First of all, my apology to anyone who came here expecting a full review of these. Sadly I don't have the time for extensive writeups these days.
But I still think it's worth making a new thread for impressions of the e-Q8 and I'll start it with the ones I posted in the e-Q5 thread (and the questions / answers that have come up so far).
It's the exact same body as the e-Q7's. Actually, my first thought upon unpacking these was: "wait, they wouldn't dare to re-release the same phone just in a new color scheme?".
But in fact, the e-Q8's tuning feels like a more significant departure from the e-Q7's sound signature than the e-Q5's. And I wasn't joking when I said the ER4S seem to have had a hand in this.
Gone is the e-Q7's very slight mid-bass emphasis and midrange warmth, and the e-Q8's bass turns out extremely linear and non-emphasized. (I'd love to have those who think the JVC FX850 are balanced give the e-Q8 a listen and predict they'll call the Orto's bass entirely MIA). This low range linearity extends well into the midrange, but in the upper mids / lower treble things become very forward to my ears. Now, my Etys are on loan tour right now, but I believe that (from memory) the ER4S have a similar bump that makes female vocals sound really really close and intimate. Treble extension seems to be a significant step up from the e-Q7, though one should never trust an old fart like me when it comes to treble.
Overall I'd say the e-Q8's sound signature is somewhere in the vicinity of the ER4S and UERM, though the Ortofons sound probably even a tad leaner/thinner/sharper/more aggressively analytical than the those. Separation is excellent, but (like with the ER4S) soundstaging isn't quite up my alley. Granted, width isn't bad at all and they sound a good deal more out-of-head than the Etys, courtesy of a shallower fit. But that upper mid / lower treble bump kills any sense of distance and most of the layering for me, and everything in that range sounds simply very forward and in your face. (Disclaimer: individual HRTFs vary, and like with the ER4S, others may perceive things differently).
Bottom line: what a strange coincidence that Ortofon, Moller and Hammershoi all hail from the same country...