1964 Ears V6, Six Driver Custom In Ear Monitor Review
Firstly, I would like to clear things up before I go into a lengthy review. I paid full price for my unit, rush build, shipping, and even the hefty taxes that is imposed on audio equipment here in Malaysia. Now, with that out of the way, lets get going!
How I got to know about 1964 Ears is that I was watching a Hillsong (Christian Worship Band) BluRay and I wanted to know what customs they were using and I found out they actually use 1964 Ears Customs when I was doing some searching online. I went and check them out and found out that they offer reshelling. And so my first encounter with the company was having my ACS T1 reshelled with them. The reason I had it reshelled with them is because in their description, they said that “We go to great lengths to preserve the original sound signature that you've grown to love.” And as you guys might know, the ACS T1 is a silicone IEM and having it moved into an acrylic shell (as no company reshelles in Silicone anymore) I was scared that it would drastically alter the sound signature. But Vitaly told me to give them time so that they can study the layout and configuration of the T1 and when it came back! I was happy that they did manage to preserve the sound! So that was my first experience with the company and then of course I had my ES5 reshelled with them too because they offer the same vinyl tips as the ones that come with the Westone ES series originally. And needless to say, they also nailed tat one and sounded like how the original ES5 sounded too! And when I was downloading my form for the ES5 reshelling ,I came across their website that said that they have a new product which is the V6 and I thought maybe I should get one and try it out since I use my Customs a lot, 90% of the time as I travel extensively. And so I put in my order and paid for them. And a week later, I have them here in my ears and I am actually listening to them as I am typing out this review.
Customer Service and Experience as a whole:
I am very satisfied with their customer service and I usually call them up and talk to them and they are very very helpful and would take the time to answer your questions. Over my dealings with them, I have talked to Alex on the phone many many times, and Anastasia once over the phone and a few times via email and stuff, and Vitally twice if I am not mistaken. Before I bought the V6, because it was sort of an impulse thing, I actually called them up and spoke to him and he discussed with me about how it sounds so I could see if it would suit me, although I was taking a gamble but I would just want to know roughly how it sounds. He said that it sounds more towards the JH13 and less of the sterile miracle in terms of comparison with other 6 driver customs. And because I own the JH13 (which would obviously mean that I am alright with the signature), I said okay and confirmed my order with them on the spot.
Top notch build. I think that their build quality is even better then JH Audio and more refined then Westone. Probably right up there with UE! I do not have the pictures with me now for the V6 but I will post them up as soon as I can upload them!
Below you will see me comparing the V6 a lot to the ES5, and that is because they sound so so similar.
General Sound Signature:
They day before they arrived I went through the whole ‘1964 EARS V6 Discussion & Appreciation Thread’. 33 pages in all. And I saw many people asking for comparisons between the V6 and the ES5. I don’t know why people were asking whether they might sound the same and would have thought that it might sound the same and. I mean, how did you guys know? Lol. But here it is, I have done my side by side comparison being a current owner of both. And they really do share the same signature and presentation. Almost exactly. They are voiced very very similarly. The general sound signature of the V6 is:
1. Very balanced, while having a bloom in the lower mid register and
2. The highs are not shrill and they roll off JUST BEFORE sounding harsh.
3. They are very revealing and EXTREAMELY transparent.
4. Very very coherent sounding IEM, I am not sure if it due to the tuning of the individual crossovers or just that the final tuning just allows all the frequencies to ‘come together’ very well and musically.
The highs on the V6 are very brilliant and have tones of resolution. I really love the fact that it rolls of JUST BEFORE it gets shrill or hot! And in doing so, it makes the V6 sound very sweet and detailed. And while I know that details are not in the amount of treble present, but the highs of the V6 are very resolving and partly due to the fact that it is very balanced so it is not overpowered by other frequencies. I find that the highs of the ES5 when driven to slightly louder volumes will tend to sound boxy(blunt) because it is rolled off much earlier then the V6 and hence makes the ES5 sound empty.
The mids of the V6 are very special, the high mids would blend in with the highs and the low mids would just blend in with the lows. By blend in I do not mean bleed in. But they just blend very very well with the high register and the low register. I would say that the mids of the V6 is the ‘seam’ that makes the V6 as a whole sound so coherent. And now on to the tonality of the mids, the mids are as sweet as the ES5 mids and they have the slight bloom of the ES5, but not in as much quantity. The ES5 still has more ‘bloom’. However, the mids of the V6 has more resolution partly due to the fact that it is more transparent hence you can ‘see’ it better. The mids are not congested and hence it allows the V6 to have good soundstage and separation if it is used for monitoring purposes. The male vocals are chesty but not overly chesty that they end up sounding gruff and again, the added transparency helps a lot too to feel the vocals and this is a big plus if it were to be used for monitoring purposes. I would say that it is very slightly more chesty then the ES5, very very slight, but the added transparency and the vocals being more forward (in positioning and not in quantity) just edges this over the ES5.
This is where the biggest difference is exhibited between the ES5 and the 1964 Ears V6. The bass if the ES5 is more expansive while the bass of the V6 is slightly leaner but the bass of the V6 has a better extension then the ES5. And if you are asking which one sounded better in the trade off between being expansive and extension. I would say that I like the bass on the V6 more as it has more extension and decay and how the lows mesh with the low mids make it sound a tad more liquid then the ES5. The V6 has very good sub bass but its bass is very lean and controlled while the ES5 has a more expansive and ‘bigger bass’ but is also not bloated at the same time.
Instrument Separation and Soundstage
Separation of the V6 is very good due to the fact that transparency is really good on them. You are able to pick out individual instruments very well and also because it is tuned to be used as a musicians monitor too. You can very easily make out where each band member is standing with the lead vocals always dead in the centre.
Soundstage of the V6 is not to big and not to small that you can’t make out and pin point where individual band members are standing. It is slightly bigger then the soundstage of the ACS T1, but smaller then the ES5.
Would I recommend this to others? Who would I recommend it to? Is it worth the money that you paid for it?
Yes I would recommend it to others, as a matter fact I recommend 1964 Ears not only to the audiophiles I know, but also to other Christian Musicians and churches that I am able to meet when I travel around the world when I am on my break and doing missions.
Who I would recommend it to? It would be to:
1. Folks that love vocals,
2. Guys that sit up everytime they see the word ‘smooth’ in a review,
3. People who love the SE530&SE535 by Shure and would like that signature to be fully scaled and are ready to go custom,
4. Fellas who cant afford the premium of the ES5,
5. Dudes who love their ES5 and have extra cash.
6. Performing musicians, especially vocalists and guitarists.
If you’re one of the above, grab one now while it is still on its introductory price!! J
Thanks for reading and I really hope that AverageJoe would be able to review them as I would like to know how they compare to the SE5 by Spiral Ears. Maybe 1964 Ears and Joe could work something out? ;)