CypherLabs C6IEM: A Home Run

Treble is ok but it isn’t the monitor’s strong point . It could be more extended but I have a feeling that in, on this monitor, might make the less stellar recordings sound a bit sibilant. For a triple driver design I find the treble to be acceptable though. As mentioned before, there’s more extension here than in some 6 drivers. Of course the number of drivers isn’t everything and the tuning certainly is equally, if not even more important. Treble isn’t bright or sharp: it’s more in line with all the rest and this probably is a softer treble tuning everyone can enjoy. For a number of you the treble won’t be extended enough and I advise getting a silver cable to improve treble focus and extension.

The mids on the C6IEM are gorgeous. I always like Cypherlabs’ mids and it’s no different this time: great clarity, just the right amount of air and good detail. Like I said the mids make this monitor a little more forward sounding but there’s nothing wrong with that. I love how the voices are delivered and everything just blends in with the bass.

I was talking to Mike earlier today (yes he still lives) and he told me he absolutely loves the C6IEM. He described them in a few words: Dark bassy but clear – In a way like Audeze. He even prefers the C6IEM over the Roxanne, SE846 and the IE800. We all know Mike can really love a product and it’s clear the 6CIEM is a new favorite of him. His new daily driver.

The Meh, as Nathan calls it

While the C6IEM clearly is a great sounding monitor I do see a few things that could have been better or different.

First of all there’s the fit. A universal monitor of this size simply won’t fit everyone’s ears and that’s a shame. With all the technology available nowadays, each and every universal IEM in my opinion should fit the smallest to biggest ears perfectly. Unfortunately that isn’t the case in our audio world but I do hope to see an improvement there. That goes for all IEM companies and not just for CypherLabs though.

Second, I feel its price might be an issue. That’s a very personal thing of course but the C6IEM goes for $599 and while I can’t deny you get a very well built monitor and very good sound in return, I can’t keep but feeling it’s a little pricey. Nowadays you can already get 4-driver custom built monitors for under $500 and 3-driver competitors like in example the Westone W30 are a bit cheaper. At the same time Mike thinks the price is exactly right. He agrees the price is in customs territory but the C6IEM gives you great sound as well and you don’t have the hassle with impressions, fit issues, etc. He’s a big fan.

Third, the treble. While it is ok, most people probably expect more out of it, so be warned. An after-market cable could be the right solution for you.

Pairings

DX90: The DX90 makes the C6IEM a bit warmer sounding and adds a little bass. These of course are the characteristics of the DX90 DAP.

DX90 + Picollo: A little warmer sounding than the DX90 alone and a more bodied sound. Bass impact is bigger than without the Picollo yet it still is in line and not exaggerated. Listeners who don’t like bigger bass might feel it’s too much here.

iPod + CLAS SOLO + Duet: This setup delivers a lot of detail with great clarity and speed. Excellent bass (better quality than on the piccolo).

Fiio E12A (IEM version): Gorgeous mids but with the bass boost on you get even more bass as with the Piccolo. It’s a bit much compared to the mids and the C6IEM loses a bit of that great linearity. Without Bass Boost the monitor performs very well as the E12A’s mids are very musical. The E12A is a good amp but it’s missing the finesse and timbre of the higher end amps like the Duet and Picollo.

AK240: A reference sound. Very linear tuning, great detail, tight sound. This combo has the least bass but the best detail, sound stage, clarity,…

Conclusion

It certainly isn’t the bass monster the advertising makes you think it is, there’s definitely more quality than quantity here. Cypherlabs has created a very good first inear monitor and they can be very proud of it. Sound wise, there is nothing to complain about and I love every single bit of it. I’m convinced the reference tuning will be greatly appreciated by a whole lot of you.

I do wish the C6IEM was a bit smaller size wise but I’m sure the normal ear having listener won’t have anything to complain about. Small ear people, be warned though. The C6IEM can be bought directly from Cypherlabs or via their dealer network. They’re now also offering a combo pack with the Picollo for $899 where you get a $100 discount.

As I explained in the disclaimer, Nathan will be doing a follow up review in a few weeks. If my review hasn’t convinced you yet I’m sure his review will. I have a feeling he’ll love it just as much as me.

 

Nathan’s review is now on the next page!

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

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.

24 Comments

  • Reply January 20, 2015

    George Lai

    Here’s a thought. Cypher Labs should have an arrangement with a CIEM maker for those who like the C6IEM sound but would prefer a customs. The savings from not putting the BAs into a universal shell would go towards making the custom shell.

    • Reply January 20, 2015

      Headfonia_L.

      Good idea, but in practise not as easy. it’s not easy to get the same sound in a different shell

      • Reply January 20, 2015

        George Lai

        True but it will give an option as well as give Cypher Labs a USP.

  • Reply January 21, 2015

    Darryn Harly Septalingga

    how C6IEM sounds compared to earsonics SM64?

  • Reply January 21, 2015

    Atmaka

    This review came just in time, thanks!

    “All was developed and made in the US of A”

    Somehow the product page on the official website only said “Designed in Oregon, USA” I wonder if they really made it in USA. However, I had a very brief audition with C6iem today. Interesting, but it only has 20 hours break in period so I guess it hasn’t show it’s full potential yet. How do you compare this to Inear StageDiver 2 or 3?

    • Reply January 21, 2015

      Headfonia_L.

      That’s a very good link you made with the SD2 and S3. I find the C6IEM to be a mix of both.

      The SD2 has great detail and clarity but misses musicality and a little bass. the SD3 had a bit too much bass and body.

      The C6IEM is like the perfect mix of both. Good catch!

      • Reply January 21, 2015

        Atmaka

        Cool. Thanks a lot for your response. It is priced right in the middle of SD2 and SD3.

      • Reply January 28, 2015

        Atmaka

        Just had a chance to try C6IEM again yesterday, comparing with InEar SD2 and FitEar ToGo! 334, listening to Isn’t She Lovely by Livingston Taylor and Spanish Harlem by Rebecca Pidgeon.

        It turns out to be a bit too dark for me 🙁 Too bad because I really like the build quality, design (I’m a sucker for carbon fiber), and how it fits into my ear (on par with SD2), really comfortable, much more comfortable than 334.

  • Reply January 21, 2015

    Eu Jin

    Really Interested in getting it through massdrop now. How does it sound compared to the HD25-1 II and NAD VISO HP50? If Mike likes it over the Roxannes that should be a good indicator. How does it sound with the Calyx M? God so many unanswered questions. Nathan could you please release the review ASAP so we can get with massdrop =D

    • Reply January 22, 2015

      Headfonia_L.

      My C6IEM is in the mail too him, might take a week or 2, so massdrop will be over.
      I don’t think you can compare iems to full sized headphones and certainly not the HP50.

    • Reply January 22, 2015

      ohm image

      Eu Jin: I’ll have it in a week or so. The Calyx M wasn’t mine. It was loaned by Sean Chan. If/when we meet again, I’ll try it out.

  • Reply January 22, 2015

    George Lai

    Did anyone buy at full retail before the Massdrop offer? They can’t be happy campers.

    • Reply January 22, 2015

      Headfonia_L.

      I see and understand your point, I wouldn’t be happy either. Then again, it’s only 20 units

    • Reply January 22, 2015

      ohm image

      Still, that is sort of a dick move.

  • Reply January 29, 2015

    Nickjan Glas

    very interesting, especially the part of getting good sound iem without all the hazzle of custom made. I am curious also to nathan’s review, as he was very enthusiastic about the grado gr10. which seem to have some similar characterics based on how I read the reviews.

    • Reply March 24, 2016

      ohm image

      Very different sound. GR10 is clearer with a somewhat compressed upper midrange. This is thicker, poundier, and a lot less sparkly.

  • Reply February 23, 2015

    Dlirium

    Pretty clear that the review here left a few important details about the CL’s out. Anyone considering purchasing them should read the comments here: http://www.head-fi.org/t/747007/cypher-labs-c6iem before committing.

    • Reply February 24, 2015

      Headfonia_L.

      You’re just not reading it correctly. Bass depends on your preference, tips used and your ear shape/fit. I personally wouldn’t call the bass exaggerated and everyone else I talked to doesn’t find that either. Another problem SOME people on Headfi have is about the treble. The review says the treble could be better, that’s no secret with these but again, that’s personal preference. The price/quality ratio for this one isn’t the best, but that was also covered in the review. So what’s your point again?

      I don’t get it when people don’t read everything but then complain when it doesn’t sound the way they had hoped it to sound. To me the C6 really is a home run, it’s that simple and it’s only logic it isn’t a home run for people with different tastes. That’s how it works in audio. With 19 posts in only one thread and not even one month of posting on Headfi, you, no offence, don’t seem to be the most experienced listener. Then again, post count doesn’t say everything and some “new” people really make sense and have valid points. I however doubt this is the case here.

      • Reply February 24, 2015

        dalethorn

        I get that a lot too – I have no problem reviewing an item with flaws, or as Gordon Gekko said in the Wall Street film “I don’t mind getting a dog but I’d just like to get one with fewer fleas”. Seems to me if the fleas or flaws are pointed out, then users who might want it anyway can choose more carefully.

  • Reply February 25, 2015

    alan tan

    got mine quite a while ago, and most of us here who got it suggests silver cable, so do you owners here think the same? I’m using 1 copper cable from plussound audio and seems good enough, I think the C6iem sounds not satisfying with the original cable, and the response from CL is “custom cable is coming”, well, yet another anticipation

  • Reply August 20, 2015

    Rico Cheng

    Try the C6iem with Samsung Note 4, its so good…

  • Reply November 24, 2015

    Deskolim Cheong

    How to compare with sm64 v2?

    • Reply March 24, 2016

      ohm image

      Completely different sound: SM64 V2 is sparklier up top, with a less full midrange.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.