Pioneer SE-CX8 Review
May 4, 2015 Luckbad 6
It would be impossible to replicate my first impressions of the Pioneer Superior Club Sound in-ear headphone series. As such, if you’d like my initial reaction, check out my Pioneer SE-CX9 review. The short version is that the Bass Exciter in these is clearly a gimmick, but it’s a gimmick that works. No IEM comes remotely close to having as much bass impact as the Pioneer SE-CX8 or SE-CX9. If you’re a true basshead, you might as well stop reading the review right now and move on to buying it for its current discounted price.
Pioneer SE-CX8 Features
- Featuring the “BASS EXCITER” vibration element that that generates a low-frequency vibration and offers a new sense of deep bass reproduction
- 9.4mm dynamic speaker unit
- High-quality aluminum housing
- Designed for optimal fit and comfort
- High-quality, tangle-free cord with in-line microphone and volume control for smartphones and MMCX connectors
- Available in Bright Silver, Indigo Black, and Bright Copper
Pioneer SE-CX8 Impressions
These earphones have more impact than anything I’ve put in my ears. It’s pretty ridiculous what they can do. You can feel them vibrating if you hold them in your hand. I have to reduce my bass EQ well below what I’m used to or they start tickling the inside of my mind. One issue with engaging the Bass Exciter is that you have to bring them up to a moderately high volume for it to kick in. If I’m casually listening at low to mid volume levels, nothing shakes and I have IEMs that have more pleasing audio (and bass) for quiet listening.
That said, these IEMs sound good. They lean toward bass without equalization. The mids are somewhat recessed and the highs are present but not annoyingly so like in many v-shaped sound signatures. If you really love clarity or just prefer the sound of Balanced Armature drivers over Dynamic, you might lean toward the SE-CX9 instead. If you want a little more bass depth overall and are willing to sacrifice some of the crystal clarity you get with a BA driver, the SE-CX8 is for you. I prefer the SE-CX8 because of its depth.
One issue I have with these is that they are heavy, and the no-tangle cord is as bulky as the earphones it attaches to. After a couple hours of use, I have to swap these out for another earphone. I plan to replace the cable at some point with something else that uses MMCX connectors. Using the Monster gel SuperTips has improved comfort a bit for me over the stock tips.
Ultimately, there’s nothing else out there like these earphones. The Bass Exciter works, and it really is exciting for bassheads. Your canals will shake, your chest will rumble, and you’ll find yourself dancing as you listen.
If you’re a basshead, you owe it to yourself to try out the Pioneer SE-CX8 or SE-CX9. At current prices ($80 and $130, respectively), they are absolutely worth a listen. The SE-CX8 has a permanent place in my collection unless it’s somehow usurped by its own successor or someone else invents an IEM that shakes my ears even more.
Pioneer SE-CX8 Frequency Response Graph
This curve was generated using a Dayton Audio EMM-6 Electret Measurement Microphone, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 audio interface, and Room EQ Wizard. The mic calibration file was provided by Dayton Audio and the output calibration file was generated using the program itself (3.5mm out on PC to 1/4″ input on Scarlett 2i4).
Pioneer SE-CX8 Specifications
Headphone Type Fully Enclosed Dynamic Headphones with Exciter Frequency Response 4 – 30,000 Hz Impedance 16 Ω Maximum Input Power 100 mW Sensitivity 102 dB/mW Driver Unit Diameter 9.4mm Dynamic Driver Plug 3.5 mm 4P mini-plug (gold plated) Cable 1.2 m (detachable OFC Litz wire with lock-function)
MMCX connectors. In-line mic with remote.
Weight 0.46 oz (without cord)
Pioneer SE-CX8$200 MSRP ($80 tested)
- Great bass impact
- Good bass depth
- Shakes your canals
- A unique in-ear experience
- Can replace cord w/ MMCX connectors
- Bulky, somewhat uncomfortable design
- Requires med-high volume for the Exciter to work
- List price is too high, current is not
- Cord is heavy
- Uses a gimmick to get bass impact... but it works