Sennheiser IE 6 Noise Isolating In-Ear-Canalphone Review
Audio is one of those areas where I believe that one should not skimp out on because of the end result you’ll be able to definitively experience. And that end result is a worthwhile experience to have an outcome that will make you ask yourself “what have I been missing out on”. While you don’t have to spend a fortune to have good sound, spend a little bit more money and why not have something that will be the last in-ear canalphones you’ll ever need. That is what I am proposing today with the Sennheiser IE 6 noise isolating in-ear-canalphone review.
Sennheiser was founded in 1945 and is a very well known German company that is highly respected among the audio world that has been making microphones, headsets, telephony accessories and aviation products for a long time. If there’s ever a company to trust when looking for audio gear, Sennheiser would be one of them.
Sennheiser IE 6 General Description and Features
“With their dynamic drivers and powerful neodymium magnets, the IE 6 ear-canal phones deliver high-fidelity sound with an enhanced bass response. They also feature an excellent attenuation of ambient noise. Designed for tough use, the IE 6 has a durable housing and a rugged cable. They come complete with a protective case, different types and sizes of ear adapters and a cleaning tool.
Sennheiser IE 6 Specifications
The Sennheiser IE 6 arrived to ModSynergy.com in a big Sennheiser bag claiming “Sound inside”, and low and behold reaching inside the bag reveals the unusual looking product packaging. The IE 6 comes in an upscale-feeling, luxury-looking black box featuring a magnetic flap opening. This is no ordinary plastic blister packaging but something that was well thought out and screams out anticipation of what is inside. On the outside of the box is displayed information regarding the IE 6, some of its features, technical data specifications and instructions on the backside explaining how to open the intricate Sennheiser packaging.
The Sennheiser IE 6 sells for a premium listing price of $279.99CAD but can be found cheaper nowadays with price cuts for around $239.99CAD and American readers can expect to pay $119.45US if purchased through Amazon.com as of 8/19/09 with the VISA savings they claim, which if true, is quite a steal in my opinion.
With your purchase of the Sennheiser IE 6, you will find the following contents inside the box. Open the packaging and everything is laid out so pleasurable that you don’t want to ruin such a good thing and frankly that will be the last time you see everything done up perfectly…
Included with the Sennheiser IE 6 is one pair of each size soft ear inserts. I believe the ear inserts are rubber. The inserts feel soft, stretchy and the result is a very comfortable fit in my ear. The Sennheiser IE 6 are one of the most comfortable canalphones I’ve worn and is in my opinion, just a little bit harder to sit in the ear than the CX 300-II. The problem with fitment is the angled curve design that you have to get used too. You just don’t pop them in your ear; they go in a particular way. But once you figure that way out, you will have no future problems. Noise isolation is quite comparable to what I experienced with the CX 300-II.
Unlike the easy installation of just pushing on the insert on the canalphone as was such with the MetroFi 220vi, the Sennheiser IE 6 requires extra effort. You can’t just push them on the canalphone opening but rather takes a little stretching over the canalphone to become seated in the ridge.
The Sennheiser IE 6 has a dynamic driver that is covered by a grille that prevents earwax from entering which is a nice little touch. Earwax unfortunately can stay on the grille blocking the sound so you have to remove it if such a thing happens. Sennheiser knows this will happen and have included a small cleaning tool to combat this inevitable outcome. The cleaning tool is basically like a miniature paper clip but it works just fine, although a brush would have been more efficient.
When using canalphones a characteristic you will come to experience is one that feels like you’re somehow underneath water where you can hear you’re every movement. That’s the same feeling you will have when wearing canalphones but the movements you hear will be from the cord shuffling about against your body and also your own voice/breath. There’s nothing you can do about this unless you supply a clip that could hold the cord against your shirt and this is what exactly Sennheiser has done. The clip helps to prevent shuffling about of the cord and for the most part it works rather well preventing more noises than if no shirt clip were provided.
I suppose the price made this outcome expected, the Sennheiser IE 6 is the best canalphone I’ve used thus far and is what hearing studio monitors for the first time is like. You hear true unadulterated sound that has not been manipulated to great extent. Everything sounds natural. The Sennheiser IE 6 provides soothing, vibrant sound that cannot be matched by any other canalphone I’ve reviewed.
First of all I tested the Sennheiser IE 6 on my computer with an M-Audio Audiophile 2496 soundcard instead of testing it on any sort of MP3 player. I chose this for sound quality reasons; this setup provides unparalleled sound quality over any source available to me. Next I listened to audio CD’s, FLAC music, 320kbs encoded MP3’s, OGGs and also FL Studio demos (works surprisingly well) with a flat equalizer.
I also “broke-in” the canalphones through over 200+ hours of regular usage as I’ve been reviewing this IE 6 as a long-term review.
When I test anything sound related, the most important thing I’m looking for is balance between low, mid and high frequencies. I should not be able to distinguish a prominent characteristic if the product is balanced. And boy does the Sennheiser IE 6 ever sound remarkable.
Low frequency – The Sennheiser CX 300-II thumping but not overly powering bass. Whereas the UE MetroFi 220vi provided excellent bass but took away from the clarity, the Sennheiser IE 6 is not affected by any of this nonsense. The level of detail you get out of these is top-notch. The bass feels deep and rich. Even as the bass is strong and sufficient, it does not take away clarity from the other frequencies. The quality amongst low, medium and highs remain intact. But as it stands, if you’re purely in it for bass power, the UE MetroFi 220vi still have more of this attribute.
Mid frequency – The Sennheiser CX 300-II provides excellent mid-frequency production. Voices are clear, detailed and instruments have a real “right-in front of you” feeling. It stirs my soul actually and I can’t believe how “wide” they feel, it sounds larger than it really is.
High frequency – Very rich and does not disappoint but exceeds expectation. The clarity is clearly above any other canalphone I’ve heard. Little distortion and just plain clean un-filtered sound. The amount of treble offered is perfectly suited to what the IE 6 is capable of and is very balanced and vibrancy of the IE 6 is 100% fluid.
Before I end this review, I want to mention that through months of usage, the Sennheiser IE 6 have held up perfectly through being put in pockets, being thrown down on tables, the shiny coating on them haven’t worn out and they have strong construction and fantastic sound.
The Sennheiser IE 6 is something of an investment. You purchase one of these and you’ll never need to purchase anything else because it’s that good.
Pros and Cons
Check out TestFreaks for more reviews of this product.