Sennheiser IE 8 In-Ear Headphones

Average User Rating:
4.34146/5,
  1. Sil3nce
    5.0/5,
    "Sennheiser IE8 with 150 hours burn-in time"
    Pros - Warm Intense Sound Signature with Shimmering Exquisite Treble and Tight Bass
    Cons - Overall neutrality can be adversely affected by the overpowering bass if turned up
    Wow, what can I say. These came like-new and packaged perfectly from FlexPen76 with 100+ hours burn-in time. Compliments to him again =] 
    First Impression- The entire Sennheiser construction was very solid and the box was very attractive as representative of fine German engineering. I had no trouble ascertaining if the ones I got was real and at first I must say I was overwhelmed by all the included accessories. However, as stated by many users, all the excess tips were completely negligible and the only one that remotely fit in my ears was the silicone default one. I immediately took them and stuck the nickel-plated jack in my newest Ipod Touch without hesitation. The bass-knob setting was a little higher than 1 and I wouldn't recommend going over that unless you want the treble to be drowned out by the bass. But that's only because of the tips I was using. I played a few low bit-rate songs and was surprised to say they weren't overly sensitive to low-quality music. Then I initiated a hq trance song with the sound turned a little above normal and closed my eyes. It was interesting to note that I barely noticed a difference in soundstage to my full sized cans D2000 and Dt880. That just shows how well the IE8 balances the entire frequency spectrum in an ethereal-like cover. Overally SQ was quite detailed and I also noticed how well it reproduced every note of noise from classical pieces to vocal trance. I would say it sounds like a Rs1 without the overly fatiguing signature but it lacks the mid-range of the Grados. The highs are well configured but tends to sound well only without the bass booming at the same time. 
    Will be giving a more detailed report after I play around with these more.
    Soundizer likes this.
  2. Ramesses
    5.0/5,
    "The IEM Search is over"
    Pros - SQ, comfort
    Cons - Case
     
    I have the SE530's and the triple fi's but these are my favourites by a long way.
    For me the SQ is so balanced and detailed, with pure and accurate treble, smooth, powerful and controlled base. Stunning soundstage and dynamics for an IEM. They sound very natural. For me the search is over.... At last!
    The fit is flat against the ear allowing laying on the side with them still in place with minimal discomfort. They seal well and exclude ambient sound well, although of course this depends on the tips and fit you achieve.
    I have had custom tips made by a UK firm, but the fit was not good and they were painful to wear. After 3 refits they are still poor and I cannot wear them for long. (A good way to experience customs, and if you don't get on with them you can still use the universal tips without the expense of shelling out on bespoke custom IEMs).
    On the down side the carrying case is bulky and awkward.... unnecessary.
    The base adjustment just bloats and booms but the base for me is perfect on the default setting (minimum factory setting). They do need a few days to burn in and become more balanced from new.
    I am on my 3rd pair as the Comply foams (not bundled with the Senns) are too tight on the stems, I do not recommend using the Complys, even thought the SQ and comfort is best for me with them. I now use the bundled silicon tips, although I quite like the silicon tips from the UEtriple fis which also fit these at a stretch.
    These are only around £150 to £190 from Amazon in the UK which makes them outstanding value.
    They work beautifully with my 4th Gen iPod touch and with my Pico Slim are just sublime.
    I love the IE8's and would highly recommend them. I am so glad I discovered them. I hope you enjoy them too. 
  3. budgetboy
    5.0/5,
    "Sennheiser IE8 - A work of art"
    Pros - soundstage, detail, bass, smoothness, comfort, durability, cord length, user-replacable cord and eartips, unobtrusive, just the right isolation
    Cons - price, but not so much because i got them on UK Ebay for $250 shipped =D shop around, they're worth it, and you can find bargains
    Okay, I have to leave for school in 5 minutes, so this is gonna have to be quick.

    Basically, I totally love these. With my Cowon S9, everything from Armin Van Buuren to ES Posthumous sounds ridiculously amazing. The soundstage, smooth sound, and easy listenability at low volumes are the coolest parts for me.
     
    Okay, I'm not going to write a real review. I just want to say I've been looking for a full-size headphone with the same strengths that can be used unamped and there isn't one. I was thinking DT990 32 ohm, but apparently even that needs an amp. The soundstage, comfort, durability (i've really tested this part, I'm an energetic ADD high school student lol) are unbeatable for this drivability. Like yeah, I could get the AD700s for the soundstage, but these have so much more going for them. I really can't describe it, but there's a sort of emotional connection I have when I listen to music with these earphones. I actually posted a thread about this and my Cowon S9, titled something like "Cowon S9 + Senn IE8 = Bliss" a couple months back because I loved this combination so much. Anyways, get this, you won't regret it.
     
  4. aSunshine
    5.0/5,
    "As great as it can be"
    Pros - Nearly everything, very fun to listen.
    Cons - Need burning in, stock tips are not for everyone, stupid case, tremble and mids are not the greatest but still very charming
    I were choosing between this and ue trple fi 10 pro, and as for me ie8 is totally a winner.
    Great bass, great detail, great everything. Sound is crappy out of the box, but in few hours it start to open up and in nearly 50 hours of burning in you are in heaven. Isolation and fit not super nice, but i made custom tips and now im as happy as one can be. I think it'll be my last IEM before IE9 or something like that. I really like senn sound sig.
    UPD I forgot the widest soundstage you ever heared from iems. Its even wider than most over-ear headphones.
  5. mr_diza
    4.0/5,
    "Sennheiser IE8"
    Pros - wide soundstage, bass control, fun factor
    Cons - isolation, price
    exciting earphones to listen to all day. quite expensive! watch out for the fakes.
  6. ppau0822
    3.0/5,
    "RnB phones"
    Pros - excellent bass
    Cons - pricey, poor isolation
    Poor isolation is then main problem with this headphone. otherwise it is great for rap and RnB music that goes great with heavy bass. 
     
    The soundstage on these phones are wide! but the resolution falls flat a bit and you cant listen to individual instruments as much.
     
    the top range is a bit better and there is no sibilance. 
  7. cravenz
    4.5/5,
    "my first high-end universal IEM and very likely to be my last."
    Pros - adjustable bass; replaceable cable; durability; soundstage; engaging
    Cons - not exactly the most aesthetically pleasing IEMs to most people; mid-bass hump (which bothers some people)
    This is my first review on Head-fi and till this day I do not possess the audio vocabulary that many others on this forum have and for that very reason, I will try to keep in simple here. This was at that point in time and still remains, my only foray into the higher-end universal IEM category and for various reasons I will mention in the review, it will likely remain for some time unless I someday find myself in the money.
     
    Isolation and fit
    I think I will start off by addressing some "misconceptions" that I believe exist about the IE8s and this more or less centres around fit issues that many people have complained about (though this may not apply to everyone). This in turn has caused a lot of them to feel that the IE8's isolation is poor. I tend to agree with this, but only to a point. Let me quantify my view because I do believe that with the right fit, isolation is possible albeit not 100%.
     
    When attempting to achieve the right fit, this article "basic guide to in ear canal phones" is beneficial especially point 8 re: how to use your IEM; the link for this is: http://www.head-fi.org/wiki/basic-guide-to-in-ear-canalphones. But in a nutshell, when putting the IEM into my right ear, I use my left hand to pull the tip of my ear up and outwards ever so slightly and use my right ear to place the IEM in my ear canal and again, slowly, with a little screwdriver action, push it in. This has worked wonders for me especially with my current favoured tip.
     
    Here is a picture of the tips I use after testing the other stock tips provided. I added the original tip just for reference more than anything else. For convenience, I'll just call them tip 1, 2 and 3 from the left to right respectively.
     
    IMG_0086.jpg
     
    My favoured tip from the ensemble is tip 1. For a long time, I lived with the original tips and never liked the idea of switching from conventional tips partly due to stubborness and also the belief that I'm a normal person, but I was just in plain denial. For starters, everyone thinks I look like a 10 year old due to my small frame. I obviously didn't heed that warning and then there are other factors like my elongated face structure shaped like a papaya (paw-paw) in stark contrast to my small frame; but I'll save you from the other gory facts [​IMG].
     
    All of us are born differently, have different ear canals, etc. Hence the reason for custom tips and earphones. So perhaps, what works for me, may not work for you, but I'd encourage you if you are having fit issues, to at the very least follow the guide hyper linked and try some of the stock tips given or other suggested ones by members here before giving up on the IE8s if you already have them in your possession.
     
    Tip 2 gave me the best isolation and though without any music on, I could barely hear people around me with deep insertion and once the music was on, I really could not hear the buzz around me in any way whatsoever, but this does come with a little consequence on the sound quality (SQ) which I will go through in the next section.
     
    Sound Quality (SQ)
    I rarely if not never turn the bass knob to the maximum and usually maintain it between the minimum and the middle depending on which tip I utilise. As mentioned above, I first started out with the original tips i.e. tip 3 and then I moved on to tip 2 for better isolation, but I found that with this tip the bass would tend to colour the sound and SQ to me dropped. I also found treble to be lacking at this point and I would EQ treble into the IE8s though I don't do that anymore as I just turn the bass knob to the minimum and the colouration is not as significant.
     
    Bear in mind that when using tip 2 for isolation, what happens is that the passageway for the sound to your ear canal is shortened and this for the lack of a better illustration is like having closed headphones to some extent. There is no room for the bass to "diffuse" and my theory is that this is the reason why it colours the sound.
     
    The reason why I've ended up choosing tip 1 is simply because though I lost isolation where if I was in an extremely noisy area or along the road, I would have to turn up the sound, the treble still shines best to me with this tip choice. The treble is not over emphasised nor is it harsh on the ears and perhaps to some, it might lack the sparkle, but with this tip, to my ears, it's just right and non-fatiguing.
     
    Overall, to me the IE8s have close to none or little microphonic issues. The IE8 impresses with vocal presentations and many friends who have sampled my pair have noted this same fact as well. Their sound staging is extremely impressive and for that very reason, it makes the musicality of the IE8s just that much more wonderful. It is for this very reason that it is engaging, exhilarating and enjoyable.
     
    One of the selling points to me about the IE8s was their versatility in that I could adjust the bass to my liking though now more often than not, I leave it slightly below the middle. To me, my IE8s are used when I'm on the go, when I'm walking. And when I do that, I like to listen to popular music, electronic stuff, anything that keeps me moving, anything that keeps my mind entertained and my heart pumping. And this is where to me, the IE8s have hit home. They keep me thoroughly entertained, enthused and motivated with whatever music I throw at it.
     
    To me, perhaps the IE8s may not be the most analytical pair of IEMs out there, but it's sound staging makes up for that. But like I said, if I'm on the go, I want a pair of IEMs that are fun and the IE8s provided it in spades. I don't want to be analysing music when I'm walking around. And even if I do, I do it when I'm sitting in a quiet area and again, with tip 1, I don't have a problem. Obviously, you'd have to look at the purpose of you getting the IEM.
     
    I have not gone into any technical details and perhaps this may not help in making a decision on a pair of IEMs as I do not wish to make technical claims of it's bass extension, depth, accuracy of instruments without having been able to sample or test many of the other universal competitors in the price bracket. I did my research before plunging into this and I have not been disappointed. There are now competitors that are said to be better than the IE8s, but the Monster Turbines supposedly don't have as much depth in sound staging as the IE8s and this to me, is what I want to feel in my music. I want to be there, I want to be in it, at the centre of the action. That is musicality.
     
    Note: I first started out with al-cheapo IEMs which I at that time thought was already a huge outlay, but seeing that I loved music so much, I thought I'd look into something else which is unfortunately or fortunately, how I stumbled across all this.
     
    When I first listened to my IE8s, I thought "gosh...why in tootarkarmen's name revenge did I spend all that money on the IE8s?" It was only when I switched back to the al-cheapo's in relative comparison did I realise how much I was missing, how much more the IE8s were offering me. I think part of the reason for this is because I'm not musically trained.
     
    Note: I have tested the JH-10/11/13s and honestly and possibly, because I didn't have the best setup with me then, the JHs just revealed way too much for my liking, but I will reserve my comments. Suffice to say, I enjoyed my IE8s. I'd still love to own a pair of proper customs one day, but hey, I've still a lot to learn here and if I had the time and the money, I certainly would put in a lot more effort into all this. I'm envious of many of you who have been able to have your own personal setups, beautiful rigs and all. I don't know if I will ever get there, but to me, I just want to enjoy my music. The technicalities are somewhat beyond me.
     
    Design and Build Quality
    Looks wise, this is not exactly, well, beautiful but I certainly believe that though the SM3 is touted to be better than the IE8s in every way, this is the one department that I firmly believe the IE8s win [​IMG]. The IE8s have lasted me the longest in contrast to other IEMs which have always had cable failures on me, albeit cheaper models, but I believe the consensus is that the IE8s have the best cable quality re: kevlar coated too! Maybe if someone fired a shot, the thin cable just might be able to save my life [​IMG].
     
    The replaceable cable was a real plus point to me especially since I was afraid of the cable fraying on me both at the connection of the earphones and at the headphone jack but with the quality of their cable, a replacement might not be necessary. That being said, a replaceable cable adds to the longevity of the IE8s and this was important to me too, and if the supposed loss of a little SQ was traded in for this compared to other potentially better earphones, I'm more than happy to live with it cos' I'd rather save than to spend a gazillion more replacing the IEMs.
     
    Final musings
    All in all, the IE8s have provided me with everything I've wanted in an IE8 bar the aesthetics side of it. I'd be happy if this was my last and final IEM unless there was something leaps and bounds better than the IE8s. To me, any other universal IEM in the same price bracket is nothing but a side-grade, not an upgrade. Sure, maybe if I had the money to spend, I would test out different setups and I'd love to so I can give a better input regarding my audio experience to aid others in their journey, but I don't and am quite happy as it is, though donations are most welcome [​IMG].
     
    Let me just say that I do not have a music background. I've done sound for my friends and stuff, I've been in radio and tv studios, but that is as far as it went. Looking back at it all, I wish I had put in more effort into music. It's what I love, what I enjoy and what is an ever-present in my life albeit the fact that my parents do not agree to it especially when I study.
     
    I suffer from double-jointed fingers to an extent that when I bar a chord on any string instrument, when I play a chord, after a few minutes, there is a high chance that my fingers get stuck in the position and I have to manually pry them loose. I do wish I learned the drums, but the band already had a drummer, so I never did.
     
    Just a last side track note, for those that think the IE8s are just crazy bass heavy, I have the k702s which are supposedly bass light. But honestly, I think the 702s are bass accurate and the IE8s just have a warmth and colouration to some extent, that just make them a whole load of fun. I enjoy both of them so how you interpret that is well, another thing altogether. Suffice to say that at home, I listen to a lot more jazz and instrument based music, but I still listen to popular music e.g. I'm listening to MJ's Smooth Criminal and Blood on the Dance Floor and trust me, they are fun on 702s as well. But I'll leave it as that.
     
    Pardon me for the long post and the lack of depth in this review. I just thought that I'd give my own little input albeit not great nor as musically extensive as many others but I enjoyed the IE8s so much I thought I'd put in a little effort.
     
    For whoever that gets to read this, remember, it is your ears, your love of the music that defines what phones you choose. Everyone has different ears, different sonic perceptions and for that, we will all always be somewhat divided in what IEMs are best. Just take a look at how different people like different genres of music.
     
    I hope that your experience with the IE8s has been as enjoyable as mine, or if not, I hope you have found that pair that suits your purposes to give you that enjoyment that music was to be, entertainment and raw emotion.


  8. yliu
    4.5/5,
    "One of the Best I've used!"
    Pros - Very Very strong bass, mids are good, highs are crisp, comfortable, very strong build, almost no microphonic, replaceable cable
    Cons - doesn't isolate too much noise, some people may dislike the midbass hump, carrying case is complicated (but cool:)
    These earbuds has a warm sound, but with very nice mids, and crisp highs. I heard that lot of people say it has too much bass, but I think they are just enough with the knob turned to the max (maybe it can have even more bass). I found that they sound a slightly similar to the Klipsch Image X10. The cable is the best ive ever saw, they are soft and they have minimal microphonics. The only downside I found is that they don't block out much sound. Oh, and When I got those earphones. The Cable was wrapped so tightly in the box that it basically destroyed the cable.
    For the price I paid (around 300USD) , I would definetly recommend it to people who takes their music seriously.
  9. earthpeople
    4.0/5,
    "I've never kept a set of IEMs this long"
    Pros - great design, comfortable for long periods, natural sound, awesome replaceable cable
    Cons - poor isolation, tunable bass port is almost useless, most accessories aren't useful
    Let me start off addressing the pros I've listed.
    --I love the design of the Sennheiser IE8s. They look great, it fits the shape of my ear, the cable goes over ear to reduce microphonics, and they are easy to put in.
    --These are comfortable IEMs, I often wore them for several hours at a time to deal with noisy floor mates in my door.
    --Natural sound is something I'll cover when I hit the sound section later.
    --The cables on the IE8s are probably the best I've ever personally experienced. It is very well built, feels nice around my ear, supple, and most of all user replaceable. A bit disappointed that the plug isn't gold plated, but it's not a huge issue considering how great the actual cable is.
     
    Now for the cons.
    --The IE8s are infamous for their low isolation. If you are on noisy streets, buses, subways, etc., these may not be a great choice because you'll hear more of what's going on around you than you really need to without custom tips.
    --The adjustable bass port was one of the big features I remember being talked about in the early days of the IE8s. I quickly found out that it's useless unless you like an exaggerated midbass and low subbass. As you turn it up, it only increases the bass response below the hump. Essentially it smooths out the bass and makes it more even. I just turned it up to max and left it. I find that most people use it on the lowest or lower-medium settings, and I strongly recommend at least trying it for a few days at max before making a decision.
    --Most of the accessories that come with these IEMs are not useful. The tips are ok, I personally prefer UE single flange tips before I got custom tips for these. The small case it came with is a bit difficult and troublesome to use. The earhooks are too bulky and uncomfortable.
     
    Moving to the sound...
    The thing most discussed about these IEMs is the bass, and for good reason. I find that the IE8s produce bass really well. It is full, present, and textured. It has quality and quantity. Admittedly it can get a bit boomy on some super-bass tracks, but it holds well for most music I've thrown at it from all sorts of genres. When the bass knob is turned all the way up, the bass sounds smooth and even to my ears, with a very slight midbass hump. This hump is more noticable when the bass knob is turned lower. When amped, the bass tightens up a bit and there is more punch to it.
     
    I think the IE8s have a very lush, warm midrange. It's very smooth and inviting. The most important thing is that it sounds natural. I've been through a few sets of headphones where male or female vocals just don't sound right but these produce voices spot on. I hesitate to say more about the mids because I haven't heard other headphones/IEMs which reportedly have awesome midranges, such as the Shure SE530s.
     
    As for treble, when I first listened I thought it was a bit recessed. As I listened more though, I realized that the treble and mids were well balanced and that it was only an emphasis in bass that made that first impression. The IE8s have the greatest treble extension I've heard from IEMs. The treble is not sparkly and bright, so if that's the kind of sound you like these are not for you.
     
    These IEMs have detail, despite how it may seem on the first few listens. Particularly, you might find that the treble lacks detail. I think this is simply because the treble is not emphasized, so it's harder to notice.
     
    The presentation is definitely relaxed and slightly dark, which may again explain why they seem to lack a bit in detail. It's a presentation that doesn't suit everyone.
     
    I sort of mentioned this a little earlier, but these IEMs sound very natural. They never sound strained and always seem to handle music with ease and finesse across the whole frequency spectrum.
     
    I've owned these IEMs for almost 8 months now, the longest I've kept such a pair. I don't see myself selling them soon either, partially because I invested in custom tips, but also because the sound suits my preferences so well. I love the bass, I love the presentation, I love how effortless the sound, and I love how natural they sound.
    Will you feel the same about them? I don't know.
     
    I hope this review will help those who are considering the Sennheiser IE8s make a decision, but remember these are my opinions, my ears, etc., so take it with a grain of salt.
  10. ianmedium
    4.5/5,
    "Excellent natural sounding IEM's"
    Pros - natural, spacious sound, detail, comfort
    Cons - takes a while to burn in..But worth it!
    I find these wonderful little Sennheisers to be a very natural sounding headphone. They take a while to burn in but once that is done they are the sort of headphones that one puts on and forgets the equipment and just enjoys the music. Very similar to my Stax headphones in sound I feel.
     
    Well worth it I think and though as per normal with forums, once a year old it is almost forgotten it is still worthy of comparison to the best out there! These are my go to phones now!