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What's the Problem with the Sennheiser IE800 Compared to Other IEMs?

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
Over the weeks, after looking at many reviews and trying one myself, I made a choice to purchase the Sennheiser IE800. After upgrading completely from my Sennheiser IE80s, I realized that the sound quality was that good. The soundstage was so wide I good hear it as if I was in a concert hall, the bass was very punchy but not overpowering, the treble was clear without getting too hot, and overall these were the greatest ear monitors I've ever had, while also being extremely portable. I felt like these IEMs could surpass every other ear monitor.

However, recently I've heard people claiming that the IE800 was trash compared to the Shure SE846, the custom JH13 Audios, the Westone 4R, and even a couple of lower costing IEMs. They said that the IE800 doesn't include a microphone, although that could soon be resolved once Sennheiser releases a new cable type. At the same time, I've heard that sound quality isn't enough compared to other similarly priced IEMs. I didn't want to spend another $1,000, and I know that Sennheiser produces one of the best ear monitors, so what's with all of the IE800 hate, and does the performance of the Sennhesier IE800 really justify the cost, or am I missing out on the best non-custom IEM?

One last thing to note, I'm focusing mainly on sound quality. If the Sennheiser doesn't include a microphone or any of those features compatible wth my smartphone, I actually don't mind. Also, for the undetachable cable complaint, I also don't mind. Honestly, I'm not having any issues with my Sennheiser IE800s right now other than minor microphonics, but I need to make sure that I'm getting the right sound after paying 1K....
post #2 of 27

Relative to others in it's respective pricepoints, in the past, Sennheiser has put out some crappy sounding IEM's.  With that history in mind I think people are leary of plunking down $1000 when there is much more confidence out there with other $1000 IEM's.


That's my guess....

post #3 of 27
Thread Starter 
My Sennheiser IE800s actually sound extremely good without any distortion no matter what genre I throw at it. Also, the amplifying app I use for my phone (Poweramp) further increases the performance. I can't seem to detect any flaw in the IE800 whatsoever, so I'm confused with all of the hate. However, I've heard a lot of appreciation from the Shure SE846 for their sound quality. Is it better than the Sennheiser IE800 in terms of sound performance? I have small ear canals, so the Sennheisers fit really well into my ears due to their small size compared to other IEMs, and I'm wondering if the SE846 can offer a comfortable fit.
Edited by Aerosheet - 2/25/14 at 7:37pm
post #4 of 27
I haven't heard any hate for IE800. It just doesn't seem popular yet. The fact that SE846 came off the heels of the very popular and well loved SE535 but with greatly improved bass....gave the SE846 a full head of steam and hype before it was ever released.
post #5 of 27
Thread Starter 
I can't tell if some of the people I've heard around this site are trolls, but I've heard them say that the Sennheiser IE800 lacks treble, the mids are kind of distorted, and the bass is overpowering. That isn't true, because my pair doesn't suffer in treble, mids, or bass at all. I think you're right. Maybe Shure was more awarded and hyped about. However, what's weird, is that the Sennheiser IE8s and IE80s sounded extremely good compared to other competing IEMs at the time nonetheless. Oh well, I'm extremely proud of my IE800s anyway, and I don't think it's a need to switch.
post #6 of 27

The IE800 is the best IEM I've heard, up there with the K3003. Some may find the sub-bass too much, but it stays perfectly out of the way since the mid-bass is completely linear.. As a matter of fact, it has the cleanest and most tonally accurate midrange I've heard. 

post #7 of 27
Thread Starter 
I've heard of the AKG K3003, and wow they are expensive! I bought my IE800 for $649, so that $1,400 price tag has got to be overkill.
post #8 of 27

I  too used to be a proud owner  of the IE800's and I could easily see how someone could see them as an endgame pair of IEMs. Even when pitted against my ACS T1 Live!'s, they gave them quite a awesome run for their money and I realised that whether someone would prefer one over another is entirely dependent on sonic tastes rather than technical capabilities. So yeah, unless you long for the utmost bit of sonic improvements and want to venture down the customs path, I'd say stick to what you're happy with and forget about head-fi for a while :tongue_smile:

post #9 of 27

I found the IE8 awful.  Veiled, sloppy, muffled and a terrible fit.  Returned it immediately.  But I'd love to hear the IE800

post #10 of 27
Thread Starter 
The IE8's were missing a few frequencies when it came to treble, and the bass was a bit distorted. However, the IE800s perfect every flaw in the previous IEMs and add a little spice to it! When I first inserted those goodies in my ears, here was my first thought when I watched a movie with it: IMAX. Theater. Quality.

Honestly, these IEMs seriously gave a definition to an "eargasm". However, I enjoy strong bass, mids, and treble, and this IEM is extremely dynamic, so if you're looking for an IEM with flat or balanced sound, I don't think these are for you. However, an equalizer should help fix it I believe...
post #11 of 27

Can they take real high volume with zero distortion?

post #12 of 27
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Spyro View Post

Can they take real high volume with zero distortion?

When I first bought them, they were a little flat in sound dynamics. However, after a burn-in period, I was able to play any music genre without hearing any distortion. To test it, I also went as far as to crank up the Sennheiser IE800 to its maximum volume. At this point, the frequencies, especially the treble, became extremely bright. This isn't a bad thing however, because there still wasn't any distortion or muddiness in the eardrum-bursting sound. So yeah, I think these IEMs are more than capable of handling challenging sound. But, avoidance of listening at such nerve-racking volume is highly advised....
Edited by Aerosheet - 2/27/14 at 7:52pm
post #13 of 27
Id choose ie800 over se846

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post #14 of 27

Folks, I have tried Shure 535, Shure 846 and IE800. 


To me, IE 800 is just different. The soundstage just kills it. Shure's  bland, in-your-face sound is just nothing to be compared to IE800's clear, crisp and spacious sound! 

post #15 of 27

Agree 100%.  I respect Shure and everything but I am floored with all the love for SE846. I don't get it.  Perhaps it is because they have only 1 high end offering?    It would take me 30 seconds to emphatically say that IE800 is the better sounding IEM (much more accurate but also fun!).


What is more baffling is that the general public loves earbuds and that's what IE800 is.  Where is the love?  Perhaps the general masses truly prefer a heavy cloudy bassy presentation with a lush more smooth midrange and maybe treble is not that important to people?


Or maybe people are hung up on status?  In your ears, IE800 can look like $10 earbuds.  Maybe people can't handle that.  LOL!!!!  SE846 sure looks "cooler" in you ears....almost like customs.

Edited by Spyro - 1/24/15 at 4:52pm
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