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Sennheiser HD 820 Headphones Review

Initial Impression

As an audio enthusiast, investing in the Sennheiser HD 820 Headphones was an experience. I have owned several high-end headphones, but the HD 820 truly stands out in its design and sound quality. I waited for three years to save up for these headphones, eager to see if they lived up to the hype. And truth be told, I was not at all disappointed.

Unboxing and First Use

I must, however, warn potential buyers about ordering these headphones through Amazon. I ended up receiving two separate pairs that were in poor condition. The first set was broken, and the second arrived in a box that looked like it had been used as a rugby ball. Despite its convenience, this unpleasant experience suggests that Amazon might not be the ideal platform for purchasing these premium headphones.

Design and Comfort

The first thing I noticed about the Sennheiser HD 820 was the exquisite design. They looked fabulous and were incredibly light, indicating their superior build quality. However, my initial concern was the comfort. I have a giant head and found that my ear lobes initially touched the pads on the lower side. However, these headphones have proven to be ‘grow-on-you’ types. After a while, I found them fitting like a charm, providing extreme comfort during prolonged usage. They did not create discomfort or hotspots around my ears or head.

Sound Quality

As for the sound performance, these headphones render an incredible audio experience. The distinct and clear audio output owes to their excellent separation of instruments. The midtones and vocals give a rich, full-bodied production with a sharp, thumping bass and treble high notes. However, they lack fidelity on the high end compared to other headphones in this price range.

I use an Equalizer APO with an ‘iFi bassBoost’ to fine-tune with the EQ, delivering spectacular results. The Sennheiser HD 820 performs equally well across various music genres. Its closed-back design offers immersive gaming experiences, where I can precisely separate multiple footsteps in the environment.

A Comparison with Sennheiser HD 800

One unavoidable comparison that often pops up is with the Sennheiser HD 800 headphones. I had the opportunity to experience both, and overall, I feel that the HD 800 performs slightly better than the HD 820. Despite this, the HD 820 certainly has its merits. If you are looking for headphones to use in a noisy environment or for better sound isolation, then the HD 820 trumps the HD 800.

Sennheiser HD 820 Headphones

Price vs. Value

The price of the Sennheiser HD 820 is a significant factor to consider. I feel that it is somewhat overpriced. While exceptional, the sound quality does not justify the colossal price tag, mainly when other models like the HD 800s deliver similar, if not better, quality at a lower price.


On the downside, despite its high price and quality performance, the HD 820 lacks longevity. While it’s disheartening, these headphones seem to fail after about two years. The cables may come apart first, and after replacing the cables, the headphones themselves may begin to give in with crackling sounds or loss of audio in one ear. The high costs involved in cable replacement and the general durability issues certainly raise concerns.


  • Light and comfortable for extended use
  • Impressive soundstage and clarity
  • It provides sound isolation for an immersive audio experience
  • Strong and thumping bass tones


  • It may start to fail after about two years
  • High cost for cable replacement
  • A high purchase price may not deliver equivalent value
  • Comparatively lesser fidelity on high-end

Final Verdict

In summary, the Sennheiser HD 820 offers an excellent combination of supreme comfort and impressive sound quality. They are engineered for superior performance and deliver a fantastic sound experience. However, the hefty price tag and longevity issues make it less appealing for some. These may be a great choice if you are not budget-constrained and seek exceptional sound experience and comfort. Just bear in mind their potential durability issues and the high costs of fixing them.

Bass Response
The Sennheiser HD 820 has a great bass response. It's fuller in the low/mid-low end, resulting in a satisfying thump. Although it's more prominent compared to open-back headphones like HD800s, it copes exceptionally well, giving a pleasing bass output.
Treble Detail
The HD 820 delivers incredible treble detail. The treble highs are sharp and crisp, never coming across as dull or muddy. This ensures an overall vibrant and enthralling auditory experience while avoiding intrusive and harsh 's' or 'sh' sounds.
Midrange Clarity
The midrange and vocals are pronounced, with a rich and vibrant resonance. It doesn't beat the open-back Sennheiser HD800s in terms of midrange clarity, as they have a slight edge yielding an overall smooth, refined and natural renditions.
Sound Quality
With the Sennheiser HD 820, you get a truly immersive audio experience. With clear, thumping bass and sharp, well-defined treble highs, it offers fantastic fidelity across high, mid, and low frequencies. Every instrument is present and distinctive, helping you pinpoint exactly where each sound is coming from.
Comfort & Fit
Comfort might be a concern initially, especially for people with larger heads as ear lobes may touch the pads on the lower side. However, with time, they mold well and offer a comfortable fit, proving to be lightweight and easy on the ears during prolonged use.
Build Quality & Durability
While the Sennheiser HD 820 offers beautiful aesthetics and near-exceptional performance, they fall short in terms of longevity. With reports of the cable coming apart after 2 years of use and issues with audio output, it's clear there's room for improvement in terms of durability.
Soundstage Imaging
The soundstage is impressive for closed-back headphones, it manages to reproduce an open and immersive acoustic environment, enabling the listener to pinpoint the direction of different sounds, similar to sitting in a concert hall.
Noise Isolation
Despite being marketed as closed-back headphones, the Sennheiser HD820 seems to offer an experience reminiscent of open-ear headphones, failing to create a perfect seal around the ears. This might compromise noise isolation, particularly under noisy conditions.
Value for Money
A critical point of consideration for many potential buyers would be the price tag. They are indeed top-tier headphones offering excellent performance, but given some build quality issues and high cost, some might argue their worth compared to competitors in a similar price range or cheaper alternatives like HD800s.
Total Score
Rating Summary
In conclusion, the Sennheiser HD820 offers an immersive, high-fidelity audio experience with every detail accounted for – be it the rich mid-tones, the sharp treble highs, or the full, pulsating bass. Moving on to comfort, it might take some getting used to, but with time they mold nicely for a comfortable fit. The build quality, however, raises some valid concerns, especially considering the steep price. Despite being closed-back headphones, noise isolation isn't perfect, but can decidedly create ample auditory isolation during regular use. Even though the cost might be perceived as less justified given its durability issues, the HD820 shows sheer dominance in its audio performance, and for audiophiles seeking high performing headphones, it’s worth considering. Despite the hefty price tag, if a well-rounded audio experience is the primary consideration, the Sennheiser HD820 does fulfill the demand remarkably well.