| 9.4 mm Driver | Bass Exciter |
? Pioneer has invested and played hard with the development and production of the SE-CX8 with the “Bass Exciter”. The exclusive “bass exciter” generates low-frequency vibration to mimic the sub-bass impact. It is important to note that the bass exciter does not produce sound or bass it just produces bass vibrations; for the sound the Pioneer SE-CX8 is coupled with a 9.4mm dynamic driver, to be fair the 9.4mm DD delivers a very good overall sound.
The exclusive “bass exciter” generates low-frequency vibration to mimic the sub-bass impact
The Pioneer SE-CX8 comes with a MMCX detachable flat cable with microphone and 3 buttons (Play/Pause, Volume Up, Volume Down), the cable is red on the rear side and black on the front side. The MMCX cable is heavy duty, plugs firmly and fits seamlessly with the aesthetics of the earpieces but unfortunately it adds a lot of weight to the earphones as they are pretty heavy for an iem cable. It is nice to see that Pioneer adopted the solid and very diffused MMCX interface because in case that you dislike the cable you can just buy any MMCX cable on the market and use it with the Pioneer SE-CX8.
Pioneer sells them in 3 metal finish colors options: Black, Silver or Gold. All of them have a red red band around the right earpiece to easily identify each side.
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Accessories & Packaging
Out of the box besides the MMCX cable you get an oval carrying case and 3 pairs of silicon eartips all inside a polished and well designed box.
Bass & Sub Bass
The bass coming from the 9.4mm dynamic driver is pretty good, somewhat comparable to the bass you can get from the KZ ATE. Bass is full, gets deep and punchy making every genre sound powerful and fun but without muffling the rest of the frequencies. The 9.4mm dynamic driver is capable of delivering great bass and sub-bass as well by its own.
The quantity of sub-bass vibration that this iem delivers is just unmatchable
The jewel of the Pioneer SE-CX8 is the bass exciter, which makes the difference in the bass and sub-bass department. The quantity of sub-bass vibration that this iem delivers is just unmatchable by any other earphone on the market (besides the other Pioneer bass exciter equipped earphones; Pioneer SE-CX9 and Pioneer SE-CL751) Just remember that what you are getting out of it is low frequency vibrations coming from the bass exciter and not real sub-bass but to be honest, who cares? The experience is just unique and really fun to listen/feel. The only problem of the bass exciter is that you have to crank the volume at least above 60% to make it start doing its magic, at low volumes the bass exciter does not activate or it is so low intensity that you don’t feel it at all. Other ways to make it work earlier is to equalize or amplify: equalizing for bass (basically increasing the dB on the bass and/or sub-bass frequencies) or getting more juice for the SE-CX8 and its bass exciter with an amplifier. Pioneer has been conservative with the specified maximum power of 100mW as the Pioneer SE-CX8 can handle massive quantities of power from an amplifier. As a reference, coupling it to a Fiio E12 on high gain, bass boost turned on and basshead equalized you can crank the Fiio E12 up to 50% to 55% of its maximum power (that is a lot more than 100mW) without getting any distortion.
if you add amplifying to the equation you get surreal sub-bass vibrations
Getting in basshead territory the Pioneer SE-CX8 is an unique contender that takes a special crown of its own. With a basshead equalization and high volumes you get unique sub-bass vibrations (mimicked). If you add amplifying to the equation you get surreal sub-bass vibrations that tickle and shake your ear canal stronger than any other earphone even miles stronger than the Sony MDR-7550/800ST; they get so intense that you worry about your ears health. The 9.4mm dynamic driver couples very well with the bass exciter also while equalized and amplified but if you don’t want to get too muffled your basshead equalization should be slightly different than usual, besides increasing the dB for the bass frequencies you should mostly try not to reduce the treble nor the mids.
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Mids & Vocals
Mids are recessed mostly on the middle mids and upper mids frequencies making vocals de-emphasized and get covered up by instruments. Mids sound kind of boxy and distant, this could be the Achilles tendon of this iem (besides comfort). Mids approaching both extremes (lower mids and mids borderline with high frequencies) are not as recessed and offer a slight better response.
Highs & Treble
The highs of the Pioneer SE-CX8 are not sibilant nor piercing at any time and those are good news if you are a treble sensitive person or get pain/uncomfortable when high and high mid frequencies are emphasized. The SE-CX8 could be defined as warm and bassy but at the same time high frequencies are present and clear.
The sound that leaks out of these earphones is very low. You can take them wherever you want and be sure that what you hear will remain private.
The Pioneer SE-CX8 are able to block outside sound quite well, you can isolate from world’s noises without problem with them.
The SE-CX8 are big, chunky and heavy. Replacing the MMCX cable with another one takes out most of the weight of the earphones as most of the weight it’s concentrated on the cable itself. Both earpieces have a sort of rigid fixed angle “wing” to secure the fit in the ear, but unfortunately this “wing” makes your ear sore after a mid to long period of time wearing the earphones.
Response to Equalization
The Pioneer SE-CX8 respond great to equalization, you can pull most frequencies and see immediate changes. It may struggle a bit more responding to mids equalization. Emphasize the sub-bass frequencies and get the party started with the “bass exciter” and the 9.4mm dynamic driver getting their job done.
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Pioneer SE-CX8 Frequency Response
|Type||Dynamic with Bass Exciter|
|Driver Unit||9.4mm + Bass Exciter|
|Cord||Detachable MMCX Y-type, flat cord|
|Plug||L shaped stereo mini plug|
|Weight (Without Cord)||Approx. 12.3g|
|Supplied Accessories||2x Earphone tips (silicone) S, M, L Carrying case, detachable MMXC cable with microphone|
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