General Information

This semi custom IEM has 8BA drivers in a 4 way crossover design to delivers one of the best sound from an All BA based IEM under $1000. It doesnt sacrifice any details or transparency while bringing an exceptionally cohesive and Musical experience.

If you want to have an sublime experience under $1000, look no further than the Panther Audio Legend K8.

Out of the 8 drivers It has:
2x Sonion BAs for lower end.
2x Sonion BAs for low and mids.
3x Knowles BAs for mid highs.
1x Knowles BA for extended highs.

https://panther-audio.com/products/legend-k8

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Latest reviews

SHOOTINGTECHIE

100+ Head-Fier
PATHER AUDIO LEGEND K8 - Panther has got a place in the jungle
Pros: Musical entirely
Highly dynamic
Timbre is much better
Notes height and layering is much better
Stage depth is better
Micro Details presentation is dynamic and musical
Vocals are comparatively more lush
Notes height difference is well enhanced
Thicker tonality.
Cons: Spacing around the instruments is lacking
Treble is dependant on tips
Air is lacking in treble region
Microdetails are less
PATHER AUDIO LEGEND K8 - Panther has got a place in the jungle.

PANTHER AUDIO
was founded in 2018 and is based in Hong Kong. They are pretty new to the audiophile market but have a lot of iems in their arsenal. Not known to many, but today, we are gonna review their 8BA iem - THE LEGEND K8.

DISCLAIMER- THIS UNIT BELONGS TO MY FRIEND
@suman134 AND thanks to him I get the time to review it. Well as always, the opinions are mine alone and not influenced by friendship🤣 haha!

SPECIFICATIONS-

  1. DRIVERS- 8BA- 2x LOW-MID BA; 2x LOW-BA; 3x MID-HI BA; 1x SUPER-HI BA
  2. CROSSOVER- 4 WAY
  3. IMPEDANCE- 13ohm @1kHz
  4. SENSITIVITY- 116dB SPL @1kHz
PRICE-
6688 HKD OR 859 USD OR 64599.08 INR

UNBOXING-


Now this is an elegant unboxing experience, even though I got it from a friend still seeing the box you can get a glimpse of how it would be. On opening the box, you see a thankyou letter and also a plastic card with your S/N on it. The iems inside are beautifully placed and have a completely transparent shell such that you could see the entire BA and wiring all of it. Opening the box you are greeted with a good pair of boxes inside which are the tips and documents and yes i forgot the beautiful black leather case. Rest is the pics.

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BUILD AND FIT-

The build of the iems is nothing to scoff at. Its light and transparent shell is just beautiful to look at. The material seems to be clear resin and the nozzle is quite long, big and bold. The 2pin attachment is pretty great too and won’t fall off ever.

Fit on the other hand is quite not that great. The nozzle size and length goes way into your ears and causes a bit of pain after over an hour. Good thing they have customs too.

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CABLE-

It's a great looking cable but sadly with 3.5mm termination and no way to change it when buying universal versions of this iem. It’s non microphonic, soft, supple and also has geat chin slider too. It feels like an SPC with 8 core design and 2pin terminations. The ear guides are great too, just a bit too straight at the ends of terminations but not a trouble for me.

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ACCESSORIES-
  1. 3 pairs red silicon tips and 3 pairs black silicon tips
  2. 6.35 to 3.5 adapter
  3. Microfibre cloth
  4. Cleaning tool
  5. Leather carry case
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NOTE- This IEM is used with-
  1. N6ii and R01 (mostly R01 since it adds more naturalism to the iem and also better stage) for portable on chair listening experience for the most part of the review. About 25-40 volume on HIGH GAIN since sub-bass is dependent.
  2. On desktop- N6ii LO and A30s (Burson V5i D) and XDUOO MT602 Sylvania tubes (So beautiful pairing but then low gain on N6ii and also volume at 08 ) has been used.
  3. Sometimes LG G8x as a phone source.
  4. Tips used were stock ‘M’ sized tips which were a great fit
  5. ENTIRE REVIEW IS WITH WIDE BORE TIPS AND THEN CONTRASTED WITH STOCK RED TIPS
  6. My type of MUSIC 😁😁 - https://open.qobuz.com/playlist/7042455

SOUND IMPRESSIONS- THIS IS SUBJECTIVE AND YOUR OPINIONS MAY VARY FROM MINE

SUB-BASS-

This iem is sub-bass light entirely. There is very little sub-bass rumble and energy.The sub-bass texture though isn't lacking in the notes. The notes are well dynamic and have great natural tonality. Tonal accuracy among the synths and the bass guitar is well established and not an easy feat to handle. Notes are well defined with a bigger body and great beginning and edge definition but lacking in extension into the depths of the sub-bass. The attack is fast with slightly fast decay which makes the notes very distinct and well separated overall. The timbre though is very less and makes you want more of it. The best thing though, you gotta push it through High Gain and see some improvement in the sub-bass especially in the rumble and feel.

Changing tips from wide bore to stock red stem tips, I found there was slight increase in the projection of notes of the sub-bass. But the separation in the notes was similar but what it lacked was a decrease in the width of the head-stage with added increase in the timbre and also stage depth. Was the change worth it!! Ohh hell yeah, this wasn't a wide iem to begin with but more stage depth and sub-bass made this a proper musical iem.

BASS-
Bass is heavy with a good punch and energy. There is great natural tonality with a great amount of dynamics overall that just keeps you in the song entirely. The attack is fast along with the decay, giving way to somewhat of a fast timbre with a slightly hurried presentation. But this provides great notes separation and definition. Notes are aptly defined with great beginning, big body that encompasses you and great edge definition. Plus the tonal accuracy is pretty great with notes height difference easily established. The notes height is also pretty great going from good physical depth to great heights in the stage giving a very big presentation.

Changing of tips to stock red stem tips, did increase the timbre and also the projection of notes. Decay was also slightly slowed giving way for a bigger headstage in Z axis feel. The punch is also enhanced. The tonality is slightly lean too it seems. But yes, the headstage is slightly reduced in the width but i can easily sacrifice a little bit of width for better naturalness and bass anyday haha!!!

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MIDS-
Instruments-
From here on out there comes the best parts of the show. Tonally, it’s natural to slightly warm with great tonal accuracy between different instruments. Along with this comes the dynamism in the notes of the instruments that is just bewildering completely. The notes are very energetic, well separated and layered enough to satisfy my tastes. Even though the stage isn't that wide, the presentation is more like focal Clears and makes way for good enjoyment of mids without making them feel congested. Timbre is a little fast but makes up with the dynamism of the notes. Notes have great distinct beginnings with a slightly thicker body and then great edge definition. Upper mids lack some of the crunchiness and sparkle of those electric guitars ending of the notes but it’s not too much of an issue as the energy is pretty decent and the dynamics are pretty great. Micro details are also well established and have a dynamic nature to their notes and these don’t lack transparency at all. There is good layering and stage depth but the stage depth is mostly well felt in well recorded tracks but it's mostly the layering that holds its place. Notes separation is pretty great but instruments separation is slightly lacking and they don't have much space around them. Air is missing in the instruments mostly unless the recording emphasizes it. The entire presentation is much like going around you. The slight reverbs are lost sometimes in the songs.​
Vocals-
Vocals are awesome. They have that lush feel yet maintaining a great deal of extension and air around the vocalists. Male vocalists are well tonally accurate and have that thicker tonality that just feels wonderful. Female vocalists unlike the male ones have excellent feel and extension. The notes are well established with a good body and great extension in the notes that just shows the freedom of their vocalists voice. There is not a hint of sibilance in the vocals and no emphasis on the ‘ss’ is present but air around the vocals does come through (sometimes when ‘sss’ emphasis is provided by the vocalists it does come through but more in an airy way). The micro-details are good in the vocals too and do not stand back, coming through easily in a musical manner.​
Changing tips to stock red stem- Now there is improvement in the upper mids with a little bit of sparkle coming through. There is also a slight tonality change to much leaner notes but more of the edges being defined which were smooth with the wide bore tips. Not much change in the dynamics but the notes projection and timbre is much better. The reverb is emphasized too (the missing part of the notes). Slight reduction in the width of the headstage is felt though and the separation is slightly less in the notes, but it's a more musical and engaging experience.​

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TREBLE-
Treble is very dynamic with notes wanting your attention the entire time overall. There is good energy in the notes but the crunchiness of electric guitars, hi hats, cymbals etc are not that well perceived which might be a good thing or a bad thing depending upon your tastes. Wind instruments though like Trumpets, Sax etc dont wind down at all and even though the notes are smooth, the dynamics and the energy will have your ears bend their knees haha!!! Timbre is fast with fast attack and similarly fast decay but the edges of the notes are much more smoother. Treble lovers will find it smooth but those who like no extra edginess to their classical music will love it. Notes are well separated, have a thicker tonality and great definition to the body and beginning, but the edges are not that much emphasized and are rather smoothened out. Micro details do come through and it’s well emphasized musically overall.

Changing tips to stock red stem- The iems will be singing “ I have got the power” -Bruce almighty logic if you haven't figured it out by now 🤣. There is more of the notes edge definition with a slightly leaner tonality which makes this pretty great for bringing out the crunchiness and sparkle of the instruments in the upper mids and the treble region. Sax brings that chill in music sometimes that brings your complete attention. No change in dynamics but it seems like the airyness is increased a bit in the instruments with a little more separation in the notes which goes against the norm of above probably as the leanness is more here than the rest of the sound signature and it overweighs the projection of the notes.

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HEADSTAGE AND IMAGING-

This ain't a wide iem per se but the dynamics and height of the stage is excellent. The stage depth is decent with good real depth and the layering of the stage is pretty great too. Imaging is more on a small studio basis and it’s more of a diffuse presentation with layering helping to make them stand out as to which stands where. Headstage is more of W shape.

Tips change- It did not change the stage much except headstage width, reduced a bit, and imaging directional accuracy was slightly enhanced.

SEPARATION AND RESOLUTION-

Separation is pretty good, much so in the notes than in the instruments. Spacing around the instruments depends on the tips a little bit and airyness too. Instruments are rather layered than being spacious. Resolution is pretty great though, the microdetails are told musically and not too much enhanced. There are certain dynamics to the small nuances too.

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COMPARISON-
SHOZY POLA-
PROS AND CONS-
Great treble sparkle and energy
Wider stage
Better layering
Notes definition and tonality is right on point
Mids are recessed slightly
Bass and sub-bass is better
Bass texture is better
Less dynamics
Micro Details are similar
Slightly analytical
Vocals feel recessed
Timbre is better.

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THIEAUDIO MONARCH MK1
PROS AND CONS-

Analytical
Bass and sub-bass is much better
Micro-details are better
Transients are thrown at you
Lacks the electric guitars presence
Wider stage
Treble airiness is much better
Sparkle in the treble range is good
Spacing around instruments is much better

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PANTHER AUDIO LEGEND K8
PROS AND CONS-

Musical entirely
Highly dynamic
Notes height and layering is much better
Stage depth is better
Micro Details presentation is dynamic and musical
Treble depends on tips but lacks a bit of airiness
Spacing around the instruments is lacking
Vocals are comparatively more lush
Treble is dependant on tips
Timbre is much better
Notes height difference is well enhanced
Thicker tonality.

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SUMMARY-
Now this is a complete musical entity at its price. The dynamics and mids will entrance you mostly and with a cable change it's gonna be much better. Its not gonna overthrow the top dogs but it's at par with its musicality, So recommended: yes!!
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suman134

Headphoneus Supremus
Bow down to the Legend.
Pros: An exceptionally cohesive and musical yet detailed and Transparent sounding IEM with excellent stage and build quality.
Cons: Stock cable can be better.
Has a slightly v shaped sound signature.
INTRO:

Panther Audio, even though they are not new in the market, most of us haven't heard about them. Based in Hong Kong Panther Audio started operation in 2018 and have an healthy set of IEMs under their portfolio. They start with the Aura D2X, which is a dual BA single DD hybrid IEM and is priced at $254 or 1980hkd going as high as 22500 hkd or around $2900 for their Flagship Aura 2LVE.

They have an EST based IEM, Amethyst 132, priced at around $1550 or 11900 hkd.

What I have with me here is their only all BA based IEM, Legend K8. As the number suggests this houses 8 BA drivers on each sides and is priced at around $860 or 6688 hkd. All of their IEMs can be ordered in custom form with various customizations but universal models have their set color scheme and the K8 only comes in clear shell. I love this type of shell. The naked loom is unique and interesting.

I am comparing the K8 with the Campfire ARA and DUNU ZEN IEMs.

Get one for yourself from this link:
https://panther-audio.com/products/legend-k8

Find Panther Audio here:
https://www.facebook.com/PantherAudio/

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ACCESSORIES:

It's interesting to see some retail packaging from an boutique IEM maker. K8 comes with a shelf ready black box with a Panther face on the box. Unboxing is very straight forward. First thing to greet us is a envelope with the warranty card on it while an welcome note is placed inside it. Under that are the earpieces stuffed in foam but strangely the cable's are attached to them and wound under the IEMs.

Under the foam are the faux leather carry case and a couple of paper boxes which contain 6 pair of ear tips, a cleaning tool, a quarter inch adapter and a cleaning cloth.

I will like Panther audio to put some of the accessories inside the carry case and reduce the size of the package.



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HOW IS THE CABLE:

Compared to other European boutique brands the K8 comes with a decent cable. It's an 8 core OCC copper cable with silver plating on it. Not only does it sound good it looks nice too.

The good thing about this cable is its supple and soft feel. It's supple like the Smokey litz cable but is softer. It doesn't have any memory problem. And even when it's supple and soft it doesn't feel weak or less durable. Components used here are of good quality, I definitely would have liked a slightly lighter cable splitter though. The cable guides are reasonably supple and aren't harsh on the ear.

Even when mine has 3.5mm termination one can opt for balanced termination when placing any order. Just PM them!!

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BUILD QUALITY AND ERGONOMICS:

Panther Audio is using clear resin (imported from Eggar Germany) shell on the K8 and it looks beautiful. There is no weak point to the shell as the half filled shell feel very sturdy and stable. It definitely will not survive a drop on solid floor but it won't break apart like acrylic shells. For an 8BA IEM the K8 has a considerably small shell and should fit all ear sizes. The 4 bore nozzle though can feel a bit short and doesn't go much deeper into the ear. It can fit anything in the T400-500 sizes but I prefer wide bore tips with it.

Ergonomics of the K8 is fairly comfortable. It doesn't have a very ergonomically designed shell but does have a winged design which gives it a fairly good feel inside the ear while the resin shell provides excellent grip. Unlike most of the BA based IEMs K8 has a pressure releasing vent near the 2pin socket.

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PAIRING AND MATCHING WITH SOURCES:

The K8 is from one of the most unique set of IEMs which barely care about the source it is being driven from. It just simply do not feel bas ev5 when driven out of weak sources like mobile phones. Yes, the stage and air between instruments take a hit but that's it, it doesn't get moody or sharp. Giving power and better sources definitely helps with better stage, cleaner notes and more defined finishing definition. I definitely will recommend a decent dongle like Qudelix 5k for this.

The slightly fuller and organic kind of tonality pairs very well with analytical sources like Qudelix 5k and TR-amp.

SOUND QUALITY:

K8 is an excellent sounding IEM. Housing 8BA drivers in a 4 way crossover it has 2 sonion for lows, 2 for lower mids, 3 Knowles for mid-highs and 1 for highs.

I was expecting it to be less full and a lot more serious but it is a jolly yet accurate sounding IEM without any harsh sides to it. The only down side to this all BA based IEM is the slight V shaped sound signature. There is a slight dip after the upper mid range which is very hard to tell when not paying much attention. Kudos to Panther audio for bringing us this kind of tuning.

It has a bit of warmth and fuller feel to it so it can't be labeled as the most neutral or natural sounding IEM but it's a much more cohesive sounding IEM for sure.

I am using Micro Signature and Qudelix 5k for this review.

BASS:

One of the biggest advantage of having handful of drivers is that the tuning can be done without worrying about caveats. And that shows. The K8 has two low end drives incharge of suba and mids bass while there are two more to handle the upper bass and lower mids giving the lower end a much more complete feel.

It has a beautiful lower end with full and meaty notes without compromising on texture or details. It has very good sub-bass extension and the rumble is as good as some DD based IEMs. Mid bass has better volume and body and has more volume and air movement than the ARA. The upper bass is exceptionally balanced with the mid bass and smoothly blends into the lower mids. I do feel that it could have had a bit more definition but then I am looking at the ARA. Yes, you cannot expect to have heavy bass slams like the Dorado 2020 but ut doesn't leave much to be desired unless loads of bass is what you want.

With the bigger volume and warmth comes a slightly slower decay speed. It's faster than all DDs and marginally faster than DUNU SA6 but is slightly slower than the more accurate ARA.

MIDS:

Aided by half of the lower-mid duo drivers and another half of mid-high driver duo K8 has a very capable mid range. The level of clarity and details is very good. What I really like here is the presentation. The notes are well defined but do not have sharper or aggressive feel to them. Even the upper mid is well behaved and is devoid of any peaks. Lovely notes with a fuller body give this IEM a very satisfying feel. But the lack of dedicated mid range driver is evident too. The whole mid range is slightly in the V or say U. There is drop just after the upper mids which is very hard to point out but does suppress some guitar notes if in the track.

Vocals are magical, cohesive and soothing, it barely has any flaws. Male vocals are throaty while female vocals are sharper with excellent texture and definition. Only nit picking can be the base of notes which is slightly wider than accurate. Instruments have excellent definition and thank fully do not have the lack of energy around the vocals. There is no lack of height while the finishing definition is spot on. Yes, even when it's way above average, the upper mids could have been slightly more dynamic and open but I think it's tuned like this to contain any undesirable notes.

HIGHS:

Even when K8 has part of the mid high drive and a dedicated high driver for the treble region it doesn't try to get overboard with details and transparency. Some earphones try too hard to exhibit better transparency and clarity with sharper notes but the DM7 doesn't belong to that bunch. It delivers the right amount of energy and spark staying clear of uncomfortable notes. It has very good amount of air between instruments with excellent contrast of fore and background instruments. Thanks to its slightly bright nature it resolves excellent cleanliness. K8 delivers the notes like it know how much aggression most of us can handle while maintaining enjoyable sparkle and liveliness. It doesn't lack any details while the transparency is top notch. There isn't a single thing wrong with this tuning. One can say that the treble extension is not of the endless type like the MEST mk2 but it is as good as the ARA and Solaris 2020.

Notes are very accurate with a slightly wider base giving it a friendlier and calmer feel while the finishing definition is very good with appropriate energy providing the required bite and attack without making notes uncomfortable. Cymbals and pianos have very good transparency and an analogue feel too. Needless to say that separation and layering is up to the mark. The bigger than average stage size helps a lot with instrument placements and density.

STAGE AND IMAGING:-

It's strange that this all BA IEM has a much bigger stage than the Thieaudio Monarch. K8 has a stage which is not huge near the head but gets bigger as it goes further. Some of the vocals a nearly 80% of the lower end notes are placed inside the head while most of the mids and treble notes are well spread out of the head. Thanks to the bigger stage K8 has very good space between instruments with class leading layering and separation. The instrument distribution is impressively uniform with very good density. Thanks to added flexibility K8 has impressive dynamic cue placement giving it a rich sonic experience.

COMPARISONS:

VS DUNU ZEN:


This is a single DD IEM but I was impressed by its details and musical feel. It has similar approach to sound.

First thing first, this DD has bigger volume and move more air than the K8 but K8 has similar sub-bass rumble and a hair better extension. Mid bass is fuller and weightier on the ZEN, upper bass is slightly elevated too. Decay speed of K8 is much better than the ZEN. Mid rage is where the ZEN has a bit of upper has with more cohesive timber and musical tonality. Both have similar note formation but the Zen has slightly better edge definition for both vocals and instruments. Treble and forward is where the K8 shows ites supremacy. It is sparkly and livelier with much better details extraction. Zen lacks energy at the upper treble region hampering its extension while the K8 has excellence written all over it thanks it's better expressing abilities without getting harsh or offensive.

Stage size of the ZEN is very good and is well rounded while the K8 has bigger stage further to the ears. Both have similar feel but the K8 has much better X-axis width while the ZEN has better height closer to the head.

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Campfire ARA:

Even when the ARA has 7 drivers inside it, out of which 4 are dedicated lower end drivers, it barely has enough lower end body to take on the K8. K8 has bigger volume and similar sub-bass extension while the ARA has more rumble and weight to the notes. Mid bass of the K8 is fuller while the ARA has better balance and decay speed. K8 has slightly forward vocals and a bit less energetic upper mids while ARA is more even. Treble is where the ARA can feel a bit aggressive with more tingly and sparkly notes, especially the cymbals and similar percussion instruments have added finishing resolution and energy. Both have similar Treble extension but the K8 has bigger stage and has better dynamics.

ARA is a very serious and mature sounding IEM while K8 is more cohesive and musical. Both lack no details but ARA is more precise and doesn't back away for extra attack.

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CONCLUSION:

What can I say. Close your eyes and get one!! This IEM is a prime example of what we want from a BA based IEMs. BA based IEMs do not need to be dull or accuracy minded while maintaining excellent details and transparency.

K8 is not an outright serious IEM. It's a more playful, happy going IEM which can do anything while doing a lot of things better than all of its competitors like Thieaudio Monarch. The biggest plus is the evenness, even when it has a bit of flavoring it doesn't let the note's height, dynamics or emphasis drop to average levels. I am impressed. The build quality is top notch too. Yes, they can make the packaging a bit more compact but this $860 IEM punches way above its price bracket going neck in neck with EVE20 and VE6XC.

There a barely any IEM as good as this under $1000. As I mentioned earlier, this can bought with eyes closed.

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