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Reviewed on Jun 08, 2018

Cowin E8 Wireless HEADPHONES REVIEW

Type : Over-ear
Enclosure : Closed-Back
Wireless : Yes
Noise-Cancelling : Yes
Mic : Yes
Transducer : Dynamic

The Cowin E8 are decent mixed-usage headphones with good noise cancellation. They're better-built than the other Cowin headphones we've tested, and their isolation performance is suitable for commuting in noisy environments. Unfortunately, they have a fairly bulky and cumbersome design that won't be for everyone, and they may sound a bit too muddy and boomy for more critical listeners. They also leak a lot at high volumes.

Pros
  • Good noise isolation.
  • Comfortable.
  • Good build quality.
Cons
  • High leakage.
  • Bulky, cumbersome design.
  • Slightly muddy audio reproduction.

Test Results
Design 6.8
Sound 6.9
Isolation 7.0
Microphone 6.3
Active Features 6.2
Connectivity 5.9
  1. Update 3/11/2019: We've updated the Comfort score to better reflect user experience.

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Summary

  • 6.7 Mixed Usage
  • 6.9 Critical Listening
  • 7.0 Commute/Travel
  • 6.5 Sports/Fitness
  • 7.0 Office
  • 5.8 TV
  • 5.5 Gaming
Mixed Usage 6.7

Decent for mixed usage. The Cowin E8 have good isolation and a more premium design than the previous models. This makes them a good choice for commuting and to cancel the noise of a noisy office environment. Unfortunately, they are a little bulky and cumbersome so they won't be the easiest headphones to carry around and won't be the best option for running and sports. They also make your ears fairly warm during long listening sessions but on the upside, they are better built than most Cowin headphones.

Critical Listening 6.9

Average for critical listening. The Cowin E8 have a lot of bass but can sound a bit muddy and boomy. The slight dip in the higher frequencies also makes instruments and vocals sound a bit less clear and detailed than typical critical listening headphones. They also have a poor soundstage since they are closed-back noise-canceling headphones. They won't be the best choice for more critical listeners but should sound good enough for most.

Commute/Travel 7.0

Above-average for commuting. They cancel enough noise for commute and travel. They're also comfortable and easy to use. However, they're a bit bulky and are not the most portable headphones to carry around on your person.

Sports/Fitness 6.5

Average for sports. They're wireless and have a tight fit which prevents them from easily falling off your head. However, they're too bulky for running and will hinder your movements when working out. They also make your ears fairly warm even during casual listening sessions, so they will not be the best option for sports.

Office 7.0

Decent for office use. They leak a lot so they won't be the ideal option for a quiet office but on the upside, they are comfortable, sound good and isolate well enough to cancel the ambient chatter in a lively and noisy work environment.

TV 5.8

Below-average for home theater use. They have a great wireless range and are comfortable, but have too much latency for watching a lot of video content. They do come with an audio cable which would make latency negligible, but it's relatively short and you will need an extension cord for most home theater setups, unless you're watching movies on your tablet, phone or PC.

Gaming 5.5

Sub-par for gaming. The Cowin E8 have too much latency, they're not compatible with consoles via Bluetooth and cannot be customized to the extent of other gaming headphones. They also have a mediocre integrated microphone and their audio cable will only provide audio and not chat support when connected to your console's controller.

Compared to other Headphones

The Cowin E8 are slightly better headphones for commuting and mixed usage than the Cowin E7 headphones. They have a decent build and sound quality although they do look a little cheap in some parts and their audio reproduction can be a bit muddy and boomy. On the upside, they have a great wireless range and fairly long battery life. Their bulky and somewhat cumbersome design will not be for everyone and they lack a bit of polish and features compared to some of the headphones below. See our recommendations for the best budget noise cancelling headphones and the best wireless headphones

Cowin E7 Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Cowin E8 are better noise-canceling headphones than the Cowin E7. The E8 have a better noise canceling performance and are a bit more comfortable than the E7. They also have easier to use controls and a better-balanced sound overall. On the other hand, the E7 have more bass, which some listeners may prefer. They also have a longer battery life and support NFC, so they're a bit easier to pair with your phone.

Cowin E7 Pro Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Cowin E8 are better noise cancelling headphones than the Cowin E7 Pro. The E8 have a better noise cancelling performance and are a bit more comfortable than the E7 Pro. They also have easier to use controls and a bit more bass, which some may prefer. On the other hand, the E7 Pro have a more detail-oriented sound quality that pushes instruments and vocals to the front of the mix but can sound a bit sharp. They also have a longer battery life than the E8 and they support NFC, so they're a bit easier to pair with your phone.

Cowin SE7 Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Cowin E8 are better headphones than the Cowin SE7 model. They have a more neutral sound profile and won’t sound as boomy and cluttered as the SE7. Their isolation performance is noticeably better and their ANC does a good job at isolating against low-frequency noises like bus engine rumble. They also have a better battery life. On the other hand, the SE7 leak less and can fold in a more compact format. They also have lower latency and support the aptX codec, which means you won’t notice too much of delay when watching video content with these.

Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 Wireless 2016
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 are better-balanced and a much better noise cancelling headset than the Cowin E8. The Plantronics have a better build quality, a longer battery life and a more exciting, bass-rich sound that's also better balanced with instruments and vocals than the Cowin. The Plantronics also have a much more intuitive control scheme, a better build quality, and support multiple codecs. On the other hand, the Cowin block a bit more noise with their ANC feature than the Plantronics.

Skullcandy Hesh 3 Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Cowin E8 are slightly better headphones than the Skullcandy Hesh 3, but not by much. The Skullcandy charge much faster than the Cowin, which is convenient if you forget to charge them overnight. They also have an easier to use control scheme, a better sound quality with more bass, and a better wireless range. On the other hand, the Cowin have a slightly more comfortable over-ear fit and a more sturdy design. They also have a longer battery life and with a good case that makes them decently portable, although the Hesh 3 are a bit more compact since they fold.

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Test Results

Style

The Cowin E8 look a lot more high-end than the Cowin E7 and the E7 Pro. They have larger ear cups than the previous models, and a sturdier headband, that makes use of gold or silver accents (depending on the color variant you choose) to make their design feel more premium. The ear cups are well padded, and the hinge design looks good and somewhat reminiscent of the Parrot Zik 3.0. Unfortunately, the ear cups and the buttons still look a bit cheap when compared to other headphones in their price range. They're also bulkier and do not feel as sleek or as well designed as the more recent Cowin SE7.

7.0 Comfort
Weight : 0.8 lbs
Clamping Force
:
1.2 lbs

The Cowin E8 are comfortable, well-padded headphones. They are a bit heavy and slightly tight on the head. The ear cups also have a narrow opening that may not fit as well around all ears despite being fairly large ear cups when compared to other closed back design. On the upside, if they fit well around your ears, the amply padded cups are comfortable enough to wear for hours. You will most likely feel the lack of breathability before the fatigue caused by the tight fit. The headband is also decently well padded, but the pads are not as soft or as comfortable as the ear cups.

Update: 11/03/2019: We've updated the comfort score of E8 to better reflect user experience. Their weight and somewhat tight fit does make them less comfortable than the Cowin SE7 of the same lineup.

7.0 Controls
Ease of use : Decent
Feedback : Good
Call/Music Control : Yes
Volume Control : Yes
Microphone Control : No
Channel Mixing
:
No
Noise Canceling Control : N/A
Talk-Through
:
N/A
Additional Buttons : N/A

The Cowin E8 have a fairly efficient control scheme with good feedback. They provide all the essential functions for wireless noise-canceling headphones; call/music, track-skipping, volume controls and a dedicated button to turn the noise cancellation on and off. The power button also initiates the pairing procedure if you press and hold when turning the headphones on. The buttons are a little small and cramped on the right ear cup which isn't always as easy to use but overall it's a good control scheme that's pretty intuitive once you get familiar with the layout of the buttons.

6.0 Stability

The Cowin E8 are moderately stable headphones thanks to their tight fit. They will stay put during more casual listening sessions, but the large protruding ear cups will sway a lot and may slip off your ears during more demanding activities. They will not be the best headphones to run with or for sports but should be fine for most day to day use cases.

5.9 Portability
L : 8.2 "
W : 7 "
H : 2 "
Volume : 115 Cu. Inches
Transmitter required : N/A

The Cowin E8 have bulkier and thicker ear cups than most closed-back wireless over-ears. The ear cups lay flat but it doesn't save that much space, and they do not fold into a more compact format. This makes them bulky, cumbersome headphones that will be a hassle to carry around on your person if you do not have a bag.

7.5 Case
Type : Hard case
L : 9 "
W : 9 "
H : 3 "
Volume : 243 Cu. Inches

The Cowin E8 come with a good but bulky hard case. On the upside, it will shield your headphones from scratches, drops, and impacts. It also has enough room to carry all the accessories that come with the headphones.

7.5 Build Quality

The Cowin E8 are better built than the Cowin E7 and the E7 Pro. They have larger and thicker ear cups that look and feel more premium than that of the other Cowin models. The headband is also a bit sturdier with a metal frame that makes them decently flexible yet durable enough to handle the wear and tear of using them on a daily basis. The hinges, however, are durable as some of the other wireless headphones we've tested in the E8's price range. They connect to only one side if the ear cups which would have been fine if they were made out of metal like the parrot Zik 3.0 but since they are plastic they will most likely be the most susceptible part of Cowin's design. Unfortunately, the buttons also look and feel a little cheap.

6.1 Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference : 6.8 C

These headphones get fairly hot during longer listening sessions which may get a bit bothersome and may force you to take breaks during your listening session. The ear cups are larger than most but not as deep as you would expect. That, combined with the relatively narrow opening of the pads means that if they seal your ears correctly, they will obstruct a lot of airflow and make your ears warmer than typical closed-back designs. They will not be suitable for high-intensity activities like running and sports.

Cable
Detachable : Yes
Length : 3.7 ft
Connection : 1/8" TRS

The Cowin E8 come with two cables; a 1/8" TRS audio cable and USB charging cable.

Top
Headshots 1
Headshots 2
7.4 Bass
Std. Err.
:
3.83 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
:
12.6 Hz
Low-Bass
:
-1.0 dB
Mid-Bass
:
3.99 dB
High-Bass
:
5.66 dB

The Cowin E8 have an above-average bass. LFE (low-frequency extension) is at 13Hz, which is great. Low-bass, responsible for the thump and rumble common to bass-heavy music is under target but just 1dB. However, mid-bass, responsible for punch and body, and high-bass, responsible for warmth, are overemphasized by more than 4dB. This makes the overall bass of the Cowin a bit too heavy and muddy.

7.6 Mid
Std. Err.
:
3.23 dB
Low-Mid
:
3.29 dB
Mid-Mid
:
2.28 dB
High-Mid
:
-1.16 dB

The mid-range is good. Low-mid is even and flat but overemphasized by more than 3dB. This thickens vocals a little bit and adds some clutter to the mix. Mid-mid is also over our neutral target by 2dB, which along with the hyped low-bass, makes the sound of the Cowin a bit mid-rangy.

6.9 Treble
Std. Err.
:
4.4 dB
Low-Treble
:
-5.0 dB
Mid-Treble
:
0.32 dB
High-Treble
:
-6.33 dB

The Cowin E8 have a decent treble range performance. Low-treble is even, but consistently under our neutral target by 5dB. This has a negative effect on the detail and articulation of vocals and other lead instruments. The sharp peak at 5.5KHz makes certain frequencies in vocals, leads, and cymbals noticeably sharp and piercing.

8.7 Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
:
0.26 dB

The Cowin E8 have very good frequency response consistency. In the bass range, the maximum deviation across our five human subjects is less than 1dB, which great. The also have a very consistent delivery in the treble range, below 10KHz, and the response doesn't change much across multiple re-seats and positions.

4.6 Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
:
4.04 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
:
3.44 dB
PRTF Distance
:
6.12 dB
Openness
:
2.3
Acoustic Space Excitation
:
5.1
Correlated Crosstalk
:
0.0 dB

The E8 have a sub-par soundstage. The PRTF graph shows a decent amount of pinna activation, however, the interaction is not accurate, and there's not a 10KHz notch present either. This and their closed-back design suggest a soundstage that is perceived to be located inside the listener's head, as opposed to in-front.

8.4 Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
:
0.29
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
:
0.88
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
:
2.13
Weighted Phase Mismatch
:
4.1

The imaging performance of the E8 is great. Weighted group delay is at 0.29, which is good. The GD graph also shows that almost the entire group delay response is within the audibility threshold. This results in a tight bass and a transparent treble reproduction. Additionally, the L/R drivers of our test unit were very well-matched in amplitude, frequency and phase response. This ensures an accurate placement and localization of objects (voices, instruments, video game effects) in the stereo field.

6.3 Total Harmonic Distortion
Weighted THD @ 90
:
5.257
Weighted THD @ 100
:
22.776

The harmonic distortion performance of the Cowin E8 is ordinary. The overall amount of THD produced is elevated throughout the range and shows a couple of spikes in the treble range. However, there is not a jump in THD present at 100dB SPL, which is good.

7.7 Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
:
Overall Attenuation
:
-24.71 dB
Bass
:
-17.61 dB
Mid
:
-20.63 dB
Treble
:
-35.99 dB
Self-Noise
:
22.85 dB

The Cowin E8 have a good isolation performance. With the ANC (active noise cancellation) enabled, they achieve more than 17dB of isolation in the bass range, which is quite good. This means they can cancel out the rumble of airplane and bus engines to a good degree. In the mid-range, important for blocking out speech, they isolate by more than 20dB, which is very good. In the treble range, occupied by sharp sounds like S and Ts, they isolate by 36dB, which is also good.

5.6 Leakage
Leakage Audio
:
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
:
46.86 dB

The leakage performance of the E8 is sub-par. The significant portion of their leakage is spread between 400Hz and 6KHz, which is a broad range, spanning both the mid and treble ranges. However, the overall level of the leakage is not too loud. With the music at 100dB SPL, the leakage at 1 foot away averages at 47dB SPL and peaks at 60dB SPL, which is a bit louder than the noise floor of an average offices.

6.3 Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
:
LFE
:
246.75 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
:
4.39 dB
HFE
:
3466.89 Hz
Weighted THD
:
2.432
Gain
:
17.12 dB

The recording quality of the microphone is mediocre. LFE (low-frequency extension) of 247Hz suggests that speech recorded/transmitted with this mic will sound relatively thin. The HFE (high-frequency extension) is at 3.5KHz, resulting in the speech to lack detail and sound a bit muffled. The response between the LFE and HFE points is rather uneven too, negatively affecting the intelligibility of speech.

6.3 Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise :
Speech + Subway Noise :
SpNR
:
15.55 dB

The integrated microphone of the Cowin E8 is mediocre at noise handling. In our SpNR test, it achieved a speech-to-noise ratio of 16dB, indicating it is best suited for quiet environments, and they may struggle to fully separate speech from ambient noise even in moderately loud places.

9.0 Wireless Range
Obstructed Range
:
50 ft
Line of Sight Range
:
188 ft

The Cowin E8 have an excellent wireless range, both indoors and out, slightly surpassing both the Cowin E-7 and E7 Pro.

3.7 Latency
Default Latency
:
163 ms
aptX Latency
:
N/A
aptX(LL) Latency
:
N/A

These Bluetooth headphones have very high latency when used wireless. The latency is too high for watching videos. They can be used wired as well, in which case the latency is essentially zero.

6.9 Battery
Battery Type
:
Rechargable
Battery Life
:
21 hrs
Charge Time
:
3.2 hrs
Power Saving Feature
:
No
Audio while charging
:
Yes
Passive Playback
:
Yes

The Cowin E8 have a decent battery life. They will last an average day without losing battery, but they are a little slow to recharge. Like the E7 and E7 Pro, they don't automatically turn off when not used and must be turned off manually to not drain the battery.

0 App Support
App Name : N/A
iOS : N/A
Android : N/A
Mac OS : N/A
Windows : N/A
Equalizer
:
N/A
ANC control
:
N/A
Mic Control : N/A
Room effects
:
N/A
Playback control
:
N/A
Button Mapping : N/A
Surround Sound : N/A

There is no companion app and the EQ cannot be customized.

6.0 Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
:
4.0
Multi-Device Pairing
:
No
NFC Pairing
:
No

The Cowin E8 support Bluetooth to a single device only. Unlike the E7 and E-7 Pro, they do not support NFC and must be paired manually.

7.2 Wired
OS Compatibility
:
Not OS specific
Analog Audio
:
Yes
USB Audio
:
No
PS4 Compatible
:
Audio Only
Xbox One Compatible
:
Audio Only
PC Compatible
:
Audio Only

The Cowin E8 can be used wired, great for while they are being charged or if the battery dies. There is no in-line mic or remote, so they can be used with any device but only for audio.

0 Base/Dock
Type
:
N/A
Optical Input
:
N/A
Line In
:
N/A
Line Out
:
N/A
USB Input
:
N/A
RCA Input
:
N/A
PS4 Compatible
:
N/A
Xbox One Compatible
:
N/A
PC Compatible
:
N/A
Power Supply
:
N/A
Dock Charging
:
N/A

There is no base or dock for the Cowin E-8. If you want a good wireless headset with a dock, check out the SteelSeries Arctis 7.

In the box

  • Cowin E-8 Headphones
  • Carrying case
  • Cable pouch
  • Audio cable
  • USB cable
  • Airline adapter
  • 1/8" to 1/4" adapter
  • Manual

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