What Hi-Fi? 2015 Award winners: Sennheiser IE800 headphones

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German headphone manufacturer, Sennheiser, are back with their latest In-Ear Monitors (IEMs), the 2015 What Hi-Fi? Award-winning IE800. We take a closer look…

Whilst not the priciest headphone that Sennheiser make (they’ve just announced the new Orpheus, with an eye-watering £50,000 price tag), the IE800 are their most expensive in-ear design, but the praise bestowed on them shows that the price tag is more than justified.

Aesthetically the IE800 are a real sight to behold, with their scratch-proof ceramic outer housing both a fine choice for function and form. A technology that Sennheiser call ‘Dampened Two-Chamber Absorber’ (D2CA) is implemented, and alongside the ceramic casing is designed to reduce internal standing waves and reduce harmonic distortion to practically non-exsistent levels.

“The Sennheiser IE 800s are superbly made, brilliantly accomplished in-ear headphones.” – What Hi-Fi?

“The Sennheiser IE 800s are superbly made, brilliantly accomplished in-ear headphones.” – What Hi-Fi?

Sennheiser have also done their best to ensure that these buds can be used as a fantastic everyday headphone and stand the test of time too. They fitted a mesh-coated cable will protect them from snags and day-to-day wear and tear that usually become a burden to commuters especially.

Of course, it is the driver units themselves that will ultimately make or break any speaker or headphone, and as masters of their trade, Sennheiser have pulled out all the stops with those in the IE800. Utilising their ‘extra wide band’ (XMB) transducer system, Sennheiser’s aim is clear: full, deep and clean bass and perfectly extended highs, but with minimal distortion across the frequency range. At only 7mm, Sennheiser claim the XMB speaker is the smallest of its kind currently in use in the in-ear market.

Whilst the IE800 are not an overly difficult load to drive, to really get the best out of them a headphone amplifier and dedicated music player are recommended. Astell & Kern’s range of players, such as the Junior, with their high quality on-board DAC and ability to play Hi-Res files would make a perfect partner.

With a higher output voltage for driving headphones than most mobile phones, these portable audio players or indeed a simple portable DAC are a must audition for fans of music on the go, and particularly those wanting to get the most out of the IE800.

From their futuristic design, to the world-class technology that makes them sound so good, the IE800 fully deserve their place alongside the HD800 as a truly high-end product, and are a worthy winner of this year’s Best in-ear headphones £300+ from What Hi-Fi?.

Give your local store a call today to arrange an audition of the Sennheiser IE800 headphones. Or call our friendly Telesales team on 0333 900 0093 to find out more about our award-winning product range.

To find out more about Sennheiser IE800, click here.

Author – Chris, Liverpool store