Make a Sound Isolation Earphone With Sennheiser IE80 Drivers

About: www.earphonediylabs.org is my blog to share learnings and experiences building earphones.

This is to build a Sound Isolating earphone with the DIY Kit from www.earphonediylabs.com. The earphone is with phenomenal crystal outlook, and the sound is great with 2 dynamic drivers from Sennheiser IE80S. By having basic soldering and gluing skills and the state of art components offered by us, you can easily make your own audiophile-grade earphone in 1~2 hours. Here is a detailed intro of the components.

Step 1: Prepare the Components and Tools

You will need following components:

  1. 1 pair of Crystal Art earphone shell, 2 color options: Crystal or Black
  2. 2 X 10mm dynamic driver units, used by Sennheiser IE80S
  3. 1 X DIY cable with 3.5mm jack, 1.2m length
  4. Ear-tips

You will also need basic tools

  1. Soldering iron and tins
  2. Knife, screw drivers, etc.
  3. Slow and fast dry glue
  4. (Optional) an IEC711 coupler

Step 2: Install the Driver Into Housing

Using slow dry glue to stick the drivers to the housing as displayed in the pic. Be careful not to let the glue get into the driver! And you need to ensure the install in air tight, i.e., do NOT leave any gap around the driver!

Once the driver is installed, use instant dry glue to stick the cable pipe to the shell, notice the direction and position in the pic.

Step 3: Soldering

Wait 1h until the glue being dry, soldering wires to the driver as displayed.

Step 4: Measurement (Optional)

If you have a IEC711 coupler, it is good time to measure the frequency response of the kit before the final step. It's to double confirm the installation being correct.

Step 5: Assemble the Back Cover and Enjoy Your Build

Use instant glue to stick the upper cover to the housing, and you done!

Refer to some measurement I've done on the kit.

Step 6: Impression of the Build

Following sound signature impression is only for reference.

Reasonably balanced throughout the highs and mids, with a gradual emphasis towards low bass.

Bass

Very powerful bass.It’s authoritative and the best choice for basshead audiophiles. Some reviews said the sub-bass of IE80S is not as deep as IE800, while we think they must not have measure it carefully. Benefit from 10mm drivers (3 times larger than IE800), the kit offers much better fidelity (<1%) and the bass sounds natural and real (unlike IE800 which has the bass a bit over bloated). As the bass is not adjustable as IE80S, we set it to default (mid) level which works best for most users.

Mids

The mid-range is clearer and more resolving in comparison to the IE80. But still, the mid-range is fairly recessed compared to the bass and the treble peak. As a result, the vocals do not have the immediacy, size and density. So this is not an IEM for vocals, especially the female vocals as they may sound delicate. But given the enhanced bass, there is a certain thickness to the mid-range that helps the presence adequately, especially the male vocals. The mid-range overall is a bit relaxed. Note, we noticed this well known character inherited from IE80S and working on a solution.

Highs

The treble was anything but bright. It did have a small peak in the lower treble at around 6kHz. Whether this brightness is a positive or a negative aspect, depends on one’s preference and tolerance for the treble. While there is definite brightness from this peak, it doesn’t put the IEM in the ‘Bright IEM’ category. It’s still a warm IEM, with some brightness showing its head once in a while. Except for this peak, the treble is linear and smooth..

Dynamics / Soundstage / Separation / Imaging

One of the biggest highlights of this kit is its huge soundstage. If you have been used to IE800, the 1st second impression would be the space getting 5 times bigger. And the feeling is like being unlocked from a chamber, and every instrument seems being restored from a point of sound to a real one with 3D shape. Many IEMs in $300 have come close to match or surpass the width. But what makes this kit’s stage special is its depth. Although, there is not an abundance of air in the stage, the depth makes the stage appear more 3D. While the imaging is not pin-point precise, it has a certain realism due to the instruments in a 3D space. The abundant space allows for good instrument separation and layering. But the IEM can tend to congestion as it is warm and its speed is not the best.

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