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Vision Ears VE8

Rating:
5/5,
  1. ezekiel77
    Vision Ears VE8 – The Glass Cage of Emotion
    Written by ezekiel77
    Published Oct 3, 2019
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Personalized packaging
    - Practical and complete accessory set
    - Stellar build quality
    - Top-tier isolation
    - Probably the best tuning I’ve heard
    - Excellent resolution and transparency
    - Warm yet clean bass
    - Endgame-level mids, tone and timbre
    - Smooth, extended yet playful treble
    - Large soundstage
    - Natural imaging and separation
    - It’s just emotion taking me over
    Cons - Expensive
    - Supplied cable could be better
    - Tighter fit than other CIEM brands I’ve tried
    - Sub-bass extension and bass speed
    - Not the deepest soundstage
    A modern classic, Vision Ears’ VE8 has it all. German craftsmanship, a complete accessory set, an instantly likable sound signature, along with impressive technical ability to match. This is a no expense spared, flagship-grade earphone with few equals, if any.

    Germany. I haven’t been there, but mention the country and the first few things I think of are engineering pedigree, Oktoberfest, and dudes named Jürgen. Willfully domesticated and stuck in an office job, I only have stereotypes to go by. My narrow worldview is hopefully enhanced by trying out in-ear monitors (IEMs) from around the world, capturing the essence of a regional tuning, and hearing what makes them tick.

    Swatting aside the other obvious German brand, today I bring you a boutique company from Cologne specializing in handcrafted, custom IEMs. Founded in 2013, Vision Ears is headed by Marcel Schoenen and Amin Karimpour, combining years of musicianship and technical nous to a small, focused company. Their vision (heh) is to produce world-class IEMs with the perfect style and sound.

    Among the freewheeling, high-spending elite of portable audio, the IEM I’m reviewing today needs no introduction. I’m talking about the VE8, the former flagship that carries the reputation of being a top-of-the-line (TOTL) that can do it all. Eschewing the belief that TOTL IEMs should be as neutral and detailed as possible, VE8 instead goes for the aching, bleeding heart.



    [​IMG]
    Leaf it to VE8 to deliver a knockout sound signature.



    This is the behemoth that was created with phenomenal musicality, lifelike realism, and total immersion to the music in mind. A statement that music should be enjoyed and not analyzed. The VE8 consists of 8 (obviously) balanced armatures (BAs) in a 2-bass, 2-mids and 4-high configuration and a 3-way crossover system, but don’t mistake this for a treble-oriented IEM, for the VE8 is much more than that.

    The VE8 retails for the base price of €2350 (~$2600) and is available only in custom form via their official site. While definitely pricier than their peers in relation to driver count, Vision Ears are well-known for their exacting, exhausting standards when it comes to engineering, build quality, and of course the tuning. How very German, I guess?

    I would like to thank Johannes from Vision Ears for the discount offered in exchange for this review, and the fluid back-and-forth communication.

    This review was originally featured in Headphonesty.



    [​IMG]
    The china reminds us of the fragility of life, so seize the moment and spend that cash.



    Equipment Used:

    DAP
    1. Sony NW-WM1A “K” Modded, FW 2.0
    IEMs
    1. Vision Ears VE8
    2. 64 Audio tia Fourté
    3. Spiral Ear 5-Way Ultimate
    Albums Listened
    1. Adele – 25
    2. Amber Rubarth – Sessions from the 17th Ward
    3. Bee Gees – The Very Best of the Bee Gees
    4. Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
    5. Denean – The Weaving
    6. Dire Straits – Brothers in Arms
    7. Fleetwood Mac – Rumours
    8. George Michael – Ladies & Gentlemen
    9. Oasis – Definitely Maybe
    10. The xx – I See You
    11. Tool – Fear Inoculum


    [​IMG]
    Not since courtship have I received something so personalized.



    Packaging and Accessories

    Remember that burst of joy when you ordered takeout and received more food than you ordered? VE8’s “packed with love” packaging and accessory set dang near melted my heart, going above and beyond what other companies do. You get a personalized, handwritten greeting right on the wrapping itself, welcoming you to the VE family. Ahh… feelings.

    The highlight of the accessory set is the black aluminum case, with your name emblazoned on top. It is large enough to carry your precious IEMs and a spare cable or two. It’s mighty sturdy too, conferring excellent protection should you drop it off a tall building (pretty please don’t). But that’s just the start! Completing the accessory set is a loaded list of stuff you never knew you needed.

    • Cloth pouch
    • Plastics One cable
    • Cable strap
    • Cleaning spray
    • Wax cleaning tool
    • Cleaning cloth (they really care about hygiene)
    • 6.3mm adapter
    • Drying capsules x2
    • Stickers x2
    In an industry where top CIEMs are often just kitted with a case, cable and wax cleaning tool, Vision Ears shows what it can do to elevate the humdrum unboxing experience. Heck, it set a new untouchable standard. Think of the best Christmas you ever had, and Vision Ears just bettered it lol.



    [​IMG]
    Everything including the kitchen sink, even pepper spray.



    Design and Build Quality

    You’re on your own, sort of, in terms of design. One of Vision Ears’ goals is to provide an uncompromised, king-sized, customized experience for your very own IEMs, and that includes designing the VE8 from the ground up. The biggest weapon in your arsenal is the configurator tool, which allows you to choose shell colors, faceplates and logos while they are rendered in real-time.

    If you have hidden artistic tendencies (or you bugged someone artsy to help), now is the time to flourish. The configurator is home to designs conventional to cutting-edge, juvenile to avant-garde. You could, of course, click at random until something sticks, who am I to judge? I think I spent more hours on the design than this review lol.

    Protip: If you’re in need of some pointers, the transparent purple shells, purple-themed faceplates, and mirrored faceplates are extremely well-received among Vision Ears customers. Like Prince, they’ll make a purple-believer out of you.

    I paid a lot of smackeroos for this, so my VE8 had to be grandiose and flamboyant. It has transparent purple shells on both sides (duh), champagne sparkle faceplate with gold logo on the right, and purple sparkle faceplate with silver logo on the left. If passersby had a look at my VE8 and thought “gosh they must be expensive,” I have done my job.

    The build quality is splendid. The transparent shells permit a careful look at their meticulously assembled driver units (some with VE8 engraving), gold and blue internal wiring, crossover units and dampened tubing. Moreover, the integration of the faceplate onto the shell is smooth, and there are no bubbles seen internally. Obviously, a lot of attention to detail was given to making these tiny jewels.



    [​IMG]
    He takes the driver’s seat and won’t settle for anything less.



    Fit, Comfort and Isolation

    Every good custom IEM company should have a robust refit policy, where if your CIEMs do not fit ideally the first time, they should do the necessary adjustments for free, until you, the always-right customer, are satisfied. A better, smarter company would give you the perfect fit in its first attempt, circumventing all potential logistical nightmares.

    Vision Ears, to me, are one of the latter, smarter companies. My VE8 fit perfectly the first try, gliding effortlessly into my eager and thirsty ear canals which were begging for a good old-fashioned plugging. If I may, compared to other companies I’ve tried like Empire Ears and Custom Art, the VE8 provides a tighter, more secure fit, thanks to its slightly thicker canal and deeper nozzle.

    This skintight, watertight fit means that absolute comfort, although eventual, takes time to attain. After a week of wearing them, my ears finally registered the fit as snug and cozy. The biggest benefit the optimum seal provides is in the top-tier isolation. Putting them on, I could barely hear anything above the music and my heartbeat. It’s almost like the outside world ceased to exist, great news for people-haters like me.



    [​IMG]
    In case metaphors are too much, here’s a literal cup of hot cocoa to describe VE8’s sound.



    Sound Quality

    Aesthetics and packaging are but smoke and mirrors obfuscating the most vital aspect of the VE8, that is the sound quality. Hopefully, when I’m done, the price tag will be justified… or not. €2350 (~$2600) is a lot of money, after all, and can even get you a used car. But! Can a used car properly convey the rich emotions and subtleties like the VE8 can? We shall see.



    Overall Sound Signature

    Imagine hot cocoa right after coming back from blistering cold weather, or how you felt when Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman finally reunited at the end of the Shawshank Redemption. You feel all kinds of gooey, tingly warmth inside, the very best kind, that assures you the world is a beautiful place worth fighting for.

    Vision Ears’ VE8 hopes to embody that spirit in IEM form. To capture hope, elation, and promise within the confines of 8 drivers in an acrylic shell. It carries an accomplished neutral-warm signature, perhaps the very best I’ve heard. There is a slight emphasis in the midbass and lower mids regions that lends warmth and body throughout the signature.

    But that’s not the only trick in the bag. The warmth is balanced out by a cheerful and sparkly treble, injecting some excitement and buoyancy into the brew. But through it all, the MVP of the signature is simply the mids, a euphoric, timbre-accurate middle section that shines a lingering spotlight onto instruments and voices. The very foundation of the signature.

    Many IEMs have a neutral-warm signature, so how different could VE8 be? The masterstroke lies in its technical ability and utterly marvelous coherency. The former renders details with startling finesse, so you hear everything going on; while the latter grants stunning realism to every performance and plants you in the center of the stage, with nothing between you and the music. You not only listen to music, but feel it come alive with a soul of its own.

    Critical listening was done after 100 hours of burn-in with music in normal volume. The vibrations generated by the BA drivers also marginally softened the acrylic, making the earpieces easier to fit post-burn-in. I hope you can tell when I’m kidding. The main review rig was Sony’s NW-WM1A Walkman modded by Project K with the stock Plastics One cable.



    [​IMG]
    Partying like it’s 1999 yet?



    Bass

    The bass is an expert in the art of deception. Powered only by 2BAs, you’d expect tight, frank hits, a quick decay, and an usher to pull your attention towards the wonderful mids instead. But no. VE8’s bass is like picking a dance partner with a skillset way above yours, who swings and sashays with graceful authority. It surprises you, but instead of fighting it, you let her take the lead.

    VE8’s bass marries the best of what a dynamic driver (DD) and a BA bass can do. Full-on, natural and rounded attacks paired with quick, tidy decays. The notes bloom beautifully with velvety texture but dissipate just before crowding the soundscape, with an effortlessness that belies its top-tier resolution. Even with all this going on, you don’t miss a beat with the stellar bass layering.

    Sub-bass extension is quite good, with a rumble that goes for the esophagus at times. A bass you can taste. The midbass though, is undeniably the focus here. It sounds dynamic and powerful, but cleverly shows a bit of restraint to attain a lovely timbre, rather than pounding away with head-numbing hits. It’s still as fun as hip-hopping with a hippopotamus, just not as messy.

    Make no mistake, like the irresistible curtain-closer in old-timey musicals, this is a bass that pulls you in and invites you to get jiggy with it. While not the speediest nor tightest, it has equal amounts of detail, authority, and fun. You can simply have your cake, eat it and order another. Just make sure to offer some to your dance partner.



    [​IMG]
    Create a lasting memory, declare your love from the rooftop today.



    Mids

    I’m showing my age, but the VE8 mids reminded me of a pivotal scene from long-ago Best Picture winner American Beauty (starring Kevin Spacey when he was a wanted actor rather than just, well, wanted). A young man films a plastic bag floating in the air for 15 full minutes, and declares it the most beautiful thing he’s ever seen. “Sometimes there’s so much beauty in the world, I feel like I can’t take it”.

    The VE8 acts like a lens that unwaveringly peers and zooms into the beauty of your music. It uncovers the minute details and delicate nuances of every sound uttered or played, and glorifies it, like watching a flower blooming in slow motion from a shiny new television. Like the plastic bag, even the depressingly mundane and ordinary sounds majestic and important through the VE8.

    VE8 captures your heart with the most breathtaking, true-to-life mids rendition, where instrument timbre and vocal expression are second to none. Lower mids are pleasantly elevated to lend gravitas to male vocals, while a tilt at the upper mids lends air to soaring, sensuous female voices. And in the middle? On lord, just soul. Starry, misty-eyed soul found in every key struck, bow drawn, and string strummed.

    Notes are lush and rounded, but intricately detailed and layered. Emotions are laid bare, coaxing some captivating, awe-inspiring performances. Best of all, VE8 weaves its mids magic effortlessly and nonchalantly. Rather than bring attention to itself, it immerses you completely into wave after wave of lovingly-crafted notes, melodies, songs, concertos. The music that matters to you most, cry out to be heard with the VE8 treatment.

    If I could use a word to describe VE8’s mids, it’d be perfect. Was that a tear in my eye? Probably.



    [​IMG]
    Gold makes this earpiece more narcissistic than the other.



    Treble

    The bass and mids already serve up a delightful appetizer and full-course dinner, so what could possibly top that? Why, dinner and a show of course! I remember nights of merry-making in Shanghai, where we indulged in spicy hotpot before being whisked away to a waiting bus to make it in time for the acrobatic show.

    Most IEMs would tune the bass and mids nicely and call it a day, but not VE8. The show’s not over yet when you’re onboard the VE8 train, and the treble has some serious chops to display. The key to VE8’s signature is in the treble extension. While not the most extended I’ve heard, the VE8 showcases a rise in the lower treble, and more vitally in the middle treble, to impart precious air and spaciousness to the signature.

    It’s a rarity to have a warm, lush signature balanced out by resolution, deft separation and ample treble air, but like a seasoned acrobat, VE8 has done it. Notes weave in and out comfortably with sufficient space in between while possessing a subtle crispness and bite, not obvious but very welcome, like detecting coriander in your noodle soup (unless you really hate coriander).

    The treble tuning is sublime, balancing between reaching lofty heights with a playful sparkle while remaining smooth and congruent with the rest of the signature. Cymbals, high hats and percussion play with admirable timbral accuracy, and a sweet, innocuous tint. Like the rest of the signature, it doesn’t show off, but once you realize how little it does wrong, you’re left gobsmacked.



    [​IMG]
    Who’s afraid of spiders?



    Soundstage and Imaging

    What do you need when you have 16 million colors at your disposal? A large canvas to paint on. Likewise, with all the luscious, full-bodied notes from top to bottom, you need a pretty big soundstage to contain them so everything doesn’t dissolve into a fine mess. And thankfully, VE8 delivers in spades here.

    The bountiful bass and luxuriant mids are kept distinct, thanks to a sufficiently wide and tall soundstage. It’s not very deep, but you want those fantastic vocals near you when you’re um, fantasizing know what I mean? Voices and instruments are closer to you, like you’re seated with the conductor at the front of the stage, just not waving a stick around.

    More magic happens in the imaging, because the soundstage unfolds naturally and beautifully around you. Imaging cues are precise, while sound elements are well-separated by dollops of black space. Every instrument has their own playing area, but you can imagine them complementing each other onstage rather than being artificially kept apart.

    The air bestowed by the mid and upper treble is in full glory here, while the enhanced stage height and width does wonders with layering. It’s not just large for large’s sake. Closing your eyes, you can picture yourself enveloped by the band or orchestra, not just listening from a distance. This is immersion level 9000, my friends.



    [​IMG]
    Didn’t we do a hot cocoa shot just now? Well, one good cup deserves another.



    Comparisons

    64 Audio tia Fourte

    Let’s go slay a giant. One of the few IEMs whose reputation precedes them, 64 Audio’s tia Fourté lets its price tag do most of the talking. But thankfully, it’s no slouch in the sound department either, boasting an incredibly detailed and technically accomplished signature coupled with jaw-dropping soundstage capabilities. This is in no way a walk in the park for VE8.

    If picked apart and scrutinized, the contest would be over soon. Fourté would gain quick victories in bottom-end extension, sub-bass presence, treble extension and transparency, overall detail levels, soundstage size, and imaging accuracy. But VE8 is a different beast, and worth more than the sum of its parts. Like frickin’ Devastator, baby.

    Rather than a mess of robot parts, VE8’s sound spectrum combines into a single-minded, musical juggernaut, winning two key battles to tip the scales in its favor. The Fourté cannot compete with VE8’s mids and coherency, however confident and ostentatious. VE8’s beautiful and faithful mids tone is as good as the real thing, making Fourté sound artificial and strident.

    What’s more, VE8’s treble, mids, and bass ebb and flow together like brothers in arms, resulting in a coherency that’s seemingly lifelike. Fourté’s excesses in the bass and treble department tend to contrast and contest each other, sounding warm and bright at the same time, and never really engaging the listener. Its uneven mids will turn off quite a few too.

    Ultimately, Fourté is like a flashy sports car, impressing almost immediately before you realize the many compromises it makes in comfort, space, fuel economy, what have you. The VE8 might just be a luxury sedan, understated but significantly better in the long run. VE8’s tuning will be remembered through the ages while Fourté seems like a flash in the pan.



    [​IMG]
    Somewhere down the line I’m out of ideas and started to use bedsheets.



    Spiral Ear 5-Way Ultimate

    Legend vs legend. I’ve always wanted to say that. VE8 is such a consummate performer it unlocked a secret boss battle with one of the most decorated IEMs in recent memory, Spiral Ear’s former flagship SE5U that has ranked first in at least three TOTL shootouts. Both VE8 and SE5U are at the summit in their respective signatures (neutral-warm vs neutral), but let’s see how they compare.

    VE8 is the early aggressor, pushing more midbass and treble, turning excitement levels up a notch. Notes are crisper and airier because of the mid-treble boost, aiding a clean black background and creating some impressive dynamics. VE8 is ideal for modern genres, with an electrifying, fist-pumping signature that sends pulses racing.

    Unfazed by VE8’s aggression, SE5U huffs out a relaxed, smoother and more organic tone. Its mature tuning is a delicate interplay from bass to treble, forming its own brand of magical cohesion. It sounds more mellow and neutral than VE8 owing to its leaner midbass and treble, but its raised sub-bass imbues some warm air and a sense of grandness. Classical music is SE5U’s forte, giving a concert hall-like, epic presentation.

    Technically, they are pretty much equal. SE5U delves deeper and heartier down below, but the treble rolls off early. VE8 is airier and more extended up top but tails off in the sub-bass regions. VE8 has a wider stage with cleaner imaging, while SE5U is deeper with better layering. Both have a knack for marrying a breathtaking tone with outstanding technical ability.

    But where VE8 ultimately triumphs, and why I prefer it over the mighty SE5U, is in the mids. VE8’s astutely well-tuned mids have the power to rouse and soothe, please and provoke, charm and enrage. Its meaty, musical and engaging mids make SE5U’s pleasantness sound seemingly uninvolved, like the stiff upper lip unwilling to get their hands dirty. The VE8 dives into the raw, emotional core of the music, and emerges the better for it.



    [​IMG]
    Never hit a brick wall again, be a hit with your friends by owning the VE8!



    Final Words

    In school, my teacher used to say, “learn your idioms well, or look like an idiot.” VE8 emphatically warms the cockles of my heart with its tuning, even before I knew my heart had cockles that needed warming. Every nuance however subtle, and emotion however faint, is captured stunningly by it and given a soulful rendition to thaw even the vilest and coldest of cockles. Wahey.

    We live in an era where top-tier IEMs are instructed to mine and extract detail like a pricey commodity. We exist in a time when sound signatures are peer-reviewed to come to a consensus on what pleases people most. VE8 willfully and gleefully ignores both, and does the Robert Frost thing, coming up with a unique tuning that excites, evokes, and essentially elevates your listening experience.

    This is the real deal, ladies and gentlemen. VE8’s sound signature should be plotted, dissected, studied and emulated for eons to come. Like I told my pal the other day, they should teach this *** in tuning school, not the Harman curve. Whatever special sauce they put in the tuning should be reverse-engineered and mass-produced so people can understand what a big deal I think the VE8 truly is.

    I put the VE8 on a pedestal, figuratively. I’d get a real one for it if I could. At home, it’s never kept in a drawer long, because I experience withdrawal symptoms if I don’t listen to it after some time. No other IEM moves, enthralls and captivates me like it can, and I implore you to try your darndest to listen to them. The VE8 might just be the ticket to the greatest listening experience you’ve ever had.
  2. beholdclarity
    VE8, finally coming home
    Written by beholdclarity
    Published Aug 25, 2019
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Layered, texture, revealing, smooth, relaxed, compatible, musical... it does it all
    Cons - Veeeery expensive
    I know Vision Ears may not be on the top of your list but I think it should.

    Vision Ears is a company based in cologne, specialised on Custom Made In-Ears. They are partners to many high-level German celebrities and bands and have a solid reputation. They currently have three different types of flagships together with a large variety of different sub-TOTL-level IEMS for all tastes. I have tried four or six different tunings and can safely say their own descriptions are quite accurate.

    I chose the VE8 because I was looking for an endgame IEM.

    _DSC5362 copy 2.jpg


    Vision Ears has a large number of audiologist partners that you can visit and working in Frankfurt, I chose Pietschmann Akustik (highly recommended if you're nearby). They had the entire setup save the then only announced Elysium and the non-custom Erlkönig. I wasn't interested in them, anyway.

    I tested away and it was glorious.

    The Specs:

    The VE8 feature an all Balanced Armature setup in the following 3-way configuration:

    2x BA woofers for Bass
    2x BA for the mids and
    4x BA tweeters for the highs

    Sensitivity:

    120dB SPL at 1 mW

    Impedance:

    22 Ohms ( at 1 kHz )

    Compatibility:

    The VE8 are not very demanding in terms of power and are compatible with a variety of sources. The refreshingly normal impedance makes them a good match for a number of DAPs and AMPs and I have not yet noticed any hiss. Straight from the A&K SP1000Cu, they are dead silent.

    The SP1000 is a lovely match for the VE8 in any case and I found an additional amplifier -such es the WA8- does not necessarily improve the sound other than giving it a bit more color.

    Gear used:

    I'm currently in a minimalistic mode so my gear will be limited to the SP1000Cu for the most part. Comparisons will be made to Legend X, Campfire Solaris and Andromeda.
    In some images, the Forza Audioworks Claire Hybrid 8-core in flat braid is featured, because it looks cool.

    _DSC5365 copy.jpg

    Presentation and Accessories:

    The VE8 is accompanied by a lot of cool stuff. But I do think that the VE8, being the flagship at that time, could do with a better cable. The cable possesses great flexibility but feels a little flimsy. So does the 3.5mm plug, which is a little meh.

    _DSC5364 copy.jpg

    Fit and Finish:

    The finish of the product and its presentation are good and consistent in their line-ups. You get the same level of quality and accessory no matter the IEM you buy (with the exception of Elysium and Erlkönig).
    Getting the IEMs in my ears is something I'm still adjusting to, but the isolation ist... incredible. I hear NOTHING of what's going on around me. The shells are painted perfectly and with the exception of a broken and stuck pin that had to be fixed due to the very tight 2-pin connectors, everything is immaculately done.

    _DSC5374 copy.jpg


    Disclaimer:

    I have paid the full price and was in no way endorsed to do this review. I am no professional and don't consider myself an experienced audiophile. The VE8 have been in my possession for a while now and my initial honey-moon phase is past.

    _DSC5420 copy.jpg
    Note: the cable seen is not the stock cable, it's the Forza Audioworks Hybrid Claire (picture has color editing)

    Sound:

    Sound quality is a highly personal thing and your experience may vary dramatically. However, I will try my best to describe this pair of IEMs.


    _DSC5431 copy.jpg
    Note: the cable seen is not the stock cable


    Bass:

    The bass of the VE8 may very well be the best bass I ever heard. I was having a difficult time judging the bass but now I can say with confidence, it goes both deeper and has more impact than Solaris and Andromeda.
    The double BA woofer setup provides a bass that is just phenomenal. It goes deep... incredibly deep. Just shy of Legend X levels of depth!

    There were times when I listened to the VE8 and heard layers of undertones that were previously hidden from me.
    The quality of the bass is more on the springy, feathery side, rather than the dry growling that I was expecting from an all BA setup. The bass is juicy and humps with much authority while still being very pacy and superbly layered. Dark string instruments and low keys on the piano are portrayed organically with excellent body and weight.
    Despite the power and authority, detail is not lost in the lows. It's all there, plain to hear. It wants your attention but doesn't take away from the rest of the frequency spectrum.

    When called upon, the VE8 woofer setup produces a sense of depth that is just unmeasurable as if there was a supermassive object in your head emitting a pure sense of power capable of transporting you to the bottom of the ocean and into the music.

    At no time, as opposed to the LX, was the bass overpowering other parts of the spectrum. Indeed, every layer of the bass is seperately available to the listener and integrates into the overall presentation smoothly. The bass does exactly what it should do but is definitely more emphasised than neutrality would dictate.

    The bass is one of the qualities that marks the VE8 as fun rather than reference. But boy, do I love it!

    Mids:

    The mids are where most of the music takes place. I like to think of the bass as the foundation of the music, it should support the mids, give them power, warmth and provide a sonic fundament from which the mids emerge. I like to think of the bass as gravity and the mids as mass. It is the interaction between those two that determines the music for me. If gravity is too high, the mids are sucked into the black hole of the bass. If it is too low, the mids just fly away into the high frequencies and into thin nothingness.

    For the VE8 the low frequencies lend the mids a lovely hint of warmth and body so they never appear dry or bright. I would describe them as neutral-warm. Notes are portrayed with a realistic sense of weight as they are held perfectly in position between the gravitational pull of the powerful bass and the ever present danger of just speeding away into the galaxy.

    Vocals are pregnant with emotion, breathy but realistic. Intimate and never veiled. Again, there is just so much detail in every layer that the VE8 brings into the music. Vision Ears has made sure that the mids are the center of your attention.

    Treble:

    Treble extension is good. The quadruple tweeter setup might indicate a treble-head dream but that would be an error. The highs on the VE8 are not trying to get your attention. They are in fact lowered in volume just a tiny bit in respect to the mids and highs. What the 4 BA tweeters provide is not power but detail!

    The treble is, in my opinion, perfectly done. It allows for notes to escape into sparky, thin air, playfully dancing on the top of the music. At no point in time is detail or sense of direction / location in space diminished by the polite treble. In fact, I found myself again noticing details in the highs that went under my radar before.

    These sparkly, magical little details provide intricacy to a color profile that is otherwise more on the dark side than on the bright side. Treble-heads will lack air and sparkle and etchiness. I don't.
    The VE8 offers treble politely. I find it incapable of being hot or piercing, yet at the same time it is ultimately revealing. This is reference level treble done in a fun way!

    _DSC5419 copy.jpg


    Listening volume:

    The lack of any sharp peaks in the frequency response and polite treble invites to listening at higher volumes without fatigue, which I like to do. Resolution and layering is present in all frequencies at very low volume settings as well, which invites to listening at low volumes with the full experience of detail and impact. Which I like to do, too.

    Sense of direction and location in space:


    Another thing the VE8 does remarkably well is the sense of both being in the music and the music being flowing freely around you. On tracks such as In the machine or with electronic music you actually get the feeling of being moved through the music. Notes and sound is coming at you from every angle immersing, encompassing. It is very easy to lose yourself in music and just let the track dictate what to focus on.
    It is also easy to voluntarily chose one part of the spectrum to focus on and find detail hidden in layers that are not in plain sight. I have not experienced anything quite like it. I think this is in direct correlation to the incredible level of detail and structure in combination with speed, intricacy and a tremendous soundstage.

    Soundstage:

    Tremendous. The VE8 is wide. It is more deep than it is high but the sheer dynamic range from the lowest note to the highest is far more than what I have heard in the Solaris, which did a great job, and the Andromeda.

    Flavour:

    The general flavour or color of the VE8 can be described as neutral-warm, revealing and slightly leaning to the darker side as opposed to the bright, edgy reference type of IEMs.

    Conclusion:

    For me, the VE8 does hold up to its reputation. It does everything right and there is nothing I would change about it.
    Does that sound biased or a bit too euphoric? Well, maybe. But it does feel like I finally found my end-game IEM.


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  3. subguy812
    Totally TOTL
    Written by subguy812
    Published Jun 20, 2017
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Very engaging, fun, build quality, balanced
    Cons - Only available in CIEM
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    Vision Ears VE8

    https://shop.musicteck.com/collections/visionears/products/vision-ears-ciem-ve8

    http://vision-ears.de/product/ve-8

    https://www.facebook.com/MusicTeckStore/

    I want to extend a big thanks to Andrew at MusicTeck for providing me this demo of the Vision Ears VE8. All VE8 customizations can be made on the MusicTeck website. MusicTeck store can also be found online on Facebook. MusicTeck appears on the Vision Ears resellers map as the only reseller in the USA.


    A Little Technical Stuff:

    · DRIVERS: Three-way-system with eight drivers

    · CONFIG: 2 x Bass – 2 x Mid – 4 x High

    · SENSITIVITY: 120dB SPL at 1 mW

    · IMPEDANCE: 22 Ohms (at 1 kHz)



    Vision Ears VE8
    -MRSP: Custom fit from $2589


    German engineering once again proves its superiority. At $2589 for starters, no one could argue that the VE8 is not expensive, but based on the sound and build quality in this demo as well as the photos I have seen of their custom work I would say you would not be disappointed with your investment. If you go to the Vision Ears website and browse the photos of their CIEM final products it is difficult to deny the beauty and craftsmanship.

    The VE8 has presents itself with great layering, depth and broad extension. The bass gets real and shows its depth, mids are rich and balanced and the treble extends with a fantastic energy but never gets harsh. This is a fun and engaging IEM one that deserves a deeper dive…Shall we?

    Vison Ears has been at this CIEM game for quite some time. They have produced many iterations of the VE series ranging from the VE2-VE8. The notable exception to the lineup is the missing VE7, not as if they need a VE7, but they do skip right to 8. The VE6 can be purchased in an X1 and X2 configuration as well as the VE6X control. The latter has a switch that you can switch between the X1 and X2 configurations, similar to the Zeus XR. Vision Ears most recent and TOTL IEM is the VE8 and that is the one I am going to introduce you to in this review.

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    The marketing hype from their website is below:

    Harmony at its best

    The new flagship of the VE Custom In-Ear series convinces with a perfect symbiosis:
    Powerful sound with overwhelming precision and clarity

    · Extremely tight and precise bass

    · Crystal clear and smooth highs

    · Brilliant harmonic mid-structure

    All of that is blended in a superior open stereo image giving you outstanding precision and harmony.


    This is one of the few times my thoughts align with the marketing hype.


    On with the show:

    The unit I was asked to review was a demo version of the VE8. Vision Ears only crafts custom IEM’s they don’t do universal. I would like to note that the demo I have is one of the most comfortable, isolating universals I have owned or listened to. They fit as if they were formed with my ear in mind. I wonder how much coaxing it would take for Vision Ears to produce a universal as well. Anyway, one can hope!

    The demo arrived in a purple round container containing a couple pairs of SpinFit tips, the VE8 and a stock cable. The stock cable reminds me of the black 64 Audio cable, only in my opinion the VE8 is a little better built at the connectors. The cable, a 2-pin style, is lightweight, and has great ergonomics. It is a 4-strand twist and does not have a memory wire, yeah! It is very flexible and comfortable especially when engaged in physical activity and it is low noise when it rubs against your clothing. It is maybe not a cable of the same quality as say the Truth by Dita cable but the comfort and ergonomics sure are better than the stiff, rigid types of cables. The cable can be ordered in either black or transparent.


    I want to say I kind of think the funky purple shell and faceplate of the VE8 is cool. It is an available option when designing your CIEM online. The VE online designer is incredibly top notch and MusicTeck also has a designer on their website for easy configuration, check it out.

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    Obviously since they are a custom company you would need ear impressions to fulfill your order. Judging by the demo, VE’s attention to detail of the shells and face plates is top notch. I observed no bubbles or rough seams on the IEM’s, they really are a work of art. I feel that level of perfection should be expected for the price of admission of the VE8.

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    The complete package you will receive with your VE8 purchase is listed below and shown in the photo:

    - a personalized aluminum case (rectangular)

    - the VE custom In Ear

    - VE pouch

    - cleaning spray

    - cleaning pen

    - dry caps

    - jack adaptor

    - user manual

    - some merch /stickers

    All is wrapped up in a nice satin-paper…woohoo!

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    My sound impressions:


    As I alluded to in my introduction I was enthralled and enamored with the VE8 at first listen. It was once I started to do some critical listening that I realized these were more than just a fun presentation. Yes, it has energy but it also is so very detailed. It surrounds you in a natural and lush presentation that is incredibly addictive. It is easily driven and could be driven to ear bleed levels with my Opus #2 or uncomfortable levels from my LG G6, very easy to drive with any source. In comparison, the LG G6 cannot effectively drive my Dream by Dita, with full volume it still sounds thin and doesn't do the DD justice.


    The VE8 bass is detailed and has more than adequate speed. It is a tight bass, not loose or bloomy, and doesn’t bleed or interfere with the mids in any way. The bass goes very low and deep but it displays distinct layering and body as it unfolds its warmth and fullness. At first, I thought it was going to be a bit bass heavy but I was mistaken as it balances wonderfully. When using my Opus #2 as my main source the bass is perfect, from my LG G6 it is not quite as controlled. Male voices sound full and clear using any source I tested. This quantity of bass is the bass I wish the Zeus XRA could deliver.


    I love the mids in the VE8 but there is something I can’t quite put my finger on with their signature or at least I couldn’t put my finger on at first. The separation is really incredible as is the soundstage. If I can find one area to criticize slightly it would be the stage. It sometimes seems to come at me from many directions. It is not incoherent but at times I felt it lost focus, maybe it is a bit more holographic than I am accustomed too. Once I had logged some time with the VE8 I really began to appreciate the soundstage and in fact there is much depth and width to support all of the details. There really are some fantastic harmonics happening in the mid-range.


    The treble is really a strength in the VE8 that ties the entire package together and creates the synergy throughout the other frequencies. In my view the treble solidifies the entire package. The treble is fast, detailed and airy and extends quite well. There are no sharp peaks or recesses, it is a smooth listen. All in all an overall harmonious delivery. There is not any part of this IEM's presentation that is fatiguing and it can be enjoyed for long listening sessions.

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    Closing thoughts:

    I have always been a universal IEM guy, for more reasons than I care to bore you with. I would say that if there were any imperfections in the sound there are zero imperfections that a custom fit wouldn’t solve with the VE8. This would be one of the first IEM's I would consider having impressions made for, consider being the operative word. I would rather beg VE to release the universal version of the VE8, but that is only a preference of mine. You CIEM folks should not hesitate to make this your CIEM. From the website, it appears your design options are never ending, only your imagination and wallet may limit you. The summary of what I hear with the VE8 is overall a very detailed, engaging fun sound. Details across all ranges and an incredible separation in the instruments. There is a great weight to the notes but never a thickness that impedes the air around the notes. I adjusted to the soundstage and realized it is just revealed differently than my other IEM’s. Remember, different doesn’t signify bad, it only means different. This is overall one of the most enjoyable IEM experiences I have ever had, one of my favorite IEM's. Build your pair of the Vison Ears VE8 and enjoy the experience that is German engineering.

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