• 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 Freq Curve

    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)

    Bass Impact


    Bass Depth


    Overall Sound


    Build Quality


    Reviewer Bias



    • 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

    Categories: Basshead IEM, Reviews

    Tags: , , ,

    6 thoughts on “Pioneer SE-CX8 Review

    • thuglifevol1 says:

      Great review! I wanted these but they were 300 bucks in Japan but they were the only ones that made my basshead radar start pinging.
      I’m probably going to have to go and get these now as nothing you said is off. The mids were thin but I had a eq and bass boost on the Cayin so I was making a “V”. Good stuff…they got a sale cuz of you. I’ll be grabbing em 🙂

      • Luckbad says:

        I wouldn’t get these at $300, and probably not even at $200. At $100-$150 I’d get them given how unique the experience is compared to all other IEMs I’ve heard. The overall sound quality isn’t up there with many $300 IEMs; you’re paying for the gimmick of the Bass Exciter, but at the current prices in the US, both the Pioneer SE-CX8 and SE-CX9 are absolutely worth it.

    • Great review. I got these buds a couple of days ago and Damn!!!!!! These things have bass. Bassheads this is a completely different experience. The gimmick mentioned in the review is true but it’s refreshing to have a pair of buds that once in a while blow your brains. Bit pricey but worth it. If you can try em and you love bass you will buy them.

    • Jason Rk says:

      Great review. I’m really leaning towards the CX8 as it’s within budget and has the bass that I’m looking for..however, I’d say I listen to hip-hop 70% of the time and the other 20% classical/movie soundtrack instrumentals. Would you say there’s anything better within the $100-200 range that would give me better mids as well as 80-100% bass of the CX8?

    • Konstantin S. says:

      I don’t know man, I’m not a scientific expert, but my RHA T10 destroys this bulky, cheap looking earbuds…
      May it’s just not my sound signature. But the real bass is RHA T10, it is really shaking your mind and your chest inside, and not your ears just physically like the Pioneer does…

      • Luckbad says:

        For what it’s worth, I didn’t keep these for terribly long. Their gimmick is awesome, but it requires high volume to induce the shaking and the signature has too much treble for me.

    Drop the Bass

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