vs FiR Audio M5
The M5 is FiR’s previous flagship. It’s a five driver hybrid design, that uses a single dynamic low end driver, three BA’s for mids and highs and an electrostatic tweeter. So, a very similar construction to the Xe6 with the exception of the additional BA bass driver.
Their sound is quite different in my opinion though. The M5 is a lot more exciting and does have a higher tendency of being V-shaped in its signature. The Xe6’s mids feature a warmer and more organic sound, while the M5 to me is dryer and grainier. On the M5 instruments and especially vocals are edgier and not as smooth as on the Xe6.
The M5 to me offers more excitement in the lows and treble. It has the bite that I am missing in the Xe6, but it doesn’t give me the same level of musical enjoyment that the Xenon manages to deliver.
Both of them pull off this unique flavor of imaging and positioning where musicians have their own ground. The Xe6 however does have the upper hand when it comes to staging and dimensions. It is also a bit better in resolution and detailing.
vs Vision Ears Phönix
The Phönix is one of the very rare all BA flagships that has been launched in the recent past. With 13 Balanced Armatures it doesn’t make use of either dynamic drivers or electrostats. Which is highly uncommon these days, where companies are even pushing quad-hybrids.
Both of these monitors share some slight similarities, while being quite different in other areas. The lows for example are out of comparison really. The Xe6 truly steals the show here with a more organic, thunderous and bigger bass with better extension. All that being as the Phönix is limited by its use of Balanced Armatures, which just can’t offer the same experience as a dynamic driver due to physical limitations.
The mids of both are actually more alike than one might think. Both have a nicely smooth presentation, with the Xe6 being a bit heavier on the hips and fuller in general. The Phönix comes off as the more transparent or more resolved one to me. Also due to its remarkably higher level of details and precision.
Treble has a more natural sound on the Phönix to me, where cymbals, violas and female vocals just sound richer and a touch softer. The Phönix also provides a bit more air in the mids that makes them more agile and lighter.
The stage of the Vision Ears’ monitor goes wider and a bit higher in dimension, while the Xe6 to me appears deeper with better layering. Resolution and details are two sections where the Phönix comes out as winner, but when it comes to imaging and portrayal it’s the Xe6’s unique character that again is undefeated.
FiR Audio’s new lineup of In Ears has created many waves in the recent weeks and months. I have been very curious to find out what all the fuzz has been about. The Xe6 offers a very nice and smooth sound, with lots of drive and low end that leaves nothing to desire. It’s standout feature with the Kinetic Bass is something that really sets it apart from the rest.
The Xenon 6 is an excellent all day listening monitor, that sets its focus on enjoyment and pleasure. With the option to even change the sound with the supplied Atom modules from warm to neutralish to bass intense, it shouldn’t leave anything open to desire.
There’s a massive elephant in the room though. At 3,900$ the Xenon 6 is far from cheap or being affordable, even if we might just have seen an 8,000 USD model being launched from a Chinese company. If that’s where the market is headed, I am out.
I would still recommend the Xe6 as one of today’s best monitors, especially for people who want something different in their repertoire.