First review - Sleek Audio SA-6
Oct 16, 2008 at 9:57 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 4

Navybsn

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I'd like to try a review. My first in fact. So a little background about my listening habits and gear I've used.

Background:
I've always considered myself a music-phile, but not quite an audiophile. After doing some reading/lurking on these forums for a while, I started collecting a little bit of gear. I've had my fair share of SkullCandy headphones, iPod earbuds and the like, so my first foray into "good" earphones were JVC Marshmellows. I quickly did the Kramer mod and was very impressed by the result. I mean, for a $10 headphone, they kick butt.

Right before I left for Kuwait, I picked up a pair of Bose over the ear phones (I know there are better choices) and was also impressed with them. They quickly fell out of favor though because they were uncomfortable. The headband put too much pressure on the top of my head. But the sound was decent (to me).

I listen to a little bit of everything. Rock, metal, experimental, classical, so I need a pretty versatile headphone. My equipment consists of a Macbook, an 8g 3rd gen iPod, a cMoy amp, and the aforementioned headphone collection (2 sets of Marshmellows, 1 set of Bose). I wanted to find a set of comfortable headphones with comparable sound to the Bose. I never thought about spending more than $100. Anyway, after a bit of looking, googling, and recommendations, I ended up with the Sleek Audio SA-6.

Before they arrived:
I have to admit. Before these arrived, I had decided to send them back. I mean, $200 on a set of headphones, c'mon. That's a bit ridiculous. I had 2 pairs of JVC's that I was completely happy with, and I'm no audiophile. I bought them for my birthday present, but I began to think there were better things I could spend the money on.

The mistake:
So here's where that plan went wrong. I made the mistake of listening to them. I figured, I've got them here, I might as well listen to them before I send them back. I tried a little Rush first (my fav) on the iPod. No EQ, no nothing. I thought "nothing special". Then I tried Bave Brubeck's Take Five. Shouldn't have done that. I thought I had heard good sound before, through top notch speaker systems, studio monitor headphones friends had, the Bose I had, etc.. I had heard terms like separation before, and thought I had heard it, but I was mistaken. It was as if I was in the studio with the band. Amazing. I listened to alot of my music and began to hear things for the first time. Little intricacies I had missed. I can hear production value. Wow.

Package/build quality:
Not bad. Not what I expected for $200 headphones. I bought the SA-6 specifically because I like the modular design. And that is cool, but the whole presentation was a little lackluster. I'm not sure what to make of the case yet. And I would have preferred foamies instead of all silicone. At least one pair of foamies! The L/R marks on the cables could be easier to see as well. No trouble with the bass/treble ports. I went right to B+/T+ as I figured this would be where I ended up. And it is. Easy to change, and honestly a great selling point. Overall, fit and finish is okay, but could be improved.

Sound:
Depends on the type of music. I'll go through a few favs

Rush - "Ghost of a chance"
High hats are crisp. Dreamy interludes. Vocals are as accurate as they get. The bass is sublime.

Opeth - "Face of Melinda"
The acoustic guitar is clear. I can hear Akerfeldt's fingers slide on the strings. There are occasions when the lower notes of the guitar get muddy, but it could be my EQ settings. Vocals are clear. Sounds like it was recorded in a large room, very airy, spacious. Distorts a little when the song kicks in. Could be the recording (192k).

Porcupine Tree - "Waiting - phase one"
I'm an unabashed Steve Wilson fanboy. I have everything he's ever put out. Listening to this track with these headphones makes me remember why. There is so much going on, and it is all so clear. Again, it feels like I'm in the room with the band as they are playing.

The Cure - "Inbetween Days"
I know I've heard the drums on this song before, but I don't remember them. I think I can hear every strike on every cymbal, every high-hat.

The Police - "Man in a suitcase (live)"
Is that Andy Summers singing along with Sting? I must have heard this song a thousand times. Never heard that before.

Paco de Lucia - "Cepa Andaluza"
When the guy starts talking about 15 seconds in, I almost jumped up to see who was behind me. Pretty amusing....now.

Sara Bightman - "Ave Maria"
Lush, airy, soaring. Just as it should sound.

I could go on and on, but the point is, I can actually hear the music much better now. No technical audiophile type words or descriptions, but I like the way everything sounds.

Other considerations:
Microphonics. Yes, the cable is slightly microphonic. But not too annoying. I like that the cables can be changed without having to cut/solder anything. A big plus.
Ear tips. I don't like silicone. I put Shure Olives on. They fit fine. I think I'll order some Comply tips too. Isolation is excellent, even with the silicone. Better with the foam.
Comfort. Pretty good. Just as comfy as the JVC's.

Overall verdict: I'm keeping them. They sound great, even if I think they cost too much. I just have to hope they last a long time. I think I could have spent the money on worse things.

Well, that's it. Not the best review, more of a newcomer/regular Joe's review. Hopefully it will be useful to someone.
 
Oct 16, 2008 at 11:58 PM Post #3 of 4

pseudohippy

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When I got my first proper headphones I didnt really have a wow moment. I was underwhelmed in fact. I listened for a good two or three weeks 4+ hours a day. I put my old headphones on to compare and BLAM, I had that "WOW" moment, it was more of a WOW, my old phones are crap moment. I used to enjoy them.
 
Oct 17, 2008 at 1:51 AM Post #4 of 4

tstarn06

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Big fan of the SA6 sound here (and an early buyer). My only issue is the sleeves. Oddly enough, I don't really like the silicone flanges even though they are better than most. They just sort of bug me. However, I use one of the Sleek double flanges (medium) in my left ear on the Klipsch Image X10s. I use one of the smaller Klipsch medium bi-flange gels in the right ear (different sizes). Go figure.

Anyway, I use either the Shure olives or the Shure yellow foamies on the SA6s. Both work very well, but be careful because the treble tubes will get stuck in the sleeves. I use the pointy end of the headphone plug to push out the tubes from the top of the foamies to get the treble tubes out. And be sure to use the treble tube removal tool.

Finally, any problems, just call or email Sleek. They have been very good on the customer service front. I had to return a couple of sets of drivers, but I do love the sound, and would not give them up. I split time between them and the X10s. They both are fine IEMs.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Navybsn /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I'd like to try a review. My first in fact. So a little background about my listening habits and gear I've used.

Background:
I've always considered myself a music-phile, but not quite an audiophile. After doing some reading/lurking on these forums for a while, I started collecting a little bit of gear. I've had my fair share of SkullCandy headphones, iPod earbuds and the like, so my first foray into "good" earphones were JVC Marshmellows. I quickly did the Kramer mod and was very impressed by the result. I mean, for a $10 headphone, they kick butt.

Right before I left for Kuwait, I picked up a pair of Bose over the ear phones (I know there are better choices) and was also impressed with them. They quickly fell out of favor though because they were uncomfortable. The headband put too much pressure on the top of my head. But the sound was decent (to me).

I listen to a little bit of everything. Rock, metal, experimental, classical, so I need a pretty versatile headphone. My equipment consists of a Macbook, an 8g 3rd gen iPod, a cMoy amp, and the aforementioned headphone collection (2 sets of Marshmellows, 1 set of Bose). I wanted to find a set of comfortable headphones with comparable sound to the Bose. I never thought about spending more than $100. Anyway, after a bit of looking, googling, and recommendations, I ended up with the Sleek Audio SA-6.

Before they arrived:
I have to admit. Before these arrived, I had decided to send them back. I mean, $200 on a set of headphones, c'mon. That's a bit ridiculous. I had 2 pairs of JVC's that I was completely happy with, and I'm no audiophile. I bought them for my birthday present, but I began to think there were better things I could spend the money on.

The mistake:
So here's where that plan went wrong. I made the mistake of listening to them. I figured, I've got them here, I might as well listen to them before I send them back. I tried a little Rush first (my fav) on the iPod. No EQ, no nothing. I thought "nothing special". Then I tried Bave Brubeck's Take Five. Shouldn't have done that. I thought I had heard good sound before, through top notch speaker systems, studio monitor headphones friends had, the Bose I had, etc.. I had heard terms like separation before, and thought I had heard it, but I was mistaken. It was as if I was in the studio with the band. Amazing. I listened to alot of my music and began to hear things for the first time. Little intricacies I had missed. I can hear production value. Wow.

Package/build quality:
Not bad. Not what I expected for $200 headphones. I bought the SA-6 specifically because I like the modular design. And that is cool, but the whole presentation was a little lackluster. I'm not sure what to make of the case yet. And I would have preferred foamies instead of all silicone. At least one pair of foamies! The L/R marks on the cables could be easier to see as well. No trouble with the bass/treble ports. I went right to B+/T+ as I figured this would be where I ended up. And it is. Easy to change, and honestly a great selling point. Overall, fit and finish is okay, but could be improved.

Sound:
Depends on the type of music. I'll go through a few favs

Rush - "Ghost of a chance"
High hats are crisp. Dreamy interludes. Vocals are as accurate as they get. The bass is sublime.

Opeth - "Face of Melinda"
The acoustic guitar is clear. I can hear Akerfeldt's fingers slide on the strings. There are occasions when the lower notes of the guitar get muddy, but it could be my EQ settings. Vocals are clear. Sounds like it was recorded in a large room, very airy, spacious. Distorts a little when the song kicks in. Could be the recording (192k).

Porcupine Tree - "Waiting - phase one"
I'm an unabashed Steve Wilson fanboy. I have everything he's ever put out. Listening to this track with these headphones makes me remember why. There is so much going on, and it is all so clear. Again, it feels like I'm in the room with the band as they are playing.

The Cure - "Inbetween Days"
I know I've heard the drums on this song before, but I don't remember them. I think I can hear every strike on every cymbal, every high-hat.

The Police - "Man in a suitcase (live)"
Is that Andy Summers singing along with Sting? I must have heard this song a thousand times. Never heard that before.

Paco de Lucia - "Cepa Andaluza"
When the guy starts talking about 15 seconds in, I almost jumped up to see who was behind me. Pretty amusing....now.

Sara Bightman - "Ave Maria"
Lush, airy, soaring. Just as it should sound.

I could go on and on, but the point is, I can actually hear the music much better now. No technical audiophile type words or descriptions, but I like the way everything sounds.

Other considerations:
Microphonics. Yes, the cable is slightly microphonic. But not too annoying. I like that the cables can be changed without having to cut/solder anything. A big plus.
Ear tips. I don't like silicone. I put Shure Olives on. They fit fine. I think I'll order some Comply tips too. Isolation is excellent, even with the silicone. Better with the foam.
Comfort. Pretty good. Just as comfy as the JVC's.

Overall verdict: I'm keeping them. They sound great, even if I think they cost too much. I just have to hope they last a long time. I think I could have spent the money on worse things.

Well, that's it. Not the best review, more of a newcomer/regular Joe's review. Hopefully it will be useful to someone.



 

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