A while ago my 30gb iPod video and Sennheiser cx300 earphones were stolen, I decided to replace both, upgraded to a 120gb iPod classic and after reading extensive reviews on various pairs of phones I decided to get these.
IE8s are my first pair of high end earphones and coming from a pair of original cx300s, plus PX100s these are a major improvement as they should be for the price, but they're worth the extra money (I paid £40 for the cx300s).
To my ears the cx300s were a major step up from the standard apple buds (which sounded OK) and apple's own original upgrade canal phones (which I really liked until they broke).
For me the CX300s were good, but lacked true scale of sound which the IE8s have in abundance, along with the great detail and improvements on the full range of the sound.
I listen to a variety of genres, have my tunes stored at 320kbs in the AAC format and they sound amazing when listening through the IE8s.
I'm not an audiophile, nor have I been to a live concert, but the few live recordings I own and have listened to through the IE8s actually sound like I imagine they would if I were at the concert, other tracks just sound clear, with amazing detail, great bass, mids and high notes.
Vocals sound great too.
I've read the IE8s require a lot of burn in to reach their full potential, but I found they sounded good straight out of the box, I left them plugged into my hi-fi, on the lowest volume playing some classical (which sounds amazing) and after 5 nights or so (listening in between) they have improved a lot, sound much more open than they did at first, treble sparkles more and I think vocals stand out more, instruments/sound effects sound more separated while still being well integrated with the whole sound.
The bass is amazing, the IE8s actually make you feel the punch of the music, which IMO should be impossible in a pair of earphones and on some tracks you can hear it all around you, instead of just isolated to the buds, when I say around you I mean in front, behind and everywhere you'd want it to be, even though this is the case it never intrudes on mids and treble.
I do my listening with the bass adjuster set to minimum (adjuster tool and cleaner do the job), I've tried turning it up to full, which does give an extra thump, but as I prefer things to be more neutral I leave it at the lowest setting.
The overall sound of these earphones has an amazing size to it, which is something I've never heard before.
I guess I've probably been running them in for about 50 hours (haven't really been documenting exactly how long each burn in period is), from reading the IE8 appreciation thread on head-fi.org apparently the IE8s can take up to 200 hours to be at their best, so I guess they'll just keep on improving, I've loved the way they've changed so far so can only imagine they'll sound even more amazing when they've finished.
The IE8s are themselves very light weight but feel well made, cables are very flexible and solid, like everything else in the package.
The phones are very comfortable to wear.
The case is very good, does the job and will provide adequate protection when the phones are stored away, though I wish it had somewhere to store the ear hooks (which are comfy to wear and stop the cables from moving around behind your ears).
You get 10 ear tips, including foam (S/L), silicon single and double flange (S/M/L in both types), plus mushrooms (S/M), sound varies depending on which you use.
To some it all up the IE8s are simply stunning, the best earphones I've ever heard, 100% worth their asking price.
If you love your music and want it to sound at it's best I recommend you get these.