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  • Sleek Audio SA6 In-Ear Earphones (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
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Sleek Audio SA6 In-Ear Earphones (Discontinued by Manufacturer)

Currently unavailable.
We don't know when or if this item will be back in stock.
  • Wide Band Balanced Armature Driver with Custom Porting
  • The Unique VQ System Enables Personalization of Your Listening Experience by Acoustically Altering the Frequency Response
  • Replaceable / Interchangeable Swivel Cables
  • Scratch-Resistant Polycarbonate Case
  • 60 Inch Cable, 50 ohm Impedance, Lightweight

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Technical Details

  • Brand Name: Sleek Audio
  • Model: SA6
  • Color Name: Black/Chrome
  • Item Weight: 0.1 pounds

Product Details

  • Item Weight: 1.6 ounces
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Shipping: This item is also available for shipping to select countries outside the U.S.
  • ASIN: B0018144R0
  • Item model number: SA6
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Date first available at April 18, 2008

Product Description Review: Sleek Audio SA6 Lets You Build Your Perfect Headphone

Thirty years of creating high-end hearing aids have given Sleek Audio a unique take on earphone design. The SA6 is the first completely adjustable in-ear monitor; meaning that the user can physically customize the headphone's equalization characteristics through a set of interchangeable bass ports and treble tips. Various endpieces governing the earphone's bass and treble are included in the package, letting you literally build the kind of headphone that sounds the way you prefer.

Sleek Audio SA6 Design and Accessories

The SA6 comes with modular ports, multiple tips, and a cleaning tool
The SA6 arrives in a fit and finish that that certainly lives up to the Sleek name. Packaging is tastefully minimalistic, and the case and earphones are outfitted in a stylish black and chrome scheme that looks futuristic without appearing overly flashy. The kit comes with three sets of bass adjustment ports, three sets of treble adjustment tips, and three sets of differently sized silicone ear tips. It also includes a cleaning pick, which is important because in-ear monitors sit deeply inside of the ear canal and can become clogged with wax over time.

These earphones are surprisingly small, even when compared to other in-ear models. They are significantly smaller than the Ultimate Ears and Shure E2c; and while thinner in profile, they are only slightly larger overall than V-Moda's Vibe earphones. When inserted, they barely stick out from the ear and are quite comfortable to wear when you're lying on one side.

In-ear earphones, or "canalphones", use the ear canal as the resonating chamber for the sound they produce. Sleek Audio argues that no two people have the same listening experience with standard canalphones, since their ear canals are shaped differently. This design philosophy has resulted in the totally modular and customizable design of the SA6. Their Variable Equalization System uses interchangeable bass ports and treble tips to physically alter the earphone's sound reproduction characteristics, allowing the user to personalize their listening experience.

The bass ports plug into the rear of the headphone unit. The Bass- port is essentially a solid rubber plug. The neutral Bass port is hollow, and the Bass+ port is hollow with a small hole in the rear wall. Each of these affect the earphone's ability to "breathe", and result in some fairly significant changes in bass quality and amount.

The treble tips are inserted into the front of the unit, and each has different type of material inside of it that alters high-frequency sounds. The yellow Treble- tip appears to have an opaque fabric mesh, the green neutral tip appears to have a thin fabric mesh, while the gray Treble+ tip has a thin metal screen.

Changing either of these is a simple task, however the bass ports seem to pop off a little too easily. Losing them is not much of a concern though, since you have to slip a fingernail underneath to get at them. The treble tips lock in with a double-flange design. They pull straight out with a bit of force, and require the same to snap back into place.

Following the SA6 design trend, the cord is also modular and disconnects from each of the earphone units. This allows it to either hang directly down from the earphones, or it can be rotated up and looped around the top of the ear. Unfortunately, the Left and Right channel designations stamped on to the earphone jacks are fairly difficult to see under normal use. This often leads me to resort to trial-and-error to find out if I've put them in correctly most of the time. The cable has a Y-split and an adjustable bolo slider which significantly cuts down on cord microphonics.

While the earphones are detachable, they take a bit of force to remove from the cord and I have no worries about losing them. It has gold-plated contacts on both the earphone jacks and the 3.5mm mini-jack. Additionally, the mini-jack is on a compact right-angle plug and it has a very robust tension relief sleeve to protect the connection.

Sleek Audio has definitely worked magic with the dual-flanged silicone ear tips. They come in three sizes--8mm, 10mm and 12mm--and are very comfortable to wear, even for long periods of time. Although the ear tips are thin and flexible, they do an excellent job of isolating you from outside sound. In fact, I decided to mow my yard while wearing them and was very pleased to find that I could hardly hear the lawn mower with my Creative Zen 16GB at half volume.

Sonic Performance: How It Sounds

Build your perfect headphone with the SA6's fully modular design--
the parts you choose affect your sound
The neutral bass ports result in well-defined but slightly underpowered low and mid-bass. Kick drums are clean, while bass from acoustic and electronic sources sounds wide-bodied but not blown out and boomy. The Bass- ports noticeably zap low bass response, but they affect mid-bass to a much smaller degree. I'm not a fan of highly "colored" bass response, so I was expecting to enjoy the Bass+ port the least. I was pleasantly surprised to hear the low and mid-bass pick up the power that was missing from the neutral bass port. However, the trade-off is that a bit of clarity and speed is lost. Lower electronic bass is affected the most here, and is most noticeable in complex passages of music. That said, the effect wasn't great enough to make me switch back to the more anemic neutral ports.

Midrange and treble are where the SA6 really shines. The vocal range is clean and detailed without sounding clinical or cold. Midrange sounds are only slightly affected by the choice of treble tip, which goes to show that the bass ports and treble tips work as intended and only alter their respective ranges. The choice of treble tip doesn't color music to the degree that the bass ports do. The Treble- and neutral treble tips sound very similar: smooth, natural and clean. The Treble- tip does make a noticeable cut in the high-end volume though. Using the Treble+ tip gives the SA6 a marked response in the extension of high-end frequencies. Unlike the Bass+ port, the Treble+ tip trades off nothing to make its gain. There isn't any harshness or distortion to fatigue you, just additional clarity and brilliance that all music can benefit from.

Conclusion: Great Sound, Versatile, Comfortable

Sleek Audio is certainly off on the right foot with the SA6. Its modular customization isn't just a gimmick--it actually works, and can make a noticeable change in the character of an already well-balanced earphone. They are very comfortable and are easy to wear for extended periods of time. Losing parts is admittedly a minor risk, however you would probably have to engage in extreme physical activity to do it. Even so, all parts are easily replaceable from the manufacturer. If you are someone who likes to tweak your gear and are looking for a high-quality earphone upgrade, you can't go wrong with the Sleek Audio SA6. --Jon Dale (photos by Chrissy Mayor)

What's In the Box

Multipack ear tips, tip cleaning tool, treble tuning ports, bass tuning ports, and carrying case.

Technical Specifications

  • Standard Cable: 60 inches
  • Impedance: 50 ohm
  • DC Resistance: 24 ohm
  • Speaker Type: Ultra Wide Band Balanced Armature Driver with Custom Porting
  • Sensitivity: 110 dB SPL/mW

Product Description

Sleek Audio has developed VQ System technology, the first-ever customizable earphone. The SA6 in-ear earphone allows users to adjust the sound, by changing out the treble and bass ports in order to manipulate both the low and high freq-uencies. You can create “Music in Tune with You” by simply switching the proper treble and bass ports to match your audio fingerprint and maximize your Audio Experience.

Customer Questions & Answers

Customer Reviews

That is why I was willing to spend the money.
A few months of normal wear, not even everyday, and the cable had frayed at the y junction, wires exposed, electrical tape only worked for so long.
I contacted customer service after the first cable failure and was told that the cable only carries a 30-day warranty.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Stuff Lover on July 3, 2008
I got a pair of SA6s several months ago, not from Amazon (they weren't for sale here then), and I have to say, after more than a dozen purchases and resales, these phones are simply the best value in sound quality around. In fact, some very experienced headphone fans tout them as if not equal, better than more expensive in-ear style portable phones from more well-known companies such as UE, Shure, Etymotics, etc.

In fact, I had some Ety ER4Ps, which while they deliver a very high-quality sound, lack the overall balanced (mids, bass, highs) that the SA6s deliver.

Some reasons to buy these phones if you are in the market for a phones that will make your DAP sound its best:

1. While the cost may seem high, they are a bargain compared to more expensive phones.
2. They have a modular design that lets you adjust SQ to suit your individual taste, without having to use EQ on your DAP (you can do that too, of course). Also, no portable amp required for quality sound, as they are very efficient and generate plenty of volume).
3. They can be worn hanging down or over the ear (I use the former), so you are not locked into an over the ear design, which many of the higher-end phones require.
4. They can be used with several sleeve styles, including foamies from Shure (the black olives work best), so you are not stuck with silicone flanges. The Sleek flanges are very comfy, but if you prefer foamies, you can use them too.
5. SQ-wise, they are very balanced, and really deliver mid/highs, depending on the treble tip you choose. That's good for fans of vocals, jazz, acoustic music, etc. No rolled off mids or highs. Bass-wise, they are fine. Maybe not as pronounced as other IEMs, but perfectly fine.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By brian on November 12, 2009
Verified Purchase
I've had these for a little over a year now. The sound is great. I would say the price is accurate for the sound quality.

That said, my THIRD cable in a little over a year has just failed. THEY ARE $25 TO REPLACE. I feel like such an idiot, ~$100 bucks (25+shipping each time) wasted on replacement cables.

The first cable broke when it got snagged on a door handle. My fault, but it tore very, very easily. I got a replacement. A few months of normal wear, not even everyday, and the cable had frayed at the y junction, wires exposed, electrical tape only worked for so long. Eventually it shorted, died. I got a replacement.

Now, after another 4-5 months, the cable to the left ear has just stopped working. No sign of damage, no fraying, just stopped working today. You can switch the actual speaker ends, and each still work, so you know it's the cable. THE DAMN CABLE AGAIN.

I am BEYOND frustrated. I have owned Sony, Shure, Etymotic, and plenty of other high end ear buds and phones and have NEVER had cable problems like this. I'm done, not getting a replacement cable, just gonna get something else.

So, just keep in mind that this is ~$200 initially, with about $50-$100 per year in additional maintenance.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By L. Topper on September 17, 2008
Verified Purchase
I have only had the earphones for a short period of time. I am still breaking them in. I have to say that this earphone is not the first that I have experienced that allows you to adjust the acoustics, but it is more easily done with this earphonephone. Pioneer makes a headphone that allows you to adjust the acoustics, but I have not been able to adjust both the bass and treble at the same time. It appears that you can only do so one at a time. It is also more difficult to accomplish. Lastly, this headphone is more comfortable to fit in my ears. The Pioneer headphones are only available in Japan or you have to go to an importer. In short, they are easier to use, easier to find in the United States, and more comfortable than the Pioneer.

A good fit is absolutely essential in an earphone. Without a good seal, you have no idea what the earphone actually sounds like. This design with the three sizes of flanged earpieces works well for me. Another reviewer suggested that the ear pieces marketed by Shure will fit too. This earphone is designed to fit by inserting directly into the ear or after wrapping the cord over the back of the ear. In short, it is well designed to fit well. This is even more important with this phone because I found that the sound is much better if the earphone is really inserted far into the ear canal like the Etymotic 4P or 4S. While the sound is not as crisp with treble as in the Etymotic, it has more bass presence that is resonant.

Finally, the replaceable cord is a great feature since cord degradation is among the most common reasons for earphones to fail over time. You should be able to purchase another chord if necessary without purchasing the entire new assembly.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By ChockNRock@Yahoo.Com on August 29, 2009
After more extensive use, it seems Amazon allows me to change the wording of my review, but not the number of stars. I now give this product two stars due to repeated cord durability issue.

I am a detail-oriented person who has used the wireless bundle a few months now.

Concept A+

Options for various tonal qualities via included interchangeable tips. Compact and thus highly portable. If wire becomes damaged, buy replacement cord instead of whole product, and just snap the monitors off the old one and onto the new. Wireless sound option if you pay extra. Various ear flange sizes included.

Product likely uses a lot less battery power from portable devices than much larger drivers in over-the-ear headphones. All three components of the wireless option are low profile, instead of big and bulky. Wireless option uses Kleer Audio, which is almost surely the best & clearest wireless format available (there may never be a better format).

Comfort: A

Comfortable for long term use. In-ear monitors may tickle occasionally inside the ear compared to over the ear type. But they do not have the bulk on your head, and do not cause the head sweat of over-the-ear types when exercising, or when ambient temperature is warm or hot. Wireless option (extra) is very lightweight and battery hangs via very short wires under your chin or behind your head; very comfortable.

Wired Sound:
A (compared to other in-ear monitors)
A- (compared to quality over-the-ear headphones)

High quality over-the-ear types have more actual, physical, bass boom feel, but that physical bass likely sucks down the battery of portable devices much much faster than in-ear monitors.
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