As well as being able to customise their sound, the detachable cable of the SA6s, which measures 87cm to the split and 32cm from the split to each ear, also gives you a choice of how to wear them. Position the cable down and it drops straight down from your ears, position it up and you can loop the cable over the top and round the back of your ears. Either position is quite comfortable and switching between the two is also quick and easy. The picture we have actually shows the driver unit upside down (my fault not our photographer’s) so where the cable appears to hang below the bass port it actually sits above it. Also, the earphones are designed to be angled so that when inserted in the ear the cable actually hangs perpendicular to the ground, no matter whether you have the cable dropping straight down or looping over the ear.
Unfortunately, seemingly as a result of having so much to fiddle around with, the cable actually managed to become internally damaged during testing, to the point where the left ear completely cut-out eventually. Of course, this is where the ability to interchange nearly every aspect of the SA6 comes in particularly useful. All the components are available to buy separately for not too high a price so if any part does break you can easily replace it and, of course, while they’re still in warranty any broken parts will be replaced free of charge. Also, Sleek Audio has hinted that a wireless receiver kit is in development, which will enable you to listen to your music via the A2DP Bluetooth standard (nevermind iPhone users), and this will be compatible with the existing SA6 range.
All in all, then, the SA6 are a decent set of earphones that, if they were nearer £100, would get our recommendation, especially when you consider all the customisation available. However, with them nearing the £150 mark, things start to become a little less clear. Even ignoring you can get the Shure SE310s for £109.99, when you can get the likes of Shure’s SE420s for £160, paying £139.95 for a single driver set just doesn’t seem right. I know there are arguments for and against using single or multi-driver earphones but personally (and I know Riyad, for one, would agree with me on this) I find multi-driver earphones nearly always sound better. Also, while the Klipsch Image phones don’t have the customisation, they are lighter, more elegant, and have a similar overall sound for the same price.
Ultimately it comes down to what you want from your earphones. If you want the most accurate sound, spending an extra £20 and getting the SE420s would be a sure fire bet, whereas if you want a decent sound without the heavyweight cabling and drivers, the Klipsch Images may be your best bet. The SA6s then sit somewhere in the middle and throw in a bit of customisation to the mix, which you will either consider a pain in the proverbial or a true blessing.
Sleek Audio has created an intriguing product in the SA6 earphones. They combine the sort of sound quality we’d expect from a set of single driver earphones costing around £100 with some innovative sound customising features that push the price up a bit. The result is a set of cans that succeeds in confounding the problem they set out to solve – that of not knowing what you like until you’ve tried it – because you’re either likely to love or hate the whole customisation thing.
Score in detail