Earsonics S-EM6 Crystal Limited Edition – Review
What is it with the French wanting us to see the insides of things? The Pompidou Centre is all very well, but anyone wanting to fix the air conditioning needs a good head for heights. The Eiffel Tower, although a good effort, could do with a spot of rendering. Some nice Spanish arches and stone cladding would look a treat. And that glass pyramid – what self-respecting Pharaoh would be seen dead in that?
However, if I’d managed to squeeze 6 speakers into a package which fits into the bowl of my ear, maybe I would want to show it off too. Steve took these transparent treats home for a weekend, but do they sound as good as they look?
The Earsonics S-EM6 comes in a neat little briefcase-type box, but don’t be tempted to assume that these are for the conservative bowler-hatted commuter. These are a little more rock ‘n roll than that!
When I put the E-SM6s in, I was struck by the size compared to what I’m used to – usually 2 BAs are enough, and the housing for this half-dozen did seem relatively bulky. However once in place, they were as unobtrusive as any in-ear, apart of course from the isolation they offered. I live with a very noisy pet, and enjoyed the isolation aspect to the full. With audio coming through it’s very easy to ignore everything else.
One thing I will say is that these are not for the bass-shy. I popped them on and listened through my E12 which is relatively cool-sounding. My first thought was ‘now let’s try it with the bass boost off’ – but it was already off. Most of the time this wasn’t such a problem; the bass doesn’t get in the way of anything else in particular, and only a few tracks offered a problem when it came to bass.
I decided to capitalise on this and tried some rap and dance msuic. The S-EM6s gave some excellent sub-bass and seemed to suit these genres well. Separation and space is amazing. I’m sitting in the office dancing in my chair as I try to type. The midrange reminds me of the Final Audio Pianoforte X I tried a few months ago; amazingly real and engaging, with a very real sense of the space in which the presentation is contained. Detail is superb, and placement is as good as anything I’ve heard from an in-ear.
Classical music is very involving as well as more jazzy soundtracks. As I type, I’m enjoying the slowly building tension in Lalo Schifrin’s ‘Shifting Gears’ from the Bullitt soundtrack. The bass is of a very low frequency in this track (an alternative version, track 25 on the CD) – but quite voluminous. It threatens to detract from the other instruments but doesn’t quite. Bass boost is not an option here either.
I have found that tracks like this are in the minority however, most well produced music will not offer a problem. But if you hate bass, avoid the S-EM6!
There is a bit of a top-end roll off as well, but this is a problem for all of 10 seconds. The mids and high mids are so real-sounding, any desire to have the higher frequencies boosted just gets forgotten. I’m now listening to ‘Beat It’ by Michael Jackson – just before Van Halen’s guitar solo there’s a knocking sound. I knew it was there, but it scared the life out of me!