Sennheiser HD 820 test and review, comparison with HD 800

Sennheiser HD 820 review

Heavenly sound from Sennheiser’s new top model
Meet the closed headset that sounds like they are open.

For several years, Sennheiser has had its HD 800 Series as a top model for the man in the street – even though they make headphones that cost up to half a million .

These have been called open bells, which means you have had some limited use if you do not want to bother others with what you are listening to – or be disturbed by the noise of the surroundings.

During this year’s CES fair we received a small taste bite on the latest model in this series, the HD 820 , and now they have finally arrived our test bench.

There are two significant things that distinguish this model from its predecessors: It now has a closed design, and the price has become much stiffer.

At the time of writing, the price is over 22,000 kroner, which is almost 10,000 kroner more than the current open HD 800S model .

Clear equality features

Sennheiser HD 820 test

The pillows can be easily removed for cleaning.

When unpacking the new HD 820 headphones, you will quickly discover that Sennheiser has not made any major changes to the design compared with previous models.

Still, the bells are gigantic and are shaped like a kind of D with insight into the back of the element. Nevertheless, there are some changes that reveal that this is a new variant of the series.

You can not physically touch the elements in the bells anymore. They are now hidden behind a shell of black hard plastic with a distinctive pattern. The bell’s ring radiator transducer is still protected, but now the metal grid is replaced with curved glass. So the distinctive character of the former HD 800’s has been on appearance, living to the forefront of this model.

At the same time, Sennheiser retains a great deal of solutions around the bells, such as the special bracket and head brace. Admittedly, it has a different color than the HD 800S has on its corresponding fastening bend and it has become somewhat more streamlined, but from a distance, the visual impression is much the same as before.

A little warmer to wear

Sennheiser HD 820 review

The fabric on the pillows provides better soundproofing to the head than before. But it also makes the bells warmer.
Also the pillows of this new headset are huge, just like before. However, the difference is in material used. Since this is a lured construction, it requires a more dense material than the “velvet” that has been used so far.

Instead, the company allegedly uses microfiber material on the part of the cushions that hits your head. In our opinion, this material appears much in the same way as alcantara, which you find in the seats of a number of cars.

The same fabric is also found in the head-hoop, and thanks to the right friction of the material, they are well placed against the head, and do not easily fall off if you move quickly on your head.

Still, this is a headset that is very comfortable to wear on the head, but it should be said that since this is a closed construction, we get a bit warmer on the ears after prolonged listening. This is not something we experience with, for example, today’s HD 800S model.

Is not completely soundproof

The bells are good with space for the ears, so the majority of the bells will be found on the outside of the ears. However, a problem with this is that you may experience leaks to those around you. They are pretty much built to the sides, so if you have a very “round” head you want more leaks.

Sennheiser HD 820 test

The bells are very comfortable wearing, although they can get a little warm for a long time.

During this test, the bells have been sitting on the heads of more people in the editorial staff, and the gift for all is that we notice that the bells will sound some noise when saving a little extra with volume. If you are sitting next to someone, they will simply hear what you listen to when the volume is jacked up a lot.

Opposite road you are not as bothered. At the moment there is a construction worker around the ears here at the premises in Akersgata, and there is very little volume before this closes outside.

Requires amplifier

The Sennheiser HD 820 is still a classic headset with cable, and in the box we can choose from a balanced cable with four pin XLR plug, a minijack cable or a cable with standard jack plug.

The headset has not been less easy to drive since the last time we tested the HD 800 S, so if you plan to use these directly on your phone, just forget it first.

Sennheiser HD 820 cables

It comes with several different cables. Among other things than the XLR variant.

Nevertheless, we get quite good experiences already on a pocket-DAC in the form of a RHA Dacamp L1 . Here you get pretty good bass, although there is still more to go on before the headphones sound at their best.

We also tested with a combination of a less expensive DAC and amplifier solution because we ended up with the Sennheiser HDV 820. An amplifier designed for these headphones. That also costs over 20,000 kroner.

Nevertheless, we must say that even with a simple pocket-DAC, these clocks will give you a lot of listening pleasure, even if they are starved slightly versus the more powerful desktop options.

For a sound quality!

At the time of writing, these headsets cost you over $ 22,000. It is beyond the common sense for most of us, for example, you can get away with “only” 12 500 kroner for today’s HD 800S model.

But what Sennheiser does here is to create an extremely raw audio experience, which in our opinion is full of the height of the HD 800S, and which is also packed in closed headphones.

Sennheiser HD 820

The cable can only be connected from the clock itself.

Just to be able to receive such an open and dynamic sound, we had not believed in advance to be possible. When we got a taste bite in Las Vegas earlier this year, the goose skin was already on its way. Now it’s almost constant.

The stereo perspective you get delivered by these works almost endlessly, and it’s all well balanced and controlled – just as you should require from headphones in this class.

For example, if we compare with the Sony ‘Z1R model , which costs about the same, we would say that Sennheiser pours these in several areas, and especially how airy and detailed the music comes out.

The HD 820 is perhaps the best on classical music, where you can sit with your eyes closed and place the different instruments in front of you. The treble is clearer and sharper than anything else we’ve heard, while the double bass can really show pondus without becoming dominant.

Also jazz is something these watches like especially well, where a brutal honesty reveals the recording quality so it really sings after. Rarely has the voice of Louis Armstong been nuanced and shattered, and BB Kings’ distinctive feature of the guitar is clear as crystal.

The sound is quite so neutral, although in particular the particular interstices are highlighted in some cases. The result is a headset that will master most genres. The bass is powerful and rap and goes quite far down. But this is not the headset for you who are looking for a brutal bass. It is clearly clear and potent, but is balanced against the rest of the spectrum.

As we were in, this is a headset that causes bad recordings to be taken on the peach. But they also bloom the more the better the quality is. The voice of Kari Bremnes gives brutal chills down the arms and back, and the same goes to David Gilmour’s guitar.


The Sennheiser HD 820 is a completely raw product.

These new headphones have some weaknesses, such as a totally deterrent price. They also enjoy some sound if you love turning the volume wheel well and that they can get a little warm wearing over time.

The last two weaknesses are still drowning when you put on music. To $ 22,000, it is allowed to be particularly picky and expectant about what is being delivered, but we have to say that the HD 820 is in line with what it sings for.

The sound is as impressive and airy as the one you get served from today’s HD 800S – and from a closed headphone. In other words, you can listen to quite loud music without bothering the side man at work worth mentioning, which is completely impossible to get with the H 800S.

All in all, Sennheiser delivers what we expected in advance with its new HD 820. They have managed to get a closed headphone to sound as good as an open solution. And as always it costs to be out early with new technology, because this is really like adding the list all other manufacturers have to hop for.


  • Absolutely raw openness
  • Totally raw stereoperspective
  • Large and comfortable pillows
  • Sparkling sound quality
  • Sparkling dynasty
  • Several different cables included in the box
  • The pads can easily be removed for cleaning


  • Expensive
  • Enjoy some sound when playing loudly
  • Getting a little warm to wear over time


Audiophile review – Comparison listening test: Sennheiser HD 820, HD 800S, Audeze LCD XC, Sony Z1R headphones

Sennheiser HDV 820 and HD 800 S Review

Senheiser HD 820 – the best Headphones That Money Can Buy

$2400 – is it worth buying?

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