Sennheiser IE 8 review

If you're a commuter who values their music, you have to give these a try Tested at £250.00

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

If you're a commuter who values their music, you have to give these a try


  • +

    A big, eminently musical delivery

  • +

    extremely comfortable and snug fit

  • +

    don't amplify body noise or movement


  • -

    Some have slightly greater attack

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Just a short time ago, we'd have baulked at the idea of spending this sort of money on in-ear 'phones.

But with many music lovers taking advantage of lossless formats and doing much of their listening on the move, there's now a serious case for quality portable phones like these.

The high-end IE range consists of three models, with the 8s sitting at the top. In the box you get the 'phones themselves, a neat storage case, a cable clip, ear hooks, and no-less than 10 ear buds.

We found it incredibly easy to find a firm and comfortable fit. The buds don't go as far into the ear-canal as some, with the ear-clips contributing to holding the 'phones in-place, but they still fill your ear and block outside noise very well.

What's more, unlike many in-ears, the Sennheisers resist amplifying body noise and movement.

Another good thing is that, although the earphones are a fairly peculiar shape, there's nothing about them that screams 'expensive', so you're not going to attract any unwanted attention from seedy street-urchin types.

Impressive weight and scale
Sennheiser is making a big thing of the fact that you can manually adjust the bass response of the IE 8s, but there's not a huge amount of variation in the scale, and we found the lowest point provided the most satisfying delivery.

Set here, the IE 8s have an extremely impressive bass performance with great weight, solidity and scale.

This doesn't come at the expense of the rest of the frequency range, though, so a track such as Flobots' Fight With Tools has all the necessary low-end depth and pace without any loss of impact to the call-to-arms vocals.

And when the violin solo (yup, violin solo) kicks in, the treble is defined enough to reveal its gloriously smooth texture against the bite and sparkle of the high-hat.

True, there are some earphones out there that offer slightly greater attack, but few get close to the detail, dynamism and balance of the superb IE 8s.

They're expensive, but if you want quality music on the move you really have to give them a try.

What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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