I bought some fakes off a Canadian retailer for $300. The packaging and box were identical to a fake one. However, even though they are fake, they sound quite good, so I guess its not a total loss.
tinyman392 compared them to the UE900, PFE232, and Westone 4R, and vs the UE900, the IE80 seems better. He prefers the sound of the IE80 to the PFE232 even though he does say the PFE232s are better in technicality. He says the 4R ties with the IE80, but he prefers the 4R. So I guess in the end, those were REALLY good fakes, and its not a total loss.
Here's his full review:
Disclaimer: I do have a few words to say before I begin. I do not feel the most confident with the seal I’m getting with the IE80. I was expecting a tad bit more quantity to the lows (I was actually expecting them to exceed the PFEs). With that said, please take everything with a grain of salt.
I would tip roll and experiment some more, but I simply just don’t have the time. Unfortunately, for me, it’s midterm time (2 down, 1 to go; the hardest 1 to go). I also have a few reviews to write as well (I got other products at the same time these came in; I wasn’t expecting that). With all that said, please do take this with a grain of salt.
Senn IE80 Bass nob
Increasing the IE80 bass nob really only affects the lower lows than anything else. It creates a bump in the low-to-sub bass. Increases impact and texturing at the cost of punch.
With the nob down, the IE80 represents a UE900 with stronger treble and slightly better texturing. Midrange detailing is a wash though. The IE80s do have a few flaws though.
Bass: The IE80 bass tends to be able to dig deeper than the UE900, not just in the perceived sense either. The texturing, is increased a little better as well since it’s more fluid over the 900s. The impact with the 80s also seems a little stronger over the 900s, however, the 900s have better overall linearity. They also have a slightly tighter punch (the IE80 is still tight though). It may be slight improvements, but the IE80 takes it by a hair.
Increasing the bass nob puts the IE80 further ahead of the UE900 in terms of quantity, but sacrifices a little more punch. Overall, the increase is positive though.
Mids: The IE80 tends to do slightly better in the higher octaves. This results in stronger clarity and sweetness to every voice. Detailing is just about on par with the UE900. However, the UE900 does vocal lushness better than the IE80 while maintaining good clarity. Both have equal dynamics, but focus on different areas. Although they are technically at the same level, I do prefer the IE80 for vocals. However, it’s a wash at the end of the day.
Highs: The IE80s have a slight bit of sibilance to them that makes them slightly unfavorable over the UE900. The 80s do show much more energy in the high end over the 900s, but with the cost. The detailing is about on par with the 900s, however, separation is slightly better done on the 900s. Snare snaps are also a little better with the 900s overall. For the high end, I would take the 900 over the IE80 any day.
With the bass boosted, the IE80s bass matches that of the W4R, it’s a little higher actually. Without the boost, the quantity is a lot less than the W4R. The signatures are very similar here, the W4 seems to have a slight warmth over the IE80s (bass down) and has less energetic treble.
Bass: The bass on the IE80 has much greater depth than the W4R. It has more quantity at this level as well. Punches are actually better done with the W4R however, as are impacts. It really matters what you value the most in terms of bass here. The W4R has a slightly tighter punch, but much stronger impact while the IE80s tend to do much better down low.
If you turn up the nob, however, the IE80 bring in a much stronger impact, walking the line of boomy. The W4 will always be better with the tighter punch. However, being able to surpass the W4 a tad bit with customization of pumping bass puts the IE80 a leg up on the W4.
Mids: The mids on the W4s are much warmer than that on the IE80 due to the mid-bass boost. The detailing on the W4s seem to be a tad bit above that of the IE80. Not the same can be said about the clarity and sweetness however. The IE80 just simply excels here. Although the W4 can perform lush vocals with a sweet hymn, the IE80 do much better with the instrumentals and their dynamics. The IE80s do fare slightly better with the midrange over the W4 in this aspect.
Highs: I’ve been able to find both of these IEMs sibilant, but in different situations. The The IE80’s, however, occurs much more than the W4s. Separation is also a huge leg up with the 4s over the 80s simply entering a different dimension. Detailing as well. The only thing the IE80 really does well over the W4 is energy in the highs. They become a little too energetic though. The W4s take this one by a long shot.
I honestly can’t really choose a winner straight off here. Compared to the W4, the IE80s do so much wrong in the treble, while the W4 make slight errors in comparison to the IE80 in mids and lows. I really want to say it’s a wash. My personal preference of IEM here would be the W4.
I’m going to be perfectly honest right now. When I got the IE80s, I was expecting a sound very similar to the 232 bass-wise. Unfortunately, even with the grey filters the bass quantity just didn’t match up. Boosting the lows on the IE80 did help the quantity become comparable, but 232s still have more. The mids are better with the 80s though, that’s for sure.
Bass: As stated earlier, the PFE232 do much better with quantity, but also overall quality. Let’s start off the IE80 on a good foot regarding bass (it’s only one really). It has a tighter punch over the 232s. The 232 impact is much stronger in reference to the IE80, however, both IEMs offer an ample amount to really satisfy this requirement. The difference comes with the texturing though. The 232s do just a much better job of keeping fluidity, along with a nice thicker body and slower decay. It’s really, euphoric.
You can bump the bass on the IE80 to have it better matched to the PFE, but it’s of no use really. The PFE still fares better with the texturing, and slightly in the impact regardless. That said, the PFE takes this one.
Mids: The 232s start with strong vocals, but do give up a lot of instrumental power to do this. There is a hint of clarity to them, but it just simply isn’t enough, especially when comparing to the IE80. They are like polar opposites. Detailing is about the same with both however, the IE80s excel in regard to instrumental dynamics. The PFE fares better with vocals however, though the IE80 is sweeter. The PFEs lose this round to the IE80
Highs: Like with the W4, this is really no contest. The PFE232 have extremely linear treble (with respect to the treble, not the whole spectrum) to my ears. The detailing is exquisite, and the IE80 is able to match it up higher. However, the PFE232 just excel at the separation and the extensions in the lower highs. The IE80s still have slightly more energy than the PFE, but the PFE still takes this one by a long shot.
The PFE is technically better than the IE80 here in regards to both bass and treble (as well as overall). The IE80 puts up a strong fight, exploiting many of the Phonak’s weaknesses, but it just isn’t enough. My preference of sound, contrary to what is said above, would actually go towards the IE80 in this case, not the Phonak (although Phonak is technically better).