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Sennheiser HDVD800 Digital Headphone Amplifier

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Price: £1599.00 Was £1699.00

 

Sennheiser HDVD 800 headphone amplifier was built to sound so brilliant, so crystal clear and so free of distortion that you can be mistaken for sitting right in front of the audio source. Creating a level of acoustics that surpasses everything that has gone before was the vision for this audiophile headphone amplifier, a fitting partner for Sennheiser HD650, Sennheiser HD700, Sennheiser HD800 or indeed any other fine headphones. In contrast to the Sennheiser HDVA 600, the HDVD800 includes a high quality DAC and sounds even better.

Design

This is Sennheiser's first amplifier for dynamic headphones. The digital HDVD 800 has a fully symmetrical layout for operation with analogue audio sources, thus ensuring absolutely symmetrical signal transmission from the source to the headphones. For use with digital sources, the amplifier is equipped with a high-quality Burr-Brown DAC that converts digital audio data into analogue signals, upto 24bit/192kHz. This enables the HDVD 800 to transmit the entire frequency spectrum of high-end audio sources without any loss of frequencies.

“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 Senior Acoustical Engineer.

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.

A glass panel embedded in the aluminium housing of the amplifier gives a clear view of the top-quality interior of the HDVD 800. 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.

Connections

Sennheiser supplies specially made cables for the symmetrical connection to headphones. The headphones can, however, also be connected using a normal 6.3 mm jack plug. In addition to the symmetrical inputs, the HDVD 800 also has an asymmetrical input socket; incoming signals are symmetrised before further processing takes place. Digital sources are connected to the rear of the unit as an AES/EBU input, S/PDIF (optical and coaxial) or USB (the USB 2.0 audio standard offers transmission upto 24 bit/ 192KHz)

How does it sound?

The outstanding features of the HDVD 800 include its balanced sound image, maximum precision and impressive spatiality.

“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 Sennheiser 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 HDVD 800, 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.”

Beautiful Casing

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. This makes the HDVD 800 as much of a joy to use as it is to listen to. This headphone amplifier is indeed a new high end benchmark in headphones listening.

Specifications

Analogue input (XLR-3)
- Max. input voltage: (symmetrical, eff) 20 dBV
- Input impedance: 10 kOhm
Analogue input (RCA)
- Max. input voltage (eff): 14 dBV
- Input impedance: 10 kOhm
Digital SPDIF (RCA)
- Max. sampling frequency: 192 kHz (AES3-compatible)
- Max. resolution: 24 bit
Digital SPDIF (TosLink)
- Max. sampling frequency: 192 kHz (AES3-compatible)
- Max. resolution: 24 bit
Digital AES/EBU (XLR-3)
- Max. sampling frequency: 192 kHz (AES3-compatible)
- Max. resolution: 24 bit
USB (USB-B)
- USB Standard: USB 2.0 / USB 3.0
- USB audio class: USB Audio 2.0
Audio data
- Frequency response: 0.3 Hz to 100 kHz (-3 dB)
- Total harmonic distortion: < -110 dB (1 kHz / maximum gain)
Other Details
- Dimensions (mm): Approx. 216W x 55H x 324D
- Weight (kg): 2.2
- Power supply: 100..240 V AC / 50..60 Hz
- Power consumption: < 30 VA

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