When comparing AKG K81 DJ vs Sennheiser HD 800S, the Slant community recommends Sennheiser HD 800S for most people. In the question“What are the best headphones?” Sennheiser HD 800S is ranked 6th while AKG K81 DJ is ranked 74th. The most important reason people chose Sennheiser HD 800S is:
The highs are very clear and revealing, so you will be able to hear even the minute details from the audio that you simply will not be able to pick up with lesser headphones. The mids are also clear and have nice warmth. They are slightly recessed, yet voices and mid range tones will come out full, so the sound is not lean in any way. The bass is not boomy but still has enough power for a satisfying thump. Also, due to the bass' tightness and speed, there is no bloat from the lower frequencies.
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Pro Full bass with adequate levels of mids and highs
Despite the compact size. the bass is full, has great impact, deep extension yet is not loose. The low end also has a natural quality to it that makes these headphones great for music that is performed using real instruments.
The mids are slightly recessed, but also have a natural tone. The highs are the most recessed or rolled-off, but the detail and airiness of the music is not totally absent. This quality helps give the sound a smooth and pleasing tonality.
Pro Ear cups can swivel facing outwards
The K81 can be used “DJ style”, wherein only one ear cup is in contact with the head. The cups have a smooth swivel action so they can be rotated to face outwards. A user can choose to hold one ear cup up to his or her ear while flipping switches or turning knobs on the mix board with the other hand.
Pro Easy to travel with
While these are already quite compact, the ear cups can be folded into the headband to reduce their size even further. This makes them easy to stuff inside a bag and travel with.
Pro Comfortable to wear even with extended use
The clamping force is not too much at all, so acceptable levels of pressure will be applied on the ears. Also, the ear pads are thick with ample pleather padding on the surface. This combination provides adequate cushioning between the ear cups and sides of the head.
Pro Can fit a wide range of head sizes
The aluminum headband itself has some good flex. Combined with the sliding mechanism of the ear cups, K81 can be adjusted to fit a wide range of head sizes. Also notable are the numbered steps on each side of the headband, which allow for accurate and consistent ear cup positioning.
Pro Feels high quality
Although it's mostly made of plastic, the materials don't feel cheap at all. Aside from feeling sturdy, the plastics have a smooth rubber coating which makes them feel premium to the touch. Also, the headband is made out of aluminum which is significantly more durable than an all plastic one.
Pro Extremely detailed highs, warm and clear mids with tight and accurate bass
The highs are very clear and revealing, so you will be able to hear even the minute details from the audio that you simply will not be able to pick up with lesser headphones.
The mids are also clear and have nice warmth. They are slightly recessed, yet voices and mid range tones will come out full, so the sound is not lean in any way.
The bass is not boomy but still has enough power for a satisfying thump. Also, due to the bass' tightness and speed, there is no bloat from the lower frequencies.
Pro Highly detailed sound with one of the widest soundstages
These headphones sound very immersive. Aside from the highly detailed sound and powerful yet tight bass, the soundstage is very wide, which only a few headphones can match , if any at all.
Pro Relatively lightweight
Despite the massive size of the headphones, Sennheiser was able to keep the weight down by using a special material called Leona, which is very light yet has metal-like toughness.
Pro Very wide sound stage
The HD 800S has one of the widest sound stages of any headphone today. There is excellent separation and you can easily identify where various sounds are coming from and can be very immersive.
Pro Solid build quality
These headphones do not make unnecessary creaks or flex when moved or held. Aside from the use of Leona on the ear cups and headband, the size adjuster is made of lightweight metal, with fine yet durable stainless steel mesh covering the drivers.
Pro Comes with two high quality cables
Out of the box, you get a balanced XLR cable and an unbalanced TRS cable. If you have a balanced headphone amp, then the XLR cable will allow you to maximize your amp's performance with these headphones without the need to buy a different (and expensive) cable.
Pro Really comfortable to wear
The ear pads feature high quality memory foam as cushions with the surface being premium quality velours. This material combo is also used on the headband. They feel really soft and conform to the contours of your head. Due to the fabric material, some air can move through the pads, minimizing heat and sweatiness.
Con On-ear design can still be uncomfortable
While the ear pads are thick and give a lot of cushioning, some may still find this to be uncomfortable. Being on-ear, some pressure is applied onto the ears.Those who are sensitive to this may still feel some discomfort, especially when worn for several hours straight.
Con Highs may sound too recessed
People who prefer their music with sparkly highs and utmost clarity likely won't find these headphones to be a good listen.
Con Lengthy cable can be a hassle
The cable is 2.5m which is fairly long. Since it is not detachable and the cable tends to tangle quite easily, it may cause some problems with regular home use or when taking these headphones on the go.
Con A decent amp is needed to power these properly
These headphones are quite power hungry and will not produce optimal sound or volume when plugged directly to your phone or laptop. You will need to invest in a separate, fairly powerful amp to get the best sound out of these.
Con Leaks a lot of sound
Only a very fine mesh piece covers the large headphone drivers from the outside. These are basically mini speakers so others can easily hear what you are listening to.
Con Can be picky with DACs/amps
Your choice of amp and DAC can have a noticeable effect on the sound of the HD 800S. You may need to do extra research as to which audio equipment can bring out the best sound from these.