Ortofon e-Q8 Quick Review

Ortofon e-Q8 Quick Review

Thanks to Musica Acoustica for the loaner.

Brief:  The Danish/Japanese Premium Earphone.

Price US$250 plus US$30p&p currently.

Specifications:  Speaker type: Balanced Armature – Pure Silver Coil Drum, Frequency response:10~20,000Hz, Sensitivity: 20mW, Impedance: 12Ω, Weight: 11.5g, Cable: 1.2m, straight 3.5mm plug (Ф3.5mm)

Accessories: 3 pairs of silicone ear tips (S/M/L), 1 pair of Comply foam tips, 4 replacement filters, 2 replacement filter rings, filter replacement tool.

Build Quality:  Everything you’d expect from something still made in Japan.

Isolation:  Slightly on the lesser side for a BA but that still blows away pretty much every dynamic.  You could happily use this out and about and even for Tube commutes or flights.  However do remember that means you won’t hear traffic, so do look where you are going.

Comfort/Fit:  They are rather long so they do stick out a bit.  Given their wide bore too means you can’t shove them in deep either.  However so long as you opt to wear them up then your fine.  Worn down the angle makes them feel pulled at constantly, so I’d say don’t wear them down.

Aesthetics:  There is no way around the fact these are lookers.  Granted that’s becoming increasingly a common trait but still, these can take a great photo.  I mean I can’t envisage anyone looking at these and not liking them.

Sound:  Rather lovely.  Rather lovely, somewhat beautiful, passably wonderful etc etc.  I condemn thee with faint praise.  The e-Q8 is a very lovely sounding IEM but I find it’s just a too polite and tame.  It’s not like I demand excitement but these just feel out of place trying to thump out a baseline or dealing with bouncy pop.  It’s never an unpleasant thing to listen to but it just never managed to capture my attention no matter how I tried to make it happen.  They are serenely pleasant at all times.  They can be a little over energetic in the upper mids at times, veering towards a little shouty but that’s as close to offensive they ever managed.  The bass is nice but so polite, restrained, clean of course and with good depth for a BA but…. it refused to ever dominate.  Even at times where I pushed the issue it just wouldn’t do it.  The mids you see, they are where the e-Q8 like to be and they do vocals very well, maybe a little polite and flavourless but they are highly detailed.  They also are highly accurate.  Then the highs, like the bass they are pretty well extended for a BA, still they have a certain politeness to them.  They can’t explode in a shower of broken glass even when you push them do so.  They will have a go but it always lacks something in being convincing.

It’s a most pleasantly lovely earphone to relax to, thrilling beast it is not.

Value:  Musica Acoustica seems to be highly under cutting others at having them for US$280, that seems a more reasonable price, their normal US$400 to me is too much.  I know they have a pure silver driver coil, so super premium materials but its acoustic abilities are just too polite for me.  It’s beautiful yes but I just couldn’t find the love for it.

Pro’s:  Beautiful looking.  Beautiful sounding.  Super premium materials.

Con’s:  Achingly polite.  Never convincingly aggressive or wild.

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