Craft Ears Craft Six Universal

General Information

Our flagship, the Craft SIX, creates the perfect balance - audiophile neutral and smooth sound with excellent dynamics and lifelike imaging. Featuring six drivers: Dual Sub-Low, Dual Low-Mid, Single Mid-High, and One Super-Tweeter, along with our proprietary RASEN Bass, True Load, and SES technologies.

RASEN Bass ™ (Reference Acoustic Spiral Enhanced Bass) - Patent-pending solution, precisely calculated and designed 3D printed structure, that creates low-end notes as realistic as a true subwoofer.

True Load ™ - Extremely flat Impedance and Phase.

SES™ (Space Expanse System) - Our very own field-specific, 3D printed, horn-loaded tweeter which was tuned in a very particular bandwidth.

Latest reviews

Pros: Great Technicalities
Very nice Soundstage
Excellent Bass
Nice crunch and dynamic throughout the entire spectrum
Cons: Shell size and nozzle lenght
Peculiar high notes at 16kHz
Slightly thin tunning


The Four and Six universal demo have been graciously lent by Jędrzej Nowicki / Craft Ears in order to realize a Tour on Tellement Nomade and to allow the French community to discover this new proposition on the in-ear market. I would like to thank him for his confidence in TN. They will be returned at the end of the Tour.

I am in no way commercially linked to Craft Ears and have received no compensation whatsoever for this return.

Introduction

Craft Ears is a company based in Kobylanka, in the northwest of Poland, close to the German border.
The company was founded about two and a half years ago by Jędrzej Nowicki, a music engineer, musician (drums) and producer/composer in his own right.
It currently offers 3 models based exclusively on balanced armature drivers, and available in both custom and universal versions. The models used for the tour are universal versions, and I've had confirmation that they are tuned slightly differently to sound like customs.
Official website : https://www.craftears.com/

Hardware

I was able to test the Crafts Ears headphones with the following hardware.
DAP : Plenue L, iBasso DX160 and smartphone
Cables : stock cables, Eletech Plato and PW1950 cables

I was able to compare them to the following pairs of in-ears :
64 Audio U12t, Ambient Acoustics MAD24, Empire Ears Zeus XIV Custom Retuned, IMR Rah and Jomo Audio Trinity SS

Build, Fit & Tips

Both Four and Six are of exemplary manufacturing quality, the lacquering is magnificent and shell inspires confidence.
Six shell shape is quite special, with an extremely long nozzle due to the tubing required to achieve the desired sound.In my little ears with the short and narrow canal, it was no easy task to get a correct fit, and the shell stood out a lot.
Stock tips are Azla SednaEarfit Short. However, I preferred to use Jomo double flanges which allowed me to get a deeper fit and a fuller, more intense signature without impacting the sound stage at all. The following feedback is based on the use of these tips.


Six / Four

Four shell is tiny, just like the nozzle, and they fit perfectly in my ear. With them, I got a perfect fit with narrow nozzle tri-flanges, just like the supplied Final Audio type E tips.

Tech Specs

Craft Ears Four

Specifications :
- 4 Balanced Armatures : 1 super-tweeter, 1 midrange and 2 bass
- 4-way passive filter
- 3 bores nozzle
- Frequency response: 15Hz - 22kHz
- Impedance: 10 Ohms
- Insulation: -26db
- Stock cable: 4 strands in silver plated copper
- Selling price: from 550€
- Builder's site: https://www.craftears.com/products/model-ce-4/



Craft Ears Six

Specifications :
- 6 Balanced Armatures : 1 super-tweeter, 1 tweeter / high-midrange, 2 low-midrange and 2 basses
- 5-way passive filter
- 3 bores nozzle
- Frequency response: 2Hz - 23kHz
- Impedance: 7 Ohms
- Insulation: -26db
- Stock cable: 8 strands in silver plated copper
- Selling price : from 945€
- Manufacturer's website: https://www.craftears.com/products/model-ce6/

In addition, some proprietary technologies are used on the Six :
- RASEN Bass ™ (Reference Acoustic Spiral Enhanced Bass) : 3D printed structure that creates low notes as realistic as a real subwoofer.
- True Load ™ : Extremely flat impedance and phase.
- SES™ (Space Expanse System) : Horn tweeter, printed in 3D, and tuned to a very particular bandwidth.

There is currently a pre-order on the Six, a discount of over 20%, which brings the price down from €745, and allows you to switch to a Rhapsodio OCC mk2 cable for €145. This is the cable that was in the package I received for my listening.

Sound

Craft Ears Six

The signature of the Craft Ears Six is very balanced with a definite emphasis on the high midrange and high treble.

Here are the Crinacle measurements (uncompensated) to compare with the 64Audio U12t I had in my possession at the time of the tests.



Bass are very well mastered, even on loaded tracks. They are very fast as often with the BA, and they offer a very nice impact. We're certainly not on the same level of roaring then U12t, but they seem to be a bit more legible, and not only here for the show. The extension of the subs (<60Hz) is excellent, really top-notch. The basses (60 to 250Hz) are present but not swollen, quite even, which brings this extra definition in the register. The whole gives a powerful foundation that is extremely easy to decipher and enjoy.

The mids are almost perfect for my tastes, both technical and musical. They manage to convey without any effort the slightest inflection of the music, the slightest breath of the singer and all the emotions of each piece.
Low-Mids (250 to 500Hz) is in the lineage of the basses. Relatively set back, it allows to highlight the technical qualities of the Medium and High-Medium.
Mids (500 to 2000Hz) opens delicately from 1000Hz to bring energy to the vocals and instruments and stabilize at 2000Hz.
High-Mids (2000 to 4000Hz) with its peak at 3500Hz is never tiring despite the crunch it gives to instruments such as guitars or violins.
The result is a very technical and chiselled medium but which never falls into the analytical and knows how to keep its grain and its emotion.



Treble (>4000Hz) are quite destabilizing for me because they are the first in-ear I listen to that have such a peak around 16KHz. The result is a very high presence of cymbal or violin harmonics, and an excellent aeration. And consequently a highlighting of a quantity of sounds that I don't usually hear. But this is done again with great mastery and fingering, without any sibilance or aggressiveness. Flip side of the coin, you can end up with a slightly exacerbated background noise if it is present on the recording.
The 4 to 6KHz dip reinforces the presence, then the 7 to 8KHz peak increases the definition of the rendering while sacrificing nothing to the tones.

Tones actually seem to me very slightly on the light side but without sounding dry. And in spite of an obvious technicality, there is a certain warmth in the voices that is really very appreciable.

Soundstage develops a nice pitch and the depth is pleasant even if not exceptional. The stage is very wide, and rather frontal especially because of the very lively and dynamic side of the Six and their sharp attacks throughout the whole spectrum.

The Magic Square seems exceptional for an item at this price.
Resolution -> very good (no more because may seem artificial)
Separation -> excellent
Definition -> excellent
Transparency -> excellent

The Cables:
- The PW1950, compared to the Rhapsodio cable, adds substance and intensity to the midrange, the timbres are magnified. The bass is slightly overexposed, the treble a little more organic. The stage is wider too and a little deeper. Resolution and separation are pushed a little further. Really an excellent association.
- The Eletech Plato has a nice contribution to the spatialization, both in height and depth, and increases the separation. The treble is quite close to the PW and the bass is unchanged compared to the Rhapsodio. It brings a bit of grain to the midrange.


Craft Ears Four

The signature of the Craft Ears Four is very slightly V-shaped, fleshy, but finally quite balanced with a well open high midrange.

Here are the Crinacle measures (uncompensated) of a custom version, allowing to compare with the Craft Six.



I won't go into detail in the analysis but simply make a short comparison with the Six.

The bass seem a bit slower, rounder and less well defined. This is surely due to the fact that there are less Subs and more Basses than on the Six.
The Low-Midrange is denser but the mids are very readable from the 800Hz dip, and a nice emphasis on the High-Midrange. Male voices in particular are fuller but less delicate.
The soundstage seems a bit smaller in the 3 dimensions, and we are positioned a bit closer to the music. But it's still a strong point like on the Six.
The highs seem a bit clearer but without being aggressive. However, I can find here a little metallic side that can appear sometimes and a slightly higher hiss than on the Sixes.
In spite of a different signature, tones are quite close to what the Six offer, i.e. more on the light side but with a little more muscles.



The sound is finally quite surprising because it is both more robust, with thicker notes in the lower midrange/bass, and at the same time thinner and brighter in the upper midrange and treble. The dynamics remain important and the impacts excellent.

For the Magic Square of the Four, we are on a very good level, even if logically below the Six :
Resolution -> very good
Separation -> good
Definition -> very good
Transparency -> very good

I've had very good results with the Eletech Plato, which is a better match than the PW1950. It brings an extra soul to the stage while facilitating the readability of the lower midrange.

Conclusion:

I have to say that I'm really hypnotised with the Six and I think they correspond to a signature that I particularly like (apart from the 16KHz peak). The combination of their musical and technical qualities is a cocktail that I particularly enjoyed. And offered at the price at which they are currently sold, it's a golden opportunity to make the big leap to the TOTL heaven without any risk. However, it is necessary to take into account theese " peculiar " high notes which can be corrected easily with EQ if needed, this slightly thin tunning and this big shell and long nozzle.

The Four are a slightly more V-shapped, clearer and less technical variation but have good qualities in the price segment where they are offered.

Congratulations again to Craft Ears for these solid proposals and exemplary finishes that give an extra choice to any headfier looking for a solution for his listening sessions.



Magic Square :
"Resolution is the ability to individualize a voice or instrument"
"Separation is the ability to feel space between the various sound sources"
"Definition is the ability to perceive as much information as possible"
"Transparency is the ability to transcribe the nuances and subtleties of music"

My topic on Tellement Nomade here : http://www.tellementnomade.org/forum/viewtopic.php?p=671123#p671123
Last edited:
dooxtypoox
dooxtypoox
Nice comparison!
Pros: Dynamic-like power and extension from BA, Excellent detail retrieval, Superbly balanced signature, Pinpoint accurate imaging
Cons: Very large uni housings may have comfort issues for some, Forward vocals and thinner note weight may polarise
TLDR –

The Craft Six competes in kilo-buck turf in both tonality and technicality at a substantial discount (pre-order).
Introduction –

Craft Ears is a newcomer from Poland with big aspirations. The company’s first two models the Craft Two and Four were very well-received by enthusiasts and critics. Despite this, there was one main aspect that drew me to the company; and that was their transparency about their acoustic designs. The staff are responsive, confident and proficient, happy to lay out all of the science to back their lofty promises. After months of development, their efforts have born fruit in the form of the Craft Six, currently the highest-end model in their line-up featuring 6-BA setup with a 5-way crossover. This earphone also marks a big innovational step forward of the company, implementing multiple proprietary technologies. All of this comes at a highly competitive 745 EUR preorder asking price, and 945 EUR launch price. You can read more about the Craft Six and purchase one for yourself here.



Disclaimer –

I would like to thank Jed from Craft Ears very much for their utmost patience with me while explaining their design and for providing me with the Craft 6 for the purpose of this review. All words are my own and there is no monetary incentive for a positive review. This quick-review will be covering a demo universal unit that is to be sent to the next reviewer after my evaluation. I will attempt to be as objective as possible.



Specs –

Frequency Response: 2Hz – 23KHz

Impedance: 7-ohms

Driver setup: 2x Sub, 1x low-mid, 1x mid-high, 1x tweeter, 1x super-tweeter

Crossover: 5-way electrical



The Pitch –

RASEN Bass


The Craft 6 implements “Reference Acoustic Spiral Enhanced Bass”. This is a patent-pending 3D printed low-pass filter that promises true subwoofer extension from current BA drivers. I’ve been told this operates similarly to that implemented on the legendary Shure SE846 but with modern innovations that increase efficiency.

True Load

The staff behind Craft Ears were proud to tout the extremely flat impedance and phase offered by their latest earphone. This functions similarly to the FIBAE technology pioneered by Piotr at Custom Art, whereby the earphone’s signature does not vary with output impedance, at least, to a much smaller degree than most. Meanwhile, phase-coherence brings benefits to imaging and detail retrieval by minimising destructive interference between the drivers. This successfully circumvents two of the most polarising aspects of multi-driver design.

SES

“Space expansion system” is a field-specific 3D printed horn-loaded tweeter tuned to a particular bandwidth. We’ve seen this implemented on some other high-end IEMs that have been very well-received. I’ll leave it to the professionals to offer in-depth clarification.



Design –

My demo unit arrived in the form of Craft Ears’ new universal housing. Much like their customs, the universal housings are 3D printed and immaculately finished. They assume a deep piano black design set to stunning red-stained wood faceplates inscribed with the model number. A thick clear coat provides additional depth and intrigue and the total lack of seams, orange peel or other imperfections results in a high-class aesthetic. The housings themselves don’t follow any traditional design, being of the faux-custom variety. The Craft Six utilises a 0.78mm removable cable, the OCC MK2 from Rhapsiodio.

DSC08541

It’s a beefy 4-wire unit with copper conductors and carries all of the flare you’d expect from a high-quality custom-cable with chrome/carbon-fibre connectors and pleasing strain relief. The pre-moulded earguides showcase great attention to detail, curving both backward and inwards to offer an especially secure fit without pressure point formation. I also love the matte jacket which routes cleanly through clothing if offering a bit less visual intrigue than clear units. The cable itself is very high-quality, a bit springy but highly tangle-resistant. It represents a great complement to the Craft 6 for a premium overall package.



Fit & Isolation –

They’re very well sculpted earphone, with long, tapered nozzles providing a deep fit and an anti-helix fin providing an exceptionally locked-in sensation. Fit stability is excellent as is isolation, being fully-sealed, easily sufficient for travel and loud environments. That said, the housings are very large, and protrude noticeably from the ear. They also contact a lot of my outer ear and may cause discomfort on those with smaller ears. I personally found them to offer good levels of comfort during long listening sessions, albeit, they never quite disappeared as some IEMs tend to.



Sound –



Testing Methodology: Measured using Arta via IEC 711 coupler to Startech external sound card. 7-9KHz peaks may be artifacts/emphasized due to my measurement setup. Measurements besides channel balance are volume matched at 1KHz. Fit depth normalized to my best abilities – the brighter measurement is with the tips installed, shallow fit while the darker measurement is tip removed, deep insertion.

Craft Ears Craft 6 Universal.png


Due to these factors, my measurements may not accurately reflect the earphone or measurements taken by others.



Tonality –

DSC08542

At its elevated asking price, it almost goes without saying that the Craft 6 is an impressive listen. Yet even among its peers, the Craft 6 shines in many regards; that being its resolving treble and especially powerful, extended bass. Fundamentally, it builds atop the foundation of the Craft Four, while introducing a more neutrally-toned and linear signature. It retains light colouration, being slightly vocal forward and analytical but with a bit of bass emphasis that grants it excellent balance and accurate tone overall. The Six is, in turn, no longer as euphonic as its cheaper sibling. And yet, as it carries quite a substantial boost in technical ability, one would hardly misses the added warmth and body. The Craft Six is a wonderfully insightful listen, but may not appeal to those craving warmth and full, dense notes.



Bass –

The low-end showcases some of the best extension I’ve ever heard from a BA-earphone. This impression is aided by light emphasis through the sub-bass, together with providing a powerful rumble and visceral slam at the very bottom. The timbre is still BA-ish in nature, being quicker decaying than most dynamics if a little more drawn out than most BA’s, and being highly controlled. There is a bit more information and texture in the sub-bass than normal for sure. Working alongside that terrific extension, the commanding presence, power and extension of the Craft Six’s sub-bass might just mislead a fair few. This is followed by a gradual drop through the mid and upper-bass, providing a well-balanced presentation overall with slightly thicker albeit highly defined notes set to a neutral tone.



Mids –

DSC08548

The midrange has a neutral tone and lighter note weight alongside a clear and revealing character. It showcases sound linearity with an upper-midrange emphasis around 3KHz providing a bump to vocal size and clarity in addition to bringing vocals forward over-stepping on intimacy. As the upper-bass and lower-midrange are lightly attenuated, the source of its neutral and highly-defined presentation, vocal body lies on the thinner side. Nonetheless, emphasis falls off through the 4KHz region into a lower-treble trough, providing wicked smooth articulation and a hint of additional density that redeems some note weight and structure. As such, sibilance and raspiness are non-existent despite the superlative clarity of the Craft 6’s vocals. Altogether, the midrange is clear, highly-resolved and very refined, a well-executed demonstration of a neutrally-toned sound.



Highs –

Despite possessing a trough around 5KHz, emphasis picks up quickly after, leading to a moderate 7KHz peak. I hear very quick, concise note attack and accurate decay, superb control and a clean transient response, all contributing to outstanding fine detail retrieval. The background is dark, providing strong foreground/background contrast and a focused foreground. Meanwhile, a peak in the upper-treble works in tandem with excellent extension to provide a surprising amount of air set to abundant sparkle and micro-detail presence. Such a tuning produces thinner but not brittle instrument body alongside a slightly tizzy character. I would argue that the treble strays furthest from linearity, favouring greater engagement and a more aggressive detail presentation over perfectly accurate timbre. Still, as the tone is a touch on the warmer side, this helps to retain a fairly natural image. The Craft Six showcases truly superb detail retrieval front and foremost without wearing on the ear in quantity.



Soundstage –

Such a presentation works wonders for the soundstage too, which stretches beyond the head in width and provides a surprising amount of depth too; albeit slightly reduced due to its more forward vocal presentation. Imaging is sharp and accurate. Vocals occupy a strong centre image and localisation is pinpoint sharp. Separation is strong on account of the Craft Six’s neutral tone and slightly thinner note structure. I would still classify the Six as providing convincing coherence. Its bass provides volume and stability to its stage, avoiding sounding diffuse. The Craft Six is well-structured with defined layers and precise imaging.



Early Verdict –

DSC08539

An earphone like the Craft Six is difficult to evaluate as its technical properties work in tandem with a tuning that emphasizes their presence to the listener. To clarify, it is easy to mistake a forward lower-treble for high detail retrieval, bright background for sparkle. The list goes on, and reviews shall henceforth, be crucified for their misnomers. Thankfully, the Craft Six offers an incredibly solid technical foundation for its vivid yet neutrally toned signature, end to end extension is superb and the organisation of its presentation is excellent too. Surely, this earphone does not represent perfect timbre, being slightly forward, detail aggressive and, in turn, delivering a lighter note weight which may not please all. Still, the Craft Six ticks all the boxes a high-end IEM should, the treble is sparkly and resolving of minutiae, the midrange is revealing yet refined and its bass is a revelation. I was sceptical of the company’s proprietary acronyms, but the product cannot be denied. The Craft Six competes in kilo-buck turf in both tonality and technicality at a substantial discount when bought on preorder, and I will be sad to see this one go.

Comparisons, source synergy and in-depth breakdown coming soon to the extended review!

The Craft Six is available from on Craft Ears (International) for $745 EUR (preorder) with a retail price of $945 EUR after this period has ended. I am not affiliated with Craft Ears and receive no earnings from purchases through this link.


Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed my review, please see my website for more just like it!

Track List –

brb. – relationship

Bob Seger – Stranger in Town

Emotional Oranges – The Juice: Vol. II

Father John Misty – Pure Comedy

Fleetwood Mac – Tango In the Night

George Michael – Listen Without Prejudice

Joji – Sanctuary

Kanye West – Only One

Keshi – skeletons

IU – eight

Nirvana – Nevermind

OOHYO – Honey Tea

Pixies – Surfer Rosa

Radiohead – OK Computer

Rich Brian – Amen

Sharon Van Etten – The End of the World

Sun Rai – Pocket Music

The Rolling Stones – Sticky Fingers

Yosi Horikawa – Wandering

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