Vision Ears VE8

Sound Impressions

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.



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Nic is currently in pursuit of a PhD degree in social neuropsychology, while trying not to get too distracted by this hobby. In pursuit of theoretical knowledge by day, and audiophile excellence at night. Luckily for him, both activities are not mutually exclusive which helps to lighten the workload. Always on the go, Nic's enthusiasm for hi-fi is focused on all chains of the portable system: iems, cables and daps.


15 Responses

  1. Thankfully you have compared it with the a18t. I’m having a hard time deciding which to get.
    However, which should I choose if I want a neutral sound, great resolution and precision type of CIEM?
    A18t or the VE8?
    Thanks a lot!

  2. Hi buddy, that is indeed exactly how I would summarize the VE8: full-bodied and engaging sound, with a smooth treble. Unfortunately, it’s also what makes the VE8 unique even within TOTL territory. It’s possible that there are some midtier iems that share somewhat similar traits (although I doubt you would a get similar staging, with helps considerably when you have such a bodied sound else it lead to congestion); however, I have to admit I am not very familiar with midtier models myself. I don’t live in a place where I can demo stuff, so I only know what I own 🙂

    I’m sorry I couldn’t be of more help, but it might be worthwhile to ask the other THL reviewers, or post a question on the shootout thread perhaps. Thanks again!

  3. any suggestions for someone enamoured by the VE8 but with a skinnier wallet and prefer a universal?

    something that is more affordable than either the VE8 or the phantom?

    what i appreciate about the ve8 are its almost “wall of sound” density, bass quality and weight, easy treble and engaging nature.


  4. You’ve more than earned the right to slow down after the shootout 😉 I’ll be curious to have your review of the i4, personally three weeks in I am still blown away by those they are very special and also the reason I am going straight for the VE8. I never crossed the 2K barrier but there is yet another big step up with those TOTLs…

    I’ll let you know when I get my VE8 what I make of them, again thanks for your invaluable insight!

  5. Hi David thanks for the generous compliment as usual! VE8 indeed won’t disappoint. I still owe an i4 review, but ever since I’ve slowed down it’s taking a while to start up again hehe.

  6. As usual, great review, this is the one that makes me jump to TOTL CIEMs after hesitating for the EM10 I went for the VE8 and I am sure I won’t regret it! The waiting part will be the hardest although the LCD i4 will keep me busy 😀

  7. Hi Clarence, please forgive my late reply. I only briefly tried Fourte at Canjam London. No doubt it’s a spectacular iem, but it’s pretty bright. It sounds quick, resolved, with a very open and 3D stage. But its vocals are a bit lean, and the treble is quite hot. Zeus-XIV is something different altogether. Though not to the extent of Fourte, its resolution is high, its stage is 3D. Zeus’ bass falls more in the neutral category, where Fourte has a rounder, deeper, and more analogue bass resulting from its dynamic driver. But Zeus-XIV’s strong suit is its vocal presentation: full-bodied, rich, and dense vocals make for a powerful vocal reproduction. Its tone is a bit neutral, so I pair with a warmer dap/cable for a natural sound.

  8. it is entirely pragmatic, i am a committment phobe and ciems are hard to off load into the used market, whereas with uiems i could recoup at least 70% of its value upon sales.

  9. Thanks buddy. I understand your hesitance when it comes to Zeus, but keep in mind that ADEL is pretty different from non ADEL. With ADEL Zeus loses its low-end, but also its midrange density, while becoming fuzzier. Non-ADEL Zeus-XIV has a bold, more powerful midrange, especially its vocal reproduction.

    As for the VE8, how come the hesitance for customs if you’ve been able to try it yourself? At least you can establish in advance you like it 🙂

  10. VE8 is a full package in terms of both signature and performance, I would rank it among the best along with A18, Zeus and 5-Way.

  11. great review nic, i did exactly the same comparison last weekend (one of the few benefits of living in asia) and i wholeheartly agree with your impressions with the exception of the Zeus (though it was the Adel version) VE8’s density is so addictive and so different in tuning from other totl iems i’ve tried that i did a double take! Unfortunately, VE’s dedication to their guiding principle towards quailty preclude them from making universals, otherwise i would be saving up for them.

    Not a fan of Zeus tho

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