Sennheiser IE80's Impressions Thread
Jan 2, 2016 at 4:30 PM Post #6,976 of 7,699

james444

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  ok siddhartha talked, "I saw the sign, and it opened up my eyes I saw the sign". (wrong quote?
tongue_smile.gif
)
 
in 3 words, I was wrong!
 
in more words + graphs:
 
I used another tip to show how much the trebles could be impacted. I believe it's one I got from the re400 but I'm not100% confident, I have a lot of tips.

B stands for bass setting.
the one scientifically labeled "crap tape" is the thinnest thing I could find, if one can vibrate with the driver this is it. an I put it on and off of my table a few times to make it a little dirty and less adhesive. sorry I didn't find paper based tape. but ultimately we could go with all kind of tapes or even just put some fabric that wouldn't close the vent but dampen it more or less. at that point it's all variations of the same thing.
oh and "strong tape" is the aluminum stuff I use, it's pretty thick and very adhesive so it's closer to something solid sealing the vent perfectly.
 
obviously you notice that I was wrong and siddhartha was right, the bass setting still has an impact after being taped.
 
here is compared to no no tape so that you can estimate the changes from adding tape.

 
 
doesn't change my own use, as what I was measuring is what I was using, but I'm glad you planted the seed of doubt in my head. I learned something today.
 
 
now don't ask me why it behaves like it does, I don't have a clue. maybe the bass setting changes the air volume inside the IEM? maybe something there is a gremlin inside? I really have no idea. but the behavior seems steady so I doubt Senn used gremlins.
I hope apart from self shaming, it can help a little. ^_^

 
 
   
Well, let me happily join you in having been wrong, even though I rightly guessed that vishnusiddharth's observations may have some merit.
Alas, I did guess right for the wrong reasons...
blink.gif


In short, your measurements prompted me to take another look at the construction of the IE8/80. Like pretty much everyone else, I assumed the bass dial was a rear vent, since it's located at the backside of the housing. (That much for the power of expectation bias lol :wink: However, these pics, that have been out there since the IE8 hit the market in 2009, show clearly that this assumption is wrong and that the bass dial is in fact an adjustable front vent:
 


 
So, basically, in turning the bass screw from 'max' to 'min', you gradually open up an air passage between the front and rear side of the driver, which leads to acoustic short-circuiting and a drop in bass level. And because of that, the tape mod's effect is only loosely related to the bass dial, since it only seals off the rear chamber and has next to no influence on the internal airflow between the front and rear side of the driver.
 
Bottom line, thanks to @vishnusiddharth's fine ears and @castleofargh's dedication to unearthing the truth via measurements, a long-standing misconception of the IE8/80's bass dial has finally been debunked. (... and btw, you guys at Sennheiser may stop laughing yourselves silly about us wannabe-modders now.
tongue.gif
)

 
 
 
Ok, it's been some time since we talked about the IE80's bass dial and its inner workings. However, it got me thinking that perhaps front venting to the outside instead of the inside might be worth exploring further. Based on prior experience with my JVC FX850/1100, I tried different ways to open an air duct large enough to counteract the IE80's bass hump and give its mids more room to shine. So, here's my suggestion to the curious at heart, who love to experiment and try out new things: the...
 
IE8/80 Paper Napkin Mod
 
What you'll need:
  1. a paper napkin
  2. a pair of scissors
  3. 5 - 15 minutes time, depending on skill
 
What you'll gain:
  1. better balanced / less obtrusive bass
  2. more forward / clearer mids
  3. more open feel / no more occlusion effect (due to air pressure equalization of the ear canal)
 
What you'll lose:
  1. sub-bass extension below 30Hz
  2. about 10-20% of isolation (rough estimate)
 
 
Instructions:
 
1. Set the bass dial to max and apply the tape mod at the rear side. We'll need all the sub-bass we can muster.
 
2. Use a common paper napkin like this:

 
3. Cut two pieces of about 1" x 1" (25 x 25mm):

 
4. Twist and roll the pieces between your fingers until they look like small sticks:

 
5. Stick them through your tips:

 
6. Now put the tips on. The result should look like this:

 
7. Pull at the rear end until the front end disappears inside the tip:

 
8. The result should look like this from the side:

 
Now listen to a tone generator, or your test tracks. You should hear a significant decrease in bass and better balance across the spectrum.
 
Side note: the IE8/80 have a treble spike @5kHz, which will become more noticeable with less prominent bass.
Leaving a bit of protruding paper in front of the nozzle (see figure 7) will have a slight smoothing effect on treble.
 
9. If you want the clearest / most forward treble, pull at the rear end until the front end sits flush with the nozzle.

 
10. If you're happy with what you hear, trim the rear end and you're done.

 
(Disclaimer: I've found this mod to be safe and easily reversible. Nevertheless: try at your own risk!)
 
Jan 2, 2016 at 5:19 PM Post #6,978 of 7,699

yangian

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I have used the IE8 for many years. The midbass hump is as prominent as ever. I don't see how burn in would help. Maybe components would loosen up with use. I don't see how that would tighten up the sound. Which is what is needed IMO.
I used a couple of different well regarded amps, Graham Slee Voyager and Headstage Arrow. Came to the conclusion that they made little or no difference.


Could be. The difference might only from different sources/amplifiers.
 
Jan 2, 2016 at 6:16 PM Post #6,980 of 7,699

pacman46

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ya the e12a is fairly neutral with no emphasis on either end. i havent heard the e12 but what ive read its a more 'fun' sounding amp.the e12a actually give the ie80 a very nice amount of detail.i had to actually listen to this combo for a bit to get use to. i bought the ie80 a couple years ago knowing that it wasnt the best at detail and being non neutral with a more fun sounding phone.i had others to use when i wanted a more serious listen.i like the ie80 more for its relaxed signature and just enjoying the music for what it is.and to be honest i almost dont like the pairing with the e12a as it kinda takes away from that.
 
Jan 2, 2016 at 6:31 PM Post #6,981 of 7,699

castleofargh

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@james444  I can try and measure whatever I can with this mod, but only in a week or so, I lended my vibro veritas to someone. if I forget(which seems to be something I'm really good at) please remind me.
between the tea bags as dampening filters, the straws to block a vent, and the napkin as front vent, looks like you spend way too much time at a restaurant.
biggrin.gif

 
 
@almoskosz it's always hard to guess, to me shure has one of the most comfortable shape you can find in an IEM, but of course you still need an external ear shaped with enough space for the shell. the IE80 really is a hit or miss with comfort. the obvious goa'uld inspired shape doesn't seem like it would fit in any human ear, but strangely enough I got them working nicely. now understand that the isolation is pretty poor compared to shure. that might also count for you.
but again the shure are pretty elite when it comes to the shell and fit, so maybe you should aim at headphones instead of IEMs, or try super small stuff that I call bean IEMs ( q-jays dba2 hf5... all the single balanced armature drivers). but they might not give you the low end you like, that's often the drawback of having something really small.
 
Jan 2, 2016 at 6:39 PM Post #6,982 of 7,699

EagleWings

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  Hi guys! I'm looking into buying these earphones in the near future, and I have a few questions comfort-wise. I am coming from a Shure se-315, and they get really fatiguing after only an hour or so, also, it slips out of my ear, almost like the housing is too big for my ears. So, are these smaller? (But it seems they don't stick out towards mentioned part here:) On a certain location on my ears (as seen on picture) it pushes really hard, and hurts, also, I think that should be the part holding it in as well, yet it doesn't.

Take care! :)

 
I owned a SE215 before I bought the IE80. I understand what you are referring to. IE80 does not insert deep into the ears like the Shures. Because of this, IE80 doesn't press against the ear much like the Shures. So yes, the IE80 should be comfortable in that aspect.
 
Jan 2, 2016 at 6:55 PM Post #6,983 of 7,699

EagleWings

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I must also add that because Shures have a long and slim sound tube. The slim tube sits comfortably in the ear canal and the olive tips ensure extra cushiony feel. 
 
With the IE80, the sound tube is short and wide. Because of which, it may not insert into the ear canal comfortably but rather be pressing against it's walls. And the provided silicone tips don't provide the cushiony feel like Shures' olive tips.
 
Its the same story with the foam tips too.
 
Overall I would rate the comfort level of Shures a 8.5/10 while I'd give only a 7.5/10 for the IE80. All that said, I must add that it is easier to put on/remove the IE80 than the Shures. The sturdy cables and memory wire of the Shure only make it worse. 
 
Jan 3, 2016 at 12:11 AM Post #6,984 of 7,699

castleofargh

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yeah first thing I went and cut off on my se215, I can't stand memory wires anyway, but memory wire + the rotating plug
 
Jan 3, 2016 at 2:05 AM Post #6,985 of 7,699

EagleWings

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  yeah first thing I went and cut off on my se215, I can't stand memory wires anyway, but memory wire + the rotating plug

 
memory wire + rotating plug + Foam Tips, you have got yourself a Rubik's cube. SOLVE THE CUBE IF YOU WANT TO ENJOY MUSIC
deadhorse.gif

 
Jan 3, 2016 at 2:56 AM Post #6,986 of 7,699

almoskosz

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  @james444  I can try and measure whatever I can with this mod, but only in a week or so, I lended my vibro veritas to someone. if I forget(which seems to be something I'm really good at) please remind me.
between the tea bags as dampening filters, the straws to block a vent, and the napkin as front vent, looks like you spend way too much time at a restaurant.
biggrin.gif

 
 
@almoskosz it's always hard to guess, to me shure has one of the most comfortable shape you can find in an IEM, but of course you still need an external ear shaped with enough space for the shell. the IE80 really is a hit or miss with comfort. the obvious goa'uld inspired shape doesn't seem like it would fit in any human ear, but strangely enough I got them working nicely. now understand that the isolation is pretty poor compared to shure. that might also count for you.
but again the shure are pretty elite when it comes to the shell and fit, so maybe you should aim at headphones instead of IEMs, or try super small stuff that I call bean IEMs ( q-jays dba2 hf5... all the single balanced armature drivers). but they might not give you the low end you like, that's often the drawback of having something really small.

Thanks for the response, I am in fact a headphone guy, but I don't really have a choice when it comes to travel, or rather sports. IEM's are too convenient, and the lack of isolation is sadly a deal breaker for me :s 
 
Jan 3, 2016 at 3:13 AM Post #6,987 of 7,699

james444

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  @james444  I can try and measure whatever I can with this mod, but only in a week or so, I lended my vibro veritas to someone. if I forget(which seems to be something I'm really good at) please remind me.
between the tea bags as dampening filters, the straws to block a vent, and the napkin as front vent, looks like you spend way too much time at a restaurant.
biggrin.gif

 
Coming from a Frenchman, this comment is serious reason for concern.
biggrin.gif

(Joking aside, I try to use commonplace and widely available materials whenever possible, or else it wouldn't make much sense to post these mods at all.)
 
Thanks for the offer, I'd appreciate if you can find the time to measure this at some point. Subjectively, it gives me the most appealing sound signature I've heard from these IEMs so far. Which may have a lot to do with the music I listen to, of course. If I were more into sub-bass heavy genres like electronica / edm, I'd probably think otherwise...
 
  @almoskosz it's always hard to guess, to me shure has one of the most comfortable shape you can find in an IEM, but of course you still need an external ear shaped with enough space for the shell. the IE80 really is a hit or miss with comfort. the obvious goa'uld inspired shape doesn't seem like it would fit in any human ear, but strangely enough I got them working nicely. now understand that the isolation is pretty poor compared to shure. that might also count for you.
but again the shure are pretty elite when it comes to the shell and fit, so maybe you should aim at headphones instead of IEMs, or try super small stuff that I call bean IEMs ( q-jays dba2 hf5... all the single balanced armature drivers). but they might not give you the low end you like, that's often the drawback of having something really small.

 
@almoskosz ...or try microdriver based IEMs like the Yamaha EPH-100 or Flare R2A. They're tiny too and have a more robust low end than single balanced armatures.
 
Jan 7, 2016 at 11:55 AM Post #6,988 of 7,699

EagleWings

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IE8/80 Paper Napkin Mod
 

 
James, I tried this mod. Every single word holds true. More balance, loss of sub-bass extension and the perceivable treble peak (I did not keep the mod though). This mod changes the sound of IE80 so much that I was surprised how such a minor change in the air column could affect the way an IEM sounds. I realized, when it came to IEMs, even the slightest of mods shouldn't be taken lightly. That brings me to this:
 
I came across this post from 2013. I haven't tried or tested it. But if someone is in the mood for some experimentation, you can try it and let us know what you find.
 
http://www.head-fi.org/t/569527/sennheiser-ie80s-impressions-thread/4470#post_9410059
 
Jan 9, 2016 at 4:43 AM Post #6,989 of 7,699

james444

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James, I tried this mod. Every single word holds true. More balance, loss of sub-bass extension and the perceivable treble peak (I did not keep the mod though). This mod changes the sound of IE80 so much that I was surprised how such a minor change in the air column could affect the way an IEM sounds. I realized, when it came to IEMs, even the slightest of mods shouldn't be taken lightly. That brings me to this:
 
I came across this post from 2013. I haven't tried or tested it. But if someone is in the mood for some experimentation, you can try it and let us know what you find.
 
http://www.head-fi.org/t/569527/sennheiser-ie80s-impressions-thread/4470#post_9410059

 
Thanks for your feedback! Yes, airflow (venting / damping) has a significant impact on the sound signature of dynamic driver based IEMs. That's what makes them so interesting to tinker with.
wink.gif

 
I'll try out the mod you linked (i.e. sealing off the entire housing). Btw, the easiest way I've found to try this for testing purposes is with blu-tack.
 
Jan 9, 2016 at 11:47 AM Post #6,990 of 7,699

minotza

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Just got my IE80's from Amazon. Pretty disappointed, there seems to be a veil on all my songs, I'm thinking it's due to the muddy bass. The bass dial pretty much does nothing, I have tried listening with one on min and one on max and there was barely a difference.
 
My Monster Turbine Pro Copper's were MUCH better than this, if only I can find them. 
 
The IE80's seem to be lacking detail and the have a very bad veil covering every song I throw at it. At 300 USD these are a joke, sadly. 
 

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