Pros: Bass knob, wire quality, accessories, mids, highs, soundstage (depends on you)
Cons: Bass, soundstage (depends on you), price, jack
Packaging & Accessories: 8/10
Build Quality: 10/10
Design & Look: 9/10
Microphonics (higher ratings means lower cable noise): 10/10
Audio Quality: 8/10
My final Rating: 7/10
Purchase Date: April 2010
Purchase Price: £160
I bought these in 2010 from Amazon (themselves), and had a seal broken on them – after calling Sennheiser, the local manager told me to return them to Amazon, as they would never sell Sennheiser’s with a broken seal.
So I returned them.
Here is an unboxing video:
Before getting into it – I had concerns of the earphones being fake – Here’s the video on that
So let’s get into this review!
A year passed, and in 2011, mark from Head-fi was kind enough to let me demo his IE8’s – As I had picked up more experience with earphones, and my views might have changed. Got them in, and the same problems and sound was exactly how I had remembered it in 2010 – I hated them is the long story short, and I have NO IDEA why they were over-hyped on Head-fi…I learnt the “hard way” – trust your own instincts.
Packaging, accessories, box content, overall first impressions (look wise)
The packaging of the IE8’s is quite nice – is has a good set of accessories and the box provided is very good – however I found that the carrying case was bulky, and not all together portable – this is in my opinion the worst carrying case that I have had, simply due to its size and build quality, which was below par.
The tips provided with are great, as it allows you to see what is best for you – and tips are one of the most important aspects of any earphones – i.e. a bad fit = not the full ability of the earphones
Thus I was happy with the box contents, package, accessories – and to some degree the look – I found looking at them, from the faceplate to be quite cool – but at an angle they looks a little odd, end of the day – you don’t see that, as it’s in your ear, the main part that is showing is the faceplate, so to speak – and it looks great!
The build quality is what I have always found to be the best with sennheiser products. The cable was of great quality, and felt very nice in my hands. I really enjoyed the wire, no microphonics of any sorts, and very good quality wire. With that in mind, due to their almost transparent cabling, I wouldn’t be surprised that with time they might corrode, and show a sign of green colour inside.
With the subject of corroding, I have no idea in the life of me, why the hell sennheiser doesn’t gold plate their earphones, this always pisses me off – with the IE8’s I had problems with my phone constantly losing signal – giving me interference/distortions sometimes as I moved about, and the jack was being disrupted. Why the hell make expensive earphones and neglect almost the most important thing in the earphone’s design? Sennheiser, wake up.
Don’t get me wrong, gold doesn’t transfer quality better or anything like that, it’s that the nickel corrodes easily and isn’t a protected so to speak jack – meaning problems in the future, such as with the IE8’s and IE7’s – had already occurred.
Now the overall look, comfort and isolation
The look of these, unlike their uglier brothers the IE7’s – I quite like the look of them – they are classy, cool, not too flashy, and somewhat “professional looking”.
Their comfort goes two ways here, if you have ears that are very shallow, and then you won’t have a problem at all with these, as they sit on your ears, rather than properly go in. That said, if you’re like me and have, what I consider normal ears, or possibly deeper ears, their fit might be an issue.
You see, as they sit on your ears, to get any sort of bass (and I’m saying ANY bass) you will have to push them well into your ears, to the point that comfort becomes an issue. To solve this you have to stick some dual or triple flange tips in your ears. Those tips I can’t stand and literally feel like they are ripping my ears, so it’s really a matter of opinion here, I found them uncomfortable to get any SQ out of them and didn’t find them attractive to look at.
The isolation isn’t bad, but again due to their design, and bear in mind they have to worn over-ear too, the isolation isn’t great – yes if pushed right into your ear they isolate, but due to their open-esk design, isolation isn’t great, and external noise is heard.
Lows: The lows, if pushed right into your ears are there, they are nice and extended, not what I would call punchy, but present. Enjoyable and not over-powering, all together a nice experience, fit dependant.
Mids/highs: The mids and highs is what for me the Sennheiser IE8’s excels in. They produce a flat sounding, but very accurate sound, which to some ears is very nice. I enjoyed listening to them, although I felt EQ’ing them made them sound a little more alive, as to my ears they sounded almost dead, thus how I describe their flat EQ.
Soundstage: Let’s not forget this one, the soundstage is sublime, I struggle to find earphones with as much soundstage as these, especially for dynamic drivers – absolutely amazing
Overall, I can’t really recommend these earphones, yes they have a great soundstage and possibly are quite nice for classical music, but if anything for bass I could give you many other recommendations, for soundstage another few, and for mids/highs another few.
For the price – I didn’t enjoy these a single bit – and that darn jack, just annoyed the hell outta me. Even £10 earphones have gold plated jacks.
Sound Quality Ratings
Sound stage: 10/10
I hope you enjoyed the review!