Usually successful headphone examples of lesser-known manufacturers strike the market, are much spoken about and are forgotten in 1,5-2 months time to clear the way for a new star. Luckily sometimes things happen differently and the hyped item is really interesting and should have long lasting demand. We can say this about Fearless Audio S6 Rui model.
Fearless Audio are not newbies on the portable audio market, they have been producing headphones since 2012, but still they have remained practically unknown to the mass market, until it has been noticed by the Linsoul distributor company. They have done a good job in bringing Fearless Audio products to masses and it is really good, since the manufacturer really know what they want to achieve and possess needed talent to achieve their goals. S6 Rui, as it comes from its name, has 6 balanced armature transducers. They cost higher than “traditional 300-bucks” that are usually asked for no-name models with this amount of transducers. Basic S6 Rui costs 390 USD but it is the case when the model is not mainstream at all.
- Transducers: 6 × balanced armature
- Crossover: 3-way
- Frequency range: 15 Hz – 20 kHz
- Sensitivity: 113 dB/mWt
- Impedance: 20Ω
- Cable: detachable with MMCX connectors
- Jack: 3.5 mm TRS
Packaging and accessories
Fearless Audio product managers have done a great job on packaging. It is a traditional recycled cardboard from the outside. It is of yellow color. There is a plastic case inside and its shape somewhat resembles 64Audio models. The case contains iems and the following items:
- 4 pair of foam tips of different colors
- 6 pairs of soft silicone tips with wide nozzle
- 3 pairs of harder silicone tips with narrow nozzle
- cleaning tool
- clip to attach the cable to clothes
Upon the whole the presentation seems to be reasonable for the price tag.
Design and build quality
When it comes to appearance, we get the standard product of the recent years – acrylic body, adopted to the shape of the ear. Fearless offer the choice of different design elements – shell colors, faceplates made of different materials. There is also a possibility of custom variant that is done according to your ear impressions. I have got the S6 Rui model that can be called as basic – transparent shell and greyish steel faceplates that are complemented by the company logo.
The overall build quality is high, the shells are pure without dust or air bubbles. You can clearly see all transducers and crossover inside.
The bodies shape is rather successful, the iems fit just well. The nozzles are of average length, so is the isolation. Unfortunately there are no pimples on them for better ear tip positioning, but I still haven’t had any problem when the tips detached from nozzles.
The cable is detachable and there are 2-pin connectors. It is convenient and has normal acoustic characteristics. It’s rather soft and almost lacks microphone effect, as well as it is not prone to tangles and stiffening in the cold weather. I think there is no obvious reason to change stock cable rather than for experiment.
I have used the following equipment for critical listening:
- Yulong DA10 and Resonessence Labs Concero HP as DAC and amp
- Apple MacBook Pro Retina 2016 as a source
- Audirvana+ as a player
- Lotoo Paw Gold Touch, theBit OPUS#2, Astell&Kern A&ultima SP1000 and others as portable players
- High resolution recordings in lossless formats (Dr. Chesky The Ultimate Headphone Demonstration Disc and others)
S6 Rui are rather different from mainstream Chinese models, and in a good way. The engineers have chosen a neutral presentation with slightly smoothed highs and accentuated mids and lows. The headphones are not bright, but without any warmness that is popular among latest multi-driver balanced armature options.
Bass is a little accentuated but without overemphasizing. It is quick but not too dry and has good thickness that is complemented by depth that provides massiveness. Upon the whole I can say that these IEMs make a step towards dynamic and hybrid models without sacrificing the level of details and textures. Due to precision, S6 sound good with natural lows and the genres that use synthesized bass. Of course, the bass is well controlled and stays in place even in saturated melodies.
S6 Rui are coherent and bass has a natural transition to the mids that have the same manner. Here we see good resolution, but without going to microcontrast that is typical for armature IEMs. They sound very natural and have good balance between resolution and macro details. The mids sound solid with some accent on weight that brings additional naturalness, however they are not good for those who love razor sharpness. The model is rather emotional and is tolerant to not-so-well recorded material. The soundstage is above average both in depth and width, but positioning and layering are good.
Highs are somewhat rolled off in comparison to general level. They have good length and resolution but without any usual accents or peaks that color the sound. This means you have to somewhat adopt to how they sound. Despite the fact that the highs are not too much in amount, they are of good quality and resolution, with good attacks and decays. Layering is among beginning and middle level. I should say, such highs are really suitable for this model and complements to the solid overall sound.
Now about comparisons, shortly. Of course we should compare to Chinese multi-driver no-name models of around $200 dollar segment. I won’t name exact models, but will speak general about the models I have had on review. S6 justify their price with their more mature sound and with the lack of evident problems (usually in the lower highs) that are present in no-name Chinese multi-drivers.
FiiO FA7 Flagship armature from FiiO is rather close in terms of price, but has more lows. This makes the difference very noticeable and you should choose up to your liking.
Astrotec Delphinus 5 Delphinus has more highs but they are simpler. Upon the whole Delphinus sounds more massive and bright.
S6 Rui have good potential, so they should better be used with mid-tier player that can control all frequency range with authority. The sensitivity is rather high and the IEMs do not require too much juice. They are also not noisy.
The model is universal in terms of genres and has not too many problems with quality of audio – 6 out of 10.
Traditionally, example tracks
Europe — Election Day If you don’t know, Europe has not ceased to exist after the Final Countdown and continues to write new music for the pleasure of AOR fans. This 2017 album shows they still can do dynamic things, and this track is the exact example. It is solid, has saturated sound based on guitar passages, changing each other, as well as keyboards. S6 Rui has no problems here at all.
Vangelis — Love Theme Audiophiles have releases that cannot be missed at all. This Decca album by Vangelis is a good example. If you search for a track to test the neutralness, you have found a whole album. Of course I might choose any composition, but as a fan of “Running…” I have decided to take the love theme from its soundtrack. Todays IEMs this melody sounds not ideal but very lively, bringing pleasure with presence and solidness.
Joe Bonamasa — Blue and Evil And we will finish our track examples with another thing to test naturalness (and Fearless S6 has no problems with that). The live Joe Bonamassa acoustic concerts in Carnegie Hall is a great test for headphones. But S6 Rui are really “fearless” and show the drive of the composition – from powerful hits to sharp guitar string sounds.
This is the case when the company has their own sound vision and work on their models offering good combination of price and quality, as well as some great findings that differ them from the gray mass of typical Chi-Fi.
Translated by: Vadim Kolchev