My snazzy in-ear headphones do amazing things. But when I walk in the city, I sometimes wish there was a portable over-ear headphone that could bring sound to the next level. That is, I want something foldable with a short cable, relatively low impedance, a big soundstage and a sound profile that does justice to all genres. One that sounds bigger and better than my best IEM. Am I asking for the impossible? Probably. But if anyone can do it, it’s Audeze. Is the EL-8 Titanium the perfect audiophile headphone to take on the road? Let’s find out in this Audeze EL-8 Titanium Headphones Review.
Audeze EL-8 Titanium Headphones Review
IN the BOX – Audeze EL-8 Titanium Headphones Review
Detachable 2 meter flat cable with 3.5mm connection and ¼” adapter
Detachable shorter flat cable with mic and remote and lightning connection
FIT – Audeze EL-8 Titanium Headphones Review
Despite its significant weight, the EL-8 Titanium did not feel heavy on my head. In fact, it was surprisingly comfortable and soft on my ears. I found that could listen for extended periods without fatigue.
DESIGN and FEATURES – Audeze EL-8 Titanium Headphones Review
Is this an ideal on-the-go planar magnetic headphone? It folds flat, has a mic and remote for iPhone users, and it’s got a relatively low impedance. But as I said, it’s big and heavy to hold in your hands. If you’re a die hard audiophile and you like to bling out, this might be the perfect portable headphone for you. But if you tend to pack light, and easy portability is key, then go for a smaller Audeze model, like the SINE on-ear headphones.
Apple users, you’ve hit the jackpot. Not many over-ear headphones in this echelon are designed specifically for iPhone. But these babies not only come with a lightning cable and a mic/remote. Audeze went all out and threw in a DAC and amplifier. And let’s not forget the downloadable Audeze app, which comes with a bunch of equalizer functions (you can save two presets on your cable).
How does the lightning connection sound compared to the regular 3.5mm connection? Better, in that Audeze’s famous warm lows felt more present. But if you spent your teenage years blasting punk or you enjoy listening at very high volumes, your phone might not be powerful enough to get the volume you want, even with the included amplifier.
SOUND – Audeze EL-8 Titanium Headphones Review
Hmm…Interesting. I first listened to these headphones using the provided lightning cable with the DAC and amplifier. Then I paired it with my usual FiiO Q5, and it yielded a utterly different sound, even though I find the Q5 to be relatively neutral. Audeze’s DAC amplifier sounds a lot warmer. That is, it keeps the headphones truer to Audeze’s sound signature. But take that cable away, and I doubt I would recognize this headphone as one made by Audeze. In fact, the sound was kind of U shaped. Oh well, let’s just use the lightning cable and see what happens….
The lows weren’t as forward as I’m used to hearing from Audeze. The bass was deep enough, for sure. But listening to my test pop, hip-hop and EDM tracks, I missed those fleshy, present lows.
Not much of a low mid range to speak of here. With the higher mids emphasized and the vocals sounding quite forward, the result was a slightly harsh feel at times. Still, there was a decent amount of clarity. I just wish that instruments felt a little more present so I could get to the meat. Unlike other Audeze models, the EL-8 felt less than full-bodied.
I never thought I’d say this, but the highs were the most impressive thing about this Audeze headphone. Reasonably transparent, yet smooth, with just enough roll-off to avoid piercing, the texture of brass instruments came out nicely. High strings were pleasant to listen to because of the somewhat silky quality, but I missed some of the nuances in timbre.
A decent soundstage worthy of Audeze’s name. The width and height was perhaps more impressive than the depth.
SUMMARY – Audeze EL-8 Titanium Headphones Review
These are headphones designed for a very specific audience. Namely, audiophile iPhone users without tinnitus who have yet to invest in a DAC and amplifier. If you’re one of these people, this headphone has got your name on it. However, if you’re not part of this niche, you’re probably not going to get the Audeze sound you were looking for. That being said, if you’re willing to go B-stock, you can get these puppies for a great deal.
You can find them for the best price at:
Audio 46: Audeze EL-8 Titanium Headphones
SPECIFICATIONS – Audeze EL-8 Titanium Headphones Review
Transducer Type: Planar Magnetic
Transducer Size: 100 mm
Maximum power handling: 15W
Maximum SPL: >130dB
Frequency Response: 10Hz – 50kHz
Impedance: 30 Ohms
Sensitivity: 98 dB