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ortofon's best rock'n roll earphone to date

A Review On: Ortofon e-Q8 in-ear earphones

Ortofon e-Q8 in-ear earphones

Rated # 184 in Universal Fit
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Review Details:
Audio Quality
Purchased on:
Price paid: $398.00
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Pros: great fit, good isolation, aggressive, but not fatiguing sound

Cons: bass detail and impact are lower than mid details and impact

I picked up these earphones a few weeks ago from Musica Acoustics. I'm a fan of ortofon's earlier earphones, though more a fan of the e-Q5 than the e-Q7. The e-Q8 provides a more nuanced listen than the e-Q7, mainly in that it is more forward, more bitey. It is quite a bit more aggressive than the e-Q5, but not fatiguing from too much high emphasis. What it does possibly overdue is upper mids. I think some people will find it a bit too much. With the right genres: folk, rock, small ensemble vocal, traditional, it is phenomenal. Not a fan of it with trance or classical.


I recently did a full review of it at Ω image. The below text is lifted straight from the review. Pictures, more on fit and finish, and my conclusion are all there. Sound is detailed below:



Its been said that these are forward-sounding earphones. They are. Quite. Not etchy-sketchy ear-peelingly abrasive, just forward. These phones love guitars, upper percussion, and post-punk vocals. I’m sipping a cafe latte and listening to Bloc Party. The e-Q8 tells me the latte is much too smooth. 

It is.

The e-Q8 reveals excellent texture in the upper mids but doesn’t overly hone in on anything higher. Cymbals are super duper clean and fast. Bass is lean, quick, and relatively detailed. Lower mids lead perfectly into the upper mids. The e-Q8 lacks the delicate layering of Dita’s earphones, and the massive bass detail of the Shure SE846. But the quality of its transitions are second to none. What I loved about the e-Q5 was its layered, well-rounded bass and its negligible influence on lower mids. The transition from mids to bass via the e-Q8 is even cleaner, but with the single caveat that bass volume is quite a bit less. 

The sound stage extends well out from the ear to about twenty centimetres in front of the eyes. Width trumps layers; the effect is like a wall of sound coming straight at your ears. Picking out details on that wall is easy, but like a wall, details are etched on the same vertical plane. The net effect is precise, forward, and wide.

Bass is tidy, but not heaps nuanced. Edgy and aggressive, this phone is really well tuned for rock. While it boasts enough speed, its forward upper midrange sort of precludes its being awesome for trance. It’s just a bit too hot. Classical, where organic, textured bass really defines the tone of the music, I’d rather use the e-Q5.

I would take the e-Q8 it in a heartbeat over the e-Q7 except for trance. Its a far better Nick Cave phone, a far better Bloc Party phone. It also delivers an angstierDepressed Depeche Mode. If your music tastes roam far and wide and you enjoy a hot upper midrange, I think you’ll dig it. If you are more in it for a traditional listen, the e-Q5 might be for you. You can't go wrong with either one.

Loads of great commentary is flashing in James444's excellent e-Q8 thread here.


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