Monday, September 3rd 2012

Sennheiser Presents its Analogue and Digital Headphone Amplifiers

Building a hi-fi device that sounds so brilliant, so crystal clear and so free of distortion as if one were sitting right in front of the audio source. Creating a level of acoustics that surpasses everything that has gone before. These are the visions that drive Sennheiser in the development of its high-end products.

After recently having presented its first digital headphone amplifier, the audio specialist Sennheiser announces at IFA 2012 that it will also launch an analogue version of the device, available in the U.S. later this fall. Both the digital HDVD 800 ($1,999.95) and the analogue HDVA 600 ($1,599.95) have a fully symmetrical layout and promise a unique listening experience. They harmonize perfectly with the High-End headphone line HD 800, HD 700, HD 650 and HD 600.

The outstanding features of the new headphone amplifiers include a balanced sound image, maximum precision and impressive spatiality. The high-end devices have a fully symmetrical layout for operation with analogue audio sources, thus ensuring absolutely symmetrical signal transmission from the source to the headphones. Especially designed for the use with digital sources, the HDVD 800 features an extra high-quality Burr-Brown digital/analogue converter that converts digital audio data into analogue signals with a resolution of 24 bits and a sampling rate of up to 192 kHz. This enables the HDVD 800 to transmit the entire frequency spectrum of high-end audio sources without any loss of frequencies.

"The search for perfect sound is a constant motivation for us to develop new ideas," said Maurice Quarré, Director Product Lifecycle Management Sennheiser Consumer Electronics. "The best example is the legendary Orpheus. These electrostatic headphones with a vacuum tube amplifier, which came onto the market around 20 years ago, have become an icon in the audio world. With the new headphone amplifiers, Sennheiser is now taking up the tradition of the Orpheus, providing music lovers with the perfect combination of Sennheiser headphones and a specially matched amplifier."

Cutting-edge technology, top-quality sound
Signal processing in the HiFi devices is fully symmetrical. That means that not only the signal input into the amplifier is symmetrical but also the signal output and therefore the connection to the headphones. "The fully symmetrical principle effectively compensates for interference and distortion. The sound therefore becomes much clearer as total harmonic distortion is minimised," explained Axel Grell, Sennheiser's High-End Product Manager at Sennheiser. However, the headphones can also be connected using a normal 6.3 mm jack plug. The amplifiers are also equipped with an asymmetrical input socket; when using this input, the incoming signals are symmetrised before further processing takes place. On the HDVD 800 digital sources are connected to the rear of the unit as an AES/EBU input or S/PDIF (optical and coaxial). The digital version is featured with an extra USB input, which offers 24 bit data transmission at 192 KHz.

In order to fully exploit the sound potential of the HDVD 800 with any audio source, a rotary gain switch at the rear of the unit provides simple adaptation of the amplifier output to the audio input voltage. This ensures that the dynamic range can be used to its full extent.

Sophisticated materials for a premium touch
A glass panel embedded in the aluminium housing of the amplifier gives a clear view of the top-quality interior of the devices. Selected components and sophisticated circuitry promise the ultimate in listening pleasure. The rotary potentiometer is mechanically connected to the volume control by a 150mm long shaft. This unusually long potentiometer shaft allows the signal path between the audio source and the potentiometer to be kept very short, thus preventing possible interference of the signal. High-quality components (Alps RK 27 quad) ensure that the volume is controlled with maximum precision and a fine rotary 'feel'. Also visible through the glass panel are the cooling element, the audio relay and countless MELF resistors for the amplifier. "The material selection has been thought through down to the finest detail in order to fully exploit the amplifier's sound potential. The audio aspects of each individual component were evaluated in listening tests before the optimum combination was finally chosen," said Maurice Quarré.

And such meticulous attention has also been applied to the exterior. Both, the housing and the potentiometer control as well as the rotary switch for selecting the source are made of anodised aluminium, while the front panel of the housing and the controls are milled from solid material. The HDVD 800 and the HDVA 600 were developed and designed in Germany, and the latest members of Sennheiser's high-end series are also being manufactured there.

The new analogue HDVA 600 and the digital HDVD 800, which are being introduced at IFA in Berlin today, will be available in the U.S. later this fall, and will also be on display at CanJam at the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest in Denver, CO between October 12th and 14th.

*Driverless operation on a Mac from operating system OS 10.5 onwards. A driver is included for Windows computers from XP operating system onwards for 192 kHz operation.

Technical Data for HDVD 800 and HDVA 600
  • Dimensions and weight
  • o WxHxD (mm) Approx. 216x55x324
    o Weight (kg) 2.2
  • Power supply
  • o Input voltage 100..240 V AC / 50..60 Hz
    o Power consumption < 30 VA
  • Audio inputs
  • o Analogue input (XLR-3)
    o Max. input voltage (symmetrical, eff) 20 dBV
    o Input impedance 10 kOhm
    o Analogue input (RCA)
    o Max. input voltage (eff) 14 dBV
    o Input impedance 10 kOhm
  • Audio data
  • o Frequency response 0.3 Hz to 100 kHz (-3 dB)
    o Total harmonic distortion < -110 dB (1 kHz / maximum gain)
  • Digital features of HDVD 800
  • o Digital SPDIF (RCA)
    o Max. sampling frequency 192 kHz (AES3-compatible)
    o Max. resolution 24 bit
    o Digital SPDIF (TosLink)
    o Max. sampling frequency 192 kHz (AES3-compatible)
    o Max. resolution 24 bit
    o Digital AES/EBU (XLR-3)
    o Max. sampling frequency 192 kHz (AES3-compatible)
    o Max. resolution 24 bit
    o USB (USB-B)
    o USB standard USB 2.0 / USB 3.0
    o USB audio class USB Audio 2.0
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45 Comments on Sennheiser Presents its Analogue and Digital Headphone Amplifiers

#1
repman244
Looks stunning and I bet the sound is amazing as well. Unfortunately it's out of my price range.
Posted on Reply
#2
Phusius
made for the 1% of society. awesome. that's why I rock Audio Technica, ftw!
Posted on Reply
#3
Chipset
$1500-$2000?
With all due respect to sennheiser, this thing is a massive ripoff.
An O2 amp plus ODAC (google it) is like $300 fully assembled and shipped and is already good enough that human ears can't tell make out any noise or inaccuracies.

Going any higher than that is just gonna burn a hole in your wallet and anyone who thinks they get more sound seriously needs to read up on expectation bias!
Posted on Reply
#4
BumbleBee
by: Phusius
made for the 1% of society. awesome. that's why I rock Audio Technica, ftw!
$1500 headphone amplifier by Audio Technica

Posted on Reply
#5
Capitan Harlock
if i have to spend like 2000$/€ when at 620$/€ i have the same thing well http://wooaudio.com/products/wa6.html take a look xd , when i see most of this thing on my mind one word explane everything OVERPRICED , or i you need ad headphone amplifire and spend less money go with the asus http://www.asus.com/Multimedia/Audio_Cards/Xonar_Essence_One/ and you spend less than 500$/€ , spend this much for only and headphone amplifire is crazy (im talking about sennheiser xd)
Posted on Reply
#6
BumbleBee
the Essence One isn't very good value for the money like the Essence STX.
Posted on Reply
#7
repman244
by: Capitan Harlock
if i have to spend like 2000$/€ when at 620$/€ i have the same thing well http://wooaudio.com/products/wa6.html take a look xd , when i see most of this thing on my mind one word explane everything OVERPRICED , or i you need ad headphone amplifire and spend less money go with the asus http://www.asus.com/Multimedia/Audio_Cards/Xonar_Essence_One/ and you spend less than 500$/€ , spend this much for only and headphone amplifire is crazy (im talking about sennheiser xd)
If you think the Essence even comes close to high end amps, you are very very wrong. Is it good? Yes it is. Can it PROPERLY power high end headphones (HD800/700/650 etc.)? Absolutely not.

I don't know what's all the moaning about the price. All high end audio gear is very expensive ($25k speaker, $70k turntables anyone?). Just because you don't see/hear the difference doesn't mean it's overpriced.

If you spend more than $1000 on headphones alone an plug it in into a crap $300 amp, you wasted your money. (Do you build a high end PC and use a crap 400W PSU? :wtf:)
Posted on Reply
#8
Phusius
bumblebee still sennheiser is overall more pricier was my point. my ath-ad 700's which i got for 103 bucks sound better than my sennheiser 558's which were near 200 bucks
Posted on Reply
#9
BumbleBee
not really. both companies make entry level and premium products.

Audio Technica ATH-W3000 Anniversary Edition $1300, Audio Technica ATH-W5000 $1200, Audio Technica ATH-W1000x $700, Audio Technica AT-HA5000 $1500

Sennheiser HD800 $1400, Sennheiser HD700 $1000, Sennheiser HD650 $450, Sennheiser HDVA 800 $2000, Sennheiser HDVA 600 $1600
Posted on Reply
#10
repman244
by: Phusius
bumblebee still sennheiser is overall more pricier was my point. my ath-ad 700's which i got for 103 bucks sound better than my sennheiser 558's which were near 200 bucks
Sound is very subjective and I have no doubt about what you said. It also depends on the music you are listening to (some headphones are better suited for rock, some for classical).
Even amps sound different between one and other (tube amps, solid state amp, hybrid amp etc.).
Posted on Reply
#11
Phusius
by: BumbleBee
not really. both companies make entry level and premium products.

Audio Technica ATH-W3000 Anniversary Edition $1300, Audio Technica ATH-W5000 $1200, Audio Technica ATH-W1000x $700, Audio Technica AT-HA5000 $1400

Sennheiser HD800 $1400, Sennheiser HD700 $1000, Sennheiser HD650 $450, Sennheiser HDVA 800 $2000, Sennheiser HDVA 600 $1600
show me a sennheiser with $100 sound that sounds better than the ath-ad700's and I will show you my wallet.
Posted on Reply
#12
repman244
by: Phusius
show me a sennheiser with $100 sound that sounds better than the ath-ad700's and I will show you my wallet.
HD 448 (449) falls into the $100 range. But as I said, it's subjective, and every one of us will hear/like (or hate) them differently.
Posted on Reply
#13
Fourstaff
by: Phusius
show me a sennheiser with $100 sound that sounds better than the ath-ad700's and I will show you my wallet.
There are no good Sennheisers at the $100 pricepoint I think, you will have to look slightly higher than that (or lower) to find good bargains.

Currently using ATH-ESW9 atm, they are no better than their Senn counterparts.
Posted on Reply
#14
BumbleBee
the Audio Technica ATH-AD700 is good with classical and jazz but there are better headphones for that. it's got good detail retrieval and perceived sound stage and this makes it popular with gamers. the Sennheiser HD558 are good with gaming and a better choice for rock, alternative, movies which is why I own them and not the Audio Technica ATH-AD700.

i'm not going to recommend the Audio Technica ATH-AD700 to someone who listens to dubstep and doesn't play video games just because you think it's the best value at $100. makes no sense.
Posted on Reply
#15
erixx
For multi-brazilionaires Bevery Hills rock and movie "stars" and producers...

Apple trashing seems like a kids game compared to this ripp off... yes, I will buy an IPAD NOW!!!!!

This is more like scientific instrumental, not for "enjoying" sounds at home fss...
Posted on Reply
#16
Fourstaff
by: erixx
For multi-brazilionaires Bevery Hills rock and movie "stars" and producers...

Apple trashing seems like a kids game compared to this ripp off... yes, I will buy an IPAD NOW!!!!!

This is more like scientific instrumental, not for "enjoying" sounds at home fss...
Just because we cannot quantify how good a product is compared to another doesn't mean its a piece of overpriced crap.
Posted on Reply
#17
repman244
by: erixx
For multi-brazilionaires Bevery Hills rock and movie "stars" and producers...

Apple trashing seems like a kids game compared to this ripp off... yes, I will buy an IPAD NOW!!!!!

This is more like scientific instrumental, not for "enjoying" sounds at home fss...
Did you ever listen to a high end sound setup? And actually, this amp isn't even expensive compared to some others.

Happy browsing: http://www.higherfi.com/amplist/amplist.htm
Posted on Reply
#18
BumbleBee
oh and I have read nothing but good things about the Samson SR850 being a good alternative to the Audio Technica ATH-AD700.
Posted on Reply
#19
erixx
To thos eabove: I douche in the morning and don't know why always have remaining water in the ears, sorry but I can't hear the "subtle nuances and heavenly angels singing"! LOL
Posted on Reply
#20
repman244
by: erixx
To thos eabove: I douche in the morning and don't know why always have remaining water in the ears, sorry but I can't hear the "subtle nuances and heavenly angels singing"! LOL
But what's the point of calling it overpriced if you haven't even heard it or even care about it? To you it's subtle, to others who enjoy hi-fi audio it's substantial.
The same situation can be translated to CPU's, some don't see any improvements with overclocking, they are even happy with a Pentium 4, so why buy overpriced hardware if some people say that a P4 is good enough?
Posted on Reply
#21
BumbleBee
I bought a pair of Audeze LCD-2 ($1000) headphones a couple months ago. I asked around, did my research and took a chance. this headphone doesn't even use a neodymium driver. it's planar magnetic. it doesn't look like Beats or Beats Solo which is a popular style these days and it cost a lot of money. it's the best headphone I have ever listened to. I can use words like deep, controlled bass with a lot of impact. lush mids and crisp highs but none of that means anything if you haven't listened to a quality loud speaker or headphone. how do you know what crisp highs sound like?
Posted on Reply
#22
semantics
by: Fourstaff
Just because we cannot quantify how good a product is compared to another doesn't mean its a piece of overpriced crap.
He just forgot to add the benefit of having people over, them asking wtf is that then you explaining how you flopped down money for that. They seemed interested, listen to it, can't tell the difference. Then asking them GREAT ISN'T IT? Then they shake their head no and you feeling deep amounts of shame and thus never talking to that person ever again. Shits priceless
Posted on Reply
#23
Capitan Harlock
by: repman244
If you think the Essence even comes close to high end amps, you are very very wrong. Is it good? Yes it is. Can it PROPERLY power high end headphones (HD800/700/650 etc.)? Absolutely not.

I don't know what's all the moaning about the price. All high end audio gear is very expensive ($25k speaker, $70k turntables anyone?). Just because you don't see/hear the difference doesn't mean it's overpriced.

If you spend more than $1000 on headphones alone an plug it in into a crap $300 amp, you wasted your money. (Do you build a high end PC and use a crap 400W PSU? :wtf:)
look the first link,is and headphone amp at 620$/€ and can run hd800 and lower go and take a look on youtube search a guys named thesnazzyiphoneguy and see xd xd
Posted on Reply
#24
repman244
by: semantics
He just forgot to add the benefit of having people over, them asking wtf is that then you explaining how you flopped down money for that. They seemed interested, listen to it, can't tell the difference. Then asking them GREAT ISN'T IT? Then they shake their head no and you feeling deep amounts of shame and thus never talking to that person ever again. Shits priceless
Yep happens often, but I just don't care, I buy things for my pleasure (if someone doesn't see the point, good for them).
That same friend could buy a very expensive car, and someone who isn't very interested in cars will say it drives the same as some POS car (this can be applied to all things in life, we are all different).
Hence I don't see the point in buying something to impress others, but whatever floats your boat :toast:

by: Capitan Harlock
look the first link,is and headphone amp at 620$/€ and can run hd800 and lower go and take a look on youtube search a guys named thesnazzyiphoneguy and see xd xd
Yeah, I saw that. But as I said, does it drive it to their full potential? You won't know until you try the expensive/higher end amps.
Headphones like HD650 benefit a lot from proper amplification and they scale really really well with better amps.
Posted on Reply
#25
BumbleBee
some incredibly shallow people lol

you don't spend $300 on a water cooling kit so you can overclock a $100 entry level CPU. you spend $1400 on a headphone your going to want to get the best out of it and it starts with a good source and amplifier. it's an investment.
Posted on Reply
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