The Velvet and AR6 share some key features: a wide spacious soundstage with a lift in the upper midrange that defines their tonality, and helps with detail retrieval. The AR6’ soundstage does have more depth and airiness. Their treble is more or less similar, both having a good deal of sparkle with the Velvet putting out more energy. This is partially due to the Velvet’s pronounced U-shape: the midrange is pushed back a great deal more, with the enhanced treble on the foreground. The AR6 finds more balance between the midrange and treble, and this is reflected in its soundstage: instruments and vocals diffuse out more evenly in all directions. Their biggest difference is in the bass department: The Velvet’s bass is significantly enhanced compared to the neutral AR6. So while they do share some similarities, the difference is in their presentation. The Velvet is the basshead iem, the AR6 has the balanced and more spacious presentation.
You could consider the AR6 a bit of a Solar ‘light’, as they share a somewhat similar tonality. Both have an upper midrange lift and slightly enhanced treble. But while the Solar’s bass is also clean and fast, it is a great deal more enhanced, specifically the mid-bass. This provides more size, fullness and warmth to the midrange, at the cost of soundstage width and airiness. Note sustain is longer with the Solar; notes linger a bit longer giving the Solar slightly smoother and more laidback presentation in the midrange. The AR6 has slightly more treble presence, although the Solar has better note articulation with faster notes. Concerning soundstage, the AR6’ is slightly wider, while the Solar’s is deeper. The AR6 and Solar share some similarities; specifically the upper midrange lift and slightly forward treble. But if I’d have to summarize their main difference in one sentence, it would be: bass-fueled fullness versus soundstage space and airiness, where only preference will determine the outcome.
The AR6’ standout trait is of course its soundstage and airiness. It’s second is its tone, marked by the upper midrange lift, and the clean and flat bass. As such, the AR6 has qualities what will easily appeal to a large crowd. In line with its name, I find myself reaching for ambient music: acoustics with beautiful female vocals, nice jazz where the transparency shines through or ambient electronic music because of the clear tones. Softer rock like Radiohead will also work wonderfully. While it has the tonality and treble sparkle for energetic electronic music, its bass is on the lighter side. The airiness and separation works as an ‘anti-congestant’ for rock music, although there is a tradeoff here for the average note thickness. But keep in mind opinions will differ as others will appreciate the soundstage presentation especially for rock or metal.