Testing Methodology: Measured using Arta via IEC 711 coupler to Startech external sound card. 7-9KHz peaks may be artifacts/emphasized due to my measurement setup. Measurements besides channel balance are volume matched at 1KHz. Fit depth normalized to my best abilities – the brighter measurement is with the tips installed, shallow fit while the darker measurement is tip removed, deep insertion. Due to these factors, my measurements may not accurately reflect the earphone or measurements taken by others.
At its elevated asking price, it almost goes without saying that the Craft 6 is an impressive listen. Yet even among its peers, the Craft 6 shines in many regards; that being its resolving treble and especially powerful, extended bass. Fundamentally, it builds atop the foundation of the Craft Four, while introducing a more neutrally-toned and linear signature. It retains light colouration, being slightly vocal forward and analytical but with a bit of bass emphasis that grants it excellent balance and accurate tone overall. The Six is, in turn, no longer as euphonic as its cheaper sibling. And yet, as it carries quite a substantial boost in technical ability, one would hardly misses the added warmth and body. The Craft Six is a wonderfully insightful listen, but may not appeal to those craving warmth and full, dense notes.
The low-end showcases some of the best extension I’ve ever heard from a BA-earphone. This impression is aided by light emphasis through the sub-bass, together with providing a powerful rumble and visceral slam at the very bottom. The timbre is still BA-ish in nature, being quicker decaying than most dynamics if a little more drawn out than most BA’s, and being highly controlled. There is a bit more information and texture in the sub-bass than normal for sure. Working alongside that terrific extension, the commanding presence, power and extension of the Craft Six’s sub-bass might just mislead a fair few. This is followed by a gradual drop through the mid and upper-bass, providing a well-balanced presentation overall with slightly thicker albeit highly defined notes set to a neutral tone.
The midrange has a neutral tone and lighter note weight alongside a clear and revealing character. It showcases sound linearity with an upper-midrange emphasis around 3KHz providing a bump to vocal size and clarity in addition to bringing vocals forward without over-stepping on intimacy. As the upper-bass and lower-midrange are lightly attenuated, the source of its neutral and highly-defined presentation, vocal body lies on the thinner side. Nonetheless, emphasis falls off through the 4KHz region into a lower-treble trough, providing wicked smooth articulation and a hint of additional density that redeems some note weight and structure. As such, sibilance and raspiness are non-existent despite the superlative clarity of the Craft 6’s vocals. Altogether, the midrange is clear, highly-resolved and very refined, a well-executed demonstration of a neutrally-toned sound.
Despite possessing a trough around 5KHz, emphasis picks up quickly after, leading to a moderate 7KHz peak. I hear very quick, concise note attack and accurate decay, superb control and a clean transient response, all contributing to outstanding fine detail retrieval. The background is dark, providing strong foreground/background contrast and a focused foreground. Meanwhile, a peak in the upper-treble works in tandem with excellent extension to provide a surprising amount of air set to abundant sparkle and micro-detail presence. Such a tuning produces thinner but not brittle instrument body alongside a slightly tizzy character. I would argue that the treble strays furthest from linearity, favouring greater engagement and a more aggressive detail presentation over perfectly accurate timbre. Still, as the tone is a touch on the warmer side, this helps to retain a fairly natural image. The Craft Six showcases truly superb detail retrieval front and foremost without wearing on the ear in quantity.
Such a presentation works wonders for the soundstage too, which stretches beyond the head in width and provides a surprising amount of depth too; albeit slightly reduced due to its more forward vocal presentation. Imaging is sharp and accurate. Vocals occupy a strong centre image and localisation is pinpoint sharp. Separation is strong on account of the Craft Six’s neutral tone and slightly thinner note structure. I would still classify the Six as providing convincing coherence. Its bass provides volume and stability to its stage, avoiding sounding diffuse. The Craft Six is well-structured with defined layers and precise imaging.
Early Verdict –
An earphone like the Craft Six is difficult to evaluate as its technical properties work in tandem with a tuning that emphasizes their presence to the listener. To clarify, it is easy to mistake a forward lower-treble for high detail retrieval, bright background for sparkle. The list goes on, and reviews shall henceforth, be crucified for their misnomers. Thankfully, the Craft Six offers an incredibly solid technical foundation for its vivid yet neutrally toned signature, end to end extension is superb and the organisation of its presentation is excellent too. Surely, this earphone does not represent perfect timbre, being slightly forward, detail aggressive and, in turn, delivering a lighter note weight which may not please all. Still, the Craft Six ticks all the boxes a high-end IEM should, the treble is sparkly and resolving of minutiae, the midrange is revealing yet refined and its bass is a revelation. I was sceptical of the company’s proprietary acronyms, but the product cannot be denied. The Craft Six competes in kilo-buck turf in both tonality and technicality at a substantial discount when bought on preorder, and I will be sad to see this one go.
Comparisons, source synergy and in-depth breakdown coming soon to the extended review!
The Craft Six is available from on Craft Ears (International) for $745 EUR (preorder) with a retail price of $945 EUR after this period has ended. I am not affiliated with Craft Ears and receive no earnings from purchases through this link.
Track List –
brb. – relationship
Bob Seger – Stranger in Town
Emotional Oranges – The Juice: Vol. II
Father John Misty – Pure Comedy
Fleetwood Mac – Tango In the Night
George Michael – Listen Without Prejudice
Joji – Sanctuary
Kanye West – Only One
Keshi – skeletons
IU – eight
Nirvana – Nevermind
OOHYO – Honey Tea
Pixies – Surfer Rosa
Radiohead – OK Computer
Rich Brian – Amen
Sharon Van Etten – The End of the World
Sun Rai – Pocket Music
The Rolling Stones – Sticky Fingers
Yosi Horikawa – Wandering