Okay, I previously posted that my research suggested that the IE8 only benefit slightly from amping. I found my old, cheap Boostaro in the garage and hooked it up to see what happened.
Working with you here with the following. The IE8's came in and yes, they're the real deal. They now have about twenty or thirty hours on them in burn-in time.
I was not a happy camper with the sound quality issuing forth from a two year old Sansa Clip. I was not happy with how the burn-in was going as I was clearly expecting a whole lot more out of the burn-in process. The IE8's continued to have a compressed sound quality and an ill defined bass quality. Enters the FiiO E-7. I had an abandoned E-7 sitting to the side and decided to charge it up, plug the IE8 into the E-7 and see what transpired. And "BOY!" did it make a difference.
Now I'm not saying the E-7 is the "Cat's meow." What I'm writing is that by attaching the IE8 to a separate amp, the IE8's came alive and yes, the IE8's easily and clearly benefited from amping. Due to this point, I'm now looking at higher end DAP's like either the Nationite S:Flo2 or the HiFi Man HM-801 or the addition of an iBasso D12, the replacement version of the D10.
I might tag onto the end, I'm not looking for the end-all, esoteric sound quality, I'm simply looking for "quality" sound and I'm hoping or guessing that I'll find this in the Nationite S:Flo2. In the end, I'm trying to keep both my mind and my options open in this regard.
Glad to hear an amp brought them to life for you. If you're going for portable use then a iBasso T3 wouldn't be bad. I have/had a D4 and i just couldnt bare to take it out of my bag because it was too much gear. Although, I have to say the D4 really makes these babes sing.
The best sound quality I've managed to achieve is through the use of EQ on my Cowon J3. The difference is quite literally night and day...