The Sennheiser HD8 DJ headphones are rated by a number of sources as being in the top 5 of all the over the ear headphones out there right now. Having reviewed numerous headphones geared towards DJs over the years, we thought we pretty much had heard some of the best and thought it was time see what all the hype was when it comes to the HD8 DJ headphones.
First off, if there was a prize for the best packaging, Sennheiser would win it. The construction of the box and design makes you feel like you are getting a pair of headphones that were custom made for you. Upon opening the box, you find it foam lined to protect the hardshell case the HD8s are stored in. The hardshell case has that "new car" smell to it as if you just sat down in a Ferrari.
Opening the case there is storage room for two cords, a coiled and a straight one. Plus room for the second set of ear cuffs (velour) that are easily swappable with the leather ones installed at the factory.
Our first impression of the HD8 DJ headphones is that they appear very well made. The gun metal color and the hinge system is reminiscent of what would be worn in a sci-fi flick. It is classy and strong. We found metal pieces in all the right places, even where some companies have gone cheap and swapped out plastic as a cost saving measure.
When we put them on, they fit snug and were easily adjustable to fit our overly large craniums. The leather ear cuffs and leather padded headband made for a comfortable wear. Each cup had its own input jack so depending on how you wanted to wear them, you can place the cord on either side.
Now to the most important part, the sound. Since the fit blocks most outside ambient noise much like a pair of noise cancelling headphones, what you hear from the HD8 DJ headphones is only the sound they are producing. Our first test was with an mp3 recorded at 320kbps and the clarity was amazing. The same was true with our digitally recorded cd that was up next. You could hear every string and every cord almost like being there.
Mixing with them live at an event took a few songs to get used to because of the richness of the sound, but that richness gave us a different dimension to use in our mixes. Being able to drop out parts of a song and still be able to hear the full sound of what was left for mixing is next to impossible with most DJ headphones that are tuned to give you a blaring bass beat. This was not the case with the HD8 DJ headphones. Using your music control surface you can drop the bass out still hear crisp mids and highs giving you the ability to lay down some wicked mixes.
For 65 years Sennheiser has always been known for their reference headphones and audio products that are used on stage and in recording studios worldwide. We can only think that history of German engineering has something to do with the technology that makes the HD8 DJ headphones sound so good.