The Cardas A8 ear speakers got delivered to me still sealed. I set about having a quick listen but did not listen for long. The first thing that stood out was the bass, it was a lot of base for such a small devices. I setup the A8ís on my iPod at listening volume and left them for the next 4 days before I returned to listen to them.
The mighty bass was there but had settled. And boy was I glad I had waited to do proper listening. These must be rated amongst some of the better headphones out there. They are the first buds I have listened to that have a forward projection in the sound stage, albeit only slightly. They have a huge amount of detail and separation. I automatically wanted to listen to as much music as I was familiar with, as that is the best way to get to see how these fit into my listening space.
The bass is tight and goes deep, the mids are clear and crisp. The highs are not at all bright. There is no tinny sound at all. I never experienced any ear fatigue, I had to test different size rubbers to find what was best for my comfort. They are comfortable but heavy for little buds. They do give a fair amount of noise cancellation and are supplied with noise cancellation foam bits, I never tried these but was happy with the plain rubber ones.
I used my iPhone, Samsung phone, iPod, Numprime DSD, T+A DAC 8 and Nuprime DAC10H as sources for testing. The A8ís can be used without any form of amplification and perform flawlessly, with amplification they beat many mid-level headphones out there and even rival some of the high end ones. They do not lack volume and can be driven to high levels without losing out on detail.
I played heavy metal, female vocals, pop, hard rock, classical and many other types of music to put them through tier paces and they excelled in all areaís I played a song on the A8ís then the Sennheiser momentum in-earís and the Adeze LCD2ís. The A8ís blow the in-ears away by a mile. They are not the LCD2ís but they really are the closest thing to them for pocket traveling I have yet listened to.
They are going to be hard to beat at the price, especially since they compete with headphones in the same price bracket. They are fun to listen to and I think the only thing for me is that I would look at changing the tips to the foam that I hear are better and more comfy.