It’s been a minute since Sennheiser has put out any new earphones. But today, sitting on my desk, Headphone Dungeon finally has itself the new Sennheiser IE80S BT. And this puppy is just barking for a review. But at a whopping $499, is the sound worth the samolians?
Sennheiser IE80S BT Review
The IE80S BT comes in a fancy Sennheiser box that also holds a carrying case, a USB-C charging cable, and nine pairs of eartips. A combination cleaning-and adjustment tool also comes included.
Featuring a neckband design, the IE80S BT sits at a wearers collar bone. With its heavy-duty rubberized exterior, the IE80S BT feels like it could weather any abuse. Yet, due to the pliable feel, it remains comfortable during most if not any acctivity. Various controls on the left arm adjust playback or volume, or engage the voice assistant function. The earpieces feature an over-the-ear loop that does increase the security of the fit.
Battery life measures a fair six hours, but on Standby Mode, the IE80S BT remains ready to use for up to two weeks. And, thanks to the USB-C charging, that battery only requires an hour-and-a-half to reach max capacity.
But if you wanted to, you could still ditch the Bluetooth cable and use the earpieces with a more traditional earphone cable. Because, wireless capabilities aside, this is still very much the Sennheiser IE80S earphone with a BT cable.
And along with that wired capability, you also get the IE80S signature bass, which can be tuned to your liking on each earpiece.
When it comes to call quality, this earphone is no slouch, either, with the Bluetooth cable maintaining a clear and clean connection with good pickup and zero issues.
All sound impressions are for the IE80S BT right out of the box with the factory-standard tuning for bass, unless otherwise stated.
In the low end, the IE80S BT offers a solid listening experience marked by a quick, deep bass response. But that bass features enough control to keep things clean, preventing any bleed from taking away from the detailed sound. Every one of my test tracks sounds great here, but the IE80S BT’s low end sounds particularly fun with rock, hip-hop, electronica, and pop.
When it comes to the mids, the IE80S BT feels robust but restrained. Though detailed and with excellent presentation, the mids never upstage the low and highs, give the impression of a very well-balanced sound. Instrumentation and vocals sound equally impressive here, and there’s a sense of clarity and separation in the mids that definitely helps the song along. While I wish it held back just a little less, fans of the Sennheiser signature sound will love this well-crafted midrange.
The IE80S BT sports a good high end with just a little compression in the low highs. As a result, some vocals sound a bit pinched or cramped. However, instrumentation avoids suffering too much. Overall, this issue flies under the radar during most listening sessions – you would strain your ears if trying to find it in every recording. Generally, this one hiccup aside, the high end remains detailed enough even if it does give an impression of smoothness.
There’s some space and depth to the sound of the IE80S BT, giving a fairly impressive sound for a wireless earphone. Sennheiser proudly displays a Hi-Res Wireless Audio (HWA) badge on the front of the product packaging. And while it’s true that any Bluetooth signal will compress audio to some degree, the Sennheiser IE80S BT proves that a great earphone like the IE80S can still sound great wireless.
Like the IE80S, this BT version offers the ability to tune bass – whether you’re looking for a light listening experience with just a tiny bit of bite or a mollar-rattling bass drop. While I personally found the maximum setting a bit too dark and poorly controlled, but the next-highest setting did offer a better (if still comparable) sound.
If you’re a fan of the Sennheiser sound or, more specifically, the IE80, the IE80S BT offers the best wireless audio available right now. As a wireless earphone, though, it still competes with other Bluetooth options at this price range, like the Westone B30 or the Shure SE535. If you want a tuneable bass and don’t mind a slightly smooth high end, the Sennheiser may be right up our alley. Plus, at $499, the price is more than fair for an earphone that sounds this fine.
Headphone Dungeon Score
Due to the impressive audio, ease of use, and overall quality of the Sennheiser IE80S BT, it takes home five skulls. The slight amount of compression in the low highs could have cost it some points, but all in all, this earphone sounds nearly perfect for a $499 wireless option.
Obtain the Sennheiser IE80S for the best price here:
Wearing style: Neckband
Frequency response (Microphone): 100 Hz to 10,000 Hz
Frequency response: 10 – 20,000 Hz (Bluetooth can change this value)
Sound pressure level (SPL): 110 dB (1 kHz/0 dBFS)
THD, total harmonic distortion: < 0.5 % (1 kHz, 100 dB)
Ear coupling: Ear canal
Transducer principle: dynamic
Weight: approx. 30g
Charging time: approx. 1.5 hrs
Pick-up pattern: 2 omni-directional microphones
Microphone sensitivity: -38 dB V/Pa
Storage temperatureL: –20 to +60°C
Operating temperature: 0 to +40°C
Operating time: 6 hrs (music playback via SBC) with head – phones‘ rechargeable battery; 340 hrs in standby mode
Power supply: built-in rechargeable lithium-polymer battery: 3.7 V ⎓, 120 mAh
USB charging: 5 V ⎓, 500 mA
Operating relative humidity operation: 10 to 80%, non-condensing; storage: 10 to 90%