You have to hand it to Dekoni: taking on an absolute classic headphone and tinkering with what many consider to be as close to perfection as you’ll get from a headphone is brave at best, reckless at worst. Fail and not only do you lose a sizeable investment in expensive materials, but your reputation among the Elite – excuse the pun – takes a solid hit.
On the whole, I think Dekoni have pulled it off very smartly indeed. They didn’t pretend to make a ‘better original’, rather going the route of ‘different original’. They put their cards on the table, clearly identifying the issues they wanted their pads to solve, and backing themselves with measurements that show where the differences – beneficial or otherwise – sit on the charts.
For someone like myself, who took a long time to fall in love with the HD800 but when I finally did, fell in love with it wholeheartedly, changing anything about this headphone was never going to be something I did without much trepidation. It took weeks of reading and convincing myself that a ‘serious’ mod like SDR was even fathomable (it turned out to be so easy and also so easily reversible as to seem rather insignificant after the fact), that a pad change was an order of magnitude more intrusive.
Do I recommend them? Absolutely. There should be at least one of the set that most people will either find more comfortable, better looking or better sounding than the original pads. Whether or not I go back to using a pair of Dekoni Elite pads with my own HD800 remains to be seen. SDR aside, for now there’s just something about this headphone I never, ever want to change, and probably never will.
THE HEADONIST VERDICT
Dekoni clearly did their homework with this set of pads. Even though removing the pads can induce a sudden bout of nausea, once you’ve done it successfully – by actually trusting the instructions – it’s all smooth sailing. Installation wobbles aside, the fact that Dekoni has created a set of pads that are not only better made than the originals but also use more expensive materials without actually being more expensive makes them good value and well worth a try even if, like me, you’re married to the original look and feel of the HD800.