instruments. They also have a larger soundstage thanks to their open-back design. They're also a bit more breathable since they are open so your ears won't get as warm during longer listening sessions. On the other hand, the HD820 have a slightly more polished build quality although they are very close in design. Also since they have closed back ear cups they leak a little less, prevent more ambient noise from seeping into your audio and have a bit more bass on average.

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x

The Sennheiser HD 820 are a slightly better closed back critical listening headphone than the Audio-Technica ATH-M50X but not by much considering their price difference. The HD 820 have a much better and more premium build quality.  They also have more spacious and well-padded earcups that are breathable enough to wear for much longer than the M50x. They come with more high-end cables and accessories and would be the superior headset if their sound quality was a bit more consistent. Here the ATH-M50x have the advantage. They have a slightly more balanced mid-range and a more pronounced bass but do not have the soundstage o of the Sennheisers. The Audio-Technica are also a bit lighter and easier to use with mobile devices.

Beyerdynamic DT 770

The Sennheiser HD 820 are a slightly better closed back critical listening headphone than the Beyerdynamic DT 770 but not by much especially considering the price difference between the two headphones. The HD 820 have a much better and more premium build quality.  They also have more spacious and well-padded earcups that are breathable enough to wear for much longer than the DT770. They come with more high-end cables and accessories and do not sound as sharp on vocals and instrumentals as the Beyerdynamics. On the other hand, the Beyerdynamic DT 770 offer a better value for their price with a more consistent bass reproduction and a fairly even and neutral mid-range. They're also decently well built and comfortable enough for most although they can be a little tight on the head for some.

HiFiMan Edition X

The HiFiMan Edition X are a better critical listening headphone overall when compared to the Sennheiser HD 820. The Editon X are better balanced throughout their entire response and cater well to instruments and vocals, sound clear and have enough bass for most tracks. However, the Sennheiser HD 820 have a closed back design which means they isolate more and leak less. They have slightly more bass and a much more premium and durable build quality than the HiFiMan. They're also slightly more comfortable and come with more accessories and cables.

Conclusion

6.4Mixed Usage
What it is This is the combination of the different use cases to evaluate how versatile the headphones are. Therefore an everyday headphone should be well-rounded enough to adapt to most situations and environments without significant losses in sound quality, design ergonomics or isolation.
Score components:
Mediocre-at-best for mixed usage. The Sennheiser HD 820 are a bit more versatile than the HD 800 S thanks to their closed-back design. They isolate a bit more in noisy environments, and they leak a little less. They also have an excellent build quality that feels high-end and durable and a decently well-balanced sound that makes them a good choice for audiophiles that prefer a bit more bass. Unfortunately, they do not sound quite as good as the HD 800 S which will be disappointing for some, especially due to the price difference. Also, they're still rather bulky critical listening-only headphones so they won't be versatile enough to take outdoors or for other more casual use cases since they are not designed for that. On the upside, they are a decent option to watch movies, thanks to their low latency and decently long audio cable.
7.7Critical Listening
What it is The level of audio fidelity a headphone can reproduce. Therefore a balanced and true representation of bass, mids, treble, soundstage and imaging, as well as a comfortable listening experience, is essential for critical listening.
Score components:
Good for critical listening. These headphones are comfortable to wear for hours at a time and deliver a decently well-balanced sound and a bit more bass, on average, than the Sennheiser HD 800 S. Unfortunately, their bass is prone to a lot of inconsistencies across multiple listeners, and they do not sound quite as good overall. They have a large soundstage for a closed-back design, but it's nowhere near as spacious as the HD 800 S. Their mid-range is also a bit too forward. It pushes instruments to the front of the mix, but there's a dip in the lower mid-range that creates a hole in their audio reproduction. This makes it feel like something is always missing in the mid-range no matter what track you're listening to, which is a little disappointing, especially considering the price gap between the HD 820 and the HD 800 S. Some audiophiles will appreciate the deeper bass of the HD 820 and the relatively large soundstage for a closed-back design, but it may not be worth the investment for most.
5.8Commute/Travel
What it is How well the headphones handle the loud environments involved in commuting or traveling. Therefore your listening experience should be comfortable, hassle-free and as isolated from noise as possible.
Score components:
Not suitable for commuting. The closed-back design of the ear cups blocks a bit more noise than the HD 800 S but they're not portable and do not have a control scheme for mobile devices. You also need a sufficiently powerful device to drive these headphones so your phone will not be enough.
5.7Sports/Fitness
What it is How well-adapted the headphones are, to use while doing sports or strenuous exercise. Therefore the headphones should not be too cumbersome and deliver a stable and comfortable listening experience.
Score components:
Not meant for sports. They're heavy and require an amp so you won't be using them outside anytime soon.
6.2Office
What it is How well the headphones can deliver a comfortable and isolated listening experience in an office-like environment. They should not leak much and should block the noise of a busy office.
Score components:
Sub-par for office use. They block a bit more noise and do not leak as much as the HD 800 S so you can use them in more varied office environments. However, they still leak enough to be bothersome to the people around you in quieter conditions. They also do not block enough noise for very lively offices but on the upside, they're comfortable enough to wear for hours and they have no battery life since they are passive and wired.
6.1Home Theater
Score components:
Average for home theater. They're comfortable headphones with an good sound quality. They also have no latency since they're wired. However, they won't be as convenient as wireless TV headphones to watch movies from your couch without needing an AUX extension cord even if they have a fairly long 10ft audio cable.
5.8Gaming
Score components:
Mediocre-at-best for gaming. The Sennheiser HD 820 are comfortable, sound good and have a low latency wired connection. However, they do not have a microphone for voice chat when gaming, and no customization options which are typical for most gaming headsets. Also, they do not have the convenience of wireless design or multiple connection options for an optimized experience on Xbox One or PS4.

Discussions

  1. WTF

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