Fearless S6Rui-moving fearlessly forward.
Written by ngoshawk
Published 1 minute ago
Pros – A CASE!
Very nice cable.
Sound, which is quite enticing.
Good fit and finish.
An overall very nice sounding IEM.
Cons – Cable may not stay over ear for all.
Some may not like transparency, shiny finish.
Somewhat compressed mids (but holographic).
Not much else, this is a very good unit.
Fearless Audio S6Rui ($389usd).
There was a certain rumble…a rumble of whispers, hushed tones of talk, permutations of sonic bliss, promenading portends of vicissitudes regarding a new presence on the block. That new presence was Fearless. And it was purported to be grand, good and right in the world of portable hifi. Would that were be my luck extraordinaire, I heard of an arrangement heading twixt the middle-west of the States, United. Oh goodness bestowed upon me! How hath I become so lucky? Mine mind made me wait for it was the mallow of competence. Wait I did. Upon arrival, I did shed coverings and listen. And it was grand. But…it must faithfully wait its turn. I did glance ever so slightly towards it as other took stage of center. Catching mine eye, I blushed as the pearlesque shown back. I averted glare too much, lest I become embarrassed and fraught with enchantment. Time would come…time would come…
Technical Features: 6 BA Drivers, 3-way Crossover, 2 Sound Tubes
Drivers: Micro Knowles Balanced Armature Driver *6, Including Sonion Dual Bass BA Driver*1, Knowles Mid-Frequency BA Driver*1 and Knowles Treble BA Driver*2
Sensitivity : 113dB/mW
Impedance: 20 Ω
Frequency Response: 15HZ-20KHZ
Numerous tips foam and silicon
Nice metal ID card/warranty link.
All prices in USD, unless noted otherwise:
Oriolus Finschi ($180)
BGVP DM6 ($199)
TFZ Secret Garden ($199)
Thebit Opus #2
XDuoo x10t ii/iFi Pro iDSD
Too bloody many to list all, but you want songs, so there you go:
Coldplay-All I Can think About Is You
Dona Onete-Sonos de Adolescente
Los Lonely Boys- Heaven (en Espanol)
twenty one pilots-Trees
twenty one pilots-Car Radio
twenty one pilots-Heathens
Damian Marley-Everybody Wants To Be Somebody
Damian Marley-So A Child May Follow
Damian Marley-The Struggle Discontinues
Ziggy Marely-See Dem Fake Leaders
Mark Knopfler-Laughs And Jokes And Drinks And Smokes
Santana w/ Mana- Corazon Espinado
The new twenty one pilots album, Trench
The new Mark Knopfler album, Down The Road Wherever
So began my time with the Fearless Audio S6Rui S6 Pro. A long name usually reserved for critters of the auto variety in an Italian sense. “Lamborghini Vento Extraordinaire Speciale,” the list goes on. But with that long name, there must be the goods to back the talk up. And as stated above those previous to me have had good things to say about the S6 (henceforth known as that because, well the other is too long…), with sound to match its name. Talk of excellent separation, layering, detail and stage of sound came cruxing through my cranial matter. It was jumbled, but understandable. I did appreciate those with which I stay in contact being honest and representing the S6 well. For to them, the critter was/is grand. And I am here to tell you that if this is the mid-fi offering from Fearless, I am on board for the TOTL. The S6 is quite good, and follow this journey to the end for more details…
Coming is a non-descript tan box, the mood is understated, and earthy. Taking the lid off you are presented with a 64Audio-like case, with everything inside. Instructions, tips, cable, a fairly unique shirt tie and the IEM. That’s it. I like the minimalism here. On some, like Clear Tunes Monitor, the box adds to the overall presentation. On others such as Fearless, they let the beauty of the cable and IEM speak. I do not fault either and appreciate both aspects. And at least the boxes on both are functional and sized appropriately, unlike some of late.
An aluminum “credit card” adorned with the Fearless logo on one side and pertinent information on the other such as website, contact information and serial number, lies at the bottom of the case. The person who constructed the IEM is also listed, a nice touch. With a soft-lined foam adorning the case, the critter stays well protected. Understated elegance.
The S6 is a looker. The marble-pearled-like cover bears the logo and a funny “W,” which I am not sure what it denotes. But, beyond that the IEM is a very pretty unit with which to look. Wrought in silver, the jacks and cable match the IEM. A white-silver cable of 4-braid variety compliments the look nicely. With sturdy jacks as well, the feel is one of not necessarily robustness, but solidity. Quiet strength.
With see-through shells, the innards look quite electric. This look goes to show just how thin the connecting wires are in some IEM’s. With a fairly wide bore nozzle (but no lip), tips did stay on well, including the foam tips with which I spent the majority of time. Striped red or blue 2-pin connectors were a welcome addition as well. No mucking about with this, nope.
A polished silver splitter replete with logo (that W…) adorned the cable, and a slider complete with “Fearless Audio” gives the impression of royalty. Understated royalty. Not garish, but present, nonetheless. It looks good, feels good, and has good presence.
When the S6 first arrived, I was in with another “more fancy” IEM, so I set the S6 onto my Shanling M3s for burn in. I played it first of course, and immediately noted something seemed different. An almost squished-holographic nature was had to the sound. 3D indeed, but a bit like an hour-glass 3D.
So, I did eventually return to the S6Rui, and we had a grand time during the write up. Used at first as a comparison tool for others ahead of it in queue, this alone should speak volumes. The S6 is good. Corazon Espinado comes through vibrant and full. Rumble is indeed present in the right amounts a good sign. The dual-bass Knowles doing their job, without fuss. Carlo’s guitar comes across succinct and crisp. Not TOTL crisp, but as much as one would hope for a mid-fi entry. At the asking of $389, the S6 represents itself very well in this department.
Steely Dan’s Deacon Blues, always known for crisp and precise music, comes across as I remember. Turning the volume up, the vocal presentation is worth the price alone. Sublime support vocals come across as expected. The small orchestral support fills nicely intro the requisite niche. Through the Shanling M5s, the volume goes up (it is a bit hard to drive the S6…a bit), and the same holds. Cymbal crash is tight with fast decay. No lingering or muddying the corresponding tone. I can also sense a rumble, which seems to shake the housing as well. I know this doesn’t actually happen, but it is a nice feeling of envelopment.
The only problem I have is when the sax solo comes on. I had to turn the volume down as it seemed to grate my ears a bit. This could just as easily be my hearing sensitivity (it is) as well. Those sounds, which are more forward and “shouty” tend to be, and while presented properly, do still bother. That does not hinder my enjoyment at all.
The mids do have a sense of compression as mentioned above (and possibly other aspects, I cannot tell exactly), and I cannot say it hinders my experience as that holography of sound compensates well. It is almost like Fearless included an automatic iFi 3D+ switch, which comes on as needed.
Running the S6Rui through my current favorite home set up the XDuoo x10t ii/iFi Pro iDSD combo, gives a very good representation as to how versatile the S6 is. Stevie Ray Vaughan sounds like he and his band are giving a concert in your living room. Just a superb representation without any digital falsity that can happen on some set ups. Moving on to pretty much any Ziggy Marley song and you just sit back like you are on a cool beach in the summer. Conscious Party and Lighthouse separately show the versatility of the S6. The more synthesizer-based former song plays well with that holographic sound, complete with vibrant bass and his voice. A strong representation of the song, with wonderful layering of sound to boot.
Lighthouse is one of my favorite test songs (and just a favorite, period) for it gives the acoustic side a chance to shine. Supported by the synth-keyboard, the guitars simply sparkle. Ziggy’s voice cracks with emotion and I just listen again. A bit more centered in sound, nonetheless there is as much layering here as the other. Definition is better as well. Throw in the complexity of strings and you have the whole gamut. I really appreciate how the S6 represents this song in all of its earnestness. I am part of the music in this pairing. Just wonderful.
Fearless Audio S6Rui ($389) v Oriolus Finschi ($180):
I will openly admit I really like both the S6Rui and the Finschi. For the level presented, they are each quite good. The Finschi presents a solid deep reaching bass-tone with good clarity. This reminds me of when the Pinnacle P1 came out and was lauded for its overall tonality. But here, you can clearly hear the steps forward into a much fuller, more robust sound. I will admit to selling my Pinnacle’s because those highs grated on me. And here is the flaw I find in the Finschi. That wonderous bass can become overbearing on some songs, frowning out the laudable characteristics of vocal presentations while rendering more complicated sections a bit disconnected. Mind you it isn’t bad, but that wonderful bass can get in the way.
By comparison, the S6 has less bass quantity but much better control. And because of that control you do not lose the clarity. So, while the Finschi is quite good, and one of the best for the price in my opinion, the S6 betters it by having the overall control locked in much better.
Fearless Audio S6Rui ($389) v BGVP DM6 ($199):
This is another where you could justify spending on the DM6 and just stop. You would be satisfied, and I am amazed at the availability of quality IEM’s at this price. Where even just two years ago quality at the $50 IEM seemed to set the tone, the audiophile world has moved into the mid-fi range as the defining level. The sub/near-$200 IEM now sets the tone. And as such, you would be hard pressed to better the DM6. Yes, the DM7 is now out (look for @b9scramblers review coming soon), but the DM6 is about as good as it gets. I was flabbergasted at the level of refinement in the DM6, even compared to the Finschi. Clarity rules the roost here, but with less bass quantity. Vocals could be called sublime as opposed to just competent. But they are. You really get into the musician’s head with the DM6, and while good, sometimes you just want to sit back and enjoy rather than be a part of. And here is where the S6 steps ahead. The presentation of that sound is marvelous, and hard for pretty much anything under $200 to best. The DM6 is fabulous for what it does: present a very solid fit-n-finish tied to an extraordinarily solid sound but lacking that impact of the others.
Fearless Audio S6Rui ($389) v TFZ Secret Garden ($199):
Quoting from my Secret Garden review: So, through all of this anticipation, waiting, procrastinating and finally writing what did I find? Well, that the TFZ SG is a pretty decent offering in a very crowded field. Listening to Ziggy’s We Are More as I scribe this summarizes quite well my feelings/findings about the SG. Our ears ring so true, but money don’t make the world a better place. Listening is the definitive way to understand a manufacturers intent, for it is through their product that we garner impressions, desires, wants, needs, and displeasures. Happily, the SG falls into the first set and does a quite decent job at doing it. And interesting take on an IEM worth a listen.
The SG is quite good at the price but has recently been surpassed by the likes of the Oriolus Finschi, the BGVP DMG (and 6 & 7), and the Fearless line. That does not mean it isn’t still good, for it is. Simply that technology is passing by so fast, that what is considered good today, may well be adequate tomorrow. Witness the Pinnacle P1, once lauded as the answer below $200. Now it has been surpassed by three years of technology and innovation. The same holds here with the SG. But in most cases, those companies produce “new innovative” IEM’s to replace the “old” unit. Which is a shame, for the SG is good in its own right and should be considered.
Against the Fearless though, it simply cannot compete. The bass is tighter, the sound is wider, more articulate and overall the S6Rui presents a more pleasing package, especially when you throw in that almost holographic sound. The SG could be considered the cousin who wants to be like the older more successful cousin. And in that regard, it is still quite good. It simply cannot compete here, as one would expect.
A word about sources:
I found the S6Rui to be multi-dimensional with regard to source. Running the S6 through my MBP/Burson Fun set up, that “lack of bass” came through with enticing sound. I did not miss the low end, as the Vivid OpAmp brought into play what could be perceived as missing. With the XDuoo x10t ii/iFi Pro iDSD I achieved the same results, but with better clarity as one might expect what with the transport XDuoo and iFi. It was a superb set up, and one in which I spent the majority of my time. I could REALLY get used to that sound (and did). As for portable, my venerable Shanling M5s has become my go to. I love the Shanling sound and her it came out in full glory. The pair seemed made for each other, and if I had a commute by public transportation, this would be in my regular rotation. Heck it would BE my rotation. So, the S6Rui is indeed multi-dimensional and worked across platforms. Some better but all were good. That cannot be said for some IEM’s.
As mentioned in the previous paragraph, technology and innovation(s) change very quickly. Spurred on by the SE Asian market and companies who want a slice of the IEM/portable market you see companies come and go almost weekly. That is a shame, for we rarely have time to slow down and enjoy what we have. Rarely do I get to listen to what I want on the IEM I want, when I want. That said, I do get to sneak in listens as part of the review process. I am not the “most famous,” nor the highest up the food chain. But my queue bubbles over with worthy items and as such I need to choose what competitors will pair well with the item tested. And it is here where the Fearless will fit in. For you see, there is a whole lineup of worthy IEM’s from which to choose. Based upon others verbiage, the lineup is good, very good.
If the $389 S6Rui is any indication of what lies within the lineup, then they will become a mainstay of my comparisons, and for those none-too-often times when I can just sit back and enjoy. That is the place in which the S6 has earned in my corral…worthy of inclusion of both sets of the equation. It is quite enjoyable just to use as I sit back and listen, and that does not happen with many of my IEM’s between the queue, and here is where the S6Rui will sit, as that one to stop and enjoy, so that I may collect my thoughts before moving on to the next review. I enjoy it and will continue to do so.
I thank Lillian from Linsoul Audio and Fearless for sending the S6Rui. It truly is a remarkable little critter, and well worth a look in the sub-$500 IEM market.