Introduction

Sennheiser is a German company that specializes in a wide range of audio products from in-ear monitors (IEMs) to speakers. They have released the IE80S and IE800S recently as the successors to IE80 and IE800 respectively. In this review, I will be reviewing the IE800S. I would like to thank Sennheiser for the review unit of the IE800S. At the moment, you can purchase the IE800S from https://en-us.sennheiser.com/in-ear-headphones-earphones-ie-800-s-ceramic .

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Specifications

  • Driver Configuration: Dynamic
  • Impedance: 16 ohm
  • Frequency Response: 5 – 46500 Hz
  • Max Sound Pressure Level: 125 dB at 1 Vrms
  • THD, total harmonic distortion: < 0.06% (1 kHz, 94 dB)

Unboxing & Accessories

The IE800S comes in a black package inside a protective box that sports image of the iem, brand name and model name. The black package has the brand logo printed on it. After opening the package, there are the iem and transport leather case. There are instruction manual, micro fibre cloth, connectivity cables (3.5mm standard, 2.5mm balanced, 4.4mm balanced Pentaconn) and ear tips (3 x Silcone S, M, L  & 3 x Comply™ S, M, L). With the amount of accessories provided, it is a complete package.

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IEM Build & Design

The IE800S has a premium scratch-resistant ceramic housing and it has a smooth matte black finish. The housing is small which allows me to fit in my ears comfortably.  On each side of the IE800S, there is the brand logo. At the back of the IE800S, it features Sennheiser’s patented dual-chamber absorber (DC2A) system. The nozzle is rather short with a metal mesh for earwax prevention. There is solid build quality.

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Cable Build & Design

The cable is black in color and it is not braided. There is strain relief on each side. The blue and red colour of the strain relief represents the left and right side respectively. The cable has a black squarish chin-slider. The y-splitter has a black circular housing. At this point, it features a modular cable system for usage with different digital audio players (DAPs). The top part of the y-splitter has a 2.5mm balanced straight jack while for the bottom part of the y-splitter, it features a female 2.5mm balanced socket. There is strain relief. Lastly, the jack is 3.5mm standard, 2.5mm balanced or 4.4mm balanced Pentaconn right angled. The jack has a circular black housing with strain relief.

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Sound Analysis

Lows

The IE800S has a good amount of sub-bass quantity with the ability to extend greatly. There is a smooth and confident delivery which is able to create a pleasant engagement that is not too aggressive. The rumble is controlled and comes with a natural feeling. The bass texture is rendered in a velvety manner. Bass decay has a moderate speed to it with agility. There is a high level of command as the bass reproduction maintains a strict tightness throughout. The mid-bass has a moderate quantity and it is able to express the slam with a nice weighted feel. There is a nice punch and it brings a more impactful sound. The IE800S showcases a skilful execution in the bass reproduction. The transition from the lows to the lower mids is seamless.

Mids

The midrange is excellent with a good balance of musicality and technicality. There is a moderate level of transparency and cleanliness is expressed well. It is able to tackle busy tracks too with minimal congestion. The lower mids has a moderate quantity and there are no signs of nasal/dry feeling. The body benefits male vocals greatly with naturalness. The upper mids has a forwardness with strong mastery. Female vocals are presented in an intimate and organic manner. The IE800S demonstrates a good standard of details retrieval. There is a strong finesse and vocals presentation has nice emotions.

Highs

The treble is extended well and there is no sibilance and harshness. The IE800S is able showcase a good technical aspect. The amount of air rendered has a moderate amount with nice crisp and sparkle that helps to inject some excitement into the sound. There is good clarity shown while details are expressed in an effortless manner. It ensures a fatigue-free listening session and provides an excellent definition.

Soundstage

The soundstage is able to give a spacious feel. There is a natural expansion which improves the musicality. The width magnitude is fantastic which provides an outstanding openness. The depth is slightly closed in with a moderate amount of space rendered. It is able to increase the intimacy level. Positioning of vocals and instruments is precise.

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Comparisons

Sennheiser IE800S vs Beyerdynamic Xelento

The IE800S has less sub-bass quantity than the Xelento and the Xelento is able to exert its sub-bass greater. The sub-bass on both extends with a similar magnitude. There is an additional presence of rumble for the Xelento. Each bass note on the Xelento is articulated with a stronger hit while on the IE800S, it is articulated well with more smoothness. There is good accuracy on both whilst keeping a tight control. The bass decay on the Xelento is slightly quicker while the IE800S excels in a velvety bass texture. The mid-bass on the Xelento has slightly more body and the weight helps to increase the slam impact, thus increasing the engagement level. There is extra punch. The midrange on both has great transparency and cleanliness. The lower mids on the IE800S is very similar to the Xelento and there is sufficient body to tackle male vocals. The upper mids on the Xelento is slightly more lively and female vocals benefit from it with an increased engagement. The treble on both has very similar extension with good crisp and sparkle. The IE800S has more air rendered at the top end which helps to give an airy feeling. There is no sibilance and harshness for both. The details retrieval has a high standard. Lastly, for the soundstage, both expands naturally. The IE800S has a greater width while the Xelento is able to render more depth.

Sennheiser IE800S vs Campfire Audio Vega

The Vega has more sub-bass quantity than the IE800S and the sub-bass reproduction on the Vega has greater impact. The Vega is able to extend deeply with a strong hit. The IE800S presents it in a more controlled manner without as much aggression as the Vega. The bass texture on the IE800S is rendered more smoothly while the bass decay on the Vega is quicker with agility. The mid-bass on the Vega has extra quantity and the Vega is able to create a more impactful slam. The IE800s is able to maintain mastery here. The lower mids on the Vega has more body than the IE800S and the thicker approach accentuates male vocals reproduction. The upper mids on the IE800S is presented in a cleaner manner with good transparency shown. The forwardness on both is around the same. The midrange on the IE800S has a good balance without sounding too dense and this will result in minimal congestion. The treble on both has great extension with the IE800S displaying more crisp and sparkle. The Vega tends to express its treble in a harsher way and the IE800S shows great finesse. The IE800S is capable of achieving a good balance. Lastly, the soundstage of the IE800s is wider than the Vega and the Vega has better depth. Positioning of instruments and vocals is more accurate on the IE800S.

Sennheiser IE800S vs Sennheiser IE80S

The IE80S has more sub-bass quantity than the IE800S and the sub-bass reproduction takes on a fuller approach. The bass texture on the IE80S has a nice smoothness which is enhanced by the body. The IE800S has agility and thrives with a quicker bass decay. The mid-bass on the IE80S has more body and it gives a weighted feeling to its slam. There is greater punch from the IE80S but it might add a dense feel to the overall sound. Each bass note on the IE800S is articulated with more precision and there is a clean hit. The bass reproduction on the IE800S commands a stronger control which results in an unrivalled tightness. The lower mids on the IE80S has more body which results in a moderate thickness to improve male vocals. The upper mids on the IE800S has slightly more forwardness and it is presented cleaner. Female vocals are expressed in a clear-cut manner with intimacy. The treble on the IE800S has slightly better extension with a higher level of definition. It is able to render a greater amount of air which helps to minimize congestion. The IE800S presents extra crisp and sparkle. Lastly, the IE800S has a superior soundstage width with a natural expansion while the depth is similar with the amount of space rendered.

Conclusion

The IE800S is Sennheiser’s latest flagship in-ear monitor (IEM). It has the ability to produce a natural sound with a good balance of musicality and technicality. There is a brilliant execution of its bass reproduction, organic midrange and crisp treble. The soundstage gives a spacious feel. In addition, it has top-notch build quality and comes with various connectivity cables for different digital audio players. The Sennheiser IE800S is the successor to the popular IE800 and it is an outstanding upgrade by achieving a fantastic balance overall.

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