JAR800 and JAR800S impressions thread

Discussion in 'Headphones' started by Erroneous, Jul 20, 2022.

  1. M3NTAL

    M3NTAL Friend

    Sep 27, 2015
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    My apologies for misunderstanding - Thank you for clarifying. I'll make an edit to my previous post.
  2. ChaChaRealSmooth

    ChaChaRealSmooth 2000% biased Planar Hater

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    Dec 6, 2018
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    JAR800 and JAR800S Impressions


    If it isn't clear by me saying that I love my JAR600 OG, I'm a big fan of @ext1's work. We really need more people like him in the audio industry and it would be such a shame to lose him. The trend of me being a fan extends to the JAR800 and JAR800S; both these headphones turn what I consider an intolerable listening expression into something that I'd actually seriously consider buying if I didn't already own an OG Utopia.

    The mod itself is pretty ingenius; it involves retorquing screws that hold the driver down to allow for more driver excursion, and other physical mods. This is a different approach to modding the HD800 than the rug liner and SDR mods of the past; in a way, both the SDR and the rug liner mod take a bit away from the strengths of the HD800. @ext1 wanted to preserve the strengths of the HD800 while presenting a different tuning, and largely I believe the mod succeeds in doing so. In strictly an acoustic point of view, this means the mod is not transformative in the sense that it still largely sounds like a HD800, however it can be considered evolutionary in the sense that it retains all the strengths of the HD800 in the original housing without sounding like a face tweeter. In the end, it's a win.

    JAR800 Sonics

    This might be the biggest "duh" statement of the year, but the HD800 isn't exactly new and its strengths/weaknesses have been harped on for ages. So I'll briefly just list and describe what the JAR800 preserves from the HD800:
    • Stage: stage is large and very wide. A touch nebulous and indistinct as far as images go.
    • Resolve: Very very resolving, especially in the treble region. Might be close to or as good as the Utopia in the treble and a definitely step behind it in the midrange and bass, but very good. In the same ballpark as OG Auteur and Auteur Classic, both which I consider excel here as well. HD800/JAR800 weirdly is both macrodetailed and resolving.
    • Transients: The OG HD800 actually was fairly snappy in transients if you could get past the awful FR. JAR800 is similarly lively; there might be the slightest touch of overshoot on the treble side of things, but to be honest I have no idea if the HD800 just exhibits this behavior as well since I could never tolerate that headphone long enough to care to listen for those things.
    Where the JAR800 really shines is minimizing many of the horrendous negatives of the HD800. Gone is the massive treble peak at 5.5-6k. Gone is the accusation of "bass-lite." Largely, those things are mostly fixed with a few caveats.

    The treble peak is indeed fixed, but what I don't think is quite possible to fix is the bit of resonance the HD800 cups have in that region. There's a bit of a ring in the treble which didn't bother me, but is definitely present (if I listen for it I can hear it). Thus, the treble isn't quite as refined as something like the Utopia.

    Bass levels and extension have also been brought up here, but while I'd have to see measurements, I think distortion has also correspondingly been increased in levels relative to the new FR. Basically, just think that the JAR mod turns the volume knob up on the bass; means you get more bass but also more distortion. THAT being said, the bass performance is quite good; in terms of qualities that make good bass (pitch differentiation, textures, etc), I would say that the JAR800 is roughly within the same ballpark something like the Aeolus, although the manner of presentation is different between the two headphones.

    If none of the above made sense, basically @ext1 took the HD800 and slapped on a FR that's actually not far off from the OG Utopia, maybe a touch warmer but with a bit of treble ring, and kept the strengths of the HD800. Very good headphone and I have to give him a lot of credit; if I didn't already own an OG Utopia the JAR800 would be something I would buy immediately.

    JAR800S Sonics

    So I'm going to be honest here and say that I've actually NEVER HEARD the HD800S simply because I just didn't care to even try it. So I'm going to compare it directly to its JAR sibling instead.

    Those who think the stock, OG Utopia was too bright for them should try the JAR800S. It's tuned to be more downsloping and warm. From my understand though, the HD800S drivers are fundamentally a bit different and the sound has a few things that the JAR800 did not have:
    1. Ther's a bit of congestion in the mids. Only really noticeable in direct comparison, but noteworthy.
    2. The bass, while there's more of it, sounds like there's more 2nd order distortion. I'm betting this is the driver; I know Sennheiser made a change with the 800S to put H2 harmonics in the bass in order to "warm up the sound a little" and to be frank this is a step back.
    It is worth noting that the other strengths the JAR800 has, the JAR800S also has.

    I think that the JAR800S overall will be more pleasing to more ears on SBAF because it is a bit warmer than the JAR800. For me though, I definitely preferred the JAR800 over the JAR800S.


    @ext1 hit 2 home runs consecutively and there's no denying that. These are absolutely worth a listen; if you've heard a bunch of the "latest and greatest" TOTL stuff and haven't been impressed, give the old HD800/800S with the JAR treatment a try.

    Edit for P.S.: I very rarely am impressed enough nowadays with gear to forget I should be critically listening. The JAR800 accomplished that for me.
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    Last edited: Feb 23, 2023
  3. Walderstorn

    Walderstorn Friend

    Mar 20, 2016
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    Thanks for the reading @ChaChaRealSmooth. I dont know about his mod but in my efforts to mod the hd800 i also got a bit of ringing but only in some mods. What helped me in some situation was to have a few stripes of a mesh material that @Tomislav_L provided me with his V3, in a part of the cups. Since they were just a few stripes and its porous it ended up not changing the signature and taming that ressonance.

    Maybe someone, more knowledgeable, can find a better solution.

    If @ext1 ever send one these ways i will try a similar solution and see how it goes.

    Appreciate your time.
  4. foo_me

    foo_me Friend

    Sep 28, 2015
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    San Jose, CA
    Just to want to add some listening impressions from the loaner and what stood out to me.
    First of all, very thankful for SBAF and @ext1 for this opportunity to hear these. I've been a longtime fan of the HD800 and having tried the other flavors (HD800, HD8XX, HD800S), this was the first time I significantly liked a version better than the hd800SDR.

    Regarding the HD800SDR, I've always loved the headspace it creates. I like being in the middle of a theater, not too close and not too far. Resolution, imaging and details are great - I can hear instruments and vocals distinctly without feeling too close or too distant to it..and it's why I've always keep coming back to it.

    When I hear the JAR800, you immediately notice that they're close but distinctly different as well. HD800SDR was I would best describe as slightly smeared. Instruments and vocals are just more clear and sharper on the JAR800. The boundaries between notes are clear but still harmonious when you listen to them. Again, this is something you notice only when listening side by side but once you hear it, you remember it. One song I like to listen to, 500 Hundred Miles from Inside LLewyn Davis soundtrack, has 3 singers and it's sometimes very hard to hear the voices distinctly, especially with the 2 male vocals. It sometimes sounds like 1 voice. With the JAR800, it's nice to hear them clearly different and each voice when they sing together and when it's only one. It's really very nice to hear.

    The JAR also seems to be more balanced than the other variations. For the HD8xx and HD800S, as you increase volume, music felt odd, but when you increase the JAR800, the balance sound is maintained and seems to scale very well. You can listen to music louder and louder and it's still the same sound and is balanced very well which I didn't feel held up with the others.

    I spent most of my time on JAR800 and not JAR800s. I thought the JAR800S headspace was more closed in and not as airy but sounds were thicker and had more weight. Not necessarily what I liked so didn't spend much time with it afterwards.

    I very much enjoyed these headphone and will get one in the future.

    Setup: Gungnir Multibit A2 -> EC Studio 4x45 dev amp
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2023
  5. caute

    caute Friend

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    Jul 12, 2022
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    The Deep South
    JAR800v1, v2 and JAR800S impressions

    Quick and dirty, imo and ims:

    JAR600B - 8.6 (yes, they have grown on me)
    JAR800v1 - 7.7
    JAR800S - 8.1
    JAR800v2 - 8.3

    For comparison:

    LCD-X - 7.3

    Chain: Pi2>Gungnir Multibit A1>SW51+ & Piety>JAR800v1, JAR800S, JAR800v2 (& JAR600B for comparison)

    These are all outstanding headphones. Enuff said. But let's get into the details.


    It’s been over 7 years since I owned the 800SDR, so I am not gonna try to compare these special hp to those, just compare each against each other. However, from what I do remember, which is scanty, these sound nothing like a stock 800 or an 8000SDR…

    The treble isn’t annoying on the v1. It’s spacious, open, resolving, the bass hits harder than I remember the 800SDR ever hitting, and also closer together than I remember the SDR being (which is a good thing! the unnatural soundstage was a turn off for me).

    • timbre is better on JAR600s
    • very quick transients
    • a kind of hollowness in the midrange (as opposed to what ChaCha said, I think there’s more of a mid suckout on the v1 than the S)


    *didn’t get much time with these since the headband is broken and would keep coming off while listening*
    • warmer tilt, for sure
    • denser than v1
    • thicker than v1
    • closer-in, perhaps closer-in than the 800v2
    • best JAR for pop music?
    • v out of your head, had some moments where I thought someone was at my door w these

    • row 10, if 600B is row 3
    • enveloping sound
    • transients as quick as v1
    • closer-in headspace (better than v1)
    • vocals better, more forward, a touch more forward than 600B perhaps even
    • actually slams (out of Piety)
    • more direct
    • it presents a phantom center image really well
    • timbre better than v1
    • less bright than v1
    • more cohesive than any JAR800
    • midrange gets really good with v2
    • layering is something else—separation is about as good as it gets
    • front-back layering
    • emotionally connective
    • imaging is actually really good, distinct images form out of black space
    • bass shakes hp, driver excursion is nuts on these
    • slight haze on v1 is completely gone
    • bassiest of all 3 JARs, seriously—it's ear-rattling

    listening to JAR600B out SW51+ and JAR800v2 out of Piety at the same time from the two Gungnir SE outs, and I truly can’t tell which one I like better, they trade blows on different tracks and genres…


    In the end, it’s still an 800, even the v2. If you like 800s, you will fucking love the 800v2, it’s just that good. If you don’t like 800s at all, you might, just might like the v2s, but the v1s? Probably not, and good thing bc they’re being deprecated.

    Would I recommend any of the JAR800 family?

    Absolutely! Esp. if you have a really resolving system. They made me actually like the 800s, which is a feat in and of itself. Just like JAR somehow made me like the 660S, he did it again with the 800s, only the 800v2 is infinitely better than the JAR660S.

    Will I be on the waitlist to buy one, however? Probably not. I just love my 600B that much. In my mind, they are the perfect headphone. I will however, roll a bunch of BS600s to find a unicorn to match Erro’s pair, and send them off to Jupiter to get the perfect 600B, that’s how much I love that hp, so keep that in mind with these impressions.
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2023
  6. ColtMrFire

    ColtMrFire Writes better fan fics than you

    Jun 16, 2016
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    Austin, TX
    I'll be brief, as I didn't like what I heard and don't have the enthusiasm to say much...

    Using Jot 2/BF 2

    I'm not sure how a headphone can have a large stage but somehow still sound claustrophobic.

    The headphone did not come with the dustcovers and I don't like any iteration of the 800 (of which I've owned several) without the dustcovers (which I think only exacerbated the problems), as I think the headphone was designed to work with them. I'm not sure why the loaner did not include them.

    While the images are projected outward, each note sounded like it was trapped in a cardboard box or something. I don't have any good way of elaborating on this, so I won't bother trying to Sherlock Holmes my way into understanding what the hell happened. I switched back to the HD580 pretty quickly, and it felt like a breath of fresh air, literally... there was air, space, resonance that just seemed missing on the loaner.

    Needless to say I couldn't enjoy music with them. I appreciate the loaner, but it's one of the worst, most offensive headphones I've ever heard.
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  7. Erroneous

    Erroneous Friend

    May 15, 2016
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    Jot2 and BF2 may not be the best match for an 800 but I get it. You heard the JAR800 from my stack, right? Was it the same?
  8. ColtMrFire

    ColtMrFire Writes better fan fics than you

    Jun 16, 2016
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    Austin, TX
    I don't remember. It's not the amp or DAC though. I owned the 800 with the Jot 1 years ago and it was fine, not ideal but worlds better than whatever this is, which is just fundamentally not my thing.

    I don't really care to figure it out, I'm recovering from a stomach bug (which happened after I did all my listening btw) and don't have the mental energy or patience to unpack any of this. Loaner appreciated though.
  9. dubharmonic

    dubharmonic Friend

    Mar 30, 2017
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    Evanston, IL
    @ext1 is a genius! This is a very, very impressive headphone. It does that magical thing that causes the listener to forget about the headphone and focus entirely what’s playing. It's hard to review because it keeps pulling my attention to the music. Thank you @Inoculator for making this possible!

    Chain: Pi2AES to Holo Audio Spring 2 KTE to Woo Audio WA33 / Feliks Euforia / McIntosh MHA150

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Listening notes
    • Tubes gave far better results than solid state
    • An extremely engaging orchestral experience
    • Bass drums go so much deeper than expected
    • Natural timbre, close to HD600
    • Absolutely no sign of any treble peaks!
    • Staging has none of the overly wide / diffuse issues
    • Overall best, most satisfying treble I have ever heard
    • Makes my stock HD800S sound flat and congested
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  10. ThyDanMan99

    ThyDanMan99 Rando

    Sep 13, 2020
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    Thank you @ext1 for making this beautiful to look at and beautiful to listen to headphone. And thank you @Inoculator for helping set this up!

    I listened to these for 4 hours straight when I first got them and looked forward to listening to them every single night while I had them. Most headphones don't do that for me anymore.

    My chain was the Schitt Eitr to Modded Modi Multibit to SW51 (with rolled tubes) / Piety.

    These headphones make me want to sell my favorite headphone the ESX900 which I've been holding onto for a very long time. They make my ESX900 sound cramped and unexciting (aside from the deep bass of the ESX900). I agree that these sound better on tubes vs. solid state. They still sounded good on the Piety, but I liked the more open sound of the SW51. Every category of these headphones was near perfect. Orchestral music was amazing. Listening to Caravan from Whiplash was an awesome experience that had me feeling like it was the first time I listened to it. The fatigue was non-existent. The staging was perfect. Not too big not too small. Everything about this headphone was just right for me. It is my favorite JAR headphone with the JAR660S being a close second. A goldilocks headphone if you will. Extremely satisfying and highly recommend to pretty much anyone and everyone.

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