Even though Sennheiser makes one of my favorite headphones of all time, I’ve never really been super enthusiastic about their earphones. They make some decent earphones, don’t get me wrong, but I’ve never really loved one of the Sennheiser IMS until now, and in this review, we’re going to talk about exactly why.
Buy on Amazon: Sennheiser IE 600
Sennheiser IE 600 is not a cheap IM, and it is a $700 earphone, which is definitely on the high end of what I typically review. But it’s definitely not the most expensive IM out there. Some IMs cost a thousand, and I’ve heard an IM cost over $6,000.
Frankly, it is kind of hard to really recommend one of those to most people. I mean, if you’ve got the money, go for it, but a lot of that stuff, frankly, I find pretty difficult to recommend to most people; the Sennheiser IE 600, though, I really like and recommend.
Sennheiser IE 600 within reach $700, and again don’t get me wrong. That’s expensive, and that’s a lot of money to spend, but I think for many people, it’s worth considering putting this.
What’s in the Box Sennheiser IE 600
Even though I’m very enthusiastic about this earphone, I have some complaints which we’ll get into. But first, let’s talk about what comes inside the box. So for the packaging for the Sennheiser IE 600, nothing crazy and pretty standard packaging for an IM you do get well. But, frankly, the accessories package is a little on the light side.
It also comes with a little hard carry case or semi-hard carry case, which is pretty decent because size-wise, it is not too large and hard enough to protect your IMS, but nothing fancy there. They also give you one of the ear cleaners or earpiece cleaners. I’m not going to write too much about how to use that.
There’s also a shirt clip, which I would never use. But I’m not that person, and then there is a set of ear tips and a second cable. We’ll talk about this cable a little more in detail, but it is worth calling out right now that the IE 600 is quite similar to IE 900, which comes with both a 3.5-millimeter and an optional 4.4-millimeter cable. So, the trend with many companies is to include swappable tips; but Sennheiser provides an entirely separate cable.
Earbud Tips for Sennheiser IE 600
This is my first, probably my biggest complaint: Sennheiser needs to consider the earbud tips they provided. The ear tips are garbage, in my opinion. There are actually two different styles of ear tips; silicone ear tips and foam ear tips.
The foam ear tips are fine performing tips, while the silicone ear tips are, frankly, pretty unacceptable, especially on a $700 earphone. These are amongst the most. Uh, unusable ear tips I’ve ever used. So the real problem with these things is that silicone walls are really thin.
That means every time I put the earphones in my ear, there’s a 50 to 60% chance that the thin silicone walls kind of collapse so that I don’t get a seal, and then the sound is, is not correct. So getting a good deal on these things with the silicone ear tips requires refitting repeatedly, and it is just super annoying.
I think it is pretty insane that Sennheiser is still using those. But, again, we’ll talk about the ear tips more in detail when we start talking about the sound. I will say that the ear tips you are provided do have something to do with the tuning.
There is a little bit of foam stuffed inside the ear tips nozzle, both on the foam ear tips and the silicone ear tips. So, unfortunately, I swapped over to Moondrop, and spring tips are my favorite ear tips.
We’ll talk a little bit more about the sound, but because these ear tips are so bad and have some tuning, it’s going to take a little work to find the right ear tip pairing, and I think that is a very fair warning to go in with, especially when you’re spending $700 on earphones.
The Cable for Sennheiser IE 600
I think the cable’s pretty lovely, and it’s the same cable you’ve got on the Sennheiser IE 300. Unfortunately, it’s also the cable they put on their much more expensive Sennheiser IE 900. I think it’s a nice, thin and light cable and I like that. It does remind me of the Moondrop SSR cable, which is amongst my favorites, but it’s different in a couple of ways that I find a little bit annoying.
I found it to be more microphonic than most cables, and I think a significant part of that has to do with the ear hooks.
Ear Hooks Sennheiser IE 600
It may or may not be obvious, but Sennheiser IE 600 come with multiple ear hooks. They are entirely moldable, so you can get a bit more secure of a fit on your ear, but I’m not a big fan of it. I don’t particularly appreciate having to mold the ear hooks every time I fit the earphones on my ear. Now the bright side is versus some other multiple ear hook cables; they hold their position much better than most.
So, I actually don’t mind them too much, but I find that because they are a bit on the stiff side, you can notice this. So, um, I think that’s contributing to the microphonic qualities of the cable. The other thing, while we’re nit-picking, this cable that I think is worth calling out is that it is technically an MMC X cable, but for some reason, Sennheiser decided to go with a nonstandard implementation. So, it is an MMC X cable, but again, this is probably too small to really come across. But there’s a bit of a groove, meaning this port fits in a little deeper than your average MMC X cable.
That means most MMC X cables will not be compatible with the Sennheiser IE 600. Unfortunately, I could not find a single MMC X cable in my collection that would work with this. So, if you’re going to buy a new cable for this earphone, you’ll probably have to buy one from Sennheiser or find a niche seller selling them specifically for the Sennheiser IE 600.
Sennheiser IE 600 Earpiece Design
I said I was done complaining about the ear tips, and there’s a little bit of complaining there about the cable but let’s talk about the earpiece themselves, which I frigging love for several reasons. First, I think just aesthetically, Sennheiser IE 600 are really cool looking. I think Sennheiser described this as a 3d printed metal material. I think it looks great, and it’s got an interesting texture. It almost looks like a pewter sort of build, but it is a metal shell.
Sennheiser IE 600 got a bit of weight, but it’s still pretty small. So frankly, these are still pretty lightweight, but I think they look beautiful, unlike any other I’ve seen. The general shape and size of it are totally different from other earphones. I believe the material choice here is pretty special looking, and at least I’m a big fan of it.
There’s the Sennheiser IE 900, their more expensive model that looks like a machine aluminum design, with some cool markings. But I actually think Sennheiser IE 600 looks better and looks like a very mature-looking earphone.
Sennheiser IE 600 Ergonomic
Apart from the aesthetics, its ergonomics are also outstanding, especially for a dynamic driver earphone. Unfortunately, this kind of earphone does not do as well as the custom-moulded style designs, which you’ll see with hybrids and all BA sets.
Let me give you a visual explanation to show how small the Sennheiser IE 600 is inside my ear. It’s super tiny, and I can see that it fits past my tragus, which means that the little part of the earphone is working to hold it into place and because of that, I find this earphone just very comfortable and very secure.
The only caveat is that with this bendable ear hook, I sometimes have to fit it into my ear and then come back and re-mold it behind my ear, but it is a minor complaint. I am generally pleased with the ergonomics of the Sennheiser IE 600.
And again, the aesthetic, the fit, the comfort, I think quite a lot to like about this earphone, assuming you can get past the awful and unforgivable ear tips that Sennheiser included.
Sound Isolation on Sennheiser IE 600
Another thing worth calling out is the isolation on the Sennheiser IE 600 for people who really care about sound isolation. I would say it’s a little bit below average, but it’s not bad. It’s not like the best sound isolation, partly because it is a small earphone. I imagine that contributes to the underperforming sound isolation, but for me, that’s not a big priority, and I know it is crucial for some people.
Sennheiser IE 600 as a Sleeping Earphone
The last little to talk about the physical stuff is that because it’s so tiny and comfortable, it’s also a perfect sleeping earphone.
Suppose you’re looking for an IM to sleep with. The Sennheiser IE 600 is pretty good for that. I’ve slept many nights since I’ve had this thing.
Sound Signature for Sennheiser IE 600
Let’s talk about the general sound signature, and then we’ll talk about what I like and don’t like on the Sennheiser IE 600. So, I’ll try to describe this as neutral as possible. So, I would describe the general sound signature here on the Sennheiser IE 600 as a contrasty V-shaped sound signature.
However, it still has a very natural tonality to the midrange in vocals. So, I use the term V-shaped sound signature because it has a bass and treble emphasis in the midrange. I don’t know if you were being generous; you could call it a U-shaped sound signature.
It’s not a term I typically use; that’s why I will go ahead and stick with V-shaped. But I think this is a very tastefully done V-shaped sound signature, slightly downward sloping, and gives it a bit of a dark sense, but it’s also bright. So, the visual analogy that was coming to mind as I was trying to describe this sound is kind of like high contrast, black and white image.
So, you think of a high-contrast black and white image. It’s like it comes across a little bit dark, but it’s got that high contrast brightness to it, and that’s the visual analogy that makes the most sense with this earphone.
I would say let’s revise back to the midrange. This sound signature is not a midrange focus sound, but the midrange here is well-tuned. I think vocals have an appropriate level of forwardness to them. They’re not significantly forward, but they’ve got an appropriate forwardness to them, which is a bit of a standout versus some other earphones and IMS, which I find a bit muted in the vocal region.
Vocals here are really well done as there’s no nasal quality or hokiness to them that you might get from a typical V-shaped sound signature. So, all of the things that you might worry about in terms of vocal tonality and stuff like that are not a concern here on the Sennheiser IE 600, but there is enough bass on the upper side that I wouldn’t call this mid-range tune.
The bass here on the Sennheiser IE 600 is primarily sub-bass focused, but I would say it’s not anemic in the mid-bass in that a Harman neutral bass curve might be where it is sub-bass focused especially carved out in the lower midrange. Unfortunately, you don’t get that here, as there is a bit of a mid-bass wall in the sound.
And then the treble on this is fair to say it’s a tad on the spicy side, especially in the mid-travel region. However, the treble is well extended, especially for a single dynamic driver earphone. So again, I tried to keep this review neutral, but it is pretty impressive, frankly, how well this thing is extended for an active driver, and I would also say that’s the general tonality.
So, I guess we can go ahead and talk about what I like about the sound here on the Sennheiser IE 600 and maybe I should start with the things I wouldn’t say I like because there’s not that much, but we’ll keep to the format.
Sennheiser IE 600 Pros
What do I like about the sound? I think, just generally, this is an exceedingly satisfying sound—a lot of it by just being intensely visceral in a lot of ways. So tonally, it’s not necessarily my preference because my preference tends to be for a mid-range focus tune. This is not precisely that, but I think the tuning here is still excellent.
I think this works for almost all of my music which is what I want. But beyond that, the technical performance keeps this thing engaging. That word visceral does come to mind like there’s just an incredible sense of texture, incisiveness, and punch from bottom to top on this thing. I think it’s really impressive.
So, let’s say even just talking about the mid-range, which is not the focus here, I think you still get a pretty excellent sense of micro-contrast which gives you that sense of texture in things like vocals, nuances and vocal timbre come through really well. If you’ve got vocals that are a little gravelly, breathy, quivering or those kinds of like micro details come across really well here on the Sennheiser IE 600.
And then the bass is, I think, phenomenal. I think it’s fair to say this is my favorite bass that I have in any earphone. As I mentioned above, it is sub-bass focused, so you get an excellent sense of rumble that gives a perfect satisfying sense of depth. In addition, it’s very well delineated, which means it’s not like smearing up the midrange or anything like that.
The bass feels like its own distinct thing and is well layered. So even though it is a sub-bass-focused tune, like I mentioned, when I was talking about the tonality, it’s not like anemic in the mid-bass as you do still get a bit of mid-bass in there to give just enough to give it a sense of body to give it that sense of wall up and punch that.
I think the mid-bass does give most music a sense of physicality, whereas the more anemic tuned sub-bass focused things. I’m struggling to come up with examples right now. We’ll talk about it later, but I find some of the more Harman tune stuff to be a little bit lackluster with a lot of music because the sub-bass focuses on a lot of music. The bass tuning for Sennheiser IE 600 works well with almost every music I threw at it, whether or not it was electronic music that has, of course, the big thumping, sub-bass hits, or even some classic rock which is not sub-bass-music. This Sennheiser IE 600 set does the bass on those very well.
On top of all that stuff, I would say that sound stage or staging head stage, generally, is a little bit better than average on IMS and is also quite solid. Maybe not the absolute best, but it is perfectly satisfying in the imaging department, which means that when you’re listening to, you know, music with instruments with precise positioning or maybe you’ve got like a sound that’s kind of sweeping left to, right.
The positioning here on the Sennheiser IE 600 set is very well done. Again, maybe not quite holographic in the sense that the absolute best imaging sets out there, but given the lack of other trade-offs here, I think it’s well done. That’s what I like here about the sound on the Sennheiser IE 600: many positive words.
Sennheiser IE 600 Cons
So, what are the things maybe I don’t love about this set? This is going to be a short list. First, the tonality is not exactly my preference. I tend to prefer a more mid-range focus sound signature, and while this does mid-range, I think very well, the focus here will be on the bass and the treble.
And then I think the treble is worth a warning. Okay. I think the treble on this set can be a little bit on the spicy side, and this is where the tip selection will come into play. So, I mentioned that these stock ear tips have a little foam inside them that seems to have some bearing on the treble tuning.
But it does seem that the foam in the tips does seem to be taking a little bit of an edge off the treble, which when I initially fitted the Sennheiser IE 600 with moon drop spring tips that are my favourite ear tips, I honestly found this set just like pretty sibilance. It wasn’t unbearable by any stretch, but it wasn’t enjoyable to the point that I avoided certain music because of how sibilance this set sounded with those ear tips. And then when I went back to the stock foam or silicone ear tips and got rid of that sibilance pretty well, it was a pain in the butt to fit switching over to the stock ear tips.
Again, I’m not a big fan of foam ear tips, as they get gross and are harder to clean. But then, they also seemed to take a little bit of that incisiveness on the treble. So, I had to find another option and what I landed on is the standard ear tips that you can get easily, but these are just final E-type ear tips.
They come with almost every final earphone, but you can also buy them separately and like a set of these things cost around $15, or you can buy a final E 500 and get a complete set of the ear tips for free for $20 or $25. I found that consistently these things with final E-type ear tips fit me well and solve the sibilance. The treble is still a bit on the spicy side here, and with any of the ear tips I’ve picked, it was super sibilance, and the treble still has a kind of aggressive edge. So, it is worth calling out that no matter which ear tip I picked, they always had a bit of an aggressive edge, but I found that the final E-type ear tips gave me a really satisfying sound.
The final E-type ear tips took care of the issues with the sibilance I was getting with the Moondrop spring tips. So that would be my recommendation based on my experience with this Sennheiser IE 600 and final E-type ear tips. So if you’re going to buy them, and this is the kind of warning, I hate to have to give on a $700 earphone, but I would factor in $15 extra to get some final E type ear tips, unless you’re, you’ve got a lot more patience for these awful ear tips than they come with.
Sennheiser IE 600 Comparison
That’s going to be about as much as I have to say about the sound for Sennheiser IE 600. We make a few comparisons on three different earphones in a similar price range. They have different attributes, and I’ll be honest, I’m going to resist ranking these earphones because I like each for various reasons.
So the competitors here, obviously the Sennheiser IE 600, $700 single dynamic driver earphones. Next is the Moondrop Zen Pro, also a single dynamic driver in the earphone, at $900 and the last one, Moondrop S8, which is different because it is an all-balanced armature set, with no dynamic driver and all balanced armatures. It is priced at around $700.
So all these three earphones are somewhat comparable if you’re shopping for an IEM around this price range, and I think these are three options you should definitely be considering.
Sound Signature Sennheiser IE 600 Vs Zen Pro Vs Moondrop S8
Let’s talk about how they compare as the sound signature for each one is different. We just got done talking about the Sennheiser IE 600, which is very contrasty, and it’s kind of got a bit of a downward sloping sound signature but has a fair amount of treble energy. Frankly, I would say, of the three earphones, Sennheiser IE 600 has the most sense of bass or the biggest bass and also the most treble energy.
So that’s where I would describe Sennheiser IE 600 as the most kind of V-shaped sound signature. Whereas with a Zen Pro, I would describe this one as warm and neutral. It is a bit on the mid-bass side compared to Sennheiser IE 600; the Zen Pro bass may have a little more of the mid-bass.
We’ll talk a little bit more about that in the technicalities comparison section, but the Zen Pro is generally a little bit warmer but still more mid-range focused than the Sennheiser IE 600. So it is a little bit on the warm side, but not to the point that it becomes thick.
Lastly, we have Moondrop S8 and this one I would describe as a thin neutral sound signature. Again, it does have a bit of a bass emphasis, but because this is an all-balanced armature set, that bass presentation is pretty different. But, again, we’ll discuss that in the technicality stuff.
This one is the most vocal forward sound signature compared to the other two. But, again, this earphone is the brightest and most open, with an airy kind of sound. So you could maybe describe this as a little bit on the sterile side or probably also the most neutral tune of the bunch, a little bit on the thin side versus the Sennheiser IE 600, which is more bassy.
Technical Comparison Sennheiser IE 600 Vs Zen Pro Vs Moondrop S8
So that’s generally how they compare in terms of sound signature. So let’s talk a little more about technical and non-tonal characteristics. So, the Sennheiser IE 600, we just talked about this thing being well-textured top to bottom, and the sub-bass gives it an excellent sense of depth.
The Sennheiser IE 600 also has a good sense of micro contrast to the mid-range, it might not be excellent, but then the treble you’ve got is incisive and sharp, maybe a little aggressive for some folks. But I honestly found this earphone is perfectly listenable with all music genres.
Next to the Zen Pro, this one has a better texture in the midrange. This one, also being a dynamic driver, does an incredible job at that micro-contrast in the midrange, which just means that vocals sound more relaxed but just like the presentation of them just seems more open and chill. The other big difference is the bass presentation, where Zen Pro has a mid-bass focus, whereas Sennheiser IE 600 has a much more sub-bass focus.
I think the Zen Pro has a sense of physicality to its bass. That’s not quite as physical as the original Zen, but it’s still an excellent understanding of tactility. So, you feel that things like kick drums, especially on this set. I would say that of the bunch here, the Zen Pro is the most subdued in the tech technicality. Apart from that, the mid-bass character and the mid-range micro-contrast are pretty good. Also, the treble’s pretty well done on this thin. But it’s not super impressive in the technicalities; it’s just like well-rounded and balanced but not super stand out.
Next, Moondrop S8 being an all-BA set will have a massive difference in that, that BA timbre and I know there’s some debate about whether or not BA timbre is a real thing. I can hear the bass, the item has bass emphasis, and I can see it on frequency response, but it doesn’t hit the same way. I think it’s pretty good bass, but this is not the set for bass lovers. This will be the set for a strong sense of transparency through the mid-range and treble. So, treble here can be a bit spicy, like the Zen Pro.
The sound technical for Moondrop S8 is very well extended, and you get that excellent sense of timbre across those high-frequency percussion instruments, but it’s never out of line. So it is always comfortable to listen to, at least for me, and I’ve never really heard anyone complain about the treble.
The big difference here, though, is I mentioned that BA timbre plays across the entire frequency response, not just the bass. So I find a sense of a smoothed ness to the SA sound, which I find comfortable.
Form Factor Comparison Sennheiser IE 600 Vs Zen Pro Vs Moondrop S8
And then the last area that we will discuss in terms of comparisons is the form factor because this matters a lot to me. Again, Sennheiser IE 600, we have spoken a lot about this. I love how small it is for a dynamic driver, and the fit is fantastic. I’ll start to feel the back of this in my ear after wearing these things for a couple of hours, but frankly, I find these things comfortable and, again, excellent sleeping earphones.
The Zen Pro is no slouch punch in on that, and this is also relatively small and pretty comfortable. It fits more securely than most dynamic drivers, and then the other thing worth calling out on this set is it does have a bit of a sharp edge on the outside. That sharp edge will push the bottom of my ear, and I start to feel that over time.
And then finally, we’ve got the Moondrop S8, which is my favorite aesthetically for me. I think this thing is beautiful and very different because this is an all-balance armature set and a kind of semi-custom molded earpiece. This thing fits my ear perfectly like a glove, is super comfortable and never moves out the place.
Moondrop S8 is an earphone that I can sleep in, and I could probably play football or something in, and this thing would not come out because the fit is so good. And then aesthetically, the stock cable that comes with this thing, I don’t quite like it, which is why I’ve got the stock cable
from a much cheaper earphone.
My Final Verdict on Sennheiser IE 600
But that’s basically how these things stack up in terms of the form factor, but that’s leaving us now for the final verdict on the Sennheiser IE 600, but frankly, there’s a lot that I like about this earphone.
Honestly, I got to give Sennheiser IE 600 full five stars. This is a phenomenal set; at $700, it can be tough to recommend a $700 earphone set to many people. While the Moondrop S8 will be another earphone, I gave five stars to it, and I still would.
That’s one of my favorite sets, but I got to give that one a bit of a caveat because it’s got that BA timbre to it. So not everyone will love it quite as much, and maybe not be as exciting as some people are looking for.
Frankly, the Sennheiser IE 600, I really don’t have any caveats to give to it. The ear tips suck, but you can fix that for pretty cheap; as far as sound fit and comfort, I don’t have any warnings about this. Treble can be a little bit spicy, but for me again, not a problem, and frankly, I think this is worth the price tag of $700.
I’ve heard much more expensive stuff than some, which is excellent-sounding earphones. So I think this thing stacks up with anything else I’ve listened to for $700.
So those are my thoughts here on the Sennheiser IE 600. I have a link below if you’re interested in checking this out.
Buy on Amazon: Sennheiser IE 600