Hello everyone, I recently purchased a set of Sennheiser IE8s from an authorized retailer in NYC for the full retail price of $400.
A few weeks later, I saw a pair of Sennheiser IE8s on eBay for around $200. The seller had ~300+ positive feedback and had 100% feedback as well. The pictures that he included all looked like real IE8s when compared to mine.
So I went ahead and purchased them. However, when I got them and listened to them, I immediately knew they were fake. The sound was nothing similar to my IE8s out of the box. And though I know that the IE8s require hours of burn-in, this particular seller said that he had burned in the IEMs for around 20+ hours already. And honestly, they just sounded like trash. Not to mention that the left IEM had significantly lower volume than the right one.
The build quality is shockingly similar to the genuine IE8s. I can say this because when I first held them, I thought they were as real as the IE8s I purchased from my local authorized dealer. Very hard to tell they are fakes unless you have real IE8s by your side for comparison. But the giveaways are:
1) The fake IE8s have two thicker lines surrounding the S in the Sennheiser logo. The genuine Sennheisers have two very thin lines surrounding the S.
2) The R/L signs on the real IE8s are angled to fit the contour of the body. The fakes don't have this angled contour, and they are more or less straight "printed" on the body.
3) The genuine IE8s have this red type of wire/chip or something near the input into the driver (since you can see it through the transparent wiring). The fake IE8s lacked this red chip or whatever it is. This wire/chip is visible on the inside of the jack on BOTH drivers, though it is more easily noticed on the right driver.
4) The fake IE8s have this weird discoloration on the left and right sides of the "S" in the Sennheiser logo (on the IEMs themselves). There is some faint green splotching/discoloration on either side of the "S" within the logo (not outside the logo). The discoloration is barely noticeable, but can be seen when held up to a good light source. This discoloration is nonexistent on the genuine IE8s. The Sennheiser logo is flush along a black/dark grayish color with no discoloration on the genuine IE8s.
5) The fake IE8s seem to be a tad bit bigger than the real IE8s. The curvature on the body itself is also less accentuated than genuine IE8s. The fake IE8 body seems more "boxy" while the real IE8s seem more "organic" in their curvature.
And of course the sound. The bass was muffled, over-pronounced. No soundstage whatever. Horrible treble. They were not genuine Sennheisers.
In addition, the packaging on the genuine IE8s have this pronounced texture on the outside where you can feel the headphones (I forgot what this is called, it's basically like raised so you can "feel" the imprint on the front). The fake IE8 packaging barely has this pronunciation of the texture. Also, the fake IE8 packaging is significantly lighter/faded than the real IE8 packaging. However, the fake box also has the hologram sticker just as the real box does; both stickers are indistinguishable from one another.
So I've decided to include some pictures for you all for comparison. I've tried to make them as detailed as possible.
EDIT: I have added an extra picture showing that the real IE8 box has the barcode starting AFTER the "R" in the word Sennheiser whereas the fake box has the barcode starting when the "R" begins in the word Sennheiser.**
**This does NOT apply to all cases. Your packaging might have the barcode starting at "R" and still can be genuine. This is just to put it out there, since my fake box had this minor detail.
Other factors should be considered beside the barcode.
Also, please note that the person who I purchased the IEMs from did not know they were fake, since he bought them on eBay "New/Sealed" himself. It wasn't until I notified him with substantial evidence that he realized that they were fake. I was able to get my money back, but others might not be so lucky.
What's scary is that a lot of the eBay listings will use REAL IE8 PICTURES but send you FAKE IE8s.
Watch out for this. I suggest everyone to just buy IE8s from an authorized dealer either from the internet or locally. If a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
Hopefully my pictures will help!!
Edited by SolidVictory - 5/16/10 at 5:10am