Love the comparison.
I can't get that image out of my head now xD
Thanks James, nice review for Christmas reading!
I briefly tried the IE800 a few days ago, and it came to my surprise as how much bass they have. I can't really remember much of the sound of the IE8, but these things have monstrous bass! The big improvement I feel is the IE800 has more presence in the low-bass, which IMO make the overall bass of the IE800 sound incredibly fun! But then, I found that they have too much mid-bass and upper-bass for me.
They also gave me an impression that the sound is slightly V-shaped. The mids isn't laid back or recessed, but I found the bass and treble are too prominent, that they tend to take away my attention from the mid-range. Tonally, I didn't see any major flaws, they are quite neutral in mid-range to me. I also think the treb though have good extension and detail, it sounds a bit thin, and I thought it could have been more refined.
The details overall isn't the best I have heard from IEM, but they are still better than most of dynamic-based IEM from my experience. The soundstage is about average, but they have good imaging and sound very airy to me (which I like). At the end of the day, what left me impressed about the IE800 are the bass and treble extension, there is no deny that I found they are very fun to listen to. However, as a whole, when considering the price, it is such a let down.
I sure didn't spend enough time with them to give out conclusion, and especially since I only tried them with 1 DAP (my Zune HD), but still, I hope Sennheiser could have done better with the IE800, and I'm sure they could.
A friend of mine, who also tried them, has pretty much the same opinion. His source is iTouch + iQube v2, he said the IE800 sound way too bassy with the iQube, and he prefers the iTouch with no amp.
Thanks for your impressions! Tbo, I don't feel that the mid/upper bass is too much, as long as I listen at reasonable volume (< 50% on my DAPs). Agreed, the deep bass emphasis makes them fun and it's actually a good compensation for the masking effect of ambient noise when I'm commuting. But it's too much for my taste in quiet home surroundings, and ever present, even when not called for.
I don't have a problem with treble presence, which I think is in good balance with the mids. Treble note weight (thinness) is only a minor issue in my book, but particularly noticeable in comparison to the prominent bass (as described in post #2).
I have tried the IE800 with the vents covered.
I didn't like IE8s with vents covered though.
But figure since you had them why not give it a try.
The effects that I could hear from demos was lesser bass, the exact same response just like IE8.
Just that you could cover one vent instead of both and play around.
Covering the vents attenuates the bass, but also makes the IE800 sound flat and lacking dynamics, compared to open vents. I'll have to try to cover only one vent, will report back...
Thanks for the detailed impressions, James.
I'm actually planning on picking these up, but they're either not available yet or just terribly overpriced (by a few hundred USD) at my usual suppliers. Otherwise I'd have them by now.
I suppose I'm alone here, but I actually love the way these are designed. Way more than the IE80. : P
Thanks, I love their design too, from an aesthetical point of view. They're a terrific photo model and way more attractive than the IE8/80. But spending more time with them in everyday life, actually made me appreciate the old IE8/80 anew.
Isn't it the same with people sometimes?
X2 on Giger. My last picture reminded me a bit of Alien.
Have yet to compare them side by side, but from memory I believe the IE800's treble has a little less note weight. In fact it sounds a lot like a dynamic version of the PFE232's treble, to my ears.
Thanks, I was busy with Xmas preparations and sorely tempted to use only stock photos for the review. Glad I didn't, as I too like the outcome :)
I personally prefer the FitEar TO GO 334 and FI-BA-SS to the K3003, though the AKGs are really nice too. I'd especially recommend the TO GO 334 if you want something similar to customs but without the hassle of getting impressions.
I think the IE800 and K3003 are technically about on par, still in a quiet environment I definitely prefer the K3003's better balanced sound signature in terms of frequency response and note weight.
However, for on the go (and considering both have only medium isolation) the IE800's bass boost is actually not a bad thing, since bass is the first thing to suffer from ambient noise. Therefore I'd think the IE800's bassy sound signature is a minor issue for on the go, and fit/microphonics/isolation/wind noise should be your primary concern. That said, if you need high isolation, I can imagine the Fitear 334 being clearly the better choice over both the IE800 and K3003, though I haven't heard them.
I've bought the IE800 primarily for on the go, to complete my minimalist wireless rig. Probably an offbeat usage scenario, since wireless audio is still widely shunned amongst "serious" audiophiles. But for that particular purpose, I'm very happy with the Senns.
James, glad that you linked to this. (Not sure how I missed it before.) Now I know what you really think! I mostly agree with some of what you said and somewhat agree with most of the rest.
I will post my impressions in the main thread. I think that it is too early because I am still too pleased with my purchase. That is always dangerous. I need some time to develop regrets.
Really enjoyed your review james444. I'm looking for a change-up from the IE8. The IE800, K3003, EX1000 (is this discontinued?) and the FitEar To Go 334 are all on my radar at the moment. But the EX1000 which can be had for around $400 looks like the value for money choice as it isn't really outclassed by the IE800 or K3003 in any area based on your review. I guess you rate the EX1000 as an improvement over the IE8? Have you heard the FitEar To Go 334 btw?
Thanks :) I haven't heard the FitEar To Go 334 yet, but expect to get a loaner next month. Yes, I think the EX1000 are the best value for money out of these and a clear upgrade from the IE8, but with some caveats. First of all, they're highly prone to wind noise and I strongly advise against choosing them, if you want a phone for outside use and live in a windy area. Secondly, their treble is more spiky than the IE8's and a number of fellow head-fiers found it fatiguing, while others like me have no problem at all. So that may prove a hit or miss for you, which isn't really predictable, but like I wrote in my listening notes in post #2, the louder your usual listening volume, the higher is probably the chance that you may find the EX1000's highs bothering.
As for them being discontinued, I read that too. But they're still widely available in Europe where I live, even from the Sony store.
One more thing, if you want an upgrade in isolation from your IE8, the FitEar To Go 334 will likely outclass all others you mentioned.
(I had posted on the 334 causing some people trouble with fit, such as uelover and I. But I suppose that is true of many IEMs with different people. For sure, audition first if you can. They do sound very good.)
Yes. You don't need a deep fit with any of these.
You may also consider the Sony MDR-7550 which are a bit more mid-centric than the EX1000, but I haven't heard them.
Great review, they sound very appealing to me and might be a great alternative to the TG334 because the way you describe the mids is right up my alley plus they're $300 to $400 cheaper as well. I can't believe a single dynamic driver can be so detailed and clear with such good transparency but Senn always finds away to make a dynamic driver sound awesome.