First blood on product announcements for CES 2018 falls to Sennheiser with their HD820 high-end headphone: an iterative development of the HD800/S that puts Gorilla glass on the back of the German manufacturer’s Ring Radiator driver to seal sound in for a closed-back version.
Per the press release: “The patent-pending curved Gorilla glass serves to reflect the sound waves from the rear of the transducer to two absorber chambers, which results in minimal resonance.”
The HD820 are made in Germany, feature a metal headband, non-allergenic synthetic leather / microfiber pads, silver-cladded OFC cables and gold plated plugs.
Interestingly, Sennheiser have optioned the 4.4mm Pentaconn connector developed by Sony for balanced hookups that “offers a lower contact resistance than all other connections for headphones to produce minimal distortion and a more transparent sound reproduction”, according to the press release.
I really dig the HD800S for down to the bone musical insight and transparency — I own a pair. They might not quite match higher end models from HiFiMAN on tonal richness or Focal on detail retrieval but at US$1699 the HD800S don’t match those same rivals on price.
The HD800S’ fundamental limitation is they don’t travel well. You can’t wear open-backed headphones on a train or in the office without sound leaking outward and disturbing those around you. The forthcoming HD820 cast that limitation asunder.
Don’t reach for your wallet just yet. The HD820 won’t go on sale until “mid 2018” pricing will come in as follows: €2399 or US$2399 – which at current exchange rates will see American consumers get the slightly better deal.
Further information: Sennheiser