Inear ProPhile 8 Review “Jack of all trades, master of all” (English Review)

Writer : Mikku
Inear Prophile 8 (PP8 for short)
Price : 1298 (€) 19,8 Million (IDR)
Technical Data :
System 4-way crossover with 8 drivers per side / 2 switches for sound tuning
Transmission range approx. 10 Hz–20000 Hz
Output sound pressure 120 dB
Impedance 34 ohms
Cable length 4‘7.5“

In portable audio world, especially IEM, a neutral reference sounding iem is usually generalized with “dry sounding”, “harsh peaks”, “cold sounding”, “analytical”, and many more generalization that would turn off some of the people that seek for smoothness, and musicality, and that’s exactly what I thought too!!! But damn!! I was wrong, this is the first time I’ve heard such refine reference sounding iem that could go musical and super smooth while retaining its neutrality…. ProPhile 8, there’s nothing like this. Seriously whether you’re a reference lover or musicality lover or whatever genre you like.. you gotta try this!!

 

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Box & Accessories
Seeing the box at the first time is actually underwhelming… it’s not screaming “premium” or “high end” just a standard iem box with PP8 itself on the transparent display of the box, but you know what? Never judge an iem by its box hohohohohoho

Inside you may find a premium IE13 inear case, which is exactly like IE11 but longer, PP8 itself with 4 pair of silicone eartips, 3 pair of foam tips, 4 pair of spinfit tips, also some ear wax filter set (15 pairs), also a dry capsule, and also a tool (which looks like a stick with hook on the end) turn on the switches.

Ergonomics
The First time I tried these was at PAFI (Portable Audio Festival Indonesia) and I was stunned by the ergonomics… it’s definitely the most comfortable iem in the show, it fits my ears perfectly although I thought it was kinda big, but again, I was wrong, even if they are bigger than my inear SD4 they sits more comfortably in my ears. It’s inear’s magic, they can make such comfortable iem that could fit like CIEM in anybody’s ears!!! Can you imagine how genius is that??. Even though you can find 2 switches  inside the housing but it never gives any discomfort.

Sound

Starting with the low notes, I need to divide the bass and treble section into 2 (switch off and switch off) in order to give a different picture on how they sounds

Bass switch off

just exactly what you would expect for a reference sounding cans…. It’s fast, it’s accurate, it digs deep, it still has inear’s smooth texture signature here though, never gets rough but definitely fast and accurate.

Bass switch on

Now… I’m surprised, now I could bang my head with this kind of bass yeah!, it gets punchier for sure, especially in the sub bass and believe me.. there’s no bleed at all in the low mid, it doesn’t get warmer but punchier and more fun! This bass switch is legit guys! Now you can play pop music with more impact, although it sacrifices a tiny tiny bit of its speed and accuracy but c’mon who doesn’t want a little punch in the bass especially for mainstream music

Now  for the mid section, now it’s nothing like I’ve ever heard before… I mean the texture it’s so strange, here I thought there are only 2 kinds of vocal texture.. fluid/smooth and dry/cold, for example togo 334 has smooth texture in its vocal while etymotic er4 has a dry vocal, I usually tend to generalize neutral reference sounding cans is always dry textured just because I thought all of them are the same, even HD800, but boy…. Pp8 proves me wrong, it could combine those two textures. It’s drier and clearer than SD4 (it’s younger sibling) but smoother and never gets any sibilance while I still could hear some sharp edges from SD4’s vocal, even the super smooth togo 334 still has that sharp edges sometimes, but I’ve never heard any sharp edges or sibilance from pp8 despite of it’s texture and neutrality, it feels so natural and clear, just as if the vocalist/instrument is being played right in front of your face, so raw yet so right, I really don’t have right word to portray the texture. Oh yeah and also about the tonal, just what you’d expect…. It’s not warm nor bright. Just…. Right…….

Treble switch off

Combined with bass switch off mode, this is truly a neutral reference yet smooth sounding iem, you could hear its spot on timbre, and every details across all freq range without any emphasize on a particular freq. it’s very clear, it’s very transparent, it’s neutral, it’s addicting for finding any mistakes in your recordings, but sometimes it could sounds boring, when that happens, just turn on those switches baby!

Treble switch on

now it has more energy in the upper register now.. it has more bite, add a little extension but once again….. I couldn’t hear any sibilance… it’s just more energic now, guitars and violins sounds more open and more “in your face”, for instruments lover, I could almost guarantee that you’ll love this mode.

Overall there are 4 types of tonal configuration :

  1. bass off treble off: for a reference neutral sound, perfect for mixing and for neutral lovers, or vocal lovers
  2. bass on treble off: for a smooth unoffensive a little bassy pop music or mainstream music
  3. bass off treble on : for instruments, orchestra or solo
  4. bass on treble on: for energic music like movie soundtracks, EDM or mainstream music

you know why I’m very excited about these switches?? Because the difference is legit! And no cans is perfect for all genres! But now.. it could cover most of the genres in a great control, I mean.. no matter what configuration I choose, I couldn’t hear any sibilance

for soundstage lover… you won’t be disappointed…. It’s airy, vast, although not as holographic as SD4 but it feels much more real and natural, accompanied with a very 3Dimensional imaging. Try hear some hans zimmer’s music, take kungfu panda 3’s soundtrack – the hall of heroes. Damn! So accurate, so real, it’s like you’re sucked into the middle of the orchestra itself

Comparison

VS togo334 : togo 334 feels smoother on the texture but I could still hear some sharp edges in some song while I couldn’t find any in pp8, 334 might be still a better choice for vocal lovers, but for other section, pp8 handles em all, more accurate, better imaging, more transparent, better extension on both ends

VS SD4: SD4 feels more V shaped compared to pp8, pp8 sounds more balanced, clear, transparent, fast and even, it’s definitely an upgrade from SD4, it’s on another league

VS Empire Ears Apollo : if you want more excitement and more “WOW” soundstage, Apollo is still a better choice for you, I haven’t hear Zeus XIV but in terms of soundstage depth, until now Apollo still sits on the throne, but for those who seeks for transparency, speed, and configurability pp8 still wins thanks to its more reference tonal and technicality.

Overall

While definitely there is no “perfect” iem for all genres, but personally I think pp8 is the closest for being the ideal one for every genres. My only problem is sometimes I think the switches are too legit, I mean sometimes I hope the difference are not “that much” when I turned the switch and i could choose on how much I’d like to add the bass, but again.. maybe it’s only me.. because I’ve never heard any of my friends said that lol.

PP8 is definitely a unique iem, a special one, and whatever kind of music you like, you gotta try this babe, it’s addicting!!!

Build : 9/10
Fit : 10/10
Isolation : 9/10
Bass : 9/10
Mid : 9,5/10
Treble : 9,5/10
Detail : 9/10
Soundstage : 9/10
Imaging : 9,5/10
Layering : 9/10
Value : 9,5/10

Rank: SS

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