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A well built IEM with a unique sound signature, powerful and punchy. FUN!

A Review On: Sennheiser IE 8 In-Ear Headphones

Sennheiser IE 8 In-Ear Headphones

Rated # 1 in Universal Fit
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Review Details:
Audio Quality
Comfort
Design
Isolation
Value
morethansense
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Pros: Feels solidly built, stock cable is decent. Detachable cable. Will fit into any decently normal ear. Bass knob.

Cons: No moulding wire. Stock ear-tips provide poor fit. Bass knob doesn't go to negative.

 

 
This review is written by a regular live FOH engineer who's most similar price-range in-ears are Shure SE425's.
 
I purchased this pair (IE8) of in-ears because they were only AUD$160 from a local eBay seller, brand new w/warranty and I was interested in other sound signatures for listening to recordings. And at the time of writing this review, I have owned them for at least two months with approx 200hrs of listening time on top of burn-in.
 
I listen to a lot of live recordings and performances, female vocalists, acoustic and rock. 
I also listen to some jazz and classical, but as I am not learned in these areas I will refrain from commenting in that manner.
 
To the actual product:
 
Build Quality - 8/10
Thick and malleable strain reliefs punctuate the very decent smooth dark grey cable. All cables are actually joined via tiny PCB, from 3.5mm stereo jack to cable to Y connector to each of the earpiece connectors.
Cable is also replaceable with a skilful pluck.
Driver housing is a hard, smooth slightly metallic/glittery black plastic. Ear tip sleeve tube doesn't seem small and easily breakable.
Oh yeah, comes with a bass knob that kinda does(n't) work.
 
Comfort, Fit, Isolation - 6.5/10
Combined them because they are all closely related. 
Probably being a little harsh here, but it pretty much sucks. Seems a pity to produce a great in-earphone and a very large range of earpieces, and having them all completely miserable.  But keep in mind this comes from a person that LOVES his Shures. Isolation is a good 10dB less than my Shures, which I'm pretty much deaf to outside noise less than 95dBA in.
The foam eartips are harder than three week old crusty bread. No cushiony softness like Shure's and there's no inner rubber sleeve for rigidity either. The silicon rubber eartips are open enough and provide a semi-decent seal which turns out to be better than the foams for the IE8's to not be so bass dominant. But means the fit is a little loose, means not a jogging pair in the mean time.
Tried Audio-Technica rubber silicone eartips, hole is a little too closed, masking some of the highs.
Heard bad stories about Complys for Sennheisers, looking for alternatives. 
No moulding wire is a big sad face for me, also increases microphonics from non-existent to a recognisable level. IE8's come with detachable ear hooks, but they don't support jack all.
 
 
Sound, sound, sound - 8.5/10
These are probably a love/hate earphone.
They are definitely not well balanced or flat, but still hold an amazing clarity for >95% of my music.
They have great instrument seperation when I use them live, a sign of great fidelity.
Compared to the SE425's, they possess a greater quantity of bass, but even my SE215's have greater extension (though my 215's actually have incredible extension because of it's dynamic driver, both have the same type of driver, it's a decent comparison).
All that meaning to say, the bass hump is no lower than 100Hz, with a definite enunciation around the 160Hz. Many V-"audio"philes will be annoyed by this and won't be able to get their ears around this new found range that's really the hot ass of the body with the power that shows off the power of some female vocal recordings.
I may just be too used to the silky smooth Shure mids. Even my 215's are freakin' amazing.
Soundstage is pretty average, decent spacing, not enough distancing. Totally contrary to what other people say, I believe, who claim that the IE8's is really way up there. I don't know what kind of studios/halls/theatres/venues you work with, but it sounds more cinema than amphitheatre to me.
Vocals are warm with the relative mid-bass to mids ratio, Highs are sparkly, cymbals a little distant, not harsh enough for my liking. 
Yes, that's right, not harsh enough, there's no rawr to that rock crash. Too much *****, not enough lion. That dip around 6.3-7KHz reduces harshness too much for me, but beyond that there's plenty to a good 17KHz at least.
 
Reduces the transparency of recordings to me, sounds a little artificial, but helps lessen the pain of bad recordings. =P 
Okay, so maybe I'll say something about the forbidden genres, these do GREAT with classical.
That warmth and sparkle is really something. Just not for me. The IE8's take second fiddle for me in this price range.
Still a Shure fanboy after this.
 

 

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