I spent a long time writing this and some of it got deleted for whatever reason, so I will just let you read the rest. I might just cry if I write again and it goes again.
Over the next few days, I committed myself to the Sennheisers. I had spent all this money, so I should see what the had to offer. Slowly, I did. I listened and listened and listened. My only sources are my primary Galaxy S2 and my Macbook Pro. Always FLAC. Very slowly, they became better.
I put this down to two things; I firstly believe that your ears and brain take time to adjust to different types of head/earphones. One set might be fantastic and another one may also be fantastic, but quite different. Secondly, this burn-in issue thing. I always believed
Hey all, I've been a member for a long time and I've read a lot, but I've contributed very little. 1 month ago, I bought the Sennheiser IE60s and 2 weeks ago, I promised I would post a review of them, because there is basically no information online about them. So, here I go...
I made a decision 5 years ago to treat myself to a new, better set of headphones once a year. This year, it was these. Practical stats are as follows:
Price paid: 131 euros.
Where: Dixons travel - Amsterdam Schiphol airport.
Headhones owned as of this moment: (only) these and Sennheiser HD595s.
First impressions: The guy who worked in the shop in the airport actually seemed excited to talk to me. His words were, 'it's so refreshing to talk to someone who actually understands what I'm saying'. They had lots of very nice high-end IEMs that you normally wouldn't find in a bricks & mortar shop, all the way up to the Shure SE535s. Really nice guy anyway, talked to me about the qualities of each IEM and seemed genuinely excited to share his knowledge. He suggested that I look at the IE6 and IE8s. As he looked around and looked like a fool and realised that they didn't have them he said, oh wait, and pointed out that they now have the IE60 and IE80s. I had money in my pocket and was set on getting something nice, so I carefully considered all his recommendations. My last set of IEMs were Sonys. I have to be honest; when I got them last year, they blew me AWAY. Gorgeous bass. Really, seriously gorgeous bass. I had never heard it before. Now, I'm sorry, but I don't know the model number of them. I thought I did, but I looked online and it didn't match up. Anyway, after much talking, I decided to take a leap of faith and get the IE 60s. The last thing he said to me was "you have paid, you can go ahead and rip them open now'. I promptly did.
Sitting in Burger King in the airport, I eagerly opened them and plugged them into my Galaxy S2. My heart sank. I was filled with regret and a horrible empty feeling. As I listened to these IEMs, I thought I had made a terrible mistake. I had spent quite a bit of money and they sounded atrocious. 15 euro atrocious. I pretended nothing was wrong, ate my burger king and put them into my pocket.
We got on the plane back to Korea, (I'm Irish, living in Korea). 12 hour flight from Amsterdam, so I had quite a bit of time to play with them. The first thing I did was look at all the tips that came with them and try each and every one of them. After a few tries, I cracked it, metaphorically speaking... The largest tips with a double seal. I finally knew that I hadn't made a complete mistake. I was beginning to hear how they were intended to be heard, albeit on a plane. I was hugely relieved.
I arrived back in Korea and took them for a test drive / listen. At this time I was comparing them to my Sonys. I thought they had a distinctly Sennheiser signature to them. An accurate, punchy, natural, if a tiny bit flat sound to them. Again, I'm comparing them to what I have heard in the past. Please know that. I thought, oh these are pretty nice, but they don't give me the same 'awww ye' feeling as my Sonys did. At this time I was smitten with my Son
that a few hours burn-in was good for IEMs, but with these, in my opinion, it was the different between meh and wow. At this time, they have about 30 - 40 hours usage. All in my ears.
The biggest difference between these and the Sonys from an enjoyment point of view is that the Sonys gave me a feeling. A feeling of exactly what music I was listening to. A tingling. An emotional sensation. These give me a milder feeling; more like an emotional appreciation. The one single thing they give me is a mental picture. When I listen to these, they put a picture in my head. Each instrument, each song, a different picture. They most common picture is one of smoothness, like plastic. White plastic, veneered with a non-existant smooth material. It's just smooth. It's a gorgeous bridge across ripples. Everything joined together in a harmonious, unintermittent beautiful way.
I want to say one thing. I think that these IEMs were made for guitar. They do almost everything excellently, but they excel at guitar. It really is like more than listening live. It's better than live! It feels like the guitar is sitting in front of me and its propped just below the speaker. Each string is being plucked individually. The plectrum, caressing each string. You can hear every string. They come together in a sensual orchestra of togetherness. It's rich. It's smooth. It's precise. It's better than real life some how.
One of my favourite albums to listen to with these is 'M83 - Hurry Up, We're Dreaming'. I'll pick a song and talk about it...
Midnight City. Superb song that I am intimately familiar with. I listened to this on both my new IE60s and my Sonys. The 'wow' feeling that I previously had on my Sonys was gone forever. Where were the mids? Where were the highs??? GONE! It was all non existant. On the IE60s, it starts silky smooth. Each range is perfectly audible and smooth. At about 10 seconds, the drums kick in and it's a very punchy, accurate, refined feeling. Again, it puts an image into my brain. It's like these are strings in my brain and each and every one is being pulled methodically and precisely. Like a piano tapping away at it's notes, these IEMs are tapping my brain in just the right way to sound perfect. As the song continues and becomes busier (key word: busier) the song maintains its gorgeousness, but starts to sound 'busy'. On the whole, it sounds beautiful, but if you pick individual instruments, it begins to just sound a tiny bit busy.
The next Album is Nirvana - Nevermind Deluxe Edition. The song, Smelly Like Teen Spirit. I talk about this because this was the first song to give me my WOW moment with the IE60s. I'll try to explain. This starts with guitar, which as I have explained, these IEMs are amazing at. Then comes the drums. It's just drums and guitar. This sounds punchy and refined and accurate and smooth and everything you would want. The deepness of the bass confuses me. It's sufficient, but I know they go lower. I have heard these go very low on bass, but it's extremely rare. It has only happened maybe once or twice. I know they can do it. In general though, they don't. They maintain a medium to keep everything in harmony. I think this is why I missed my Sonys in the beginning, but haven't looked back since. As the song progresses, it suffers in the same way as Midnight City. While sounding great, it just feels busy for a headphone of this price.
The next song is from the album 'BT - These Hopeful Machines'. The song is 'Suddenly'. I gotta say, this is an excently recorded album. Initially, you are greeted by a sexy electro feeling of silky smoothness intermitted with bass and feeling. The IE60s show their bass handling quite well here. They go deep enough and show their capability without being disproportionate to the rest of the music. Again, the overwhelming feeling is that they are plucking strings in my brain to make it sound just exactly as it should. They're giving me images in my brain.
When I listen to these, I really do feel that I can place the instruments on a good recording. Honestly. They have replaced my HD595s as my primary at home listening phones. I prefer the asound of these. Just a personal preference. A nice bonus is that I can take this sound anywhere. I would consider buying these if I wanted really good IEMs on a reasonable budget. If you like guitar music, these are a must have in my opinion. They do everything fantastic, just they feel a bit busy when there's too much going on at once. I want to say, this is 'busy' for a set of phones in this price range.
My final words, as it's approaching 2am so I'll answer any questions tomorrow, are as follows:
The main feeling I get from these is that they give me pictures in my brain rather than a tingling in my spine. I don't want this to be confused with people thinking that the music feels like it's in your brain, it's not. For me, it depends on the song and it varys from in front of me, behind and slightly under the microphone to just beside each ear. They are that accurate.
I was gonna upgrade them very soon, but have decided not to as they have become better with time. If you get these, please give them time!!! I am delighted with this investment and I believe you will be happy with them regardless of what type of music you listen to. Really, anything, though if it's guitar youre after, these are a must have at this price point.
I hope this has been useful to everyone. This is my little something back as a thank you for all the info I have gotten over the years. I will update this as required and answer any questions you may have :)