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Spiral Ear SE6 Nebula: A Promising Flagship

The in-ear monitor maker from Poland, Spiral Ear, is known with its silicone-based monitors. In the past, Spiral Ear  dominated the IEM ranking lists with its legendary SE5 Ref and SE5 Ult monitors. Now, it is time to introduce the new flagship: SE6 Nebula. 

As the name indicates, the new monitor has 6 drivers, just like the previous flagships of the company. SE6 Nebula has 6 separate sound bores with 6 different types of BA drivers: 1 isobaric, 1 woofer, 1 low-mid, 1 mid, 1 hi-mid, and 1 specially tuned ultra-high performance super tweeter. According to the company, the new flagship has 28 OHM of impedance and 109 dB of sensitivity. 

The Fit and the Box: 

I have been familiar with Spiral Ear’s monitors for almost 10 years and experienced three SE monitors before: SE5 Ref, SE5 Ult, and SE5 Nebula. As the previous ones, Spiral Ear utilizes silicone-based materials to build monitors.

I am not sure that SE6 Nebula would suit small ears, since it has 6 drivers and 6 different bores. Before the building process, your impressions will be likely checked by the company. Frankly speaking, the fit is perfect and I didn’t need to send it back for a refit. Unfortunately, SE6 Nebula is currently offered in custom shape; there is no universal option. 

In ordering process, nine standard and six premium colors can be chosen. Additionally, we can combine the colors by contacting Spiral Ear. 

The new flagship comes with an outer box, standard cleaning tools, a cleaning spray that I find useful and a black pelican case on which you name is printed. The package presentation is premium enough for a flagship. As expected, the main focus is the sound quality given. At the end, we are looking for the most advanced sounding monitor for our tastes. 

Spiral Ear uses 2 pin industry standard cable on the monitors. It is possible to use some aftermarket cables on the monitors, but the company warns us about the suitable pin dimensions. Before purchasing any aftermarket cable for Spiral Ear monitors, I recommend you to check the information page on the manufacturer’s website about the aftermarket cable usage.

Sound Impressions: 

Bass: 

The bass is neither very prominent nor dominant, but the amount of the overall bass helps the monitor to maintain a remarkable stage structure while maintaining enough body to the whole spectrum. The mid-bass does not tighten the stage at all and the monitor does not throw unnecessary warm notes between instruments. 

While the resolution of the mid-bass is very good, the sub-bass hits slightly hard and deep. The fast, textured and comparably colorless notes of the sub-bass presentation are remarkable. The general approach in the bass region leans towards being a bit neutral, rather than romantic or analytic/technical. It is not a bass heavy or shy monitor. 

Midrange: 

The midrange is neither recessed nor forward; its position is exactly where it should be in my preferences. It is not fatiguing and does give a clean and enough space in order to focus to the whole presentation. The vocals are not close to listener, which results in a good coherence with other instruments positioned in stage.

The midrange resolution is almost superb with the exceptional sub harmonic details. SE6 does not sacrifice the density of instruments while creating such a resolution. The monitor is able to provide an impressive resolution and a good transparency without creating thin and unnecessarily colored notes. 

I wouldn’t describe the overall midrange tonality as ‘’fully warm’’, but it can be evaluated as a minimally colored sounding monitor with the traces of the Spiral Ear sound signature. SE6 sounds textured, enough bodied, and resolved in the midrange. 

The upper midrange of the SE6 seems to be a bit sensitive to bad recordings. Reducing the upper midrange open tone would cut details. On the other hand, unnecessary open toned upper midrange would hurt ears. SE6 has a nice balance in that tuning which makes the monitor detailed without being sibilant.

Treble: 

The treble of SE6 is slightly thin and prominent as well as a bit colored, but it becomes never bright or piecing. In my opinion, the right word for the treble presentation should be ‘’alive’’. The overall high frequency resolution and detail level are high and it shows its full potential when the monitor is connected to a truly high-quality source. It sounds very good in fast tracks and the decay-attack ability is top notch. 

Soundstage: 

The soundstage quality and its ideal size are truly remarkable. The space cleanliness around instruments is superb, which results in a top-notch separation and a vivid positioning. The details and layers on the blackness of the background are superbly clean and clear. The center-left-right positioning is also impressive, which helps the monitor to maintain an impressive resolution and separation in crowded passages. SE6 Nebula provides an enough/ideal sized stage to position instruments, while keeping the focusing ability to the whole spectrum.  

Comparisons: 

SE5 Ultimate vs SE6 Nebula: 

SE5 hits harder from a closer point in the sub-bass region, while SE6 has a better definition and resolution. SE5 has a more prominent mid-bass presentation that seems to add a bit more body to the general presentation. On the other hand, SE6 releases much cleaner mid-bass notes, which help it to create an airier stage. 

SE5 maintains a closer, slightly darker and bigger sized mid-range presentation, but the SE6 betters it clearly in terms of the resolution and the transparency. The bigger notes of the SE5 compress the general presentation in comparison. SE6 releases more detailed upper midrange notes, while SE5 has a slightly more relaxed but less resolving note structure in the upper midrange. 

SE6 has a bit more prominent treble presentation, but the amount of detail on SE6 is remarkably higher than SE5. Both are fast and have the typical Spiral Ear note structure. 

The soundstage performance of SE6 is much better than SE5. The SE6’s stage is more spacious, bigger and much cleaner. The background detail and blackness are clearly better defined on SE6. As a result, SE6 betters SE5 in terms of the instrument separation and the stage dimensions.

SE5 Nebula vs SE6 Nebula: 

SE5 Nebula hits from a closer point with slightly bigger notes in the bass region. SE6 hits deeper and it is slightly more textured. SE5 Nebula maintains a more prominent mid-bass presentation, while SE6 sounds cleaner. 

The midrange position is similar, but SE6 Nebula has a better midrange resolution with cleaner notes. Both are natural; SE6 Nebula articulates details more and it is slightly more transparent. Both have a detailed upper midrange performance, but SE6 Nebula betters SE5 Nebula in terms of forgiveness when it comes to the record quality. 

SE5 Nebula has a slightly more prominent and sensitive treble, but the note releasing structure, detail and resolution levels are similar. Both are fast and have the typical Spiral Ear sound in the treble region with a bit more prominence than SE5 Ref and Ult. 

SE6 Nebula provides a bit wider stage, while the depth is similar. Additionally, SE6 Nebula betters SE5 Nebula in terms of the separation and the background cleanliness. It is easier to focus to the SE6 Nebula’s stage and SE6 Nebula creates a slightly larger area that is used for instrument placement.  

Conclusion: 

SE6 Nebula is the most transparent and resolved Spiral Ear monitor that I have ever tried. Its comparably uncolored presentation and especially its separation is remarkable. In my opinion, there is a balance among the frequency ranges. Neither of them overcomes another and there is a serious coherence between them. 

Once again, well done Spiral Ear! Highly Recommended Monitor! Serious Contender!

SE6 Nebula is priced at 2999 EUR excl. VAT, 3689 EUR incl. VAT. ; plus shipping.

For more information please visit Spiral Ear’s website:

https://spiralear.com/se6-nebula-iems

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ABOUT AUTHOR

Picture of MikePortnoy

MikePortnoy

He started listening music when he was a child. His audiophile journey has begun under the wings of a single dynamic driver IEM. He has started to search for both technical and musical perfection in audio gears. He mostly reviews high-end systems including custom in ear monitors, aftermarket cables and digital sources.

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2 Responses

  1. Great review!

    Really interested in the SE5 Nebula. The 6 is just too expensive :/ huge price difference.

    1. Thank you for your kind words.

      There is a price difference indeed. Se5 Nebula is also a great ciem, but SE6 Nebula sounds superior.

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