nice and very informative review on page 1 and thread in general - thanks a lot for the effort!
only recently and after an extensive and expensive search for the perfect earphones I found out by accident, that I enjoy earbuds the most, more than IEMs and even my big headphones.
This is mainly due to the easy fit and open sound of the buds which leads to a nice and natural soundstage. Being light and comfortable and having no seal, it is also easy to forget about them in your ears and they sound more like speakers than any other form of ear/head-phones IMO.
Unfortunately, I found this out only recently and after spending a large amount of cash on headphones and IEMs.
When I cleaned up my basement 2 months ago I found my old Sony e888 earbuds in a little box with my Sony MD Player which I packed away when we moved 10 years ago. They were like new and practically unused when I packed them away and now that I found them again they are vintage, haha.
I bought those e888 around the year 2000 and totally forgot about them. However this old gems IMO still deliver!
I searched up this thread as I wanted to read how these oldie-buds keep up to recent technology and was surprised to see them being rated far worse compared to other earbuds (last one of the „good“ ones). I don’t intend to disagree and totally respect the reviewers effort and opinion as I haven’t heard the other earbuds mentioned in the round-up (except the Sennheiser mx985).
However, I had the great opportunity to try some well regarded IEMs, thanks to a very generous friend and fellow head-fier (james, if you ever happen to read this, thanks a LOT!)
Many of those IEMs were great and some of them really amazed me (like the AKG 3003, jvc fx700, ie800, sony ex1000 and others), but the Sony e888 still have the most natural sound IMO. It's not the best, the others are technically much better, but the e888 sounds IMO more natural (maybe its a coloration, I don't know). Maybe because of the earbud design that just suits me better but also the bio-cellulose driver of the e888 sounds very clean and effortless for a dynamic one. It sounds similar to Vsonic Gr07 mk2 but without the subbass due to earbud design, but with better soundstage and midrange.
I am not skillful enough to point out subtle differences of sounds as I am not a musician, I just enjoy music and my search for the perfect sound was to find the (to me) most natural sounding phone. So maybe it is just the nostalgia factor that brain-washes me, and the e888 isn‘t actually as good as I think. I also have to admit, that in general I prefer dynamic driver sound to balanced armatures. BAs though often clearer than DDs just don‘t create the same kind of emotion and thus sound less natural to me. ( btw I have no experience with CIEMs)
The dilemma is also, that I haven’t even been to live performances that often and can’t objectively say if an instrument sounds natural or not, so please take my findings with a large spoon of salt and as just my own humble opinion!
So for me the e888 beats my Sennheiser ie80 and Hifiman re262 as well as my big guys - Grado RS1i, Grado 325i (which I love for its PRaT), Hifiman HE400 and Sony 7520 in the naturality of the sound presentation!
To cut the story short, I bought the Sennheiser MX985 some weeks ago due to its well regarded sound quality. I just wanted the best earbud on the market (I also have the Blox TM7 coming in soon, which I am also eager to compare).
When I put the mx985 in my ears (after some burn in) I like the sound quality with the nice punchy mid-bass and the clear sound. It is very enjoyable and sounds like a good modern earbud without reasonable flaws but the subtle details and „magic“ in the voices and the natural instrument placement and sound just isn’t there compared to the Sony.
There are many reviews of the e888 which state that it is just an average earphone, but maybe there are just too many fakes around or Sony had bad quality control back then (or more likely my ears just hear differently), I don’t know. I have the japanese version and my source is the Hifiman hm801, so maybe it is just a good match between them, as my sansa clip+ doesn’t show the full potential of the soundstage that is possible with these earbuds.
So the point of this whole writing is to show that those old vintage earbuds still deliver and if you find one on ebay or whereever just grab them. I am also dreaming of those nice Aiwa phones, but they are just so hard to get.
Sorry for bothering you with a long read, guess I just have to admit, that I am a total e888-fanboy. However, there is just something about earbuds, that I guess only us earbud afficionados can understand. I am glad I finally found out :)
Edited by costas23 - 2/17/14 at 10:30am