The VE8 creates an exceptionally enticing sound: a forward stage positioning, with deliciously thick notes. A full-bodied sound, with the unique ability to pull you into the music, by bringing it close to you – this might well be the definition of an engaging signature. Even though its vocals are fairly neutral in terms of forwardness, they’re equally large in size – there’s nothing laidback when it comes to the VE8. It’s a signature that works in unison with its stage: thicker notes, presented in a grand stage; essential for the quality of the separation. It has an average depth, but it’s tall, and significantly wider than average. Even so, the stage doesn’t feel unusually large; the proportion between the note size and stage dimensions remains very even, which tends to fill the stage in a natural way – it neither tends to congestion, nor does it feel artificially stretched out.
It’s a presentation where engagement comes first. Technical performance in turn, solely lives to serve that purpose. For make no mistake, the VE8 is a top performer when it comes to key technical characteristics. But at the same time, it conveys it as a side note, rather than the emphasis. The VE8 seems to mask its resolution by means of its signature; it’s not the type of signature you commonly associate with a high resolution sound. For instance, when comparing with competitors as the EarSonics S-EM9, Jomo Samba or Westone ES80, their high resolution is paired with a leaner, more neutral presentation. But the VE8 does something different. Its resolution is high, but it’s not its priority – it doesn’t feel the need to show it off. Rather, it provides a beautifully bodied sound, as well as a coherent signature. Factors as top-end extension and resolution both serve to create an exceptionally clean image, with well-defined instruments. As a result, it’s an engaging sound that’s easy to listen to, while nevertheless bringing detail to the foreground. But with a smooth delivery, and in a coherent manner.
Its general tone is fairly neutral; the VE8 is neither decisively warm, nor bright – it mostly sounds clear. But the sound is full-bodied and powerful, rather than aiming at a reference tuning; the combination of an attenuated mid- to upper-treble region, along with a lifted bass. A bass that moves into the fun range of things, adding rhythm and dynamism to the sound. But even so, it’s a pleasant bass with a soft touch, rather than a mean, hard-hitting one; the emphasis is on mid- over sub-bass. As a result, its bottom-end extension doesn’t initially seem to reach very deep. But when resorting to bass-heavy music, the rumble relying on the lowest registers is certainly there, revealing a deep-reaching impact. But even more important, is the instrumental role of the bass in adding body to the sound; the enhanced mid- and upper-bass creates a thicker note structure, adding a good deal of size to instruments and vocals.
Accordingly, it’s a midrange that differentiates itself with the forwardness and size of its instruments. It shares some characteristics with iems like the Campfire Vega and Rhapsodio Solar in this regard; instruments seem to steal the show, with vocals placed slightly behind. The vocal presentation isn’t lean or laidback for any matter, as they’re large in size: male vocals in particular benefit from the upper-bass, providing that deep, chesty feel. Even so, female vocals retain a sweetness in their tone, following a lower treble lift. But especially electric guitars gain in body, and prominence; they’re forward, large, and well-defined – the result of a fairly linear midrange. In addition, they’re topped off with the lower treble lift that provides an essential bite, and really makes them come to life. A seriously impressive representation, and a powerful one for that matter – the VE8 swings, the VE8 rocks.
But even more remarkable perhaps, is how its lifted bass manages to define the sound, while simultaneously remaining clear; traditionally, an enhanced bass leads to a warm tuning that easily tends to congestion. But this isn’t a bassy sound by any means, and the stage remains exceptionally clean. The boosted lower treble adds general clarity to the sound, but it’s especially the VE8’s impressive top-end extension that plays a key role in controlling the warmth, and maintaining an impressive airiness in the stage. Accordingly, the bass might be grand, but its decay is relatively quick – it isn’t a lingering bass that warms the stage. But the treble itself is equally worth mentioning, to say the least – it’s quick, and resolved. It provides an articulate attack, followed by its characteristic thicker subsection of the note. And it boasts a beautifully controlled sparkle, while refraining from becoming too prominent. A clear treble, providing clarity to the key of a piano, or stroke of a violin; but never, overdone. While the midrange has a tendency to steal the show, the quality of the treble is undeniably there.