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Sennheiser IE8 Impressions Thread - Page 184

post #2746 of 8031
Quote:
Originally Posted by gameboy115 View Post
How do you think 530 and IE8 for insturment?
Unfortunately I haven't listened to my IE8 enough to give you a detailed response from personal experience, and I told myself I wouldn't listen to them again until at least after 200 hours of burn-in. But from what everyone else is saying, the IE8 is going to present instruments more naturally. I can attest to hearing the IE8s airiness which helps give this natural presentation. The SE530 is going to give a more up-front instrumental presentation, so it will seem like you're closer to the instruments, although the actual soundstage (headstage) is more narrow than the IE8.

SE530 is like being in row 5.
IE8 is like being in row 15.
post #2747 of 8031
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ihatepopupads View Post
So are the mid/highs filling in at all?
I'm not sure. They're burning in right now and I told myself I wouldn't listen to them until after 200 hours. So we'll see.

134 and counting.
post #2748 of 8031
Quote:
Originally Posted by toughnut View Post
I'm using medium sized dual flange by Senn. Actually that's the only pairs of tips that fit my ears and it fit very well. Easy to put on and good seal. Isolation still very poor though, even with Shure Olives.
Those are the same tips that I have found most success with so far.

I'm still waiting on some of those eBay biflanges and my UE universal kit to try out.

Sound is pretty good, now listening to them primarily through iBasso D10 and it's much nicer than out of the iPod touch 2G headphone-out. I also think they're trying harder because my replacement Westone 3's have arrived today.

For some reason, I'm having trouble opening it... maybe because it looks so nice and pristine in its plastic packaging... or maybe because I'm slowly warming up to the sound from the IE8's, even with only 70+ hours on them so far.

However, there is one thing that I can't seem to look past so far, and it's the isolation. Being my portable IEMs, the isolation is borderline too poor...
post #2749 of 8031
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadphoneAddict View Post
I have about 245 hours on the IE8 now. They sound different that they did just 24 hours ago, after very loud electronic music blasting through them. The biggest changes have occurred in the first 24 hours and in the last 24 hours of a 10 day burn-in - very strange, but then so is the burn-in for an Ultrasone too!

In Summary - The mids are still a little recessed, but detailed. The highs are starting to sound more like what I have been expecting from them, and the bass is still powerful but not quite as overwhelming like it has been in the past. Although the sound is not completely fixed with burn-in, the IE8 are starting to sound a little more fun than the Phonak Audeo or Livewires with some music, but it's not as detailed or transparent as those two which are closer to a studio monitor in sound.

I still find the bass to be overboard at times, for instance with Robert Plant and Alison Krauss "Raising Sand" and Shelby Lynn "Just a little Lovin" or . But it is less intrusive into the lower mids of the vocals than it was before - it's like having a loudness control with some CDs and I have to listen at low volumes or the bass is just too much. Yet, the bass is just right with some other music like Diana Krall "Live in Paris" or BB King and Eric Clapton "Riding with the King". The bass is pretty delicious with music like Renaud Garcia-Fons and Gary Karr who play the bass fiddle, or even Yo-Yo Ma's Cello. And, of course it is nice to have the punch and power behind the bass line in electronic music as well.

The slightly recessed mids though do make it more difficult to appreciate the details imbedded in the music. In the song "Riding with the King" King and Clapton singing and the piano all sound like an afterthought hiding behind the sound of the drums and guitars. Boosting the 500-2K range by a couple of dB really brings out their voices. Most recordings get by with the stock IE8 mids and no EQ without as much problems, but I just wanted to bring this up.

The treble is still very picky about the recording, and listening to Jennifer Knapp "Live" really drills into my head and it isn't sounding pleasant at all. This is a new finding and if the treble increases any more it will be a bad thing. I do find I can tone down the treble some if I push the IEM deeper into my ears, at the expense of more bass. With Jennifer Knapp "Live", that happens to be a good solution in that case. Switching from the stock bi-flange to the eBay bi-flange help take some of that edge off the treble, and even "Live in Paris" is less sibilant with the eBay bi-flange tips.

On the other hand, listening to Nils Lofgren "Acoustic Live" or John H. Clarke "Acoustik Guitar" plus some other classical acoustic guitar recordings is sounding good enough to enjoy with either tips. Jazz at the Pawnshop, my old standard jazz nightclub music test for transparency is not bad sounding, but still not at the same level as the Westone 3. Then there are some CD that seem to be made just for the IE8, like Patricia Barber "Companion". They do also seem to excel with electronic music like Infected Mushroom, Kenji Williams, Karunesh or Aaron Spectre. But, going in the opposite direction I still put on some classical music, a Mozart 24/96 recording (4608 kbps) that I downloaded from High Resolution Music for free. I enjoyed the IE8 with this recording and the soundstage is much improved from the early days, being wider and more spacious than I recall. As I type this I had to go look at my EQ settings and twice, and also had to make sure that the SRS iWOW plug-in was not activated.

The isolation still sucks, but this could be the IEM that I use when I'm not in the mood for a full size can but I need to hear my wife or kids calling for me. As for sound quality, the Westone ES3X and Westone 3 still beat these for me. But like I said, these IE8 might have a roll in being the IEM I use when I don't want total isolation - that used to be the roll of my Denon C700 for so long (I've had those for almost 2 years now).

As I get through each phase of burn-in, the best tips and the best amps to use with them change, so I will be spending more time with my other amps (currently using iBasso D10 with LTC6241HV opamp) and the other tips again. It might be time to revisit the medium single flange and the Complys T400 again as well. I will probably give these up to 300 hours for burn-in as well. I'll try them with the headphone out of my 4G Nano and iPhone 3G too, and report back.
I'm at approximately 270 hours with my IE8 and they sound pretty much like when I did my mini-review at 245 hours. I said I would play with tips some more, and I have.

I can tame the excess bass if I use the stock medium single flange tips or small stock bi-flange tips using a loose and shallow insertion, i.e. making sure they leak a little, but that exaggerates the highs too much, pulls back the mids, and kills isolation.

The Complys T400 foam tips still tame the highs too much, while giving the same bass as the eBay bi-flange or RE2 bi-flange tips but with better isolation. I'm not ready to destroy a foam tip to slide onto the stalk of a silicone tip yet (to go under the mushroom or umbrella of the silicone tip). With the T400 it kinda reminds me of the HD650 or Stax O2 on the wrong amp, smooth and detailed and refined but a little too dark until you get used to them.

So, the eBay clear bi-flange tips with a losse shallow fit still work best for me at the moment, in terms of balance between lows mids and highs, since they don't exaggerate the highs when used in a loose or shallow fit. But the IE8 bass is still just too much for me at times, especially if I push those tips in for a tighter seal - and that's coming from someone who can be a basshead most of the time. I'd say with a tight seal the IE8's upper bass is still at least 3 dB more than I want. Yes, I have to EQ out at least 3 dB at 64, 125 and 250 Hz with the IE8 on my Macbook and D10 (or other amps) to get the sound to be closer to where it should be. At least I don't have to bump the mids EQ like before. However, the IE8 are still dark sounding when I switch to them after listening to my Phonak or W3 for a while.

I've been going back and forth between the IE8 and my Phonak Audeo tonight. The Phonak are a great IEM, and while they lack the powerful bass presence of the IE8 the Phonak have a very present and vivid midrange detail/tone to make up for it. The Phonak are a little more transparent and uncolored than the IE8, and while the Phonak bass is tighter and faster than the IE8 the Phonak's bass is still 2 about dB less than what I really want (adding in EQ of 2 dB from 32-64 or 32-125 Hz with either black or grey filters helps a lot).

So, with the IE8 fitting loosely and using the eBay bi-flange tips I'd say they are near the same level of performance as the Phonak Audeo, but with a different kind of sound - it's a smooth, warm, rich and a more laid back sound vs a tight crisp energetic crystal-clear and transparent sound that lacks the last bit of bass presence needed for a more complete illusion of the performance. It's like trying to decide between a modded D5000 and an RS-1, sometimes you need both, sometimes you need neither (Switch to Stax O2 or HE Audio Jade or ES3X).

Now, with this next part I am relying on faulty auditory memory, but I believe if I had to pick one I would choose the IE8 over the stock SE530 or Image X10 or Triple.fi 10 Pro which I placed below the Phonak in my ranking (but have sold a while back). But only IF I don't need as much isolation - which I mentioned before that I do indeed have a use for an IEM that lets me hear when people are calling for me. I don't think the IE8 would make me sell the Phonak because there is some music that I can't listen to with the IE8 without fine tuning with the EQ (which is not always available), and also because my Phonak have a mic for my iPhone.

Certainly neither has replaced my Westone 3, which are like taking some of my favorite traits of both the IE8 and the Phonak and putting them into one universal IEM. The W3 have more bass presence and impact than the Phonak while having slightly less than the IE8, so W3 do not force me to EQ out the bass in order to listen to certain music. I'll admit that there are a few times when the W3 bass is a little too much as well, but it is never so much that I would have to skip music on my playlist if I can't EQ them properly. I can listen to all my tracks with no bass EQ on the W3, even with Robert Plant and Alison Krauss "Raising Sand", which many people here commented is produced with too much bass. However, with the IE8 and no EQ their bass can be a problem with music like that, unless I break the seal intentionally to pull the bass back.

And the scary part is that NONE of these are as good as my Westone ES3X that I reviewed in the Westone ES3X Appreciation Thread - if I weren't afraid to take my ES3X out of the house to be lost or damaged then I would have little need for any of the others. Most of my buying universal IEM these days is out of curiosity and from dozens of PM's asking me to compare them, since I was actually pretty happy once I got my W3 around Thanksgiving.
post #2750 of 8031
Thats interesting that you see it as too much bass headphone addict. You have a denon d2000, there shouldnt even be a comparison in the bass quantity as I see the ie8s (at the lowest notch) have less bass than the d2000
post #2751 of 8031
Larry, thanks for your excellent and detailed posts. Just a couple comments (or lack thereof).

Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadphoneAddict View Post
I'm not ready to destroy a foam tip to slide onto the stalk of a silicone tip yet (to go under the mushroom or umbrella of the silicone tip).
No comment

Quote:
I've been going back and forth between the IE8 and my Phonak Audeo tonight. The Phonak are a great IEM, and while they lack the powerful bass presence of the IE8 the Phonak have a very present and vivid midrange detail/tone to make up for it. The Phonak are a little more transparent and uncolored than the IE8, and while the Phonak bass is tighter and faster than the IE8 the Phonak's bass is still 2 about dB less than what I really want (adding in EQ of 2 dB from 32-64 or 32-125 Hz with either black or grey filters helps a lot).
I agree with everything except the bass speed of the IE8s. My thoughts are the bass is better all around on the IE8s, can be as fast as the PFE, has more detail, and more usable bass extension (impact from deep bass is incredible with the IE8). Although the quantity difference is much more subjective, I prefer the IE8 v black filter PFE (detail hit), and the grey filter bass was too lacking (and I couldn't get them to sound right with an EQ) which is why they are gone.

Quote:
And the scary part is that NONE of these are as good as my Westone ES3X that I reviewed in the Westone ES3X Appreciation Thread - if I weren't afraid to take my ES3X out of the house to be lost or damaged then I would have little need for any of the others. Most of my buying universal IEM these days is out of curiosity and from dozens of PM's asking me to compare them, since I was actually pretty happy once I got my W3 around Thanksgiving.
Why don't you sell your IE8s, W3s, PFEs (maybe some other stuff) and buy another ES3x?
post #2752 of 8031
Quote:
Originally Posted by myk7000 View Post
Thats interesting that you see it as too much bass headphone addict. You have a denon d2000, there shouldnt even be a comparison in the bass quantity as I see the ie8s (at the lowest notch) have less bass than the d2000
I have a modded D2000 that sounds closer to a stock D7000 but with better soundstage and treble extension, and tighter bass control.
post #2753 of 8031
Quote:
Originally Posted by average_joe View Post
Larry, thanks for your excellent and detailed posts. Just a couple comments (or lack thereof).

No comment

I agree with everything except the bass speed of the IE8s. My thoughts are the bass is better all around on the IE8s, can be as fast as the PFE, has more detail, and more usable bass extension (impact from deep bass is incredible with the IE8). Although the quantity difference is much more subjective, I prefer the IE8 v black filter PFE (detail hit), and the grey filter bass was too lacking (and I couldn't get them to sound right with an EQ) which is why they are gone.

The bass speed of the IE8 is not slow, like a Denon C700, but just not as fast as the Phonak. I didn't really say the IE8 lacked bass detail did I? I just said the Phonak bass was tighter and faster.

Why don't you sell your IE8s, W3s, PFEs (maybe some other stuff) and buy another ES3x?
You might be onto something there. Thanks for the great idea!
post #2754 of 8031
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadphoneAddict View Post
The bass speed of the IE8 is not slow, like a Denon C700, but just not as fast as the Phonak. I didn't really say the IE8 lacked bass detail did I? I just said the Phonak bass was tighter and faster.
You have much more experience than I, and often know better ways to say things. That being said, I did not encounter any music where fast bass beats sounded slow on the IE8. Do you mean (in my speak) the PFEs don't reverberate as long as the IE8s on certain bass notes?

You didn't say the IE8 lacked detail (that I recall), but to my ears it has superiour detail to the PFE in the bass department. IMO it could be one of 3 things (or more that I haven't yet thought of): 1) my equipment couldn't handle the higher output requirements of the PFE, therefore the detail was reduced in the source; 2) the louder bass in the IE8s brought out the detail more to my ears; 3) the IE8 does have more bass detail

All I know is the IE8s beat the PFEs handily to me, not that I don't like the PFEs.

And with all your positive talk of the W3s and ES3X I kinda want to try the W3s even though I previously decided they weren't for me to see if I may like the ES3X. (As I typed that my brain was asking me what am I thinking, the IE8s sound perfect!)
post #2755 of 8031
btw how do you people keep up with thread?

lol i check it like twice a day and every time i look at it in the morning there is like 3 or 4 new pages on it
post #2756 of 8031
Quote:
Originally Posted by average_joe View Post
You have much more experience than I, and often know better ways to say things. That being said, I did not encounter any music where fast bass beats sounded slow on the IE8. Do you mean (in my speak) the PFEs don't reverberate as long as the IE8s on certain bass notes?

You didn't say the IE8 lacked detail (that I recall), but to my ears it has superiour detail to the PFE in the bass department. IMO it could be one of 3 things (or more that I haven't yet thought of): 1) my equipment couldn't handle the higher output requirements of the PFE, therefore the detail was reduced in the source; 2) the louder bass in the IE8s brought out the detail more to my ears; 3) the IE8 does have more bass detail

All I know is for me they beat the PFEs handily to me, not that I don't like the PFEs.

And with all your positive talk of the W3s and ES3X I kinda want to try the W3s even though I previously decided they weren't for me to see if I may like the ES3X. (As I typed that my brain was asking me what am I thinking, the IE8s sound perfect!)
I suppose I am trying to say is that the Phonak's bass seems to have a little faster attack and decay than the IE8 bass - starting and stopping a little quicker. Sometimes with the IE8 a string bass will sound like the sound pressure is building up a just little more slowly when striking or plucking the strings, instead of exploding out of the instrument. A good example is Portico Quartet "Black and White Sessions" in 24/96 format (optical out to iBasso D10), where the string bass is so heavily emphasized at times that it gets to be sounding a little slower and bloated at times. Early in the song "Dawn Patrol", when the string bass musician is plucking upper register strings the sound is fast and sharp, but as the song progresses he moves to the lower strings and plays it much louder - then the IE8 don't seem to keep as well any more and the illusion of real instruments goes out the door as it sounds more like a pounding electric bass.

The good news is that the hanging cymbal strikes are sounding more natural, like with Tord Gustavson Trio "Being There". This is also one of the CD's that does showcase when the bass speed, detail and transparency of the IE8 sounds good as well. But, that's exactly my problem. The IE8 are not tuned to sound consistently good with all my music, and while they can blow me away with "Being There" they can push me away with Shelby Lynn "Just a little Lovin" or Portico Quartet.
post #2757 of 8031
Excellent review Larry. I almost feel silly commenting on the IE8s after your detailed analysis. I am liking the IE8s, and hear many of the points you make in your review. And as you know, I have struggled with the W3s, trying to find the right tips for both SQ and comfort. Last night, Idid a little more W3 vs. IE8s listening, but this time, I returned to the modded tri-flanges. With many of the shorter tips (Shure yellow, Comply medium, olives ...small, medium, inverted...whatever, etc.), I just can't get a good seal in my right ear (seems the W3 shape and that ear just don't like each other). Left ear, no problems. Anyway, if I press on the phones lightly, I can hear the W3 in all its glory. But as soon as I let go, so long great sound.

So I realized I needed a deep tip to ever enjoy them. Otherwise, just too much fussing, pushing, squeezing, etc. So I trimmed the stalk a wee bit more, inserted them, and did some listening to several musical genres.

Here's what I found. With my Zune, which has no EQ, the W3s with the tri-flanges are much too dark, with the mids and highs much too veiled (no amp for my listening tests, and I only have the T4 right now, not a good match). The IE8s, however, mesh much better with the Zune, with the mids and highs coming though clean and clear, no sibilance at all (I am using the RE2 bi-flanges, which I favor for the IE8s by a landslide).

Now, when I moved to the Sony A818 and messed with the EQ a little, bringing up the mids and highs, the W3s sound wonderful. I hate to use the EQ at all, but hey, you have to do what you have to do.

Same with the Touch. I clicked on the treble boost (sounded better than the acoustic setting) and the W3s again really sounded fantastic, no harshness, not treble spikes, bass still full, mids luscious. I know, the Touch EQ is pretty poor on balance, but in this case, it worked for me.

Anyway, the long and short of it is I now have three excellent, but very different, IEMs, after much frustration (with the W3) and much burn-in (with the IE8s). The PFEs are among that trio, and your words pretty much cover that phone.

Heck, even the Monster Turbines have a place in my collection (good on the go, rugged phones with a nice dynamic SQ and excellent isolation).

I agree though on the IE8s when it comes to isolation. The RE2 bi-flanges work for me, but even when inserted at depth, they do not isolate enough (I can hear cars, for example, driving past outside), and my guess is the IE8s are not going to be the phones to use in loud conditions (planes, trains, etc.). For that, I have the Turbines or the W3s, as long as I use the Sony/Touch, and not the Zune. The PFEs are good with isolation too, but I need an amp to really enjoy them at the best.

I am still at around 170 hours with the IE8s, and I figure when I hit 250 hours, burn-in will cease. I can just sit back and enjoy these phones, finally.
post #2758 of 8031
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadphoneAddict View Post
....
And the scary part is that NONE of these are as good as my Westone ES3X that I reviewed in the Westone ES3X Appreciation Thread - if I weren't afraid to take my ES3X out of the house to be lost or damaged then I would have little need for any of the others. Most of my buying universal IEM these days is out of curiosity and from dozens of PM's asking me to compare them, since I was actually pretty happy once I got my W3 around Thanksgiving.
so curiosity is killing your wallet?
In a few months my wallet will be empty. saving up for a pair of the es3x. That should stop me from buying just because I haven't tried it before.

Some lucky person will be getting a good deal on a pair of used IE8s.
Oddly enough I've been using these for games more than music.
post #2759 of 8031
Quote:
Originally Posted by tstarn06 View Post
....
Now, when I moved to the Sony A818 and messed with the EQ a little, bringing up the mids and highs, the W3s sound wonderful. I hate to use the EQ at all, but hey, you have to do what you have to do.

Same with the Touch. I clicked on the treble boost (sounded better than the acoustic setting) and the W3s again really sounded fantastic, no harshness, not treble spikes, bass still full, mids luscious. I know, the Touch EQ is pretty poor on balance, but in this case, it worked for me.

Anyway, the long and short of it is I now have three excellent, but very different, IEMs, after much frustration (with the W3) and much burn-in (with the IE8s). The PFEs are among that trio, and your words pretty much cover that phone.
......
Your experience with the Westone's mirror mine in terms of sound quality. I've had no problems creating a seal, but I do enable the 'treble boost' EQ setting on my iPod to get, what I consider to be, a really nice sound for an IEM.

My IE8's arrived today, so I'll be giving them a 24 hour period of burn in before commenting on how they shape up after having listened to the W3 for several weeks.
post #2760 of 8031
Will be interested to hear your comparison. Do you also use the tri-flange sleeves with the W3s?
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