Noise is the worst threat to music. Therefore, noise reduction is a useful trait in headphones.
Although the headphones sit on your ears, they still let the noise in, which can ruin the music experience. Often you end up turning up the volume further and the result may be distorted music and at worst reduced hearing.
Briefly noise reduction works by making an active noise barrier. This is done by a small microphone on the outside that constantly picks up sound from the environment, and then this signal is in anti-phase mixed with the music signal. And what is the result? An almost noise-free listening environment!
These two headphones from Sennheiser both have active noise barrier. A small amplifier circuit, driven by a 1.5 V AAA battery, but unlike many other headphones with active noise dampening, you can continue to listen, even if the battery is empty. Something that takes nearly 40 hours for both headphones! Each comes with a detachable cord, one for 3.5 and one for 6.3 mm jack adapter and a carrying case.
How Is The Comfort?
Both headphones are of the so-called closed type, which means that the membrane is enclosed in a sealed can and there is no sound leaking from the back of the headset. Sennheiser HD 700 is slightly larger than the HD 800 and is $500 cheaper. But none of them are so large that they cover the ear totally, but they are however friendly to wear. You can fold them up and put them in the carrying case that also has room for an iPod. The lighter HD 800 headphones fit securely on your ears and the wearing comfort is good. The same can be said about the heavier HD 700 headphones.
Sound Quality: Any Difference Between The HD 800 And HD 700?
Despite the fact that the headphones are relatively similar and cost about the same, performance is very different. They have an equal 40 mm membrane driven by a neodymium, but Sennheiser HD 700 headphones have a slightly larger acoustic chamber for the membrane. It can be felt in the more natural sound, which is much richer in sound and have a significant more potent bass. At the same time, they play with greater openness and vocals are more forward in the soundstage. Instruments such as guitars and pianos sound better and the sound is airier. The noise dampening is a little more efficient in these, and when one pause the music you only hear a slight electronic noise in the background.
The electronic background noise from the Sennheiser HD 800 headphones noise barrier is more audible and higher in frequency. This is why you notice it more on these headphones. The HD 800 lacks the same clout in the bass and I am tempted to say devoid of sophistication. Although I used them for more than 30 hours before the test, the soundstage never really opened up. They sound simply closed and lack much of the tone colors that make HD 700 headphones interesting to listen to. Yet they play consistently and pleasantly but never engagingly like Sennheiser HD 700.
Try the Sennheiser HD 800 and if you like what you hear, then it is just to pick that one. But my opinion is that they are not worth the cost. Of course you can’t expect the same quality of sound from headphones with noise reduction as those without for the same price, but HD 700 headphones shows that it is perfectly possible to combine sound quality with good noise reduction. At even a lower price. Of the two headphones the Sennheiser HD 700 is also best suited for MP3 players, because they have much better sensitivity. Now you know my opinion so go try them out.