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Saturday, April 20, 2013


Along with BA200, TDK IE800 is developed by the acoustic research lab at Imation. These IEMs are tuned to have a very smooth frequency response in order to closely emulate the tonality of a reference loudspeaker system, according to the manufacturer.

And most importantly, the acoustic research lab currently uses a conventional artificial ear fixture, G.R.A.S. 45CA, which has a pair of occluded ear simulator installed within, thus the accuracy of their acoustic tuning is absolutely guaranteed.

One notable feature of IE800 is its double driver configuration connected in parallel, without any kind crossover filter implemented within. While a 5.8 mm microtransducer handles the high frequency response, a 8mm driver takes the role of a woofer. As a conventional single driver is fully capable of covering the entire frequency spectrum, TDK's approach is rather intriguing.

PRO: Distortion free & linear impedance characteristic.

CON: A channel mismatch of 2 dB from 20 Hz to 4,000 Hz.  Due to IE800's low impedance value, the IEM is prone to static noise from sources. The treble has a bit of harshness, along with ringing at 4.7 kHz, at which the mechanical resonance is located.

ON SECOND THOUGHT #1: No matter how the IEM is equipped, the harshness in the treble does not disappear.

ON SECOND THOUGHT #2: Interestingly, as acoustic resistance of the damper increases, response at 2.7 kHz is affected the most.

ON SECOND THOUGHT #3: TDK IE800 has no visible acoustic vent on the housing. However, once all the openings, including the strain relief, are closed off, the bass response below 500 Hz is tamed about 3 dB, indicating the present of acoustic ventilation in action.

ON SECOND THOUGHT #4: When two of TDK's double-driver IEMs are compared simultaneously, they clearly exhibit difference in tonality. While BA200 is tuned for neutral sound signature by following the diffuse-field reference in downsloping manner, IE800 is an over-exaggeration of original sound by emphasizing the bass & treble greatly. Although there is not much of point in distinguishing sonic superiority between these two, I personally prefer BA200 for its balance and smoother bass.

ON SECOND THOUGHT #5: Perhaps the only way of taming IE800's harshness is to utilize different type of ear sleeves, preferably with shorter&thinner nozzle size. Sony's hybrids are my sleeves of choice, as they tend to disperse resonances evenly once shallow inserted. A follow-up article on comprehensive sleeve comparison will be posted soon.


  1. Great review as always! :)

  2. What do you reckon is the best out of IE800,RE-272, RE-400 given that they all have same price?

  3. How do these compete with the BA200 or GR07 MK II?

    1. BA200 better. I dont know about the other one

    2. For better tonal balance, BA200 wins. However, although some might disagree with me here, Vsonic GR07 mkII wins euphonically to my ears.