Altec Lansing InMotion iM616 canalphones
What a surprise these turned out to be! I saw them online at a particular retailer for $50 and, because I knew AL was part of Harman International, decided to go for them. The Harman Kardon branded offerings use Etymotic technology and I figured AL wanted a piece of the pie and offer their line of higher end phones with Ety tech. These 616s certainly look the part of higher tech, resembling the Etymotic ER4s and HKs EP730s but would they sound good?
My very first experience with AL headphones was in the form of earbuds that were selling somewhat cheaply at a closing CompUSA store, the Altec Lansing UHP101. I figured, "might as well, for the price, AL usually makes some decent stuff". So I got them, tried them and, although the sound quality was acceptable, I didn't care too much for them for their fit. I shelved 'em after a day of wear and went on to other stuff.
When I bought these 616s, I wasn't expecting very much, but I did expect decent sound quality. I wasn't expecting to be blown away with what compares to, and in my opinion, excels, the Etymotic 6s...even though these are likely made by Etymotic. The richness and clarity and presence of sound was awesome and I have to admit, I had a hard time believing they were going to be good so I was looking for audio issues like grain and mud and thought I was hearing some. They have a very lively, dynamic sound that my Ety6s don't have. I love the sound quality of these ALs but I'm not certain yet if the quality is up there with my UE 3s. The dynamics of sound is certainly there, on the same level, with my UE3s but I'm not certain they have the detail and definition of the UE3s. I don't believe they'll prove to match the UE3s in that regard but they are as lively and dynamic and refreshing to listen to. I can listen to these non-stop and not become tired of them. That's something I like about the UE3s...as long as I can maintain a decent and comfortable ear seal.
I love the type of Jazz from the Rippingtons, Eric Marienthal, Flim and the BBs, David Sanborn and such and when I listen to their music through these 616s, I want to turn it up and start dancing. Get a good sax going in the Rippingtons like their North Star in Curves Ahead and I'm buzzing. Just outstanding! I can say that with the UE3, and the V-Moda Vibes and maybe a few others but it's strained with the Ety6s. However, with these ALs, I'm a Cheshire cat, smiling from ear to ear.
This is one set of canalphones I'm glad I found.