So, my set of V6-Stages came in. The new case is nice; my old case just had my name on a clear label. This time they have my name engraved on the brushed metal effect nameplate that's affixed to the box, which is a much nicer touch. The bores, unlike my Quads, are plastic tubed all the way to the tip, and use thinner bores. The Quads have a combined opening for the bass and mids (this was tubed separately till about half a CM from the tip where it turned into was an acrylic 'cave', along with a separate tube for the highs running to the front. Kind of hard to describe but you can see other people's quads like this. The V6-Stage has three bores of the same size (each of them smaller than the highs opening on the quads) and are arranged in a triangle at the tip, which looks much cleaner and more professional.
Another thing to note is that the monitor itself is thinner (faceplate is closer to the tips) than my quads, and therefore sit with a lower profile in my ears. Not sure if they are making them more compact over time or it varied between batches or something. My serial number for my quads is just over 2000 and these are in the 7800s, so I suppose Vitaliy's team has made several thousand more IEMs in the past two years?
Now for the initial sound impressions: much wider soundstage than the Quads and a nicer, more refined overall sound. Similar to the width of the Westone 4, although it's more enveloping and 3D with height and depth rather than a flatter semi-sphere of the Westones. Imaging on the V6-Stage is excellent and same with instrumental separation, a must for any stage monitor. It's even easier to track harmonies from secondary vocalists; your mileage will vary more by the production / recording / mixing quality more so than the bitrate of your music. The quads were disappointing in that the size of the soundstage was smaller than the UM3X to me - but the quads did match up in terms of imaging, along with more realistic timbre and refinement. The V6-Stages have more balance in the frequency spectrum - these are definitely very bassy, and even more richly so, but there's less subbass emphasis than the Quads and more mids as well as midbass, creating a warmer sound.
The highs are gentler and much more refined - more extended, more detailed, smoother and yet less fatiguing compared to the Quads. I remember reading somewhere either buried in the facebook comments under a photo or something, but 1964 ears did say that the Quads were updated in early 2012 for more mids. Mine were made a few months prior; I found mine to be v-shaped and wanted more mids. Definitely got that here with the V6-Stages.
Despite the differences I'm describing, I definitely hear a family resemblance between the Quads and V6-stage; both are designed by Vitaliy to be a warm, non-fatiguing stage monitor that can be played at louder sound levels for extended periods. The V6-S is a significant evolution and refinement of the same philosophy, most probably helped by experience and competition!
Edit: The timbre of cymbals and all upper mids through treble destroys the Westone 4. One sounds real and the other sounds like an earphone. Also, these, just like the Quads, are honest - they don't sound coloured, they sound quite neutral, like a studio monitor.
Edited by creamsoda - 10/22/13 at 5:49pm