Review of Polk Ultra Focus 6000 & 8000 - Preliminaries
First a word about what was used to test these head phones and the how the comparison was done. Both of these headphones, are designed for use as portable headphones and for use with portable music sources. I used a Cowon J3 player with FLAC files for all comparisons.
Those that know Cowon, know that they have some of the best EQ settings to color the music the way you want to hear it. I didn't play the purist and turn off the EQ. In real life, I pick an EQ setting that makes the music sound more pleasing to me and I did this through out this test. Usually the EQ setting I use is particular to an album, more than a single track. I also have 2 user programmed EQ settings that I have fine tuned a bit and almost always I'm using one of those settings. No notes were made on what EQ setting was used as I did the comparison grading.
The music selections were a variety of what I listen too; Blues, Jazz, Rock, Instrumental just to name a few. I also pay particular attention to masters. A lot of the older music seems to be mastered with a more of a full spectrum of the sound compared to the newer music that might have a higher base volume (hot) which limits the spectrum. I tried to put a good mix of different style masters, knowing that not everyone would appreciate my oldies rock records because they are mastered better (IMO).
I did 2 comparisons, one to compare the noise canceling abilities and a separate comparison for music listening. No music was played during the noise canceling tests. Perhaps not a fair test, but I was interested in which one really eliminated the most background noise. To test the noise canceling I used sound files played from my computer speakers. The airplane files were played at 80 dB the other files were played at 65 dB.
The rating system was done with 1 as the best and other following in sequence by the number of phones being tested. If you see a rating of 6, this isn't to indicate this a terrible rating. It just shows that it was the least preferable for that music selection. I created a spread sheet for the comparison ratings and it is attached. It lists the phone, song or sound and artist. You will also find some notes that I typed as I was listening about the music and phones. This is attached in .pdf format.
One last note. I didn't test the function of these with the iPhone for stopping the music and picking up a phone call. I'm sure it works fine, but I don't listen to music on my iPhone. Enough with the preliminaries and on with the impressions.