James, sorry to bother you again but can you please try to equalize them if you have some time to spare?
The impression I get from reading your impressions () is that they are technically capable but somewhat limited by their sound signature, mainly the elevated bass and highs.
Taming the bass with a low shelf filter should be easy. Dealing with the treble could be harder but I think you will find a solution .
You bet, they are technically capable and a clear step up from the IE8/80! And don't forget, they've already made it to my #1 phones for on the go, and their sound signature is excellent for that. Plus there are no occlusion effects, no footfall noise, etc.. but I'm digressing...
Anyway, I did another round with the same test tracks, trying to EQ the IE800 to what I consider balanced (for home use). The lowest shelf on my Cowon i9 is 80Hz and I'd say -4db or -5db @80Hz is about the ideal amount. That cleans up bass detail nicely and gets completely rid of the slightly warmish hue on vocals, leaving a beautifully natural midrange that is among the very best I've heard.
However (as you suspected), treble is an entirely different beast. Unlike the bass, it doesn't sound unduly elevated to my ears, at least not more so than the FAD's treble. I think I'll just drop my usual disclaimer here, to take my assessment of highs with a grain of salt, since I don't hear much above 16kHz... Like I said before, the IE800 are flirting with sibilance every now and then (as are the FI-BA-SS), but the issue I was referring to in my recent comparison is more about detail and timbre than elevation and taming. The FADs just seem to render that characteristic metallic "shimmer" of cymbals more realistically, especially during decay. Am I making sense? (I fear not, lol). Anyway, the IE800 just happen to sound less "shimmery" and realistic in my book, and make it less obvious that it's indeed metal being brushed or struck.
I haven't found a way to compensate for this with equalizing, and tbo, wouldn't be surprised if other fellow members hear it differently, as ever so often treble seems to be the hardest part of the frequency range to reach a consensus on. But since I have a track record of complaining about too metallic treble (particularly with TWFKs like the CK10 and B2), I think it's still worth mentioning that I hear the IE800 quite to the opposite.
Edited by james444 - 12/2/12 at 12:20am