Sennheiser IE80

General Information

The IE 80 features high-fidelity stereo sound and high noise attenuation with an enhanced design. Encased in a brushed-metal housing and rugged, interchangeable cable, it is built for maximum robustness and flexibility. The IE 80 also features a unique technology that enables sound-tuning of bass response. A world of premium audio awaits your discovery.

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Pros: - Very good sound quality
- Easy to drive
- Brilliant for classical music and jazz
Cons: - Not an all rounder
- Only average for metal and hard rock
Dear fellow music lovers,
the IE80 have been around a while and, despite several reviews and an almost infinite thread, still it is not easy to gather in a single place all the information concerning this beautiful IEM.
Despite the earphone being probably at the end of its lifecycle, I will write this review anyway, hoping that somebody will provide a similar review for the new IE80S.

After few month of listening, here come my impressions.

- the fundamentals are here: several tips.
- ear hooks
- fluff: useless carry-case

- OK. Detachable cable probably ensure a beyond average life expectancy (for me IEM average life expectancy is 2 years)

- bundled cable is ok, angled connector
- currently using it with 5 eur chinese cable with a 3 button Android and IOS compatible remote

- no rough edges, pretty comfortable for me

Fit over the ear
- a bit tricky, as the overall sound is very sensitive to insertion depth and tips positioning
- no cable microphonics
- once in place does not pops out. Few adjustments every now and then may be necessary
- ear hooks are not easy to use nor necessary

Fit below ear
- possible, but I don't recommend it as the bass becomes boomy
- average cable microphonics

Bang for buck
- on rebate at 140 eur at amazon is a catch (but not worth the full retail price of ~300 eur)


- bass via the screw
- overall tone via the tips

After several tests I decided which the basic configuration (i.e. bass screw to minimum, single flange silicon tips) is the one providing the bust sound quality. Therefore it is my choice for day to day listening and the descriptions below are based on this set-up.

- Sound Signature
V shaped, with powerfull bass and lively but not aggressive highs

- Bass
Extended, rolled off towards the sub bass and slightly bleeding in the mediums. They are slow (in the good sense, relaxed) accurate and powerful.

- Mediums
A bit recessed but perfectly tuned

- Highs
They provide decent detail and extension, but their tuning could be better (with the wrong recording they can become a little aggressive). Their biggest issue is that they are not linear, but they have a peak at 5kHz, one at 7kHz and one at 13kHz. The result is good detail and extension, but it is not balanced.

Slow bass and a lot of echoes to open the soundstage result in a relaxed and slow IEM

-Detail retrieval and instrument separation
Good across the spectrum. More than enough for orchestral music

- Polyvalence
Very good for classical music and jazz. Very natural voice reproduction.
Only average for hard rock and metal.
Fair to good for other genres.

The peaky highs and detail retrieval makes this a rather unforgiving IEM

-Source requirements
IE80 are very hiss forgiving
They are very easy to drive, resulting in good sound on almost every source.
That said, a better source can result in audibly better quality. But with any source they are already good.

- adjustable bass
- can be tuned via eartips

- tuning via bass screw: this increases mostly the sub bass, with a lesser impact on the bass. The peaks in the highs are also somewhat tamed.
Overall I don't like the result, as the mids seems to be more and more out of tune, as the bass in increased via the screw.

- tuning via the tips: the IE80 progressively go from bass-heavy and V-shaped to neutral as the tips are changed in this sense : foam tips, single-flange silicon tips, double-flange silicon tips, weird triple flange silicon tips.
I don't like the result for the same reason as before, i.e. the mids seems to be more and more out of tune as the tuning becomes more different from the out of the box one (bass screw to minimum, single flange silicon tips)

- the well known tape mod :
Similar results and same issues as above

- conclusion: what these tuning have in common is bring some neutrality in the sound signature of the IE80, at the price of making a 200+ eur IEM sound like a 100 eur IEM. Not worth it in my opinion.

Compared to the other IEMs I have tried:

- Sennheiser CX275S : these one have a fun oriented signature: slightly v-shaped, voice oriented mids, not very extended but very fast bass, smooth and pleasant treble. These works best for fast-paced bad recorded music. For a 30 eur IEM they sound very good. Detail resolving and instrument separation is very bad; for this reason also is a very forgiving IEM. Anything which is well recorded will sound way better on IE80, except metal, which really does not like this IEM and which, on the contrary, sound very fun on this CX275

- Sony MH1C: the mids are about as good as the IE80's; lows are faster and with stronger sub bass, but less detailed; highs are a real mess on these. If accuracy and instrument separation is not required at the extremes of the spectrum, these sound 80% as good as IE80's (still they have a smaller soundstage)

- Beoplay H3 : radically different sound signature as these are almost flat. Lows are good, albeit a lot more recessed, highs are less extended (cut at 16kHz) but more linear; as a result these have less air but are less aggressive on some instruments, which may ultimately result more pleasant on the H3 (e.g. brass, acoustic guitars etc..). The mids of the H3 are definitely inferior: less resolving, somewhat out of tune, they make really a mess of a classic orchestra

- Sony mdr 1a : these ones are at least as good everywhere, and better resolving in the mids-high and the highs. Also they are one of Sony's high impedance top headphones.
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Member of the Trade: Audio Excellence
Pros: Incredible soundstage, Bass, and seperation
Cons: Comfort & fitting can be an issue
Hello, to start off this review I would like to tell you that I am giving away by Brand new IE80s FREE so if you would like to enter for it just simply like this post & comment and I will PM you. 

I Personally own one of these IEMs and I tested them for few months with my Fiio x1 & Oppo ha 2 SE. Here are the results
lets start with the bad part about this IEM because there isn't much. Everything about this IEM is great but comfort can be an issue when using tips included with the IEMs. Alot of tips are included but they are all uncomfortable in my Opinion. My suggestion is to Use Comply foams or Spinfit. OR any other 3rd party tips you find comfortable
its there but its much better isolating with the Foams tips than silicon tips for obvious reasons. With the foam tip I would give 9/10 for sound Isolation, if you find the RIGHT fit. 
Now lets get into the good part and what most of you will read anyways. Sound is incredible. (period) Sound stage, separation, imaging... its all there 
Exceptionally great because you can adjust it. You put these things full tilt and you head may blow up. So whether you are a bass head or not, you can adjust it to your liking. The bass is tight & punchy But lacks that sub feeling you would get from Shure 846. With all that being said, trust be when I say the bass in these will blow your mind away.
Now Sennheiser is known for the great mids in many headphones and they do not disappoint in these IE80s. With that being said, they are not MIDDDDD ranged like HD650s. I feel like an idiot comparing these to full sized headphones but the mid range can be that good on certain songs. 
These are not Bright IEMs in anyway, the high are there but in distant because of the large soundstage. They are not ear piecing but detailed. Sometimes, if you concentrate you hear things in this frequency region you've never head before. 
They are built almost like a tank. They are made of aluminum shells with a dynamic driver inside. If I had the choice of taking a High end High priced IEM on a Hike or something, it would be these. 
The cable... oh the cable.... they are sennheiser cables terminating in a 90 degree 3.5mm jack... and.... it doesn't tangle like CRAZY but not the can always get new 3rd part ones. 
I will keep this review short as EVERYONE pretty much know or heard how great these are. Any question? 
Visit our site for more extended review of the IE80 !
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Ryan Ray
Ryan Ray
Recently considering purchasing one of them and found this review & giveaway. Nice review, really wanna try how they sound and comapre with rha t20s. thx
Vincent Tee
Vincent Tee
interesting, was wondering whether the housing would be too 'big'
nice review oi really agree on it!!!


New Head-Fier
I can come back to them at any time! Just great sound for not bad price those days. Stage is nice, separation have quality deep bass that I love :)


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