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Sennheiser IE800

Rating:
4.23684/5,
  • Key Features

    Very low overall THD
    Two protection meshes
    Dampened dual-chamber absorber (D2CA)
    Dynamic linear phase ultra-wide bandwidth (UWB) driver


Recent Reviews

  1. PeterPangea
    One of the best dynamic driver IEMs on the market
    Written by PeterPangea
    Published Feb 15, 2017
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Bass without sacrificing vocals quality, ease of use, comfort
    Cons - Interesting design quirks, crispy highs, a ton of fakes out there.
    rixjjyW.jpg

     
    Introduction

    Up for review are a pair of Sennheiser’s IE800 dynamic driver in-ear monitors. They were first released in 2012 at around $1000, but pricing has fallen to more reasonable levels, with Sennheiser’s MSRP at $800 and used pricing on the market under $500. There was a lot of controversy due to the cable design, dynamic drivers, price, and the proliferance of fakes on the market. Are they still worth picking up? Let’s take a further look.

     

    I purchased this pair of IE 800s on Reddit after coming across them for a price I couldn’t refuse. I’ve had these since January, but refrained from commenting on them as they were shipped with small eartips instead of the mediums as advertised, which did not fit properly for me.

     

    Thankfully, I was able to source replacement medium eartips from Sennheiser Canada directly for ~$20 for one pair (yikes). They were on backorder and had to come in from Germany first, resulting in a 3 week lead time. Really appreciate the seller Renew Logic for covering the cost on the replacement tips. Top notch customer service.

    Have been using these for the past few days with the correct sized tips, so here we go…

     

    Build/accessories

    I received the IE800s with only one pair of tips, the leather carrying case, and the earwax cleaning tool. New, the IE800s come with the above along with a box and 4 sets of silicone eartips ranging from small to large sizes.

     

    The finish and build quality is definitely in line with a high end product. The IE800s have a ceramic finish, metal driver vents, and a kevlar cable. The housings are nice and smooth to the touch and are surprisingly durable, showing no signs of wear and tear after a month of use by me and use by the previous owner of these. The leather case is also really nicely finished, with high-density foam, even stitching, and fine leather quality. The cleaning tool provided does not have a brush like ones included with other IEMs, but this is understandable given that the IE800s have two wire screens (one on the IEM, and one on the eartip) to prevent earwax buildup.

     

    Ultimately, no complaints from me on this end.

     

    Usability

    I’ll start off this section of the review by addressing the cable design, which is the big elephant in the room. Typically, higher-end IEMs have a detachable cable terminated at the IEM housings. However, Sennheiser decided to have the cable for the IE800s hardwired at the housings, with the cable terminated at the Y-splitter using a 2.5mm connector. This means that if your cable has issues near the connection to the housing, then you have to rewire the IEMs. I would imagine Sennheiser did this due to the small size of the driver housings. All other IEMs around this size I’ve come across have fully hardwired cables, so for Sennheiser to even offer a semi-detachable solution is honestly better than nothing.

     

    To be perfectly frank, I don’t really consider this an issue. Out of all of the 20 or so IEMs I’ve owned and flipped throughout the years, I haven’t yet come across problems related with the cables. I don’t particularly baby my IEMs either, just shoving them into my pant pockets when not in use. If you consider its most relevant rival, the AKG K3003, the IE800 wins by at least having a semi-detachable cable.

     

    Otherwise, the IE800s are great to use as long as you wear them cable down. The small size means they almost disappear in your ears and there’s no discomfort relating to the housing shape (looking at you, Andromedas). Isolation is pretty good, but is probably worse than a BA setup due to the smaller housings. Source matching is also less problematic then something like the Campfire Andromeda and its crazy impedance curve.

     

    My one complaint on usability does relate to the eartips, another controversial IE800 topic. They are a proprietary design with a included mesh earwax filter, which click on to the housing. They do a great job of keeping earwax out of the IE800s, but can definitely be a pain to replace as you either have to get replacements directly from Sennheiser for an arm and a leg or buy knock-off eartips from Aliexpress. Definitely not many options for tip rolling on these unless you want to start hacking away and doing your own chop job.

     

    Sound

    Sennheiser’s always really stuck to dynamic drivers (Orpheus excepted) and their expertise really shows in the sound quality of the IE800s. I read on one review that these sound like the old UE Triple-Fi 10s but with an additional degree of refinement. Given that the TF10s were THE old guard for a V-shaped sound signature, I’m inclined to agree. One of the best parts about the IE800’s sound signature is the bass. These deliver a major bass punch for an IEM but without the bloatiness of lower-end gear. Sub-bass extension is also among the best I’ve heard. 

     

    Despite the bass emphasis, the mids don’t suffer at all in comparison in terms of quality. Vocals are very clear and detailed, only lacking a bit of lushness which the cream of the cream midrange IEMs (TG334s, Andromedas) have.

     

    Highs are well-extended on the IE800s, which help with the sense of air along with crispness in hi-hats and other instruments. The highs do emphasize sibilance, which can be noticeable on pop vocals. However, it’s not so bad to be painful to listen to, unlike the Sony EX1000s.

     

    Soundstage is pretty wide, but not so deep relative to the best offerings on the market. Running these from a more powerful output than a phone do help in terms of opening everything up. Clarity is definitely among the upper end of the IEMs I’ve sampled.

     

    All in all, the IE800s really represent one of the best V-shaped sound sigs you can get on the market. They’re a great companion if you mainly listen to hip-hop and EDM, but can more than hold their own in other genres due its overall technical capability.

     

    Some quick comparisons

    Quick comparisons to other IEMs I’ve owned around similar performance levels are as follows. All of these play really in the same “league”.

     

    Sony EX1000: I definitely prefer these over the Sonys as the treble peak on that one was unlistenable for me. I think these have the sound signature I would EQ the EX1000s to, and they are just so much easier to use. EX1000 probably has a bigger soundstage though.

     

    FitEar TG334: TG334s are a bit easier to listen to due to lower treble levels. They also have better mids and a tad more clarity. IE800s have more bass slam though.

     

    Campfire Andromeda: Campfires are more balanced but I’d say better all around with exception for bass slam. Less troublesome treble, sweeter mids, tighter bass, and bigger soundstage. Hiss can be a bitch on them though.

     

    Summary

    As you can see, the IE800s play in a pretty rarified field for me. So, at the end of the day, how much did I pay for these? $195. These are a definitely a no brainer at that price. I think that these are a pretty poor value proposition at the original $1000, good value proposition at $500, and an insane value proposition around the $250 mark. Ultimately, my greatest stamp of approval for these is that after I’ve got them, the IE800s have had more head-time than the Andromedas due to its comfort, ease of use and fun sound signature. Hope you guys have enjoyed the review!

     

    Impromptu photoshoot at my office below :)

    BV1jTGE.jpg

     
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    b6vyVhV.jpg
     
    wEe5664.jpg
    Make sure to look out for this split when determining if your example is authentic. A legit pair will have a break between the connector like above.
     
    2eS7FHf.jpg
    Also, on a legit pair, the 'dimple' above on the plug will be slightly bigger and more defined.
      Zoide and Spektrograf like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Onny Izwan
      The EX1000 is an archaic example to compare to. Why not compare it to the XBA-Z5? Anyway great re-visit of the fine Sennheisers. At lower price, it is now a bargain like never before!
      Onny Izwan, Feb 15, 2017
    3. ryanjsoo
      @Onny Izwan The EX1000 has a more similar sound signature to the ie800, I've heard some prefer the EX1000 to the Z5. Apart from that, Peter doesn't own the Z5! I've personally really enjoyed the EX1000, it has the same kind of sparkly, brighter sound with a slightly fuller bass response though the fit killed it for me, I could never get a reliable seal. 
      ryanjsoo, Feb 15, 2017
    4. PeterPangea
      Thanks for the comments guys! From a fit perspective, if you want a pair of IEMs that fit cable-down, the IE800s are without a doubt the best here (crazy expensive oBravo aside).
      PeterPangea, Feb 16, 2017
  2. Takeanidea
    Still regarded by many as the best IEM, the IE800 I own can be viewed a little more critically after 18 months of ownership
    Written by Takeanidea
    Published Sep 8, 2016
    3.5/5,
    Pros - Bass Mids Treble and Sound Stage are world class
    Cons - The cable is too short - does not flex enough - and is too heavy for the drivers
    IMG_20160908_163223.jpg

    The Sennheiser IE800

     
     
    What hasn't been said about these flagship earphones from Sennheiser? 
    My first wow moment for these was at a headfi meet sponsored by Sennheiser at the Great Russell Hotel all the way back in April 2014. This was around the launch time of the IE800s and was also the first time I was introduced to the Astell and Kern AK100. Club Orpheus were there in droves and one of the reps handed me an IE800 and AK100 and I was stunned. 
    I subsequently bought both. Not there and then , but the need to acquire weighed heavily on me until the feeling was too much to resist anymore.
    The IE800 is still the flagship IEM for Sennheiser and is still a single driver. This in the age of more and more drivers marked a real risk for Sennheiser to convince the Audio buying public that 1 was as good as 12. 
    But remarkably , it is. 
     
    IMG_20160908_163127.jpg
    Where other companies have the inherent headache of crossover distortions , Sennheiser don't. Where other companies are buying in from the driver factories of the World and trying to fit their sound signature into their own designs , Sennheiser made their own. 
    And what a driver they have produced. 
    The reproduction of these IEMs still amazes to this day. Whilst there is undoubtedly strong competition out there, at £599 the IE800s no longer look exorbitantly expensive as an endgame portable solution for a smart phone or maybe as I shall show you later on , through a pretty nifty sounding DAP/Mojo/Speaker amp setup.
     
    IMG_20160908_190328_703.jpg
     
    My belief is this ; if you have the time and the daftness to do it , be over the top. I shall not be giving a review based on my learnt experiences -  although clearly you can't unlearn something. I shall be giving you a taste of what the IE800 can do against some competitors on a system comprising of @dill3000's unbelievable DIY built First Watt F5 power amp coupled to a Chord Mojo , coupled to a beauty of a cable my brother made for me using some Van den Hul cabling and neutrik connectors all going out to a speaker terminal to balanced cable custom built by @dill3000
    For the review I have used a custom made balanced to single ended adapter , again by @dill3000 which I've plugged a 3.5 into . Simple!
     
    IMG_20160908_190221_007.jpg
     
     
    What we have here is an ultra powerful but also ultra revealing system which will put the IE800s to an extreme test.
     
    IMG_20160908_185848_585.jpg
     
    Needless to say , if you are trying this at home - keep the volume down very low indeed. The IE800s go loud through a smartphone , let a 50 Watt Per Channel Speaker Amp have it's way with them and they will be ravaged in a Medieval Crusades way that they may never come back from! 
    The method in this madness is the opportunity I have to show you fine headfiers how a top tier IEM performs when put into a high end setup as opposed to a smartphone. The IE800s will perform under these less stringent conditions but something this special needs pushing.
    With a slightly sweating nervousness (the temperature of the Mini Beast can reach towards 50 degrees) I carefully switched things on.  The results are impressive. So much so I treated myself to an extended listen to these before testing them against rival factions.
    I shall divide my sound impressions into the following categories and try and explain the almost inexplicable and certainly subjective, hearing experience in as simple terms as I can , avoiding as much jargon as I can. There will be no cream mentioned in my findings or any other kind of dairy products. I am trying to be disciplined in my descriptions without becoming scientific. Or boring.
     
     
    The categories are
    Bass, Mids and Highs, Clarity and Soundstage.
     
    I shall use this as a basis for my reviews because this is how I listen critically to my kit, the other stuff for me causes confusion.
     
    Bass
     
    The bass of the IE800s. Bear in mind this is from one tiny driver. I think sennheiser got the bass just right in the mix. Axell Grell , at a headfi meet in 2013 in London , said that he had boosted the low frequency response to allow for the music to come through past the sounds of commuting of walking of travelling and off the road. So there is a deliberate bass hump. The impact in a quiet listening environment is fantastic. It's enough to make you sit up but not enough to drown out the rest of the mix or cause a mini war between the frequency range. The bass is accurate and has no boom but has punch.
     
    Mids and Highs
     
    The natural reproduction of strings being played the clarity of vocals and the hitting of cymbals is often how my ears are drawn to the quality of the kit I have. Guitar drums singer and keyboards all joing together when a song peaks is a good place to look for harshness.
    There are no IEMs I have heard that do these finer than the IE800s. There is a natural effortless sound through the mids into the highs and yet there is an extension to the highs that adds a level of detail to the overall signature that is seldom noticed in other In Ears.
     
    Soundstage
     
    The space in between the instruments and the size of the picture in my head that I have of the recording is how I work out the soundstage. The IE800s excel at this , there is so much detail in the highs and mids the sound stage is fit for a flagship model.
     
    Comparisons
     
    And talking of flagship models I checked the Sennheiser IE800s against 2 similarly priced IEMs I happen to own.
     

     
    The ACS Encore Studio Custom IEMs have 5 drivers. The bass on these are superb , better than the IE800s even and they as customs have far more isolation and need far less volume. The mids and highs are not as impressive as the bass and are slightly rolled off , in my opinion making the soundstage more intimate.  I can of course wear the customs without problems whilst I'm running whereas this is not an option for my IE800s.
     
     


     
    The oBravo Erib 2a is a dual hybrid diver IEM it is the world's first neodymium driver combined with a planar magnetic tweeter in an earphone. The low bass frequency has no punch but the mid and high bass has lots of impact as do the mids on these. They have not as good a low bass impact as the IE800s but more impact in the higher bass and mids. The treble , as good as it is , (and it is great) still does not outshine the IE800s. Obravo have done well to come so close to Sennheiser at a similar price (these retail at £579.99) but they are not the IE800 beaters I thought they were in the first month I had them. The soundstage of the Erib 2a is a similar size to that of the IE800s.
     
    The Fit
     
    Herein lies the problem, or if like me you love these enough , the challenge. Whole reams of threads have been devoted to answering the question as to what can be done to make the IE800s  stop falling out of the ears.
    The 4 problems with the Senns are :
    the weight of the Kevlar cables
    their stiffness 
    the lack of length between the driver attachment and the clip on cable attachment
    the tips supplied are a patented design so no others will fit
    the cable is not detachable from the drivers
     
    The solutions are possible:
    Get them recabled - but who would do this given their initial price?
    Get custom ear sleeves made - I did this , through Snugs, but the Snugs after months of hard work and research done by me were not as good sounding as the Senn tips
    New innovations - there are silicon wings which were sent with the oBravos which help to keep these and other large IEMs in place. Maybe some such customisation might do the trick?
    Put up with them - that has it's level of wisdom too , but it does mean the IE800s are likely to be only used when sat down, and how many of us do that for too long?
     
    Conclusion
     
    Perfection is a very hard thing to achieve . The Sound Quality of these IEMs , for an IEM , is close to perfection. The bass mids and highs and soundstage are wonderful, no question in my mind. But an IEM has to fulfil a specific purpose and that is to be used out and about. The IE800s are not versatile enough to be put in the perfect bracket. But if anyone gets them modified to enable that, they have a world beater on their hands
      darks929, Hawaiibadboy and masterfuu like this.
  3. Deftone
    Portable Endgame?
    Written by Deftone
    Published Aug 17, 2016
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Clarity, Comfort, Detail, Soundstage, Bass texture
    Cons - Overly boosted bass, Price, Non removable cables, Treble quality, underwhelming packaging, "Recessed midrange".
    IGNORE!, NEEDS REVISION DUE TO FAULTY UNIT. REVIEW WILL BE UPDATED SOON

    Before i start the review i would like to mention that my pair of IE800 were authorised and confirmed not to be a fake set and i use a chord mojo as a reference dac/amp to ensure there is no bottleneck prior to my reviews.

    Packaging & Build Quality
    A very underwhelming unboxing experience considering i paid £650, included is the IE800 (obviously) genuine leather case with engraved serial number, microfiber cleaning cloth and 5 sets of silicone tips, that's it. This is definitley not on the same packing contents and well thought out level like the Shure SE846 for example. Now on to the build, IE800 housing are made from a ceramic and according to Sennheiser has one of the hardest surface materials in the world and almost impossible to scratch. The kevlar cable feels well built and has sufficient strain relief on the L shaped jack.


    Technial Data

    1. Impedance

      16 Ohms ​
    2. Frequency response

      8 - 41000 Hz (-3 dB)
      5 - 46500 Hz ​


    Bass
    Ill start with bass, its big and its jumps at you shouting "hey notice me!" allthough the bass is fantastic quality with excellent texture and what seems like a never ending depth in to the sub frequencies, the impact and sheer amount of it is just too much. it does not bleed in to the midrange but because it so distracting it makes the midrange "feel" very recessed. the amount is reduced some when using outdoors like a in ear headphone should be, but again its still too much.


    Midrange
    A very open and spacious midrange which is remarkably clear and clean sounding, nothing gets muddied up here. The best i have heard guitars and vocals sound so far, it could be truly incredible if the bass was toned down and not a being victim to overshadowing the midrage you would be left with something magical indeed. This really is my favourite part of this in ear, such shame the bass makes it feel so withdrawn.


    Treble
    extremely unsual treble and overall poor quality compared to the midrange, it sound so odd and out of place. Cymbals sound like they have been hit with pencils and not drum sticks, audience clapping sounds like a foil bag being crumpled up, not very realistc and natural timbre at all. With that said though i think the helmholtz resonator does a fantastic job at letting the extension go quite high and stopping it sounding harsh and peaky to really let the clarity and detail flow.




    Soundstage
    Open, airy, spacious and wide are the 4 words i chose to describe soundstage. Each instrument is in a space of its own left to breathe with ample air in between. It really is of excellent quality and only bettered so far by the Pinnacle P1.

    Detail & Resolution
    My second favourite part of the IE800, detail and resolution like i have never heard before in an iem. the line that came to mind was the cliche that goes something like "hear what you didnt know was in your music" and for the first time i did.



    (Audio Quality Scale -6/+6)

    Treble
    Harsh |------|-o----| Smooth

    Mids
    Forward |------|---o---| Recessed

    Bass

    Boomy |------|o-----| Controlled

    Dynamics
    Compressed |------|----o-| Natural

    Detail/Resolution
    Dull |------|-----o| Vivid

    Transparency
    Veiled |------|-----o| Clear

    Soundstage
    Small |------|---o--| Large

    Speed
    Slow |------|---o--| Fast

    Cohesion
    Poor |--o---|------| Excellent



    1. cuiter23
      Thanks for the review. However, from my experience the ie800 was definitely more balanced rather than bassy.
      cuiter23, Oct 5, 2016
  4. swissaudio
    Outstanding precision, like listening to UHD in comparison to VGA of most other IE
    Written by swissaudio
    Published May 10, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Musicality and precision in Treble and Basst, amazing cooperation of all levels, can make you cry when listening to high res favorites
    Cons - non interchangeable eartips, overall quality of build (transfer of ceramic to eartip) mediocre and dissapointing
    You should definitively try these out before going for the K3003 or the se846. In my opinion there is no comparison in sound. Listening to Jazz, Electronic and classical live concerts and well as studiorecordings min 944 FLAC on my cambridge DAC or on Samsung Edge Mobile, these earpieces are as shockingly beatiful in sound as advertized. Listening at low sound is as great as going a bit higher.
     
    The craftmanship is not even close to the the SHURE build but then also arent the AKGs (cheap end cablepieces). In therms of treble precision and clarity as well as differentiation of all levels way beyond the 846, more like the HD800 but then, at 8Grams per Ear! If I had to put them on my ears daily for hours, I would probably prefer the 846 just for the exceptional build quality (however I cannot understand how anyone can stant the blurred treble quality coming from the Shure if compared to the Sennheiser).. but then for listening 3 times a week for 2 hours the best of my music even when I am not sitting in my stereo room but on the run ... the i.e. are unbeatable.
     
    Tried final audio designs, audio heaven, grados, audioflys, Ultrasone IQs, 846, k3003, ... nothing compared to the ease and punch of Bass and low bass combined with the precision and clarity of these treble while delivering perfect mids ....superfast earpieces.
     
    The Sennheiser is worth every cent.... Now, if it was build more professional (exchangeable cable and tips) I would give it 5 stars. It's not a workhorse (SHURE) but more like a black pearl Arabian :wink:
  5. ryanjsoo
    A Flagship Earphone with Character - With added comparison to the se535`s, pfe232`s and W30`s
    Written by ryanjsoo
    Published Mar 19, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Unsurpassed midrange clarity, Treble extremely resolving, Great high and low end extension, Light and comfortable, Perfect for low volume listening
    Cons - Fitment is unreliable stock, abundant fakes, treble splashy on some recordings

    Introduction –

    DSC03369.jpg

    The ie800`s are as of March 2016, Sennheiser`s flagship iem that was designed by a small team over a period of 5 years. They were released with an absurd $1000 USD price tag that garnered much attention, but have since fallen down to as low as $550 USD. As such, they are actually one of the cheapest flagship iems, at least quite a bit cheaper than the Shure se846`s. I bought mine for the equivalent of $450 USD NIB and can confirm that they are genuine as they were replaced directly from Sennheiser about 2 year ago. I bought the ie800`s as an upgrade to my JVC FX-800`s and have since owned them for almost 3 years so all honeymoon period hype has mostly dissipated and I`ll try to be as objective as possible during this review. Most of my listening is through the ie800`s and I use them almost daily. They have proven to be durable, portable and versatile.

     

    Accessories – 

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    The ie800`s come in a large box that slides open to reveal the earphones and leather case in a foam velour cutout. Notably, the box has an authenticity sticker, however even fakes seem to pass Sennheiser`s online test so don`t judge your pair by this measure.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

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    Underneath the case lies a plate with 4 pairs of eartips (medium set already installed on the earphones for a total of 5 pairs), an earwax cleaning tool and papers. The flip case is magnetically bound and constructed from high density foam and genuine leather with a small metal plate containing the serial number.  I personally don`t find the case too practical as it is very large for what it is and leaves the cables exposed on the sides. Instead, I use a chimes mint tin with a craft foam lining that provides much more protection. The earphones are also made in Germany which is becoming increasingly rare since even premium products from Bose, Oppo, Bowers and Wilkins and Klipsch are made in China.

     

    Design –

    Probably the most controversial aspect of the ie800`s and my biggest fear when purchasing them, the design is a radical departure from the ie8`s with a cable down fit and non-sealed housing.

    [​IMG]

    First, let`s talk about those ceramic bodies. The housings on the ie800`s are very unique, they are absolutely diminutive (almost as small as the Klipsch x10`s) and you can feel how hard they are just from touch. They are smooth, ergonomic and coated in an ethereal silver/grey colour that shimmer in an intriguing fashion; the look is definitely befitting of a flagship product. The housings are absolutely scratch resistant, putting it into perspective, ceramic is over 4x harder than even steel (not tougher), but they may crack if you drop them on marble tiles or similar materials. I`ve dropped mine a few times on wood and tile and they have come out unscathed without a scratch, few people have reported cracking so far. In addition, ceramic is an EMI suppressor for even lower distortion and interference from other gadgets.

    [​IMG]

    The very sci-fi housing are sculpted somewhat like a teardrop with a slight lean forwards for a level fit once inserted in the ear. The strain reliefs and short housings signify a shallow fitment, but are angled for comfort. They don`t stick out of the ears too much but wind noise is very apparent due to the exposed D2CA system. They are very much an indoors earphone and won`t stay seated for long whilst walking. I do find that the cable down style is much easier to use than over ear iems. It isn`t as well secured of course, but they are much easier to wear to say, the library or around home and not worry about people trying to get your attention. Due to the shallow insertion and rear vents, the earphones can be difficult to wear at times, even sitting down. The tips get oily, lose pressure and slide out of the ears. This is mainly an issue with the stock tips however and regular cleaning will resolve any problems with seal. Overall I feel that there is a good balance between practicality and function and since I doubt the ie800`s were ever intended to be a sport or outdoor earphone, I wouldn`t try to make them one.

    The cables are Kevlar reinforced and feel very strong, resisting tension well. Despite that, they are still very supple, a little stiff when cold but dramatically softer when warm. The addition of Kevlar also contributes to the relatively high levels of microphonics on these earphones, though a shirt clip does help a lot. Comfort and fitment also improve with a little warmth, but spinfits alleviate this issue completely and also decrease microphonics to an extent as they move the cable further from the face.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]




    Otherwise, it might be best to run them under your shirt to make the cable more pliable. The gold plating is also of especially high quality and hasn`t worn off like on my Klipsch X10 plug. They have strain reliefs at all cable ends, but the y split and 90 degree jack are a little stiff so the cable can get strain spots here. Luckily it is replaceable from the y split down (uses a recessed 2.5mm plug), but replacements can be upwards of $200, which is quite ridiculous.

    [​IMG]

    Mine haven`t broken or developed any signs of stress in the last year, but my first set hardened just underneath the y split. I`ve yet to link this to any particular cause but my new set haven`t had any sort of hardening and I`ve had them for much longer. My new set also aren`t past the 20k build number so they technically aren`t the “new revision” with cable fixes. Of note, hardening can be identified as a darkening in the transparent sheathing over the green weave in the cable.

    The ie800 comes with 5 proprietary tips that mount through a unique clip mechanism. The silicone buds have a hard plastic sound tube and inbuilt metal mesh filters. The earphones themselves also have a mesh filter for added protection. Isolation is good, not nearly as good as sealed over ear style monitors, but decent enough for public transport though I wouldn`t take them on a plane.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]




    Comply 200 size tips will fit snugly on the soundtube, just make sure to wipe the plastic down to create a good purchase. With foams, the sound loses sparkle, but isolation is significantly increased. Using spinfits yields greater long term stability and slightly better isolation on account of a deeper fit, but the sound is slightly more v-shaped.

    [​IMG]

    The D2CA (Dual chamber absorber) technology actually works! Every manufacturer wants you to think that their product in unique through the addition of a proprietary technology, and creating this allure is within the basics of marketing. Whilst some do sound very good such as moving armatures, bio cellulose drivers, etc, none sound drastically different from a regular, well designed driver. The D2CA system is quite intricate in comparison to others, but in essence, one rear vent equalizes pressure in the ear canal whilst the other balances air pressure for the driver. Sennheiser claims that this solves the 6-8khz ear canal resonance issue associated with in ear earphones and have produced an earphone that not only reproduces one of the clearest sounds of any earphone i`ve tested, but also rivals many over ear headphones as well.

    [​IMG]

    Note: A lot of consumers had issues with the fitment, if you want the most vanilla sound experience possible, the stock tips are the only way to go. Push the earphones in until you feel suction, the sound fades and pressure gradually equalizes through rear vent until the earphones are well sited in the canal. The sound returns to normal after a second and no driver flex is audible, don`t worry about damaging the drivers.

     

    Sound –

    So, I like the ie800`s a lot. They are for my personal tastes my endgame iem and I`m not sure if i`ll ever feel the need to upgrade. But they are an acquired taste, they are not flat but well coloured, and they have a signature Sennheiser sound that has been painstakingly tuned.

    While these iems are not perfectly flat, they are not overly sculpted either. They have a very mild u-shaped signature, but mid-bass through to the upper mids is perhaps just brighter than ruler flat. They have top tier imaging and the soundstage is well spaced. It`s not as large as some over ear headphones, but remains very good for an iem. There is no sense of congestion or claustrophobia and separation is up there with the best. Depth is excellent making for a very 3d soundstage that beats most closed earphones. Width isn`t bad either, perhaps only the pfe232 had a wider soundstage but not as much depth. This helps immensely with the coherence of the sound as instruments don`t get condensed into the centre, but rather splay out into their proper positions. As such, the ie800`s are great for everything from large scale orchestral music to clubhouse jazz with superlative instrument separation.

    The earphones aren`t particularly sensitive but have a low impedance of 16ohms. Interestingly, they don`t hiss at all from pretty much any source I have, but just slightly from very noisy sources, tested on my Fiio Q1, HTC M8, Ipod Nano 7, Ipod Touch 4 and inbuilt laptop DAC. As they are a single dynamic driver earphone, frequency response does not change with output impedance and the ie800`s sound the same from all sources. They gain little from amping except small increases in detail, soundstage improvements and a little less noise. Running them through my Fiio Q1 opens up the soundstage and brings out more details, they definitely sound better. I never feel like I`m limited when listening through my HTC however.

    Bass – 

    Bass is tastefully sculpted. Sub bass has a mild boost whilst mid and upper bass response is only very slightly lifted if at all. The bass extends well into the lowest of lows with exquisite texturing and a very clean sound. Sub bass response isn`t too much for me but definitely not neutral, it might be too much for those upgrading from armature based gear since they often have a sub-bass roll-off. It`s actually not too emphasized compared to my Oppo PM3`s, most iems simply don`t have this level of extension. Bass has perfect decay and reproduces all detail with an effortless quality, not even phased by complex passages. I found that the sub-bass only sounds flabby on poorly mastered songs, but it`s still portrayed much better than on other earphones. Of note, string instruments are recreated with impressive timbre, capturing the intricate vibrations of the strings whilst acoustics sound simply fantastic with a great sense of reverb and enough midrange clarity to retain the sharpness of steel stringed guitars. Bass is punchy but retains good impact, a lack of a mid-bass hump can sound strange at first for those coming from more sculpted earphones, but this creates a more satisfying listen in the long run.

    Mids – 

    Mids have the best clarity of any gear I`ve tested including the renowned ath-ck100. They are extremely refined and the perfect union between smoothness and detail. Micro-detailing is superb and resolution is immense. Vocals attain an ethereal realistic quality and instruments are rendered with astounding accuracy. Every pluck and sting is felt in acoustic music whilst the scale of classical music is simply overwhelming. Mids are very flat throughout creating coherency and a natural sound. They have enough body to avoid sounding thin and are almost perfectly transparent, if ever so slightly warm. Vocals come through with incredible definition, the resolution and clarity is truly immense.

    Treble – 

    Treble again resolves more detail than any other iem I`ve ever owned or tested. It achieves this partly though a slight emphasis and perhaps through Sennheiser`s patented D2CA. For example you can hear when the drum stick hits the cymbal before the actual cymbal begins to shimmer in Radiohead songs, it`s phenomenal. I can hear the splashy character that some complain about but this is only apparent on some recordings and some other headphones are simply better at smoothing it out. The highs are very extended though the frequency response probably has nothing to do with it (46khz is not practical).

     

    Comparisons – 

    Se535 – ($549)

    The Se535`s have pretty good bass extension and very punchy, rounded bass notes. The bass is detailed and fast, but the ie800`s are even more effortless and extend further. The midrange on the se535`s is very smooth and accentuated throughout. They bring vocals to the fore over instruments and portray both great detail and clarity. They are slightly bright in the mids. The ie800`s have more clarity and similar detailing, they are less prominent and darker sounding. The ie800`s sound less coloured, but the Shures can be enjoyable in their own regard. The highs on the se535`s are rolled off and recessed, even on the LTD model. Treble lacks air, and whilst this isn`t to the degree of earphones such as the Klipsch X10`s or Bose products, it`s still very noticeable and the se535`s trade excitement for smoothness. The soundstage is very 3D on the se535`s and well rounded like the Sennheisers, but the soundstage on the ie800`s are a larger. Imaging is great on both whilst separation goes to the ie800`s.

    W30 – ($399)

    The W30`s mid-bass response is quite a bit fuller than the ie800`s but it lacks sub-bass extension. They are less textured than the ie800 but still very good. As a result there is less slam and impact to the sound but bass remains very punchy. The midrange is slightly more prominent on the W30`s, but it is warmer and more brittle compared to the ie800`s. The ie800`s have much more clarity and transparency as well as better detail retrieval and the midrange sounds flatter than the W30`s which are slightly sculpted. The W30`s have more treble texture whilst the ie800`s resolve more treble details. The treble on the W30`s avoids the splashy sound that the ie800`s sometimes procure. The soundstage on the ie800`s is much more spacious in both width and depth, imaging is similar but instrument separation on the ie800`s is far ahead. The ie800 portrays more realistic timbres, but the W30 is very very good for a ba earphone.

    PFE232 – ($600)

    The PFE232`s have a similar sound, sub-bass is very good, extension is great with fantastic texturing. The ie800`s are slightly more sub-bassy, but have similar amounts of mid-bass, the PFE232`s may even have slightly better bass quality whilst losing a little slam compared to the ie800`s. The midrange is smoother, more prominent and clearer from the ie800`s. The PFE232`s are recessed all the way through but it does not ruin the experience. The treble response is very good on the PFE232`s, but again the ie800`s resolve more detail. The PFE232`s can sound splashy at times as well. In terms of soundstage, the PFE232`s have incredible width, and good depth whilst the ie800`s are more well rounded. This comes down to preference, but both are able to portray a great sense of space and separation.

     

    Verdict – 

    [​IMG]

    Whilst I appreciate a flat sound (I love the sound on my Oppo PM3`s), I enjoy a mild v-shape. I know I`m not alone, the majority of listeners want to experience music, not to analyze it. So why is it that a flagship iem must be for monitoring or professionals? Sennheiser saw the success of the ie8 and ie80, an earphone that, whilst too bassy for me, focused upon musicality over accuracy. The ie800 is a great product because it combines the musicality of most high end consumer iems (such as those in the $300-400 price range) with the refinement of a true flagship product (1k+). It is first and foremost a statement, that an iem can hang with the best in terms of technical proficiency without losing the musicality that makes music so engaging to begin with.

    Accessories – 6/10, Stock carrying case is not practical, stock tip selection is decent but could be better, if people want to change tips let them, if it sounds worse with different tips then consumers won`t use them. For the price it`s a bit disappointing, Dunu gives you a metal hardcase, soft pouch and almost twice the selection of tips for $30.

    Design – 8/10, Striking to look at, indestructible build and a great cable (as long as it doesn`t harden) create a very positive impression, but proprietary tips and odd cable proportions prevent a perfect score.

    Bass – 9.5/10, Punchy and dynamic, relatively balanced and sub-bass boost does not colour the mids.

    Mids – 10/10, Perfect in every way, great clarity, amazing detail and great presence, does not sound recessed but in harmony with the rest of the spectrum.

    Treble – 9.75/10, Unbelievably resolving, the treble response is fantastic but slightly thin as mentioned by other reviewers. James444 has a good cloth mod that alleviates this issue.

    Soundstage, Imaging and Seperation – 8.5/10, The soundstage is spacious for an iem, imaging is spot on and seperation is very good. It`s not class leading, but it doesn`t hold the rest of the sound back like on some earphones.

    Verdict – 9.5/10, The ie800 is a great earphone that is very well balanced and coherent. They are a great upgrade to any $300-400 earphone and will impress with copious amounts of details and unsurpassed midrange clarity. If you can live with the design quibbles, then they remain a great choice for those looking for a more exciting flagship.

      Spektrograf likes this.
    1. neilmanalo
      What eartips are those? The white ones
      neilmanalo, May 5, 2016
    2. ryanjsoo
      They`re medium spinfits (CP100 model)
      ryanjsoo, May 7, 2016
    3. xoxiax
      excellent review, really useful, thank you
      xoxiax, Sep 24, 2016
  6. stingray0104
    Some notes on SQ, with some comparisons to SE846 (Blue filter)
    Written by stingray0104
    Published Jan 23, 2016
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Treble energy, detail, openness for an IEM
    Cons - Treble energy and at a certain point, transient response
    As I have recently started moving away from IEMs, I wanted to get some of my thoughts out there on the IE800 before I forget them, in case they may be helpful to others. I have owned the IE800s (and SE846) for 1.5 years and have had a chance to really get to know them. That being said, throughout those 1.5 years, my opinion on them has changed a few times as I upgraded upstream equipment and as time went on, leading me to wonder even now if I actually know them? Anyways, I will structure these notes chronologically in the order I upgraded upstream equipment. I will focus on sound quality and leave out most comments on form factor, noise isolation, practicality, etc. as I feel they have been very well covered elsewhere.
     
    Let's start with SQ out of an iPad/smartphone with decent sound output:
    At this point, the defining characteristics of the IE800 for me were:
    1) insane treble energy: a sore point for many, the treble of the IE800 is very forward, aggressive, and bordering on sibilant and artificial. Artificial in the sense that when cymbals hit, they sound kind of like synths. And so on with other instruments. I actually love the treble energy of the IE800, but I can see why many do not. Compared to the the SE846, the IE800 has much more noticeable treble, and as a result, has noticeably more detail in the treble. The trade-off is that the SE846 is less fatiguing over longer sessions and has less of that "artificial" sound.
    2) good staging, very open sounding for an IEM: may have something to do with the the treble, but when I hear the IE800's, the word "open" pops up in my head. Sounds feel like they have a better defined placement in terms of more specific depth and right-left placement. In comparison, on the SE846, the sounds just pop up "in your face" in the right or left channel. In addition, the IE800 has better separation and sounds "airier." In more complex passages, instruments remain more separate instead of mushing up. Songs that give off a sense of being in a large room are better able to convey that ambiance. Great in this sense for classical music. In comparison, the SE846 sounds more congested.
    3) very deep bass: my first impression of the IE800 bass was that it was "deep." Over time, I came to realize that this "deep" feeling resulted from the IE800 having tremendous subbass without very much midbass. By subbass, I mean maybe sub 40 or 50hz, and by midbass, I'm thinking more 50hz-150hz. In comparison, the SE846 is more weighted towards the midbass. The result is that the SE846 and IE800 are, for lack of a better term, "different" when it comes to bass, but I wouldn't say either are lacking or "lesser" compared to the other. Depending on where the bass hits are in a certain song, either the SE846 or IE800 (or both) are able to convey sick quantities of bass while still maintaining control. With an equalizer, the sky is the limit. However, because each song is different, with some songs the IE800s may seem to have lighter or not-as-impactful bass as the SE846, and vice versa. In fact, this is one of the main reasons I ended up with both the SE846 and IE800- because of the different bass presentations.
     
    The mids were great on both the IE800 and SE846. Overall the SE846 sounds "meatier," "fuller," (or some similar adjective) while the IE800 sounds "leaner" and more V-shaped. At this point, I would have said that if I were to choose only 1 between the IE800 and the SE846, it would be the IE800 because of the better staging, openness, and treble detail, and because I prefer the leaner sound signature. I kept the SE846 around because of its different bass presentation and better sound isolation.
     
    Additional notes on the above:
    -I listen to the SE846 with aftermarket pure silver cables. While the cables kinda maybe sorta improve the treble response and instrument separation of the SE846, it is still definitely not to the levels of the IE800. I keep the stock cables on the IE800.
    -In the passage where I say open sounding for an IEM, note that I use reserved words like "more" and "better" rather than "magnificent sensational ultimate magical fairies." The IE800 has good staging and openness for an IEM, but I personally still cannot, say, pick out the exact location of blah-de-blah in this song, nor does it make me believe my room is now a live concert stage. In this respect, the IE800 still cannot match something like a good over-ear, and much less good speakers.
     
    A few months later out of curiosity I got a $200 Schiit Magni/Modi stack and:
    Overall, I noticed improvements in both the SE846 and IE800. Most noticeably, the SE846 gained a good amount of treble response, and enough detail so that I no longer would have missed the treble of the IE800 if I had to give it up. IE800 still had a bit more treble response though. The SE846 treble may have gained more of that "artificial" flavor where things sound steely or synth-y. The treble on the IE800 is not really tamed, but where the treble on the smartphone sounded brash and grainy, the treble out of the magni/modi is more of a brash and clean. Both IEMs gained openness and better staging. I no longer really lamented about the SE846 sounding congested sometimes. With the IE800 I started getting hints of being at live performance. With the right recording and correct celestial alignment, I could perhaps close my eyes and pretend I was there. With this setup, the IE800s would be the one I would keep if I had to choose, because of the better staging.
     
    Inevitably a few months later I upgraded again, to a $1500 Burson Soloist/Bifrost Uber, probably as far as I plan to take it with amping IEMs.
    The most noticeable thing I noticed with this upgrade was that the treble on the IE800 no longer sounded nearly as loud, steely or artificial- less volume but more detail. Though I never had a problem with the IE800's treble with lower end amps/dacs, the treble out of a smartphone now just sounded downright harsh and low-res. The treble out of the magni/modi was steely and less resolving, though it was more aggressive and still clean. Staging and openness on the IE800 may have improved, though only slightly. The SE846 improved in similar ways here, though in terms of soundstage and openness it is still slightly behind the IE800. It has certainly closed the gap with the IE800 in that respect since I first listened to it straight out of a smartphone, however. The biggest thing with the SE846 was its noticeably better transient response, and on this setup, it sounds more detailed than the IE800 even in the treble. This suggests to me the SE846 scales better than the IE800 here, with the IE800 perhaps starting to reach its limits. Because of this, on this setup, if I were to only keep one IEM, it would be the SE846.
     
    Well, that's it for now, and probably for later. But I hope that these notes are of some help if you are looking at getting the IE800s. Do note that we all hear differently, have different tastes, and use different adjectives, so as usual with me and with anyone, YMMV, everything I say is IMO, etc., and there is no substitute for an actual audition using your system.
      Darijan and twister6 like this.
    1. xoxiax
      excellent review. thanks
      xoxiax, Sep 24, 2016
  7. Army-Firedawg
    Absolutely stunning and sensual experience to be given throughout.
    Written by Army-Firedawg
    Published Sep 28, 2015
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Wonderful & sensual sound, stunning build
    Cons - Almost proprietary horn, short cable
        20150927_112242_HDR.jpg
     
     
     I must first and foremost give a massive thank you to both Sennheiser and Bill Poteet for giving me the opportunity to review such an amazing product. Despite this being a flagship product it’s one I don’t see onto many lists of head-fi meets, so the likelihood of me having the ability of hearing this product let alone to such an extent would’ve likely been null and void. So again thank you for this humbling opportunity.
     
    20150927_111750_HDR.jpg       20150927_112557_HDR.jpg
     
    The Opening Experience
     
        The initial handshake is something I talk about in everyone of my reviews and will continue to do so for I firmly believe it’s one of the most important thing aside from sound quality. How does a company represent itself when it presents its product to the consumer? Will it be a memorable or will it be just another pair of headphones that don’t really mean anything?
        In the case with the IE800’s there’s absolutely no question I was delivered a firm handshake when I opened this product. The box feels premium and the graphics present this monitor as one worn by a professional.
        Upon opening you're greeted by that lovely new headphone smell and a presentation that screams excellence. The buds and custom, serialized, carrying case are gently placed within precision cut out foam grooves which leaves you giddier than a kid on Christmas to insert them in your ears and listen.
        
                                                                                                      20150927_111519_HDR.jpg
     
     
    Construction
     
    The build quality of the IE800 is top notch. Made of a ceramic body, these show no sign of weakness. It’s immaculate and high class sheen, beautiful and elegantly designed frame and notable vent ports on the back present a very close resemblance to a high end tower speaker.
    The horn however gives me a decent amount of anguish. Not because it’s overly large which is my usual complaint but it’s almost proprietary. The tips provided with them, despite being various in size, don’t do much for my ears. I’ve grown accustomed to this ever since being spoiled with comply memory foam and their comfort, isolation and security in the ear. When I try and equip them to the IE800’s horn they barely stay on and always come off in my ear when pulling the earphones out which is vastly irritating, so I must use the tips provided which takes away from the musical enjoyment because I don’t get half the sense of security for they feel like they’re always falling out, even if they’re not. Also no matter which tip I used I could never get a great seal.
    Moving down to the cable, I find it to be very well made, sturdy and fairly tangle resistant. Sennheiser went a step further and made these detachable in case one were to accidentally snag them, they can either break away preventing damage or easily be replaced. I’ve two downsides with this cable however. First is, I wish the interconnect would’ve been placed on the actual frame itself as opposed to a quarter of the way down. It’s more a personal thing but a negative for me nonetheless. Lastly, the cable is about 4-6” to small. I usually keep my phone in my back pocket and this cable just barely accomodates this.
      
                                                                                                 20150927_112948_HDR.jpg
     
     
    Comfort
     
        Arguably the second most important thing about a piece of audio gear is how long can it comfortably be worn? The IE800’s for the most part fair very well in this category. The frame is very light weight and the ceramic keeps them nice and cool in your ear. When I’m leaning back in my chair relaxing with these I completely forget where I am or that I even have these in my ear for that matter.
    The horn is angles to put minimum strain on your tragus which is always a plus. But as said earlier the major takeaway from the comfort for me is the fact that you’re almost solely able to listen to these with the supplied silicone tips.
    Finally is the cable, I do notice a small amount of feedback anytime the cable brushes against something. It’s not a huge distraction like other IEM’s I own but it is present nonetheless.
                                                                                                          20150927_112035_HDR.jpg
     
     
    Sound
     
    Finally there’s (at least in my opinion) the most important aspect in a piece of audio equipment and that’s how they perform musically. And I have to say these perform majestically. The IE800 could definitely perform admirably in the elite class but at only $800 these are definitely a pack leader in its respective price range.
    The soundstage is wonderful, and quite vast considering it to be an IEM. To add onto the soundstage the separation presented is breathtaking. You can very easily discern different sections and almost individual instruments within a giant orchestra to such a wonderful degree I frequently forget I’m not sitting center isle.
    The tonal balance is very neutral with a small hint of warmth which makes them ideal for what I look for in audio. Which is not entirely about sonic accuracy but more a warm, enjoyable, experience that swift's me away and relaxes me into the performance being delivered.
    Once these were burned in and got rid of the veil on them they did this sublimely.
    On the note of burn in, these absolutely need at least 10hrs. before they even start sounding like $800 earphones. The veil I just mentioned is very prominent in these and the expression “like taking off a dust shroud” couldn’t be any truer than with these. Unfortunately I didn’t have these long enough to fully burn them in but I guarantee they’ll continuously sound better with proper burn in. As for the individual aspects of the IE800’s sound,  I’ll divulge a small spoiler, amazing.
     
    Treble
     
        The highs on the IE800 are awesome. They’re competent, energetic and full of life. I don’t find them tiring to listen to, even during extra long listening sessions. The only “thing” I could find, and I really searched for this, is these seem to wanna draw a little more juice to bring out the higher pitches. In comparison to the other notes the treble isn’t as, forward is the only word that comes to mind. Again not really notable at all but ever so slightly present nonetheless.


     
    Mids
        
        The vocals, oh how I’ve come to love Sennheiser for their mids (most of their products anyways) and these are absolutely no exception. The vocals are stunningly accurate and intimate. I feel like I’m having a private concert performed with the accuracy and soulfulness that breaths realism. I have fell in love with the mids these produce. The only bias I can tell is a slight increase in the lower mid, upper bass which give a sensual warmth to it.
     
    Bass
     
        Here I suspect will lose some people. The bass on these are not that heavy, in fact while playing some heavier bass songs these let me down a some. The upper bass range was great and meshed seamlessly into the mids but the mid bass is quite recessed, not absent but definitely recessed so bass heads will need to be aware. As for the sub bass feels, they’re there but very little.
     
                                                                                                 20150927_113107_HDR.jpg
     
     
    Conclusion
     
        To sum up the IE800’s, these are truly a work of art; both auditorily and aesthetically. When you’ve these in your ear you’ll not only feel like an audio professional, you’ll look like one. The sound is so silky smooth that I can about guarantee you’ll lose track of your surroundings while being drifted away into the performance being presented in front of you.
        I would recommend this without any restrictions to anyone who’s looking for not just a very accurate and neutral pair of IEMs but one gives a very relaxing experience as well. If you’re a bass head however these are most likely not going to be for you. As for the vast majority, it’ll be a purchase well spent.
     
    Till next time my friends, also check out my unboxing video here, and my full video review here.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Army-Firedawg
      Honestly these didn't really need an amp. for to me the volume was just fine. Now if you'd want a more heavy bass hit, Fiio has a nice economic amp called the E07K Kilamanjaro (v1 or 2 would be fine v1 increased the mid bass I believe where as v2 increased sub [or vise versa]). 
       
      Either way just make sure you burn the veil off of them cause they are quite prominent in these (burn them in well in other words)
      Army-Firedawg, Sep 28, 2015
    3. WhatToChoose
      Very curious...other reviews highlight the ie800 as a V shaped IEM with substantial bass...
       
      I don't mean to insult your intelligence at all since I have no doubt that you know how to wear IEMs, but.....are you 100% sure you got a good seal? Might also be the naturally shallow fit of the IEM. Lack of ability to support 3rd party tips is somewhat disappointing though
      WhatToChoose, Sep 28, 2015
    4. Army-Firedawg
      haha yes my friend I've quite a few years wearing IEM's but a good seal as I stated I got a good of one I could get with the tips that were able to be equipped, was it perfect? Absolutely not but them consistently getting stuck in my ear was a big no go.
       
      As for a V shape sound curve that's something I would never say about these for I found the mids very neutral and not at all recessed. As for the bass after I finished my review I read others say it had enough bass but not heavy at all (I don't like reading reviews about a product I'm reviewing for it may give me bias). 
      Army-Firedawg, Sep 28, 2015
      celticprince likes this.
  8. Dobrescu George
    The pinnacle of in ear listening
    Written by Dobrescu George
    Published Jun 4, 2015
    5.0/5,
    Pros - The best sound for universal in ear monitors, comfortable, pinpoint precision, big soundstage, mids, bass, treble, clarity, vivid sound
    Cons - DAC/AMP dependent to sound good
    Introduction

    When someone invests this much money would like to know as much as possible. I will try to express what is not already written in other reviews. I know that most people who read reviews are those who are thinking to buy a product, not people who have a certain product. I have bought the Ie800, and I am doing this for fun, and out of my own will, I did not receive anything to do this, and I paid for my Ie800. My pair is in the 12XXX series, so there might be differences from the first batches.

    Introduction and my background

    I am a very dedicated listener. I used to play instruments and I re-master music commercially. I'm the type of person who would insist on using ogg -q10 soundtracks in the games he works on, check them out at https://www.facebook.com/seventh.heart.studios/

    I listed music more than the normal person, around half of all the free time I have.

    I have quite the collection of equipment, to compare and use with Ie800:

    - Sennheiser : Ie8, Hd380pro;
    - Ultrasone: Dj one pro;
    - Fiio: X5, E12a, L2, X5II;
    - Cowon: J3;
    - Sony : Xb700;
    - Htc: 820;
    - Xiaomi mi max
    - Shozy Zero

    I will be using Fiio X5 and E12a for driving ie800. I think that it would be unfair to compare them with anything I own at the moment. Ie800 is in another class, compaed to my other equipment.

    The package

    It comes pretty simple, a cardboard box, inside is ie800, tips, leather case, cable extension and a tool for cleaning; Exactly what you need to enjoy it, without having accessories that you will never use.

    Keep in mind that the cable is not detachable from IEM's body, so there is an extension provided.

    Considering that the tips are proprietary, including 5 sizes in total will be enough for most people (3 round S/M/L and 2 oval S/L). I managed to use all the tips, and they all had different signatures.

    The leather carry case (the premium beyond the premium) :

    IMG_20150604_203932.jpg

    IMG_20150604_204003.jpg

    IMG_20150604_204102.jpg


    It is elegant and useful. It can hold the IEMs and a tool for cleaning wax. I consider that the case is better not having a place to store spare tips, most people would anyways find comfort in one set, not swap often. There are side holes, where you store the jack for protection. The storage method is pretty simple, you put the IEMs inside the case, and you wrap the cable around the sponge part, then insert the jack in the side hole. It has such a premium feeling, and the leather is enough high quality, that I consider that it would work much better with a elegant business suit than casual jeans. In fact, I store them insde another box when I need to put them in my bag, to prevent any damage to the leather case.

    [After getting my hands on a new-er revision case is improved a little, so will also post a few pictures of the new version]

    Cable and details about it (not microphonic at all)

    As I said, the cable is not detachable from the IEMs themselves but at the Y split.

    I remember people complaining about this a lot. I remember reading that Sennheiser decided to do things this way to keep the housings of the drivers as small as possible, and because most cables break from the jack. I had a large share of cheap in ears throughout the years (about 10 pairs from 2007 to 2010) and they all broke at the jack (not even once at the point where the cable enters the driver's housing. I guess that Sennheiser was right to do things this way.


    IMG_20150604_232042.jpg

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    The cable not only it looks sturdy, but also has a sleek and elegant look to it. I would totally take ie800 to an official meeting and feel content with the looks.

    About the cable being microphonic, I think that most people stating this have not tried using the noise attenuator. With the cable being so short, I asked myself why is there a rubber separator between cables above the Y split. Well, if you raise it a little, it attenuates the cable noise. I felt liked wearing them while walking after discovering that. I am using my Ie800 as my only in ear. After hearing them, I immediately gave my Ie8's to my wife.


    IMG_20150604_232135.jpg


    Tips

    I have been trying all tips and wearing Ie800 both over the ear and straight down.

    For me the insertion depth changes with every tip, and so does the signature. The changes are huge so I strongly recommend using Ie800 with the tip that produces shallow insertion for you.

    Worthy of mention is also the system that Ie800 uses to create the best seal possible. When you insert it, the IEM adjusts the internal pressure of air to the extent where the pressure is enough to keep it inside the ear, and keep the sound un-distorted. You really know when you have a seal. This is very useful, as I used to spend a lot of time searching for a seal with other cheap IEMs. With Ie800, you get a good seal, but another word of advice is cleaning the tips with soap and water (also stated in the manual for Ie800) because otherwise the tips become slippery and fall out of ears.

    IMG_20150604_204156.jpg

    IMG_20150604_204208.jpg


    The SQ is relative to tips:

    - First, the sound remains daylight clear across all tips. PRaT stays the same, pinpoint precision, and they have the best dynamics I heard. Most changes are due to the depth of insertion, and how the sound interacts with the ear canals, considering that the road the waves have to travel until hitting the ear membrane is different.

    - Shallow insertion. I cannot stress how important this is, because I had to re-write the entire review after figuring out that using shallow insertion (with big round tips in my case) would yield the best sound possible. All tips provide nice sound, but if the insertion is too deep, there is not enough air between instruments, and cymbal crashes sound rather harsh and distorted. Sennheiser mentions that Ie800 is to be used with shallow insertion, and this is why wearing straight down only permits this.


    Wearing comfort

    Comfort is quite good, considering that I have been wearing them for 4-6 hours a day for the last days. No microphonic noise or no problems. The cable is long enough to be comfortable.


    IMG_20150528_224823.jpg


    Wearing over the ear is possible, but not necessary for most people, as you will have solved the problem of microphonic noise with the trick mentioned earlier.

    The cable Y split can be attached to the clothes using a shirt clip, which solves the last bit of comfort issues people could have.


    Isolation

    I have been using ie800 for some time outside, and I must say, the isolation is much better than I thought at first. It even happened to me to be walking in a store, listening quiet to X5+E12A+Ie800, and see someone I knew. I stopped my music, and said hello, and the person replied to me that I should not shout inside and I should stop the music I was listening. I can easily take a walk outside without being bothered by noise, if the noise is not too high (I can still hear cars honk, but I am not sure I can hear most cars pass by), so Isolation is a plus for me, living in Bucharest where background noise is very high.


    Build quality

    They are brittle, this is what the manual states. You should avoid dropping them into solid surfaces. In rest, they are build like tanks. The ceramic housings are amazingly sleek and elegant. They have an out-of-this-world look to them, like being made of obsidian. The entire IEM, it's cables and the carry case looks very premium, expensive, and elegant. They look like they are build like a tank, but again, do not drop the IEMs to the ground. Ceramic can be broken if it hits a material with a higher density than itself. Like the floor of a subway or the concrete on the street.


    Sound

    The new driver build by Sennheiser is made to be as small as possible, to be worn by anybody, no matter if the ears and ear canals are small, and to still feel very comfortable. It is named an extra wide bandwidth dynamic driver. This is exactly what it is. It has the sound of a dynamic driver, and it is able to reproduce treble up to the very high registers.

    The two absorbers on the back are not design elements but Helmholtz resonators. Sennheiser stated that they manage to repair the spike in treble, at 10Khz that usually covers most higher register sounds. It works, because with Ie800 the treble is able to touch the highest of trebles that I can still hear. All cymbals sound clear, un-distorted and full. I think that these ports also have something to do with the full and detailed, rich bass. At least one of the holes is used for equalizing the air pressure with the ear.

    IMG_20150604_231906.jpg


    +Bass

    It is deep. It does not roll off at all, it is extended to the lowest register possible. The punch is exemplary, it is there when it is called for. Decay of low notes is exemplary as well, not being too long nor too short. It sounds natural, the notes last exactly as long as they would in a normal room, in a live experience. I would call Ie800 a IEM for bassheads. When listening to classical, the instruments have body, you are able to discern the texture of every single instrument.


    In metal tracks I am able to hear the bass guitars. Being able to compare with real bass guitars, I can say that the bass is reproduced exactly as much as it should be.

    In avant garde and jazz music, acoustic guitars have enough expression in the low registers to sound realistic.

    In one word, over all generas, the bass sounds natural, it hits when it is called for. It never distorts, and never bleeds in the mids. Having enough sub bass is very welcome for listening to acoustic music, as acoustic instruments often do not get enough body. Ie800 is exemplary in this aspect.

    +Mids

    Guitars, voices, and virtually everything sounds natural. Mids are very precise and the reproduction is very close to how everything should sound in nature. I think that having a dynamic driver helps a lot in this aspect.

    Exemplary reproduction, is in guitars. Hearing every different note, and the differences between a hard press and a softer press on strings with every detail is very nice for a change. Dynamic range reproduction is also very helpful, it sounds vivid and un-compressed. I love it how it is possible to discern even 3 fuzz guitars playing at the same time (Kishida cult - HOTD), or two or more guitars playing similar notes at the same time (Dance Gavin Dance - carl barker, Closure in moscow - pink lemonade, Wintersun - sons of winter and stars)

    For synthetic instruments I am happy to say that the texture is reproduced with ease, and is not masked. For example most of Mindless Self Indulgence are very problematic because of the synths used that have very complicated textures. They come off masked in general, but Ie800 is able to retrieve a very good amount of texture from them. Or pieces like Korn - narcissistic cannibal are played very well, there is a clear need of texture in both bass and mids.

    For someone who played the guitar in the past, guitars come off false easily with most equipment out there. I have to say, after listening for so long to ie800, guitars can be reproduced very natural, exactly as recorded. You can hear the air between the strings, the artist moving the hand on guitar, and the exact texture of each note.

    The mids are so detailed, that some un-wanted noise can get through, for example, on some acoustic guitar recordings, it was very easy to hear the artist breathing, or hands touching the guitar body. Practically everything that was picked up by the microphone comes out. Every little detail is under a microscope, and analyzed, but the general signature is never cold and analytic, but mids have a sweet, melodic sound to them.

    Reroduction of pianos and violins was my biggest surprise. Most of times, when hearing a piano or a violin live if the song is sad, you get a taste of that feeling. You can feel the emotion behind the strings. Ie800 manages to reproduce that exact feeling. For example, I am listening to Jill Tracy - Room 19 at the moment. The piano notes transmit the sadness behind the events depicted in the song. Her voice is so clear, you can feel the sorrow she is trying to inflict to the heart of the listener.

    Using "I can't shake it" from the same artist, is a very good example of how the instruments can sound. Everything is in it's place, the violins in the background are crying with pain instead of being rendered cold and emotionless. The piano is clean, able to have the texture it is meant to.

    Using a very complicated song, like Dance gavin dance - we own the night, It is harder to mentally imagine all the instruments than it is for Ie800 to reproduce them.

    +Treble

    I am a person who likes to have more treble with his music. Ie800 is very good in this aspect. If I were to compare Ie800 to what I already own, it has more treble. But the treble is not harsh. It is clear, and never sibilant. The cymbals ring for exactly as long as they should.

    In fact, I actually started re-listening most of my music collection, to hear the clear and un-distorted treble of Ie800.

    I love hearing a cymbal crash close to natural, where in reality, cymbals are loud, abrasive and lively instruments. Cymbals are not supposed to keep rhythm, they are supposed to create a sound of their own, they are not background but foreground instruments (as it should be with every instrument). There are enough details, that when there is a cymbal crash, you can tell if the drummer hits the cymbal close to the core, or on the outer surface.

    +Soundstage/Imaging

    It is huge but precise. The soundstage is better than I ever expected. It is up to the best open headphones I have ever heard. Imaging and layering of instruments is done with pinpoint precision. Every single instrument is an entity on it's own, and you are able to tell it's limits, but it is not cornered to be smaller than it should be. It is like being able to see each musical note and playing instrument, played in it's own musical space, all around the listener.

    The soundstage has one of the best depths I had ever heard. You can hear sounds coming from a distance, and tell what the distance is between you and that instrument.


    +PRaT and ADSR

    It has one of the best PRaTs I ever came across. It is able to keep up with the most complicated things I thrown at it. Pace rythm and timing are up to the level of me calling Ie800 the ultimate in ear solution for music listening.

    ADSR - Attack Sustain Decay and Release. It is stunning how each note is the length it has to be.



    Value:

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    [Time to review them after more than an year of usage and add a few things]

    - I had to re-write the review, but in general I am very pleased with Ie800, though there are a few things to mention
    - Tips are meant to be cleaned after a while, so if you fail to get a good tip, and they slip out of ears (lose seal) just clean both ears with hydrogen peroxide and tips with soap and water, and you are good to go.
    - Best way to use them is shallow insertion, sound is airy and soundstage is best this way. Also, every other characteristic of sound is best when using shallow insertion.
    - Wearing over the ear proved to be easy for me, though I also wear them straight down at times without any problems.
    - Ie800 is source dependent, you need a good DAC and AMP to make them shine (for example, using X5II proves very good, but when I tested them with X7 (Iem Module) from Fiio, it was on another level)
    - I was very happy with Sennheiser customer service, they were very friendly and prompt.


    I was planning to buy ie800 as my final end game in ear monitors anyway, I am very happy that I was able to buy them second hand. I think that they justify their price, considering that Sennheiser has a very good warranty, and they have 2 years of warranty.

    I would totally recommend Ie800 as the pinnacle of In ear monitor listening, because they are truly end game IEMs!
      Sennheiser, AndrewH13 and HaPeKa like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Dobrescu George
      I do not have custom molded earpieces, nor I ever tried any, but I guess that it would depend on how far the driver would be placed. Using small tips gives off less air than I would like, meaning that Ie800 was made for shallow insertion afterall, and small tips were made for people with small ear canals, not for people like me, who should use large for shallow insertion. 
      Dobrescu George, Jan 21, 2016
    3. AndrewH13
      Great review I had missed!
      AndrewH13, Nov 28, 2016
    4. Dobrescu George
      Thank you!^^
      Dobrescu George, Feb 2, 2017
  9. Lan647
    A fantastic statement in-ear from Sennheiser.
    Written by Lan647
    Published Jun 3, 2015
    4.5/5,
    Pros - FANTASTIC midrange quality. Very, very detailed without fatigue. Fun bass and extended high-end. Open sounding (for an IEM). Well built. Lightweight.
    Cons - Cable microphonics. May sound bass-heavy to some. Expensive.
    Skrmavbild2015-06-11kl.14.02.46.png
     
    Still burning-in, but I can already say they are by far the best sounding IEM's I've ever heard. Fantastically clear/clean through the mids and treble - tremendous detail resolution without things sounding harsh or clinical. Treble is precise, rich, coherent and extended. Never piercing or bordering on overly bright to these ears, unless it's a crap recording of course. 

    Midrange is where it's really at. Delicate, full-bodied and airy sounding. Vocals sound crisp, velvety smooth and true in tone. Maybe the best midrange I've heard from any portable audio system, no matter the type and size. 

    Bass is a bit pumped-up down very low and, while still very well controlled and never hinting at midrange coloration, leans more towards fun than accurate. The thumping nature of the low-end covers up that last bit of texture definition, but for a portable unit meant to be used in noisy surroundings, I happen to think this is a wise and welcome trade-off. Extension is great and I've found the amount of bass very well adapted to on-the-go usage. 
     
    While still an in-ear design and far from capable of the large, realistic imaging/staging of a great full-size headphone, they are certainly as open and expansive sounding as I've ever heard an IEM to be.
     
    I'm also surprised how sonically different they are to their full-size TOTL equivalent, the HD 800. To my ears, the IE800's richer tone is far more appealing.
     
    Construction-wise they are tiny (smaller than expected) and very lightweight. The minimalistic housings feel rock-solid and the kevlar-coated cable adds some fancy looks to it all. The case is nice and handy too. No issues whatsoever with comfort. 

    My one major complaint is how microphonic the cable is. You can reduce this annoyance factor drastically by putting a clip where the cable splits and attaching it to your shirt/jacket. 

    Oh, and they're expensive for something so petite. But they sound fantastic, so I'm a happy buyer. [​IMG] 
      Dobrescu George likes this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. HenHarrier
      I've just ordered the N6 after much fretting over whether my impoverished bank account could withstand the hit (it should arrive early next week) - now @Caruryn has set me along an upgrade route I don't think I can resist! I don't know whether to say thanks or get off Head-fi as quickly as possible...but it sounds like a fantastic combo for around the £1000 mark (about the same as a Sony ZX2 on its own!)
      HenHarrier, Jun 4, 2015
    3. Caruryn
      You won't be dissapointed.In fact you will be smiling with joy.Imo the best hi fi set up under $1300.Just upgrade the fw straight away.
      Caruryn, Jun 4, 2015
    4. HenHarrier
      Smiling with joy is good! That's how I'll sell the idea to my wife. Interesting about the fw - the Ebay seller states '2nd generation' but assume will still need to download latest 'fix' (thanks and apologies to @Lan647 for hijacking thread)
      HenHarrier, Jun 4, 2015
  10. potatoe94
    Dynamically Beautiful ; Physically , Sonically .
    Written by potatoe94
    Published Feb 21, 2015
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Dynamic bass , coherency , comfort , featherweight , good soundstage and imaging.
    Cons - Good DAC is required .
    Bought at (Singapore) S$1140 

    Audio
    This in ear is a marvel. I've auditioned quite a number of Balanced armatures and dynamic drivers in ears , and  over time, I’ve come to love most of the dynamic drivers a lot , regardless of brand or price , dynamic drivers always seems to deliver a more organic , believable , full bodied sound . This one is no different either.
    It outperforms many Balanced Armatures in my opinion. 

    Its sound, is simply majestic.
    Bass quality is superb, quantity comfortably amounted, full bodied, believable speed with a perfect tuning of boom and taut. Treble reach is beautiful never spiky in the highs, presence and quality is sufficient and satisfying, mids are comforting, lightly warm, and vocals slightly backwards, with instrumentals a little more forward.

    The sound signature is amazingly appealing to masses.
    Energetic, Powerful, Lively, Clear, Warm, Smooth, Vibrant, Intimate, Delicate.

    The soundstage is wide, I wouldn’t say it’s true to life, but it is definitely very believable with good dimension. Instrumental segregation is superb, each instrument is heard on its own with no bleeding into one another, this leads me to instrumental positioning, where I could very precisely locate each instrument’s direction & distance, layering of instruments were so undisturbed and clean , you could tell which instruments are behind which instruments . Overall, the soundstaging is of excellent quality and realism for an inEar. At this stage, it is already hard to believe that all these were produced all by a single small 7mm transducer.

    Detail retrieval was a delight.  Each instrument from the bass, up to the splash cymbal were beautifully illustrated. Strings such as the acoustic bass and violins had their texture and smoothness delivered with richness and quality. Acoustic guitars had strings are so tangible, the texture of individual strings could be felt with each strum, plucking had a very realistic string after-rebound. The detail and reverb were so good, one could easily characterize the type of wood and its density used in the acoustic instruments. Hi-Hats, crash, splash and ride cymbals were so clear, their metallic response were laid out like the authentic. The distortion-free sound were a big plus too. Instruments on the IE800 were delivered with the utmost integrity to the source.

    The emotional delivery is a very important deciding factor in most headphones or inear I audition. No form of electronic measurements could display this information on data sheets, this is raw, heartfelt soul and emotion, different headphones and inear delivers them differently. The IE800 is a capable one, capturing your heart and mind into the music, and just dwell you in its presence as it portray its majestic wonder. Quite a number of music delivers little tingle and shivers of satisfaction and bliss down your from your neck, shoulder, back and your thighs, otherwise a phenomena known as Autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR). The IE800 is certainly a deliverer of ethos, you’ll be drowned in it wanting more.

    However, behind all these positivity, there is a concern which I feel I should raise to everyone of, I’d realise the trebles are sometimes out-of-control if you plug it directly from a poor audio source like your phone or computer, Sibilance may be present in all the "s" and "t”. The treble at times, may sound thinner, brighter and splashy-ier. This is improved when I added my iFi iDSD Micro into the equation. Soundstage increased, noise reduced, treble reach remained, with spikes and sibilant significantly reduced. Which I believe a good source would be necessary; this includes a good Lossless file, DAC and even connecting cables. Check out my iDSD Micro Review for more information on it.

    The ie800 is undeniably a well-respected piece in the dynamic inear category that has others fighting for its position of where it is now. Sennheiser made the right decision of not using balanced armatures or hybrids for their flagship. They mentioned it was not necessary, and they certainly proved it with the IE800.
    A dynamic that delivers dynamically.

    Build
    The fit of the IE800 is discrete and modest. The housing is made of scratch resistant ceramic and finished in gloss, which sennheiser guaranteed longevity of the iem. The left and right housing of the IE800 tap each other like high quality dense metal billets when you are trying the keep them.

    The construction looks promising and durable, cables that seem like they can take a rough tug, the cable is only detachable from the Y split downwards, making common interchangeable wire-rolling impossible. Aftermarket cables could still be made with a 3.5mm male and 2.5mm female.

    The leather case with the metal IE800 plate in it feels premium and classy, however, I would feel safer with my IE800 in my bulletproof, waterproof, crushproof, pelican case. I would bring the provided leather case only on formal occasions.

    The eartips on the other hand, looked rather cheap, probably due to the fact that the silicone flange were not very thick, for example, westones and shures have their silicone flange thicker than that of the IE800. This was of minimal concern, knowing the sound reproduced from the inear were not degraded in any way. The housing and the eartips each have their own wire mesh to prevent earwax or other materials from entering and disrupting the drivers.

    I do not find the microphonics to be much of a problem, it is present, but definitely not as exaggerated as some of the other users exclaimed. I use the IE800 mostly at home, or public transport. Minimal time were spent walking while listening, even during the times I did, you do hear the cord hitting your thigh, but it was somewhat negligible as you know the source of the noise, so it doesn’t really feel out of place, or distracting. Even though this is an inEar, I enjoy music best when my body is at rest. 

    There’s a lot to love, and very little to hate. Whatever you may hate it for would be put aside after listening to them, and that includes the cost they sit at. That is also why I’ve never listed “price” as a con. They’re worth it.

    I would recommend this to anyone who likes to unwind and enjoy music for pleasure.

     
    So here are some of the photos i've taken !
     
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      refault and Naimzim like this.
    1. cheflatte
      Hi what dac/source would you recommend with these iems. Cheers
      cheflatte, Feb 21, 2015
    2. potatoe94
      i would still recommend the iDSD Micro . as it comes with 3D holographic which increases the soundstage effectively from the analogue channels . And its also a good investment as it can power anything from ie800 to the Audeze with ease. 
      potatoe94, Feb 22, 2015

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