Review: Sennheiser IE80 Earphone

Post by Mark

ie80

Since around 2007 and up until last year I had basically been loyal to one earphone brand and thats Ultimate Ears. They were so good that I ended up going through three pairs, I started with the Ultimate Ears SuperFi 5 Pro in 2007 and then upgraded to the TripleFi 10 until they stopped working so I bought a second pair of the same ones. I just couldn’t find anything better for the price and decided to stick to them even though they had failed me. Then last year my second pair started failing as well so I decided to look for an alternative.

After a lot of research I ended up getting the Sennheiser IE80. There were a number of factors that played into my decision with the main ones being the sound signature, the price, the comfort and the brand. Trying to buy a pair of earphones without being able to try them on and listening to them is extremely difficult. Why would you choose a pair of $150 earphones over a pair of $100 ones or how much better do a pair of $500 or even $1,000 pair of earphones sound over a $300 pair? Theres an earphone at every price point and I had to go through tons of reviews and read hundreds of different comments by people in various forums before I could finally decide on a pair. What made things more complicated with me was that I didn’t really have a budget. I didn’t mind paying $70 and I wouldn’t have minded paying $500 since music is important for me and so I really need to have great sounding earphones. I think I might have even been willing to pay a $1,000 if it meant I’d be getting ear euphoria followed by a happy ending from an Eastern European model.

One of the most important factors in choosing an earphone would be the amount and quality of bass they had. I listen to a lot of electronic music and really need deep bass to thoroughly enjoy the music. But I didn’t want boomy bass and I also didn’t want the rest of the sound spectrum to be muddled. Based on what I read the Sennheiser IE80’s fit into what I was looking for. They also cost around $280 which wasn’t too bad and from all the reviews I read they seemed to be very comfortable as well so I went a head and ordered a pair last July while I was in LA.

When I first got the IE80’s I was actually disappointed with the sound since I found them too bright and lacking deep bass. Even when I tried all the different earphone tips provided with the earphones I couldn’t get the bass to the level I needed it to be. After going back to some forums and reading up I noticed a lot of people were recommending to combine the IE80’s with a pair of Comply T-500 Foam Tips. So I ordered a pair of those tips and I’m so glad I did. They completely changed how the earphones sounded by providing better isolation which resulted in much deeper bass. Since then I’ve been using the IE80’s frequently including on 5 plane trips that were over 10 hours long. They’re very comfortable and they sound insanely good, better than any pair of earphones I’ve previously used. The only down side I have with them is their carrying case which I find a bit too big and bulky to carry and also not that practical to use. Other than that minor issue I’d highly recommend these earphones. If when you do get a pair and the bass seems a bit weak even after burning them in then do what I did and order the Comply tips as well.

I bought my pair of IE80’s from Amazon for KD86 [Link] but they’re available locally at aDawliah for KD117. The Comply T-500 tips cost me another KD5 and I bought those from Amazon as well [Link].


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22 comments, add your own...


  1. DeReD says:

    Nice one. I got myself the Shure SE215 and they have been great.

    What made you not think of the ie800, since u did not have a budget and just a bit more..

    and LOL at the happy ending..

  2. Ali says:

    Did you try the noise cancelling Bose earphones? by far the best I have had.

  3. Randy says:

    Have you found any decent to high end wireless earphones suitable for physical activity?

  4. James says:

    IMHO Bose and Sennheiser are the best in the pro area. The tips part was a learning for me!

    • Mark says:

      Fuck no, please don’t put Bose in the same league as Senn. Bose are priced high end but they’re not high end, it’s just marketing. There are a ton of cans that cost a lot less and sound a lot better.

  5. M4 says:

    Really? I had the IE80 and hated it. Of course I’ve been using the CX series the one with the earhook (They had a partnership with adidas then. I guess now they don’t now.). The IE80 just wasn’t that good in comparison. I got cause a lot of good things have been written about it.

    The best earphone I ever had has to be the CX980. It was a high-end earphone in the CX series but I don’t know the number of the newest equivalent.

  6. southp4w says:

    Not sure if this would work the same way out there but I own a pair of solid, pricey earphones (they’re bose, so say what you may but the water-resistant aspect of it for my all-seasons bike commutes is A+). Anyway, support has been amazing in whenever something happens to them in sending me a replacement. I just had to recently because the wiring went a little iffy from grinding on the ground (i slid on ice, then on the ground) that rendered one earbud inaudible.

    No calls needed, just an email to customer support, your earphone code and a replacement is sent after you mail your set back in (they give you a UPS label, etc. for it). Brand new, all new accessories, etc. I’ve done this 2 times as well with my lifeproof case, and never had issues even 2 years out (i thin they reset the warranty from the most-recent sent product).

    I also didn’t buy the products from the product websites, but from AT&T and a Target so place of purchase is not as important for claiming warranties.

  7. Ahmad says:

    Could we also get a update/contact/review on the eastern block person with a promising future?

  8. Murrka says:

    Ultrasone FTW

  9. vampire says:

    what was your second/third options?

  10. fahed says:

    My Setup
    open-back: Philips X2/27 Fidelio
    IEM: RHA MA750i
    workout: Jaybird X2 Bluetooth Headphones
    AMP: Schiit Magni 2

  11. Neville says:

    You should try open back cans..

    My Setup :
    Open Back : Grado SR325e
    DAC + AMP : Nwavguy O2 Objective ( For home)
    : Audioquest Dragonfly v1.2
    IEM : Apple Standard
    Workout : Jaybird X2

    • Mark says:

      I did years ago and hated the Grado’s, tried a few different models from the Grado 80s all the way up to the 1000’s. They all had no bass and made all my music sound horrible. Those are a perfect example of “accurate” sounding cans.

  12. Sean says:

    The next time you are in the UK you should check out ACS Custom IEM’s.

    custom fit, complete sound isolation (if thats your thing)

  13. Faisal Al-Akhawand says:

    Hey Mark! I was just gonna ask if you’re still using these, and if yes then how do you like them after almost a year of use. I’m asking because I’m mostly leaning towards the Westone W40. The three IEMs I’m looking at are: Shure SE535, Westone W40, and the IE80. I like all types of music but mostly bassy genres. Any help is appreciated!


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