Sennheiser HD 820: Closed-back vs. Open-back Sound
Sennheiser HD 820 headphones - Can closed-back headphones sound as good as open back headphones? We are looking forward to finding out.
“Usually, high-end headphones require an open-back design, which has placed limits on where you can enjoy true audiophile sound. The HD 820 is a game changer that delivers exceptional sound while insulating the listener from their environment. I consider them to be the most transparent-sounding closed-back headphones in the world.” - Axel Grell, Portfolio Management Consumer at Sennheiser.
We've seen some amazing headphones produced over the past few years with each brand pushing the limits on sound quality providing even better reproductions of the source. Many of the greatest contenders leverage an open-back design to provide the best possible sound. Sennheiser's HD800s headphones fall directly into this category. Leveraging an open-back style can simplify the design and reduce unnecessary echoes.
By closing off the acoustic chamber around your ear, it can complicate the headphone's design and introduce undesirable resonances and reverberations that can threaten the purity of the music. However, open-back headphones such as the Focal Utopia also come with a downside, everyone can hear your music and you can hear all of the surrounding noise. You need to decide which is more important to your listening experience and where will you be listening to your music? On a plane where you want to remove outside noise or in your home office where outside noise is minimal?
This makes Sennheiser's statement around the HD 820 headphone even more exceptional. Providing the sound benefits of an open-back design while isolating the listener from ambient noise is no easy feat. Serious R&D went into making this possible including a new patent-pending gorilla glass transducer cover. The glass covers are placed over each of the ring radiator transducers revealing the acoustics within by reflecting the sound waves from the rear of the transducer to two absorber chambers, which results in minimal resonance. This is the first set of headphones to features this curved Gorilla glass covering and we can't wait to test it out.
We hope the glass does not add much weight to the overall design and the gorilla glass can hold up to travel and use on the go without scratching. Currently, we can only comment on the aesthetics of the headphones which look amazing.
Manufactured in Germany, the headphones have a metal headband with an inner damping element built in. They come with silver-clad OFC cables and gold-plated plugs. The ear pads use a high-quality synthetic leather outer and microfiber inner to provide cushion and to insulate the listener from outside noise.
Sennheiser is also adopting the 4.4mm Pentaconn balanced connector, being slightly larger than the traditional 3.5mm audio plug, it provides balanced audio for minimal distortion. Dragon Cables already supports this connector with both Silver Dragon and Black Dragon available. Leveraging premium materials these cable upgrades will ensure the best possible sound.
We look forward to testing out the new Sennheiser HD 820 headphones and will provide a full evaluation soon. What questions do you have? Comments? We'd love to hear from you.