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Universal Fit item created by , May 5, 2010
Pros - great sound stage, amazing bass, treble, versitile
Cons - i have not found any yet
So this is my last IEM upgrade I am planning on doing since I am more of an Over Ear type. However for work I needed a solid IEM. I got these at a great price, and I am plesantly surprised of how much of an upgrade over my CX-870's it is!
I love these IEM's, they are warm, bass is detailed, I can play everything from accoustic/vocals, Jazz, to Alternative rock and they sound crisp clean and warm.
Overall I am very glad I got them for $190 USD instead of full price. Listening to Andrea Corr's lifelines album is a pure joy through these.
HIGHLY RECOMMEND if you work in a quite place I wouldnt suggest these for jogging but if your jogging you really dont have the ability to truly appreciate the clarity anyway. Great buy
Pros - Feels solidly built, stock cable is decent. Detachable cable. Will fit into any decently normal ear. Bass knob.
Cons - No moulding wire. Stock ear-tips provide poor fit. Bass knob doesn't go to negative.
This review is written by a regular live FOH engineer who's most similar price-range in-ears are Shure SE425's.
I purchased this pair (IE8) of in-ears because they were only AUD$160 from a local eBay seller, brand new w/warranty and I was interested in other sound signatures for listening to recordings. And at the time of writing this review, I have owned them for at least two months with approx 200hrs of listening time on top of burn-in.
I listen to a lot of live recordings and performances, female vocalists, acoustic and rock.
I also listen to some jazz and classical, but as I am not learned in these areas I will refrain from commenting in that manner.
To the actual product:
Build Quality - 8/10
Thick and malleable strain reliefs punctuate the very decent smooth dark grey cable. All cables are actually joined via tiny PCB, from 3.5mm stereo jack to cable to Y connector to each of the earpiece connectors.
Cable is also replaceable with a skilful pluck.
Driver housing is a hard, smooth slightly metallic/glittery black plastic. Ear tip sleeve tube doesn't seem small and easily breakable.
Oh yeah, comes with a bass knob that kinda does(n't) work.
Comfort, Fit, Isolation - 6.5/10
Combined them because they are all closely related.
Probably being a little harsh here, but it pretty much sucks. Seems a pity to produce a great in-earphone and a very large range of earpieces, and having them all completely miserable. But keep in mind this comes from a person that LOVES his Shures. Isolation is a good 10dB less than my Shures, which I'm pretty much deaf to outside noise less than 95dBA in.
The foam eartips are harder than three week old crusty bread. No cushiony softness like Shure's and there's no inner rubber sleeve for rigidity either. The silicon rubber eartips are open enough and provide a semi-decent seal which turns out to be better than the foams for the IE8's to not be so bass dominant. But means the fit is a little loose, means not a jogging pair in the mean time.
Tried Audio-Technica rubber silicone eartips, hole is a little too closed, masking some of the highs.
Heard bad stories about Complys for Sennheisers, looking for alternatives.
No moulding wire is a big sad face for me, also increases microphonics from non-existent to a recognisable level. IE8's come with detachable ear hooks, but they don't support jack all.
Sound, sound, sound - 8.5/10
These are probably a love/hate earphone.
They are definitely not well balanced or flat, but still hold an amazing clarity for >95% of my music.
They have great instrument seperation when I use them live, a sign of great fidelity.
Compared to the SE425's, they possess a greater quantity of bass, but even my SE215's have greater extension (though my 215's actually have incredible extension because of it's dynamic driver, both have the same type of driver, it's a decent comparison).
All that meaning to say, the bass hump is no lower than 100Hz, with a definite enunciation around the 160Hz. Many V-"audio"philes will be annoyed by this and won't be able to get their ears around this new found range that's really the hot ass of the body with the power that shows off the power of some female vocal recordings.
I may just be too used to the silky smooth Shure mids. Even my 215's are freakin' amazing.
Soundstage is pretty average, decent spacing, not enough distancing. Totally contrary to what other people say, I believe, who claim that the IE8's is really way up there. I don't know what kind of studios/halls/theatres/venues you work with, but it sounds more cinema than amphitheatre to me.
Vocals are warm with the relative mid-bass to mids ratio, Highs are sparkly, cymbals a little distant, not harsh enough for my liking.
Yes, that's right, not harsh enough, there's no rawr to that rock crash. Too much *****, not enough lion. That dip around 6.3-7KHz reduces harshness too much for me, but beyond that there's plenty to a good 17KHz at least.
Reduces the transparency of recordings to me, sounds a little artificial, but helps lessen the pain of bad recordings. =P
Okay, so maybe I'll say something about the forbidden genres, these do GREAT with classical.
That warmth and sparkle is really something. Just not for me. The IE8's take second fiddle for me in this price range.
Still a Shure fanboy after this.
Pros - Bass adjustment knob
Cons - the isolation can do better
overall I have not so much time to try it out...so...those are current feelings for the ie8
Pros - Bass, Mid Bass, Warm Sound, Stylish, Removable Cable, Kevlar Cable, Adjustable Bass
Cons - Seal Issues, Sloppy Bass, Bass cant be adjusted enough, No Gold Jack
Overall a great pair of headphones. Way to much bass, you lose audio quality to a certain extent. WAY to expensive. I could name 10 pairs of headphones that match the sound of these.
During all these years I have explored many different ear monitors ranging from the balanced Westone 4 to the fun TripleFi 10 and have always thought that dynamic in ear monitors don't stand a change against them. But no, the Sennheiser IE 8 proved me wrong.
Packaging and build quality
The IE8 was packaged very nicely and I especially loved the carrying case (some impressive engineering feat there). Its cables are soft but sturdy - one of the best stock cables I've seen. Very solid look and feel.
Fortunately, I had a good fit with them. They're lightweight and don't feel heavy at all. Sennheiser included a ton of eartips to go with them so there should be no worry at all about fit.
The IE 8 features a bass knob which is pretty unique. I did play around with it but ultimately settled with "minimum" bass. Isolation on the IE8 is nothing special. It puts out noise but doesn't do them as well as the Westones or Shures. So far, the IE8 has no issues with microphonics. Subjectively, I quite like the design. I think it looks and feels fantastic.
The IE8 has a warm sound signature and is slightly coloured. First thing that impressed me is its soundstage. Wide and deep. Instruments are separated well and the W4, TF10, IE7, SE425 doesn't come close in terms of soundstage AND reproduction. Acoustic instruments sounds exceptionally realistic to my ears. Sennheiser did a great job on the timbre reproduction.
The bass knob is useful only to bassheads I guess. I wasn't a basshead and the bass on medium/high setting is just too much for me. My bass knob was set at the lowest setting possible. Bass is unsurprisingly good and quite dominant. Mids are not affected at all by its pounding bass.
Mids are in no way recessed. They are detailed and have that lushness and weight in them. Just beautiful.
The IE8 doesn't have sparkly treble. It has a good extension but I wish the treble is more emphasised. There is no veil on the IE8 - it's just that they don't have emphasised treble.
Overall, it's an amazing in ear monitor. I am impressed with this dynamic IEM and although it may not be an analytical one, it is much more enjoyable and relaxing than other top tier IEMs. Its sound reproduction and soundstage is the best that I have heard to date in an IEM! Sennheiser has done it again. I definitely recommend these.
Pros - outstanding sound quality, nice soundstage, nice build quality, sound tuning feature
Cons - tricky to be inserted, uncomfortable until you get used to it
IE 8 is really an outstanding in-ear phone. It's built for an almost perfect sound reproduction, but it's not what I thought when I used them for the first time.
Burn-in is a highly discussed topic. Some say it works and some swear it's ********. But this is the truth: an IE 8 needs some time to sound great. During the first hours they sounded terrible just like those Apple earbuds. They were too bright, had an annoying bass and the mids weren't there. All these issues were gone after the second day of almost continuous use.
When they got home and I unboxed them, I was a little amazed (must confess). But when I saw all those pairs of earplugs I went crazy and thought: now I've got something that really fits inside my ears (they're little and earplugs like those ones shipped with The Plug simply won't fit).
The earplugs and the sound tuning
I heard lots of people saying the sound tuning feature is almost useless, but in certain conditions it's not true. All those who said that also said IE 8 has poor sound isolation. Sound tuning makes a huge difference in bass response, but it's this feature that showed me how tricky is to find the correct earplug. And I tried all the pairs.
Lots of the pairs seem to fit perfectly. And this happens because all of them are slightly different in size and shape, except for some. Here, the secret I found is to stay in a noisy environment and try each pair until you decide the pair that seems to attenuate the most of the external sound. This pair will be the one that seems to apply a little (only a little) pressure inside the ear canals and they will be uncomfortable until you get used to them.
Every plug that doesn't fit perfectly will give you an undesired sound with too bright highs and almost no bass. Sometimes they can also pop out your ear canals.
Once you find the perfect plugs, it's time to play with the sound tuning feature. Try the lowest if you love electronic music and the highest if you love metal. The tuning will depend on your feelings and preferences, but it works and it's certainly an awesome feature.
Basses, highs and soundstage
Mids are simply perfect! Basses and highs are tricky due to the earplug and sound tuning as I described, but they're incredible too.
The bass response may drive you crazy. It's crisp and profound, but not excessive. It will depend, however, on the sound source you use. Just like lots of other phones, bad sound source means awful bass response. If you are a lucky owner of a high end cell phone, a decent media player or a good sound card, it'll sound amazing. But if you use recent iPods, don't bother giving IE 8 a try, they'll sound only a little better than usual and cheaper earphones.
For some recordings, the highs seem to be brighter than the expected, but never annoying. The highs definition is incredible and even the specifications saying it reproduces until 20kHz, IE 8 could reproduce a 22kHz sine wave. I didn't try higher frequencies, but since I only listen to 44.1kHz FLACs on my mobile devices, there was no need to try it.
Soundstage is good, nothing more. I heard people saying it's fantastic, but that's not what I could feel. Not fantastic, but good… sufficient and not congested. It's fantastic for a pair of in-ear, anyway.
Audio sources used (DAC) for my conclusions
Wolfson WM8903 (Motorola Atrix 4G)
Texas Instruments TWL6040 (Samsung Galaxy Nexus)
nVidia MCP89 (Apple Mac Mini, 2011 model)
A bad one I don't know (Apple iPod Shuffle 3G)
Intel High Definition Audio (the worst ever)
Pros - Soundstage is AMAZING, My Price was very good for the genuine Sennheiser IE8s ($180)
Cons - Its hard to get a fit, isolation
ITs ver good headphones for my price paid. much better than beats studios
Pros - Clear and distinct sound, very present bass. Great build quality. Great travel box. Lots of extra earplugs. Detachable cables. Very comfortable fit.
Cons - Thin cable tangles easily if you don't store them in the travel case. Price is a bit high in my region, 385$.
This is my first review, so bear with me... Sennheiser IE8i, are the first IE headphones I've bought that costed more than 85$. I've always been a big fan of great sound and currently own Bose OE Triports, Bose 3-2-1 GSII and used to have Bose in my car as well.
The IE8i were somewhat of a huge disappointment at first. They didn't sound anything like I expected and lacked that heavy flowing bass I was use to. The fit wasn't any good and I was seriously considering returning the headphones, claiming they were defect. I tried my brother in law's new Shure SE215 and was blown away by the amazing and comfortable fit, and the great sound. The bass was punchy and present, and the sound so good that I just wanted to turn up the volym more and more...
I soon discovered that he used foam plugs, and that he really recommended them because of the great fit. I switched my rubber plugs to foam ones instead, and my headphones really transformed. They were no longer sensitive to how they were fitted into my ear, and the sound went from being dull and unimpressive to amazingly fantastic!
The sound is clear, instruments feel seperated wich is fantastic, and the bass is evenly balansed with a good kick and good sub bass. The tuning function is more likely to be of use to singers, if they use them as moniters, but for us mortal users... just crank the damn thing up as far as it will go.
Now after playing them in, my Sennheiser IE8i are without doubt the best sound I've ever heard in an IE headphone, and I strongly recommend them for you who aren’t sensitive to price. Although the sound is very clear, it does tend to get a bit uncomfortable at really high volumes.
Pros - light and strong built, durable, replaceable cable, comfy ear tips, adjustable bass
Cons - slightly cold sound
one of my favorite IEM
Pros - The sound quality is amazing. The tunable bass ports work and offer a level of bass control I thought I'd only get with my media player.
Cons - The tips are a bit shallow, could have issues with losing the seal
Note: I'm a noob and relise that there are reviews written by members on here with much more knowledge and experence than me and who also have a better understanding of the terms used to describe there experience with these headphones. So I'm writing this review from a noobs standpoint to others who might have just joined this site and are going though the same thing I did.
These are the best headphones I've owned yet! I'm a noob and want to thank this forum for showing me there is something more than the Beats and BOSE lines of headphones. This is the first pair of $400 headphones I've owned and I absolutely love them!
I owned a pair of BOSE IE2s, I thought they were good but with no sound isolation and very little in the way of bass and the fact I couldn't get them to be loud enough in the gym really kept me from liking them. I saw the Dre Diddy Beats and decided to give those a try. Moving up from the BOSE I liked the sound quality and the extra low end bass a lot more. The control talk worked very well and is one of the reasons I still use them. They are very heavy, the cord has a big metal piece at the "Y" and although the linguini cables look cool and are tangle free, they are heavy as well. All this wreaked havoc on the buds being able to stay in my ears and using them at the gym was a no go. I was not too impressed with the sound quality for $150, but the control talk was very useful to me so I kept them. I did some research online and saw that a lot of sites quoted this site for accuracy and reviews on headphones so I decided to check it out. Here I found exactly what I was looking for.
I read a lot of reviews on different IEMs and decided to go with the Monster Turbine Pro Golds. Moving up from the Diddy Beats I couldn't believe the sound quality. I had no idea that kind of sound quality could be expressed though IEMs. I could here a lot of sounds and textures in notes that I could only here in my home theater set up. I showed them to a few of my friends and they absolutly loved them. So at the danger of their wives sending them to the couch for a week for spending $280 on headphones, they went out and bought a pair for themselves. I was very happy with them, but they were still lacking something, something i couldn't really put my finger on. When I listened to music through my home stereo there was a presence in the music, an expansive range in the sound that made me feel as if I was sitting in the studio listing to it being recorded. Ive come to know it from reading reviews on here as sound stage. Although the Turbines were very clear and the bass was accurate (when compared the the Beats line), the music seemed small. So I kept looking and read the reviews on here for the Sennheiser IE8s and decided to buy a pair.
When I first listened to these I seriously questioned my sanity. The bass was muddy and tubby, the mids seemed like they needed to be recessed a little more and the treble was a little hard to here because of overpowering bass. After about 10 hours of "burn in" they settled in a little and after around 60 hours their true sound really started to shine. I absolutely love these, I haven't listened to other headphones in this price range except for the Dre Beats line, which I think is like the Abercrombie of headphones, so I can't really give an accurate review. I can say I have found exactly what I was looking for. When Im listening to music with the Turbines It's like going to a 5 star restaurant ordering the crab ravioli and having it served to me on a paper plat with a spork. Even though the ravioli is excellent in every way, the way it is delivered brings down the experience as a whole which is how I felt when I listened to the Turbines. After listening to music with the IE8s, I feel like I have all the silverware and the glass bowl with the best waiter in town to serve it to me. The presentation of the high quality sound that comes from the IE8s is remarkable! They make almost everything I listen to with them sparkle. Its kind of like watching a great movie at the movie theater (Turbines) and then seeing that same movie in 3D (IE8s). The music is much more impactful and much more fun to listen to. I am planning on getting the Fiio E7 portable DAC/amp. If your a noob like me I would recomend this. I'm also going to get some custom ear tips made for these. I can't say enough good things about these "home theater in your ear" headphones. Buy them, you won't regret it!
EDIT: I ordered the IE8i lead from Custom-Cable. It works with the IE8 if you use apple products and want the control talk.