Audeze EL-8 Closed Version Impressions Thread
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Chikolad

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It's entirely possible it was damaged in shipping, planars are finnicky at times.
The "thack thack" sound is something that I think most Audeze headphones have, and it's not considered defective. I started having it in my LCD-3 after the drivers were replaced.
In my EL8 though, I don't have this problem. I think they managed to eliminate this in one of the revisions.
 
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PETEREK

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If anyone needs a left side driver, let me know. The right side of the pair I have has an intermittent connection and I can't resolve it, so I'm transplanting different drivers into the shell instead, leaving a perfectly functioning left side driver set aside.

Shoot me a PM and your address and I'll have it sent out. I'll ship at no cost in the US, international I'll ask for shipping to be covered.
 

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The Socialist Nerd

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I have a feeling that Audeze discontinued the EL-8 series because they all provided a huge issue with the engineering. My audio dealer told me that his son went through two of them before he ended up with a LCD set instead.
 
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paruchuribros

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I have a feeling that Audeze discontinued the EL-8 series because they all provided a huge issue with the engineering. My audio dealer told me that his son went through two of them before he ended up with a LCD set instead.
I have 2017 EL-8 Closed and really happy with them. They sound much cleaner than Audeze Mobius adn better sound quality than MX1000 3 and Bose 35 ii. These are my work headphones.. I do switch them between EL-8 and iSine 20 with ES 100.
 
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Aeson

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(2015 edition -i think-) To all the bass-iophiles out there, don't be shy with the eq-ing, especially at 30-something hz, give the signal a lot of headroom if possible and smack it like +10 db, help the upper bass area a bit as well so the sub doesn't feel isolated, and they rattle your earlobes no problem while still being crisp af. otherwise i got a 5 db dip at 1khz and 2khz to make them less shouty and in your face with those mids, to me the image sits much better that way. plus slight mellowing at ~10khz. (you could dial down that top top range some as well for a more rounded sound, while barely losing any detail). this is what my recommended settings look like in Peace:
el-8 closed 2015 recomm.jpg


for things other than loud new school slamming bass music this could sound a bit less realistic, but i find listening to other stuff is still quite enjoyable and not too overbearing, maybe sometimes recorded kick drums can get too tail-y
 
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Chikolad

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I have 2017 EL-8 Closed and really happy with them. They sound much cleaner than Audeze Mobius adn better sound quality than MX1000 3 and Bose 35 ii. These are my work headphones.. I do switch them between EL-8 and iSine 20 with ES 100.
Do you use the iSines at work too? If so, do ambient noises disturb you or does the sound from your earphones disturb your coworkers?
 
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paruchuribros

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Do you use the iSines at work too? If so, do ambient noises disturb you or does the sound from your earphones disturb your coworkers?
If I keep them more than 85% of volume, they can hear. Otherwise, it is fine.
 
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KaiSc

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I lately bought the EL-8 Titanium with CIPHER.
B-stock, fully factory refurbished directly from AUDEZE via Amazon.com, for $249.
It came in with complete packaging, in like new state.
Seems it's the last iteration with the special form multi-layer cloth-felt insert for sound tuning in the cup:
IMG_1275.JPG

Initially I was just after a CIPHER cable to modify and use it with other phones, took the EL-8 as a bonus which I thought I would sell, but after hearing it there is no way I will part with it.

I'm very happy with my purchase, it's a very high-quality phone and can hold a candle against my other high-end phones like HIFIMAN HE1000, STAX SR009 and others, and I have none of the problems mentioned in this thread.

In fact soundwise it's a perfect match with CIPHER, and the 10 Band Graphic EQ App is a unique and valuable extension that no other affordable DAP offers.
It can change the EL-8 into several different headphones - nice!
For me it even has way enough power too, my usual listening level is 7 clicks down, that's 11dB (or 12.5 times) below power maximum!

BTW: General question to all of you: what are your CIPHER's firmware versions, visible in the app's settings?

Each CIPHER has it's headphone model's specific frequency response (look here for the FrRes. of the VST plugin: https://m.imgur.com/a/MFLnI ), none of the CIPHER's is just straight linear.
The ones made for the in-ears, like iSine, LCDi4 etc., are quite extreme with deviations of up to 12dB.

The one for the EL-8/SINE has only a 3dB bass boost.
Here is a measurement of the EL-8/SINE CIPHER frequency response:


Audeze EL8 Titanium Cipher-6dB on Bruel&Kjaer Artificial Ear 4153:
IMG_1270.PNG


Here are some suggested EQ settings.
The EQ, of course, cannot completely change characteristics.
But the sound colors come close.
I will come back here from time to time and add new ones.
IMG_7046.jpgIMG_7051.jpg
 
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MICHAELSD

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What do you mean by “Standard”? Are those the settings you use?
 
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MICHAELSD

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The EL-8 Titanium is a very nice pair of headphones, but the Cipher cable disappointed me. They sound fuller and more detailed with tighter bass via the 3.5mm cable, ironically even using Apple’s 3.5mm to Lightning adaptor. I’ve tried replicating the response by EQ’ing down the bass on the Cipher and EQ’ing up the mids/treble, but I find the 3.5mm cable provides a more vibrant sound.

Maybe it’s just me, but the Cipher cable seems weak even if it can get more than adequately loud. I was hoping to be able to EQ up the bass as much as I want but it doesn’t really retain the tightness and punchiness. It’s still a perfectly adequate experience with the Cipher, but didn’t meet my expectations. There’s no obvious static or distortion so I don’t think it’s defective. The Sine works better with the Cipher cable (although I never tried adding additional EQ), and Mobius has a noticeably more powerful on-board amp/DAC.

I think EL-8 is capable of a fantastic bass boost with an external amp (which I’ve tested once before), which makes the Cipher even more disappointing.
 
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MICHAELSD

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That being said, Mobius has a better default frequency response and will be the better choice for most people.
 
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The explanation for your observations is found in the measurements I've done.

Cipher dynamically changes (compresses) the level in the upper range to avoid clipping distortions.
My usual listening level is 7 control steps down (-11dB).
This is below where this processing kicks in, so I did not encounter any problems.

I found such behavior in several other equalizer apps, it's a workaround for the problem of digital distortion caused by EQ boosted levels.
Cipher incorporates a permanent, plus a user defineable EQ.
Cipher has to work with the limited power supply from the iDevice.
Without this compression the sound level would not be sufficient for some, as the alternative would have been to reduce the overall output.
(BTW, almost every radio station does use sound processing including something like this).

There might be differences at which acoustic level the compression kicks in, as my EL-8 Titanium has only 23.2Ω impedance.
Earlier versions seem to have 37Ω (see innerfidelity.com measurements) and therefore need higher voltage.
The different driver tuning between the old and new version might go in the same direction too.


My conclusion: if you are used to listen quite loud, Cypher might not be for you.



AUDEZE CIPHER for EL8/SINE - electrical measurements

Conditions:
Cipher Firmware V0.4.1 (EL-8 or SINE)
Audeze iApp Version: V191 B001 date: 2017-10-21
iPhone 6Plus, IOS 9.35
iPhone AUDEZE App EQ setting:
- linear EQ
- or (/full boost all EQ bands)


Maximum output voltage Umax:
Umax 0dBfs 1kHz no load: 0.58V (/0.822V)
Umax 0dBfs 1kHz EL8 load: 0.57V (/0.79V)

Umax 0dBfs 50Hz no load: 0.625V (/0.788V)
Umax 0dBfs 50Hz EL8 load: 0.605V (/0.764V)


Min load for undistorted full output, max. Output Power:
3.2Ω
/ 0.49V, 50 Hz (/5Ω / 0.66V, 50 Hz)
3.2Ω / 0.46V, 1kHz (= 75mW) (/5Ω / 0.66V, 1kHz (/= 88mW))

Output Power to EL-8:
0.57V@1kHz into 23.2Ω = 14mW
Full boost EQ: (/27mW@50Hz)

Comment: Cipher can drive quite low impedances with more power then it delivers to EL-8.


Output Impedance:
0.85Ω


(!) Level Compression (!):
There is a level compressor built in.
It's to avoid nasty clipping that would be caused by the level boost from the built in and the iApp Equalizer:

If the music level gets above the Threshold value the level is temporarily reduced.
Ratio: ca.: 2:1 (2dB higher input above Threshold results in only 1dB higher output)

For linear EQ (iApp):
Threshold: 50Hz: -11.5dBfs, 1kHz: -6.5dBfs
Compression Gain Change max.: 50Hz: 5.5dB, 1kHz: 3.25dB

For full boost of all EQ bands (iApp):
Threshold 50Hz: (/-16dBfs), 1kHz: (/-11.5dBfs)
Compression Gain Change max.: 50Hz: (/7.6dB), 1kHz: (/6.1dB)


Level Control Steps:
Result, 17 steps, Step Width is:
1dB steps down to -4dB,
2dB step down to -6dB
3dB steps down to -35dB,
cut below -35dB

Step: Level:
- # - dB
-01 -01
-02 -02
-03 -03
-04 -04
-05 -06
-06 -09
-07 -11
-08 -14
-09 -17
-10 -20
-11 -23
-12 -26
-13 -29
-14 -32
-15 -35
-16 -oo
 
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MICHAELSD

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Interesting measurements. I usually find myself listening at about 4 or 5 steps down from max. I’m listening now at 7 steps down per your recommendation with +1dB at 1Hz and it sounds great, if not a bit more quiet than I’d prefer. At what step does the processing start to kick in?

It also make senses the Cipher would work better with the Sine since it’s lower impedance and thus easier to drive. I do think EL-8 Titanium is very capable, but I think the Cipher could be further improved with a firmware update that adds an option to remove the compression and limits the volume instead. (Not that I’d expect an update at this point.)
 
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Interesting measurements. I usually find myself listening at about 5 steps down from max. I’m listening now at 7 steps down per your recommendation with +1dB at 1Hz and it sounds great, if not a bit more quiet than I’d prefer. At what step does the processing start to kick in?
The compression is music-dependent.
Because of Cipher's 3dB bass boost, with bass-heavy music compression just kicks in at 7 control-steps steps down, with bass-light music it's at 5-6 steps down.
With all EQ bands fully boosted (doesn't make too much sense, just to give you the figure) compression can start at 8 steps down.

With normal music and moderate EQ like mentioned, at 6 steps down you should not notice a change in dynamics.
The change starts quite soft and is not very obvious, neither distructive.

6 vol steps down from max is for digital full-scale program (level up to 0dBfs), like most CDs, Internet Radio stations or the sound level of e.g Tidal with "Standard-Loudness" switches off.
If a particular piece of music sounds comparably quieter, you can set higher levels accordingly.
Some sources like Spotify and Apple Music normalize everything to generally quieter level, then you can set vol at least one or two steps higher.

The point where the compression kicks in is only depending on the real listening level reached.

If you like to hear how others solve the problem with overdrive distortions caused by EQ, without using compression, check Sennheiser Captune for EQ, without Cipher.
When you boost the Captune EQ, it brings down the level statically, without the option to boost above that level.
You end up quiter, specially on EU-cippled iPhones.
 
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