When First Harmonic sent me their IEB6, I knew nothing about this product, let it be the technical specification and the selling price etc, so I open the packaging of it and look at the IEB6, it is a very, I mean VERY compact IEM, the built quality and the looks is very good, it is really tiny in my hand, when I swap the medium size ear tip and to my surprised the IEM is actually smaller than the eartip, the last time I reviewed such a small IEM is the Yamaha EPH-100, It is not difficult for me to tell that the IEB is using some kind of micro dynamic driver, and the fact it is, it is using a very tiny 5.5mm mini-driver inside the enclosure. When I plugged it into the Soundaware Esther M1 Analog edition, I decided to write a review for it.
First Harmonic IEB6 (49.99USD at Amazon)
Like I said, the audio quality is very good and I search the internet and really surprised that it just sell for 49.99USD (Now selling at 39USD). The sound quality is definitely not perfect, but it give a lot at just 49USD. First of all, it is quite solid and the cable is quite thick too, the cable itself still exhibit noise especially the microphonic issue is severe too, but I can accept this as First Harmonic provide a shirt clip to you to minimize the noise. It is quite comfortable in ear because it is so light, I think it will hardly cause discomfort even under long hour of usage, insertion is secure too.
Passive noise isolation works very well, you can hardly listen when somebody just talk beside you (music playing at moderate volume level), it is very easy to drive too, and you definitely can drive it to crazy volume level even with the iPhone. The built in Mic come in handy when you need one, the blue colour scheme in my opinion looks better in real life, at least better than in the picture. The given storage pouch is very good and high quality, the shirt clip and 5 sets of different size silicon tips get you covered too.
I have paired First Harmonic IEB6 with Soundaware Esther M1 Analog Version, JDS Labs The Element and iFi Audio iDSD Nano
IEB6 is a fast and clean sounding IEm, this doesn’t mean that it is lacking bass, the bass is in fact quite fast and active at the low, but the depth and impact of it is not there to par with the bigger driver IEM. It is quite an open sounding IEM, has an open midrange that is quite nice to my ear, those who like lush/full body vocal should look elsewhere though, it is not thin sounding to be fair, it sounded quite effortless.
The vocalist such as Emi Fujita cause some sibilance to IEB6, it is not a smooth presentation. I played some female vocalist to justify the problem, the sibilant issue persist but luckily it is way better, it is not very hot, but it is there and you will definitely noticed there is more sibilant than some of the competitors out there, the problem is, in my opinion, the sound is not weighty enough.
In return, what you get is an open and clear presentation, there is no veiled here and honestly, the transparency is quite good, there is no warm sound, I can see First Harmonic is actually giving more attention on mid and upper mid frequency here, it is not really a bad thing, some listeners will actually prefer this kind of clear sounding, if you are moving up from let say an Apple Earpod, you will definitely appreciate how clear the sound is and how good is IEB6. I played 24 bit 96kHz of Duke Ellington (Blues in Orbit) and I am quite impressed, the treble energy is ample to keep your ears open, the detail in the organ is well preserve. The bass you ask? When the drum hits, you will know it, but to be fair it is not that type of weighty and deep bass, but it is there, if you don’t care for the bass quality, the quantity can actually satisfied you, without hurting any frequencies other than low frequency, the bass is not lacking and it is quite clean here.
IEB6 has got the soundstage checked too, it is quite big, in IEM just don’t expect miracle, but it is not close sounding so you really won’t be disappointed here, you won’t get fatigue by closed and small soundstage even if you listen to it longer than usual. For the price it is quite a significant upgrade from the supplied earbud and Apple Earpod, the youngster will love how it sounded, as long as they are not hardcore Bass head.
How good is this IEB6 and is it worth a buy? I will say if you are thinking to buy a gift to your friend/son, get the IEB6. First of all, it looks really good and the included accessories is handful. Then, the sound quality is quite good too, true, it can’t really satisfied the audiophile like me, but for the entry level IEM, IEB6 done quite good and I will say worth the price. It is easy to drive and easy on the wallet too, it is a good introduction to newbie what is a good sound, but then for the audiophile that willing to spend more for the sound quality, there are some better choices at higher price for sure. I recommended this IEM, especially if you appreciate clear sound and just into this game/field!