JAR800 Super Saiyan Edition: Abracadabra

Discussion in 'Headphones' started by purr1n, Mar 24, 2024.

  1. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    What sort of sorcery is this?

    jar800ss.jpg

    Oh geez, this story goes back ages. The original HD800 was born about 15 years ago, and opinions were sharply divided. While its headstage was undeniably impressive (and still sets the standard today), some found its tonal presentation overly dry and bright! Interestingly, the HD800 inadvertently sparked a revival in interest for tube amplifiers, particularly the higher-end DHTs. It even inspired dedicated guides, such as this one: https://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/best-amps-for-hd800s-2023-edition.13859/

    A few years later (around 2010, if memory serves) at a gathering in a rather dismal industrial area of central LA, rumors began to circulate: Sennheiser was supposedly crafting something intriguing, akin to an HD650 version of the HD800.

    As with many rumors, this one proved false. Instead, Sennheiser unveiled the HD700, often dubbed as the abomination. Essentially, it took the least desirable qualities of the HD650 and HD800, made them slightly worse, and amalgamated them into a single headphone. You can delve into the details here: https://www.superbestaudiofriends.o...r-hd700-stories-review-and-measurements.9768/ and

    Last summer (or was it the summer prior?) at the Texas Audio Show (not to be confused with CanJam in Dallas, where we often endure exorbitant overpriced gear such as this), Jupiter Audio Research sent three modified HD800 variants. While I found one preferable over the others, I declined to review anyone of them. They weren't bad at akk; I appreciated the direction JAR was taking, but none quite warranted my attention. It was my subtle way of conveying: strive for improvement.

    Well, JAR certainly heeded the call. In true SBAF fashion of spreading the word, @CEE TEE sent them to me a few weeks back. They remained untouched in a box until he urged me to put them to the test.

    As for the versioning, the numbering system (V1, V2, V3, etc.) always confuses me. Given that three were already showcased at the summer event, this must be the fourth. Or perhaps there were a few other developmental iterations in between. Hence, I christen this iteration the JAR800 Super Saiyan Edition.

    Allow me to progress with the technical analysis of the JAR800 Super Saiyan Edition.
     
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    Last edited: Mar 24, 2024
  2. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    So, how would I characterize the sound?

    It resembles what I anticipated from the speculation over a decade ago about the next version of the HD800. It's akin to an HD800 infused with some of the warmth found in the HD650, particularly with a reduction in lower and mid-treble prominence. However, the midrange is more recessed compared to the HD650. In contrast to the JAR600 OG, the JAR800 Super Saiyan isn't as warm and doesn't have as recessed mids.

    In terms of upstream components, I'd likely choose differently for the JAR800 Super Saiyan compared to regular or modified HD800s. I'd prefer something less dampened, dark, or laid-back.

    While there are other mods that can produce a similar tonal outcome, what distinguishes the JA800 Super Saiyan is that it retains all the core qualities of the standard HD800. The transient response remains unchanged, as does the headstage. It even maintains a hint of the edge present in the original HD800, which the HD800S sought to minimize.

    Essentially, it's like having an HD800 OG without the brightness.

    Let's take a look at CSDs since I don't feel a frequency response graph would necessarily show things as clearly.

    JAR800 Super Saiyan CSD
    Note: CSD only goes down to 500Hz
    upload_2024-3-24_12-26-53.png

    HD800 OG Stock
    upload_2024-3-24_12-30-43.png
     
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  3. Lyander

    Lyander Official SBAF Equitable Empathizer

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    Would love a measurements shootout between this, an original, unmodified HD800, an HD800S, and a stock HD820 (I'm kidding please don't waste time with that last one). Burst response might be similar compared to stock on account of your impressions, but I'm actually more curious about distortion for this one.

    Subjectively, is the low end closer to the original's or slightly on the more indistinct side e.g. the HD800s? Alternatively is it any better than either for leaning into its punches or just overall responsiveness?

    Am I seeing it right that the area immediately behind the driver has a piece of glass(plastic?) to regulate excursion and airflow? Curious how in-cup reflections are gonna contribute to the overall sound vs the OG, maybe lossy foam coupler could shed some light there? Wish there were a way to visualise how rear-of-driver reflections contribute to sound, that'd be fun to look at for a lot of headphones IMO.
     
  4. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    In comparison to the JAR800 Super, the HD800S does indeed more widely blunt the 6kHz peak, although a trace of it remains, albeit possibly inconsequential for listeners. Personally, I find that the HD800S addresses this peak more than the JAR800 Super—perhaps even to an excessive degree. Coming from the HD650 series, which does possess a slight edge or hardness to balance its warmth in the lows and lower mids, this difference may be noticeable.

    Furthermore, I hadn't previously noticed, but there appears to be a ridge at 15kHz in the HD800S. I've often felt that the HD800S sounds more pronounced in the higher treble than the original HD800. I don't know if this would remain true to me today as I get older and high-frequency hearing diminishes.

    HD800S CSD
    Note: CSD only goes down to 500Hz

    upload_2024-3-24_12-45-58.png
     
  5. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    I believe this is based on the HD800 OG? The low end is predicated on them S vs OG. For readers who are not aware of the differences in the bass: https://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/hd800-and-hd800s-distortion-analysis.5670/

    Yes, thingy in back piece made of clear plastic. Assuming some sort of external resonator. There is an SDR type thing too along with a special material over the metal ring.

    The distortion characteristic is HD800 OG (not S). See below, measurements taken at different times (years apart) but maybe somewhat comparable. I marked the 1% THD and 0.33% THD with red lines.

    JAR800 Super
    upload_2024-3-24_13-10-49.png

    HD800 OG (modded)
    upload_2024-3-24_13-8-4.png

    HD800S
    upload_2024-3-24_13-9-55.png
     
  6. GanGreinke

    GanGreinke Friend

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    Can we get a Nitsch JAR800?
     
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  7. Huhnkopf

    Huhnkopf Friend

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    How would that even work? HD 800 OG is long gone from the shelves. Just get a used one and send to @ext1
     
  8. OakBloke

    OakBloke New

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    Excellent write-up, thanks purr1n. Based on this, which amps from the Best Amps for HD800S - 2023 Edition list would still make the cut for JAR800 Super? e.g. would MJ3 be too laid-back?
     
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  9. roshambo123

    roshambo123 Friend

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    JAR800 "SS" edition? Ach du lieber...

    #masterrace issues aside, the abrev of "Super" is yet another "S" after "800" which is probably not adding to clarity
     
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  10. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    I found many of those amps mentioned there too dark, too laid-back, or too warm!

    Many of those amps could still work with brighter or leaner tubes, or sources, or some tweaks.

    For example, with Mjolnir 3, the MIB DAC I would run in OS mode instead of OS, with the Burl B2 with less gain (leaner).

    On a side note: I thought I was going insane or possibly had my high frequency hearing shot because of age. However, after trading notes with @CEE TEE, this was most certainly not the case!

    It would be fair to say that the Super Saiyen JAR800 works with more neutral less organic sounding upstream components.
     
  11. Erroneous

    Erroneous Friend

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    Day 2 impressions, got damn these are great:

    It just removes all the rest of the grain from the 800, which I thought was inherent to the driver and I was okay with that. The 800 was already my daily driver and I thought V1.5 or whatever it was, was as good as the 800 could get which is why I was so hesitant to send mine in for revision.

    Jupiter convinced me finally and holy shit it's definitely better. Thanks to @gaspasser I was able to borrow a Utopia for comparison back when I had the older JAR800 and I had already decided that I didn't need a Utopia given the performance of my 800 at the time.

    There was a point in time that I was considering climbing down the other side of the mountain, similar to the thread about downsizing here. However, lowering the level of any of my gear would only make these headphones worse, and I already have the gear, so I'm not going down that path. These are too good to compromise.

    I still consider headphones inferior to speakers regardless, but if you ever find yourself needing to use headphones, my current take with as good as it's sounding these days is that if you can afford to do both, and do both well, then it's worth it.

    Ideally we'd all be speakers all the time, but ya know raising children and all can throw a monkey wrench in the works. And instead of asking myself what I can live with, I'm cool with letting myself have fun with the best shit I can find for my system.

    I haven't tried every headphone out there, but I have tried a lot and I can easily say that the JAR800V3 has squashed my thoughts about downgrading, because I know that I would not be doing these headphones justice. I'm currently feeding them top quality and they're giving it right back. I'm further improving my source soon as well.

    Sounds more expansive than Utopia, warm but never gooey, bass impactful and reaching low but no balance-breaking rumble, highs beautifully extend like the stock 800 but not sharp like the 800, sense of front and back sphere of sound. Basically exactly what I was hoping for.

    Bottom line, these are stupid-good and will likely best all comers.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2024
  12. songmic

    songmic Gear cycler East Asia edition

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    Today I tried 3 pairs of JAR800 V3 all tuned differently and 1 pair of JAR800S.

    Among the 3 pairs (S/N 5XXX, 9XXX, 4XXXX), I personally liked the 4XXXX best as it was the darkest sounding of the three. In fact, the 4XXXX JAR800 was the closest thing to the "HD650-sounding HD800" I've been searching for over a decade. The JAR800S is similarly smooth, but the JAR800 is airier. Interestingly, Jupiter said his personal favorite is 9xxx, which sounds closer to 600 than 650.

    Will return with a more thorough review later.
     
  13. gixxerwimp

    gixxerwimp Professional tricycle rider

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    Is this the Super Saiyen?
     
  14. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

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    I'm currently borrowing @gaspasser's JAR800 v2.2 and all that i can succinctly say without blabbering on with audiophool nonsense is that the JAR800 v2.2 is the most technically competent and emotionally engaging headphone I've heard. No, I haven't played much in the $2k+ range, but compared to Utopia, the JAR800 is easily a more realistic and engaging sound.
     
  15. Erroneous

    Erroneous Friend

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    If you you want to borrow V3 you're welcome to, just to compare for science.
     
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  16. takato14

    takato14 God of Ruin

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    Good job, everyone.

    He's back.
     
  17. Royaume

    Royaume Acquaintance

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    If you have the JAR800, could you please listen to this anime OST track at your normal listening volume (losslessly if possible) and share which parts sound unpleasant, if any? It has always been the torture test for me while modding my own HD800.

    As of today, I can listen to the entire track without feeling the need to pull the volume down until the truly offensive ringing after 1:30. And even then, it's not a huge problem. The rest of the track is fine. Previously this would have been pure agony, from start to finish. In my modding, I aimed to improve technicalities, though, when presented with a way to improve FR, I did. Just removing crappy cosmetic parts got me 80% of the way though.\

    I think that a listening test of this track could be a useful way of triangulating the respective FR of various headphones for sibilant characteristics, but just tell me if this is not helpful.
     

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