6-Driver Shootout: Cosmic Ears Vs 1964Ears

Disclaimer: Both the Cosmic Ears (CE) and 1964Ears CIEMs were sent to me free of charge for review. We already reviewed the CE BA4F and Cosmic Ears decided to give us the World Premiere for the CE6E. Our friends from Audiogarden.fr, who are a 1964Ears reseller, supplied us with the sample of the V6S. A big thank you to everyone who helped making this review possible.

I love CIEMs: my weird ears cannot handle universal IEMs and I love the sound of balanced armatures. I intended doing this 6 driver shootout a really long time ago and I have been in possession of the 1964Ears for months already. Unfortunately the Cosmic Ears CE6E was delayed and so this comparative review was put on hold. Apologies to 1964Ears for this delay.

The Contenders

1964Ears V6s:

The 1964 V6-Stage is an extremely coherent and 3-dimensional 6-driver custom in ear monitor. Its rich, spacious and detailed sound presentation is sure to make it a new standard for stage, studio and everyday music listening. The V6-Stage is a perfect earpiece for live or studio use. With 6 drivers per ear it offers a wide and deep sound stage. Designed to have a natural, and musical frequency response

The V6S of course has two Low, two Mid and two High Precision Tuned Armatures with an Integrated 3-way passive crossover and triple bore design. All in an hypoallergenic hard acrylic shell. Tech Specs: Impedance: 22 Ohms at 1kHz, Sensitivity: 115dB SPL @ 1mW, Freq. Response: 15Hz – 20 kHz, Noise Isolation: -26dB

There also is a normal V6 model available with slightly different tuning, details on their website.

Cosmic Ears CE6E:

“ The CE6E has been designed to enhance every area of the frequency range. The CE6E provides the listener with a hugely enjoyable musical presence utilizing strong lows and mids with crisp trebles all delivered with the Cosmic Ears traditional smooth sound signature. The 6 driver configuration has been meticulously tuned to provide an incredibly coherent driver phase resulting in all the drivers working together in perfect harmony. The CE6E is perfect for anyone who demands a truly musical and enjoyable custom in-ear monitor.”

The CE6E has 2 x high, 2 x mid, 2 x low balanced armatures with a 3-way passive crossover and triple bore design. Shells are full size medical grade hard acrylic. Tech Specs: Impedance: 26 Ohms at 1kHz, Sensitivity: 121dB SPL @ 1mW, Frequency range: 15Hz – 19 kHz, Noise Isolation: -25 dB

There also is a CE6P model available with slightly different tuning. (P stands for Professional)

The Shootout starts on Page 2!

6-Driver Shootout: Cosmic Ears Vs 1964Ears
4.6 (92%) 10 vote[s]

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Lieven is living in Europe and he's the leader of the gang. He's running Headfonia as a side project next to his full time day job in Digital Marketing & Consultancy. He's a big fan of tube amps and custom inear monitors and has published hundreds of product reviews over the years.

58 Comments

  • Reply June 26, 2014

    Patrick

    CIEMs are even visually worth their money 😉 Just look at those converted shells! Can’t wait to get a pair of 1964 at christmas. Off-topic: L. have you already tested the t90 limited edition of beyerdynamics 90th anniversary and compared it to the normal t90?

    • Reply June 26, 2014

      L.

      Hi Patrick. T90 LE is identical to the T90, no sound change. Confirmed by Beyer.

  • Reply June 26, 2014

    Zeppie

    Great review here L! Im waiting for my V6-S too and pairing it with the DX-90.. Have you tried the combo? Im also planning to get an amp for it, im looking towards the Duet and Pure II.. Any thoughts ?

    • Reply June 26, 2014

      L.

      Thank you. I haven’t tried it with the DX90, probably in a few weeks I will. The Duet and Pure II are both very good units, can’t go wrong with those. Personally I’d pick up the Duet

      • Reply June 26, 2014

        Zeppie

        Thanks L! Ill be waiting for your inputs about the dx90 + V6-S.. And hopefully you could ry it with the duet in between..

        • Reply June 26, 2014

          ohm image

          The DX90 can run any earphone under the sun to the best of its ability. No problems at all.

          • Reply June 26, 2014

            Andy

            I have to differ on your opinion there. DX 90 is unable to drive most of earphone to their best of ability. To drive them quite loud, yes. But to say that to drive them to the best of ability is definitely a no.

            • Reply June 26, 2014

              ohm image

              I’ll let you differ with me, but it isn’t an opinion. I’ve put half a dozen very difficult to drive earphones up to measurable benchmarks and the DX90 came out near the top of all portable players.

              Whether or not you like its sound is unrelated. Performance-wise, it is excellent.

              • Reply June 26, 2014

                Andy

                You were stating that the DX 90 is able to drive almost all earphones to their best of ability. The benchmark of which one decide the weight of the word “best” may be a subject of individual preferences, but generally speaking, best means best ,or the highest form.

                Had tried both DX 90 and Hugo. DX 90 was nowhere near the level of Hugo in bringing the horsepower of all the 12 drivers of AKR 03 to their best. And i assume this goes along with all other IEMs too.

                • Reply June 26, 2014

                  ohm image

                  Andy,

                  We agree on the HUGO being awesome. It is. But it isn’t a portable player. Among portable players, the DX90 has no competition. Among the lowest levels of distortion, higher signal to noise ratio when driving under load than the AK240, better crosstalk, lower IMD.

                  That goes for almost any earphone, single driver or multiple driver. I did not refer to subjective tests in my posts but repeatable, industry-accepted tests to determine actual performance.

                  Subjectively I have no doubt the DX90 isn’t the best _for you_ or someone else. But in terms of raw, measurable, repeatable, and scientific testing, it is certainly among the very best available on the audiophile market.

                  Is it my favourite DAP? Hell no. But is it a benchmark for performance? Hell yes.

                  • Reply June 26, 2014

                    Andy

                    Yes, speaking from numbers and graphs, you were absolutely right. I do agree that DX 90 has the bang for buck in the portable audio world now. Its performance is so beyond its price point.

                    I actually use Hugo on the go, i hook it up with Alo Amp Bag. It is quite bulky and heavy. But the sound justifies the weight. Hugo makes a lot thing sounds bland. Which is bad. For wallet.

                    • June 26, 2014

                      L.

                      Keep it on topic guys, take it to the DX90 thread. not here

                • Reply June 26, 2014

                  L.

                  I will get the DX90 and settle this dispute

                  • Reply June 27, 2014

                    Zeppie

                    Will wait for this L!

    • Reply June 26, 2014

      ohm image

      I also love both units but prefer the PURE II due to its smaller size. Both truly are excellent.

      • Reply June 27, 2014

        Zeppie

        Thanks for the reply! How I wish I could try both amps. Unfortunately, the pure II is not available locally in my country..

  • Reply June 26, 2014

    Vasilis Rapanakis

    Hi Lieven, as always great write up!

    Would you mind highlighting the differences between the CE4 (BA4) and the CE6? I am just not sure if it is worth the wait to be honest as I am without an IEM currently and trying to find out if the differences are enough to warrant me holding out a couple more months for it. Many thanks!

    • Reply June 26, 2014

      L.

      Good question and thanks for the compliment.

      The BA4 and CE6E are similar but the CE6E does everything better. The BA4F is good but the CE6E is playing at at a different level. Bigger sound stage, more details, more dynamic, better bass, mids and treble. If I had to choose between both purely based on sound I wouldn’t hesitate and go for the 6 driver, it really is a class up. The BA4F still are great monitors but there si quite a difference between both in quality.

      Shoot Cosmic Ears an email, maybe they can help you get one faster 😉

  • Reply June 26, 2014

    George Lai

    Personally I feel custom shells should be clear or transparent to admire the workmanship of the innards.

    • Reply June 26, 2014

      L.

      As long as they sound great I don’t really care. most of the time they are in my ear or in my pocket anyway. My fav colors are translucent like your FitEar or the “smoke” version. It can be very useful to have 2 different colors to immediately pick right or left but of course you can always check the logo color on the inside

      • Reply June 26, 2014

        George Lai

        I’ve never understood the need for different colors for left and right though. It’s impossible to put the wrong side in the wrong ear. Like shoes you just know which is left and which is right.

        • Reply June 26, 2014

          Patrick

          fancy is fancy George. Other people likes to have different color, because that looks (how good they parts are fiting eachother) great and to take the attention of your surrounding unconscious ;). But I’ve got to agree with you George the color should be something to show the workmanship of the innards – dark gray/marine blue with a transparent touch.

        • Reply June 26, 2014

          L.

          And still it is a lot easier if you have the different colors

      • Reply June 26, 2014

        ohm image

        L, seriously?

    • Reply June 26, 2014

      ohm image

      I share that feeling although I’ve seen some very ugly shells that would look better covered up.

      • Reply June 26, 2014

        George Lai

        Preferably with a pair of circumaural full sized cans!

  • Reply June 27, 2014

    Ali Hassan

    Good review, I have a two pairs of Cosmic Ears CIEMS, I was hoping for more on the cable, I personally loved the new one, even got my BA4 reshelled to get it, the connectors the biggest thing for me, I always hated that 2 pin connector, for such premium products I think the two pin connector is a big downfall and hope more companies adopt something a bit better like the linum

    • Reply June 28, 2014

      L.

      Thank you. The problem is the aftermarket cable companies, they can not have the linum connectors

      • Reply June 28, 2014

        Ali Hassan

        Thats a shame, do linum not licence out anything etc? Doubt it would make cables much more expensive. It wasn’t really something I’d thought about as I’ve never ventured into that market.

        • Reply July 1, 2014

          Ali Hassan

          Also Westone seem to have a cable with their ciems that use the connector

  • Reply June 28, 2014

    ethan

    Has anyone ever tried Dx90 – hugo coax? How does it fare agaisnt ipod – clasdb – hugo?

    • Reply June 28, 2014

      L.

      Have not. sorry

    • Reply June 28, 2014

      Ali Hassan

      I have owned the dx50 and 90, I do not own a classic but have iphones and android devices, Personally I found the dx50 to be a good dap, nothing amazed me and I recently bought the dx90 which I LOVE, the sound is amazing and the price is very reasonable. I have BA4 reshell from Cosmic Ears on the way that I cannot wait to pair with the dx90

  • Reply June 28, 2014

    Sudip Gadwal

    Hi mike and lieven.. A very enjoyable read and great photos too.. Just wanna know since using the ue 900 universal iems how much of a difference will it make with a step up to one of these in terms of sound detailing and sound stage.. I use fiio x3 with fiio x12 and also cowon and Sony players..thanks..

  • Reply July 3, 2014

    rob

    Yeah, about that “status update” feature that CE has…I haven’t found it to be the best or accurate in terms of tracking the development or shipping of my CIEMs. In fact a lot of the status updates they use don’t match up with the status update key/explanations they provide on their site.
    I get that it’s really a bonus, and not many companies do it, but if you gong to offer it, please follow through. Also if folks are spending a few hundred bucked on ear phones, why wouldn’t this just be a standard offering instead if having to ask for it?
    To be fair, email communication has been good, but not great. If they upped their customer communication in these areas i think it would benefit them greatly.

    • Reply July 4, 2014

      L.

      I can see what you mean. I never had any issues with communicating with CE. I agree the online tracking could be better implemented. Don’t forget it’s a small company, I’m sure they’ll improve

  • Reply November 23, 2014

    Dave Ulrich

    Is the CE6E clean sounding or is it on the grainy side?

    • Reply November 23, 2014

      Headfonia_L.

      grainy sounding BAs Dave? Sure there is a difference between the calrity of the different brands of CIEMs but I would never call them grainy.

      Is that what you are looking for?

      • Reply November 23, 2014

        Dave Ulrich

        I have never head any BAs before, didn’t figure they would be, so I thought I would ask. Geez, snap at me why don’t you 😉 I can hear the CE6E calling my name.

        • Reply November 23, 2014

          Headfonia_L.

          Ba’s are like the Orthos so to say. The CE6P is very goo, I don’t think he makes the CE6E anymore. THere will be a CE10P soon. The CE4P is really good too

          • Reply November 23, 2014

            Dave Ulrich

            The CE6E is still listed in their shop. Is the difference between the P and E simply bass body?

            • Reply November 23, 2014

              Headfonia_L.

              Mostly yes. the P is more refined, for my CE4 I chose the P.

              • Reply November 23, 2014

                Dave Ulrich

                Then maybe I give the CE6P a shot once the holiday season is over

              • Reply November 23, 2014

                Dave Ulrich

                Back in fan mode, I should ask, how does the CE6P fair against the V6?

                • Reply November 24, 2014

                  Headfonia_L.

                  The reviewed 4 was the BA4F (more bass). I did hear the new CE4P and that was very good and more linear. The bass is very good but there’s no extra bass presence

                  The V6s is very clear sounding, tight. another big difference is that the CE mids have more body than the V6S

                  • Reply November 27, 2014

                    Dave Ulrich

                    Thanks L. I was just worried since you said that the bass body was very much in line with the other frequencies on the BA4F that the P version wouldn’t have enough bass body.

                    • November 28, 2014

                      Headfonia_L.

                      Most people find the P version to have enough bass body, it’s just if you want that bit more, you can go for the E

                    • November 29, 2014

                      Dave Ulrich

                      It doesn’t look like they sell the E version anymore.

                    • November 29, 2014

                      Headfonia_L.

                      They do on demand, CE offered it to someone on Headfi just this week

                    • November 30, 2014

                      Dave Ulrich

                      Ok, in summery: The CE4P has slightly less bass body than the CE4E, but is a bit more refined as well, with equal impact. The same applies to the difference between the CE6P and CE6E. Between the CE4P and CE6P, the 6P has more body in the mids.

                    • November 30, 2014

                      Headfonia_L.

                      and bass

  • Reply January 2, 2015

    Vasilis Rapanakis

    I have had my CE6P for a little while now and I absolutely love them. I have to say that I can’t get enough of listening to them really a bit of a revelation when compared to anything else I have heard before.

    I was planning on getting a DAP to drive them as I currently have only my iPhone 6 and my MBA but given that most of my listening is still done through Spotify – and maybe Tidal in the near future – I can’t get away from those two sources.

    Is there a good USB DAC/AMP you would recommend for the CE6P that I can pair them with?

    • Reply January 2, 2015

      Headfonia_L.

      very low budget: E10K
      Low budget: C5D
      High budget: Meridian Prime

      Or you can get a DAP than works as a usb DAc too, like the DX50/90, X3, AK120ii, etc

      • Reply January 2, 2015

        Vasilis Rapanakis

        Thanks, sorry to bother again but are there any other options? Not very keen on the E10K and it is near impossible to find the C5D in the UK (or maybe I am not searching at the right places? The meridian is both not very portable and over budget 🙂

        Do any of the ALO DAC/Amps play ok with iPhones/Macs

  • Reply December 27, 2016

    Rick

    Great review,

    I was considering both IEM’s. So this review is extremely helpful. I now feel confident to go for Cosmic Ears! One thing that I want to add to this review is that the CE website is horrible at this moment in time. 1964 does a far better job at their online IEM designer.

    Thanks again for your review!

  • Reply August 14, 2018

    Jin

    Hi L,

    While playing song, do you hear some noise? I dont know if the CE6P is too sensitive or mine is defect. BTW I connect to Chord mojo, when I connect me SE535 with it, there is no such noise.

    Best

    • Reply August 14, 2018

      Jin

      The noise I mean is that the background is not dead silent.

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