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Sennheiser OCX 880 - Page 2

post #16 of 30

Looking forward to your follow-up impressions.

Originally Posted by crushna View Post

I just got these yesterday and here are my impressions.

Out of the box--Too harsh....Highs are very irritating...

after one day of burn in--this seems to be improving but not very much....mids started to sound better....Still getting that irritating highs....and static crackling sounds at high volumes

I pity the people who bought these ones...for more than 40 of now there are not worth more than that...lets see after one more day of burn in.

I still got a question after reading this i have take the plugs out or not...? there seems to be contradicting views about that...Please suggest...

PS:I an not a noob for ear phones...i had etymotic research and shure before...but they were worn out.....jumped into this....looking at the price

The OCX880 is a bit harsh out of the box, though I found that to be the case with all Sennheisers. Give them some time and experiment with the tips. The OCX880s also sound better at lower volumes, so also keep that in mind.

If by "taking the plugs out" you're referring to removing the diaphragm guards, I would not recommend doing so in your case since you already find the earphones harsh and removing those foams can potentially make the sibilance worse.
post #17 of 30

If anybody has found a good balance with these, I'd love to hear.


With the diaphragm guards in, the bass is too muddy, but the highs are good. With the diaphragm guards out, the bass is perfect, but the highs are too grating. I also have a pair of CX300Bs, and right now, I prefer those. Even though the 300s sound more mediocre all the way around, they don't make my ears or mind hurt like the 880s.


If I could avoid the muddiness with the diaphragm guards in, or kill the harsh treble when I have them out, these would be amazing.


(n.b. I've only had these headphones for 4 days. I've been using them continuously (24/7) since I got them, but maybe my problems will get better with more burn-in?)

post #18 of 30
I'm really not understanding the whole "muddy" bass. The bass can be bit too abundant at times, but muddy it is not. If you want muddiness, the CX300's where it's at!

About the diaphragm guard mod: perhaps you have some other foam (from earbuds, etc.) lying around. You could stuff the nozzle with some other more porous foam to let through more of the higher frequencies while taming the sibilance. But really, I'm curious how you find the OCX880's bass to be muddy when I'm just not hearing it.
post #19 of 30
Originally Posted by kjk1281 View Post

But really, I'm curious how you find the OCX880's bass to be muddy when I'm just not hearing it.

I don't know. I readily admit that I am not an audiophile, but I just go what what my ears tell me. With the diaphragm guards in, the bass sounds like I'm listening to it through a brick wall. With them out, it sounds remarkably good, but the highs grate so much that it's nearly unbearable for me.


And yes, I would say the bass on the CX300s are "muddy" as well, but not as bad as the 880s with the guards in. I may also be incorrectly using the word "muddy," as I'm not sure what anyone else means when they say it. That's just the word that seems most appropriate to me to describe what I am hearing, like the bass is traveling to my ear through a sack filled with mud.

post #20 of 30
Apologies if I came across a bit strong. I'm just curious about the differences that everybody seems to be hearing. It's as if Gozzer and I have a completely different earphone!

When I use terms like "muddy" or "muffled", I usually mean that the sound is not clear, like when the bass overwhelms the midrange, or, as in the case of the CX300, even the treble. When I listen to the OCX880, I am hearing quite a bit of bass, but the lower frequencies seem to stay out of the way in all but the most bass-heavy of tracks.

I'm wondering if sources are a variable here. For the record, I mostly listen to the OCX880 plugged into a Sansa Clip +.
Fit can be another variable. I use the medium tips on the OCX880, and the fit is comfortable, but I don't have what I would consider to be a "perfect" seal. Maybe the OCX880 were designed to have a less-than-perfect seal for the best sound?
Also, as I mentioned earlier, I do try to listen at slightly lower volumes, which seem to sound better than when the volume is cranked up.
Burn-in is a possibility as well. I have noticed that the OCX880 does sound better after the first week or so, but that could also be me getting used to the signature.
Finally, if you're interested in experimenting with the diaphragm guards, it might be helpful to try some thinner foams to insert into the nozzle. This may give you less bass while taming the peaks in the upper mids / lower highs that are causing the discomfort.
post #21 of 30

All right guys! I have finished "burning in" my headphones... (I put in the quotation marks because I don't know if I really burned them completely in or not...)


Anyway, I used these songs to test their sound, and so I will use them again to put up a final review



White Winte Hymnal - Fleet Foxes (Lossless)

So originally, the "muddy" bass that seems to be in discussion above did come out. The best way to describe this is that the bass sounded like it was bottoming out, like pushing air past the magnets' limits, giving this not only grainy sound but also an unclear sound. Imagine eating a chocolate milkshake, and while you eat it, little bits of ice and chocolate powder mix are constantly making the shake very unclean.

However, after putting in more time to listen and working these magnets/armatures (did I use the right word?), the bass sounds much more controlled, almost like they have been significantly stretched out more to give them more room to move. And man, the bass is rich and warm, but not overpowering like one of those beats headphones; bottom line: they don't give you a headache.

The mid-range frequencies were also somewhat an issue before; again, the dirty chocolate milkshake analogy kicks in here, because quite frankly, the singers in this song sounded unprofessional, like their folk voices were that of someone who just had a few episodes of coughing. His voice sounded rough, but not exactly to the degree that it is immediately bad. Rather, I find that it sounds clearer now, where the guitars, voices, and everything else in this range is able to come out strong now and noticeable, not only just in the background, but much more upfront about things.


Monster - Kanye West (Lossless)

This song was hard to use as a test, because the original recording sounds dirty; every speaker and stereo system I've run this through, the musicians definitely placed some sort of overdrive/distortion on the voices and the bass drum as well as the treble electronic instruments.

However, after testing this after the burn-in, definitely noticing some improvements. The bass, again, doesn't taste like a dirty milkshake (this analogy is getting old). It sounds more supporting than annoying and grainy.

As for everything else, not much difference except that there is a better balance overall with the music. However, hip-hop music tends to lean towards the frequency extremities, meaning that the treble and bass frequencies tend to be always overpowering the mid. That's where this headphones work well; they help the rapper's voice come out, and not let it get overpowered by a droning bass track and bad-sounding electronics.

Really, these headphones take the imbalance out of hip-hop and just give it a smoother ride. I'm sure hip-hop listeners will get turned off by this, but then again, at least these headphones have a good-enough bass compared to the Ultimate Ears TripleFi 10 Noise-Isolating Earphones (more explaining will come... I promise).


Pins and Needles - Mutemath (mp3)

Immediately, the audience sounds super real (I'm listening to the live album). Now, I know that live sound systems and microphones use dynamic setups, that the microphones don't sound as good, and there is a drop in quality when it comes to the speaker quality, as well as a reverb from the stage.

And yet, the ride cymbal, the brush sticks on the tom, the up-right bass, the electronic keyboard, and the voice, all sound extremely sweet and clean, like as if the instruments all have room to breathe, not stuck in a cage, like most earbuds do to sound. I'm not saying these are the most amazing headphones ever, that they make the music breathe like open-can headphones, but they do make a wonderful replication of live sound, and these headphones' treble really comes out here, making the music sound exceptionally sweet.


Gratitude - Earth, Wind, and Fire (mp3)

Mmm... classics. I grew up listening to this not because I actually grew up in this time, but because my dad made sure my brother and I listen to everything he ever did (the Beatles, the Animals, the Cars, Eric Clapton, Led Zeppelin, Kiss, the BeeGees, Pink Floyd, even ABBA, and SO MANY OTHERS). Honestly, I love EWF; they are talented, got that relaxing groove with energy interlaced within their music, and wow, it's just good stuff. But because my dad is into music and speakers just as much as I am, I listened to EWF on some good speakers growing up, and it's hard to replicate that kind of quality with earbuds.

These headphones sound great with this song; a great balance with a shimmering electric guitar and sassy brass instruments with a funky bass line all work out great, but I can't say it's amazing. It's good, above par, but I just heard too many good sounds from speakers and better audio equipment to know what it's supposed to sound like, and although these earbuds have been doing well up to this point, it kind of felt, well... hollow. There just wasn't that same character from these earbuds than I wanted, a better blend of frequencies and voices. Everything kind of sounded slightly separated, like they weren't a band but just independent instruments playing at the same time. I guess one could argue that I have a problem with the musicians, not the headphones, but I did listen to these on a large variety of audio equipment, and I know what I'm looking for.

Another might say that speakers would of course have a better blend because they have more air to work with before the sound reaches me. True; earbuds/IEMs do not have as much air. However, this is my opinion, that these didn't do as well with EWF as it did with the more digitally produced songs, maybe because these tracks were originally recorded with different electronics than nowadays' artists. I don't know, but I'm just not satisfied with this performance. As a matter of fact, I am listening to more of their songs as I type this, and my critique is consistent with their other songs as well.


Hurts Like Heaven - Coldplay (lossless)

Before, the bass drum would always distort a little every time it was hit. Now, I tested this on my own audio system as well as a car stereo, and it distorted on all of them. Even my HD 595s had a hard time with the bass track, so I know it can't be these headphones.

(What is it with these new artists and their distortion? I want a clean sound; at least the EWF songs sounded clean, but these artists sound just too wrong and broken haha...)

I still love this song, and these earbuds deliver on this track; great bass, awesome handling of reverb, great attention to detail (I'm hearing sounds that I didn't hear from other audio systems... good stuff). These headphones are perfect with this style of sound.


Derezzed - Daft Punk (lossless)

That really, almost subsonic bass note, where the kick drum drops its frequency range and gets this extremely low rumble, does come out. Awesome. So the bass on these earbuds are quite decent, able to play really low frequencies.

When I first played this song, it was a bit less clean, but after burning it in, everything got slightly better. I got a cleaner sound, better balance, and a bit sweeter tweeter.



I guess this is it, or is it... Nope, I mentioned earlier that I compared these to the NuForce NE-700X. So, I listened to them with the same songs, and I have to say that the NuForce are definitely a good tier below. Their mid-range sound stuck... weird right? It sounds as if someone took a cup and sang into it (I'm talking about how the Fleet Foxes track sounded), and it doesn't have that brilliance and warmth that the OCX 880s have. Secondly, these headphones do pretty well with hip-hop music and the lower frequencies, but what that means is that this is not exactly a versatile earbud. They are good at playing hip-hop and low bass notes, but that's kind of it... balance wise, the OCXs are so much better. With the live track from MuteMath, again, that breathing issue really comes into play. When he makes an "s" sound, like in the lyrics, "pins and needles", it sounds like he has a lisp, like the sound went out of his mouth, back in, and out his nasal cavity, like he's singing with a circular head voice. What in the world... what a difference.


Finally, I said I would explain my Ulimate Ears reference. I tested my UEs' ability to play a really bassy song, Thom Yorke's solo work, remixed, called Skip Divided [ModeSelektor Remix], and they couldn't play it. They couldn't play a low-enough frequency to replicate the music accurately enough. That was my main issue with my UEs; they couldn't play my more bass-intense songs. I am a bit of a hip-hop lover myself, but I also love a large variety of sounds and music, and although the UE's couldn't play my more bass-heavy songs, they conquered everything else, and then some. So of course, I would say they are better than OCXs, but for the price, I don't know if I can confidently stand by the UEs that well...


Here's the price break-down:

Ultimate Ears TripleFi 10 Noise-Isolating Earphones: $400.00 (I got mine for 100)

NuForce NE-700X: $65.00

Sennheiser OCX 880: $200.00 (I got mine for 35)


When it comes to comfort, all three of them are not amazing, though I think that is simply the nature of headphones... The pressure they build up in my ear canal to create noise isolation sometimes hurts my ears. The UEs feel like they're falling out of my ears, causing me to constantly re-adjust the cords around my ears and pulling them up. The OCXs are a bit big (they can't go all the way in because the hole in them is really long and pushes against the inside of my ears), and so I don't get a really snug fit, making it more comfortable for me because then I don't get that weird pressure feeling. However, I'm sure it could sound better with a better fit. The 700Xs fit the best, but I still get that annoying pressure build up.


When it comes to walking and breathing, this is when I get most frustrated with these headphones. I hear all the air passing through my lungs and throat, sometimes even feeling my heartbeat. The headphones that was least annoying were the OCXs because they don't go in all the way and dangle on the top of my ears. The UEs needed constant adjusting while walking, and the 700Xs are in so well that every step made a bass sound and every breath sounded like an ocean.


I honestly think that I got lucky when it comes to prices; clearly, if you can avoid it, don't get forced to buy the NuForce. Get the OCX 880s, be patient, and break them in. I promise you, I'm just getting sadder as I continually compare my 880s to my 700Xs. But, if you can grab a pair of UEs, get that (if you have the money).


Really, what this settles down to is what kind of music do you like? After all, all these headphones are about the best music reproduction. If you're like me and like genres and genres and styles and world musics and stuff like that, OCX all the way; you don't get that kind of neutrality for that kind of price ever (I'm talking if you can get it for 35). But if you don't really listen to electronic, experimental, hip-hop, dance, R&B, etc. and other bass heavy songs, then get the UEs, but I recommend only get them if you are serious about the price commitment and honestly want only the best natural sound reproduction (i.e. violins, pianos, orchestras, etc.) in the IEM market.


Thanks guys for reading this, and I hope this helps a lot. I spent a good amount of effort, and I hope it satisfies.


Happy listening! smily_headphones1.gif


post #22 of 30
Great review aeromaniac! I'm glad to see that you're enjoying these as much as I do.
post #23 of 30

I don't know if the sibilance has been toned down after use or if my ears are more used to it, but it has gotten better with time. Still noticeable and mildly irritating, but it doesn't make my ears hurt anymore; and, if I cut 7 kHz by 4-5db with the equalizer, I don't notice it at all.


In any case, I have been getting more and more satisfied with these earphones as time goes on.

post #24 of 30
Originally Posted by armetilou View Post

I don't know if the sibilance has been toned down after use or if my ears are more used to it, but it has gotten better with time. Still noticeable and mildly irritating, but it doesn't make my ears hurt anymore; and, if I cut 7 kHz by 4-5db with the equalizer, I don't notice it at all.

In any case, I have been getting more and more satisfied with these earphones as time goes on.

I do think the OCX880s sound better with time. I'll be the first to admit that, in my experience, the OCX880s sounded like crap fresh out of the box. They were harsh, sibilant, and the bass had nowhere near the control that they possess now. It's hard to say whether this is burn-in, getting the fit just right, or something else entirely, but the change is noticeable with nearly all of the Sennheiser canalphones I've tried so far.

How's the bass sounding to you now? Curious if you've noticed any improvements in that area.
post #25 of 30

I think how people view bass also has a pretty good factor due with their innitial influence of which IEM that they are comparing to.


My first set was the CX300, and through time I became trained to that sound signature. And when I tried my co-worker's ER-4P I thought it was so bad. (this was years and years ago)


I have recently started on the SE215 and was confused why people say it's bassy. But then I soon realized it's all because of a difference of scale when being compared.


For me the OCX 880 even straight out of the box has great defination in all three areas. The bass is strong bodied and does not overlap the other two. My first impression.  

post #26 of 30
Thread Starter 

Just took good listen to these again.  Keeping in mind that my goto IEM;'s lately have been the RE-262, RE-0 and HF-5's.

They aren't as bad as I may have bashed them to be.  Pairing them up with a Fiio E17 certainly has some benefits. The base seems to be a little tighter and the mids present themselves a little more. Also using Comfy Foam tips created the best fit and do tame some of sibilance in highs.


The strength of the 880's is the base. It is abundant however for the amount there is, it is well controlled.  When comparing base to the RE-0, the the RE-0 have less base however it is better controlled and more detailed than the 880's


The 880's sound good with most songs especially those demanding base such as Rock electronica, pop  and hip hop.




post #27 of 30

Has anyone compared these to the CX870's?  They seem to be the 880 without the vol pot, as well as without the over ear design.  However I am interested in picking up a pair of these as the price is quite right.

post #28 of 30

What I'd really want to see is the OCX880 vs CX980. (I have the latter) I'm pretty sure their drivers are different, but I'm not doing this unless I can get the OCX880 for real cheap.


Compared the CX980 against the IE7 at a Toronto meet and the CX980 was better to me personally. Unfortunately, there wasn't an IE8 at the meet, and I didn't get to compare them against the EX1000 (which would've beaten it anyway)

post #29 of 30

Reviving this old thread just because I'm happy with my OCX 880s.  I got them in 2011 for $49, but just opened them today.  Been testing some different phones and players as I think about ripping my collection this winter.  Today was test day 1 for my iPhone 5s.  I didn't really like the Sony XBA-3ip earphones I got for it, I had got them because they had the mic and convenient multifunction player control and seemed to have a good reputation, not to mentioned the triple driver sounded like it should deliver a great sound.  I generally don't like IEM, but quality earbuds these days are almost a rare item, so I tried them. 


The 880s are the most comfortable IEMs I have tried and to me the sound quality exceeds the XBA-3 which is quite a surprise given they cost more than double.  The base on the 880s is a very nice balance, and the mid range for vocals sounds clear. I think I like the overall signature of earphones which shocks me because they are IEM, but they are also the most comfortable IEM I've tried.


Still trying to find all my earphones to get a better idea what I need for this particular player and what might be a good general pair I might like for multiple sources. 


Is there any significant upgrade (meaning in the same family of sorts) to the 880 from Sennheiser?

post #30 of 30

Well I bought them when many of you did back when they were $35 on newegg. Newegg had went nuts with sales that week and I ended up with 3 freaking pair os senn IEM, two I have sold off long ago but I kept these but I hadn't really listened to them that much because very quickly after ordering these I went for Miles Davis Tributes for $130. Anyway I have to agree muddy to me I mean jesus the bloat in the base was overwhelming to me. I have just now today listened to them again for first time in the year since I bought them as the MD's blow away these 880's out of the water. Entirely difference class.


But anyway I don't have these 880's and haven't done the mod you guys mention. But they certainly do have base in spades it seems to me. Although that might have to do with me coming off a two day listening binge with my Senn 650 Ovation II's 20 yr old killer senn's which are so detailed and crisp its crazy, they just lack stronger bass.


I'm wondering any trick to doing the mod, just remove the tips and take out the cover , I'm not really sure how or what is meant to be done and I don't want to ruin them as they are still pretty good. I can't even remember if I ever broke them in but for that $35 I wasn't going to pass them up.

Edited by hdtv00 - 2/15/14 at 8:17pm
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