It hasn’t been long since I raved about the IE 900 from Sennheiser. Since then, I have been eagerly awaiting their next entry in the IE series. The IE 600 had been newly released around that time, a sort of mid-fi option to the higher-end IE 900. Now the IE 600 has finally reached my desk, and I am clamoring to start listening. At $699, is the IE 600 up to the high standard Sennheiser has set?
What You Get
- Sennheiser IE600 IEMs
- Unbalanced para-aramid reinforced cable with 3.5mm connector
- Balanced para-aramid reinforced cable with 4.4mm connector
- 3 pairs of silicone ear adapters (S, M, L)
- 3 pairs of foam ear adapters (S, M, L)
- Premium carry case
- Cable clip, Cleaning tool
- Presentation box with signed customer certificate User manuals
Look and Feel
It’s clear that Sennheiser isn’t going to change the build of the IE series anytime soon, as the IE 600 boasts the same shape and size as the IE 900 and 300. I know some are not a fan of this specific style, but it has always worked for me. However, I can see the argument that the housing is just too small, and I would suggest using larger ear tips in order to really get the support from the IE 600. Each of their IEMs does use different materials for its housing though, and the IE 600 uses an amorphous metal for its outer shell.
Sennheiser’s TrueResponse transducer returns for the IE 600, with dual resonator chambers for a neutral tuning. The 7mm dynamic driver is a staple for Sennheiser’s in-ear earphones, no matter if they’re wired or Bluetooth, and it’s been a big part of their success.
Sennheiser’s efforts in their soundstage presentation are always going to be of the highest caliber. This is an admirable feat, especially with their line of IEMs, and thankfully the IE 600 gives you that same prestige. Off the bat, the IE 600 doesn’t reach as far as you might think, but after a while, I found myself completely sucked into its spatial abilities, such as its huge image and intimate headspace. It is not so much an in-your-head type of stage, but the sphere of sound does come closer in like all the imaging is being performed directly at you. You still get a ton of roominess and air within the space between elements, and the stereo field nonetheless warps around you semi-holographically. The aura of the stage just isn’t so much open as it is natural.
Of course, you get a level of accuracy that is only attainable in Sennheiser’s IEMs, and on the IE 600, the imaging is given greater depth and dimension through its terrific layering. Although the standard for the IE 600s spatial properties welcomes a variety of genres, I found that its staging favored heavier selections like bombastic electronic tracks and classic rock. Orchestral and jazz tracks are still performed exquisitely, but the IE 600 isn’t an IEM that gives them the width and openness that do some examples justice.
If you are looking for an IEM with a good amount of low-end drive, then the IE 600 might be exactly what you’re looking for. Some may believe that Sennheiser skimps out on the bass sometimes, but with their recent IEMs, they have been delivering lows with an impeccable slam. The IE 600 in particular feels like it has a good amount of force behind it, maximizing quick transient response for extra punch. Even though the bass here is pretty theatrical, it also showcases great clarity and resolution. It features a level of control that keeps its thickness relegated to its own space, where the frequencies can take shape without exaggerating the response too far into other regions of the sound signature.
What the IE 600 really wants to do out of anything else, is display all of its details in a way that lays everything out on the table. Without compromise, the midrange is a collection of all of the IE 600’s best qualities wrapped up in a rich and gripping tone. It performs with an incredible sense of dynamic range, spanning from warm textures to natural air, benefiting all types of instruments and vocal ranges. The soundstage helps its transparency greatly, and it impacts the crisp resolution that reflects the overall timbre of the mids. Some particular highlights were the spacious reverberance from The Mary Onettes instrumentation and the backup vocals from Thundercat on the track “Cracker Island” from Gorillaz.
To top off an excellent frequency response, the highs exhibit a satisfying smoothness that strongly complements the rest of the sound signature. You get some nice extended height that brings even more air to the timbre, while also featuring natural tones that dissipate with finality. It offers little in the way of emphasis, but the overall representation of the treble is solid and realistic. Reverb tails get the best out of their profile, as certain effects are granted even more air and spaciousness.
Well, Sennheiser has another incredible IEM on the market. The IE 600 is easy to fall in love with, as it gives you an intimate soundstage that’s spacious as well as focused, while the bass has impact and shape. The mids and highs are also sweet and natural, making this one of the best IEMs in this price range for pure accuracy. If you weren’t into the size of the past IE models, the IE 600 doesn’t change anything, but that doesn’t mean they can’t offer any comfort at all. With the IE 600, Sennheiser has made their ideal mid-fi IEM and offers serious competition to the more established choices in this price range.
The Sennheiser IE 600 is available at Audio46.
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