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JVC HA-FX850 and Sennheiser IE80 : Which one is best for daily bus commuter?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

Hi Head-Fi Folks,



Greeting from a newbie. Just joined Head-Fi today.

Some questions that need your insights.


I am currently living in USA. I commute by metro bus daily.I owned Sony XBA30 and Sony XBA-H3.

I really like the XAB-H3, but it is kind of very huge and not comfortable to wear.


I am thinking of buying new IEM. Currently i'm interested in JVC HA-FX850 and Sennheiser IE80, but unfortunately i only have budget to buy one.



As daily bus commuter, i want to compare these in terms of

1. Comfortability

2. Isolation

3. Audio quality

4. Aesthetic (does it looks weird if wear it in public?)



Last question will be for these 2 IEMs, normally which online site you order them?

I usually used AMAZON, but concern about fake IEM and warranty/return policy.


Thanks in advance.

post #2 of 16

Wearing FX850 is VERY high profile in public. You'll definitely caught more than a few stares at them sticking out very prominently out of your ears. Same thing as the H3.


I don't think IE80 is an upgrade over H3.


You may want to check out Dunu DN-2000 here:


post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 



Thanks for your reply. Is IE80 is so bad compare to H3?


The issue i have with DUNU DN-2000 is it doesn't allowed re-cable.


I am also reading the TPEOS H300 thread, but look at the review a little bit concern me. Also one of the head-fi guy show a picture that his TPEOS H300 break into 2 pieces meaning that the build quality is bad.


Is there other good dynamic driver IEM to recommend?  I saw on the JVC HA-FX850 appreciation thread, they describe the dynamic driver like very awesome. Just want to try a dynamic driver IEM in my collection, since i already have the triple BA (XBA-30) and Hybrid (XBA-H3). 

post #4 of 16

I wouldn't say IE80 is a downgrade compared to H3, but more like a side-grade as IE80 can't really best H3


Seems like you're leaning more towards a V-shaped signature with boosted bass and highs, and since you're only looking at detachable cables FX850 seems like a real deal, but same problem with H3 is that you cant really keep a low profile while wearing them on the streets, unless you dont mind. 


Best to ask |joker| in his megathread here


He's compared loads of IEMs and he might be able to suggest you the IEM you crave

post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 

Will do.


BTW, i am not a audiophile. I just listen to normal indie pop, new age, chill step and a little bit hip hop. Mostly focus on female vocal. My audio file is normal mp3, not flac. Just want my music to be more enjoyable.

My XBA-H3 though it is good, but i still find the sound a little bit.. not sure how to describe it.. kind of artificial... like you synthesize the sound (like someone have a long metal pipe and sing into it then you listen at the other end)...


Thank you so much @fnkcow and nice to know you too! :)

Edited by yeowyap - 5/1/14 at 10:11pm
post #6 of 16
Originally Posted by DannyBai View Post

I was just a/b'ing the FX850 and H3 through the Geek dac and both are so impressive but vocals and drums sound so much more realistic out of the FX850.  H3 has the edge in separation but the JVC's are amongst the best Iem's I've heard to date.  

Seems like someone else just answered your concern!


Here's the FX850 when worn. Doesn't seem too bad.


Having keeping tabs of the FX850 for months now I think it's a solid IEM, as shown by many long term audiophiles who tried it and approved it. As I've just spent my budget on a new IEM myself I'd want to have it someday too.


As a side note, if you don't mind less bass than your current setup, the Ostry KC06 is making waves in head-fi as it punches way above its weight being only $70:


post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 

Thank you so much for the pictures! Seems not that bad. Just pulled the trigger and ordered it on Amazon.com! :beerchug:

post #8 of 16

Awesome! Please let me know your impressions of the Fx850 once you have it! Hope you'll have a great time with it! :beerchug: 

post #9 of 16

I have the IE80s , Shure 535LTD, TripleFi 10s Yamaha EPH100, Monster Turbine Coppers and an older Shure 300 series.


I enjoy my 535s as my go-to IEM as they do everything pretty well but aren't necessarily as "fun" as I'd like for rock and more bass heavy stuff. The Yamaha EPH100s and TripleFi 10 are a bit more V shaped and hard hitting.


My IE80s are my "chill out" IEMs. Great bass, the mids aren't super present or laid back but may give that impression due to the strong bass. The highs are a bit laid back but present... I wouldn't say veiled as I hate that term but the IE80s are pretty warm. I don't really go for "soundstage" for IEMs as they're all pretty in your head sounding but the IE80s somehow do it reasonably well.


Make sure to buy IE80s from a reputable dealer or someone on head-fi with good feedback, there are aloooooot of fakes out there and they're really close to the real thing. I got duped myself...

post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 


Will do. Now just waiting game.. :popcorn:





Thanks for info. Might get it in future if i have more budget....i am officially broke now.. :)

post #11 of 16
Thread Starter 

@benthughes, a question. Is IE80 prone to electromagnetic interference? Forgot where i saw that comment.

post #12 of 16
Thread Starter 

Finally received my JVC HA-FX850 and Fiio X3! :atsmile:



I am not an audiophile (may be audiophile wannabe), i have no knowledge/not familiar about all the terminologies used by audiophile (e.g. warm, U-shaped, etc..). I will use whatever layman terms work for me and use some silly metaphor to describe some scenario/phenomena. 


The reviews will be short (In terms of technical comparison). The reason is i just want to be practical. Sometimes too focus on the technical details, we loose track of the main purpose, i.e. enjoying the musics. 

I mostly listen to female vocal, main stream pop, chill step and little bit of hip hop. Most of my files are 320kbps mp3 and not high quality .flac.


Below are my honest and unprofessional reviews. I don't have audiophile golden ears, hence just bear with me.

So here's my thoughts...



The pic shows the gears i have now.

  1. Sony NWZ-B14F
  2. Ipod Nano 7th Generation
  3. Sony NW-S775
  4. Fiio X3
  5. Fiio E18 Kulun
  6. Google Play Edition Galaxy S4


I bought the Fiio X3 after reading the thread http://www.head-fi.org/t/651769/the-fiio-x3-thread to pair with JVC HA-FX850. I bought it on Amazon for USD$199 (come with 32GB and Leather Case). There is another company on Amazon which sells it USD$200 but with 64GB. You should get that instead because the leather case is just meh. 


Straight out of the box, i upgraded the Fiio X3 firmware to 2.1. The sound is bad (Shocked!). It is like the device came preset with equalizer sets to Hall/Stadium effect. Very hollow like you are walking into a Freeway tunnel. The female vocal sounds like they have flu (imagine you got flu and the sound you make). Kind of disappointed. 


But lucky me, after i read http://www.head-fi.org/t/684793/diy-your-own-theme-for-your-lovely-x3, i downloaded the Mr Trev mod https://www.dropbox.com/s/zojw56zhiuofofg/list%20view.7z.

Surprisingly after firmware change to 2.14B, the sound signature changed. Now the sound is on par with my Sony NW-S775. Highly recommended if you owned a Fiio X3!!!


So now let's talk about JVC HA-FX850. Here's the phones i have:

  1. Sony XBA-30
  2. Sony XBA-H3
  3. JVC HA-FX850


I started my journey to search for an ultimate phone last year. Before that i always wonder/curious why people willing to spend >$100 for a phone, i always used those $30 ear buds (Yes, I am cheapo :) ). That perspective changed after one day my team mate lent me a pair of XBA-3. My world view changed since then....


So i ordered my first pair XBA-30 from Amazon. The sound is awesome to my ears since this is my ever first "premium" IEM. 

But after a while, i notice something is missing. There's no uhm. It lacks of bass.


Then here comes the XBA-H3. Straight out of the box, the bass is too much and uncontrollable. I didn't try the tape mod suggested by some head-fier, i scare that might damage the dynamic driver diaphragm. But after some "burn-in" which again suggested by head-fier, the bass seems more tame. Not sure this is whether a placebo effect or my ears started to get used to the sound signature, but anyway i kind of like it the way it is right now. I am not a bass head (not a fans of beat's audio) but i do want some bass on my hip hop and chill step musics.


Though i like the XBA-H3, couple of things which bothers me a lot:

1. The cable that's come with it, it has that un-removable hook around your ear. If you bent it then you will never get a good fit. That's why i change the cable. But then the new re-cable changed the sound signature. Now it become a little bit bright (if that's the right term). Also now it is easy to fall off if you move. Anyway, a trade off.

2. Humongous body. You will get a weird look if wear at public. Also it always hurt my right ear. 

3. Synthetics sounds: I mostly listen to female vocal. The sound seems a bit mechanical or synthesize. Imagine the instrument sound from midi vs wav.


So now, behold the JVC HA-FX850. I bought it from Amazon. I pay a premium price USD$400 including fast shipping. Got it within a week. For amazon buyer, there are some company which sells it for $370, but if you choose fast shipping, it will comes to USD$400. So give and takes, depends on how long you can wait.









The accessories that come with the box is not that many. But the case is very premium and solid.


Do take note, the IEM has the medium size ear bud on straight out of the box. If you find your JVC HA-FX850 sounds a bit hollow, definitely is a fit problem. Try change the ear bud. For me, i have to change it to large size. The fits is awesome. A little bit on the heavy size if compare to XBA-H3, but you won't notice of it after you wear it for a while. Not easy to fall out. Isolation is not bad. I didn't try it in the public commute yet, but i try it with my laptop speaker on and isolation really acceptable. Cable sounds/ micro-phonic if the cable hits your face, but not too drastic.



JVC HA-FX850 is very easy to drive. Even my little Sony NWZ-B14F (refer the first image) can drive it very well. I notice i only need to set very low sound volume and it still sounds very loud. Example: For playing same MP3 on Fiio X3, using XBA-H3 i need to tune my sound volume to 40, but for JVC HA-FX850 just need to set to 23.




JVC HA-FX850 definitely a all rounder. Any genre of musics you throw to it, it can execute quite well. It is like you place 2 wooden speakers around your ears. I notice that JVC HA-FX850 very suitable for female vocal.


This is it, it no longer sounds synthesize/mechanical. If you watch X-Factor, you often hear Simon Cowell said "You just sing it, but there's no emotion in the song.". That's right, now female vocal has emotion in it, it will moved you! (Tears........)


Listen to Little Mix - Towers:



Listen to Christina Aguilera & Blake Shelton - Just A Fool (1:07 which move me :)):


Little Mix - These Four Walls:




Even male vocal sounds awesome, Mikky Ekko - Pull me down:


Kodaline - High Hopes:


Now let's talk about bass. The reason why i don't like beats audio and some Sony headphone because the bass is boomy. Don't mistaken boomy with punchy. For me:

Boomy = loud and uncontrollable and it will makes the whole song muddy. Vocal is not clear at all. It as though you are standing in front of big cheap speaker at bestbuy.


JVC HA-FX850 bass is punchy. The bass should sounds like heartbeat. Dup.. Dup.. Dum.. Dum... that's punchy.


Try this song Copie a Rita Ora - Party and ********, you will notice the bass is punchy and the roll off is fast + Vocal is awesome:


Nicki Minaj - Freedom: (Yes, main stream pop, don't judge :))



One more thing i notice is about the earbud design. I read on this thread http://www.head-fi.org/t/708427/the-new-jvc-fx850-woodie-perfection-a-review/855. At first i a bit skeptical, then i change my XBA-H3 comply TX-200 with JVC HA-FX850 ear bud. And WOW, the sounds is so good. 


So i wonder why it sounds different using the ear bud. DO IT FOR SCIENCE! :)


I have a closer look at the JVC HA-FX850 ear bud design. Then i realize it is because of the shape of the tunnel/canal/opening of the ear bud.



Normally for ear bud, the opening will be a straight cylinder direct to your phone. But this one the design is a bit like bowl/bulb shape

I am not good at drawing, but it should be close to this picture:

So i "think", it might concentrate the sound and direct it to your ears. Kind of like how those cable/satellite disc design. The only worry here is the cleaning of earwax.

Definitely will order this to fit on my other phone:





I like JVC HA-FX850 very much. Money well spend. Highly recommended.

Since JVC HA-FX850 is very easy to drive, you really don't need to buy the Fiio X3 to pair with it. It is enjoyable out of the box. The reason is if you don't have HD tracks (.flac), the Fiio X3 will make it sounds bad due to recording/encoding quality.


Again, this is just my personal opinion. Take it with a grain of salt. Thanks.

Edited by yeowyap - 5/10/14 at 1:52pm
post #13 of 16

Nice impressions there mate! :L3000:

Looks like a great buy! Glad that it worked out for you! Enjoy!:beerchug: 

post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 

Thanks fnkcow. It is because of the pictures (the wearing) that you posted only i had make up my mind.:beerchug:


Seems like many head-fiers like it too.

post #15 of 16

No worries at all. Glad to be of help :beerchug:

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