SenyorC

100+ Head-Fier
So much detail from DD...
Pros: Detail, overall sound, comfort, build quality, accessories...
Cons: A little too much bass for me on ocasions, peak in upper ranges appears now and again...
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The Sennheiser IE600 have been loaned to me directly by Sennheiser as part of a tour that was arranged here on Head-Fi. The terms of the tour were that I would spend a maximum of 2 weeks with the IEMs, posting my honest opinions of them on Head-Fi at the end of the period. The also requested that any other reviews or comments on social media contain the hashtag #IE600Tour so they could be easily found.

There were a couple of other requests (such as at least trying the stock tips and comparing them to any other tips used, etc.) which you can find by visiting the first post of the Tour thread here: https://www.head-fi.org/threads/on-the-road-again-announcing-the-ie-600-tour.963163/

No other requests have been made outside of the above thread, therefore, I will do my best to be as unbiased as I usually am, taking into consideration that it has not cost me anything to try out these IEMs.

Rather than sharing a specific official page link, I suggest you use this link: https://sennheiser.com/ which will take you to the relevant Sennheiser page for your location, from which you can navigate to the IE600.

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Intro…

While I am someone who has been using Sennheiser gear for a very long time, due to me working in the pro audio field, I really haven’t had the chance to try any of their more hifi orientated IEMs. I have tried plenty of the consumer class stuff, along with plenty of their stage focused stuff, but the IE series is something that I just haven’t come across before.

I was very tempted to pick up the IE300 when they were released, to get a taste of what Sennheiser were doing with this line, but in the end I ended up not doing so. I was also interested in trying out the IE900, the TOTL in this series, but the price tag is something that doesn’t make it easy to blind buy.

So when the IE600 was released, priced at just under 600€, I was interested in finding out what they were all about and, when Sennheiser announced the tour, I was very happy to make the selection of people to get to try them.

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Presentation…

The IE600 comes packaged in a very professional way. Upon opening the outer box, the two IEMs sit in a foam surround, which either makes the IEMs look tiny or the box look huge!

Beneath this top layer we find multiple documents, user manuals etc. and below these we get to the accessories.

The accessories included are 2 cables, one 3.5mm and the other 4.4mm, a square transport case, 3 sets of foam tips, 3 sets of silicone tips and a cleaning tool.

To be honest, the included accessories are what I would consider to be just the correct amount. There is nothing missing that we need to enjoy (and look after) the IEMs but at the same time, there is nothing included that is just to fill a void (except maybe for some of the packaging itself).

Balanced and unbalanced cable options are included, a nice travel case that is not overly large is included, basically offering a presentation that I would consider very well thought out.

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Build and aesthetics…

Starting off with the IEMs, they are small and fairly lightweight (although they could be considered heavy for their size I guess). Completely made of what seems to be some kind of sandblasted metal, they look rugged and discreet at the same time. When wearing them, they are even more discreet, as they fit inside the ear very well, sitting flush inside the ear (at least in my ears).

Speaking of comfort, I find them to be probably the most comfortable IEMs that I have ever worn. Recently I said that the Airship were one of the most comfortable sets of IEMs that I had worn in a long time. Well, the IE600 came along and blew those out of the water as far as comfort.

Added to the comfort of the IEMs, there comes the cable. While I wouldn’t say the cable is anything special, it’s just a simple grey cable, the mouldable hooks over the ears are great. This reminds me of the moldable hooks on pro gear, such as DPA mics, that are made to be comfortable and not move throughout a show, no matter what the artist is doing. However, in the case of the IE600, these moldable hooks are covered with a slightly thicker outer sheath than the DPA mics (for example), making them work even better in my case.

When inserting the IEMs at the beginning, you do need to fiddle around a little to get the perfect fit, but once they are in place and the hooks are moulded to the correct shape, they are extremely comfortable (for me) and are going nowhere unless I want them to.

The cable itself is nothing special, as I already said, which sort of keeps up with the “pro” functionality of these IEMs. I would expect to just run the cable down the artists back, connect it to the belt pack, and not have to worry about it.

One thing that may be a negative for some is the fact that, while the cable does use MMCX connectors, they seem to be Sennheiser proprietary connectors. This means that you can't just grab your favourite cable of choice and expect it to fit the IE600 (I believe this is the case with the IE300 and IE900 also). However, the connectors used are so smooth and so easy to connect/disconnect, without worrying about them being too loose or too tight, that it makes it almost worthwhile having to stick with the stock cable.

At the other end, while the 3.5mm/4.4mm is plastic, I have no doubt that it is also of great quality. I have Sennheiser cables that I have used thousands of times over the years and not once have I had to worry about the connector.

Another thing to point out, which I will discuss more in sound, is the included tips. These tips are also proprietary to the IE line of IEMs, as they include tuning material inside the actual tips. While I do know that some people have had issues with these tips, personally I find the included foam tips to be extremely comfortable and while I did try a few other tips, I also found that I preferred the sound with the foams.

The rest of the included accessories are of a quality that seems just as good and, while 600€ is not exactly cheap for a set of IEMs, I feel that the build of all of them are up to the standard of the price point.

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Sound…

(Note: All tracks mentioned are clickable links that will open the track for reference in the streaming service of your choice)


As the IE600 is part of a tour (which goes back to Sennheiser between each person on the tour, for cleaning and replenishing with a new set of tips), I didn’t have to bother with putting it on the burn in rig for days to avoid the “it’s because you didn’t burn it in long enough” comments. So I opened the box, put them in my ears (marvelling at the comfort) and connected them to the Go Blu. Within 30 minutes, I had decided that these were the best single DD IEMs I have heard to date.

I have said many times in the past that I don’t put together any detailed impressions of things until I have been using them for at least 4 or 5 days as sometimes that period will either show more flaws that I hadn't noticed upon first listen, or even get me used to the flaws and dfind that I enjoy them more than I originally thought.

During these two weeks, I haven’t used the IE600 exclusively as other things need to be reviewed, but I did find that, apart from the exclusive use for 4 or 5 days, that any time I felt like listening at other times of the day, I reached for the IE600. That is already something that goes to prove my very positive experience with these IEMs. They are not perfect, I will get into details in just a second, but I still feel that the overall sound of these IEMs is very very good.

I have to say that when I put them on the measuring rig, I was very surprised at the results. I do remember noticing that they had elevated bass on the graphs when I first saw measurements of them, but measuring them for myself brought me to realize that either:

a) I have become a bass-head without realizing it.

Or

b) These do not sound like they measure.

Before moving on and explaining what I mean, here is the graph of the IE600 with the usual foam tips I use for measuring, along with the included foam tips (the ones I have been using) and the included silicone tips:

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As you can see, the low end is way above my usual preference target, but as I have said in the past, if an IEM is capable of producing very clean and articulate bass while still being boosted, I will often find that I like the low end. And that is the case with the IE600.

Starting off with the subbass, we are almost 10dB above my preference on paper. Yet to the ear, this subbass only comes into play when the song needs it. The IE600 don’t produce subbass on their own, they just boost what is already in the track and, as they do it in such a clean and articulate way, they come across as impressive with many subbass tracks.

Putting them through the usual “Chameleon” test, there is a large quantity of subbass but there really isn’t an overly present sensation of rumble, at least not to the extent I would expect looking at the graph. The same happens with Lorde’s “Royals”, although this track does have a subbass that is a bit more “out of control” than “Chameleon”, which is due to the recording more than the way that the IE600 portrays it.

The midbass is where I usually suffer when a set of IEMs is overly boosted in the low end. An overly present midbass is something that I find tiring and can make me want to either stop listening or move to music that has less of a bass presence. With the IE600 I did not get this feeling. Again, it is clearly boosted in these frequencies, yet somehow manages to keep the bass clean and stop it from interfering with the lower mids.

Listening to “No Sanctuary Here” by Marian Herzog feat. Chris Jones, there is no lack of bass presence to make this track sound excellent in the lower ranges, yet it does not detract from other parts of the song.

Moving away from more electronic bass focused tracks and towards bass guitars, here I did find on occasions that the low end was not quite as clean or tonally correct as I would like. For example, “Black Muse” by Prince, where this particular track did give me the sensation that the bass was overly bloated, missing some of the clarity that this needs to appreciate the bass playing. The same could be said for other tracks such as “No Ordinary Love”, where the music is much simpler, allowing the bass to become a little too present. As soon as I moved back to more electronically focused tracks, like “Shot Me Down”, the bass went straight back to being great.

What the IE600 does do is keep the bass away from the lower mids, offering a transition that is much cleaner than I would have expected from such a tuning. In fact, the mids on these IEMs are nothing short of excellent on most tracks.

Even more simple and melodic songs, such as “No Ordinary Love” that I already mentioned, or “Billie Jean” by The Civil Wars (to move more towards the acoustic side of things), sound very balanced and well defined throughout the mids. The upper mids have a rise around 2kHz which, while maybe not the best I have heard, do a very good job of presenting these voices and instruments with detail and not too much harshness.

Acapella tracks, such as “Hallelujah” or even “Happens To The Heart" (which is not exactly acapella but almost), do sound clear and articulate, although, in the case of Leonard Cohen, I got a sensation that it was maybe not quite as smooth as it could be.

After the 2kHz mark there is a bit of a dip which, thankfully, does not come back with a peak at the 5kHZ mark like on so many other sets. I do feel that the presence just above 2Hz could have extended slightly more, maybe to just past the 3kHz mark, but that is just a personal preference and more of a nit pick than anything else.

As we get into the higher ranges, there is a bit of a peak that can suddenly appear now and again, giving the sensation of a bit of brightness that can come across a little harsh, such as brief appearances in “Sugar” by Francesco Yates. Sibilance is mostly controlled, although not eliminated, making “Code Cool” be just hovering on that sibilance mark, without actually getting there.

As far as soundstage, I would say that it is not huge, maybe at the higher side of average, yet the image placement and details make it seem like there is much more space than there actually is. With tracks like “Bubbles”, you can focus on literally any of the sounds and follow them, without ever getting the sensation that you have lost them. The same can be said for “Strange Fruit”, where each and every layer of vocals can be tracked on its own.

Last but by no means least, the detail. The details that this small dynamic driver is capable of presenting is very impressive. I never found that I was having to focus on anything to appreciate the details, yet at the same time, it doesn’t push them in your face. It just does a very good job of keeping everything just where it needs to be.

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Conclusion…

I haven’t mentioned it during the review as I always share my opinions without EQ, yet, I find that with a little bit of EQ, these IEMs go from being very good, to almost excellent. I found that dropping the low end quite a bit (not 10dB to match my target but around 6dB), along with just a little tweak of the upper mids (to extend that 2kHz presence just a little more) really opened up these IEMs and made them sound amazing (in my opinion of course). Now, I am in no way saying that my little tweaks improved these IEMs, far from it, more that they adjusted them to my personal preferences.

Without EQ, these are still very good IEMs, with a performance that I find spectacular for a single DD, providing details that are way above what I expected. I am sure that others, who prefer more bass than me, will enjoy the tuning as is.

I also feel that the build, aesthetics, cable, accessories, everything really, is well thought out and is presented in a way that I doubt anyone could fault.

In fact, with the possibilities of EQ, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend these IEMs as on stage monitors to any of the artists that I work with. As each artist gets their own in-ear mix, the IE600 can be tailored to almost anyone, as there isn’t anything missing, just some people will prefer to drop certain frequencies more than others.

And then there is the comfort. If ever there was a set of IEMs that I would want in my ears for extended periods and just forget they are there, the IE600 are those IEMs.

(as always, this review is also available in Spanish both on www.achoreviews.com and on www.youtube.com/achoreviews)

All FR measurements of IEMs can be viewed and compared on achoreviews.squig.link

All isolation measurements of IEMs can be found on achoreviews.squig.link/isolation
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lokhanglee
lokhanglee
Great review! Thank you.

rantng

Headphoneus Supremus
More than just the middle child*
Pros: Smooth & balanced sound, natural tonality, value, build quality
Cons: Fit/isolation tip dependent, finicky eartip placement
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DISCLAIMER - The IEMs were provided by Sennheiser as part of a review tour; all they asked in return was for my honest review. Thank you to @ericpalonen & @Sennheiser .


Most of my listening was done on the Shanling M6 Pro 21 using the 4.4 balanced cable w/the M stock eartips w/FLAC files on the microSD card. The IE600 has a fairly smooth tonality and pairs well with Shanling's house sound; a somewhat relaxed sound w/full-bodied & rich mids bolstered by a slightly boosted low end and an overall warm tone. Overall I found the IE600 to have a natural tonality with a fairly balanced signature. Mids are slightly pulled back in relation to the slightly boosted high & low ends, lending the IEMs a slight V-shaped signature.


Driveability
The IE600 is fairly easy to drive. By default I leave the M6 Pro 21 in High Gain mode listening out of the balanced port and found that setting the volume at 15 (out of 100) was well within my normal listening volume as well as being able to block out the din of the NYC subway system during my commute. I had actually mistakenly grabbed the single ended cable one day and found that I only had to increase the volume about 5 steps to reach the same listening level. Even at this low volume setting the DAP/IEM combo was able to pull out fine details in the music.


Ergonomics/Fit
Other than the balanced plug, the 3.5mm & 4.4mm cables have the same internal wiring. Overall I found the stock cable very nice to use. It is very soft & pliable and the extended ear hooks are very easy to shape over the ears. I won’t really comment on the fit as I feel fit is highly subjective; we all have not only different sized ears/canals, but also different shapes/angles/bends. In regards to size, I don’t see these as being an issue unless you have really small ears as the IE300/600/900 have truly small shells. The main issue I had was with the eartips & insertion depth/isolation. The new IE series utilizes a 2-step eartip placement; eartips can be placed just at the tip of the nozzle or pushed further in. For my purposes I found the best isolation/seal with the eartips on the outer position for maximum depth of insertion. I will say I found it tricky/frustrating at times as it is easy to push them into the inner position while inserting them in my ears as I do have fairly small ear canals. I had to utilize the ear pull method (pull on the tips/top of my ears while inserting the IEM) quite a bit. While I used the stock tips for this review, my preferred eartips are Sony hybrid tips which I found offered a more secure fit over the stock tips while still being able to take advantage of the 2-step placement.


Build
Overall the IEMs have a very solid build and the Zirconium Alloy body has a nice feel & density for the small size. Even though the nozzles are plastic, I actually prefer the IE600 shell to the machined shells of the flagship IE900 that are fairly easy to scratch with their aluminum build. The IE600 shells (6g each) actually weigh more than the IE900 shells which come in at 4 grams each (without cable). The understated shell color also belies their premium feel with a nice stippled effect.


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Highs
Treble is fairly smooth and offers just the right amount of sparkle without exhibiting any sibilance. Not the tallest or airiest of stages, but detail retrieval is very good with sufficient air. Treble is never aggressive and is in line with the IEM's overall natural sound signature.


Mids
Once again smooth and natural, with a hint of warmth. I found the vocals to be on the more intimate side and enjoyed acoustic sets. Not to say the IE600 struggles with grander stages or full orchestral performances; individual notes are rendered well with sufficient spacing, but the soundstage isn't especially wide so it is much more suited to vocal oriented & again, more intimate performances.


Lows
Bass is slightly boosted. It reaches fairly low with a fair amount of sub-bass rumble, but then quickly gets out of the way with a fairly quick decay and without intruding into the midrange. Bass does have some texture, but those looking for a healthy bottom end should look elsewhere as the IE600 bass skews more towards clean & punchy.


Comparisons to the IE300 & IE900
The IE300 is more 'consumer-friendly' with an entry-level sound. Treble is sharper & thinner while mids are more recessed & there is some mid-bass bloat. The IE600 is a technical upgrade in all directions from the IE300 offering a more balanced presentation.

The IE900 has more resolving power with a deeper V-shaped sound with higher highs & lower lows. The IE900 does have the taller stage with added resolution & air. Bass digs much deeper and there is more of it to satisfy those craving "moar" bass. With the added resolution does come some caveats - highs can come off as strident at times & the added bass presence can sometimes threaten to overshadow the rest of the frequencies. The IE600 tones down the edges with a more relaxed treble. Bass is still represented well, albeit with a cleaner attack & quicker roll-off and mids are more in line with the other frequencies to give the IEM a more balanced sound, while mids on the IE900 are more recessed in relation to the rest of the FR. The IE900 though will shine on larger performances with its wider soundstage and greater separation. Shortly before the release of the IE600 Sennheiser announced a price increase on the IE900 (from $1299.95 to $1499.95) due to the worldwide supply chain issues; thankfully they were able to keep the price of the IE600 at $699 making it a better value proposition.


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Model designations on the inside shell - IE300 & IE600 are stamped (on plastic & zirconium shell respectively), IE900 has an etched feel.

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Conclusion
Middle child syndrome* is the belief that middle children are excluded, ignored or even outright neglected because of their birth order. The IE600 has dual resonators as opposed to the three in the IE900 & doesn't include the additional 2.5mm cable. However, it utilizes a patented 3D printing process to craft the ZR01 amorphous zirconium housing, the same material used in the drilling head of the NASA Mars Rover. Additionally, it seems more DAP manufacturers are adopting the 4.4mm termination anyway so the loss of the 2.5mm cable isn't a big one.
The IE600 sits in between the IE300 & IE900 in regards to pricing as well as specs. Sound-wise & resolution-wise it slots in between the two as a middle ground, although the jump from the entry level IE300 to the mid-priced IE600 is more marked than the difference between the IE600 and the flagship IE900. The balanced & natural tonality should work with most music genres. Coupled with the solid & compact build as well as their efficiency means the IE600 would be a great daily driver.


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Test Tracks (16-bit & 24-bit FLAC) - including, but not limited to
Agnes Obel
Atticus Ross - Panoramic
Augustana - Boston (Live), Fire (Live)
Bill Conti - The Thomas Crown Affair
Billie Eilish - Bad Guy, Bury A Friend, Getting Older
Bloc Party - Banquet, Mercury (Herve Remix), Signs, Signs (Armand Van Helden Remix)
Claire - Broken Promised Land
Daft Punk - Tron Legacy Soundtrack
Gang of Youths - Achilles Come Down
Hozier - Arsonist's Lullaby, Take Me To Church
Ingrid Andress - More Hearts Than Mine
Jhene Aiko - Bed Peace, The Worst
John Legend - Let's Get Lifted
John Murphy - Sunshine Soundtrack
Jonsi - Go Do, Tornado
Kanye West - Black Skinhead, Jesus Walks, Mercy, No Church In The Wild
Kings Of Leon - Waste A Moment
Linkin Park
London Grammar - Hey Now, Metal & Dust
Lorde - Bravado, Ribs
Miike Snow - Cult Logic, Silvia
New Order - Bizarre Love Triangle, Blue Monday, Ceremony, Temptation
Nicholas Britell - Succession Season One
Nina Simone - Feeling Good, Sinnerman
Raye Zaragoza - Crazy Eyes
Regina Spector
Sky Barbarick - Paper Legs
The Chemical Brothers - Wide Open
The Cinematic Orchestra - Arrival of the Birds
The Lumineers - Cleopatra, Ophelia
The Naked And Famous
The Sounds - Goodnight Freddy
The xx
Thirty Seconds to Mars
Wael Elhalaby - Smooth Sailing
Yiruma
Yo-Yo Ma - Bach Cello Suites

*I know the IE600 is technically the third to be released in the lineup, but it works for my review.

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rantng
rantng
I haven’t tried Final Audio tips on the IE-series, but they do include an adapter ring for smaller bores with their eartips.
Lemondante
Lemondante
Great review! (especially knowing that you've done it with the m6p...you know what I mean)
Adnan Firoze
Adnan Firoze
Wonderful review man! Haven't been reading up on portables since I sold all my upper end IEMs and moved exclusively to full sized stuff. Now only single DDs in IEMs get me intrigued. Loved reading about the IE600. Can't wait to get a hold on a unit. Keep 'em coming, man! Best wishes!
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iampidugu

New Head-Fier
Another Good one from Sennheiser!
Pros: Detail resolution for single DD
Imaging
Bass is transient and clean
Cons: Highs are sparkly after tip rolling
The cable quality
Disclaimer: This is a biased preference. Please give the unit a test run before making a purchase.

The Sennheiser Single Driver IEM has a V-shaped sound signature. The driver is housed in amorphous metal that was 3D printed. You get three pairs of silicone and foam ear tips (S, M, and L) in the box. You get two cables, one with a 3.5mm termination and one with a 4.4mm termination.

I heard enough sub-bass rumble with a decent thump, and the bass is warm but not boomy. The highs are clean with decent air and at least sibilant, but for those who are treble sensitive, they can be sparkly or harsh on some tracks.

The decay of the bass is clean and does not bleed into the mids. If you like V-shaped tunes, the mids are laid back and not in your face, which may be beneficial for long music sessions. The holographic sound stage of the IE600 impressed me greatly.

The review is based on Qobuz/AM as a source via laptop onto iFi's Gryphon (using GTO filter) at +61db volume. Please keep in mind that I did not use stock tips, but rather the AZLA Sedna Light ear tips.

Tracks used for this review:
1. 4ware by Deadmau5
2. Rockstar by Post Malone
3. Thriller by Michael Jackson
4. 295 by Sidhu Moose Wala
5. Usure Poyene by A.R. Rahman & Karthik
6. Pathala Pathala by Kamal Haasan & Anirudh Ravichander

What could have been better?
1. The cable quality, which is prone to impressions even with minimal force applied for long periods of time.
2. The stock tips, at least for me, were not a good fit. Although the IE600 sits comfortably and does not feel heavy during extended sessions.

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ericpalonen
ericpalonen
Thank you for this review! It was great to see a member using "transient" as a way to describe the bass response. Indeed the rest/response is quite fast and keeps kicks and bass instruments in their own lane without sounding alienated. Great pics, too!

gadgetgod

500+ Head-Fier
Sennheiser IE600: A Well-Done Single DD Is Here
Pros: Smooth, Well-Balanced V-shaped profile
Bass is done excellently, especially sub-bass
Midrange sounds rich, vocals just show good clarity and texture
Treble is smooth and inoffensive
Complements different genres well
Resolution and clarity are top-notch
Fit and isolation are simply the best
Compact form factor, robust metallic build
Cons: Included cables have microphonic issues
Proprietory MMCX connectors
Sennheiser has been in the audio business for decades now. Over the years, Sennheiser has released several famous headphones that are still going on in the industry as legendary headphones. Do I really need to mention the names of the HD600 series of legendary headphones here? Sennheiser also happens to have a rich collection of audiophile-grade in-ear monitors that has again gained a good rep among audiophiles from all around the globe. For so many years, Sennheiser has gained this rep based on its successful tunings and excellently designed products. When I talk about the premium audiophile-grade IEMs by Sennheiser, I instantly start to name IE800 and the IE800s, because I have heard so many good things about these from my experienced audiophile friends. Personally, I never got a chance to audition for the IE900 or the IE900. In recent times, Sennheiser introduced some new products into the “IE” series of in-ear monitors, the IE300, the IE900, and the recently launched IE600. As one might have guessed from their numbers, the IE300 is the entry-level set, the IE900 is the flagship, and the latest IE600 is the bridge between both the IE300 and the IE900. IE600 which was released a few months back into the international market got released in my country just a few days back. With waves of positive feedback from friends and other audio lovers, I got so excited to try the IE600 upon its launch. Luckily, I got a chance to get a hold of a unit, so let’s begin our review on the IE600 without wasting any more time.
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A Short Disclaimer Before I Begin on the Unboxing part:-

I got this unit from Sennheiser India for the purpose of this review. The unit was with me for about 10-12 days, during which I gave the pair some of my favorite tracks to test it out. Wanna know more about the IE600? Head over here to the IE600 product page on their official website.

About the IE600:-

IE600 is a single dynamic driver IEM designed with a 7mm TrueResponse dynamic driver on each side. The ear shells are crafted using high-precision 3D printing technology built with Zirconium Alloy material. The pair is priced at about 700-800$ in the international market and about 60,000 Indian Rupees in our local Indian market. Won’t waste any more time here and we will begin on the Unboxing part.

Unboxing The IE600:-

Sennheiser follows the same design theme for the retail package of its audiophile-grade products. It includes a greyish box with the Sennheiser logo and an image of the product on the front. The contents of the package are in a black cardboard box that opens in a sliding manner. Our stunning IE600 ear cavities are kept on the very first foam layer, below it we have some documentation(user guide, warranty card, authenticity certificate, etc.). At the bottom of the package, we have the accessories that include two cables, a cable clip, three sets of silicone ear tips, three sets of foam ear tips, and a cleaning tool. Package contents are again identical to the IE300 and the IE900 only difference being the no. of cables in the package. IE300 came with a 3.5mm cable, and IE900 came with three cables including a 2.5mm, a 3.5mm, and a 4.4mm cable. IE600 comes with two cables, a single-ended 3.5mm and another balanced 4.4mm cable. Well, that’s about the package and the contents of the IE600, let’s move on to the Design and Build quality for the set.
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Package Contents:-

>IE600 earphones.

>Two cables(3.5mm+4.4mm).

>Zipper carry case.

>Three sets of silicone ear tips.

>Three sets of foam ear tips.

>User guide.

>Authenticity certificate.

>Cleaning tool.

Design & Build Quality:-

At a first glance, one might find the IE600 to be identical to the IE300 and the IE900 in terms of shape, what makes it different is its manufacturing technique and material. Sennheiser has hand-crafted the ear cavities for IE600 using high-precision 3D printing technology. The brand has used high-quality AMLOY ZR01 alloy for the cavities which is said to have triple the hardness and strength of high-quality steel. The shells look amazing with a nicely textured finish. Even though they are metallic, they are lightweight and give no issues in achieving a comfortable fit. With their compact form factor, the shells hide nicely into my ears.
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The cables are the same as what we have with the IE300 and the IE900. They still have a little bit of microphonic issues and have a sticky outer covering. Since the pair uses proprietary MMCX connectors, the pair won’t be compatible with standard MMCX cables in the market. The cables could have been improved, kind of my only concern with the set.

How Do These Babies Fit? Fit & Isolation:-

They fit perfectly, I mean just nicely, and show me no issues. I use medium-sized stock silicone ear tips, and the isolation is just perfect. With such perfect isolation, I can easily enjoy my music at low volumes. Since the pair has a compact form factor, the shells disappear into the ears. It’s the memory hooks on the cable that reminds us we are wearing something. Fit & Isolation-wise, IE600 is perfect for my medium-sized-ears, you can have a look at the image below.
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Let’s Power The IE600(Power Requirements):-

IE600 doesn’t take a lot of power but it surely benefits from a decent enough source. For my testing, I used the IE600 with my Redmi Note 10 Pro smartphone(3.5mm output), Apple iPad Air with Shanling UA3 portable DAC/AMP, the HiBy R5 Gen 2 Music Player, and the Shanling M7 Music Player. While the set sounds good with the Smartphone itself, it benefits from the high-res decoding through the UA3. Class A amplification of R5 Gen 2 makes it sound fuller and lively. M7 pairing is the near-perfect I have found with the set so far, with good energetic sound with a pitch-black noise-free background.
1.jpg

At the end about the power requirements, I would say IE600 can run easily off a decent enough source, even a Portable USB DAC/AMP is good enough for it. If you have a mid-fi level or high-tier DAP or DAC/AMP, that would just be the icing on the cake.

Let’s Find Out How Does It Sound(Sound Impressions):-

Well, well, well, Sennheiser has done a great job with the single 7mm micro dynamic driver on the IE600. The pair has a perfectly balanced V-shaped sound profile where nothing feels over-emphasized or overpowering the other. The pair itself has a refined sound signature. It sounds clear, crisp, and clean, clean especially with my M7. In terms of overall presentation, IE600 has a tightly controlled lower end, slightly recessed midrange, and a detailed, lively treble region. The 7mm micro-dynamic does wonders here with its presentation. Talking about the tonality of IE600, I would say the pair has neutral with a hint of warmth. With my Shanling M7, the pair shows great resolution, vocals despite being recessed have a rich presentation. I am a craver for good vocals, and the set doesn’t disappoint for both male and female vocals. Let’s discuss the sound frequency wise now.
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Lower-End, Some Groovy Bass:-

As I stated earlier, the IE600 has a punchy, tight lower-end presentation. The pair produces deep-going sub-bass rumble with decent punches in the mid-bass region. Lower-end shows a refined presentation, the bass doesn’t sound boomy or muddy by any means. It shows good character for genres like Hip-Hop, EDM, and my regional Bollywood music.
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Midrange, Rich Vocals, Detailed Instruments:-

Even though the Midrange has a recessed presentation, but shows good clarity and resolution for both vocals and instruments. There is no congestion or shoutiness in the midrange, IE600 shows good air and separation on a spacious soundstage. Vocals, both male and female sound simply wonderful. They don’t get harsh, and maintain their smooth texture even at loud volumes. The best part here is that the pair doesn’t lose its resolution even when pushed at high volumes. Vocals and instruments don’t go shouty or berserk at loud volumes, you can enjoy them easily.
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Treble, Lively, Detailed, Inoffensive:-

IE600 produces a smooth and soft treble region. It doesn’t sound sharp or bright, in fact, has an inoffensive tuning for the high frequencies. Sennheiser IE600 shows good extensions and retrieves good details from the treble region. Instruments such as Electric Guitars, Violins, maintain good resolution in their high frequencies. High notes of vocals don’t have a sharp character to them, I would say one can easily enjoy the pair without worrying much about listening fatigue or sibilance from the set.
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Soundstage, Imaging, Resolution:-

Well, Do I still have to tell you that the pair has excellent resolution hehe. Man the IE600 excels in clarity and resolution, that’s among the list of things I like about the set. Soundstage-wise, the pair shows good width and depth on the stage. I would say depth especially with my Shanling M7 is pretty good with the pair. Everything on the stage is presented in a layered manner. Imaging wise it's good, one can pinpoint different instruments and determine the position of the vocalist easily on the stage. Sennheiser IE600 has a dynamic presentation, it just sounds lively and full of energy.

Sennheiser IE600 Vs Meze Advar:-

I am not comparing the IE600 with the IE300 or the IE900 because I tried them long back and it won’t be good to comment on them without recent experience. But, I got lucky when I got a chance to listen to the Meze Advar at a headphone zone event in my city that happened just a few weeks back. Both the IEMs have a single dynamic driver configuration and are priced the same in my country(60,000 Indian Rupees). Please note that I didn’t give Advar much time(about 30-45 minutes but was able to make a few notes) so these impressions are from my notes.
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>IE600 has a more neutral presentation. Advar has a warmer tonality in comparison.

>Advar has a huge soundstage, it just sounds grande. IE600 doesn’t sound congested or anything, it also has a wide soundstage, Advar just sounds bigger in comparison.

>Fit-wise both the IEMs are identical.

>Advar has a more relaxing sound presentation while IE600 sounds more energetic and more lively.

I would say both the Advar and the IE600 complement each other with their sound signatures. Personally, I enjoyed both of them, but at the time I was looking for a neutral-sounding set, the IE600 suited more to my requirements and I ended up buying a set of the same.
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Let’s Conclude The Review, Final Words:-

What’s better to say here is that after trying the IE600, I instantly made up my mind to buy this set. I got a unit already, the review sample was returned a few days back, all the images in this blog are from my personal unit. I just found the IE600 to be a perfect single dynamic driver IEM, at least for me. Surely it has a few flaws of its own, like the stock cable, also not everyone prefers a V-shaped profile, but after spending over 100 hours with the set, I can assure you guys that the IE600 has a perfectly balanced, well-done V-shaped tuning. It engages the listener with its charming sound, something that I personally find to be complementing different genres of music. I have tried everything from acoustic/classical slow music to fast EDM profiles, IE600 hits the perfect spot with all of them.

If you guys like my review, please leave me a like, and do follow my profile for more reviews. For any questions or queries, feel free to ask me in the comments section below.
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gadgetgod
gadgetgod
@gourab1995 I personally didn't like Mest Mk2. Although I would say you will find the soundstage more spacious and instrument separation also better on the Mest MK2.
gourab1995
gourab1995
Is it "darker" sounding compared to the ie600? In terms of treble air
gadgetgod
gadgetgod
i won't say so mate, Mest MK2 has pretty good energy in the treble region. It just doesn't feel properly balanced in the tuning to me. Also, I have just given the set a few hours, so take my impressions of Mest MK2 with a grain of salt.

nymz

Reviewer at nymzreviews
Sennheiser IE600: When detail meets fun
Pros: Detail level for a single DD
Bass is always fun
Lower treble dip is tastefully done
Comfort
Mids are still good, despite the tuning
Cons: Needs tip rolling
Fatinding due to treble and bass elevation
Mids are recessed
Stage
Fit might be funky to some people
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Disclaimer: This unit was sent directly to me by Sennheiser and it is part of two tours arranged by themselves, one in Europe and one in the U.S. This unit will be sent back to Sennheiser after my assessment to be sanitized and sent to the next person in line. Sennheiser asked for nothing else but a full review and opinions, without giving any incentives or influence over them, so as always, what you are about to read are my own thoughts and opinions. Thanks once again to the Sennheiser team for giving me this opportunity.



Prologue

Sennheiser needs no introduction. The German based company has proven over the test of time why they are considered one of the top dogs at the game - their full-size headphones are some of the most recommended and acclaimed pairs all over the internet (I still haven’t heard any, so shame on you nymz, what a joke).

Last year, during the summer, the world skipped a beat, as two single-DD IEMs were announced: the now (in)famous IE300 and IE900. Sennheiser’s plan was simple: take a shot at the fabled tale of great top-tier DDs with the 900, while giving the crowd a more budget approach to taste it.

To my sadness, I never had a chance to try any of these, as only the IE900 appealed to me, but the hefty price tag did not, as it’s still $1500 for a single dynamic driver IEM. Those who had a chance to try them, mainly complained about the relatively recessed pinna gain, affecting the mid-range of the replay, while others grabbed their tinfoil hats and started speculating how there would probably be another release between the 300 and the 900 later down the road. Half a year later, the tinfoil hats were thrown into the air like students after graduation, and there was the announcement.

The Sennheiser IE600 is a 7mm single dynamic driver IEM kicking in at 700 USD, according to the official website. Following the same form factor as the other 2 predecessors and with a 3D printed shell made of a special metal, the footprint is small and the weight is marginal.

Is it the fabled high-end DD everyone is looking for? Let’s find out together!



Non-sound characteristics

Inside the box


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  • 3.5mm (single ended) MMCX cable;
  • 4.4mm (balanced) MMCX cable;
  • 3 pairs of silicone tips with tuning foams inside;
  • 3 pairs of foam tips with tuning foams inside;
  • Carrying pouch;
  • Manuals and warranty;
  • Cleaning tool;
  • Shirt clip.

Fit, comfort and source pairing

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Before we delve into what really matters, I would just like to touch on some important non-sound aspects.

First one would be the fit. At first I had it and then I guessed it was related to the small form factor, but then I quickly realized it wasn’t - the fit on these is heavily tip dependent.

With stock tips, I was having problems even just having a seal. I panicked at first, as these tips have tuning foams inside it - a last line touch of tuning that Sennheiser uses to achieve the intended sound.
As you might guess, this was a major concern to me because, if I am having fit and seal problems when I move around and I need to change tips, that will affect the tuning, right?

Long story short, not by much (please see the graph below, in the sound section regarding this difference). In fact, after tip rolling and ending up using Final E (large size) tips, getting a better seal opened up the sound even more, giving me a sense of a more controlled mids and upper treble, with more impactful bass, and as of that, the following impressions are not based on stock tips but using Final E tips. If you end up buying this, beware, as you might need to tip roll a lot.

As for isolation, I would consider them on the average or slightly above average, depending on the size of your ears. The small form factor is brilliant for people with smaller ears or canals, as they fit really deep and not shallow. For people with larger ears, you might have more problems regarding fit or isolation.

Another word must be thrown into the pot, mentioning the stock cable. I must confess I did not try any other aftermarket cables with the IE600, and all these impressions were done stock.
Both provided cables are the same, only the termination changes and they connect to the monitors using MMCX standard connectors. The important thing to note about the stock cables is that they include moldable earhooks, which is unusual and only the second time I have used it (first one was Sony EX800ST). Keep in mind these are meant to be adjusted/tailored to your own ears, so play around with them, as I feel they are very important to help with the fit and comfort, as you can shape them how you please and together with the MMCX 360º rotation, they should fit your ears like they need to.

With the stock cable and the carrying pouch (that I love by the way, as it is simple and small), the IE600 turns into an ultimate grab and go IEM, as you just slide it in your pocket.

Given all the above, I feel I need to sprinkle all the gold dust right now and say that the Sennheiser IE600 is one of the most comfortable IEMs I have used, despite not being the best fit ever, and that plays a big role in my daily life as I am always using something on my ears, but keep in mind your mileage may vary, as every ears are different.
The nitpick I will leave is regarding MMCX connectors, as I am a public and vocal disliker of the system, but in this case it works for the best. My word to anyone using MMCX connectors is to choose a cable and stick with it, as these connectors start to get loose with time and/or if you cable roll a lot.

As for driveability, I would say they are on the average side of things. They require some power but most used sources in the market should suffice, including the usual dongles. Bluetooth DAC/AMPs like Qudelix5k shall suffice very well, as I’ve tested that as well one of the times I was shopping for groceries.

I am a source enthusiast, so what I am about to say should be taken with a grain of salt and keeping in mind YMMV: I think the Sennheiser IE600 scales a little bit with power and pairs better with slightly warmer or more analog sources.
I found the best results to be achieved with Class-A amps (Singxer SA-1, Hiby R5 Gen2), the more analog warmer sources like the iFi xDSD Gryphon or the more neutral and technical (Cayin N3Pro on Solid State). I also did extensive tests with the Topping E30+L30 stack, and it worked great as well, giving an edge on the treble and detail.

A last word on Gryphon, as I really enjoy the combo with the IE600: for bassheads you can just turn on the magical XbassII button to help you with that. I would recommend also using the presence switch to give both bass and upper mids, as it balances out the natural V-shape of the monitor. Xspace also works wonders for the presentation, although it will leave out the more natural or intimate feel of it.

Enough rambling, let’s talk sound, shall we?


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Sound Characteristics

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The Tonality

Right out of the gates, I would summarize the Sennheiser tastefully done V-Shape. Just by looking at its graph, it’s pretty obvious what was the objective traced for the monitors: A prominent bass and upper treble elevation, with just enough pinna gain for the mids to not feel that much recessed. Depending on each's own personal neutrality, some folks might even consider this more of a U-Shape than a V-Shaped IEM.

On my first impressions of this set, I shook things a little and started by the higher frequencies, but now I will serve you the course meal first, the start of the show and the reason most will fall in love with it - the bass.

In a word? Gooooooood. Tracks like “Why So Serious?” prove just that, just like the treble, bass extension is one of the show stoppers. At around 3 minutes and 26 seconds, the world will just rumble at your feet - funny fact, it happened to me while picking groceries.

Another proof of the lower end is the musical classic Angel by Massive Attack. This track’s intro also helps to explain how the tuning has emphasis on the sub-bass over the mid counterpart, by showing its rumble and going down low.

While listening to “Playing God” by Polyphia, all enphasized aspects come alive. The level of treble presence and detail bring a new level of micro-details to the song, while the bass drop around the 28 seconds just feels authoritative. Both are a bit on the overemphasized territory in comparison to the mid-range, but still leave out a clinical taste on your lips, without bleeds whatsoever.

Despite the mountain of elevation in the low end, the mid-bass is impactful but clean. It isn’t really a real Slam Jam party as some will expect from the graph, but it pushes some air together with the elevation, and you can bet you will feel it, while not overshadowing the track, at least not as much as the treble or the sub-bass. The pedal played by Elise Trouw on her live loop of “How To Get What You Want” is a nice proof of that, and correctly balanced with her voice, while still showing its authority.

Speaking of vocals, let’s quickly transition into the mid-range, or as expected, the weakest link. I will be honest, I was expecting much worse mids, and way more recessed. They are a bit recessed, but still just south of neutral to my ears. I still find the need to increase the volume a bit as I am a mid-head and on very balanced tracks like the famous version of MTV Unplugged’s “Hotel California”, where Eagles performance needs a touch more mids in comparison to the treble sparkles and the monotonous bass punch. Despite not being as balanced, it was one of my favorite replays of the track so far, so touché.

Given the ultra transparency of this mid-range, pianos sound great and very detailed, just like Hania Rani - Glass can show us - all the wood sounds are there, and just right and well separated, without a blur.

Vocals are, in my opinion, the IE600’s weakest link, but despite not being anything to write home about, they are very far from bad. They are transparent, clinical and very detailed. I still sometimes miss my Softears RSV’s organic presentation, that just fits me better in this regard, but you can’t have the cake and eat it at the same time. Again, for those that prefer neutral mids or vocals, this won’t be a much of a problem, as the micro details and the cracking on voices are just on point - a good example of this would be the Sway version by Diana Krall, where you can feel hear all her lip touches or vocal textures.

What was less expected to me is the fact that the female vocals sound better than male do, having more bite but without ever going into the shout territory whatsoever (Adele - Oh My God and Lykke Li - Silent My Song). Michael Bublé’s performance on “Feeling Good” gives a slight feeling of something missing, maybe some weight and presence that is, again, south of neutral.

If we keep climbing into the frequency range, we finally reach the other headline: the treble.

I think I can’t mention IE600’s treble frequencies without mentioning some of its technicalities: The amount of clarity and sheer detail you get thrown at, for a single DD, it’s impactful and deserves respect. Sennheiser did it and IE600 is the most technical single DD I have experienced to date, and I knew it in the first 30 seconds of my take.It’s actually pretty obvious how they are achieving this - besides all the work inside the shell and the driver itself, - if you look at the mid to upper treble region.

I’ve been extra kinda so time to cut the candy talk and rip another band-aid: These will be too hot for some people and/or music genres.

As an upper mids/lower treble sensitive person and fond of darker sets, the fact of me liking this level of elevation in the treble region surprised even myself. After further looking in the FR graph above, I would attribute this to the dip from the upper mids into the lower treble, a region where it makes or breaks an IEM for me, and holy moly did they get it right.

Cymbal strikes and electric guitars still sound great and natural, despite the dip. Lust For Life by Iggy Pop or the Larnel Lewis’s drum solo on Change Your Mind prove just that, along with Jason Richardson -Titan that also shows this contrast on more busy passages.

The boosted region above 8k hertz, it’s tiring for long sessions, and the first thing that came to my mind was the UM Mest brothers, who instantly overloaded me with too much detail, which I appreciate, just not the usual hours I listen to music everyday. Despite this fact, I respect the hustle, as it was cleverly done in my opinion.

Everywhere by Fleetwood Mac shuffled and here I am, mesmerized by how the intro of this song could describe this set’s upper treble: a beautiful bunch of stardust flying around, that can be too much for some, but beautiful nonetheless.


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Technicalities

Sennheiser quality is undeniable, but let’s be realistic here, no one will be paying IE600 price just for tuning itself, as I’m still a preacher that tuning is free.

So, how are the technicalities of the set? In sum, a fallacy of composition - The whole comes out as great, as some of the weakest characteristics get blended in by the others, resulting in a better outcome.

Time to rip the band aid off, once again: the stage and imaging. Soundstage is size is modest and in some tracks it may be too close to your head or intimate, showing that it could use more depth and even width.
The stage height (Agnes Obel - Curse) is above average, but could still use a bit more extension, placing it well above the pack. Following the trend, its imaging (Yosi Horikawa - Crossing), sounds great on positional queues, despite not always being able to perfectly do the center imaging when compared to top dog’s like the 64A Trió.
The stage’s holographic presentation kicks in and is very well done, precise to be exact, when the track demands it (Yosi Horikawa - Bubbles), which is something I really value.

So how do these presentation flaws get masked, as mentioned above? For starters, the sheer detail is excellent, giving you a sense of micro and macro queues everywhere. Following the line, comes the dynamics of the driver, which are clearly up there with a fast tight response and sharp transients.

To close the winning formula, comes its timbre, something that I’ve been taking into consideration more and more nowadays with the instrumental part of my library, that despite not being the best in class, is up there, despite all the treble elevation that sometimes masks it or gives a metallic shrill on the brass instruments notes decay tail. In all, I would say the attack and the decay are pretty much in sync, neither too fast nor too slow (David Carroll - Hell’s Bells).




Music

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As part of the Sennheiser tour, the reviewers were kindly asked to share some tracks that highlight the IE600, which I am always glad to oblige - always remember that music is the reason why we do all of this, not the gear. Instead of just dumping a bunch of electronic songs, I tried to fit some different genres in, to cover more angles and let people make more educated decisions. I will also leave some albums I listened to fully and I think the Sennheiser set did a great replay of.

Tracks:

  • O’Flynn - Tyrion
  • Jay Cosmic - The Tunnel
  • Hans Zimmer - Why So Serious?
  • Hyper - Spoiled
  • DARKSIDE - A1
  • Rameses B - Sonder
  • Vanilla - Azure
  • State Azure - Mirror Infinite
  • Jungle - The Heat (Joy Orbison Remix)
  • Marco Carola - Play It Loud!
  • Trentemoller - Chameleon
  • Sawano - aLIEz
  • Ten Walls - Walking with Elephants
  • Chris Lake - Free Your Body
  • The Prodigy - Thunder
  • Unlike Pluto - Everything Black
  • Flume - Insane
  • EVERGLOW - DUN DUN
  • Billie Eilish - Oxytocin
  • Dnmo - Broken
  • Tyler the Creator - EARFQUAKE

Albums:





Comparisons

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The top dogs

I will now compare directly and talk about how I expected this set to rival my other single DDs like the Dark Magician and Zen Pro but (spoiler alert), I came to the conclusion they are all different sizes of the same tool, with the application and strong suits being library dependent.
I decided to highlight their worst and best features as some people who are considering one of them, will maybe also consider the other ones or they wanna compliment their DD collection.

Non-sound Characteristics

Sennheiser IE600

IE600 has the worst fit of the three with average isolation, being very comfortable nonetheless due to weight and shell material/shape. It needs the most power/volume to achieve clean and audible mids in comparison. The accessories are very good and a great package overall. Stock cable is fine, but earhooks might be a deal breaker for some. It is priced in the middle of the other two and it’s the lightest of the three.

DUNU Zen Pro

Zen Pro is the most expensive IEM of this comparison, too close to the kilobuck region ($900). Is by far the easiest to drive, which also translates into a problem as it is very/too sensitive, hissing on most powerful sources of the market. Between the three it has, hands down, the best accessories, build quality and fit. Due to its semi-open back design, it also has the worst isolation of the pack. Being an all metal shell, Zen Pro is also the heaviest.

MiM Dark Magician

The DM is by far the cheapest, at around $600. It is a DIY IEM and the production was limited and even hard to get your hands on one. Nowadays, it got discontinued and you can no longer find it, as it got replaced by a new version that doesn’t sound or graph the same. Due to this, it has the worst accessories (only comes inside a circular metal box with some tips). Stock cable is good and looks great, but the earhooks need some slight adjustment for the fit. It has by far the best isolation when compared to the two IEMs above. Comfort is great and they are very light weight, almost like a father, for something that is made of metal.


Sound Characteristics
All the comparisions you are about to read were done using the same source, the same plug (4.4mm balanced) and one of my test playlists (Tidal). I decided to add the following spider graph to be better visualized:

I3HC17qYeI1GFXBbbxpzBzqUiiWhnKadKQ3Mu2ZDS3ej9XjU1i9D_gJEkucQALapwFFnAM2CLTYG5S5nevsf19HLVEticvzva93n-p2FC014AAUyprWHRjf4OV1Fo8QVE-cQMy6z0ugWGoPnwA


graph - 2022-06-25T202619.567.png

Sennheiser IE600

The IE600 has the most prominent bass and treble, which makes it the only V-Shape of this shootout. If you are looking for the most “fun” or energetic of the three, this is it. Nothing in this life is for free, as that much energy will come out as the most fatiguing of the pack - I would describe it as the one of the shorter sessions, best suited for electronic music.
Despite being the only one with recessed mids, this is just slight, and the upper mids/lower treble is very well done, on par with the Zen Pro, but coming out with the worst vocal presentation of the shootout. Stage size is the weakest point, as seen above in this review, but the imaging is good and it’s the most resolving IEM in this single dynamic comparison, giving a high sense of macro details and clarity, having the best extension on both poles.


DUNU Zen Pro

The Zen Pro is the instrumental beast. Paired with a balanced tuning, its timbre, driver speed and dynamics turn it into a technical beast. I would consider it a neutral with a slight bass boost and let me tell you, what a bass. It is the best bass quality and texture of the pack, together with a great sense of impact and its speed, putting it ahead of the others for people who prefer these characteristics.
One of the things that I immediately noticed was the sense of separation and layering it provides, but it lacks stage depth, despite having the best imaging of the three. The rest of the stage is above average, slightly holographic, and all this pretty much thanks to its open back design that comes out as a con for outdoor usage.
The micro details are good and have some sense of clarity, but not everything is all sun and butterflies, as the tuning is rolled off in both spectrums, and it’s slightly noticeable - despite not affecting my library as much. Another point against and that needs to be noted is that the upper regions timbre can get slightly off, especially with ultra bright sources, giving a sense of metallic taste. In my experience, it really shines with more analog sources like the Cayin RU-6 R2R dongle.
I would consider it best suited for instrumental/orchestral/jazz/classical libraries. It can get physical fatiguing after some hours of usage due to its weight and I would consider it good for medium sessions.


MiM Dark Magician

The DM has the most balanced tuning of the three - it is the real smooth operator. You can throw what you want to it, it will change like a chameleon and replay accordingly. Given its isolation and being less fatiguing than the others, I consider it can be used for ultra extensive listening sessions, for most libraries and anywhere.
Despite the semi-flat graph, don’t let it fool you, everything will show up when it needs to. The bass is the weakest of the 3 in terms of dynamics and texture, but it has very nice micro details all across the spectrum. Another point against the DM is that the imaging is slightly weaker than the other two.
Now, where it really shines is on stage presentation, containing the biggest and most holographic of the three, and having the best, or at least on pair with the Zen Pro, left/right pans.
Despite the good micro details, the overall clarity is very good but falls behind the other two, making it the least resolving one of this shootout. This fact is pretty much attributed to having the least amount of treble, which comes out as way less fatiguing and the best volume scaling by a mile.
The mids are borderline perfect and a true masterclass, making it the best vocal replays of the three. The frequency extension falls a hair shorter than the IE600, but above the Zen Pro.


The underdogs

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I decided to add this chapter, as a last minute call, as I’ve read somewhere people complaining about reviews only comparing IEMs on the same bracket. This got me thinking and I decided to add a very short comment on how the Sennheiser IE600 compares to cheaper competitors in the single DD world. As we all know, the diminishing returns are pretty real so we will keep an eye on that.

Tripowin Olina (double stock filter)

My default single DD recommendation had to be included. For $100, Olina has been a tough bone to chew on.
While Olina features a Harman tuning, compared to the IE600 it comes out as less energetic. This also translates into a better midrange presentation by the Tripowin offer, paired with a better stage size and more holographic. The mid-bass is more prominent as well which makes it more impactful than Sennheiser’s.
Other than the points above, the IE600 is a much superior IEM in every front, especially on the technical side of things and the extensions. Despite costing 7 times more, it doesn’t not have 7 times the performance, but you are paying the premium for that last push.
If you are looking for an endgame V-shaped version of the Olina, the IE600 might be for you, as long as you are fine with the tradeoffs.


Dunu VERNUS (Reference Nozzle)

VERNUS, being a special and limited edition of the Falcon Pro, comes out as a neutral with a warm tilt, all across the lower frequencies. Opposite from the Olina, the biggest difference is in the bass, where the IE600 blows up the barrel and the VERNUS is shy. Combining that low elevation with a bigger elevation in the treble region, they feel like opposites, and filling different genres/libraries.
Same as Olina, the price difference won’t show the performance difference. However, if you feel you love VERNUS but want that XBass button on the go with better techs, the Sennheiser IE600 will suit you.


Tanchjim Hana 2021

I don’t have the Hana with me, so this will be a “from memory” thing, so take it with a giant grain of salt. If you really enjoy Hana’s signature, that mild V-shape, and want a technical upgrade, I feel the Sennheiser IE600 is your call.




The Verdict

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I might paraphrase once again the above review, but I really feel I am now in position to say that IE600 is the most resolving single dynamic driver I have experienced to date, and for that, it already comes out as a winner.

Again, every set has its flaws and Sennheiser or not, this is no exception. I feel this set won't work with every ear and every preference, and some will find it tiring after long periods of time. This won’t be a mid-heavy set, and I found it to work much better with the electronic side of my library, like techno and house, than it did with the more relaxed tracks. It won’t have the most accurate replay of a song, due to its bass and treble boost, but it sure will add a lot of fun to the replay.

To quickly answer the question I will be asked the most after reading this: Yes, I think IE600 is worth the price when compared to other sets in the market, for my tastes and library. Now, if spending hundreds on a single DD IEM is worth it, that’s up for you to decide.

If you are looking for a higher-end single DD, I hope this review helped you have a clearer view of which one to get. As long as you make an educated decision, I don’t think you can go wrong with this set.

I am very happy to recommend the Sennheiser IE600 to anyone that is looking for a fun and energetic single dynamic, especially a V-Shaped one that can also bring the resolving power to the table and challenge other types of driver setups.

As for me, I can’t wait for the future releases of single DDs and especially from Sennheiser. Good job!


Value Rating: 4.5 out of 5. Personal ranking: 8,7 out of 10.


Thanks for reading!

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gourab1995
gourab1995
Appreciate the input. I think im good with iems. Looks like its time to look into some over ear upgrades. 🙂
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nymz
nymz
gourab1995
gourab1995
Im more of a isolation type guy :)

gc335

Headphoneus Supremus
The standard at its price point!
Pros: Amazing sound. Effortless fit. Quality build.
Cons: Nothing noteworthy!
Intro and disclaimer

I have been a Sennheiser fan since I was in my early teens when I started to get into this hobby. I remember seeing the HD600 in a store and hoping that one I would own one. I owned the HD600 and many more sennheiser headphones. I’ve heard even more on top of that including the original Orpheus.

I was excited to learn that I would be the first stop on the IE600 tour. I had heard a little about it but not much. I was very eager to give them a listen.

Sennheiser sent me the IE600 as part of the review tour in exchange for my review. At no point did Sennheiser influence my decision. My thoughts are my own.

Gear Used

Fiio M17
Empire Ears Valkaryie Custom
Sennheiser IE600
AZLA SednaEarfit Crystal 2 Tips

Packaging/Unboxing
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Sennheiser has really never been known for their packaging but that’s fine with me. It’s there to protect the product before it reaches the custom and more often than not lands in a closet or the trash. The IE600 packaging is probably the most elaborate Sennheiser packaging I’ve seen but it just works. You open a quality feeling box where the IE600 is prominently displayed in foam. Under that is a certificate of authenticity which is stamped with the date of the final QA as well as the inspectors initials. Simple but a nice touch. Under that, you have a foam insert that holds a cleaning tool, instruction manual, case, tips as well as a 3.5 and 4.4 cable.


Accessories

The IE600 comes with a pretty wide variety of accessories. There are three foam tips, three silicone tips, cable clip, cleaning tool as well as two cables.

The cables comes in 3.5 and 4.4. They look very basic but the more I used the IE600 the more i liked them. I never had any tangles and there were never any kinks in the wire. It’s also really nice to have the 4.4 cable.

The tips are pretty standard but feel of very high quality. I found that I achieved a really good fit with the largest silicone tips. They sat more on top of my ear canal versus going in. It was very comfortable. My ears are a but strange and I ended up finding the best fit and comfort to be with the AZLA SednaEarfit Crystal 2. I think for most ears, the stock tips will work fine.


Build

Solid! The shells of the IE600 are all metal and feel very durable yet light. They are just the right shape for my ears and I think will be a great fit for most. I wore these for hours at a time with zero ear fatigue or discomfort.

I have the best luck with IEMs that fit within the concha and are held in the ear by the anti helix. The IE600 does it perfectly. It keeps the tip firmly in the ear.


Overall sound signature

My first time I listened to the IE600 my jaw literally dropped. Powerful bass and clarity with an extremely cohesive signature. I thought… i didn’t know these were hybrids! I looked it up and confirmed that they were in fact a single dynamic driver. I knew right away these were special.

I never heard any issues with portly recorded tracks. The IE600 always sounded good but scaled well with really well recorded music. I’ve heard a bunch of high end headphones that struggle with poor recordings. That is definitely not the case with these. Very happy with they flexibility


Bass

Just right for basically every track I threw at it. Never boomy or overpowering the mids. The control is amazing. These are very well tuned IEMs. It also reaches very deep. When needed, there is plenty of kick.


Mids

There is a slight dip in the mids especially with vocals but I never felt like I was missing something. Vocal forward tracks still sounded like they should. I did notice a bit of sibilance on a few tracks but it was fairly rare. Going to a slightly warmer source (M17 to Mojo) did cut it own a bit. It didn’t bother me at all but some people that are very sensitive to it should know about it.


Treble

The treble is fantastic. For me, they reached high enough to give a nice shimmer to high hats, fast attack on stringed instruments and amazing clarity. I think it's just north of neutral which is great for my taste in music and preferences.


Stage

I’m not great describing stage on headphones. I think the IE600 is average for an IEM with the sound more to the left and right versus in front of you. Instrument placement is very precise. No issues for me here.


Comparisons

Afterglow - Emancipator
IE600 - The first thing that strikes me is the insane deep rumble of the sub bass on this track. I really like this track for evaluating bass and the Sennheiser does not disappoint. I’d maybe like a little more kick but the low reach and control make up for the lack of quantity. Lots of detail with out harness in the treble. Very enjoyable with this track.
Valkyrie - At the beginning of this track the sound moves back and forth between the left and right channel. That back and forth is less noticeable on the Valkrie. Not sure why. Not an issue just an observation. There is more bass quality with a little more energy on mid bass with a little less control. Don’t get me wrong, I love the sound of the OG Valkyrie but you can definelty tell there are advantages to a really well tuned single driver. There Sennheiesr just comes across as having better clarity with the same level of treble but more natural.

Lindsey Stirling - Elements (Orchestral Version)
IE600 - Very open sounding with so much clarity. This track is really enjoyable with the Sennheiser.
Valkyrie - Right away I notice a little more warmth. Lindsey’s violin feel a bit more distant. Instrument placement is a little less precise. There is a little less energy and simmer in the treble. Still sound great but the IE600 seems to play a little better with this track. I still really like this track with the Empire Ears. It’s just a little more laid back of a signature.

Grateful Dead - Touch of Gray
IE600 - I’m really liking this track on the IE600. Nice punch sound with great clarity. Classic rock can sound a but thin but not with these. Very enjoyable.
Valkyrie - Again, a little more warmth. Still very enjoyable but the IE600 seems to excel with this track.

Angus and Julia Stone - Yellow Brick Road
IE600 - Great vocals. The clarity trend continues.
Valkyrie - The stage is a but more in front of versus around. The sound is less aggressive and smooth. Still very enjoyable.

Alison Krause - It Doesn’t Matter
IE600 - Great live feeling to this track. Very good clarity and great rumble on the bass. The attach on the guitar is really good and reminds my of over ears planars.
Valkyrie - A little smoother sound. Bass has a little more quality and mid bass presence. Both sound really good on this track. This track can have a bit of sibilance and both IEMs don’t hid this but it’s not offensive.

Eric Clapton - Old Love Unplugged
IE600 - There is a great live feeling on this track. The clarity gives you a sense of being a live performance.
Valkyrie - On this track, I like the Sennheiser better. It’s not bad by any stretch. The attack on the guitar is not as good. I think this is a track where you notice the downside of multiple drivers versus the single dynamic of IE600. The Valkyrie does not give the same feeling of the live open stage of this track like the Sennheiser does.

Conclusion
The IE600 is an outstanding on IEM on every level I can think of. Not picky with genres. Amazing clarity. Single driver coohisive signature. There is just so much to like. At it's price point, I really can't think of a better IEM. It challenges IEMs that cost double what they do. Sennheiser knocked it out of the park with these IEMs. Great job!
ericpalonen
ericpalonen
Congratulations on completing #IE600Tour stop #1 @gc335 ! Great write up and song choices. We're building the IE 600 Tour playlist and will share it, including these tracks, shortly. And thanks for the in-depth unboxing pics the kick things off. Your M17 and Mojo pairings will probably be of great interest to readers. Something you said resonated with me and my own experience with the 600: they are forgiving on poorly recorded material despite being highly detailed. Somehow, it just works and keeps everything fun.

Great work!
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J
jmwant
Great review! Are these sensitive enough to drive with budget Dongles?
gc335
gc335
Yes, they didn’t seem too power hungry. I’m guessing they scale but I doubt you’ll have an issue. In hindsight, I should have tried it with a dongle. I have the UP4 and 5. I’ll add that to my next review.

Ichos

Reviewer at hxosplus
The sweet spot
Pros: + Very musical and engaging tuning
+ Best Sennheiser mids after the HD650
+ Easy listening non fatiguing sound
+ Natural timbre
+ Great bass extension with excellent technicalities
+ Sharp imaging
+ Very comfortable
+ Small and lightweight
+ Good passive noise attenuation
+ Balanced and unbalanced cable of good quality
+ Excellent build quality
+ Scratch resistant shells
+ Nice carrying case
Cons: - Slightly lacking in dynamics
- Not too visceral
- Intimate soundstage
- Mild sibilance on "T" and "S" consonants
Introduction

The Sennheiser IE600 was loaned to me by their Greek distributor for local reviewing purposes but I have decided to share brief impressions at Headfi.

The IE600 is the new, single dynamic driver iem from Sennheiser which is positioned between the flagship IE900 and the entry level IE300.
The selling price is €700 and is available from all authorized retailers.

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Technical highlights

Resilient AMLOY-ZR01 amorphous metal housing, 3D-printed in Germany.
Direct, neutral tuning with fast, accurate bass.
Select 7 mm TrueResponse transducers optimized to achieve the lowest possible distortion.
Exceptionally neutral sound thanks to dual resonator chambers D2CA.
Gold-plated Fidelity (+) MMCX connectors for reliable connections.
Choice of para-aramid reinforced cables (3.5 mm, 4.4 mm).
Adjustable ear hooks and choice of ear tip adapters.
Frequency response: 4 Hz – 46.5 kHz
0.06% THD (1 kHz, 94 dB)
Impedance: 18 ohms

Full technical breakdown is available here.

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Build quality and appearance

The IE600 is made from zirconium alloy which is manufactured by Heraeus Amloy Technologies.
It has triple the hardness and flexural strength of high-performance steel. Shock-frozen during manufacturing, amorphous metals never have a chance to form a crystalline structure like conventional metals.
The result is a lustrous, satiny surface that is extraordinarily resistant against corrosion and scratches.
The IE 600 housing is fabricated using metal-powder-based 3D printing that can create any shape imaginable within tight tolerances. Chambers and channels form as part of this additive manufacturing process with no milling required.
However, cost does limit the potential applications of this new material. One of the only places you’ll find it — besides ultra-high-end products like the IE 600 — is in the drilling head of a NASA Mars Rover where extraordinary resilience in extreme conditions is required.

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The appearance is the same as with the IE900 but instead of the shiny and polished surface this time the finish is more dull and less luxurious.
I slightly prefer the IE900 appearance but still this is a discrete and beautiful looking earphone that gets vanished into the ear.
Build quality and finish are excellent while the IE600 seems to be very durable and scratch resistant, much more than its elder brother.

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Fit and isolation

The IE600 is featherweight and with very small size, it is a real "in ear monitor" and a nice contrast to the bulky multi driver earphones that are flooding the market.
The shells are tiny and as such they vanish inside the ear, offering a tight and ultra comfortable fit suitable for extended listening sessions without causing ear fatigue and excessive sweating.
If there is one issue worth mentioning is that due to the shorter length and diameter of the nozzle, the IE600 must be pushed deeper into the ear canal, so the user might need a larger size of eartips than the usual and the largest size of the provided ones might not be enough.
Tip selection is crucial regarding noise attenuation and bass response, the memory foam eartips worked better for me and after getting the right fit the IE600 proved to be very effective in blocking outside the environmental noise.

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Cable and accessories

The IE600 features gold-plated MMCX(+) connectors that are recessed in the housing for greater stability and guidance.
This type of MMCX connector is slightly different from the normal and finding an aftermarket cable is not so easy.
Two para-aramid reinforced cables are included, unbalanced 3.5mm and balanced 4.4mm.
There is also a 2.5 mm cable that is sold separately and not included as it is with the IE900.
Flexible, adjustable ear hooks further enhance the long-lasting comfort.
I know that a lot of people were complaining about the IE900 cables but honestly I think that they are of good quality, quite flexible and with low microphonic noise so I wouldn't bother with aftermarket cables.

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Two different styles of earbud tips — silicone and memory foam — are provided in three sizes to establish a comfortable seal in any ear.
A Premium carry case is also included along with a cable clip and a cleaning tool.

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Listening impressions

As per usual practice I left the IE600 to burn for about 150 hours without monitoring the progress.
The listening tests were done with the FiiO M17, FiiO M11 Plus LTD and iBasso DX240 with the AMP8 MK2 module.

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The overall tuning of the IE600 is utterly natural, not neutral and very balanced, it is pretty much one of the best tuned earphones that I have ever tested, almost perfect.
The sound is good, very good, musical, engaging, fun and enjoyable without venturing into tuning extremities.
This is a safe tuning that is suitable for all kinds of music, from electronic music to classical and jazz.
It is a likable presentation without any faults and most users will probably find it to their liking except the ones who prefer purposely mannered tunings.

The bass is just slightly boosted above the reference point with great extension to the lowest of the notes.
It never becomes too much and acoustic instruments like double basses and organ sound with the correct pitch while the IE600 is equally great with synthesized bass.
There is no bleeding whatsoever into the mids and the mid-bass is perfectly pitched without any unnecessary emphasis or coloring, at the same time the IE600 should be considered warm enough in a balanced manner.
The presentation is quite full but not so visceral and weighty yet at the same time it shouldn't be considered as lean, it sits somewhere in the middle.
Technical presentation is truly excellent, at least for the category.
The bass is tight, fast and well controlled with natural recovery and great layering while it is clear and resolving.
Dynamics are good and lifelike but the IE600 doesn't have the physical impact of other single dynamic driver earphones with larger drivers like the FiiO FD7.
Still the overall result is pretty satisfying and substantial both with natural percussion instruments and electronic tunes.

The mid range is, well, perfect, the tuning is wholly engaging, voices and instruments are rendered with the most convincing timbre with plenty of harmonic saturation.
The sound is weighty, full bodied and rounded with excellent presence and the most fine articulation, airy, soft and pleasant without any given harshness or edginess.
Natural sounding with just the needed amount of sweetness, warmth and wetness, the perfect combination of all the right ingredients that make for a highly addictive musical experience.
It is a pleasure to listen to all kinds of voices or vent instruments like solo oboe, clarinet or some blazing horns.
The IE600 was good with everything I tested but I thoroughly enjoyed it with Mozart's Gran Partita for twelve wind instruments and a double bass.

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These are HD650 - like mids, the closest tuning to the all time classic but this time with augmented technical prowess, more clarity between the lines, airer and more defined presentation.
Old time users of the venerable HD650 are going to love the IE600 this is the first Sennheiser creation that should be considered as the true successor to it, although in an iem form factor.

Thus said, there is a mild sibilance, it is not that the IE600 is inducing it in an artificial way but it is highlighting it when it is present in the recording.
"T" consonant gets a little pronounced and "S" even more, especially when listening to choral works like the following recording.

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Treble has a very safe tuning, smooth, controlled and absent of any alarming peaks.
At the same time the IE600 is pretty resolving, with good clarity, adequate extension and enough energy to sound lively and not dull or boring.
Again pleasing and natural to the ear, treble sensitive users are going to love it while it gets pretty satisfying and detailed to cater for the rest.
Only the treble loving crowd and detail junkies will not remain satisfied and they will probably seek for something more detailed, analytical and brighter than the IE600.

Soundstage is mildly wide and spacious but not so holographic or layered.
Positioning is very accurate, with nice separation between the instruments but the whole presentation is more into the head, intimate and rather shrunk than glorious and expanded.

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Brief comparisons

The IEx00 family

(from memory)

The IE600 is the sweet spot between the IE300 (review) and the IE900 (review) regarding both the tuning and the technicalities.

The IE300 is the least technically capable of the three.
Not so resolving, with lesser clarity, bass is not so controlled and layered, not as tight and it gets more bloomy - bleeding while generally speaking it is not as refined and articulated as its brothers.
Bass on the IE300 is more pronounced, with a touch of mid-bass emphasis while the mids are considerably more recessed, not as natural sounding and engaging while treble gets a fair amount of boost, here and there, giving a brighter and sharper tuning.
The IE300 is fuller sounding with more meaty sound, more fun, but thicker and slower with less natural timbre, not as precise and sometimes a little bright - piercing.

On the other hand the IE900 is technically superior, everything is on a higher level, from bass control, to layering, articulation, extension, detail retrieval, imaging, far better clarity, well you name it and the IE900 does it better.
Better dynamic contrast, more impactful with a grander and more holographic soundstage, out of the head projection with laser like positioning and a much finer articulation, the IE900 is the undisputed High End King.
Tuning is also slightly different, bass is more visceral and full bodied while retaining top class technicalities.
Mid range is fairly recessed, making it to sound more distant and neutral, not as engaging - warm while treble gets a mild emphasis which enhances detail retrieval and clarity, the IE900 is much more resolving and extended but at the same time it can be a little more bright sounding than the IE600.

Three different offerings from Sennheiser with diverse sound profiles and gradually increasing technicalities that naturally scale with the asking price.

Vs the FiiO FD7 ($600)
(side by side comparison)

FiiO FD7 (review) is another excellent single dynamic driver iem with a slightly different form factor, better accessories, tuning tubes and an excellent modular cable.

Assuming that you don't care about physical appearance, fit, comfort and accessories, let's talk about sound.

With the balanced sound tubes fitted to the FD7, the overall tuning between it and the IE600 is quite close.
Frequency response graphs might suggest otherwise but actually the bass extension is on the same level for both with the FD7 reaching as low as the IE600 while at the same time it is a touch more neutrally tuned without any mid-bass emphasis or bleeding on the mids.
Then the FD7 goes a different path with a bolder, fuller and considerably more visceral presentation, the larger driver is moving more air so dynamic behavior has greater impact while at the same time exhibiting top notch technicalities.
Mid range is so closely tuned between the two and although the FD7 is just a tiny bit more recessed the end result is equally full bodied, slightly warm and sweet with natural timbre and the same level of engagement.
Thus said the IE600 is more mid - centric, more pleasing and addicting in this particular area and as such it will appeal better to people who love their HD650 and are searching for something similar in an iem form factor.
Then there is an emphasis on the presence area, resulting in a more brilliant and resolving presentation from the FD7, with greater extension, more air between the lines, increased clarity and a surplus of energy but without sounding bright or fatiguing.
A key difference is on the soundstaging abilities between the two earphones.
Whether the IE600 is more intimate and into the listener's head, the FD7 reaches outside the head, projecting the soundstage in front of the listener.
The FD7 is grander scale, has better holography and extended width, there is more space around the instruments
with the same positioning accuracy while ambience is communicated in a more convincing manner.

IMG_20220316_214151.jpg


Don't ask which one is better, because both are great and ideally you should audition both in order to choose unless you are an HD650 fan, then you should blindly purchase the IE600.

In the end

The IE600 is the sweet spot of the Sennheiser IEx00 family, sitting in the middle between the IE300 and the flagship IE900.
With one of the best tuned mids after the venerable HD650, balanced and natural, with excellent technicalities and a thoroughly musical, easy listening character, this is an earphone suitable for a blindfolded purchase, you just can't go wrong with it whatever are your listening habits.

Test playlist

Copyright - Laskis Petros 2022.
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Ichos
Ichos
Unless you are a minimalist, then you are going to love it and hate the overblown Chinese designs!
Harry Manback
Harry Manback
It's just tasteless. Looks like something you'd give as a gag-gift. (The FDX, not the IE600, which is beautiful.)
Ichos
Ichos
Hey guys, I know how it looks, the thing is how it sounds and oh boy it sounds really good.
But please let's not derail the thread anymore.
Thanks.
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