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Sennheiser IE 500 PRO (and newer models) vs Sennheiser IE 800 S

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  1. Otto Motor
    No Harman Target curve [=quantity], I was speaking of the theoretical life-like reproduction of sound (vs. colouration) [=quality; quantity and quality are not directly related]. The Harman curve is perceived neutral by its creator Sean Olive.

    Moodrop have jumped on the bandwagon. I have a "free sample" of the "old" KPE here which I will happily pass on to the next reviewer...much prefer the IE 40 PRO.
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2019
    iems0nly likes this.
  2. iems0nly
    Ah ok, got it. I agree. I usually use the term "timbre" when i talk of life-like production or accuracy
    I think the IE 500 Pro has great timbral accuracy. I mean they sound very natural and correct to my ears.
    Otto Motor likes this.
  3. Otto Motor
    This is another interesting one...my co-blogger explicitly was of the opinion that the timbre was off...whereas I had raved on timbre. What he meant was that the edges of the midrange images were cut off, hence the tonality was not accurate, although natural and organic. Confused?
  4. Earbones
    I agree, with a single caveat: the Atlas has not yet been measured, as far as I have seen (I may be wrong) but Vega has, and those measurements are indeed indicative of a world-class IEM competing at it’s price point. The Atlas is not the Vega, but even the most critical reviews seem to paint it as at least as good a replacement, if not better. The IE 500 Pro’s numbers are objectively not in keeping with an IEM at it’s price point.

    “Paid-not-paid” reviews aside, there is an equally insidious enemy of actual value at play in headphonia, that being perceived value. The Atlas sounds like a top-tier IEM, and we have been conditioned to associate a certain dollar value to top-tier IEMs... A dollar value, more often than not, that is completely removed from reality with regards to a manufacturer’s operating, R&D, and manufacturing costs.

    Ironically, in our valuation of the IE 500 Pro, I think you and I were somewhat guided by these false numbers. If the 500’s cable were better, had $10 worth of accessories been included, had the housing been made of a more “premium” material (such as an alloy that might realistically add $5 to manufacturing costs), and most importantly, had Sennheiser nailed the tuning... Then perhaps we would have happily said it was worth the money. I can’t speak for you, but I know that I am certainly guilty of overlooking actual value when a piece of gear’s performance tracks with the inflated values within audiophillia.

    And again, your point about “paid-not-paid” reviews is very well taken. They are an epidemic, and indeed a very successful marketing tool... People tend to write glowing reviews of things they get for free, even when they intend to write objectively. I was no less guilty, in my reckless youth. Such reviews must be seen for what they are: advertisements by unwitting advertisers, not informational pieces.
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2019
    Otto Motor likes this.
  5. oknidius
    Ah, good old Vega! My mental notes of the Vega were “Did someone delete the violas? Why am I only hearing celli and double basses? Am I playing the wrong album? Why does this trumpet sound like it’s coming through the walls from the neighbor’s bathroom?”
    Oh it felt premium compared to the Sennheiser plastic. But sound, top tier or not, wasn’t my cup of tea.
  6. Earbones
    I like the Vega, but your impressions are 100% valid... Reminds me of how I hear Andromeda, another popular Campfire with great numbers.

    I recently bought and returned the Andro. I have never been so instantly fatigued by a sound signature in my life. Beyond what I heard as rampant and unchecked shoutiness, another aspect emerged that caused me to nickname it the “more cowbell IEM”... it’s uncanny ability to find the most irritating effect hidden in any given mix, and then isolate and amplify it to the point of boring out my eardrums.

    I guess that parlor trick reads for most people as “detail retrieval”. I found it to be more akin to “enhanced interrogation”.
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2019
    oknidius likes this.
  7. Otto Motor
    Sure, but this means we are talking a completely different iem :wink:. I don't know the Vega but I read somewhere that it sounded totally coloured and off timbre, and elsewhere that the mids were muffled. At this price, I would never accept any compromises. And Crinacle ranks the $1300 Vega and the $5 Sony MH755 the same ("B").

    There are different attitudes towards value by potential customers and Sennheiser/others obviously considered that when pricing their models, as stated in my review.

    I know that my iphone's dac chip costs $3.50...and the amp can't be that much either. I therefore won't run a >$1000 earphone with it. I am in that group of people who think they get a tremendous value out of the $99 IE 40 PRO and save the remaining $500 (saved from no buying the IE 500 PRO) for beer.

    Calgary - Jun19 - 092 Beer Talk.jpg

    The question is how the respect/perception of value is eroded in a reviewer when they get these iems for free - and that over and over again [or in rich people with lots of disposable cash]. Campfire in particular appear to hand out freebies like antibiotics [the markups obviously warrant that]. The only qualification required appears to be a camera with a huge SD card.
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2019
    oknidius likes this.
  8. oknidius
    Otto Motor likes this.
  9. oknidius
    Considering how close they are in terms of signature and how well the 40 performs straight out of non-fancy sources, yup. IE 40 PRO + Beer > IE 500 PRO without beer
    Earbones and Otto Motor like this.
  10. iems0nly
    Most of my reviews are of IEMs that i purchased like a regular consumer, but there are a few cases where i was provided with the IEMs for free ( Eg: Sennheiser Pro and the Ultrasone line-up). Before Ultrasone, all my reviews were of paid-for IEMs, so I didn't have this habit of dropping disclaimers. I have now added in my reviews a Spoiler to indicate if the review units were provided to me or not.

    I get your point, and i can completely understand the rage behind positive-reviews in exchange for free stuff. But, speaking for myself, I would like to think that my impressions and rating of these are honest and true to my tastes. This is why i make sure to thrown in a bunch of A-B comparisons with well known IEMs, which i believe really helps to understand and get an idea of the actual sound coming from the earphones.

    I wouldn't want to argue about this point, but i collect IEMs and i'm pretty deep into this IEM hobby. To review an IEM honestly i really need to get the sense of ownership and belonging. Without this i cannot completely indulge in the experience and this will affect my impressions. Most of the loaner reviews i read are half-assed and i see a great disconnect between the reviewer and the item. This might be a good thing in some sense. But I personally can't write a review of an item that doesn't belong to me.

    Sure, being my new toy, there can be some inherent bias in the reviews. Also, i admit that freebies can kind of make one obligated to put in a positive word whether they like it or not. But, i try to keep the review true to my conscience and try not to be a total sucker. At the end of the day, i would like to think i'm really helping people here with my honest reviews. This is still the most important thing to me.

    Coming back to this particular positive review of IE 500 Pro, you can even call this a glowing review, this is rated so only because they sound great (to my ears). I respect your review and opinion. i may not agree with everything you wrote but i still value it. I have very limited experience, and in my entire little collection, there isn't another dynamic driver that retrieves as much details as the IE 500 Pro. I love the sound they make and this is why my review is positive.
  11. Otto Motor
    I really like the IE 500 PRO, but I would never pay 600 USD/EUR for them. Never in my life more than 200 USD/EUR. That's the difference between an "honest" review and a "critical" review. But even if someone does "critical" reviews in "exchange of a loaner", the "critical" reviewer will probably not be considered for another loaner, if the review is truly "critical"...whereas the "honest" reviewer will receive more "free samples in exchange of an honest review" when the next model is being released...although the company will probably implement changes based on the "critical" review [a critical review is counterproductive for sales but useful for product development]. So or so does critical thinking not pay off for the reviewer, it only pays off for the manufacturer's R&D department.

    Sennheiser gave me loaners and - following my review - asked me for my opinion of other products. I must have overwhelmed them as I haven't heard back from them.

    I offered them to buy out the IE 40 PRO but also have not heard back from them.
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2019
  12. iems0nly
    What's with all the double quotes? When i say honest, i mean being true to myself, as opposed to lying and dropping a positive feedback to be thankful. Yet, you imply that my honest reviews are directed at getting more freebies. I get that you feel all superior and entitled to be mean to regular folks like me. My reviews are called 'A Simple Man's review' because that is what i am, and i express my simple opinions. I don't claim to be anyone. I'm not trying to be some technical adviser for earphone manufacturers. If you think you are being that, well, good for you!
  13. Earbones
    I don’t think he’s calling your specific reviews into question (I could be wrong).

    As you may or may not know, many American-based amateur reviews where the reviewer has been given a product will include a disclosure stating something to the effect of “This product was given to me free of charge in exchange for my honest review”. You see this a lot on Amazon, for instance. By and large, these reviews are far from honest, and are just glowing endorsements of whatever product the reviewer has been given. It’s gotten to the point that using that kind of disclaimer kind of casts shade on the legitimacy of a review.

    To be fair, most of these reviewers are just folks. They were offered, often out of the blue, something free if they’d write a review. More often than not, the company rep will even tell them to be “honest”, because they understand the psychology of the situation. Tell a stranger you’ll give them something for free in exchange for a good review, and all of a sudden, somebody who hasn’t written a thing in their life will be full of indignation at the idea that their endorsement can be had so cheaply. But ask that person to be honest... Well, people are social creatures. We want to please. We feel obligation. The vast majority of first-time reviewers will write glowing reviews of whatever they’ve been given, expound on how wonderful the company is, and gloss over any negatives, no matter how glaring they may be.

    Hence the stigma around the disclaimer “This product was provided to me free of charge in exchange for my honest review”.

    It appears you’ve written several reviews, and the process is something you take seriously, so I’d just stop using that red-flag of a disclaimer, if I were you. Or, if you actually value your reviews more than a bit of extra cash, you should probably also stop taking free gear, at least until you decide to go pro and get a bit larger.

    Speaking of pro reviewers... A well-respected reviewer has the clout to hate something and still command free stuff... Their take on something can move merchandise, so companies seek to impress them rather than the other way around. If they don’t like a pair of cans they got for free that’s okay, the company will still send the next gen, and hope it fares better. A smaller reviewer doesn’t have that clout... If they give a poor score to something they got for free, it’s very possible the next gen will not be forthcoming. A larger reviewer knows that there will be more free gear to review, regardless of whether or not they like something- so they can effectively eliminate bias from their reviews. While a smaller reviewer, who knows that if they don’t give something a good review they won’t be getting anymore gear, cannot completely eliminate bias... There is a vested conflict of interest.
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2019
  14. iems0nly
    I get the basic point, and i completely agree. To be fair, i don't read reviews where i see a disclaimer saying the product was given for free. I don't also read loaner reviews because they are not detailed and don't generally give me the information i want. But that's just me.

    In this case however, in a forum for IE 500 Pro where there is only one other review, which was published before the product was out for public purchase, and one that did not have this dreaded disclaimer until today, i can't help think this is directed to me. Repeated mention of reviewers getting stuff for free, and belittling or denigrating such reviewers. And conveniently, my review was a positive one.

    Anyway, I've come clean and confessed to receiving this product for free. I still standby my review although it amounts to less than crap now.
    Let's wait for more "critical" reviews, and see what others have to say about the IE 500 Pro.
  15. Otto Motor
    Yes, it was nothing personal, my statements were of general nature -- there are tons of examples for this. There are totally unqualified people going around on Facebook collecting freebies of very expensive gear, have no clue how to write a meaningful, coherent text, lack a good command of the English language, show up to 17 photos of the packaging, and throw a lengthy blabla full of cut-and-pastes at us. And this is still honest. How don't the manufacturer get this?

    Many use the word "honest", no one "rigorous". Honest is stretchable as a review is naturally full of subjectivity...and still honest. And honest reviews can still be pointless to the reader. When you go on Facebook and look at the sellers' user groups...and see how these reviews crop up all the time, you wonder. Let's face it, the review of a $1500 iem should include a sound technical account of the product rather than mainly rely on pretty pictures. Only qualified reviewers should do such.

    I get really aroused about the term "sample": the more expensive a unit is, the more it is attempted to make it as small as possible. A sample is part of the whole thing. A sample of a steak is a tiny bit. I avoid the word "sample" is it is profoundly dishonest in this context.

    And yes, you have to have a "name" as a reviewer to continue receiving even loaners (let alone freebies) after reviews that didn't flatter the manufacturer. The point is that the honest reviews are getting out of hand, too many of them, laced with tons of honest photos aiming to create buying appetite in the reader. That's honest marketing...

    And now, Mr. @iems0nly: how
    much, honestly, would you pay for the Sennheiser IE 500 PRO? As to our reviews, I think we are very far apart on the upper midrange/lower treble, which is missing in action for our ears (4 of them) and in our measurements.

    Quite frankly, getting the trust of Sennheiser to review their top in-ears was quite flattering for us and we two reviewers put a lot of heart in it.
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2019
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