The sound of a DAP is based on pair up synergy with different earphones and headphones. After all, you are hearing the sound of headphones connected to the Source. In this section of my review, I will go over how various earphones and headphones pair up with RS6. In every example, I indicated SE or BAL, Gain setting, and Volume level.
Meze Audio Empyrean (4.4mm, HG, v39) – more intimate laidback sound presentation with a very natural smooth tonality. Bass is soft and relaxed, with more sub-bass extension and slower mid-bass attack. Mids/vocals are very organic, with fuller body, smoother retrieval of details, and a little forward presentation. Treble doesn’t have too much sparkle or air, but it is pretty clear and smooth. If you like your smooth natural presentation of the sound and smooth soulful tonality, this pair up nails it.
Audio-Technica ATH-R70x (3.5mm, HG, v64) – also an intimate effortless laidback sound presentation with a natural detailed tonality. The sound is still smooth, but retrieval of details here is a little better than with Empyrean. Bass has a deep sub-bass extension which adds weight to low end and creates a contrast due to a more neutral mid-bass impact. Mids are smooth, natural, detailed, but not too warm. Mids/vocals are clear and detailed, and smooth at the same time. Treble has a little more sparkle, but it is done in a rather natural way without any exaggerated brightness. The volume setting was higher, but keep in mind, these are 470ohm open back cans.
Beyerdynamic T5p 2nd (4.4mm, HG, v35) – here, the soundstage opened up a little wider, but I still hear more depth in how the sound surrounds you. The overall presentation of the sound has more emphasis on mids/vocals, but bass is not lagging too far behind. Again, I do hear more sub-bass rumble with a little slower attack of the mid-bass, and overall, low end has a nice extension and weight. Mids/vocals have plenty of body, sound very natural, clear, and actually with a decent amount of detail retrieval. In some pair ups T5p2 vocals could sound a bit nasal, but here it was clear and detailed. Also, treble gains some sparkle and even more air, but still remains very natural.
I don’t have too many full-size headphones and usually use these 3 for my DAP analysis. Out of 3, Empyrean was my least favorite pair up with RS6, while I enjoyed R70x and T5p2 very much. R70x is 470ohm open back DD headphones that are not easy to drive, while here I was able to drive them with plenty of headroom from SE output. And T5p2 also shined in this pair up. RS6 doesn’t emphasize too much bass impact, more sub-bass weight, but it brings up the best in vocals with a natural detailed tonality.
CFA Solaris ’20 (BAL, MG, v21) – to start off, zero hissing. Soundstage expansion is wider, definitely above average. The sound sig is balanced, and I do hear a little more focus on mids. The bass is above neutral, good deep extension and actually not bad mid-bass punch, not very strong, but sub-bass and mid-bass are balanced and linear. Mids are clear and natural and with good level of detail retrieval. Treble is crisp with a natural sparkle, not as much air extension, but good natural definition and zero harshness or fatigue. Overall, the tuning is natural.
UM Mest MKII (BAL, MG, v33) – the sound is wide, not exactly holographic like in some other pair ups, but it has a good width and depth. The sound signature is balanced instead of a typical v-shaped because RS6 brings up MKII upper mids a little more forward, focusing on vocals. Bass has a good deep sub-bass rumble, and mid-bass punch is there too, but not as strong. Mids are more forward, especially upper mids, very clear, detailed, and still natural. Treble is crisp and airy, here you can actually get more sense of airiness, and despite its crisp tonality, it never crosses the threshold of sibilance or harshness. Treble is still energetic, but in a natural way.
EE EVO (BAL, MG, v32) – the soundstage here has a more intimate expansion with width above average and still having more depth/height. The sound sig is leaning more toward the L-shaped with a weight of sub-bass lifting the low end up. Mid-bass has a nice, rounded impact, but sub-bass has more power here. Mids are more revealing, with lower mids being leaner and upper mids being detailed and natural. Treble has a good definition and clarity, but not as crisp or airy, but rather very natural. Despite extra weight in bass, mids tuning has more focus in this pair up.
Oriolus Traillii (BAL, MG, v34) – also very good soundstage expansion, pretty wide, though I do hear more depth/height than width. The sound sig is W-shaped balanced with a natural detailed tonality. Bass has a deep extension with a velvety smooth rumble, mid-bass packs a nice punch, perhaps not a very fast attack but the bass does have a good punch. Mids/vocals have a very natural detailed tonality, fuller body lower mids and layered natural and soulful upper mids. Treble is crisp, detailed, and still natural. Very good pair up.
EE Odin (BAL, MG, v31) – very good soundstage expansion in all 3 directions, and actually surprisingly good width. The overall tuning is very balanced, W-shaped. While in many pair ups Odin main focus is mids, here the bass was sharing a spotlight with a deep and powerful sub-bass rumble and very good mid-bass punch. RS6 doesn’t emphasize a strong mid-bass punch in pair ups I tested, but here it comes through with plenty of power. Mids are natural, detailed, layered, not too bright or harsh. Treble is also crisp and natural and has a good airy extension. This is probably one of my favorite pair ups with Odin.
In this test, I was using Traillii to listen/compare DAPs. Each of these DAPs, besides a difference in tonality and pair up synergy, has their own Pros/Cons when it comes to features, all of which should be taken into consideration depending on your priorities if you need streaming or not, which balanced termination you prefer, how much output power do you need, battery life, etc.
RS6 vs Cayin N6ii w/R01 – R01 soundstage spreads wider, while both have the same depth/height. Other than this soundstage difference, the technical performance is not too far off when it comes to dynamics and separation of sounds, though RS6 is a little denser. Tonality is where I hear a bigger difference. R01 has a fuller body lower mids while RS6 lower mids are a little more neutral in comparison. Then, when you zoom in closer into upper frequencies, upper mids and treble, the difference is reversed with R01 being brighter and more revealing while RS6 being a little smoother. As a result of this difference, the overall tonality of RS6 is more neutral while R01 sounds more revealing. Not exactly a night and day difference, but it is noticeable.
RS6 vs L&P P6 Pro – P6 Pro soundstage spreads wider, but overall technical performance is not too far off either. The biggest difference here is in the impact/weight of the bass, being more elevated in P6 Pro. Also, more thickness in lower mids of P6 Pro, giving the sound more analog body and warmth, which makes RS6 sound more neutral and slightly more relaxed in comparison. That’s just based on sound performance and while using Traillii. As far as overall DAP performance, P6 Pro is audio playback only device with Bluetooth Rx and limited user interface, while RS6 is a fully featured Android DAP, not to forget that P6 Pro cost 2.5x more.
RS6 vs Hiby R6 2020 – very similar soundstage expansion with RS6, for a change, spreading just a little bit wider. The biggest difference that stood out for me was black background of RS6, very noticeable how pitch back the background of that DAP is. That also created a perception in improvement of vertical dynamics in RS6 sound. Not a night and day difference with R6 2020, but noticeable enough to appreciate it. Also, I hear mids to have a similar natural tonality but RS6 lower mids have more body while R6 2020 is a little more neutral. The biggest difference is in treble where I hear R6 2020 to be brighter with more sparkle while RS6 is smoother. Due to this treble difference, RS6 sounds more natural and organic, while R6 2020 sounds brighter and more revealing.
RS6 vs Hiby R8 – while RS6 soundstage is not too far off, R8 spreads a little wider and I noticed a more holographic 3D imaging in R8 which could be part of the perception due to more revealing nature of R8 tuning. Aside from soundstage and imaging difference, R8 mids are brighter and thinner, creating a more revealing reference sound while RS6 has a fuller body more natural organic sound tonality. R8 also has a brighter treble sparkle with more air while RS6 has a more natural and smoother treble extension. I’m also noticing a blacker background in RS6. Also, worth mentioning, if you are dealing with demanding headphones and need extra power, R8 has advantage of higher output power and Turbo boost mode.