Sennheiser have been at the top of the heap when it comes to DJ headphones for over 25 years. Their HD25s have won many awards as well as the coveted Best Headphone Award in our DJ Mag Tech Awards on more than one occasion. Such is the love for these headphones that they are part of DJ culture and legend. Not bad for a piece of DJ kit that was originally intended as headphones of choice for field sound engineers because of the balanced, accurate sound reproduction and no frills, get-the-job-done approach.
The HD25s had attitude, as these little headphones could handle the demands of loud DJ and club environments as well as take a jolly good beating dished up with the perils of life on the road. The fact that the user could easily swap and change the parts if they broke was another advantage and selling point for these trusty headphones.
25 years at the top of your game is no mean feat, so Sennheiser have taken a completely new direction when it comes to their new generation of DJ headphones, building and borrowing from the heritage of their original phones but adding something extra to the mix.
We welcome the HD8 DJ professional DJ headphones made especially for professional DJs, which are also part of the new HD range that features the HD7 DJ and HD6 Mix variants. The HD7s, whilst aimed at the DJ market are also being targeted at consumers and anyone wanting all-round headphones for commuting as well as DJ functions, while the HD6s have been designed for studio use and feature a totally different soundscape that is ideal for producers.
ATTENTION TO DETAIL
On opening the rather cool packaging of the HD8s one is greeted by a rather impressive protective hard carry case with the Sennheiser logo embossed on the top. This had DJ Mag yelping a cry of wow before we had even checked out the actual headphones.
Once unzipped we had another wow moment as we spied the HD8s neatly tucked away into their own compartment. Above this is a slot for the coiled Kevlar coated 3m DJ cable. Sennheiser also provide a straight 3m cable as an alternative, and there is also a space for the softer velvet feel ear cups. Just on the packaging alone, the HD8 DJs score very highly.
Once in the hand it is clear to see that the HD8s are robust and have a sturdy build. Made from ‘durable and high quality materials’ these headphones look good and feel great. Whilst feeling sturdy in the hand they are also quite light, which is an added bonus especially for those looking to wear them for a long time during a mammoth DJ set.
The two earcups have a swivel and twist action that means the headphones when not in use fold up into a compact and neat form. The twist action also means that the phones can be adjusted to suit how a DJ would like to wear them, in regards to their personal comfort and mixing style. One little detail to note is the click action of the twist mechanism, that further cements the attention to detail and quality in these phones.
In use the phones sit snugly on top of the head and even offer a form of noise-cancelling, as the cups immerse the whole of the ear and shut out any unwanted sound. This is great for sound to noise isolation and means that the phones do a great job of delivering undisturbed audio from the mixer to the ear.
The headband is fully adjustable to fit even the biggest heads, and we all know some DJs have got very big heads indeed.
The sound from the HD8s is impressive — in fact, amazing. Detailed, very well-balanced, very loud but not to the point that distorts. Of course DJs are not advised to listen to music at extremely high levels as it will damage their ears.
Whilst being very loud is a good thing in busy DJ environments, it can also be a health hazard, so beware. The bass is deep and tight, very tight, mids defined and tops are crisp without being brittle. It’s almost like having a perfectly-balanced soundsystem in your head.
The HD8 DJs are a new generation of DJ headphones that aim to deliver high definition sound to the user. In this new world of Hi Def Audio the ability to have headphones that not only look good but score high in what they set out to do is a good thing. Sennheiser have taken all the good bits from the HD25s and improved upon them on DJ headphones that are fit for professional DJs.