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

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  1. iems0nly
    OK. First, i'll Ignore the fact that you had to mention that 2 people have 4 ears. 4 ears does read like you are talking about more than 2 people. I will laugh it off assuming you intended it as a joke.

    About how much i would pay for them. Let's see. The best IEM that i own is the inear SD2. I bought them from a shop here in Germany, paid ~450 (in USD) for it. Check out the measurements of the SD2., and they have a similar upper mid dip. IE 800 Pro measurements have a dip in the upper mids as well. I, myself, generally prefer pronounced upper mids but I'm really not missing anything with the IE 500 Pro. I have a personal limit to spend on IEMs, and that is not to pay more than 500 dollars. In fact, i paid even more, ~550 USD or so, to import Donguri Ti Plus, which is an incredible IEM. They have pronounced upper-mids. Also, ATH-CKR100s have pronounced upper-mids. I love these IEM to bits. I've compared the sound of IE 500 Pro in detail against these IEMs in my review, and they do stand their ground and even excel them in some aspects.

    The laid-back upper mids/lower treble aids in keeping the region from getting overly shimmery, and splashy (restricts the airiness). To my ears, they still do not lack any detail extraction even in this recessed region - very similar to the SD2 BAs in this aspect. For a single dynamic to do this, i'm seriously impressed and really happy to have them with me.

    So, honestly, I would pay 500 USD for these without any regrets (as that is my upper limit). I bought many IEMs in different price brackets, and the IE 500 Pro are technically stronger than all of them. I also compared them to Ultrasone IQ (priced at 650) ,and the IE 500 Pro are not lacking an any sense pitted against them. Where i can pay 500 dollars, one might go so far to pay the asking price. Heck, you know people buy earphones for 2k!

    Before i write any further, let me say that I agree and completely understand the rage against these advertisers in disguise. I'm with you on this, i can only say i'm not one of them (they would say them same, i know). The good thing about them is, in a moment you can see through them, and they really add no value to the potential buyer or the those serious in our hobby. I simply just ignore them and not visit their sites. I mean, facebook! Why would you go so far to get enraged?! :)

    Let's touch upon loaner samples and reviews while we are here. It appears that you believe NOT holding on to the IEM and returning them makes your reviews special. Though keeping them adds to some attachment, knowing that they are going to leave you adds to a certain disconnect which is so obvious in any loaner review i have read. So much to the point that i give them no credibility whatsoever simply because they are loaner reviews. You have them for 30 days, look into the horse's mouth (like you put it), and then give an opinion. It doesn't cut it for regular users like me. I, being a simple head-fier here, like to read how much a person likes his/her IEM. What kind of new experience the earphones provide, where it stands against one's other favourite IEMs, and so on. This comes out only when the user is holding on to the IEMs to does constant comparison and (re) evaluation (not returning, nor selling after the review).

    Another word on bias, every human has some inherent bias. You, for instance, very clearly have a strong aversion to IEMs priced above 200. That contributes to a bias in the opposite direction. One's favourite signature creates a bias. You look at measurements, don't you? Simply looking at them already forms different opinions on your mind before the first listen. The measurement rig is unbiased, but the human always is. The only way, in my opinion, to eliminate bias, is to first normalize by common aspect (sound signature, price, usability) and then compare with commonly lauded/known earphones. I make sure to spend a lot of time on comparisons for this reason.
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2019
    audio123 likes this.
  2. halcyon
    How can Sennheiser release (again) a new connector and with so bad replacement cable availability. I can't even get the SKU for European retailers, not to mention the price.

    I'd consider these immediately, if there were actual (alternative) aftermarket cables available, along with variants that have inline mic included (for calls on mobile phone use).
  3. iems0nly
    They do sell the cables separately, but unfortunately i don't see any with inline mic included.

    Edit: But yes., they are the same cables that come with the IEM. Same length, etc.
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2019
    halcyon likes this.
  4. iems0nly
    Just a little note on the proprietary cables. I had not clearly mentioned this in my review:
    The IE 400 Pro and the IE 500 Pro use the same cable connectors and can be swapped. For whatever mad reason, the IE 40 Pro uses a dedicated cable connector that cannot be used with the 400 and 500 Pro.
    So, remember, you can't use the IE 400 cables with IE 40 Pro or vice versa. I just checked, and couldn't use the 40 cables with the IE 500 Pros. They're different.

    I've now updated my review with this information highlighted.
  5. Otto Motor
    OK, so you would spend $500, fair enough.
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2019
  6. iems0nly
    Thanks! To add more value to my reviews, and also because i love measurements, i've just acquired a new Dayton IMM-6. Cheap, i know, but I'm pretty excited about this since a number of my earphones are not yet measured. Once i get a grip of things i'll start putting them out for the community. Cheers!
  7. iems0nly
    Measurement comparison - IE 500 Pro vs IE 800S.
    Baselined to match at 800 Hz.
    ie500pro vs ie800s.jpg
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2019
    Otto Motor likes this.
  8. Sanada
    Hopefully, they could update their original IE series soon.
  9. audio123
    I agree with @iems0nly. The IE 500 Pro is an excellent single dynamic driver iem. Very mature and controlled presentation for a fatigue-free immersive listen. So far only tested out of iBasso DX220 + AMP9. Really impressed. :)

    Last edited: Jul 11, 2019
    iems0nly likes this.
  10. Otto Motor
    As I tend to say, it is most useful for the attentive reader to read the broad body of reviews. Introducing a bit of detail...you can also find this on the IE 500 PRO (not by me): "...Although the lower mids are at a level commensurate with the bass, the upper mids are recessed to the point where the higher harmonics of low to mid male vocal and low-note instrument signatures are heavily suppressed, which gives the fundamentals an odd and unrealistic timbre. Moving further up the range, female vocals, piano notes, high-note strings and horns sound even less natural because of the recession in the low treble. Further up still, cymbals sound really odd because the lowered low treble combines with a lift in the mid-treble in a way that suppresses the initial hit but accentuates the shimmer, so I’d hear the latter but be left wondering where it came from..."

    This guy did not have a freebie.

    Searched your blog...you have never used the term "timbre". Sennheiser are big on timbre (tonal accuracy)...check their video clips; that's why they don't produce any BAs.

    Whenever I put the IE 500 PRO into my ears, the upper midrange/lower treble are obviously missing, which makes voices sound dull - this dip can also be measured. Measurements? Not so important? Shows the hole quite clearly, though. I addressed this dip to Sennheiser.

    Last edited: Jul 11, 2019
  11. audio123
    At this point, I am quite curious on your exposure to IEMs in general.

    I quote you "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." Based on this alone, any TOTL IEMs will be a turn off for you because of their price even if they have an excellent sound. As mentioned in another thread, whether a product is worth the value depends on one's perception. For example, my Noble Kaiser Encore has a price tag of 1850 USD, I gladly paid for it as I found it worth its asking price and this applies for my FI-BA-SS, Xelento, Andromeda, etc.

    I am not saying the IE 40 Pro is bad. It is an excellent IEM at its price point but the IE 500 Pro has the edge with its smoothness and it is not as thin sounding as the IE 40 Pro.

    In addition, I find it appalling for you to question @iems0nly just because he likes the IE 500 Pro too. He has owned/tried solid iems in the SD2, ER4XR, EX800ST and even the rare Donguri Ti Plus.

    In conclusion, I have nothing against you but I feel you should take a step back in asserting your opinion as the undisputed correct answer and learn to respect others. Cheers! :)
    RSC08, iems0nly, B9Scrambler and 4 others like this.
  12. iems0nly
    it sounds like the reviewer mentioned above chose to listen to the IEM in seriously low volumes less than 5 dB, or he/she is clearly hard of hearing in the 3-5Khz range to say the following:
    This is what happens when a review totally depends on measurements- Your measurements grossly exaggerate the dip post 2K.
    Here is a more reliable IE 40 Pro Vs IE 500 Pro measurement comparison: courtesy Crinacle
    ie40 vs ie500.jpg
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2019
  13. kova4a
    Well, another interesting thing is that in his new tentative ranks crinacle rated the ie500 the lowest of the pro series, so ie400>ie40>ie500
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2019
    Spiralman and Otto Motor like this.
  14. iems0nly
    Yes., his rankings are interesting, it helps to show his taste and preference.

    He rates my favourite InEar SD2 at B-, and puts the 8 dollar Sony MH755 at higher rank. IE 800 sits at B+.
    He also rates Massdrop + very highly (A-) , when i think it is a very mediocre IEM at best.

    Edit: Rankings are a personal thing and i would be an ass to ask him to re-arrage his list based on my preference. I have my own ranking (you can see them in my profile page) with which i'm in complete agreement :)
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2019
  15. Otto Motor
    OK, you question the credibility of listeners who don't buy/receive/own really expensive iems (don't forget the other guy with his second opinion in this case). But the discussion was about value and about detailed reasons vs. broad, generic, uncritical statements (all three protagonists like the IE 500 PRO opposite to what is claimed). Value is the estimate of monetary worth of something; it is (to some extent*) subjective and independent of price category (whether you or I purchased the Noble Kaiser or not doesn't matter). You don't need to buy a Ferrari to be able to assess the qualities of a Volkswagen. I'd like to see the first swear of somebody who has actually paid for the IE 500 PRO (I still find that pricing of $750 CAD insane...ok, that's subjective).

    As to crinacle's measurements: tells the same story...a huge dip in the upper mids, which can't be argued (please ignore my measurements, doesn't make any difference). Biodegraded and I identified the missing upper mids/lower treble as a severe flaw tainting the tonality -- so bad that I contacted Sennheiser about it. What also cannot be argued is if listeners like/don't mind that dip, I'll give that to you. My wrong. None of our two reviews (Biodegraded's and mine) rely on measurement...Jesus...measurement is used to visualize the listening sensation.

    Crinacle's ranking of the Senns: can't find them, must be behind a paywall. But I am not surprised...what's interesting is that his rankings don't consider price. You'll read of that missing upper midrange again, soon. I betcha he will call the 500s flawed (I'd really love to get an opinion by the "headphone collector"). And yes, rankings are models, but even a bad model is better than no model. Useful. And even more useful is his ability to distill the essence of an earphone adequately into 1.5 sentences.

    In summary, I think it is helpful for the reader getting critical and detailed opinions/reasonings, and lots of them. Not everything is wonderful. Now, after all this discussion, I wonder who will run out and urgently buy the IE 500 PRO :wink:.


    *"to some extent" means based on comparison to similar products.

    P.S.: In order to avoid pissing matches, I have all relevant information on my blog: personal background/musical qualifications, review practice/tonal preferences, address/contact information, ethics/disclaimer, link to professional website, measurement descriptions, rig setup, even the latest music picks...very transparent, nothing to hide, that's how it should be.
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2019
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