New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Sennheiser IE800 IEM's - Page 37

post #541 of 2492

Well, I thought I'd create some sort of IE800 overview by updating my first impressions with recent findings and a short comparison to the FX700. New additions are in blue lettering:

 

- As eaino has mentioned, these are designed to be worn downward only. I had a hard time getting an over-ear fit, it's doable, but the upper cables are very short. I was tempted to cut off the cable cinch to gain one more centimeter.

 

- To go from bad to worse, upper cables are rather microphonic and the IE800's deep-fitting tiny earpieces only exacerbate the problem. Probably would be best to wear them over-ear and tighten the cinch behind the neck, but I didn't get to try that.

 

I really cannot recommend wearing the IE800 over the ear. There are additional downsides, apart from their too short cable, like increased sibilance and disjointed soundstage. I've resigned to wearing them downwards and think that Sennheiser should at least include a shirt clip to tame cable microphonics (detailed explanation in this post). Microphonics is acceptable with a shirt clip, or when you just use the short cabled IE800 with a headset.

 

- Plug at the Y-split is 2.5mm, meaning no direct plugging into a 3.5mm wireless headset. Bummer.

 

The inexpensive Nokia AD-53 adapter fits perfectly (same low profile as the IE800 plug, suitable for the IE800's recessed socket). Despite being a 4-pole design, it works great with all HPOs I've tried. Problem solved.

 

 

- Tips are proprietory (as eaino has mentioned) and click onto the earpieces, so there's no nozzle to speak of and no way to use third party tips, except for mounting them on top of the stock tips (if possible - haven't tried it)

 

There are 5 sizes of tips included, so in all likelyhood they'll fit all ears. The largest tips are slightly smaller than the large UE TF10 silicons, but you can stuff foamies or silicons with a wide opening underneath, to achieve a better fit with very wide ear canals. (pics to follow)

 

The main problem I see with these proprietory tips, is that you have only one pair for each size. So if you happen to lose just a single tip, you'll need to buy spare parts from Sennheiser.

 

- Build quality feels top-notch overall.

 

- Bass: too much (not again, Sennheiser!). It's less boomy and better controlled than on the IE8/80 and probably peaks a tad further down (good extension!), but definitely still too much for a high-end phone, at least in quiet surroundings.

 

Ok, let's put things into perspective: low bass is significantly boosted, but mid/upper bass only to a lesser extent, and the mids are left completely unaffected. Compared to the FX700, the IE800's bass feels only slightly less punchy, but since more energy originates from deep bass than from mid/upper bass, the Senns' mids remain considerably less warm than the JVC's. While I still consider such a sound signature as too bassy for a high-end phone, it's on the other hand very well suited for outside use, where ambient noise tends to drown out bass above all else.

 

- Mids: Clear, detailed, smooth. Very nice and a significant step up from the IE8/80. Slightly more forward, but not in your face. Me likes.

 

Compared to the FX700, mids are much more neutral (less warm) and crystal clear. The JVCs mids are only slightly more laid back, but noticeably more veiled by upper bass warmth.

 

- Highs: Extended and extremely clear, but borderline thin, sharp and sibilant. Remind me a bit of the PFE232's, though the latter were less prone to sibilance when I tested them. Maybe playing with tips and fit will improve that impression (didn't have much time to try), but as it stands these sound potentially more problematic than the EX1000 to my ears.

 

Wearing the IE800 over-ear allows for a deeper fit, which results in slightly more forward and sibilant highs. I honestly think the IE800 may be tuned for cable-downward fit only, because the shallower seal that comes with it results in less sibilance. Since both the housing and tips feature a metal grill, it's easy to add additional dampening in form of a small piece of cotton swab or low densitity foam between the grilles (thanks to tomscy2000 for the suggestion!):

 

 

Compared to the FX700, both share similar treble presence and detail, but the IE800's highs are slightly thinner and sharper. There's a tad of splashiness with cymbals on the Senns that isn't there on the JVCs. Subjectively, I'd think the FX700's highs are ever so slightly more natural.

 

- Transparency: Pretty good throughout the midrange and highs, but noticeably impaired by exaggerated bass.

 

The IE800's exaggerated bass is much less distracting in a noisy environment, therefore perceived transparency is better outside than indoors. Compared to the FX700, the IE800 win hands down in transparency, due to a significantly less warm and more neutral midrange.

 

It's also worth mentioning that the IE800's earpieces are extremely lightweight and you can hardly feel them in your ears, which is an additional plus for perceived transparency.

 

- Isolation: It was too quiet in the booth to say for sure, but definitely better than the IE8/80.

 

The IE800's isolation is better when worn over-ear with a deeper fit, but (as mentioned above) there are downsides to that. With cable-down you get just about 15mm depth until the strain reliefs prevent further insertion, so that's a rather shallow fit with only medium isolation. I'd think, still a bit better than the IE8/80 (and of course, the FX700), but clearly below the isolation level of Westones and Shures.

 

700

 

 

- Soundstage: Sorry to disagree with eaino, but they just don't sound that extra spacious to my ears. I brought my IE8 along to compare and they sounded larger and more out-of-head than the IE800. Still nice width and depth for isolating IEMs though.

 

- Separation/Imaging: Excellent, courtesy of very clear mids and highs. Nice 3D presentation with good space around instruments.

 

Last not least, a personal note: people keep asking me "so you don't like the IE800, huh?". They couldn't be further from the truth. For my intended use, a short-cabled pair of IEMs to complete my wireless rig (SGS3 > HS3000 > IE800), they're almost perfect. Their slightly bassy signature is well-suited for commuting, and they sound clearly better overall than the IE8 and SE530 I've been using so far. I would have preferred an over-ear fit, but can live with wearing them downwards, since there's only little microphonics from the short cable between headset and earpieces.

 

But recommending them for long-cabled and/or home use, in consideration of their steep asking price, is another matter altogether. As is mostly the case, things aren't black and white with the IE800 either. Thanks for your understanding. smile_phones.gif


Edited by james444 - 11/26/12 at 6:49am
post #542 of 2492
I was hoping it'd crush the FX700 in all aspects, but the price just doesn't seem reasonable - considering you can get the FX700 for pretty cheap nowadays. Can the resolution challenge multi-BAs like UE900 or Heir 4.Ai?
post #543 of 2492
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ultrazino View Post

I was hoping it'd crush the FX700 in all aspects, but the price just doesn't seem reasonable - considering you can get the FX700 for pretty cheap nowadays. Can the resolution challenge multi-BAs like UE900 or Heir 4.Ai?

 

Do you mean resolution around 4kHz? wink.gif  (Sorry, couldn't resist redface.gif)

 

Joking aside, I haven't heard either, but I'd consider the FX700 at eye level with the JH13 and UERM in treble detail, so the IE800 would be there, too. The Senn's mids are amazingly detailed and very likely on par with multi-BAs, but their bass will probably lose out in detail to a W4 or UERM by a slight margin.

post #544 of 2492

Thanks James for the update. How is your EQ'ed IE8 compared to the un-EQ'ed IE800 - Is the IE800 a clear choice?

post #545 of 2492

dang, our friendly marketing manager from sennheiser asia didnt bring the ie800 for demo because it will be "released" by early 2013 =(

post #546 of 2492
Quote:
Originally Posted by DMinor View Post

Thanks James for the update. How is your EQ'ed IE8 compared to the un-EQ'ed IE800 - Is the IE800 a clear choice?

 

Definitely. The IE800 sound overall clearer, more detailed, and have tighter bass. You can EQ the IE8's bass hump, but that has little influence on the transients... they'll still sound boomier and less controlled than the IE800.

 

However, as already suspected, the IE800's improved clarity comes at the cost of soundstage size and forward projection, since vocals sound closer and more intimate in comparison with the IE8.

post #547 of 2492
Quote:
Originally Posted by james444 View Post

 

Definitely. The IE800 sound overall clearer, more detailed, and have tighter bass. You can EQ the IE8's bass hump, but that has little influence on the transients... they'll still sound boomier and less controlled than the IE800.

 

However, as already suspected, the IE800's improved clarity comes at the cost of soundstage size and forward projection, since vocals sound closer and more intimate in comparison with the IE8.


Hey James I was curious would you be interested in picking up a pair of FX800s and doing a comparison lol. They are indeed an upgrade over the FX700 according to the information provided on them. But what has me baffled is if they didn't improve the mid-range? At least from what I gathered from the translation they further improved treble and bass response on them using an even bigger wooden driver. The wiring also looks to be more sturdy. Similar design as the FX700 old housing though. I really loved the FX700 but couldn't not stand the recessed mids on them. If they fixed that I'd be all over them like rice cake in a manuapua man van lol ;).

post #548 of 2492

I'm getting the impression they are a rich mans EQ7 with a midbass boost.
 

My 100th post and it only took me 6.5 years lol.


Edited by dwizard - 11/26/12 at 5:26am
post #549 of 2492
Quote:
Originally Posted by lee730 View Post

Hey James I was curious would you be interested in picking up a pair of FX800s and doing a comparison lol. They are indeed an upgrade over the FX700 according to the information provided on them. But what has me baffled is if they didn't improve the mid-range? At least from what I gathered from the translation they further improved treble and bass response on them using an even bigger wooden driver. The wiring also looks to be more sturdy. Similar design as the FX700 old housing though. I really loved the FX700 but couldn't not stand the recessed mids on them. If they fixed that I'd be all over them like rice cake in a manuapua man van lol ;).

 

Actually, listening to the FX700 and the IE800 side by side, has shown me how much my preference has been evolving towards a less exaggerated low end. Even the IE800 have slightly too much bass quantity for my taste (at least in a quiet environment) and the FX700's midbass warmth is at the very upper limit of what I'm willing to tolerate. In short, no interest in the FX800 unless they're significantly less bassy than the FX700.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dwizard View Post

I'm getting the impression they are a rich mans EQ7 with a midbass boost.
 

My 100th post and it only took me 6.5 years lol.

 

Replace midbass with low bass and add a little high end extension, and you have a pretty apt description of the IE800.

 

Congrats on post #100, hope you'll make it to headphoneus supremus within your lifespan, lol. wink.gif

post #550 of 2492

So there's not that big of a difference between the e-Q5/7 and the IE 800?
 

post #551 of 2492
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaffeemann View Post

So there's not that big of a difference between the e-Q5/7 and the IE 800?

 

Define "that big of a difference". wink.gif  They're not in a completely different league, if that's what you mean. At least not in my book. I'm sure there will be others, who'll say the IE800 blow them out of the water, lol.

post #552 of 2492

Thanks for the awesome reviews, james444 and others. I'm looking to buy IEMs for the first time (as opposed to using those which came with my Galaxy S II that I listen to music with), so I'm trying to weigh all options from a point of view of having no experience with any of them.

 

I was lurking around the site, and I found a top tier comparison chart[0] which would suggest that the SM3 is among the best IEMs out there, and I've also just been reading james444's FI-BA-SS review[1] which is dripping with praise even in comparison to the SM3. I'd be curious to know how the IE800 compares to these, both for an ideal listening environment and also for commuting (my primary use case -- I have a set of HD800s for home listening).

 

james444 made mention that the deep bass emphasis in the IE800 is actually desirable for commuting, so I'm now uncertain whether going for a more balanced FR is going to be a mistake.

 

I'm not averse to spending the price of the IE800 on IEMs, but the impression I get from this thread so far is that the IE800s aren't worth that price tag (as good as they may be). Please correct me if you think I've got the wrong idea.

 

Thanks again, and I appreciate any information you can provide on the above.

 

[0] http://www.head-fi.org/a/top-tier-universal-iem-comparison-chart-and-information

[1] http://www.head-fi.org/t/503801/review-impressions-of-the-final-audio-design-fi-ba-ss-versus-the-sm3-fx700-and-e-q7

post #553 of 2492
Quote:
Originally Posted by StevenM89 View Post

Thanks for the awesome reviews, james444 and others. I'm looking to buy IEMs for the first time (as opposed to using those which came with my Galaxy S II that I listen to music with), so I'm trying to weigh all options from a point of view of having no experience with any of them.

 

I was lurking around the site, and I found a top tier comparison chart[0] which would suggest that the SM3 is among the best IEMs out there, and I've also just been reading james444's FI-BA-SS review[1] which is dripping with praise even in comparison to the SM3. I'd be curious to know how the IE800 compares to these, both for an ideal listening environment and also for commuting (my primary use case -- I have a set of HD800s for home listening).

 

james444 made mention that the deep bass emphasis in the IE800 is actually desirable for commuting, so I'm now uncertain whether going for a more balanced FR is going to be a mistake.

 

I'm not averse to spending the price of the IE800 on IEMs, but the impression I get from this thread so far is that the IE800s aren't worth that price tag (as good as they may be). Please correct me if you think I've got the wrong idea.

 

Thanks again, and I appreciate any information you can provide on the above.

 

[0] http://www.head-fi.org/a/top-tier-universal-iem-comparison-chart-and-information

[1] http://www.head-fi.org/t/503801/review-impressions-of-the-final-audio-design-fi-ba-ss-versus-the-sm3-fx700-and-e-q7

 

Hi Steven, welcome to head-fi! Be prepared for a myriad of different (and conflicting) opinions... wink.gif

 

I'll keep mine short, scratch the SM3 if the HD800 are your reference. These are just too thick and dark in comparison. The FI-BA-SS would be more up your alley, but their cables are somewhat precarious and you'd have to treat them with kid gloves. The IE800 have some similarities to the HD800 in the mid/upper range, but noticeably more boosted lows. Like you said, I believe the latter is actually desirable for commuting (especially with low/medium isolating IEMs), but there are conflicting opinions on that, too.

 

On second thought, seeing this is your first venture into the territory, why not start with something like the Vsonic GR07, which are pretty well balanced, 90% up to top tier sound quality and will let you gather more experience with IEMs with little financial risk.

post #554 of 2492
Quote:
Originally Posted by StevenM89 View Post


This is the first time I've seen someone do citations on a post! Awesome! I might steal that idea from you...

BTW, [0] is very outdated. I would hardly think that even Average_Joe would believe the SM3 is a top-tier IEM anymore (though I don't think he has used universals for a very long time).

For TOTL universals, I'd first consider usage habits. Do you prefer an over-the-ear fit, or straight-down? Do you plan on using an amplifier with it? Then, I'd consider the sound signature. If you use the HD800 as a primary indoor headphone, then my best guess is that the IE800 won't sound the same. The SM3 wouldn't be a good choice either.

I also have the FI-BA-SS, and like James, I love it, but it isn't exactly great for portable use, lest you don't mind scratching up that beautiful mirror finish and potentially tangling the delicate cable.

"Value" is difficult to determine. It can even be argued that anything above $100 is not worth buying, so $1000 for IEMs is automatically wasteful and unnecessary (though it's a practice that head-fiers regularly indulge in). The way I see the IE800, it is going to have great engineering backing it up, and it'll have great build quality as well. However, there are some questionable design choices, such as the ear tips and the segmented cord. I can't really comment on the sound, but James gave us a nice idea of what it'll be like.
post #555 of 2492
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomscy2000 View Post


 However, there are some questionable design choices, such as the ear tips and the segmented cord. I can't really comment on the sound, but James gave us a nice idea of what it'll be like.

 

Maybe the IE8000's will improve on those design choices  :P

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav: