InEar ProPhile 8

General Information

To achieve a studio reference tuning across the
whole frequency range, we have equipped our InEar
ProPhile-8 with a 4-way crossover and 8 balanced
armature drivers per side. Additionally, there are two
switches on the inside of the earphone to separately
boost low frequencies by +3dB and high frequencies
starting at 8 kHz by +2dB.
Based on a linear reference tuning for professional
mixing and mastering, you can choose one of totally
four different sound signatures to adjust to your audiophile
preferences outside of the studio. You will
rediscover your music thanks to easy natural reproduction
of music in highest resolution, uncovering
of subtle details, breathtaking transparency, huge
soundstage and perfect imaging!

The matt housing of the ProPhile-8 is based on our
„StageDiver“ series, which has established itself internationally
as a reference for best fit and comfort
among universal in-ears.
We implemented a special cerumen filter in the Pro-
Phile-8 to prevent earwax of entering the earphone.
Blocked filters can easily be replaced by yourself in
just a few steps.
Comes shipped with: ProPhile-8 earphone, 4 pairs
of silicone ear tips (sizes XS, S, M and L), 3 pairs of
Comply TS400 foam tips (sizes S, M and L), gold-plated
1/4‘‘ adapter, 3 cleaning cloths, InEar hard case
IE13, cerumen filter set H3.

System 4-way crossover with 8 drivers per side / 2 switches for sound tuning
Transmission range approx. 10 Hz–20000 Hz
Output sound pressure 120 dB
Impedance 34 ohms
Cable length 4‘7.5“
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Latest reviews

CK Moustache

100+ Head-Fier
Link to my review and measurement index thread where one can also find a full review overview, more information about myself as well as my general-ish audio and review manifesto:

I only give full stars. My ranking/scoring system does not necessarily follow the norm and is about as follows:

5 stars: The product is very good and received the "highly recommended" award from me.

4 stars: The product is very good and received the "recommended" award from me.

3 stars: The product is good/very good, but not outstanding/special enough to get any of my two awards. ["Thumbs Up"]

2 stars: The product is only about average or even somewhat below that and somewhat flawed/flawed in some areas. [neither "Thumbs Up" nor "Thumbs Down"]

1 star: The product is bad/severely flawed to outright bad. ["Thumbs Down"]

InEar ProPhile 8


Personal unit.


8 BA drivers per side; four acoustic ways; single-bore design.

They come in a large cardboard box packaging with many included accessories.
Definitely a premium unboxing experience and way improved over InEar’s past unboxing experience I had when I bought their StageDiver SD-2 which didn’t have any proper packaging at all (which, on the other hand, is a good way to reduce waste).

Large, protective and sturdy carrying case with proper rubber and foam padding on the inside - unfortunately it doesn't have any holder for the cleaning tool that is also used to access the two switches on each shell (my UERMs' case is superior in this regard as it does have a holder for the cleaning tool). There's unfortunately no holder for the drying capsule either.

Proper industry standard cable with twisted conductors - supple, light and flexible. 2-pin connectors.

Ergonomically shaped shells with engraved model and serial number. High comfort.
Matte, sand-blasted finish. It's a matter of taste, but I have to say that I like them better in person than on the photos I had seen before I bought the in-ears.
Two switches on the inner side of each shell (the one closer to one's back of the head is the bass switch whereas the other one is the treble switch - definitely easy to remember). Unfortunately they cannot be operated without separate tools (and the shells must also be removed from one's ears).

InEar ProPhile 8 Switches.png


Largest included black silicone tips.

Standard “both switches down” sound signature pretty much all of the time – I never use the bass switches and only activate the treble switches on very rare occasions.


Natural-neutral tuning; very coherent, even and linear. Very close to that of the Ultimate Ears Reference Remastered to-go and therefore also comparable to the UERMs’ sound signature except for the more linear (upper and super) treble tuning the ProPhile 8 have got.

The bass switches add around 3 to 4 extra dB to the lows without spilling into the lower mids/upper fundamental range while adding around 1 additional dB of extra upper treble, whereas the treble switches add around 2 dB of extra boost to the upper treble and around 4 dB to the super treble past 15 kHz; activating both types of switches simultaneously adds the bass boost of the bass switches as well as the treble boost of the treble switches to the sound.

I'd characterise the tuning as natural-neutral, therefore it's closer to my Ultimate Ears Reference Monitors or the Ultimate Ears Reference Remastered to-go in tonality than to my Etymotic ER-4S or the ER4SR which I consider “sterile studio neutral” sounding. So definitely still in the neutral sounding realm, but not as flat-neutral sterile as the Etys when listening to music, noise signals and sine sweeps.

The (compared to diffuse-field flatness) mild bass lift takes place low so it doesn't radiate into the midrange, and its quantity is around 3 dB more than diffuse-field flatness to my ears.
The very low sub-bass is slightly less present than the upper sub-bass and low midbass, but at neutral quantity and not really rolled off.

The mids are just very slightly on the warmer and darker side to my ears but without any real colouration – quite similar to the mids of my UERM, although a touch less present around 2 kHz. The timbre is accurate here.

The presence range and middle treble are on the more relaxed side compared the diffuse-field target and the Etymotic ER-4S as well as ER4SR. Here, the ProPhile 8 are tuned a lot like the UERM; therefore they sound still accurate and don't lack anything, but are bit more relaxed sounding here when performing sine sweeps, listening to music or when directly compared to the Etys.
Going up in the upper treble, the level is at mostly neutral level. In fact, I'd consider the default treble switch "down" position to be just a tad below absolute flatness by 1 dB, whereas it seems to be a tad above absolute flatness in the "up" position, wherefore for ultimate treble perfection to my perception, I would have wished for just one dB more quantity in the default “treble switches down” position.

Cohesion and evenness are very good and the timbre is natural; there are no sudden peaks or dips, which is the main reason for this impression.
Personally, my perception of the ProPhile 8s’ tuning is that they are still clearly in the neutral realm, but are closer closer to the sound of a really good, neutrally tuned hi-fi speaker setup in a properly treated acoustic environment than to a sterile, lifeless set of studio monitors in a properly treated acoustic environment.

Compared to my UERM, my ProPhile 8 have got pretty much exactly 0.5 dB less bass quantity, are less "warm" in the upper fundamental range/lower midrange, are a tad darker in the presence range at 2 kHz (but similar at 3 kHz), and pretty similar in the rest of the treble, but lack the UERMs' >10 kHz peak (that is however only bothering when performing sine sweeps and if a note hits it exactly) wherefore they sound ultimately more linear and realistic, more accurate in the highs and are, as a result, quite similar to the UERR that are however tuned a little darker.

When compared with my ER-4S or the ER4SR, the ProPhile 8 have got a low-end that is pretty much exactly 3 dB stronger in quantity, with mids that are a tad warmer and darker (not really in a coloured way; still very natural) and more relaxed in the presence range as well as middle treble wherefore they sound less “brutally direct” but more “musically neutral”.

In contrast to my InEar StageDiver SD-2, the ProPhile 8 are a good bit less warm and thick sounding, especially in the lower midrange and fundamental range, and a bit less “bassy”, with audibly less midrange warmth and a less relaxed treble response.

Frequency Response:

PP8 ER-4S-Compensation.jpg


PP8 Bass.jpg

Effect of the Bass Switch

PP8 Treble.jpg

Effect of the Treble Switch

PP8 Both.jpg

Effect of both Switches


Tight, fast, highly resolving. Excellent midrange resolution and speech intelligibility. Clean note separation. They never start to sound diffuse, even with super dense, fast and complex tracks.

Definitely flagship territory, and even somewhat above my UERM or the NocturnaL Audio Atlantis. In the territory of my Campfire Audio Andromeda but obviously with a very different approach to tonality (the Andromeda are clearly bassier and warmer, with an audibly more relaxed and darker upper midrange/presence range, and the brighter, sharper, more gimmicky treble tuning) and a different bass presentation (tight and fast on the ProPhile 8, visceral and rumbling, with a more lingering decay on the Andromeda).
Not that it really mattered most of the time (unless one is mostly listening to dense and very fast music) anyway, as all of those in-ears are excellent and deliver flagship performance, and even compared (but not directly head-to-head) to my ER-4S or the ER4SR (that I ultimately personally prefer for their superior sterility and flatness, whereas I am using my ProPhile 8 a bit more often because of their higher comfort and less deep insertion (their superior technical performance doesn't matter as much to me most of the times in real-world listening sessions)), the technical superiority of my ProPhile 8 isn't always as important when listening to music for the sake of listening to music and not for the sake of listening to the technical performance of the in-ears, although I tend to prefer them with very fast tracks and densely arranged Classical pieces.

Nonetheless when listening for the sake of determining the in-ears' performance, hands down, the ProPhile 8 beat the comparably tuned UERR as they sounds tighter, faster and better controlled in the lows in comparison, with generally somewhat higher resolution and cleaner note separation. Therefore they also deliver just that bit of extra resolution I sometimes/rarely desired from my UERM when listening to very dense, fast and complex tracks.


Three-dimensional and especially precise, clean imaging, layering and instrument separation, but not as large, open and expansive sounding as most other in-ears in this price range. For example, the UERM, Andromeda or Atlantis have an audibly larger soundstage in comparison. Somewhat larger than the Etys' soundstage, though (and more precise in comparison).
In terms of size, the ProPhile 8s’ soundstage is really nothing special to my ears and could even be considered to be on the small-ish side (I would have definitely wished for a larger perceived soundstage at this price point), but these in-ears really make up for that with their precise imaging and don’t even struggle with densely arranged and at the same time fast arrangements.

Just like with the resolution, the soundstage remains rock-solid during fast, complex and dense recordings and doesn't start to appear foggy.

- - - - - - - - - - - -


Ultimate Ears Reference Remastered to-go:

Both are tuned remarkably similar to my ears, featuring a “natural neutral” kind of tuning in contrast to the more “studio neutral”-like sound that the ER4SR and my ER-4S have to my ears.
To my ears, the ProPhile 8 have got pretty much exactly 0.5 dB less bass than the UERR and UERM, are slightly less “warm” in the fundamental range/lower midrange, and sound otherwise pretty similar to the UERR in the treble.

In terms of resolution though, I would position the ProPhile 8 a bit over the UERR. The InEars’ bass is even tighter, faster and better controlled in direct comparison to the UERM, and even a bit more so when compared to the UERR, with the generally somewhat higher resolution and note separation, wherefore they have somewhat of an advantage in very dense, fast and complex music passages.

In terms of soundstage, just as with the resolution, the ProPhile 8 are somewhat above the UERR when it comes to imaging precision and note separation with very densely arranged recordings.

Etymotic ER-4S:

To my ears, the ER-4S represent more of a “sterile studio reference neutral” tuning whereas the ProPhile 8 fall more into the range of being “naturally neutral” tuned.

That said, the ProPhile 8 have around 3 dB more bass than the ER-4S and sound warmer in the fundamental range and lower mids, but are a bit less “warm” than the ER-4XR and have also got slightly less bass.
The ER-4S are slightly more forward/intimate sounding in the mids whereas the ProPhile 8 present the middle frequencies in a comparatively more relaxed way due to the more recessed presence range, but with still accurate timbre and no audible colouration.
Both are very even, realistic and accurate in their treble reproduction, which is something not too many in-ears achieve.

In terms of resolution, precision, bass speed and tightness, the ProPhile 8 are ultimately ahead, which is the most audible during very fast and complex, dense music, but not as strikingly obvious otherwise most of the time. So to say, the ProPhile 8 don’t yet “cave in” when the ER-4S already start to do.

Regarding perceived soundstage, that of the ProPhile 8 isn’t even all that much larger to my ears but only somewhat, but as with the resolution, the In-Ear in-ears are ahead when it comes to imaging precision and remain cleaner, better separated when the track is densely arranged and/or very fast.

InEar ProPhile 8.png



Natural-neutral sound signature with highly convincing technicalities, a realistic timbre, linear treble, fast and tight, controlled bass and precise imaging. The pure soundstage size is not really overwhelmingly large, though, and could be even seen as being on the smaller side.


Sponsor: Unique Melody
Pros: Incredible value(Sound Quality) for the price.
Nice fit and build quality.
Well balanced sound and advanced tuning.
Cons: No or few US distributors , hard to buy
Treble could be extended more
Sound stage can be larger and deeper
I've been in the Head-Fi for years, but this is my first review. I decided to choose ProPhile 8/8s(pp8) as my first review because I got plenty of questions from other members about this great headphones. Therefore, I think it might be a good idea to write a review to explain everything I know pp8.
However, this might not be a full or serious review, since English is not my first language, but I will do my best to explain everything clearly. Also I don't have a great camera to take fancy pictures, so if you want to know how pp8 looks like, go ahead google it!

Packaging & Accessories
Mine is pp8s which is a small version of the original pp8. What I found interesting is that pp8s has a totally different packaging from og pp8. The og pp8 comes with a very generic low quality paper box which remind me the old UE5pro. The pp8s comes with a very decent larger box, the size and shape is just like V281 Amplifier. It is still a paper box, not as fancy as Rhapsodio Zombie which comes with a solid bamboo box. But the quality is fair enough for a $1000+(I paid a little less than $1400 which including shipping and import taxes).
The accessories are
A LOT. They come with many cleaning tools, the tools to sound adjustment tool. A whole bunch of tips(spin spots, comply and some I don't know, I hope it came with final tips but nope). A lot of filters and changing tools. You can never complain with the accessories that InEar provides.
Before I was going to purchase pp8, it really takes me some time to decide whether buy pp8 or pp8s. There really is not much reviews and comparisons between these two, since they have exactly the same sound. But one of my friend told me he bought a sd4 before and changed to sd4s cause sd4 is a little large for him. I don't want to take the risk of buying a headphones oversea and return it because it doesn't fit, so I bought pp8s, simple.
I would say pp8s can fit most people whether you have small or large years. They do looks weird but they fit my ears perfectly,
The Best out of custom. The size is smaller than Legend X and Zombie, but slightly larger than U18t.
The build quality is TOTL, the scrub finish just made them unique and beautiful. The 2pins cable connectors(female) are super tight, it does cost some time to cable rolling. IMO, the build quality is better than most of the current flagships, truly outstanding.

I know you guys are interested about this part, so double highlighted this subtitle, for those who want to skip the previous parts. (This sound impression is based on both switches on which I think can show the most potentials of PP8s)
The bass from pp8s, is right there, nothing more nothing less. For reference, I feel U18 is a little less, Legend X is a little too much. The bass speed is almost as fast as U18t, but somehow I feel pp8s go deeper and harder by a very very small margin tho. Also the bass and the overall sound signature of pp8s is studio alike. It doesn't mean that pp8s is flat or colorless. It's just a perfect balance, objective.
Key 3 Words here: Accurate, Fast, Studio Alike.

The mid and vocal reminds a lot of HEKv2 with less mid upfront. PP8s has a slightly lean but little warm mid range, this is very unique and comfortable. Usually a lean mid range provides a fake or plastic alike vocal and snares, but it does't happen on pp8s just like it doesn't happen on HEKv2. PP8s has just enough flesh and muscle to present a clean yet full bodied mid range. PP8s added a little color and sweetness in the mid range which makes me love this headphone, it's just perfect. So the mid from pp8s is just like a beautiful collage girl in a perfect figure.
So Key Words here: Clean, Beautiful, Young(Enthusiastic).

The treble from pp8s is crazily smooth. Although they are slightly to the bright side, but they have a great great sibilance control. However, I do find the treble is a little dry, and straight foward, if they have a match amount of "air" as U18 provide, they will be perfect. Even though, they still provide a overall good treble, which is better than its price range.
Key Words here: Smooth, Dry, Straight Forward.

PP8s is a very clean headphones, the added sweetness or warmness doesn't affect the transparency. There is no veil need to be removed, again, studio alike.
There are plenty of IEMs or big cans are studio alike, for example most of Byerdynamic's products, UE iems, Ultrasone IQ(a little bit), U18(also a little). Most of them has one significant issue, that is they are too separate in terms of EQ balance. Yeah, those headphones or iems are made for stage or studio, those music producers need a separate EQ, so they can identify the problems or make adjustments in each frequency. But this is actually not a good excuse for them to have a poor transition from bass to mid to treble. Music is still one entity, both professions and audiophiles need a full image of the music as a whole. PP8s and U18 are the only 2 iems that can do this part properly among those studio alike iems, you won't feel the any parts of frequency is separate from others, you can easily draw a constant line of the sound, without breakpoints.
Key Words here: Clear, Constant, Pro

Details& Resolution
PP8s has a lot of details, but they are not as "in your face" as U18. The details are handled at a distance, IMO it's hard to say which approach is better. The first time I hear U18 I was totally shocked by the details, they are present almost right in front of your face,very clear. But should details sounds like this, I don't know, you like it than it should. PP8s use a different approach, those details stay at where they should be, they still give you a good image of musicians movements. To me it's easier to get a more "wide&full" image of a band or a single musician, instead a focus on a single player of a band or a single part of a musician on pp8s.
Key Words here: Well handled, More than enough, Comfortable.

Sound Stage
This is actually the only part disappointed me a little bit, especially compare with those flagships. The sound stage is wide enough to separate all instruments. It is deep enough to give you a decent 3D image. It has acceptable air to do not make you feel tired. But that's it. To be honest, I was expecting more, a lot more, maybe because I mostly compared pp8s with $500 or $1000 more expensive gears.
Key Words here: Good sound stage image, But, That! Is! It!

Overall: PP8s sounds like younger Byerdynamic T1, with more fun tunes, better mid and smoother treble, less density and dynamic, similar sound signature. It's stable, yet fun, very well balanced.
PP8s vs U18t
1. PP8s has more bass, almost identical in speed and deep.
2. PP8s has a slightly warmer and more colorful(by a good margin) than U18t.
3. PP8s has a drier more straight forward treble, U18t's treble is better extended, has larger image, more space.
4. Both PP8s and U18t are TOTL in terms of transparency and transition, not too many differences here.

5. PP8s has a better handled detail, less stressful. U18t is more in your face. There is no clear winner here, but to me I prefer pp8s for long term listening.
6. Sound stage, U18t wins in this part, no questions. However PP8s is not narrow as well. They still have equally good image.
OVERALL: These 2 are close, very similar. It's sorta like T1(pp8s) vs HD800(U18t). Both are reference level iems. In my opinion, pp8s is slightly more versatile too multiple genres due to pp8s has more color and more musical than U18t.

PP8s vs Legend X
1. Lenged X has more bass for sure, but PP8s is more accurate and tighter, faster, slightly deeper but very cable depending.
2. PP8s has a leaner mid, more presented, more clean. Legend X has a very unique mid, it's fall back but still very full bodied, so I feel LX is more bodied, with more density, I don't know whether this make sense to you guys are not.
3. Both has a very smooth treble, PP8s is brighter, LX is darker and way more relaxing, way more.
4. Both are not veiled. LX may have a little veiled feel, but I think it's due to the dark and smooth sound signature.
5. pp8s has slightly more details, but LX gives way more than enough details as a bass monster.
6. The are equally wide, both have a decent 3D image, pp8s has a deeper both with stock cables. But LX with Twag4 silver cable has a significant deeper sound stage, while pp8s doesn't have a match improvement with Twag 4 or Eros 2 or PW No.5. But pp8s has a wider soundstage when pair with Ted T2 silver cable.

PP8s vs Rhines Stage 7
1. S7 has more bass, but hit not as hard and deep as pp8s.
2. S7 has one of the best mid I've ever heard, it's warm, attractive, shine like gold but not as clean as pp8s.
3. PP8s has a significantly brighter treble, while S7 is super dark and laid back.
4. S7 is slightly veiled, it's hard to match pp8s in the transparency, but both has good transition.
5. pp8s has slightly more details, S7's details stay a little backward hard to get.
6. pp8s is wider, S7 is deeper.

The rest comparisons I will writhe in short cause I'm tooooo tired......

PP8s vs Zombie
pp8s is brighter less weighted, zombie is more bodied and darker.
PP8s vs Vega
pp8s is more uplifting, vega is more relexing
PP8s vs Solar
pp8s is more detailed has more density, solar is bassier

PM me if you want more comparisons but those above are my most familiar IEMs (still own or sold recently).

Rank By Genres:
I write this section cause many members ask me this question, however this is very subjective. I will only list top 5(IMO) for each genres.

Before we start, I want you guys to know my music preference.
I was a metal drummer and work for couple metal bands for years, now I play with some jazz musicians, but still learning. So in my DAP there are about 30% metal(progressive metal, djent, metalcore), 30% jazz, funk and blues, 20% pop(vocal based), 10% EDM for workout, 10% classic and new ages.

Metal List:
1. LX (Great bass and fast enough for metal,super powerful, dynamic and bodied, very smooth treble still with good amount of sparkles makes metal to a art level, really enjoyble. )
2. Solar (Ideal for metals with lots of guitar rifts)
3. PP8s (The mid is almost ideal for guitar solos, the fast bass is also good for metal, did a good job no significant weakness, not so many highlights either)
4.U18t (Very like pp8s, but treble extension makes some songs have "divine" sound, it's a unique feeling in a good way, but sorta lack of bass or the bass is not as impact. I feel bored at least not as excited after about 1 hr.)
5. Zombie (Full bodied but a little too much for metal, the bass is not fast enough for those metal sub-genres I enjoy, but if you prefer old school metals the rank will definitely be higher.)

Jazz, Funk, Blues List:
Well it's might be weird to someone to put these 3 together. The reason is prefer those funky jazz and some Japaneses Jazz which is faster and brighter than regular jazz.
1. PP8s(fast bass in right amount, little sweet mid, bright yet smooth treble, good sound stage image, just put these words together)
2. Rhines S7(very warm and seductive, it's very close to NO.1, but not as clean, may feel tired tired for long term listening)
3. U18t(Overall good performance, but the sound stage is too wide, feel a little empty, and less colored)
4. Vega( Relaxing but too soft and too much bass)
5. LX( the treble is good enough, but not as bright as pp8s or U18 where the trumpet couldn't shine out, it's relaxing but not as vega, it has some enjoyable, fun elements but not as enjoyable as S7)

Pop List:
1. S7( like LCD-3, smoothest vocal I've ever heard)
2. PP8s( perfect for female singers, but a little be lean for male singers)
3. LX( I know it's weird to put a V shape at this position, but to me the vocal is still acceptable and the great bass and relaxing feature add points)
4. U18( just need more colors, need to be more musical, need more emotions)
5. Zombie ( somehow like a son of S7 and LX, V shape but very musical and warm, but not a little bit too weighted and thick to enjoy)

EDM List:
1. LX(all about bass, EDM standard, Code of EDMs IMO)
2. U18t( ye, they are a little lack of bass, but the the great treble extension + the boundless sound stage+ greatest dynamic= Dancing in the Air, it's a very unique feel hard to say)
3. pp8s( U18t-the largest soundstage= dancing in the air with a wire.
4. Solar
5. Zombie

Classic& New Age:
1. U18t(divine and authority)
2. pp8s (great for Mozart, Chopin and Yanni)
3. LX(did a good job for Hans Zimmer)
4. Xelento

Basically that's all I want to say, thanks for watching, really appreciate it! I wish this review is helpful!!!
(I'm so tired after 4 straight hours writing. This review may contain many language and spelling errors, but I hope it's still readable.)
This is one of the best gear impressions, with Musical genres to boot. Thanks @DrummerLeo
I've been listening to classic 60's era Jazz all day today with my newly acquired PP8s and thinking God this is the perfect genre for this earphone, then I read your review. You hit it on the head.


New Head-Fier
Pros: Amazingly neutral
Comfortable fit
Switches to tweak signature
Revealing soundstage
Strong detail retrieval
Cons: Not flashy
Laggy treble
Unemotional mids

I don't normally review packaging, but because some people have made a big deal of the ProPhile's plain-for-a-flagship packaging, I thought I would note that while the box isn't wood or carbon fiber or aluminum or any other such pointlessly expensive material, everything arrived safely, and the cardboard box fit neatly in my recycle bin instead of taking up space on my desk for no good reason. I will say, however, that the (otherwise excellent) Pelican 1060 case is a little on the large side unless you plan on toting accessories; I carry my ProPhile in the smaller Pelican 1010 that came with my Noble Sage.

The ProPhile also comes with two switches recessed into the shells that boost the bass and/or treble frequencies by 3dB or 2dB, respectively. The marketing is that this gives you four IEMs in one! This is hype, but the switches aren't useless either: the same way a bicycle's gears don't by themselves allow you to go faster or slower, but rather allow you to maintain your ideal pedaling cadence at whatever speed you're going, the ProPhile's switches don't give it four properly distinct signatures, but rather allow it to pair with a wider range of sources. For example, I find the bass switch is necessary to get enough oomph from the HiBy R6; whereas the Opus #2 sounds bloated with the bass switch on, but perfect with it off. (The switches are enough of a pain to flip that doing so for anything other than switching sources isn't worth it anyway.)

On to the important part of the review!


Presentation: Reference done right. Nothing stands out or sits back: everything is handled with overwhelming competence. The ProPhile is not a "fun" or "musical" IEM, but then it's not supposed to be. Think of it as a designated driver: clear-headed and responsible, it may not have the absolute best time at the bass-and-treble party, but it will never make a fool of itself by throwing up all over the mids either. And despite its responsibility, the ProPhile at worst sounds a little stiff: never cold, analytical, or boring.

Bass: Like a good butler, the ProPhile's bass is confident but respectful; speedy but dignified; at work behind the scenes but immediate when called upon; soft-spoken but with a whetted wit. Even in delicate situations, where it might come into conflict with the lower mids, the ProPhile's bass deftly defers without simply surrendering. However, unless he is truly too meek, don't even think of trying to corrupt this butler's good sense with the bass switch: it may make him a bit pudgier, a bit slower, a bit clumsier, a bit coarser, yet he will never stoop to shouting over other frequencies like a common servant.

All of which is to say that the bass is always doing exactly what it's supposed to: whether that be to slam, rumble, nimbly jump about, or muckily slide around; to buoy the mids, contrast with the treble, drive a dance tune, generally add body, stay out of the way, or even tastefully show off every now and then. The ProPhile's bass is a properly impressive jack-of-all-trades, so long as you're not looking for hired muscle for EDM or what have you: it's just too well bred for that.

Mids: The ProPhile's mids are like that brilliant straight-A whiz kid who's simultaneously one of the least interesting people you've ever met. Flummoxed by no subject, they pull off the great trick of not emphasizing the lower or upper mids, such that male and female vocals are evenly matched, and both are detailed and technically excellent; but while vocals are placed correctly just at the fore, they are never voluptuous or sensual—this kid has never known love.

Of course, the ProPhile is a reference tool, so this is exactly the aim, and while vocal music isn't as engaging as it could be, the ProPhile makes up for it in accuracy and versatility: mids sound right, if a little bland; and they don't shove their way to the front when they don't belong there.

Treble: The ProPhile's treble makes me think of a smallish helium balloon. Which is to say that the treble is presented smoothly, without peaks, with a minimum of air to make it float on top of the rest of the signature without sounding totally separate. It's very good treble overall: there's no seam between it and the upper mids, and everything that resides in or ventures into the treble sounds perfectly accurate but never cold or fatiguing. Cymbals have a distinct, crisp attack and realistic decay; trumpets sound like trumpets rather than…whatever garbage it is trumpets always sound like through inferior equipment; you can hear the airstream underneath a flute; snares don't sound like they're cracking your head open; etc.

However, the problem with balloons is that they have to be carried on a string, and walking with a balloon on a string ends up with the balloon bouncing along behind you. So the treble is on the ProPhile: always sounding a couple milliseconds behind. It's barely noticeable, and I find I can ignore it most of the time, but I have to remember to do so, which is less than ideal. The treble switch doesn't do much for me, but since that's an extra feature anyway, I don't think it's worth complaining about too much.

Resolution: Very, very good. The ProPhile retrieves very nearly every detail I know of, and I'm an ER4 veteran. Exacting as it is, the ProPhile is remarkably generous: while it won't forgive low bitrates or poor recording, it plays nice with high-quality MP3's. (So long as you don't go out of your way to hear flaws.) As a studio reference tool, this is perhaps a compromise, but it goes a long way towards making the ProPhile a casually listenable IEM for those of us who can't find, store, and/or afford a completely lossless library.

Imaging and separation are both excellent: while the ProPhile feels more full-bodied than transparent, this is just the difference between details being presented on request and details being shoved in your face, and I think it's this grounded sense of body that makes the ProPhile as listenable as it is. If you zone out, all the instruments cohere into the best kind of solid sound; if you zoom in, it's just as easy to pick out and follow single instruments. Heavily congested passages do require a little effort to pick apart, but nothing unreasonable. (And isn't that sort of the point?)

Soundstage: The ProPhile's soundstage is the most track-dependent I've ever heard. Sometimes it sounds expansive, other times borderline intimate. This is probably a good thing for those using it as a reference tool (or those with nothing but excellent recordings), but for casual listening it's a little jarring. However, it never sounds bad. When it's fed a track with a large stage, it extends both wide and high, and nearly as deep; when it's a fed a more compact track, it still makes good use of what space it has, positioning and separating instruments well. It never feels stretched or artificially airy, and overall I'm inclined to call it a "good" soundstage, given that it's able to scale to whatever you give it.


A disclaimer: I own the ProPhile 8S model, which is designed for people like me with small ear canals (or small ears in general). However, even this comes with a large selection of tips (generic, Comply, and SpinFit) that ranges from tiny to quite big, and I expect the S is lighter than the full-size model, so I would suggest anybody without cavernous ears get the S if possible.

All that said, the ProPhiles have a superb fit, by far the most comfortable IEMs I have ever used. They totally disappear after a few seconds, to the point where every now and then it's tempting to fiddle with them to make sure they're still there. I found a perfect seal immediately with a pair of the included SpinFit tips, and while insertion and removal are a little more involved than normal, I've quickly gotten used to the particular twist technique required, and it's no hassle at all.

Construction is solid. Nothing schmancy but nothing that seems like it will break, ever. A reserved matte plastic means the ProPhile isn't a conversation starter, but it also doesn't make you look like you're trying to attract attention, and it means the ProPhile doesn't look very fun to steal. It's a personal aesthetic thing, but really, these are going to spend most of their time in your ears where you can't see them anyway. You could put stickers on the outside faces if you wanted?

The included cable does use memory wire around the ear, which works just fine for me, but if you're one of the people that hates that for whatever reason, you'll want an aftermarket cable to go with these.


Etymotic ER4XR
: A $1000 price difference, but the only remotely comparable IEM that I own. The ER4XR, predictably, has greater bass extension and quantity, half the time to its detriment, especially when it smothers the low mids. The ER4XR wins (as always) on detail retrieval: it just finds everything; it's an accomplishment that the ProPhile gets as close as it does. The ER4XR has significantly better isolation than the ProPhile, but this comes with horrendous microphonics that the ProPhile doesn't present. The ER4XR sounds a little leaner, and therefore a little more transparent than the ProPhile, but for the wrong reasons: a lower treble peak and relatively recessed mids open the presentation up, but also make it sound thin and weak—the ProPhile sounds richer without sacrificing anything meaningful for it. (As Chris Traeger points out on Parks and Recreation, eggnog is way better when it's not nonfat.) Everything else—mids, treble, soundstage, comfort, anything you can name—is pretty much in the ProPhile's favor as both a reference tool and a listenable IEM. Eight drivers are better than one; go figure.


Audio-Opus Opus #2: A great match: the touch of warmth offered by the Opus #2 makes the ProPhile that much more engaging while the otherwise reference signature still lets the ProPhile do what it does best. The Opus #2 also has the best detail retrieval and soundstage of the three DAPs discussed here. I don't use either switch for this pairing.

iBasso DX200 (Amp 1): Truly flat. The DX200 is the best pairing of these three for critical listening, but because both the DX200 and the ProPhile lack any warmth or emphasis, the sound feels scattered and incoherent, not in the sense that it's technically incapable (because the technical mastery with this pairing is incredible), but in the sense that it feels like you're listening to a bunch of instruments playing at the same time, not a piece of music. All the switches do in this pairing is make things more fatiguing, and less accurate. One of the warmer amp cards might make this pairing more casually listenable, but out of the box, the DX200 and ProPhile are only suited for actual referencing.

HiBy R6: Though generally less sophisticated than the other two players, the R6 does have the best bass extension and detail of the three (though I find the bass switch necessary for this pairing). Otherwise, the R6 is still a good match for the ProPhile, but (and this may be the fault of the high output impedance) it sort of ruins the reference signature and bullies the ProPhile into doing something different entirely. Which isn't bad, but don't go in expecting the same beautifully flat response. (It's more of a gentle L.)


The InEar ProPhile 8 is something special: a properly flat IEM that sounds good in one way or another with everything, and leaves you to fine-tune its sound with its switches and your source of choice. It is also supremely comfortable, especially as a universal. Some people might want something a little more blingy, or with a more distinct signature, but if you care primarily about fit, accuracy, and value, and can overlook a very slightly lax treble, I highly recommend this IEM.
I've never found the Prophile 8s boring, but then I lean towards neural renderings. I only use them with a DAP, originally a QP1R, now a QP2R. The QP2R is a bit warmer and fuller, and moves the Prophile 8s just a tad from
too-well-behaved towards lively. A great setup for the calmer music I take with me for those 12h flights.
Sorry for being "slightly" late to the party, and I'm not sure you're still following the thread, but when you write "the treble is on the ProPhile: always sounding a couple milliseconds behind" are you referring to timing isues that make it a less rhythmically, less musically engaging set?
@drftr: In short, yes. To wit, the Empire Ears ESR shares a very similar signature and level of technical performance without the timing issues (which, mind, could have also been a bum PP8) for much less money, but it's not as physically ergonomic and doesn't have tuning switches. Then again, I've been out of the reference IEM world for a couple years now so there are probably even better options out there, especially with the recent maturation of mini-EST drivers, which at this point I consider a sine qua non for top-quality IEM treble. To my ears they produce a fantastically clear and transparent sound which BAs can't match in my experience without overdoing the volume or brightness.


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