Value For Money8.9

I really need to go to Oregon someday. A lot of my favorite audio gear is sold there by one vendor or another. There are amps from ALO Audio, decoders and even more amps from Cypher Labs and now customs from 1964EARS. I can vision an audiophile Oregon right now in my mind; no talking just amping and cans and customs. It literally could be the quietest loud state in the US with charging USB ports instead of fire hydrants. It is a musical bliss that only my mind is capable off and darn sometimes I wish it was true if only for a few minutes.

Getting back to a no less exciting reality with the launch of 1964EARS’ top of the line V8 customer IEM and we were lucky to go right through the entire experience with the kind support of our local dealers, Polaris Audio Design, in Makati and Caesar’s Palace in Hong Kong. Like the Heir Audio 8.0 we just reviewed last week, the 1964EARS is packing no less than 8 balanced armature drivers in each earpiece coupled to a three-way crossover and all packed in a custom shell of your choice and tagged with a 2 year warranty.

The V8 is technically their flagship however the purchasing choice is not strictly linear as in V2, V3, V6 then V8. If you fancy the V6 or the V6 Stage and you buy the V8 thinking it is more of the same but at a higher level then you will very much mistaken. The V8 was made for a purpose and that was a top end custom for the audiophile bass heads. The closest in their range to the V8 would probably be the Qi edition which sells for $549 but it only packs 4 drivers, or half of the V8. The Vanilla edition V8 (no extras or customization) also sells right now for just $899. In comparison to similar custom setups that is incredibly competitive also. Heir Audio’s universal 8.0 (8 driver) starts at a healthy $1099 for example and further up Unique Melody’s 10 driver Mentor kicks in at $1499 right up to Vision Ears and their eye watering $2300 6 driver VE6 X Control custom IEM. The closest to the V8 in terms of target market and tuning might be considered the Merlin from UM at $879, but even then this is a hybrid dynamic and 4 BA so quite a different setup. Even the ever popular JH Audio’s JH16, which also packs 8 drivers, starts at $1149. You get where I am going? Yup, the V8 from 1964EARS is probably the best value custom on the market right now.

The funky 1964EARS website

I have to give special mention to 1964EARS’ website which does the majority of the business for them in terms of marketing and ordering. This is one clever site, probably the best I have seen yet in terms of features, eye catching UI and customer focus. The designer section is pure genius. Even if I wasn’t immediately buying I was playing with the CIEM model designing variation after variation just to see what they might look like. If you are like me and can never decide what design looks right for you then features like this can really open you mind up to possibilities just through trial and error. I remember going for my first custom a few years back with Unique Melody and having to ask the UM staff to show me galleries for inspiration. Now I found one and still love it but the fact that its already out there and I copied it means it is not totally unique.


Another great feature of the designer section is that every option automatically calculates your final price so you can chop and change to fit your budget before you go to order. I think this is quite an important aspect of custom ordering, watching that price because you can ‘nickel and dime’ your budget to death with all the limitless options and rush processing if you are not careful. By clicking on most of the expensive options I was able to move from the standard $899 to a much more alarming $1354.00. Options like premium plates, longer cables, glitter, logos or custom artwork all have micro fees and if you want to push your ticket number up the line and get them faster than anyone else than yes that’s a small fee also. It is a very transparent process though and the choice always remains 100% with you which is a huge positive. Other sites such as UM document the options also but from a drop down list and don’t actually let you really see your final product in the same compelling manner as the V8 designer section.

Beyond your order you also get a nice customer account section that shows how your order is progressing and what the current status is which I find really assuring given my utter impatience on things like this. Current turnaround time is listed at 4 weeks which is down about 1-2 weeks when I placed my order earlier in the year due to the initial buzz and heavy duty order processing when the V8 was initially launched.

Click here for the ear impression process and final product…

19 Responses

  1. Brian

    Thank you so much for your honest review of the V8s. I think this review is what tipped the balance and I just ordered the V8s as my first CIEM. I’m fairly new to the HiFi world and am currently doing some research on amp/DACs while I wait for them to be made. Can you recommend a good protable DAC/Amp in the $300-$400 price range which would match well with these IEMs? I’ll be using it with my Android and it will either be traveling with me or at my office. Do you think it’s worth the price jump to move up to the Vorzamp Duo? If so what are some other DACs that would compete with the Duo in the $500 price range for these IEMs? Thanks.

    • headfonics

      Hey glad you found it helpful and good luck with the v8! A great CIEM.

      For a DAC/AMP you cant go wrong with the Oppo HA-2 which will pair well with your Android phone if it is a latest gen of say Sony or Samsung etc.

      Other wise try out the new ALO Audio RX amp which is tailor made for custom monitors. Both retail around $299-$349.

  2. danander11

    After using a set of V3’s for the last four years or so I recently got a set of V8’s…

    Night and day. I’m a drummer and love a bit of bottom-end in my mix and these are great.

    I can’t recommend these folks highly enough.

  3. Andrew Hassel

    You say in the end that the only thing to watch out for is the cable, and that you would swap out the stock cable for a new one… What kind of cable would you get?

  4. Uncle Reggie

    I have a pair of the Universal V8’s (special order) in solid red & translucent red, but it is the caps which are solid – I like the look of yours with the see-through caps – I also like the sound of my V8’s – just an amazing set of headphones. It is sad when the audio community relegates an item to second-tier simply because of price – this CIEM is the equal to CIEMs costing upwards of $1500 – and I say that because I know people that think these are more natural sounding than the JH Roxanne!

    • headfonics

      I really enjoy the V8’s and a great seal also so they nailed the cut just right. I dont think people can really appreciate a CIEM until they have tried a few and I think this is like the 6th one I have tried and still the best value for money modern genre CIEM out there.

  5. giorgio

    very nice iem… I’d like to test them…
    As always, a great and deep review…

  6. Ste


    If I put a gun to your head and said pick one:D

    Would you take the v8 or the heir 8.0 which I asked you about before? for rock music and pairing with the dx90 as I mentioned..


    • headfonics

      Shoot me now or let me take both haha :)

      With the DX90 I might just get the 8.0 and be done with it to be honest. That is a tight call to be honest but its smooth mid section wins out on rock.


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