The Amazing Sennheiser IE800
I have been reading about the IE800 for some time now. I heard people saying it is a mini HD800. That intrigued me, as I love the HD800.
I usually hate IEMs for their congested and bassy sound. I also hate sticking something inside my ears, but was curious about Sennheisers’ new addition.
It seems I am a lucky man, as last week soundnews.ro asked me if I can write a review for them on their site.
Of course I accepted as I love their website. DarKu writes there and I have used it as a reference for many ears. In my opinion, It is the best romanian website about audio. It was an honor and an opportunity I couldn’t refuse, so here I am, listening to IE800.
These headphones look quite nice. The cable has a good build quality and a nice sturdy feel.
It would have been excellent if the cable was detachable.
The jack is with a 90 degrees angle so you can easily use a portable device in the pocket with them.
IE800 comes with a nice package that contains another 4 pairs of ear-buds of different sizes. What I love about them is that every ear-bud has an additional protective grill, keeping the unwanted stuff away from the driver that also has another protective grill.
The carry case it comes with is very elegant with a leather like material, well build and could easily fit in a pocket.
Also the comfort is quite nice. They have 2 vents. One is for the sound as they are opened in-ears and the second one is to vent the air between the earbud and your eardrum, so the pressure goes away.
And yes… that’s right ! They are opened in-ear headphones. Don’t worry though, as the people from the outside can’t hear what you hear.
Yes…but the sound..how is it?
The first time I put these headphones in my ears my jaw dropped on the floor. These babies are absolutely amazing. They don’t have the typical IEM sound at all.
The first thing I observed is the soundstage, which was huge for a pair of in-ears.
It is quite weird. I felt like the sound is coming from inside my skull. I actually started with classical music and I felt like my head became a big, large scene with the orchestra inside it. I could not believe my ears. I instantly loved the classical music on these headphones.
The sound just hypnotized me, as I just stood still while listening to them. It is stunning.
I will start to explain some of my experiences with it on some songs:
Andre Rieu – Morning (Classical; Peer Gynt Suite) (E.Grieg)
The details are amazing and you can hear every instrument and every note. The dynamics, and micro-dynamics are on the same level, making you a part of the scene and making you feel the music in every part of your body.
Every instrument is well placed into space and easy to separate from the other. The treble is well defined with amazing details but still on the smooth side. The mids are very present and give the instruments a very good extension and a full body.
Pink Floyd – Time
The bells and ringing at the beginning of the song was really enjoyable. The treble had the necessary sparkle and detail but wasn’t too hot. The sound was very opened for IEMS. The IE800 surprises me everytime and I forget i listen to IEMs or even closed headphones. The sound is multi-layered with very good instrument separation, amazing details and very well balanced throughout the spectrum.
ACDC – Beating Around the Bush
The voice was very well textured and quite natural . The instruments did not blend in in one layer as with the other IEMS. These headphones know how to rock having a very good PRAT and energetic sound.
Infected Mushroom – Drum n’ Bassa
I usually hate the bass on IEMS as it feels unnatural with too much pressure on the eardrum. Well until now the IE800 did not fit the normal in-year standards and It was time to see if the bass really is better than with others.
Well…IE800 impressed me again. The bass is deep, punchy and tight, but not invading other parts of the spectrum. The PRAT was excellent and the overall experience toe-tapping.
Leonard Cohen – Be for Real
You know that this is my ultimate way of testing the voice reproduction, and I must say that Leonard’s voice sounded very natural, well textured and had a very nice presence. I was not like Audeze LCD2 but it captured the essence of his voice.
I have listened to many other songs, but I will not add more impressions on songs as I have already stated the most important facts about IE800’s characteristics and I would repeat myself.
These are without doubt the best IEMs I have ever listened to. I really think Sennheiser nailed it with IE800, and nailed it good. As I said before, I usually don’t like the usual sound of in ear headphones, but sennheiser somehow made it in a way that while listening to it, I forget they are in this category.
It really took me by surprise:
For their type, I think their openness is amazing. Also the sound is not at all congested, it is actually multi-layered, with very good instrument separation and good spatial positioning.
The details on them are quite stunning. This combined with very good dynamics really give you goosebumps.
The mids, one of the strongest points of this headphone, are excellent and all the instruments and voices have a good, natural and well textured presentation.
Also the bass is not at all typical to IEMS. It is well extended, punchy and tight and doesn’t get over other frequencies.
The treble is very detailed and sparkly but not bright.
Overall the sound is very balanced throughout the spectrum and they were good with every genre I gave them.
I really thought of finding some cons to these headphones but other than the price I couldn’t find anything.
And all of this can fit your pocket. They work very well with phones and other mobile devices but they benefit from some amplification and a good DAC . You can have high end sound with you, everywhere you go. For someone who is always traveling, these babies are perfect.
Here is a picture of IE80 on the left and IE800 on the right.
I have noticed that the 2013 version is different from 2012 version. It looks like the sound is quite different between the 2 models and I don’t quite appreciate how the graphs from the newer model look like. I am not sure what my review unit was, but I didn’t feel they were too bassy.
If I get my hands on a newer version I will try to hear if there are real differences.