Vision Ears is a beloved company when it comes to IEMs. Both performers and audiophiles can’t seem to get enough of these things, and I don’t blame them. I’ve tried out quite a few models from their VE line, including the VE 3.2, VE 5, and VE 6. I’ve found all of these had different strengths and were highly variable in their signatures. All of them felt like incredibly well made IEMs. Today, we’ll be talking about a model on the higher end of Vision Ears’ price range, the VE 8. The universal fit of these runs for $2,205, while the custom fit runs for $2,409. Today we’ll be using the universal fit.
The VE models are named according to the number of drivers they use. The VE 8 houses 8 balanced armature drivers on each side. These can be custom fitted, but using the universal model they still feel impressively comfortable. In terms of on stage use, some VE models are most optimized for specific applications, such as the VE 5 which Vision Ear says are best primarily for Vocals and Guitar. Other models like the VE 8 have less specific on stage use recommendations, ample for drums, bass, vocals, guitar, keys, and mixing. For the audiophile user, Vision Ears claims these are best for a wide sound stage and balanced signature. We’ll be putting that to the test.
Look and Feel
It’s always fun to look at the designs companies apply to the inherently odd shapes IEMs come in. I appreciate how Vision Ears doesn’t hold back on giving you tons of loud style options across their models. You can choose from different types of glittery, metallic, and patterned designs when purchasing from them. If you’re looking at a pair from the VE series, I say go ahead and express yourself! The VE 8s I have are a translucent orange color. They kind of look like amber to me, that ancient fossilized tree resin you can get on necklaces with prehistoric mosquitoes stuck in them. Except these have a beautiful family of drivers and wiring in them!
These have a low impedance of 22 Ohms at 1 kHz and a sensitivity of 120dB SPL at 1 mW. Be careful with your volume on these. A little goes a long way, trust me.
The soundstage on these is pretty impressive. Per their versatile use, they don’t seem to pick out any particular elements or frequency range to showcase, giving us a balanced impression of the track. I felt like these were wider than other VE models, though not a significant departure. They carry great detail on the edges of the mix, properly highlighting backing vocals and stereo recordings. The center of the mix feels full and rich and never subtractive. The instrument separation on these feels very sufficient for live applications, while still giving enough blend to keep the mix glued without feeling incoherent. It’s easy to get a good read on the space of a recording and reverb level with these too. I give the soundstage on these two big thumbs up.
Consistent with other VE IEMs, the lows on these are deep and extremely warm. They have a satisfying punch and do a good job of marrying the sub frequencies to the 50-60Hz range. I tested these with a lot of live acoustic pieces but briefly departed from this to listen to Arca’s track “Desafío.” The VE 8 remained unfazed by its rumbling lows and gracefully handled its ever-changing textures. These are definetly not shy on the low end, they give you a full serving of bass for sure. However, this full bodied approach ensures nothing gets left out, and that’s what you want from an IEM like these.
The VE 8s have pretty snappy mids, definitely sharper than the VE 3.2 and VE 6. Vocals feel highlighted, fully present, and dynamic. At times I wanted a little extra low mid in vocals, but I’d rather have more high mid over more low mid. I listened to Snarky Puppy’s live-recorded performance of “Amour T’es La” on these a few times. It gave a super tight presentation of the pumping, energetic drums and filled out all the backing vocals well. The lead vocal felt articulate and clear as day. With how central the midrange is to bringing out certain areas of a mix, I imagined myself as various members of band in this situation: would these give me the right response if I was the drummer, the pianist, a horny player? etc. No element felt pushed aside. The VE 8s feel like they evenly represent the whole performance. For those using these off stage for casual listening, this balanced leveling will help ensure a realistic presentation of audio without any strong modulation.
These are bright IEMs, though I wouldn’t call the highs screaming. They do a good job capturing the essential highs and detailing the ear candy. Some other VE models definitely have a darker high end signature than these, but the VE 8s still share the same overall warmth with then. I listened to another live-recorded song, “What I’m Doing Here” by Lake Street Drive. The snares and high hats felt crisp but controlled, and the vocals kept their breath without getting too much shine. The natural sound the highs retain on the VE 8 was definitely one of their star qualities for me, as nothing bothers me more than a mindlessly bright IEM.
The VE 8 is a real workhorse IEM. It doesn’t skimp in any areas, and feels like it knows what its audience wants and how to deliver it. Visions Ears’ VE series, as a whole, would be one of the first places I’d recommend looking if you’re in the market for a new pair of IEMs. If you have the budget, the VE 8 may be one of the strongest in its product line. These will definitely be getting a fair amount of use from me, along with the many loyal customers Vision Ears continues to draw in.