Disclaimer: Cypher Labs loaned or gave the C6iem V2 for the purposes of this review, which is now ingloriously late. The C6iem V2 goes for 599$ USD. You can find out all about it here.
A year to a week from the day I published a small blurb about the C6iem, I’m penning this essay, about its successor. V2 is in every way I can remember (I borrowed the V1 from Lieven) a V1:
Same carbon fibre under armour
Same sturdy cables
Just as sensitive
Same number of drivers and crossover network
Which means that Cypher Labs C6IEM V2 is big. It’s FitEar ToGo!334 big, or takes up twice the volume of a Shure SE846. Unlike the Shure, however, its cables are slimmer, less energetic, less prone to flip around, or knock against your glasses. The longish memory wire keeps them fed behind your ears, which works pretty well for spec wearers. As you know, I’m not a fan of memory wire, but this one isn’t bad. I’d not purposely replace it with something else. It’s that okay.
Basically everything else is the same.
In fact, let me cut and paste what Lieven and I said from the C6IEM V1 review:
The Cypherlabs C6IEM is a triple driver universal fit earphone that uses balanced armatures. BA’s are as popular as ever and it was logic to see CypherLabs going this route. You get one driver for the low, one for the mids and one for the highs: pretty much the only possible combo for a 3-way configuration. All was developed and made in the US of A.
As you can see in the pictures, the C6IEM is a universal fit earphone. Unlike in example the German Inear, these aren’t really based on the shape of your ear. They don’t follow any contours inside your ear and people with small ears like me will have the monitor sticking out quite a bit. The 3D- printed C6IEM is fairly big for us little eared people, certainly for only 3 drivers on each side and it kind of makes you look like an ass when you have small ears like me. With the smallest tips, I admit, they fit quite well. Yet I wish they would have been a bit smaller as I’m sure I’m not the only one with small ears. You can get a good idea of their size looking at the pictures. The monitor’s look is ultra cool chrome on carbon fiber. They’re pretty and I’m convinced most of you will agree to that. I like the CL house style and they designed this one just right again.
Each Cypher Labs C6IEM comes with a bunch of accessories like a carrying case, a soft carrying pouch, a cleaning tool, a cable management system, a 3.5 to 6.3mm adapter and lots of tips: 3 pairs each (S/M/L) of silicone, soft foam and dense foam. I’m not a fan of foam tips and I found the smallest silicone ones to fit me perfectly.
The 10gr monitor has an Impedance of 36.2ohm@1kHz and the cable used is a standard over the ear cable with memory wire. It uses the stock two pin connectors and the connectors on the monitor are recessed. That means you can use a lot of after market cables if you would want to. Impressions in this review however are based on the stock cable, as the monitor sounded just fine with it.
Carbon fibre back plate or no, the C6iem is a striking earphone. It’s part Formula 1, part prototype, part FitEar tribute. Its metal sound-bore cap fits well. Its glue, its edges, it finish: all bespoke. The countersunk cable jacks will keep your wires stable. That’s good.
I have niggles about the serial number and the box and stuff. This 599$ earphone would look better if its serial number was engraved and/or paint-filled. Or simply printed by a handier piece of equipment. The box is a bit simple, and the stuff inside is just crammed in, in self-sealing plastic blisters.
The tie-dyed advertising photography doesn’t do the real thing any favours. I’ll say it again: carbon fibre or no, the C6iem is a striking earphone. And I assume they look great next to the Picollo.
And Cypher Labs, when you want it to look striking for your customers, Bankroll me.
I turns out that I didn’t say much about its fit. It sticks way out of my ears, but, because of gentle angles, doesn’t hurt, nor fatigue my ears. It sits more sturdy in my ears than the FitEar ToGo!334, and should be steady enough for running or working out. But because it is so large, you won’t sleep on your side with this bad boy.
Either it uses older, larger, drivers, or it’s just designed for the Cadillac crowd. Your mileage may vary.
What I’d like to see in V3
Smaller body. That’s it. The sound works well for people that like neutral dark. The cables are decent. The box and all that – not bad. And maybe it’s the wannabe techie in me squinting, but the C6IEM is a big three driver earphone. I’d like to know if the same sound could be achieved using a compact design.
And even if Cypher Labs don’t trim down the next iteration, the C6IEM fits sturdy, and isn’t uncomfortable.
I should add: that if and when V3 comes out, if I have to review it vis-a-vis the V2 based on memory, I’m going to fail. At some point, one of these has to stay at our offices.
Sound and more after the jump: