Sennheiser IE 800 S are latest version of What Hi-Fi? Award-winners

In our 2013 review, we said of the Sennheiser IE 800 in-ears they were “superbly made, brilliantly accomplished in-ear headphones… you’d be hard-pressed to find better. At any price.” That’s what led them to win What Hi-FI? Awards in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

The elephant in the room, however, was their £600 price - so the news that the IE 800 S model will retail at an eye-watering £870 when they go on sale later this month, is an even harder pill to swallow.

Still, if they maintain their predecessor’s legacy, they should find an audience (however small it may be).

To justify the price hike, the new Sennheisers feature refined versions of the original’s 7mm Extra Wide Band (XWB) driver.

They still employ Sennheiser’s dual-chamber absorbers and feature ceramic housings, the latter of which has been treated to a refreshed black matte finish – although by comparing images, we think the biggest visual difference lies with the black (as opposed to patterned) cable.

Speaking of which, the standard 3.5mm cable is joined in the box by 4.4mm Pentaconn and 2.5mm balanced connectors, and a leather case.

The IE 800 S in-ears should hit shelves this month and hopefully reach our test rooms soon after. In the meantime, we're going to repeatedly wash our hands in order to be ready for them.


7 of the best in-ear headphones

14 brilliant pairs of headphones comprise What Hi-Fi? Awards 2017 winners

11 of the world's most expensive headphones

13 truly wireless alternatives to the Apple AirPods

Over-ear (yet in-ear) Nuraphones promise tailored listening

Libratone launches Google-certified USB-C and wireless headphones

Simon Lucas is a freelance technology journalist and consultant, with particular emphasis on the audio/video aspects of home entertainment. Before embracing the carefree life of the freelancer, he was editor of What Hi-Fi? – since then, he's written for titles such as GQ, Metro, The Guardian and Stuff, among many others.