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Sennheiser IE80

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Rated #9 in In-Ear

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Posted

Pros: Amazing Sound Quality, Tunable Bass, Replaceable Cables, Great Micro-phonics, Excellent build quality, Looks, Value for Money, 2 Year Guarantee

Cons: The housing is a bit huge. If you seek isolation, the stock tips will not cut it for you.

Anyone aspiring to be an audiophile would have heard the name of these IEMs, they are one of the very best around and only a few are in the same league as this one.
The IE80 was released a few years ago, following the IE8 which was for a long time, the best that Sennheiser had to offer in this regard. Lets cut the introduction short.

This review is not an Audiophile perspective. Its just my experience after one years usage. While it may not give you side by side comparisons with rival products, it will give you an idea of what the IE80 truly is.


Short version of review:
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If I had to tell you about the IE80 in one line, then I would say, you will not be disappointed by these IEMs no matter what. Sound quality and build quality are top notch. Bass and mids are fixed from the IE8, which was the main complaint of certain users. Sound stage is excellent. Metallic finish is awesome. No complaints in any department. It retails at an MSRP of INR 29,990. But I got this from my dealer for around 19k, though I was seriously willing to pay an extra 5-6k just for getting it on time. My dealer convinced me to wait and it took a couple of weeks which was kind of a letdown. So do some research depending on your priorities for the money before you pull the trigger.
http://shop.sennheiserindia.com/ie-80.html 

 

 

Long version of review:
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Ear tips:
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The IE80 comes with several ear tips, 8 rubber and 2 foam pairs to be precise. Of those three pairs are double flange tips, which are great in the gym and other activities which involve movement and external noise. The foam tips are softer than what you get from most third party sellers, but they also reproduce the sound much more true to the fidelity of the recording itself. Individual preferences may vary though. There is no medium size foam tip, usually small, medium and large are the three standard sizes which are offered. But the small one is somewhat larger than the small rubber tips, so it fits me fine. The large one is the right size though. The foam tips are good for home use, where you won't be sweating and you can clean your ears before usage. The rubber ones are awesome. The dual flange tips give great isolation, albeit not like the foam tips, but they are pretty close. They offer much better grip inside the ears, and its hard to yank them off even no matter how hard your training routine may push you. This is very good when you are in the gym or other places. The regular rubber tips are very soft, and very comfortable. They also produce very high fidelity sound. The details are better than the foam tips, and dual flange tips. Another two pairs of tips were included, in which one is somewhere between medium and small, and the other one is large. These are pretty much useless, and its safe to discard them. They are very thick, and uncomfortable. I cannot see anyone using these tips under any circumstances.
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Comfort of tips:
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As for comfort, I would say that the default rubber tips are the best for every occasion. This is because they are very thin, and it almost feels like they don't exist. Unlike foam tips, which make you feel somewhat congested after extended use, the default rubber tips just blend in. Listening for hours on the go feels natural, and the audio detail is the best I have heard. Now you will read a lot of recommendations for hybrid tips, and what not from the people on the internet. Don't believe them, its a load of bull crap. I have personally used Sony Hybrids, and Comply Foams, and they just don't cut it. They lack the detail which is there in the default tips. Some of them just end up muddying the audio with a little extra bass. Stick to the default rubber tips if you wish the best quality audio. The foam tips provided come second, as they provide excellent attenuation of external sound and can take the shape of your ear. The dual flange tips are awesome too. I have never tried triple flange tips though.
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Comfort of the IEM housing:
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The wearing comfort of these IEMs can vary. That's because the housing is a little bigger than the average IEM size. One good thing is that they are over the ear design, which is great. Even the newly launched IE800 isn't over the ear, so its less secure than these IEMs when it comes to outdoor activities. The large housing size means that they aren't pillow friendly. But its not that big a deal. I can easily fit them inside my bike helmet and ride comfortably and without adjusting them from time to time. The traffic sound is so much lesser, which means I can ride while listening to quality music.
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Micro-phonics:
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Micro-phonics is an important factor of IEMs and I am pleased to say that its very much controlled in these IEMs. So much so that I barely hear the sound of the wind while travelling at about a 60kmph on the bike with the IE80s in the helmet. Going above 100 though, it becomes a little audible because of the wind on the helmet, which means you just have to crank the volume up a little. Please note that the IEM itself is enclosed in the helmet, or else you won't be able to hear much over 60kmph because of the housing which has to cut the air. As if that weren't enough to take care of the interference, Sennheiser have been kind enough to include a clip which attaches the IEM to your shirt or clothing. This reduces the interference caused by the cables even more, not to mention the added support for external activities. You will never be bothered by accidental touches of the cable while listening to that crucial part of your favorite song
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Build quality:
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The built quality of these IEMs is just fantastic. The IE 80's certainly stand out when it comes to looks. A brushed metallic finish to the outside housing gives it a classy look. The cables themselves feel very strong and sturdy. Much different than the ones from the CX series from Sennheiser. The 3.5mm pin area is well fortified, so its going to last pretty long. If that weren't enough, you can change the cables as and when you feel the need to. I have not tried this though, so no comment on this area. The place where the tips attach, is covered by a metallic mesh, which is pretty much standard in all IEMs, but I wish even the tips had these covers like the IE800 tips.
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Case:
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The case provided, is much the same case as the rest of the IE series, nothing special here. Just a hard plastic case with a metallic finish. The case has a two pairs of tips. So when you open the package right away, you will notice few tips missing, which will be hidden in the case. This provision is great, because you can change tips on the go as per the situation, if you keep your case with you. It also has a ear tip cleaning tool, with which you can remove the dirt from the housing and ear tips. This tool can also serve as the screw for the bass knob on the housing, about which I will talk later. There is another small compartment to the back side which has a small silica gel pouch to get rid of any moisture from within the case. It has a magnet in the bottom as its opening & closing mechanism. The only gripe I had with it is that its a little big to fit comfortably in your jeans pocket. You'd have to put it in your bag or your side pocket if you have one.
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Sound quality:
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As for audio quality, this IEM has a very large sound stage. It feels like a huge place inside your ears. No matter what kind of music I listen to, its very easy to be awed by the sound they produce. The bass and mids are perfect. Bass is pretty tight and the mids are lush with plenty of warmth. Treble is amazing, with no sibilance even at the highest volume. This is an awesome thing, because you get to enjoy they cymbals and clangs better with absolute detail. Many IEMs especially BA driver IEMs are better in this regard, but they produce sibilance, which can be quite a spoil sport. With the IE80, you can't go wrong. Play anything with it and you are guaranteed to be happy with it. These IEMs are only 16 OHMs and it doesn't take a lot to drive it. A dedicated amp would add little to no benefit over the source. You can easily drive it with your mobile phone and MP3 player. I have no complains with the Sansa Clip Zip, which is a perfect companion for the gym. The volume levels are pretty high for an IEM, and clarity is maintained even at the highest volumes. Instrument separation is good too. Pleas note that this is just the starting point in the audiophile territory, its bigger brothers HD800 & HD650 can do much better when paired with an amp. This is just a portable solution for audiophiles who don't want to lose much while travelling or at the gym.
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Bass knobs:
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There are bass knobs on each of the earpieces which can be adjusted using the earpiece cleaning tool provided in the case. Note that its best to leave them at the lowest level, which is the factory setting of these IEMs because they produce natural sound close to original. Increasing it will change the bass response. It can be useful if you are getting different volume levels of bass in each of the earpieces due to the fitting provided by the ear tips. No two ears are alike and the difference can be quite a bit. Another scenario where this can be useful is when the source itself is giving out unbalanced sound. The last case is when your IEM itself is losing balance, then you can correct it to some degree using this knob. Anyways, as I said before, its best to keep it at the lowest setting.
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Isolation:
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The isolation provided is pretty decent. The housing is well sealed, and the cables have a good resistance to micro-phonics. So there is not much to complain about. But people who are used to other brands may be dissatisfied, as they may be used to the fit and isolation provided by other IEMs. Its not a deal breaker though. You can always replace the tips any time you want. Sony's hybrid tips will give you the best balance between comfort, isolation and sound quality. Comply is not for everyone. Firstly I dislike the the foams which get all oily after a few months of usage. They also give you this congested feel if the foam is too thick. If its too thin, then the bass and isolation suffers. Well I can go, but to say the least, Sennheiser's package which includes 10 pairs of ear tips will satisfy most of the buyers of the IEM.
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Durability (cables, housing & case):
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The cables are awesome. They tangle much lesser than the cheaper models, and are much more durable. The rubber is made from a much more durable compound, and there has been no degradation after extended use. Usually, cables can harden or crack over the course of a year, and extended usage under all elements. But these cables can take anything you throw at them. They are even much better than even the Kevlar cables used in the CX680/685 etc sport editions. 

The housing itself looks pretty much the same like it used to when it was new. Its very solid even after so many drops and bumps. The brownish paint has now become all shiny and polished, with a little of it beginning to fade away. The metallic part has a lot of small scratches, but none of them are substantial enough to be an eye sore. Overall, from a distance of a couple of feet, you can't say its much different from a new one at all.

The case itself is very durable with a very solid plastic construction, but the same cannot be said about the metallic plates to the outside. Once they take a beating it becomes a dent and looks distorted. But apart from this minor problem, the case is pretty much nuke proof, and will keep your IE80s safe no matter what you throw at them.
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Under rough usage:
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After using it for a year without the case, and in sweaty jeans pants which hardy had room along with bike keys and mobile phone not to mention the music player; going the gym for five days a week, I have to say that I am impressed. Many a times the phone/player slipped from my hands and ended up bungee jumping with my ears as a support. At times I have closed the zip to my jacket without realizing that the player was still hooked to the IE80. After a good inspection, I can confirm that there are no major cuts or damage to the cables anywhere. There is no other IEM which has shown little to no change in these conditions. I used to ride in the rains of Mumbai every day with the headphone inside the helmet. The rains here last for about 4 months. These IEMs have lasted 2 monsoons, which is an amazing feat. The levels of humidity and stress which these IEMs have undergone are much more than my other IEMs because these are my primary IEMs. A couple of months ago, I felt a slight change in one of the channels, and it keeps varying between 1-4% difference in balance. Some times the imbalance was to the right and sometimes to the right. I guess something went wrong with the cables. So I got them to Sennheiser Service center, who promptly replaced them for me. I have no idea how they might perform under the cold climates, as I have only taken it to cold places once and I believe 0 degrees Celsius is by no means a difficult thing for the IE80. But in the heat and humidity department it has managed to exceed my expectations. As per my usage, the average time an IEM lasts is usually a couple of months, before something goes wrong big time. But they completed a year without a problem, and even the issue which arose after usage was probably because of cable failure as it is expected under these conditions.

In one line, THESE IEMs ARE TOUGH, and they are built to last a lifetime if used correctly.
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Sennheiser Warranty & Service:
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Please make sure to keep your bill safe. Even a soft copy will do. So its advisable to take a snapshot of the bill and save it on your computer just in case. On producing the bill, I was given a replacement for the IE80 in a week. This can vary depending on the stocks with them. I remember I had to wait 3-4 weeks for the CX550. Other ones like the CX180 will be replaced in a day or so. If you're really lucky, you might get an upgrade instead of a replacement. Damage caused by accidents are not covered under the warranty, but I guess it all depends on how you explain it to them. The main problem which can come on rough usage is the change in the balance of the sound where the right ear piece volume doesn't match the left. They never make a fuss about replacing the product unlike other companies which try their best to avoid a replacement with a stupid explanation. Anyways, it has always been a pleasure dealing with Sennheiser. They offered me tea when I was waiting with them. Good luck to you too.
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Value for money:
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Are they worth the price? Hell yeah they are. You can use them to your hearts content, plus you are also covered with a guarantee. Awesome sound quality under extreme conditions and good build quality etc, etc, so many good things going for one IEM. How can I say it ain't worth the price? Even if I used it for about 2 years only, the average comes to about 800 Rupees per month, or about $14 a month, which isn't much considering everything that Sennheiser offers, not to mention the tea they give me every time I visit the service center. I would gladly pay a little extra, that is how satisfied I am. All of this would be pointless if the sound quality could not back it up, but its on par with the best you can get in this range. Go for it by all means, you will not be disappointed. When you pay about 20k for a IEM, you expect a lot in return, and the IE80 delivers it in spades.
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As a final note, I would like to say that, Sennheiser is more than a brand, it makes you love the music you listen to. #Respect
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Posted

Pros: Great, neutral sound balance

Cons: Very sensitive to correct position in ears/pad choice

I count myself really lucky. I was convinced that these phones were too treble-ey and didn't have good bass. I tried some after market foam pads and the bass just came pouring out of them. This led me to experiment further and found that the black foam pads that came with them gave a very neutral, but full sound. I am very glad that I didn't write a review before because it would have been unfair. 

I used the IE80's to compare a Meridian Explorer DAC to a AK120 DAP and I must say the differences between these high quality sources was immediately apparent. You can hear very deeply into the recording with both. Great IEM's. 

Before I got these sorted out I was fitted for the UE Reference Monitors. If I'd had this kind of sound out of the box I might not have bothered. Although I'm still very curious about and looking forward to the customs.

Posted

Pros: Bass, soundstage

Cons: Fit, mids

The retail package for the IE 80 is one of the most impressive IEM packages I've seen. The IEMs are nicely presented and the brushed aluminium box looks very sleek.

Opening the box confirms this with a the box despite being plastic with aluminium faceplates seems very well constructed and more than adaquetely protects the IEMs themselves although the L shaped 3.5mm connector can be difficult to fit into the case. The included tip selection is very wide. However for me, this is where the problems began.

The tips selection, while wide, is still subpar in design, with many of the buds themselves seems to be designed for freakish ear canals, a fact not helped by the wide nozzle design of the IE series. This made it impossible to get anything approximating a decent fit with any of the included tips. However, since I own a fairly large number of IEMs I made do with some medium Sony Hybrid greys from a pair of MH1cs which stretched over the much wider nozzle of the IE80. It should also be noted that the IE80 provides almost no isolation at all.

Onto sound: With the stock tips, the sound was fairly decent, the large(for an IEM) soundstage remeniscent of the older IE8 is present, imaging is good and the highs are detailed but non fatiguing and the lows are strong and impactful. However the mid range was muddied significantly by the low end, which was extremely disappointing in a £200 pair of IEMs. The highs themselves while technically accurate, left much to be desired in terms of musicality and I found them quite dry and boring, lacking the slight sparkle of other IEMs in the price range(or below) such as the Phonak Audeo PFE112 or the Shure SE425.
Fitting the previously mentioned Sony Hybrid Grey tips on the IE80 attenuated the highs and closed the coundstage noticeably, resulting in a darker smaller sound. I found the trade off for a secure fit and the greater isolation quite favourable however.

Looking on head-fi I came across the tape mod and auvivo tips. The tape mod involves covering the bass ports with tape. This has the effect of removing the midbass bloat that muddies the midrange and tightens the bass up. Depending on what setting you had the bass port on piror to the tape the IE80 shift from a bass centric to a mid centric IEM, which may not be for all listeners. The Auvio tips are Sony Hybrid clones with a central bore width that fits the IE80 wide nozzle naturally and as such doe not reduce the soundstage and attenuate the highs like the normal Sony Hybrids. Similar, but for me an inferior fit are the silicone tips included with JVC IEMs.

In conclusion, the IE80 is a competant IEM, but is highly flawed in it's stock form. Due to the many issues I have with it, I find it difficult to recommend at the £200 price mark it typically sells for in the UK. If you do find youself enjoying the soundof the IE80, but hating the fit, it may be worth investing £120 in some custom silicone eartips from ACS.

Stock sound:
Highs: 7.5/10
Mids: 5/10
Lows: 8/10
Stock Fit: 2/10

Tape Modded sound:
Highs: 7.5/10
Mids: 7/10
Lows 8/10

Posted

Pros: Good soundstage, great build and durability.

Cons: Mid bass.

Package: 

 

Nice looking but not really so convenient hard case with tight space for the cable. Most of the tips are useless; There are no mid size foam tips (that most people use), just large and small foam and silicon tips are in all three sizes but others are really useless (odd shape, no isolation or extremely uncomfortable). I found ear hooks to be useless as well and not so gentle on the cable since the critical point of break, where the cable connects to an earphone, is loose. There is also a nice cleaning tool with screw on the other side that is used to adjust bass.

 

 

 

Build:

 

Just great! Looks great and feels good and they seem to be very durable, the first earphones that lasted me over a year (and still lasting). Cable didn't look so good to me at first but it is very durable. When it's cold outside it stiffens up so you can't fold the cables over the ear nicely but in just few minutes it becomes softer thanks to your skin temperature. Cables are also replaceable which is great!

 

 

 

Sound:

 

When I've read reviews about IE80 I expected them to be REALLY bassy but they are fine. When everyone was saying for bassheads I thought they would have that deep sub bass ''feeling'' but it's not exactly like that. They have good amount of sub bass and punch but there is a lot of mid bass (~100-200 Hz, can't exactly tell). Also that mid bass is the main problem and the reason why I didn't rate them higher than 4 stars. It veils the whole mid range, which makes them much less clear earphones than they could be (tho clarity is on decent level); Some songs, especially vocal jazz (female vocals with somewhat deeper voices), just sound bad because of that, it's really not enjoyable with so much mid bass 'veil' or how should I call it.

Isolation is not as bad as I expected when I've read reviews here but not the best as well. Foam tips can improve isolation but it increases further that problem with mid bass so I didn't find them to be a good solution.

Also IE80 have adjustable bass, just like the IE8, you can increase the bass with small screw that is also used as a cleaning tool but it is useless in my opinion. On minimum it has too much mid bass and if you increase the bass it will become impossible to listen to some genres (forget about vocal jazz, harp, rock with lot of bass guitar, anything with bass guitar for that matter if you turn the knob to increase the bass). I've read here about the 'tape mod' where you put the tape on the knobs that let the air in and mid bass problem should be solved - well wasn't exactly solved but it did help a bit, reduces bass overall which lead to clearer sound and then foam tips are much saner choice than before.

I liked the highs, there is that sparkle and they sound fun to me, maybe not so realistic all the time but they are not too harsh or sibilant. 

 

 

 

 

Summary:

 

Overall good sounding IEM with great build quality and not so useful accessories with one problem that can be a deal breaker for many - mid bass that veils mids, making them sound less clear and not so enjoyable to listen on certain songs. If you like that kind of sound and don't mind it than it is a very good choice (after all they were top range Sennheiser at the time, can't be that bad :), but if you are sensitive to it and listen to vocal music (especially with deep voice) you might want to skip these. Price was too high at 450$ (would be 3.5 stars) but now at 300-350$ it's a pretty fair deal comparing to the competition in this price range. 

Posted

Pros: Massive Soundstage - crystal clear sound

Cons: Weak in Bass - though adjustable they are too heavy if pushed too high

I love these little beasts. I pair them with my goto player the Colorfly C3 (Hidden Gem) -

 

If you have a good source track these little  iem's shine - the sound is pristine and crystal clear - They have a lovely wide soundstage way out of proportion to their size; The Bass is a little weak but the high and mids shine. The only downsides to this are poor isolation (fixed by swapping for better buds) and the weak bass - but even turning the adjustable side bass boost dials just muddies the presentation a little. Then again I'm not really into tracks with too heavy a low frequency range preferring brighter sounds - I can wear these all day long and not even notice them - thoroughly recommended especially if you swap out the stock cables for custom wire which can gain you at least a 10% improvement in audio quality

 

 If paired with my Fiio X5 and a 192/444 classical album they sound stunning 

Posted

Pros: Sound Quality, Build Quality, Accessories

Cons: Stock Cable, Tunable Bass

Introduction:

 

The Sennheiser IE80. I would like to start with stating that I am not an audiophile. However, for the past years I have had my fair share of headphones/earphones and I have been involved with the audio world for some time now. Also, this is my first real review so please take it easy if I'm not as descriptive or accurate as other members on Head-Fi. My primary source when listening to the IE80 is the combination of my MacBook Pro (320kbps to 2600kbps audio files) and my Fiio E10K Olympus 2 DAC/AMP. I will be covering topics such as accessories, build quality and the comfortability of these earphones. I will not go in depth about the sound quality because I have yet to feel experienced enough to share my opinions. Not just on these headphones specifically but audio in general, there are in fact actual audiophiles and professionals on this forum, go to them for sound quality, they know what they're talking about.

 

Accessories:


 

Sennheiser includes a lot of accessories with the IE80 and I enjoy that. The IE80 come with not only silicon eartips but also Comply Foam and double/triple flanged eartips. Sennheiser also generously included a very nice carrying case, a cleaning tool and a good clothing clip. Here's a list of all the accessories.

 

The silicon comes in sizes: S,M,L,XL. 

The Comply Foam comes in sizes: S,L.

The double/triple flanged comes in sizes: S,M,L.

1 carrying case with an included dry salt packet (i will get to that).

1 cleaning tool which also doubles as the tool required to tune the bass.

1 clothing clip

1 pair of cable sleeves

 

The carrying case as mentioned, is very nice. The top and bottom is crafted of aluminum and the rest is made of high quality plastic. The bottom has 4 rubber feet to stay off of the different surfaces you'll be resting it on. The case closes magnetically and on the inside, is a fitted molding to place the headphones in. The earphones are very well protected. Unfortunately, there is nothing to do with the wire besides wrapping it around a certain portion of the case, this causes memory in the wire for when you want to use them. The case also allows you to carry two different eartips and the cleaning tool with you. Onto the dry salt packet, there is a door latch on the back and inside is where you can place a dry salt packet. A dry salt packet will absorb any moisture within the case, in other words it controls the humidity. This will keep the headphones well protected if you are either storing them for longer periods of time or are in a humid environment.

 

Build Quality:


 

The build quality of the headphones is also quite good. The housing is made of a high quality plastic but they do house an aluminum insert, this insert faces outwards when in your ear. On the aluminum insert of both earbuds, is a laser etching of the Sennheiser logo, along with the bass dial. The cable as I had mentioned earlier, can have memory at times. When I first got the IE80, the cable memory was very bad, the earphones would often fall out of my ears because the cable would fall over the top of my ears. With some time and use, this went away but after storing them in the carrying case (or even winding them up), there is memory for about an hour. 

 

Comfortability:


 

I find these earphones very comfortable. Like most high end earphones or in-ear monitors, they feature the 'over and under' cable design. The way you wear these is to have the cable come from behind your ears, and essentially, inserting the earbud upside down. I highly recommend using the cable choke, as it helps keep the wire behind your ear and makes the experience much more comfortable. With the right eartips and the correct fit, these are EXTREMELY comfortable. I am able to wear these for hours if need be. I also wear these to the gym, they have a very solid fit and don't move around one bit. And I don't even use the included cable sleeves.

 

My Recommendation:


 

My opinion is that these are excellent earphones. If your a fan of the infamous Sennheiser signature sound then these are all for you. Now that I have broken mine in, they sound good on just my computer, my computer and my dac/amp and even just on my smartphone streaming Pandora One. They take some time to sound excellent but be patient -- it's worth it. As far as the full retail price, I have noticed they are random sales on Amazon for the IE80, I believe they have gotten all the way down to $260, thats a really really good price point for these so if you ever see that sale and are even just interested -- grab them, you can always return them lol.

 

Since I had forgotten to mention (my apologies), the tunable bass port doesn't quite do justice for me. To my ears, it only gives the mid-bass a slight boost. It doesn't provide a drastic enough difference considering this earphone is advertised so much for having this feature. Also, isolation is quite good as well. You cannot hear much at moderate volumes so if your loud listener, you won't be able to hear a thing. I would have included this into the review but without a sound quality section, it wouldn't have made sense anywhere else.

 

I hope my first written review has helped or informed some people, I'd love to receive some feedback from fellow Head-Fi'ers through the private messages. Thanks!

 

Posted

Pros: Nice bass, detailed sound, very good for rock, nice (removable!) cable, punchy bass and highs hitting at the same time

Cons: The bass disappears when going very deep, doesn't stay in my ears with either of the ear cups > sound gets fatiguing and bass totally disappears

So, I've had the chance to try the pair my uncle owns, both in noisy (busy streets of Vienna) and silent environment.

 

You probably should take this with a grain of salt as I can only compare this to my good old HiFiMAN HE-400i, which is basically a totally different world. 

 

Let's get to it, shall we. 

 

Thoughts about the device overall: It looks pretty nice, has a good little bass controller, however i've found the bass good enough on the lowest setting too, the cable is very good in my opinion, it's very lightweight so it doesn't pull you down and it's thin! > easy to hide, However what i've found the most disturbing out of anything, and don't get me wrong, this is quite important!, it just slips out of my ears no matter how i put them in or with which ear cup, and this sadly makes the bass go away, and the treble to take over and occasionally destroy your ears.

 

Sound quality: After using an ortho headphone for a good time now, i've found it's sound very interesting and very different in a lot of ways, not all of them being good. The two main difference for my ears is that when listening, I couldn't differentiate quite as much the overall levels of the music, the different layers, and also i couldn't therefore hear the smallest details, which in my opinion are one of the if not the most important things in music. For the good part, I really really liked when there was a melody playing in the treble and the bass, that fine strong bass that this IE can produce, came to it and they pounded my ears at the same time, it was very satisfying and cathartic. Though it hasn't happened quite as often as I would've liked it to, as I've had to keep pushing it in sometimes even twice in a track to avoid ear-bleeding treble. One more thing i've noticed in a few tracks, is that the quieter sound layers sometimes tried to merge into a louder one, they started to copy the main melody and change it's sound more similar to it, so that the main melody didn't change but the quiet one started to sound more like the main one, even if the quieter was just a one sound rhythm. Never experienced such a thing.

 

Overall, if you are someone whose ears are capable of receiving IE's, and you like bass (seriously it has huge bass even on the lowest setting!!!), and you are not that kind of person (like me) that is listening to music just to hear those finest quietest details, then go for this, seriously it's amazing and a lot of fun to listen to!

Posted

Pros: nice case (as standard with senheiser), amazing bass and general sound

Cons: NOT true monitors as they have a bass hump, bad build quality

I wanted to go up to a high grade of earphone so I looked on head-fi and saw the IE 80s and purchased them from amazon.

    Fresh out of the box they were amazing and some of the best canal-phones I have heard. They felt solid and well-built and the case they come with was very sleek and closes with a satisfying shhhhclick*

 

Firstly the bad,

    Unfortunately that didn't continue as one of the ear hooks fell off and was lost after a week. They are not secured on very tight and pull off with ease. A few weeks after that the silicone tips split and were unusable and the final nail in the coffin for these earphones was that the right ear cable split and stopped working.

Admittedly I have used them continuously for 5 months but i really expected better from a high end top brand of earphones.

 

The ear hooks are quite comfortable and keep some strain off of the cable however they are removable and can be removed. In some ways this is nice as you can wear them as a normal pair of earphones however, the microphonics increase dramatically as expected. I had a little trouble making them fit my ears as they have a core of stiff wire which wouldn't bend easier than my ear. This also meant when I finally made them fit they fitted perfectly, comfortably and were secured brilliantly. Unfortunately they do separate and they don't fit snug up to the body of the earphone so they do little to protect the wire itself form strain unlike the ue900s ear hook which covers the whole piece. As I previously mentioned they also come off very easily so I lost one of them early on.

 

The cables

They were nice to begin with but, without the hooks I found they tugged and pulled at my ears and thus were uncomfortable and irritating to wear over ear. They are the standard Senheiser cables as seen in the IE 8 and IE 60.  Personally I feel that the cables would be of a little higher quality and that they are a major limiting factor of these earphones. Inside the cable appears to be made of copper and the jack I’m unsure of what it’s made from however I know it’s not gold plated (I don’t know if it makes a difference truly) the plastic joins around the IEMs themselves have no strain relief which is my suspicion of why they failed so early on.

 

The box

Oh my, the box (although seen to be paired with their other cheaper earphones) is the best I've seen mainly because the brushed aluminium plates look amazing but the sound, feel and click of the magnetic mechanism inside was smooth and could be compared as the mechanical keyboards of cases. The metal plates are easily dented and this effects the aesthetics of the case but had no effect on the performance of the case or the smoothness of closing the box.

   Inside the box there is a small space for both earphones to be placed with no tips or the tips they give you. This meant when I had to replace the ear tips I had to disregard the box completely as the comply TX500 tips wouldn't fit in the box without ripping the tips or taking them off which was very impractical. I found wrapping the cable in this box difficult to do as the 3.5 mm jack would usually stick out just a little too far to fit neatly.

 

The ear tips

they are very good as they give you a large selection of them allowing them to fit many people’s ears. The isolation of the tips were very good and the ones that fitted were comfortable, especially for listening over long journeys such as the train. The foam tips provided were not very comfortable and I found them to irritate the inside of my ears when taking them in and out over time so I quickly disregarded them.

 

The sound.

These earphones although as short lived as they were, sounded amazing, they sound similar to my Logitech speakers (aka my preferred sound) with a little more bass.

They most certainly have a large bass hump. From my ears the mids and highs sounded crisp and clear but not too emphasized nor too little. The bass is something definitely to experience if you are a bass head its deep and pounding especially if (as with all earphones) you get them in just right.

 

I gave these a 3/5 purely because of the sound quality and the box they came in. unfortunately the value of these earphones I felt was low because of the faults in the quality and production.

The gear I have been using to test these earphones is the ak100 with a range of different qualities of music. Some of the best I found was dust clears –clean bandit, flight –Tristam. & Braken, this is the time -miles Malone and grab her! – Disclosure 

Posted

Pros: Great Soundstage, Not Congestive, Wide

Cons: Design, Functionality, Can Hurt Ears

IE80 - High End Earphones

I think there's a point to where you draw the line for a Price Point, this goes over that boundary and breaks the rules of it's price, which is unfortunate.

 

I feel something in this asking price needs to meet some standards, Comfort, Unique Sound, & Build Flexibility.

And I feel these don't cut it, the need to be charged within the $175-$220 range.

 

This will be a descriptive review!

 

Sound Overview:

From what I've gathered, I think these are good! But the Soundstage is completely overdone for an IEM.

I think this range needs to be for accuracy, not how wide we can get the stage, and where will the instruments connect.

 

Highs, Mids, & Lows don't connect. What do I mean?

Usually in Headphones, IEMs, & Earbuds in this price have a sound that usually blends.

I'd argue that this is Sennheisers quality and House Sound, sure. But it's wider than most of what I've experienced from their products.

 

Highs, Cymbals are a really important part of most Sennheiser gear. They always bring you a pushed Acoustic Atmosphere, and that's because they do it right, want proof? Orpheus.

The whole Drum Kit mangles the highs, with clangs all over... these are the perfect Jazz IEM. Rides fall apart with crispness, I've never heard such an In-Depth Shimmer of a cymbal crash.

Sibilance really isn't a thing, while other tracking monitors for this price almost carry too much Sibilance. 

Making these precisely good for Detail Freaks!

 

A full body is carried into these, with Foam Tips, the detail will master your expectations and turn them into something you might love.

Bass is careful, it not a thing that is pushed into these and you shouldn't expect a ton without foam tips.

 

 

All said and done. Detail Freaks with a burning for IEMs will love these, and Bassheads can enjoy the fun as well with some Foam Tips, all in all I want to rate this for it's price, unfair, sure? But I want to give this a solid 8/10

Posted

Pros: Accuracy, clarity, strong and controlled bass, soundstage for IEMs

Cons: Absolutely requires a proper long burn-in, difficult carrying case

My head gear background in short: CX-870, Cowon i10, ATH-M50, HD-650 (HK 3490), IE 80

I got the IE 80 few days ago after coming back to my old CX-870 (after a pleasurable winter of using my ATH-M50 as my on the move head gear) and noticing that their bass is, though strong enough, muddy and boomy beyond enjoyment as my standards seem to have heightened quite a bit.

This review is very much incomplete since it'll take a few months to come to a conclusion of some kind, but I'll mention a few things I hope I'd read before purchase.

First of all I didn't think much of burn-in before, though I knew from previous experience with the ATH-M50 that there could be a clear, but probably not dramatic, difference in sound after some time of use. I also didn't come across anything saying otherwise: "needs burn-in", "100 hours" etc, but nothing that would prepare me for the first listen.

The first listen was an absolute horror! Even after trying every kind of music, EQs etc. the sound was the worst I think I've heard ever. And in a strange way so that some aspects seemed great: strong bass, some instruments and highs sounded very nice. But the overal picture was painfully harsh, ugly, cold and clinical. Vocals were drowned by everything else completely. Highs were articulate and clear but harsh to the point that it hurt my ears. Everything in the middle was just lost. Not a happy moment after spending 290€ on something praised in every review.

I had to stop listening since it felt physically bad. I had some strange tinnitus-like murmuring for a moment after listening and began thinking if they're broken or if I could sell them or something. Then I decided to start burning them in to see if it would make a difference. 6 hours of shuffled songs played slightly louder than I'd listen to, on the shelf. Afterwards, a night and day difference. All the really horrific aspects were completely gone. I was using my i10 and 18 was the highest volume setting I could use at first. Bumped up to 25ish after initial burn in (normally 30-33 with CX-870 or ATH-M50). A suprising effect, at least for me. Is all this entirely common? Should be written in the manual.

Now after three days, with approx. 15-20 hours of burn-in and actual use the proper characteristics are starting to emerge. Now they pretty much sound like the the reviews imply (fantastic), though still slightly lacking the fun, immersive or fully balanced quality I'm hoping for. The way I'd put it is that they don't quite "sing" yet. Of course my audio source is below the IEMs in quality also and I noticed that an EQ I'd previously used a lot was for now out of the question.

At the moment I'm quite happy with them, hoping for slight improvement in the IEMs with time as well as expecting my listening to develop as their precision is on a completely different level from what I'm used to. It takes a while to get used to your most beloved music sounding different from before.

I'll continue this review after some time and more thorough experience with the IEMs...
Sennheiser IE80
Description:

The IE 80 features high-fidelity stereo sound and high noise attenuation with an enhanced design. Encased in a brushed-metal housing and rugged, interchangeable cable, it is built for maximum robustness and flexibility. The IE 80 also features a unique technology that enables sound-tuning of bass response. A world of premium audio awaits your discovery.

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