PerformanceThe Sennheiser IE6s were allowed 100 hours of burn-in before I began my listening tests. This was to make sure that its dynamic driver had cured and performed its very best. The listening setup was the same as used in the previous reviews and consists of my Cowon D2 feeding an RSA Tomahawk portable headphone amplifier. In terms of comparison I pulled out my very best dynamic based in-ear namely the Head-Direct RE0, and of course the Westone 3s which represent the very best when it comes to balanced armature based IEMs. What is interesting to note is that with current pricing the IE6s are only $20 more expensive than the Head-Direct RE0s which in my book represent great value for money in the mid priced range.
The first thing that pops into your head after some brief listening is how large the sound stage is. The sound stage of the IE6s is right up there with the Westone 3s, however, the instrument separation is not quite as good. As big as the sound stage is it does have a tendency to be very right and left, so in terms of a coherency it is not quite there, but bear in mind this is an extremely tricky thing to achieve with an IEM design. In comparison to the Head-Direct RE0s the sound stage of the IE6s is very impressive.
In terms of balance these in-ears emphasize the lower regions a bit, but without it being overly dominant. The midrange is quite forward and sounds really smooth, but without the same extraordinary amount of details that you get from say a set of Westone 3s or the Head-Direct RE0s for that matter. The IE6s lack the low and midrange control and snap that both the RE0s and the Westone 3s possess. The low and midrange is more level on the IE6s than on the Westone 3s, but it is quite a bit away from being as detailed. The best way to describe the IE6s is probably midcentric that is where it has its force. It is not the most detailed one on the market, but it is very smooth and spacious.
Bass wise the IE6s have enough to please everyone except maybe bassheads. The bass is reasonably well defined, however, far from as fast and snappy as that of both the Westone 3s and the Head-Direct RE0s. In comparison to the RE0s, the IE6s have a bit more bass which makes them sound a bit more musical. One of the main differences between the RE0s and the IE6s is precision, the RE0s strive to keep everything in balance whereas the IE6s are geared more towards a musical or fun presentation if you will. There is no doubt about it you get more overall detail and better balance from the RE0s, however, you lack a bit of bass. In terms of linearity the IE6s are no match for the RE0s that do not emphasize any part of the spectrum and have a really good treble extension.
The cable handles microphonic noise really well and seems durable. The fact that it is not a wound cable like that featured on the Westone 3s is great because it means it does not tangle up as much. When using the shirt clip you will not be bothered by microphonic noise at all. Wearing comfort was really good as well the ergonomic shape means it fits inside your ears perfectly without applying pressure to anything else than the canal.