InEar ProPhile 8

Rating:
4.9/5,
  1. Crusic
    Welcome to the new musical reference
    Written by Crusic
    Published Mar 8, 2017
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Perfect fit for an universal IEM, sound tuning switches, reference signature, details, transparency, build quality & service
    Cons - Big shell might not fit everyone, plain look
    20170308_152339.jpg
    InEar's Prophile 8
     
    Personal Background:
     
    Due to the fact that this is my first English review I want to give you some more background information about me.
    I am a 24 year old student and I’ve been into IEM for about three years now. My first IEM was the Stagediver 2 by the German company InEar.
     
    In the last few months I’ve been looking for an upgrade in the price range around 600€ and I’ve listened to quite a lot of IEMs that are available in Germany. Well I didn’t find one that delivered an overall better experience in that area so I had to move on!
     
    I mainly listen to Rock, Pop, R'n'B and soundtracks but I am open to different genres, too as long as they have prominent vocals which is the most important part for me.
     
     
    Packaging and Accessory:
     
    Let’s start with the least impressive part of the Prophile 8 (PP8).
     
    The PP8 comes in a rather simple paper case which includes the massive carrying case, foam tips and silicon tips in the sizes S/M/L, Spinfit tips (XS/S/M/L), a cleaning tool which is also used for changing the position of the bass and treble switch, a set of earwax filter which contains 20 filters and a removal tool, three cleaning wipes, a drying capsule, a user guide and of course the most impressive item the PP8 with eight BA drivers per side, a four way crossover and its bass and treble switch. 
    The cable that comes with the PP8 is a usual standard cable also used by stage musicians but the experience have shown that it is very durable.
     
     ​
    20170306_160406.jpg 20170308_153209.jpg
    Accessory (the cleaning tool is missing) and 2-pin cable
     
     
    Shell Design:
     
    First of all, I want to get this out of the way: If you know the normal Stagediver shell and if it fits you the PP8 will most likely fit you, too because the differences in the design are only regarding the height and some minor bumps at some areas where the ear is pretty insensitive. So the PP8 will stick a little bit more out of your ear (about 1-2 mm) compared to the Stagedivers.
     
     ​
    20170226_141229.jpg 20170226_141044.jpg
    Prophile 8 next to a Stagediver 2
     
    The overall design looks plain but also very professional and if it’s settled in your ear you most likely won’t notice much of a difference between a custom IEM and the PP8.
     
    I talked about the design with Marco from InEar about adding a logo or something like that to the faceplate but he answered that they don’t want to concern about the design that much thus the sound is the focus InEar wants to impressive with.
    So there’s no kidding around the design. It is simple, it is effective and it differs from the Stagedivers due to the mat finish so that you’ll at least notice you are having a more special product.
     
     ​
    20170308_152559.jpg
    General design
     
     
    Fit:
     
    Like I said the design is very effective and this is due to the perfect fit you can achieve with this IEM. This maybe is the best universal (sharing this spot with his smaller siblings the Stagedivers) on the market out there if you don’t have to small ears. It doesn’t matter how long I wear them or if I have a chill or something they don’t bother me. In more than three years of use I had only one day when my Stagediver 2 left a slightly negative feeling and the PP8 does feel very similar to it.
     
    I have quite uncomplicated ears and I haven’t had a universal that didn’t fit me but there have always been some that sucked more into my ears or loosened a bit through movements.
    If I compare my SD2 with the PP8 I find the insertion of the SD2 a tad easier due to the smoother surface but on the other hand this makes it a bit harder to remove them from the ear, too.
    Based on the grip of the PP8, which is a little less flat than the Stagedivers, the Prophile snuggles even better in my ears and the small gains in height facilitate the removal.
     
    I won’t comment on sound changes due to ear tips because this can be very dependent on your ear canal and insertion depth. So changes that I experience won't necessarily be the same way for you, too. Just try some and take whatever fits and sounds the best for you.
    SpinFits are my preference, though and if I remember right Marco also used it for tuning the PP8. But I get a good seal with other tips, too.
     
     
    Sound:
     
    Let’s talk about the area we are most interested in.
     
    First of all, I am concentrating only on two settings of the PP8 both switches off (reference mode) and both switches on (fun mode). I didn’t feel the need to boost just one end of the frequency response but more on that later.
     
     
    Both Switches Off – the Reference:
     
    The way how a reference monitor should be tuned is something many manufacturers do quite a little different in some frequency ranges. E.g. Etymotic has a little less energy in the bass area and UE added a bit more power to the highs with the UERM.
     
    So this is quite a hard topic to get right. Personally, I found the PP8 very well balanced in every area. There is nothing that really stands out or annoys but it doesn’t sound boring or dry either. I have never heard an IEM before that sounded so realistic without coloration.
    The first time I listened to it was just like I could hear everything at once without focusing. But if you want to concentrate on a single voice, instrument or whatever it is the rest couldn’t distract me from following it either.
     
    Regarding the bass: I know coming from the Etymotic SR the bass is slightly elevated due to different interpretations of reference sound. I have never heard the Etymotic but personally I am of the opinion that the small emphasis creates a more live-like feeling and adds some emotion to the music. But still, it isn’t exaggerated or does sound forward, it’s in a total harmony with the rest of the frequencies so it still retains that analytic character.
     
    Treble is rather on the smoother and safer side. The PP8 never annoyed me but this doesn’t mean that it isn’t revealing as well.
     
     
    Both Switches On – more fun please:
     
    With the switches you add +3 dB to the lower end and +2 dB to the higher frequencies starting to slowly rise at around 6-7 kHz. The mids are also pushed slightly in the background about -0.5 dB if I remember right.
     
    So even with that changes the PP8 still keeps his typical character. It’s not turning into a completely different IEM just into a slight v-shaping.
    These variation creates a more let’s say “natural” sound.
    Why do I use the expression “natural” here? To be honest I still believe that you don’t grow up with a neutral tuning. The first speakers or earphones you buy will most likely have that V-shape tuning because this rumble in the bass and the sparkle in the treble impress more than a neutral speaker on the first listen. So you basically have to adjust to a reference sound with growing experience.
     
    This tuning of the PP8 and the switches offer the opportunity to introduce someone to a reference signature.
     
     
    Detail:
     
    Besides the tuning this was the most impressive area. I actually don’t like to emphasize or use many superlatives so it’s hard to express this right.
    Maybe I try a comparison here instead.
    For all who know the Stagediver 2 and 4 in my opinion the improvements regarding detail have been rather small. Okay the price from SD2/SD4 to PP8 is another big jump but actually I didn’t plan to buy the PP8 so quick I just wanted to test it. But I just couldn’t get that details out of my head.
    Maybe this explains more than other words.
     
    But please keep in mind, it’s not in the way that you can’t hear these details with other IEMs, too (at least some of them) it’s just that the PP8 presents these details so obvious you don’t really have to concentrate on it. The funny thing is I actually like even small mistakes in the recording because you realize what a fantastic IEM you’ve got to identify these so easily.
     
     
    20170224_144829.jpg
    Falling in love with an IEM
     ​
     ​
    Separation and Transparency:
     
    Regarding separation I am a little torn apart.
    Separation is pretty good. Even some a capella stuff with five/six voices was relatively easy to follow. Though if it comes to separation in terms of location/stage the PP8 is good but I think there is a little room to improve. I’ll talk about this point in the comparison part with the CFA Andromeda a bit more detailed.
     
    Transparency is very good like I said you notice every instrument/voice and nothing stands out. You’ll get a very good overall feeling of the music and the involved instruments.  
     
     
    Stage:
     
    Even the Stagediver 2 , 3 and 4 are well known for their three-dimensional presentation. I haven’t heard an IEM under 500€ which had a similar spatial feeling like the Stagediver 2. Most IEMs in this price range had a similar or slightly wider stage but in terms of height and depths they completely failed against the Stagedivers.
     
    The Prophile improves the stage. It still has this three-dimensional feeling but this time even a good amount out of your head.
    Though there might be IEMs with a slightly wider or deeper stage but I sometimes got that feeling that the music or rather the stage feels a bit surreal if it’s stretched too much.
    The PP8 manages that balance between stretching and sounding musical very well. It just feels right.
     
     
    Switches and my experience with it:
     
    Well when it comes down to the switches I told Marco before I listened to the PP8 that I would like a bit more bass on some tracks with the SD2. So he suggested that I’d prefer it with the bass switch turned on.
    Actually I preferred the reference signature much more. With just one switch on the sound felt kind of imbalanced (which is a bit exaggerated but it’s easier to get my point.)
     
    Both switches on have been a good compromise between the CFA Andromeda and the reference signature because I compared Andromeda against PP8 at that time, too.
    With both switches turned on the Prophile felt more natural than with just one switch turned on. The added sparkle in the treble harmonizes perfectly with the extra bass.
    Sometimes I use this configuration when I go for a walk with the PP8 or take a ride with the bus or train. This kind of helps to block the external noise better and on the move this added fun feeling works very well.
    By the way you change the switch position with the cleaning tool by just flipping it over.
     
    In a quiet environment I am always using the Prophile 8 with both switches off. I just love the sound the way it is then.
     
     
    Inked20170308_152100_LI.jpg
    Prophile 8 with both switches turned off (red marks indicate on-position)
     
     
    Sibilance:
     
    Even with some brighter players like the Fiio X7 I haven’t encountered any sibilance yet. That’s very positive when it comes to long time listening because sibilance can lead to discomfort or fatigue but I can listen for hours without being irritated.
     
     
    PP8 vs. Andromeda:
     
    Let’s start with the positive site of the Andromeda and that’s only regarding stage and separation.
    The stage is pretty similar on both in terms of width/depth/height and I still have a hard time if I had to decide which one I’d prefer. The reason also includes the separation.
     
    CFA Andromeda sounds as if instruments are placed a bit further apart. Thus it feels a bit airier and this makes it easier to separate instruments by position if I concentrate on a special location. But sometimes I had the feeling that it feels too much stretched in width especially voices felt a bit unrealistic.
     
    On the other hand the Prophile 8 “connects” the music better or rather keeps it together. So everything feels complete and true. But the negative side of this presentation also includes the positioning. It’s a bit harder, compared to the Andromeda, to follow particular instruments just by concentrating on a special local area. So separation also suffers a bit under this circumstances.
    Personally I would have wished something in between.
    I had that feeling that the presentation with the Andromeda felt a bit too unnatural (in some songs) after a few minutes when I listened to the Andromeda the first time so I thought about this point before I listened to the PP8.
     
    For pure listening experience without being to analytic the PP8 performs better in my opinion and I like the presentation more overall. But if I want that tiny extra of analysis regarding positioning this would be a point the PP8 could be improved slightly. And thus I would rate the Andromeda minimally better in this area.
     
    Well if I don’t want make the comparison to long I could easily say the PP8 outperforms the Andromeda in almost everything besides that. Don’t get me wrong, I really liked the Andromeda although it has a different sound signature but in Europe both IEMs sell for a similar price and also considering this the PP8 plays in another league. 
     
    So now a bit more in depth:
    Andromeda has about +5dB more bass, compared to reference mode, in quantity but the Prophile has the better quality. Andromeda also has more treble and can be harsh and sibilant in a few songs although the Andromeda handles sibilance pretty well compared to other IEMs. Furthermore the Andromeda colors the sound a bit. In a direct comparison you'll notice that Andromeda does sound a bit warm.
    So it has a stronger V-shape but surprisingly mids haven’t felt that much recessed on the Andromeda.
    Mids and especially vocals are amazing with the PP8, live-like and more forward compared to the Andromeda.
     
    Details and quality along the whole frequency range is a different level with the Prophile. Due to the more present treble on the Andromeda this area may sound a bit more detailed but I actually think it isn’t, technically. But to be honest it’s hard to compare something that’s very different.
     
    PP8’s transparency is better balanced due to the difference in the sound signature, also.
     
    Well, fit is very ear dependent. I didn’t have any problems with either one so I can’t complain. PP8 offers a stronger fit but it takes a bit longer to insert and remove it.
    Andromeda, on the other hand, is easier to handle regarding insertion and removal but the fit is a bit worse. It comes down to personal preference.
     
    Andromeda’s cable feels better and the packaging looks more mainstream. On the other hand PP8's case is more restistant, you'll get an additional drying capsule and earwax filter.
     
     
    Short Comparison with SD4:
     
    I try a very short comparison based on my memory because this was often asked in the PP8 thread.
    Sound signature is very different. SD4’s signature does share more with the Andromeda but Andromeda is superior in terms of detail, separation and stage.
    Personally, I didn’t like the SD4 much comparing it with my SD2 which also has a different sound signature but concerning detail, stage and so on the differences have been rather small in my opinion. So I had the feeling there’s room to improve which was the reason for me to look for something more high-end.
    Back to the PP8, the enhancements appeared huge if you already consider the Andromeda as superior.
    By all means the SD4 isn’t a bad IEM so please keep in mind that’s my personal experience which is also affected by the difference in sound signature, although I did like the Andromeda.
     
     
    Often discussed topics:
     
    First of all, my thoughts about the cable. I agree the cable could feel/look more high-end. Unfortunately Marco hasn’t found a cable that does not change the sound. He does not recommend to change it if you want to retain that reference sound.
     
    Many of you requested a smaller version of the PP8 or a version without the switches to decrease the price and the shell size. Well in terms of price I have been told that the switches are quite cheap and that it would be more expansive to develop a new shell design without the switches. So we won’t see a version without switches to decrease the price.
    But a smaller shell might be possible in the future.
    The housing is packed to the top with the technique inside but the idea of a smaller shell is something Marco is still concerned about although he said it will be very hard to achieve this.
    At the moment the InEar team is very busy to produce the PP8 fast enough so I guess we won’t see it in the next few months.
    But there is still hope if fit is a problem for you because the PP8 is going to be available in custom design soon.
     
    Another point I want to mention is that the PP8 is pretty easy to drive even with a smartphone, too. Although Andromeda is even easier to drive, it also is much more affected by output impedance.
    I did have quite a lot of changes in the sound signature with the Andromeda whereas the PP8 kept stable on the same device.
     
    The packaging is my last topic. Let’s be honest it’s funny enough the most criticized part of the PP8 is its packaging. Well I had to criticize it, too to be fair to other products but in my opinion if you look at the PP8 and the packaging you see its German origin.
    It’s not the most beautiful item but it’s highly functional and of very good quality.
     
     
    Final thoughts:
     
    Well before listening to the Prophile 8 I have been of the opinion that I might want a more engaging IEM than my almost neutral Stagediver 2 with maybe a touch more bass.
    Well this had to be proven wrong.
    I didn’t have this “Wow”-effect in the way I had with the Andromeda due to the fun signature but I had that effect due to the pure detail retrieval and how realistic the PP8 sounded. I’ve got hooked on the purity of the sound the PP8 delivered.
     
    By the way the name Prophile descends from the two words pro-audio and audiophile.
     
    Regarding the design.
    First of all I am very happy they changed the slippery black finish of the Stagedivers into a mat black.
    The Stagedivers are so magnetic for fingerprints. Luckily this changed with the new finishing.
    Furthermore every time I look at the PP8 with the robust mat black shell I am reminded of Christian Bale’s Batmobile in “Batman Begins/The Dark Knight”.
    So to finally come to a conclusion if Bruce Wayne ever should be smiling at you and ask if this IEM does come in black, too you can definitely say: “Yes, it does!”.
     
    20170308_175904.jpg
    How could someone miss the affinity to Batman's Tumbler? [​IMG]
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     ​
     ​
    A big thanks to Marco from InEar for his time and explanations about his products and the chance to test the PP8 and compare it to the Andromeda for quite a while.
     
    Thanks for reading.
     
     
    PS: If you liked the packaging you should visit InEar in Roßdorf. I had the privilege to get a very limited white plastic bag with the InEar logo printed on it. You’ll only get it in Roßdorf! And trust me it’s even better than the packaging [​IMG] 
      Leogaluc666 and Mozartaudio like this.
    1. Apple0222
      I like the Headphone very much. thanks for reviewing.
      Apple0222, Mar 8, 2017
    2. Paulus XII
      TOP review :wink:
      Paulus XII, Mar 14, 2017
  2. MuZo2
    Prophile8 – emotional Bridge between you and music.
    Written by MuZo2
    Published Mar 2, 2017
    5.0/5,
    Pros - clarity, resolution, neutral, stage size, imaging, fit, build quality
    Cons - large shell, plain looks, tip & insertion depth critical
    2017-03-02_15-20-41.jpg




    InEar are relatively unknown\unpublicized\not acknowledged German company compared to likes of Sennheiser and Beyerdynamic .They are specialized in InEar monitoring systems. With Prophile8 they have now joined the likes of Sennheiser and Beyerdynamic in creating a German engineering masterpiece both in terms of technical and sound perspective. Prophile 8 which is a universal in-ear with a 4-way crossover and 8 balanced armature drivers per side is tuned to achieve a studio reference.



    Background:
    I met Marco Rämisch from InEar at headphone event in 2014 & 2016. In 2014 I auditioned the Stage series SD2 & SD3. InEar has designed a unique universal shape based on hundreds or scanned ears and I was impressed by the fit of SD2, they felt like customs and fit like a glove. I was impressed by huge soundstage SD2 produced but in general I thought that the SD2 had a bit laidback presentation.
    In 2016 event Marco introduced the pre-production version on Prophile8. Being a engineer myself we had a long discussion about the digital and manufacturing process. We also discussed technical qualities of Prophile8 and during this conversation Marco asked me if I was a headphone reviewer or ran a blog. I explained that I was not a professional reviewer nor had a blog but was a head-fi member for last eight years. Later in November I asked Marco by email if I can have a demo unit and he politely answered that they were short on demo units and had just two which he needed for exhibitions. So this year after seeing positive reviews I asked Marco again and he was happy to send one without any questions. As you read the review the iems are already back with Marco.



    2017-03-02_15-11-24.jpg


    Build:
    Build really is top notch, they feel really solid. They are 3d printed and finished with matt look. With the balanced armature drivers I was told that each driver is checked for FR and Left and right pairs are perfectly matched. They have also incorporated two small switches for tuning which are on part which goes in Cymba-concha area and hence not visible when they are worn. To incorporate 8drivers and switches the shells are bit larger and can be a problem for people with small ears. Previously I mentioned the fit of SD2, I can’t say same about Prophile8. I would like to see a smaller version of it may be without switches. Feature I liked about InEar is they have incorporated a cerumen filter and they do provide a tool and replacement filters. They are also color coded for left and right markings, It’s well thought design.


    Packaging:
    I was sent a demo unit so without outer packaging. So it came with Pelican case, Prophile8, Standard silicon tips, comply tips, Spin-fit tips, Cerumen filter set, drying capsule, and manual.

    IMG_20170227_121108.jpg IMG_20170227_121020.jpg
    IMG_20170227_120959.jpg 2017-03-02_15-27-50.jpg





    Fit:
    I should mention here that though I got good seal and fit with medium tips which I use normally, I needed one size small tips to get the right insertion depth. This might be due to the custom type design of these inears. I guess this was also notice by other head-fi user @ mimouille



    2017-03-02_16-41-50.jpg



    Sound:
    On listening for first time you immediately get wowed by the tonal balance, clarity, transparency and expansive presentation. My preconception of analytical disappeared quickly, because Prophile8 is clear , transparent , detailed without sounding thin or cold.


    1. Soundstage – InEar are master of tuning their iems to create a realistic soundstage. You can also notice same house sound in Stagedriver series which also have a large stage. With Prophile8 you immediately notice that one of its trait is large soundstage which is also precise. Its not only wide but has also good depth and height.
    2. Imaging – Imaging is precise and truly studio reference quality and does justice to all the work done by studio/sound engineers while mixing and creating the tracks.
    3. Tuning – Prophile8 is tuned to produce a flat neutral response. I would describe it as more natural. It is very resolving iem and brings out small details in music, they are truly transparent. Larger stage does help every instrument to have its own space in the mix.
    4. Bass: - Bass is bit north of neutral with a right decay. Bass lines are very clear and does bring out details in bass. Sub bass digs deep, there is no mid bass hump. Bass has nice weight and dynamics. I found bass to be chameleon based on track you are listening too. So it works well for all genres including EDM and metal.
    5. Mids:- Best part of this iem, they are quiet life like, realistic and conveying the emotions of the song & vocals. Lower mids have bit of warmth from the bass and are liquid. Mids and upper mids on some track felt a bit dry & airy but on other track were natural. Vocals are not too intimate or distant. They have excellent clarity and convey the raw emotions of singer. Listening to some of the female singer was delight and can run shivers if you get drowned in the music. Also listening to live music albums with multiple guitar players on stage was delight. Again I would like to point that the resolution you get from these iems are top notch.
    6. Treble:- Treble as you can see from frequency response is slightly low in level relative to the midrange baseline but is very delicately done and can be lifted a bit by treble switch. For me the default setting was perfect, It never sounds artificial or tizzy as some of the other BA based IEMS.





    Frequency Response:
    Default:

    PP8-defaultFR.jpg


    Bass boost (Red)

    PP8-Bassboost.jpg



    Treble boost (Blue)

    PP8-Trebleboost.jpg



    Bass & Treble boost (Pink)

    PP8-BassandTrebleboost.jpg



    Left & Right matching:

    PP8-LeftRight.jpg




    Comparison: Other TOTL iems I have heard have been at events except Harmony8.2 which I had a chance to demo at home, but I wouldn’t want to compare based on memory.

    Summary: Prophile8 does live to its marketing title “Studio Reference Signature”
    1. ForceMajeure
      Thank you, nice review , short and to the point.
      ForceMajeure, Mar 3, 2017
  3. Mimouille
    A new reference in neutral iems
    Written by Mimouille
    Published Jan 21, 2017
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Incredible sound quality, particularly soundstage, tonality and details, great ergonomics, switches
    Cons - Packaging could be more impressive. Would like just a bit more subbass. Very tip dependant
    1. Introduction

    The Prophile-8, a 8 balanced armature in-ear monitor, is the new flagship from well-established German brand In-ear. So far the brand had an offering going from 2 to 4 driver in-ear monitors, either universal or custom.

    They are well known for the great comfort of their iems and their impressive build quality.

    http://www.inear-monitoring.eu/en/index.htm

    This product is designed to be as neutral as possible, with two switches on each earpiece, in order to be able boost treble and bass. It is sold around 1500$.

    2. Service and packaging

    I bought the In-ear Prophile-8 through Dimitri @ Musica Acoustics, so I was not surprised to get absolutely perfect service as usual:

    · Great availability to answer questions
    · A true passion for sound
    · Prompt delivery and after-sales service when needed

    Beyond Musica Acoustics, Marco Ramitz from In-Ear is very accessible and will promptly answer any question you might have, through Facebook or email. He was always patient with me, and I am an annoying client.

    In terms of packaging several plusses:

    · Includes a large Pelican like case
    · Includes all sorts of accessories, including wax filters to replace when used
    · Spinfit tips are now systematically included (not at first)

    In terms of minuses:

    · Outer packing is flimsy cardboard, should do better at this price
    · The included tips could be better (but this has been resolved – see above)
    · The cable, while decent quality, is not at the level of cables offered by other high end brands (Campfire Audio, Fitear, etc.)

    In terms of ergonomics. the Prophile 8 should be an example for other brands. They fit the shape of my ear perfectly. It might be an issue for smaller ears, and unlike for their other iems, they do not have a “small” version. I suppose it is not possible to fit 8 drivers in the smaller shell. The finish is very nice, I like the matte black much more than the glossy black they used before. The switches are easily accessible with the small instrument but will not be switched involuntarily as they are recessed. They seem very robust and click reassuringly when switched.

    3. Source, cables and tips

    Let me eliminate the cable subject first. I just use the cables which are terminated properly to test my various DAPS. I am not a huge cable believer otherwise.

    In terms of source, the Prophile-8 is easy to drive and quite sensitive, but not to the point of being prone to hiss. It sounded good on all my sources, and hissed on none. It is very transparent, so changing the sources will impact the sound depending on the personality of the source (all of the following is with both switches off):

    · I prefer to use either the Sony WM1Z or the Lotoo Paw Gold. They are slightly warmer and will bring some musicality to this very neutral monitor
    · The DX200 is slightly drier and even though the combo is good, it may sound a bit analytical / thin in the mids
    · The Mojo works ok, but will be a bit aggressive with the Prophile-8

    The most important thing affecting the sound of the Prophile-8 is tips. I have literally tried everything in my collection: Sony hybrids, Sony hybrids with foam, Ortofon silicone tips, Comply foam tips, Sony triple comfort, JVC Spiral Dots, Spinfit CP100, CP800, CP220, etc. I finally settled on the Spinfit CP220 double flange which are not the most comfortable, but keep a neutral airy sound and add some depth.

    4. Switches and sound

    With the right tips, the Prophile-8 sound, to my ears, as advertised. They are neutral in the sense that nothing stands out over the rest, the bass is impactful and tight but less boosted than on my S-EM9. The mids are very clear, but do not have the thickness of certain brands. They can be a bit thin if the source goes in that direction. The highs a well detailed and extended, with a nice sparkle, but never aggressive.

    What stands out particularly in terms of performance, is the openness of the stage and pinpoint quality of the imaging. The stage is not in front of you like with the S-EM9 but more enveloping, surrounding you, allowing for a very involving musical experience despite the neutrality of the sound.

    Activating the switch will (very slightly) boost mid bass and / or treble. It is well implemented but never felt it was useful, at least to my taste. But I am not a fan of tunable iems anyways.

    The only thing I would change in these iems would be to have a bit more rumble in the subbass.

    5. Conclusion


    Once you have the right tips (it might be easier for you than for me), these are easily among the best BA iems I have heard, at whatever price. They are clearly THE iem to consider for anyone who likes a high performance neutral but still musical iem.



      H20Fidelity, hqssui and Lucif6r6th like this.
  4. FortisFlyer75
    The musical reference ProPhile8 IEM
    Written by FortisFlyer75
    Published Jan 19, 2017
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Unique best universal fit there is, Transparent, clear, nuetral and musical, bass & treble switch mode, reference sound
    Cons - Price, lead vocalists slightly recessed than would like.
    In Ears Prophile 8 IEM review
     
    January 2017
     
    Intro
     
    DSC02878.jpg DSC02960.jpg
     
    I had heard of In Ears but did not know too much about them until I see them on the In-Ear stand at the Indulgence show in London recently. I first listened to their Stage Diver 4 to get to know where they are coming from with their sound with not hearing In Ears before and to where they are going with the new Prophile 8 as this is a departure from the StageDiver series in terms of tuning and signature not to mention it is using double the drivers for In Ears new flagship model.
     
    Since then after researching the forever trident and thorough German way of philosophy in the way they do things in general when it comes to design and performance found out they have been going 25 years and are also in four different sectors which include not just in ear monitors but also a communications sector as well as making hearing aids and hearing protection divisions so are very well experienced across the field and have substance from a very scientific and medical background to help aid them with the audio monitoring sector which is what we are all here for.
     
    I can see the Hearing aid sector is what plays a big part in the way In Ear approach their Audio division as when I was talking Marco at the show I asked what drivers where used inside and turns out they use Sonion for the lows and mids and Knowles for the mids and treble. 
     
    At this stage I have to thank Marco Ramish and his team for letting me have these for a period on loan in the comfort of my own home to try them with some gear I could not take to the show with me so am grateful for the chance to road test these and give my impressions on them.
     
    As hearing them at a show for ten minutes is one thing but then buying something and having it longer at home can be another as my friend found out he loved an IEM at the same show I met In Ears at and purchased them for Christmas as a gift to himself only for the wow factor to wear of pretty quickly and he regretted buying them.  So to have longer than normal with them than usual I am grateful to In Ears for that time with them to be able to give a more balanced view on them hopefully.
     
    Design & Build…
     
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    Bass and Treble signature switching feature…
     
    Bass switch (+3db)
    Treble (+2db)
     
    This is part of their new Studio Reference Range which is made and designed in Rosdorf, Germany for the Studio engineer by day to use as a tool of his trade where he needs neutral flat response for mixing and then by adjustment of two switches (one bass boost +3db & Treble boost of +2db) inside each shell it can be turned into a more dynamic musical event which In total actually gives you four different flavours in sound signature  This is something I will touch upon in the sound impressions section on how they sound a bit later on but the design is so they sit housed recessed into the shell so it cannot be accidentally knocked or adjusted.
     
    To flick the switch as AD-DC would say you just need the wax tool which can be used to adjust them or any other item that might be appropriate that can get into the small space to adjust the switch.
     
    One thing I think could be improved upon here after the experience of using them for a few days or shall I say night here as I was sometimes in bed at night with a small bed light on so was not brilliant light I found trying to see the black switches inside a dark small black shell was sometimes hard to see which way they was so would be great if maybe the actual switches or tips of the switch had a different colour like a Fire engine red or bright signal yellow or light blue, any colour than black basically!... to see them clearer when in those situations with not much light.
     
    Or even maybe one colour for treble and one for bass would be another thought as I must admit I kept forgetting which side was bass and treble in the short time I had them and did refer to my handy PDF manual from In Ear to confirm again I was flicking the correct switch.
     
     
    Shell design…
     
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    The Shell is in a matt black finish, what I call and maybe In Ears should of called them The Stealth 8’s as they will creep up on you without you knowing it is there and deliver a killer blow… hold on, I am typing my spy novel here, got mixed up and carried away there like I thought I was the Ian Fleming or someone?!
    The fit on these Universal PP8’s is like no other I have tried and can honestly say these are the most perfect fitting IEMs I have worn and these is due to the way In Ears have use 500 scans from their customer database to get an average common denominator fit.
     
    This may sound like new technology as you may have heard now another company that is well known to everyone including myself that owns one of their CIEMS is JHA with the new “PRO” range which implements the same way of using an average amount of scans from their database to get a shell that fits for all but In Ears have been doing this for several years now and have to say they have perfected it in my book from every Universal I have ever tried to my only pair of customs I am familiar with for last four years.
     
    And by the power of Grace skull they have cracked it and could not believe how mirrored it was to actually inserting like a Custom IEM also the way it has to twist round 60⁰ to lock behind the Tragus part of the ear is uncanny and once in the PP8 was really snug and comfortable and was not moving anywhere. It is so much like a custom fit I forgot I had that feeling of tips in my ears for most part.
     
    In Ears have even catered for two size ears to cover all eventualities of probability of fitment which must have been born out of the consensus of 500 scans would conclude. 
    I briefly tried the small shell after the large shell at the show and then reverted back to the large shell and liked both but think the large one for my ear was more true fit to make sure they did not have play and probably give a better seal.
     Marco did say to me to start with from just looking at me he could tell it was try the large shell with medium tips and I said I am usually for most IEMS a small but he insisted try the medium tips and of course he was right. It was like he was a T2000 cyborg which could monitor and weigh up your ear type and size within a millisecond of seeing you (again with German efficiency built in of course).
     
    The shell quality was amazing and could not fault the finish of these shells which I found myself once in a while just staring at them in appreciation of their grace and effortless in design is “Perfekt”!
     
    So “The Stealth” matt black shells were for me on first seeing them at the show, well that different and usually like something on there but this finish does work and I know some would like to have the company emblem on there to show off they have a pair of £1K+ flagship IEMs that have PP8 emblazoned on them in letters big as the shell but maybe it is nice to be discreet or “stealth” like not to attract unwanted attention.
     I personally would of like maybe a discreet engraving so still in matt black just like they have done the serial number and model No. inside of the shell with their company logo on one side and the PP8 model moniker on the other shell would of looked cool and still understated. 
     
    As this after all is like their cars a German company such as In Ears is bringing the same efficient underrated manner of fine engineering to the world of earphones as they have done to the car world as I do see a resemblance I this was a sports car it would probably be a Porsche…maybe GT3?
     
    Cable…
     
    The cable that comes with the PP8 looks like most stock cable you get with IEMs now days but it is actually made by a pharmaceutical cable company and is made of silver platted copper with Kevlar and In Ears tuned it using this cable which they of course because of this recommend listening to it with this but we all know as with customs we have that pimp my ride with aftermarket cables going on and there will be cables that suit it and some that do not.
    I can testify the Whiplash V3 Hybrid I have is probably not such a good pairing with the PP8 but if you want to keep the essence of the PP8 signature close as possible at still an affordable price I can say the Linum Bax cable was a really good marriage with the PP8 as it does not colour the PP8 signature and replicates the fine details of the stock cable just as well if not better.
     
    The other benefit of the PP8 design here is they have just stuck with the old, tried and tested method of 2pin fitment connection so three cheers to In Ears for that as it was their flagship they could of gone flash and maybe dazzled us all with mmcx connections but almost forgot again the guys from In Ears are German and they do not do looks flash but won’t work properly, they do reliable and solid if it works it stays. 
     
    Cerumen filter system (Earwax filters)
     
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    Another first for me was coming across the way they protect the nozzle with a cerumen filter system which can be replaced with the included tool set which has replacement filters included and can be obtained from In Ears once you need some more.
    I thought this process was would prove tricky but once you follow the instructions which in all honesty could have been a little clearer from the drawings or used actual step by step photos would have been better you do get used to doing the removal of old dirty filter and administration of the new filter and becomes second nature really but could imagine for those who may have shakes or like me bad eyesight now I’m old in my Hmm Hmmm! Then could prove a little trickier to do this process.
    I liked the way they have made the actual filter rings colour coded so you also know which the left and right ear is clearly which is a nice touch. 
     
    Drying Cap…
     
    Does what it say on the tin (almost), basically this is a small round plastic clear tub with minute holes it which houses pellets inside which are used to draw moisture away from your PP8’s when they are stored in the air tight pelican storage case so the drivers and crossovers inside do not get damaged and prolongs the life of your beloved investment.
     
    If the pellets are orange they can still pull moisture in, if they turn beige in colour it is no longer absorbing and time to chuck out and gets a new drying cap from all good drying cap retailers like In Ears.
    This is also handy for not just those rock musicians that have done three hours rocking full tilt in a small gig which have turned into sweat monsters but also if you are one of those who live in hot climate country and go from say your Aircon car or house at 15c to outside temperature which is say anything from 30-45c then this method would work a treat for them in the same way. 
     
    Ear Tips: Silicone & Comply tips…
     
    This will take Size TS400 Comply tips and silicone tips and all though there were minor difference between silicone and Comply foam tips the seal with both is perfect it became a personal choice on the sound and comfort, after plenty of testing with both and the unique way they fit in conjunction with the PP8 shell shape in my ear for once did not find foam tips an issue I am used to having with Comply’s and forgot they actually were there even during longer sessions. 
     
    There was only one small but annoying thing that kept happening to me no matter what Comply tip I used with these was they did not seem like a tight enough fit on to the bore as when I went to take them out my left ear tip would stay in my ear no matter how I would try and manoeuvre it to come out and the right ear would be okay but still felt like it wanted to slip of the bore somewhat when taking them out so not sure why this was as it is the first time I have experienced this so not sure if it is the tips not quite right for the bore but it was the only issue I could find here.  
     
     
    Packaging, Un-boxing & Accessories …
     
    The fundamentals for what you will receive with your PP8’s are as follows:
    ·       4 pairs of silicone ear tips (sizes XS, S, M and L)
    ·       3 pairs of Comply TS400 foam tips (sizes S, M and L)
    ·       4 Pairs of Spin Fit tips (sizes XS,S, M and L)
    ·       Gold-plated 1/4‘‘ adapter.
    ·       3 cleaning cloths (throw away antiseptic wipes)
    ·       IE13, cerumen filter set H3.
    ·       Drying Cap.
    ·       InEar Pelican hard case.
     
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    The packaging they come in I personally did not get from the review unit I was sent but from photos on Google I can imagine it been a bit underwhelming when you’ve just spent best part of £1200 on a flagship IEM that is way into CIEM territory and maybe think like some must be why is there no 200 year old wooden veneered box with velvet lining with a certificate and brass serial number plaque on the front with brass latch lever to feel like you are cracking a safe. 
     
    Again we are talking Germans at the helm here and can actually understand even with the price these are commanding taking into account they are actually manufactured as well as designed in Germany, so no far east production going on for cheapness and the unique perfect custom fitment feel in design added to the sound it produces is maybe compelling and justifying reason enough these are in a duller cardboard box with a Barbie style window to see them housed in on purchase (reminded me of when stinky Pete was in his box passing wind in Toy Story2!)…all though this is more like Stealthy Feat in In Ears2 with them passing sweet tunes instead of wind.
     
    I personally think though and admit been a packaging junky when I purchase something nice like this would really add to the In Ears experience if they done something breath taking to compliment the actual product itself might be something that is just the icing on the cake in the future?...
     
     
     
     
    Sound impression
     
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    The best place to start with these flexible reference IEMS was to try these running flat with the switches set to off which is set to the down position. 
     
    First thing I noticed is there is nothing big or fancy coming from the PP8 to catch your attention but just sounds naturally free flowing and easy on the ear to listen to due to the balanced consistent response across the frequency range with no spikes or bumps gives a feel of natural cohesion in the way the music is connected from the bottom to the top with so much clarity and headroom is matched by its width with the soundstage.
     
    I did notice it is quite a left-right field sounding monitor which I have not heard one like this for a while and always sticks out a bit when you do hear one but what stops this from turning into an A&R ARM2 player experience where it was all left and right field it sucked out the middle staging and sounded unnatural and good as the sonics and detail retrieval was it became too distracting and unnatural more so than IEM listening. 
    Where the PP’s differ and safe it from been an ARM2 scenario for me is there is enough information been channelled to the centre staging gives it that natural point of focus as if you was seeing them on stage then the far left/right field effect is helping with the wide imaging and sound staging to create a large area to sit in and hear it all.
     
    The PP8’s nature in depth and width of these monitor adds a vast space and air combined with a very low noise floor gives a real black background for the PP8’s to operate in making them so lucid and transparent.  
    This makes fine details arrive with a perfect timing making it easy to be receptive to them with ease.
     
    The PP8’s are defining to be a reference flagship that do not sound flat to listen to and actually is enough dynamics created to make musical in neutral mode to sound enjoyable without ever sounding analytical.
    The treble is so non offensive yet maintains a sharp enough clarity to the tone of instruments and vocals in this range to sound lively without making your ears bend backwards in pain.
    For anyone who has sensitive hearing and wants a reference flat sounding IEM with a treble that will not spike or pierce your ear drums yet still sound clear and concise enough as it can be in this region then this is spot on as it gives enough air to sound spacious in the headroom and be non-fatiguing to listen to for hours on end.
     
    The treble is not above the rest of the music and is in the mix but still has great extension with that big space for them to work it is easy to hear treble chimes and hi-hats clashing with a ringing edge to notes in detail. 
    The mid-range is again easy to follow, very organic and pure nothing jumps out at you too much but details are all there to track and follow without having to try as the precision and placement sounds will just emerge from the black backdrop with a nice finesse in the way it is delivered which makes background sounds or noises sounds terms of distance and depth of where the notes start from and end.
     
    Even when the treble switch is on the treble is never overly sharp or hot anywhere in the lower or high region of the treble even though it then becomes more raised and prevalent to hear above the mid band region.
     
     The depth is not the most mega immersive or layered running flat you will hear in an IEM but everything you need to hear is done with a clarity and precision which is only achieved because the speed and attack in the mids is quick and decisive and has a good sharp enough roll off which gives a very natural tone to musical notes been played. It is that spaciousness with the black backdrop that I never heard any instruments or sounds cancels each other out as you could still clearly hear all the mid retrieval in information but also track where notes came from and ended in the soundstage mix in songs.
     
    Pianos had space to breath and had an accurate full in body in the low key registry and twinkly brighter real tones in sound that piano keys reproduce in the higher notes end that make them shine with neutrality in the mids and higher treble.
     
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    The bass is very linear running flat and will feel closer to the mid bass area than a low sub bass floor delivery although remain distinguishable from each other and is more of a  bass you hear rather than feel in the low end and will be tight and fast in its attack and release. Drums sounded defined and each bass note generated with a kick drum had a transparency with micro details you could hear bass note details easier.
     Or bass guitar would have lovely transient details in notes with the thick bass notes plucked with the reverberation of the strings echo with accurate decay.
     
    The impressive thing here is you here the above so easy in the mix when everything is going on with several other noises all happening yet still you ears will pick this up on the PP8’s almost as if you do not go looking for the details to be heard as the PP8’s bring it to you which is what makes it so natural and free flowing to listen too.
     
    The good thing about the bass especially mid bass is never drowning out the mid-range at all and there is always a steady correlation between the mids and bass connection that sounds naturally open and fluid with transitions.
    This is where the switches will be tempting as to really enjoy some types of music in an enjoyable sense with more flexible dynamics for music like rock, dance or R&B tracks might just need that bass switch to be flicked on to add that extra body and depth you will find in these types of songs.
     
    One song I noticed benefited from the bass switch been on instead of neutral was Christine and the Queens “Tilted” or Faithless “Salva Mia” or “Insomnia” where the sub bass becomes a buzzing low line humming with slight vibration signal that now reverberates through your head but without been overbearing with more low end body that runs with good separation still from the mid bass area.
     
    It is like listening to them run parallel on two separate railways tracks to each other which you can see both clearly tracking each other and follow the notes been played clearly on both levels and yet the mid-range is not affected by this and never overpowered with still been able to hear all the delicate information coming through that adds to the layers of subtle dynamics make dance tracks come more to life rather than a quick light yet tight polite sub bass.
     
    The bass tweak does by no means turn these into bass monsters with a seismic shift that will dislodge your brain or colour the sound but is more defined in standing out enough as well as feel a vibe going on to make it become lively with dynamics on the lower end yet there are certain tracks like Dire Straits “Industrial Decease” that do not sound right with the bass switch is on which bogs it’s natural speed of the track down just enough its off balance and is more even kilter running flat as it has a very quick tempo in the upper mid bass section and rhythmic passage which just edges this to be run flat as opposed to bass switch on.
     
    For me I found pure rock tracks or Dance tracks that have a boost to their bass or even OST tracks with the big deep active bass lines is very well suited and amplified enough without been over emphasised with the bass switch on yet more complex tracks like vocals works or orchestra, acoustic sessions are just perfect set running true neutral flat with switches off all though acoustic and orchestra did benefit from the raise in harmonics from the +2db rise in treble as it gave more air and elevation in the headroom giving more space on the top end which made it feel more atmospheric almost ampi-theatre effect.
     
    My biggest surprise was with all the switch combinations was the more widely accepted one to have running was treble only as in general what I mentioned about it with Classical and acoustic sessions applies to most genres I listened too. As it was not a case of just more sharp end accentuated tinging sound to notes, it was more an opening up of clarity within actual notes with more extension still sounding tonally natural and never felt out of balance to the mids or bottom end running on flat mode.
     
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    Both switches flicked on is very interesting and can be more hit and miss here depending which genre it is as it starts to take more of a light V shape it again might be well suited to indie, rock or metal but it was more lively for sure like this been extended both ends giving it equal vibrancy both ends did raise the amount of tracks that probably didn’t suit as well as it would flat.
    That’s not to say it is not a good setting but once you are used to the flat you might just prefer the honest clarity and precision and accuracy it can operate at in flat mode with still delivering a musical signature to enjoy without having to try.
    Overtly after running in say both bass and treble boosted going back to flat will in comparison initially straight of the back of both will sound a tad dull and lacking some bottom warmth and body in bass with less headroom and space but your ears reset due to how easy they are to listen to and the finer details remain to enjoy.
     
    Tracks that stood out for me running both switches was my old Fav demo track Yellow “The Race” remastered or Fleetwood Mac’s The Dance album due to the way it is recorded or again some OST that already have a great dynamic range like Inception or Batman Dark Night rises yet something like Oceans 11-13 OST albums with David Holmes will benefit more from flat running or treble on only to accentuate that upper mid pace and space.
     
    I found the switches actually more useful than I thought to be honest as to start with thought these would be solely a gimmick as I used to have the Vorzuge Duo amp which had a treble and bass boost switch and never really used it as to me it did not quite ever sound right but here with the PP8 the subtle tweak they have done is not over exaggerated and having the switches on in any configuration never really messes with the essence of the core qualities of what the PP8 is all about always giving a clear and transparent presentation. 
     
    There will always be certain songs that will not suit any given setting with the switches on but on the whole I could listen to any configuration with random tracks on shuffle playing with different genres and still enjoy the sound.
    It would be only if doing critical listening to an album you would then obviously look to use the switches to the suit the genre of that album to maximise its performance in sound.
     
    I also like the idea that the switches are set inside the shell unlike the way JHA implement their version of it into the cable and let’s face it a majority of people spending at this level will more than likely swap the stock cable out to a new aftermarket boutique cable and do not get why you would want to dial it up to 10+ db that is available on those cables anyway as when I’ve tried them in the past they come across as just too bloated and thick and not natural compared to when JH tune a IEM driver to be bass heavy to start with so much prefer the way In Ears have implemented the switches for this reason.
     
     I am glad they are there but truth be told which is what makes this IEM special is if you did not have the bass and treble boost option there these would still be an amazing sounding IEM you would enjoy with any genre as they ar
    e still not in the slightest flat or dull and sound musical without been forced out of its comfort range for control at any time and has as good headroom as my JH16pros does but with more clarity and room adds to that for the In Ears IEM.
    I do think there will be those out there used to always having a tweaked elevated bass that listen to a lot of rock driven music would miss that still with the PP8’s and maybe even with the bass switch on 3+db still might not be enough for some but that is not what the PP8’s are about.  I guess if you want that it would be more a case of check those SD4’s out for the budding hard core rocker out there.
     
    Pairing these with any of my gear was showing these are an IEM that is not too fussy and will work with what I had to throw at it in any case.
     I firstly tried them with my zx1 Walkman as this is the player I would use as a standalone player when on the move and Is easy enough to drive and matched really well with the rich texture of the ZX1 mids feeding the PP8 which relayed all the detail the ZX1 had to offer and had a nice balance and tonality of treble stayed the same on the PP8 but maybe the ZX1 bass was not quite tight enough to make the PP8 shine to its full potential here but still sounded more than acceptable to enjoy my music on.
     
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    My other dap the HIFMAN SuperMini also sounded crisp and clear with good mid info retrieval that showed the treble at its best whether it was running flat or on with a good tight bass response even in flat mode. 
    I really could not find anything this IEM doesn’t like even the brighter HIFMAN supermini sounded solid with a treble that was in control with lovely breathy mids going on as the MegaMini strength is in this area which really complimented the PP8 Mids.
     
    My worry would be with the Chord Hugo as even with so far the PP8’s nicely balanced breathable treble was worried it might get too harsh in some way but the PP8 is made for the Hugo as a pairing and the veracity and fairly neutral response and timbre of instruments with the two together sounded so organic with a great sense tonal reflection as if they were mirroring each other. Only thing with the PP8 stock cable which is an L shape was the jack unfortunately would not fit into the 3.5 recessed jacks the Hugo has so had to use the ¼ inch jack adaptor.
     
    I really enjoyed and probably listened to this combo more than any other as I had my Vorzuge Pureii+ which again sounds very good with the PP8’s and again with the added power swing and extra authority even these rather still efficient IEMS are at still has a positive effect in bringing the Headroom out on these PP8’s as they do not mind been driven hard if need be just like their Stage diver can handle
     
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    But my favourite pairing was the Hugo for these as I think they both share so many philosophies on reference sound signature they just mate really well allowing everything to flow and breath with precision and perfect cues and timing and the analogue texture in timbre of instruments and tonal balance between the two is so easy to listen to without having to try.
     
    My only thing I have to be honest with here and could not quite ignore it was with vocals which I have not really touched upon yet as the PP8 tonality, pitch and timbre naturalness to speech is not in question with the PP8’s and loved them in that sense with both female and male singers.
    The only one area I was struggling with was the placement of the vocals  as it just seemed to be one step back to far from the front for me and although not getting lost in the mix or it been the mids recessed as we know they are not but kept feeling I wish the lead singer was more nearer with a bit more elevation so it would be more connection there between me and the vocalist.
     
    It felt like at times I just wanted to dial up the volume a little to bring them up a little more and just give them a little more presence and body to vocals. 
    I thought the bass boost might change this but actually did not affect it that much, not enough to change it anyway, so for me I would just love to see the vocals brought forward on the stage a step more than they are now especially with female vocals.  Apart from that the tonal sense and breathability with vocal nuances are nailed on there but just not same level in the mix for me to stand out like a lead vocal should most of the time.
     
    Like anything recording are just as important to get the most from these as with sub average material it will just sound subdued and boxed in, lifeless almost although I prefer this to equipment that can be over bright with poor recordings like RHA gear for example.
    With a good to excellent recording or using High res files you can hear the extra solidity to notes and details have more lick and subtle cues to trailing edges of notes and room acoustics improve with better higher quality files. With DSD files this is where the PP8’s actually find some depth and layering running in flat and has better steering with imaging and accuracy in soundstage. 
     
    I have not gone into how it sounds with each instrument as I sometimes do or how it sounds with certain picked songs so much as I have done in the past as in a nutshell this handles pretty much every instrument known to man or woman and cats and dogs to reflect them in a very faithful in been balanced tonally to sound natural and neutral without discoloration anywhere so you just believe it to be real and with the Frequency of these not having any nasty or weird bumps anywhere does not upset the rhythm of this natural reflection of how instruments or harmony’s should sound. 
     
    Conclusion…
     
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    I could go on all day about these really as you might of guessed by now I am quite impressed with them just for been a honest IEM that is producing a reference level in performance but is doing it in a way that even when running flat mode these still sound musical without been analytical or too sharp as a lot of reference truly flat IEMs will sound to most people and you can just listen and relax with these for hours on end in relation to both the sound quality and amazing unique universal fit I have not experienced until now.
     
    I felt these had a big price tag around their shoulder which might turn some off potential customers but then when I put them on I was hooked on the fit alone but for the PP8s to really deliver a home run with the sound if you was to like them much as I have when you hear them and fall in love with them enough then will always justify saving the extra as it would be worth its weight in Euros not to forget hey are also all hand made in Germany as well as designed there and in theory would not have to have remoulds done every seven to ten years in theory to a custom fit.
     
    I have heard some good IEMS this year albeit not all of them like the Campfires and the only other ones that really shone as bright as these for me was the Obravo range which starts to cost more than these or the Vibro Labs Mayas which for the money I think reproduce resolution as good as some £1K IEMS albeit a more mid centric IEM which is more lush and even more musical focused than these rather than reference. 
     
    I think the build of the PP8 is superb and should last for many years If looked after as one would for something they cherish and think it is one of those IEM sound signatures you simply will not get bored of because of its natural nature in how it reproduces music with still enough dynamism in musical presentation that makes it hard to stop listening too once they are on and with the added ability to change it up with the signatures without over doing it most of the time adding it all up with the Cerumen filter system also is true universal flagship you can say is reference with added options.
     
     I think if you love what you hear from these and can just get over that initial hurdle with outlay for them there is a truly well engineered a cutting edge performing and fitting IEM that will have its own pedal stool to stand on that the competition will secretly be worries about.
     
     
     
     
     
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    1. ezekiel77
      Great job, very detailed! You really enjoyed reviewing this.
      ezekiel77, Jan 20, 2017
    2. FortisFlyer75
      This was a joy to review indeed, Thanks for kind words...
      FortisFlyer75, Jan 20, 2017
  5. bartzky
    Review: InEar ProPhile 8 - Headflux.de
    Written by bartzky
    Published Dec 5, 2016
    5.0/5,
    Pros - outstanding fit and isolation, reference signature, 4 different settings, flagship performance
    Cons - expensive, unpretentious design
    Disclaimer: This review was originally published at http://headflux.de/inear-prophile-8 on September 24, 2016 in German. We've been invited by InEar to test the prototype for the purpose of writing a review for headflux.de that we published at the same time the ProPhile was officially unveiled.
     
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    A few weeks ahead the official launch date of the ProPhile 8 we’ve been invited to write an exclusive review of the new InEar.
    Within the usual denomination of InEar the ProPhile 8, with it’s 8 Balanced Armature Drivers, would have been named StageDiver 8. On purpose InEar decided to deviate from their usual name pattern, because the ProPhile 8 differs significantly from it’s siblings. The ergonomic shape of the housings is similar to the StageDiver series, but the embedded switches already hint that this is not a “normal” InEar. The special thing about the ProPhile is a switchable crossover which allows 4 different sound settings to be accessed by the user.
    Apart from its special status in the line-up of InEar the PP-8 with its 8 Balanced Armature Drivers marks itself as the flagship of the brand InEar-Monitoring. They used 4 double-BA receivers of Knowles and Sonion that are divided in 4 ways.
    The idea to allow the user to switch between multiple sound settings is nothing never seen before. A system with interchangeable filters is already known from earphones like the Shure SE846 or the RHA T20. The pinnacle is marked by the FLC8s of FLC Technology which allows up to 36 different setups. But the technology found in the ProPhile 8 sets apart from the just named and is rarely found these days: It’s more like 4 individual earphones put together in one housing, that can be selected by a switch. Instead of just one ordinary crossover InEar designed 4 complete crossover circuits and merged them together.
     
    For the MSRP of 1298€ the package includes the InEar itself as well as various silicone and foam tips, an adapter and cleaning wipes. Furthermore, you get a set of cerumen filters and all packed in a solid Pelican case that InEar calls IE13.
     
    Build and fit:
    Please note: We’ve tested a pre-production unit, so the design might vary from the final product.
    Personally we would have liked the prototype to have more flagship-appeal. Unlike the regular StageDiver the ProPhile doesn’t wear a black high gloss finish but appears in an unpretentious matt black color. The surface structure itself is achieved by sandblasting next to the additive manufacturing process. In contrast to the StageDiver series the ProPhile will not be dip painted afterwards to remain that velvet look. Tastes differ, but speaking of quality InEar did a fantastic work as usual. Haptically the surface feels great and doesn’t attract fingerprints like the glossy StageDivers. Just like a StageDiver the ProPhile remains the well-known custom like shape. Hence the 8 drivers and the additional tech need more space the housings had to grow in depth and now stick out slightly more. As well the area surrounding the nozzle gained some material. In most cases the ProPhile will fit, if a StageDiver does. Unusually shaped ears will have to wait for the upcoming custom version. The isolation is as great as with a StageDiver and nearly mutes environment noises.
    The recess on the inside of the earphone, that houses the switches, doesn’t affect comfort. Albeit it collects dirt easily. The ProPhile’s cable is exactly the same that will be delivered with every StageDiver. It’s twisted, solid and connects via the 2-pin connector that doesn’t rotate. Thanks to the over-ear wearing style microphonics are minor. From our point of view, we’ve liked to see InEar using a different cable to stand out from the StageDiver models. 
     
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    Sound:
    The ProPhile 8 is a shapeshifter. Thanks to the switchable crossover it covers 4 individual sound signatures that can be accessed by 2 switches located on the inside of the housings. Switch number one raises the low end while switch number two adds a few dB to the treble. By shifting both switches bass and treble will be enhanced simultaneously. The ProPhile 8 covers the whole range of frequencies that can be heard by humans. This is not affected by the position of the switches. Bass can be perceived well under 30 Hz; high frequencies extend to the upper threshold. So the PP 8 does lead its flagship qualities and does show the payoffs of its 8 balanced armatures drivers.
     
    Default setting: With both switches in their default setting the InEar sounds close to neutral. The low end is slightly enhanced from deep to the middle bass – the manufacturer InEar calls it a linear tuning, while we hear about 2-3 dB more bass than neutral. Considering a few dB of bass might lack when listening to headphones compared to loudspeaker listening, the ProPhile might be described as neutral, but not Etymotic ER4S neutral. The upper bass though remains completely neutral and doesn’t affect the mids. So voices sound uncolored and neutral as well. The upper midrange is unobtrusive. While the prototype we listened to had a peak between 5-6 kHz, InEar decided to get rid of it for the final production unit, hence it caused a slight harshness with bad recordings. In return they mildly increased the highest treble which was a tad too shy. At around 8 kHz there is another shallow enhancement that creates crispness and wasn’t effected by the rework. Altogether the sound feels very homogeneous and coherent without any sharp peaks. So the default setting delivers a smooth and balanced sounding that is close to neutral.
     
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    Production unit
     
     
    Bass setting: After operating the bass switch, the low end rises by 3 dB. The enhancement extends from sub- to midbass, while only sparsely raising the upper bass. Just like in the default setting the midrange stays neutral and won’t be colored by the bass. The additional amount of bass doesn’t make the ProPhile a basshead’s earphone but will raise the bass-level quite noticeable. In terms of quantity the bass will remain less than what a StageDiver 4 delivers, while the SD4 notably offers a more present upper bass.
     
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    Production unit
     
     
    Treble setting: The treble setting adds a high frequency boost of 2 dB to the frequencies above 7-8 kHz. This option was very welcome with the slightly treble-shy prototype, because it elevated the upper treble just a tad above neutral. The archived brilliance caused the feeling of gaining even more resolution without causing sibilance.
     
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    Production unit
     
     
    Both switches activated: Apparently this setting will combine the bass- and trebleboost and therefore result in a classical v-shaped signature. Due to the structure of the crossover the midrange will be reduced slightly as well. Combining the two switches will not baffle the ProPhile that remains playing at ease like in every other setting.
     
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    Production unit
     
    In comparison to a StageDiver 4’s tuning the ProPhile 8 is tuned subtler. While the SD 4 tends to emphasize the lower heights and upper bass, the ProPhile accentuates the upper treble and lower bass in a more understated manner. As a result, the SD 4 feels more engaging as the PP 8 preserves its HiFi claim even in the v-shape setting.
     
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    Speaking of sound quality, the ProPhile’s 8 drivers and premium price tag promise flagship performance – and it lives up to this. Bass sounds noticeably dry and precise. The overall resolution is on a very high level as expected. Midrange and highs don’t miss a single detail; especially the treble setting reveals a high richness of details. The activated bass setting lets the low end feel a smidge softer, what may simply be caused by the higher bass quantity. Yet the bass keeps being very precise. Generally speaking, the 4 different modes deliver the same amount of performance – so there’s no risk to tradeoff soundquality by operating the switches.
    The ProPhile sounds very spacious. Just like the StageDivers it presents a wide soundstage. While the ProPhile’s soundstage doesn’t extend to more wideness, deepness or height, separation is noticeably better. As a result, the PP 8 presents a very realistic, three-dimensional soundstage that makes locating voices and instruments easy.
     
    Conclusion:
    The StageDiver-series was designed for monitoring requirements in first place, like the name might suggest. Nonetheless especially StageDiver 2 and StageDiver 4 are well regarded among audiophiles. Now the new ProPhile specifically targets HiFi-enthusiasts and goes flat out. In addition to its 8 BA drivers it packs a switchable crossover that allows 4 different soundings. The shells have been inspired by the StageDriver-series and therefore promise outstanding universal comfort and isolation. Color wise InEar chose a subtle matt black - in our opinion they could have risked a more extravagant look.  Sound wise the PP 8 lives up to the flagship qualities it’s specs promise. Thanks to the switchable crossover it will serve different tastes and moods. Leaving the switches in the default setting the InEar delivers a reference sound signature close to neutral. Bass and treble quantity can be added by demand without losing quality.
      proedros, Cagin, h1f1add1cted and 2 others like this.
    1. ThomasHK
      Wow, that response is very very close to perfect. Assuming you guys use a 711 based coupler?
      ThomasHK, Feb 8, 2017
    2. DarginMahkum
      Nice review! I am on the edge of buying this or the Noble Katana. I mostly listen to jazz / fusion with no or very little vocals. I did try PP and liked it very much but no chance to try the Katana. Did you try the Katana and if so can you make any comments? Cheers!
      DarginMahkum, Apr 5, 2017