- Overall excellent sound
- Bass knob (but you won't use it much, trust me)
- Improved highs over the IE7's
- Extremely ergonomic shape
- Removable cables
- Durable case that looks nice when placed on a desk
- There is a mid bass hump which may become distracting at times, but you can EQ that out
- Ear clip is real annoying to get right and easy to lose if you use it together with the shirt clip
- Bulky case is not really pocket friendly
- isolation is moderate, sometimes its more then enough but may also be a little lacking depending on the situation
- you can't use the bass knob without taking off the headphones or without the tool
- nickel coated jack (microphonics are acceptable but still gold plated would have been much better especially for a pair of headphones at this price)
- mids and highs seem a tad veiled as they are not really upfront and engaging
Comparison between the IE 7's and IE 8's
What the IE 8's have over the IE 7's
- Bass knob
- Detachable cable
- One more type of ear adapter
- Better highs
- Better soundstage
What IE 7's have over IE8's
- cheaper price
- mids/vocals are more upfront (personal preference but I think hearing a tad more vocals on the IE 8's like the IE 7's are better)
Honestly sound-wise the IE 8's are definitely better but it depends on if you don't plan on a cable upgrade or don't mind changing not being able to change the bass, the IE 7's are perfect (shame it's gone).
The IE 8's themselves are nearly identical to the IE 7's in sound with the exception of the bass hump and the improved highs. But there are still differences.
|Everything that comes in the box|
The highs have definitely improved over the IE 7's sound as the speed of the treble has improved, it sounds clearer and doesn't seem to have that problem with sounding harsh. They sound nice and crisp and there is that nice sharp sound the treble should have.Though still not enough to compete with the HD 558 treble, which I would say is nearly unrivaled until you get the the high end 600+ spectrum.
You have the crisp and nice mids that you would expect from a high end headphone, though I found the IE 8's mids to be less engaging and outspoken when compared to some other headphones I've listened to like the Shure SRH 440, HD558, HD 650, or the IE 7's to name a few and took a little getting used to. In my opinion the mids can stick out a little more to prevent a small "veiled" effect that I found at times. But overall, they are still very much enjoyable but my personal preference tells me that these headphones would be just so much better if they weren't so laid back.
YOU HAVE A FREAKING BASS KNOB! But I do regret to tell you that this is a feature that you will most definitely rarely use except for EQ'ing your sound. I find the bass knob useful for when changing between genres but I barely use it as the IE 8's on lowest settings are more then enough.
So you have 5 bass settings, I'm not going to go into how each of these notches sound like but basically from it goes from a HD 558 sound signature to the near unbearable Beats Studio, I just want to run out of my house and scream, sub-woofer level.
|The Sennheiser IE 8's in the case|
Now here is a little compairison of bass to all of you who may not have heard either of these headphones. For knob 1, its like you're listing to your average headphones/speakers with a balance of bass, mids and highs, but when you are on the 5th knob, you get nearly overpowering bass that makes a song like Maroon 5's Makes Me Wonder have ground-shaking bass.
The physical bass itself is nice and tight and doesn't cover any of the tones even on the highest bass settings (still need to do more testing on it though), and I wouldn't say that the IE 8's are the most outspoken of these headphones either unless you go past the 4th notch which is really nice.
The infamous bass hump is definitely evident, but doesn't seem to affect me too much as most songs I listen to have a set range of bass that is either in the bass hump or outside of it. So most of the time, the most annoyance you will ever get from the bass hump is the infrequency between bass between songs (but then again, this is partially because of the way the song was recorded).
Just a friendly warning just in case you are tempted to listen to any bass heavy song with highest bass knob setting, beware that you may feel like that you're brain may be melting from the low rhythmic rumble of the bass simulating an earthquake around you.
Now going back to my statement about closed headphones, even though the IE 8's are closed and noise isolating to an extent, they still sound like they're coming from a speaker in the room, the headphones still feel like they're giving off 3D sound from about 3cm away from your ears. The soundstage is really dynamic on these headphones and it doesn't just seem like the sound sound is just coming from earbuds in your ears, but more like sound coming from around you. There have been times that I thought some of the sounds in a song were sounds leaking in from outside and actually look over in that direction. So in my opinion, these headphones have amazing soundstage that can beat or rival most headphones.
Being a person who usually listens to headphones/audio sources that have really upfront mids and highs, the IE 8's take some getting use to, but after that, they sound absolutely phenomenal. Comparing them to the IE 7's and other headphones, I find that the extra $120 or so that you may spend is very justifiable if you can afford to pay the extra as the improvements in sound and the extra features you get make this a very nice upgrade from almost any headphone. I find that this is a very user based headphone as you have the option of adjusting the sound as well as having the freedom to re-cable your headphones to increase their longevity and improve their sound depending on the quality of your new cable. The isolation is kind of iffy for me depending on where I am and what tips I'm using but it's generally adequate for every situation you may be listening to music to (with the exception of in the busy city, which is not a bad thing as it can become a serious danger hazard). I really love how these headphones manage to give you amazing sound without an expensive and/or bulky setup to run at its full potential, so I think that these are the perfect headphones for you if you're someone that tends to travel a lot and has high expectations for sound (businessmen and students, you'll like this one A LOT).
Effects of Burn In
Burn in, as I have already said in the Audio 101 is a phenomenon affects dynamic drivers. I've seen many who have said that the IE 8's suck and sound like a pair of, quote, "$40 headphones". I don't agree with them sounding that bad out of the box, but they definitely don't sound like $400 headphones either. Even though burn in isn't confirmed by or spoken of by any audio company (at least as far as I know of) because of various different reasons, it is clearly evident that it affects the IE 8's. With burn in, the bass hump and bass level improves along with the soundstage just to name a few. Currently I have about 100 hours of burn in on my IE8's and it's still changing so it's definitely true when people say that these headphones need 200+ hours of burn in.