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Sennheiser IE60 Review

post #1 of 46
Thread Starter 

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 :)



post #2 of 46

thanks for posting this. I just heard about the IE 60 and IE 80 today. I thought they were the same, but had typos
I'm very curious about them, especially compared to the IE 6, 7, and 8. 



post #3 of 46

Thanks for sharing your experience. Yeah for me it took a while to have the brain to get used to the IEM's. Once that period is over, the fun begins.


Not much info available about the IE60. I am always wondering about the difference between the IE60 and 80 other than the looks and adjustment for bass level.

post #4 of 46
Thread Starter 

I'm sorry about the missing parts of this review. I spent an awful long time writing it and some parts mysteriously disappeared. I couldn't bring myself to go through it all again. Most of the information is there, even if it doesn't make complete sense. Would be nice to hear of the impression someone else got from these.

post #5 of 46

That was a nice review of the IE 60, DonkeyRhubarb!

Glad you like them! wink_face.gif

post #6 of 46

It's too bad parts got deleted, but still thank you for this review. 

post #7 of 46

Thanks for this review! I have the same gear as you do (SGS2, HD 595) and because my Beyerdynamics' DTX 100 cable broke, I'm looking for a new IEM. Question though: doesn't the IE60 reveal the Galaxy S2's sound output? I think it's definitely not as bad as many people claim it is (especially the HD 595's sound quite good on it). I'm considering these IE60s, Phonaks, Klipsch, amongst others. My budget is 150 euro tops, I source from portable devices/laptop mostly. Although I love flat, "analytical" sounds, I tend to be more impressed with musicality (which I suspect your Sony's were..were they EX300s?) and soundstage. And also, fit and comfort are important too, which is why I keep my Creative EP 630s around because I think its silicone tip is the smoothest ever.

So, would you recommend the IE60s? :) Or do you have other suggestions?

post #8 of 46



Originally Posted by Shonen84 View Post

Although I love flat, "analytical" sounds, I tend to be more impressed with musicality (which I suspect your Sony's were..were they EX300s?) and soundstage. And also, fit and comfort are important too


There is nothing flat and analytical in IE60 sound :) But soundstage is good, bass is prominent and overall presentation is quite warn and non-fatiguing

As for comfort, non of stock tips worked for me, but UE and Meelec tips are really good fit

post #9 of 46

Thanks for review DonkeyRhubarb!

Can someone compare them to IE8 and IE80?

I was having IE8 but they are not good with heavy guitar music, so i sold them. I was loving their soundstage.

What about soundstage of IE60? What about hardcore music such as Soulfly, Slipnot, FearFactory?

I don't want to spend twice much money for IE80 and i don't want IE8 again, they are not from my favourites, interesting for some detour IE8 style.

post #10 of 46
Originally Posted by Berkovajazz View Post

Thanks for review DonkeyRhubarb!

Can someone compare them to IE8 and IE80?

I was having IE8 but they are not good with heavy guitar music, so i sold them. I was loving their soundstage.

What about soundstage of IE60? What about hardcore music such as Soulfly, Slipnot, FearFactory?

I don't want to spend twice much money for IE80 and i don't want IE8 again, they are not from my favourites, interesting for some detour IE8 style.

Never owned or auditioned IE8, so I can't compare the difference between the 8 and 80. But I was listening to Rodrigo's Concerto de Aranjuez played by Kazuhito Yama****a the other day and it sounded brilliant with my IE80. I can't say anything negative about the sound. Keep in mind I am not an audiophile so my opinion is solely based on my brain response to the music.


One thing with the IE8 or 80 or any other IEM's, my experience is to find that "magic" seal/tips which will really maximize the potentials of these bad boys. The manufacturers won't tell you what it is because they can't as it varies from individual to individual. But boy is it crucial? You bet believe it. Personally I do NOT believe or like deep and airtight seals for what I believe. I think sometimes if not many times the tips/seal may largely contribute to the unintended sound results or failure of achieving the potentials of the IEM's.


post #11 of 46

I was having all IEMs in the world which i wanted to try.

Now i'm just interested in IE60 vs IE8/IE80.


post #12 of 46
Thread Starter 

@Shonen84 - My setup of Macbook Pro and Samsung GS2 is actually quite good. I have to even say that the GS2 is better than my Macbook. Sound from the macbook can be a bit 'crackily'. It gives me the exact sound, but with a little background interferience at certain frequencies. Honestly, the sound of FLAC through my GS2 is second to none and I whole heartidly recommend it. My sonys werent the EX300's. Thought they look the same. They cost about 100 euro a year ago. It's a mystery (*kinda :) Yes, I would recommend the IE 60s for that setup. I actually find myself choosing to walk instead of driving to places just so I can listen to my earphones :D


@Tiax - The sound is a bit flat compared to what I was used to, but it grows warm over time. Lots of time. The comfort is great, but I found that the double-seal tips make my ears a bit itchy on the inside from time to time. Some of my friends said the same thing. The cable has a reasonably decent thickness, which is good, but it tends to get a little hard in cold weather.

@Berkovajazz - Yes, the soundstage is fantastic. Really, really good for a headphone of this price. They are great for guitar, but I fear that some other IEMs would better serve the type of heavy music you want to listen to. Don't get me wrong; they would sound very good, but some others would do that better for the same price in my opinion.



post #13 of 46

Thank U Donkey!

I think that IE60 are non upgrade from old IE-series. Maybe very little. I'm not a fan of just hard music i like lot of styles, this is one very good note when some IEMs can play hard music with a good quality.
Now i'm just interesting about battle IE60 vs IE8 and IE80.
I've found them on sale in my city by middle prices.

post #14 of 46

Alright, thanks everyone for the great feedback. I'm gonna go for the IE60, the combination of good fit, soundstage and the warm presentation seal the deal for me. Oh and Donkey - Taeyeon is awesome! 소녀시대 만세 XD

post #15 of 46
Thread Starter 



I wanna give a brief medium term use report on these phones.


As I read my previous review, some things just seem a bit negative. As I listen now, all the bass extension, vibrance, livlieness has come alive. These are a gorgeous set of IEMs and I wholeheartidly recommend them. If you're in the 130 euro budget, buy these. They are gorgeous. Buy them, let them play alone for a week even and then enjoy. Aural bliss.

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