TF10 vs IE8 (a mini comparison)
Feb 13, 2009 at 7:01 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 15

xiaoipower

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Having had the IE8s for 2 weeks I thought I'd briefly compare them to my TF10s (owned for a few months):

Comfort

I sort of understood what people meant when they kept complaining about the comfort of the TF10s. Although I don't have a problem with getting a good fit - I normally have to re-insert them after 1/2 an hour or so as I feel the fit is slipping.

Once you switch to the IE8s the fit is completely different. I feel it isn't designed to sit as deep in the ear canal, which at first confuses you to think that you're not getting a good seal (especially because the isolation is not as good - more later) but once you get to it I found the IE8s to be much more comfortable. Going back to using the TF10s the whole thing feels so rigid (monitors and cable). The IE8s are amazingly light and comfortable and I can have much longer listening sessions with them.

Isolation

The isolation on the IE8s seems awful when you're not playing music (only slightly better than earbuds). As I've said this may lead you to believe you need to keep changing tips - but once the music starts the isolation improves a lot. However, compared to the TF10s they still fall behind. I would say that using my Cowon D2 I normally listen to music at 5 levels higher on volume slider for the IE8s.

Overall though, I feel isolation is only required to satisfy a certain level. For example, I would always like to have better imaging/sound quality - but I only need a certain amout of isolation (ie enough to block off the ambient noise of city life) - i don't need something that would block off a boeing 747 - for these purposes the IE8s is enough, the only area where I feel it isn't enough is on the underground (subways).

Sound

Most people split this area into highs, mids and bass but I'm just not discerning enough to give an accurate enough description that I would be happy with. I can only COMPARE, as I haven't experienced enough setups to start talking about audio in any sort of absolute sense - its probably true that you need to hear a very high quality setup to be able to know what to look for.

Before I bought the TF10s, I had the SF5 Pros - when I switched to the TF10s the first I noticed wasn't the 'sparkling highs' but the clean bass. I really liked them - the sound was so much more defined and the imaging and soundstage was better. Music just sounded great and lively.

When the W3s were announced I was very excited but the pricing was just ridiculous (£300 in the UK and I didn't want to import). However, it did lead me to start thinking about the pitfalls of the TF10s - having not heard any other IEMs in their league you can only speculate as to what is missing – but you do know what you like to hear more of. For me this was comfort and maybe slightly more tamed highs. The IE8s seem to be the answer and in the UK were reasonably priced.

Ok so when I first got the IE8s I wasn't terribly impressed - I started thinking how much I could sell them on for haha. But after you let them burn-in (brain burn-in aswell) I came to the following conclusions:

IE8 has a more laidback presentation this means that you lose the excitment and liveliness of the TF10s. However, that also is a downfall for the TF10s as feels like listening to music on E and it can become a bit fatiguing. The highs sparkled more on the TF10s and I even thought that compared to IE8s (on min bass dial) the bass was more present – I actually feel that in this area neither IEM is necessarily better – for long listening sessions (a few hours) I would prefer the IE8s but if I just want to listen for a short period the TF10s just give a very exciting and fun sound.

IE8 has better soundstage/imaging - I actually didn't think the TF10s needed more soundstage as I thought that was an area they were strong in. But once you hear the IE8s you realise just how their incredible their imaging ability is – in comparison the TF10s offer good layering but cannot provide the imaging the IE8s can. It’s a quality the IE8s have that you don’t know you’re missing until you hear them. However, the trade-off is that music does sound more intimate on the TF10s which makes the details and nuances in the music easier to tell on the TF10s. However, I prefer the open sound of the IE8.

IE8 sounds very natural – for me this is the biggest difference between the 2. Whereas I think the TF10s go for detail and excitement the IE8s just sound so natural to me. I feel the TF10s accentuate the bass and highs in their sound signature – the IE8s just sound so lifelike that no area stands out. I would say that the IE8s provide a better balance and seamless flow in frequency response that I prefer.

In terms of detail and transparency I don’t have much to say - I don’t feel either are more detailed or transparent but maybe a more disconcerting listener could tell a difference.

Conclusion

Although I feel the IE8s are better I am more inclined to say they are different to the TF10s. They present sounds in very different manners. If I had to choose keywords to describe them then TF10 = exciting and fun whereas the IE8s= natural and open. I preferred my IE8s over my TF10s. In terms of sound quality it is merely a matter of preference, but once you factor in comfort and price (about the same in the UK) it becomes an easy choice for me.

One final point I’d like to make is that I think soozieq mentioned that she only felt burn-in to change the first 10 hours. Other people felt at least 150-200 hours were needed. Personally I agreed with soozieq, and felt that within 10hrs the boom in the bass was gone and the highs came out.

I have traded my IE8s for some W3s so maybe I’ll compare them sometime.
This is my first review ever so please be kind to the lack of technicalities and repetition^^ I have listed what I felt were the important differences between these 2 IEMs, I'm sure there are more things other people can think of.
 
Feb 13, 2009 at 8:58 PM Post #5 of 15

Sayajin

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Thank you for your comparsion.
wink.gif

Makes me more curious getting IE8 even more.
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Feb 13, 2009 at 10:21 PM Post #6 of 15

soozieq

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xiaoipower, that's an excellent first review!! You covered everything
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Glad you're enjoying the IE8. I loved my TF10 for almost a year, but didn't find anything to seriously challenge it until the IE8. The midrange was the biggest difference to me, followed by soundstage and then comfort. I was quite sad when I sold my TF10 to fund the W3, but at least they got recycled and went to another Head-Fi'er, and not to a stranger
biggrin.gif


So, when you say you're trading the IE8 for the W3, do you mean you're swapping with someone?
Does it mean you won't get to try them side by side? Or have you got rid of the IE8's now?
 
Feb 13, 2009 at 10:40 PM Post #7 of 15

Dobber65

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xiaoipower, great review. The Triple.fis are my current favorite balanced armature IEMs, and you represented their sound really well. I have a desire (but not ability) to try the IE8s based on all the positive comments about soundstage and bass presence. Nice coverage.
 
Feb 13, 2009 at 11:11 PM Post #8 of 15

cn11

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Great effort for your first review. You have a very clear, understandable way in describing what you're hearing...which is a difficult thing to do when talking about the subtleties of audio. Kudos.

I know what you mean about the soundstaging and naturalness with the IE8's. I find them remarkable. As you said you really don't know what you're missing in terms of the soundstage and the listenability (real word?) until you spend some time with these and then go to something else. There is another thread specifically asking about the best soundstage in an IEM, and it was stunning how what seemed like 85% of the posters all put in a vote for the IE8. They dominated the thread. One poster who hadn't heard them yet questioned how important soundstage is in evaluating an earphone, and got many replies saying how it is extremely important, if not a bit of an intangible.

And for comfort, I've been using them about seven hours per day at work for the last three days straight, and no discomfort at all.
 
Feb 13, 2009 at 11:39 PM Post #9 of 15

xiaoipower

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Quote:

Originally Posted by soozieq /img/forum/go_quote.gif

So, when you say you're trading the IE8 for the W3, do you mean you're swapping with someone?
Does it mean you won't get to try them side by side? Or have you got rid of the IE8's now?



I've traded them with another head-fier, so unfortunately if I were to do a comparison it wouldn't be a head-to-head. That's why I would be a bit reluctant to do so.

I no longer have the IE8s and am waiting for the W3s to arrive. The person I'm trading with (I won't name them for privacy's sake) had a quick chance to compare the 2 and stated that he felt he was going to regret trading his W3s.
I think his main gripe was with the bass on the IE8s which he felt was inferior and less detailed than on the W3s. But he did find the W3s to be sibilant.

Oh and thanks to everyone for the encouragement!
 
Feb 13, 2009 at 11:40 PM Post #10 of 15

AwakenedBeing

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Nice comparison. I auditioned the TF10 and really love the sound. However, the fit and comfort was the only thing holding me back from buying them. So tempted to get the IE8s but need to give my wallet a break first.
 
Feb 14, 2009 at 12:35 AM Post #11 of 15

member1982

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nice review
 
Feb 14, 2009 at 12:49 AM Post #12 of 15

soozieq

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Quote:

Originally Posted by xiaoipower /img/forum/go_quote.gif
The person I'm trading with (I won't name them for privacy's sake) had a quick chance to compare the 2 and stated that he felt he was going to regret trading his W3s.
I think his main gripe was with the bass on the IE8s
which he felt was inferior and less detailed than on the W3s.
But he did find the W3s to be sibilant.



It will be interesting to know how you feel about the W3. To me, they sounded very different from the IE8, but they both had very enjoyable sound signatures. The IE8 definitely sounds wamer and fuller, while the W3 sounds more detailed and refined. I just find the IE8 more involving overall for my listening preferences. Anyway, remember to post your views on them! If you get no sibilance with the W3 (and not everybody does!), I think you'll really enjoy them.
 
Feb 14, 2009 at 4:54 AM Post #14 of 15

MythNoob

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nice review i totally agree with your comments. ill be watching out for your W3 review
 

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