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Hands on: Sennheiser HD8 DJ

Our first listen of the flagship of the the HD8 offered an engaging burst to the music, with clear vocals, and gravitas in the low-end.

Today at CES we had the chance to check out some of the brand new headphones Sennheiser debuted at the show: the HD8 DJ, HD7 DJ, and HD6 Mix headphones. The first two models were designed specifically for the DJ set, while the HD6 is crafted for studio mixing. While we’re normally not big fans of the DJ headphone niche, we figured if anyone could handle balancing out the beefy bass common to their trade with clear and present audio up top, it would be Sennheiser.

Much to our delight, our first listen to the flagship of the new series, the HD8 DJ, was impressive. While the ‘phones definitely have some bump down low, and a sculpted curve in the treble, they are still well-balanced, and offered an engaging burst to the music in our short audition. Vocals were extremely clear, and the gravitas in the low end was matched by a firm and detailed midrange.

Sennheiser HD8 DJ headphones side by side

The exterior design of the HD8 is also excellently crafted, carved from an adjustable all-metal frame that allows the earcups to move on a solid axis in just about any direction you want. It feels robust enough to take some serious abuse at the club or out on the street. The phones are also collapsible for easy storage, and they come with a hardshell nylon case. The headphones also include both coiled and straight Kevlar reinforced cables, and the drivers have a massive 8Hz-30kHz claimed frequency range,

If the HD8’s $380 price tag is too rich for your blood, the same drivers and basic design can be had from the $320 HD7, only in a plastic frame. And if that big punch is too much for your ears, the $280 HD6 Mix has a much flatter frequency curve. Though after spending time with the HD8, we feel like the sound signature of the HD6 is slightly bland, and maybe even a tad boxy in the mids. That said, we’d have to spend a lot more time with the ‘phones for an in-depth sonic analysis, and knowing Sennheiser, they’ll probably match up well at their price point compared to the rest of the field.

For now, we’re just glad Sennheiser didn’t cross the line with its DJ models into the overwhelming boom that is so common in the segment. Our first impression tells us the new series will round out the company’s consumer line nicely. You can get your hands on all three of the new H series headphone models now.

Highs

  • Powerful, dynamic low end for HD8 and HD7
  • Great detail
  • Clear vocals
  • Excellent build quality

Lows

  • A little pricey
  • HD6 sound signature was initially less engaging than its siblings