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  1. #1

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    Default Polk Ultrafocus 6000

    It's summer and it seems I'm flying a bit more than usual these days.

    I have been thinking about getting some active noise canceling head phones or IEM's. The Ultrafocus 8000's are getting amazing reviews for sound quality and pretty good reviews for noise canceling. (Excellent review (w/ video) on noise canceling headphones from Inner Fidelity)

    I'm more interested in the 6000's which are IEM's. Mainly because of the price point and IEM's should provide better isolation. There are a few reviews out there, but you never know what random folks expect from a set of head phones. I checked the product page here but no reviews were to be found. I think Mark had some out for demos.

    So has anyone here tried the 6000's or have opinions about them?

    Scott
    Without music to decorate it, time is just a bunch of boring production deadlines or dates by which bills must be paid. ..... Frank Zappa

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    I'd really like to hear both of these. I've seen Tyl's review of the 8000 but would really like to see a couple more reviews before I buy those. If I hadn't spent so much money in the last year on doing headphone and DAC comparisons I'd be able to afford these
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    I know a bunch of 6k and 8k headphones were handed out to demo... where are those reviews folks!?

    I've been anxiously waiting to hear some feedback.

  4. #4

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    I am also wanting to try out the Ultrafocus 6000s. I find that the IEM's do not get in the way when you are traveling or trying to sleep on a plane or car. The over the ears just will not work for me, especially when on a plane and the bulk limits your head position while trying to sleep. The one thing that may affect my decision in purchasing the Ultrafocus 6000 is it may not work without a battery. One of my requirements is it must still isolate well and still play music when the battery dies.

    I am currently using the Audio Technica ANC 23 IEM's which isolate,has active noise cancellation and could still be used without the battery turned on. The sound quality is good considering the in-ears with 12.5mm driver. I use the this at work and travel. I have tried the isolation and cancellation while driving with the windows down and it works very good. At work, with the noise cancellation off and music on but at low volumes, I could not hear the people talking but I could hear the constant sound of the air conditioning. Once I turn the active noise cancelling on, all background noise disappears. Another plus for these IEM's is it blocks out the talkative girlfriend. I did also buy the comply foam tips to use with this IEM and works better due to a better fit. The battery has lasted well over 100 hours and have not changed to a new one yet.

    So it will be interesting to get more information on the Ultrafocus 6000s.

    Halen

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    I've got a pair of the 8000 and the 6000 both on order. I feel pretty good about the 8000 given their form and the competition there, I'm a bit more nervous about the 6000. There are ALOT of good IEMs on the market and quite a few really good ones in that price range, Polk had their work cur out for them on this model, we'll see how they did soon enough.
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  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by AsSiMiLaTeD View Post
    I've got a pair of the 8000 and the 6000 both on order. I feel pretty good about the 8000 given their form and the competition there, I'm a bit more nervous about the 6000. There are ALOT of good IEMs on the market and quite a few really good ones in that price range, Polk had their work cur out for them on this model, we'll see how they did soon enough.
    Cant wait to hear your thoughts. Especially against the PSB's. It is only fair to compare the noise cancellation and sound versus the others.

  7. #7

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    I'm thinking about just ordering a pair of 6000's too. They are only $150. After doing some more reading and searching, I like quite a few of the things Polk decided as design choices to go with.

    The Flat Kevlar reinforced cables are a nice touch for durability. I usually prefer to wear cables over my ears to reduce micro-phonics, but since the 6000 are a hybrid IEM (meaning shallow fit), perhaps micro-phonics won't be as much of an issue. The shallow fit design of these also means that they should be more comfortable for folks that have never tried IEM's. I'm guessing here, but the shallow fit may also mean a little more tip experimentation will be necessary to get a good seal.

    They have a great sensitivity rating and with an impedance of 16 ohms, no headphone amp should be needed. Most have described the 6000's as having a thumpy, forward bass. Usually not what I'm looking for in headphones but I'm sure the folks using their iPhone as a music source with lossy files will appreciate the extra bass they can get out of them.

    I'd buy the 8000's but I really didn't want to carry something that big just for airplane travel. (I fly a fair bit but it is only increasing to about 8 weeks out of the year.) I don't have the opportunity to use them in an office setting as I don't work in one. I'm really happy with my Audeo PFE 112's and will continue to use those in the hotels and around town when traveling.

    Decisions, decisions. I'm going to order something today. The only thing making it more difficult is the 25% off sale at headphone solutions that ends today. (The don't carry Polk).

    Scott
    Without music to decorate it, time is just a bunch of boring production deadlines or dates by which bills must be paid. ..... Frank Zappa

    My Mid-Fi Systems - In The Showcase

  8. #8
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    I'm not exactly unbiased here but I'll tell you my experiences with each. First of all, because the 6000 is more portable, I use it more often that the 8000. I use it while doing chores in and outside, lounging around like at the pool, and generally moving around. They won't won't stay in as well a UltraFit but they're no slouch. (I wouldn't go to the gym without my training shoes or my UF3000) With the proper tip (Trust me - try every one until you're sure you have the best fit), the combination of having the headphone in your ear and the active cancelation is a very at reducing the outside noises to an absolute minimum. The audio is outstanding. great bass, definition and dynamic range.

    Audio performace is what the 8000 is about. The noise cancelation is very good: however, the QC is better at cancelation. But the 8000's performance kicks their ass. I wear my 8000's on the plane, at the office so I can't hear the phone :) and listening to the TV when everyone eles is trying to sleep.

    I'll not do an acoustric review since you won't believe me anyway. If you can't wait for the pairs circulating through the forum to get to you, order them from us or our dealers. We and most dealers offer a 30 no-risk guarantee. Try them. Keep or send'em back; no questions asked.

    Al

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by kab View Post
    I'm not exactly unbiased here but I'll tell you my experiences with each. First of all, because the 6000 is more portable, I use it more often that the 8000. I use it while doing chores in and outside, lounging around like at the pool, and generally moving around. They won't won't stay in as well a UltraFit but they're no slouch. (I wouldn't go to the gym without my training shoes or my UF3000) With the proper tip (Trust me - try every one until you're sure you have the best fit), the combination of having the headphone in your ear and the active cancelation is a very at reducing the outside noises to an absolute minimum. The audio is outstanding. great bass, definition and dynamic range.

    Audio performace is what the 8000 is about. The noise cancelation is very good: however, the QC is better at cancelation. But the 8000's performance kicks their ass. I wear my 8000's on the plane, at the office so I can't hear the phone :) and listening to the TV when everyone eles is trying to sleep.

    I'll not do an acoustric review since you won't believe me anyway. If you can't wait for the pairs circulating through the forum to get to you, order them from us or our dealers. We and most dealers offer a 30 no-risk guarantee. Try them. Keep or send'em back; no questions asked.

    Al
    Does it still play music when the battery dies or when active cancellation is not turned on? What is the cable length from IEM to NC and NC to the plug? Is there a volume control?

    Halen
    Last edited by halenhoang; 07-09-2012 at 12:10 AM.

  10. #10

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    I wonder how these (8000) would compare to my current Sennheiser PXC 350's? I like the Senns, but very curious to hear what the Polk models can bring to the table.
    Shoot the jumper.....................BALLIN.............!!!! !

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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by halenhoang View Post
    Does it still play music when the battery dies or when active cancellation is not turned on? What is the cable length from IEM to NC and NC to the plug? Is there a volume control?

    Halen
    Noise cancelation, thus the power, must be on for the headphones to play. Our engineers determined that to get the best performance, they would optimize with active equalization while noise canceling is functioning.

    In the 8000, the battery and electronics are in the headset. One the earpiece are the three-button controls specifically for iPod, iPhone and iPad, including volume and a built-in mic for taking and answering calls. The 8000 also has push to hear.

    The 6000 has push to hear contol - you can push the button to hear whomever may be talking to you without removing the headphones. It does not have volume. To get accurate measurements, call customer service. I'm just a marketing guy but i'm measuring my pair and don't quote me but it's 17.5" from the battery pack to the plug and 34.5" to the base of the earpiece. The battery pack is 2.25"

  12. #12

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    Kab,

    Thank you very much sir!

  13. #13

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    I kind of went a different way on my purchase. Before I get into the reasons for that, I think the 8000's will be a hit for discerning travelers who want better music than what their Bose provide. From everything I could find after a day of research, everyone really likes the sound quality of the 8000's. Bose seems to be thought of has having better noise canceling, but a very muddy sound. Personally, I would much prefer better sound quality. I think the current Bose users, who are looking for better sound will switch.

    A rule that most folks follow is; if you don't need noise canceling don't buy them as you will get better sound from regular phones. I really wanted to get 8000's but they would only get used about 16 - 20 times a year on the actual flights for a couple hours each time. Including airport time, this would probably only be 100 hours a year. If I was flying more, or making international flights the cost of good noise canceling phones wouldn't be an issue.

    Mainly due to the sale, I decided to spend my dollars on Westone 4r's. These will get a lot more use in the hotel room and also when ever I'm on the go. While I didn't want to go full size for noise canceling, I let my wallet decide as I found a really good price on Audio Technica ATH-ANC7b's. These have been rated very high for noise canceling, even if the sound quality wasn't as good. Plus at $80 (factory refurbished with the same warranty as new) this was kind of hard to pass up. Sacrificing sound quality is something I normally wouldn't opt for, but considering they are only going to be used less than 100 hours per year it seemed like good compromise.

    I'm still interested in the 6000's and would be interested in hearing what folks have to say about them. My guess is I'll still probably get a pair, but not this month.

    Al, thanks for taking the time to give us some information about yours.

    Scott
    Without music to decorate it, time is just a bunch of boring production deadlines or dates by which bills must be paid. ..... Frank Zappa

    My Mid-Fi Systems - In The Showcase

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    I got these in today. They're not burned in so this my first impression.

    Superb, absolutely frikkin fantastic!

    I'm going to hold off on further statements or any comparisons until they're broken in and I can run them through my typical gambit of music, but first impressions are very good.

    One more note, they are ginormous!

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by AsSiMiLaTeD View Post
    I got these in today. They're not burned in so this my first impression.

    Superb, absolutely frikkin fantastic!

    I'm going to hold off on further statements or any comparisons until they're broken in and I can run them through my typical gambit of music, but first impressions are very good.

    One more note, they are ginormous!
    Congrats on the purchase. Can you tell me where you purchased? I'm interested in these, but looking to get a good deal on a pair. Thanks and happy listening bro.
    Shoot the jumper.....................BALLIN.............!!!! !

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  16. #16

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    I bought mine directly from Polk. I probably could have found them cheaper elsewhere but I wanted to deal directly with Polk, there's than damn brand loyalty kicking in again...

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gadabout View Post
    I kind of went a different way on my purchase. Before I get into the reasons for that, I think the 8000's will be a hit for discerning travelers who want better music than what their Bose provide. From everything I could find after a day of research, everyone really likes the sound quality of the 8000's. Bose seems to be thought of has having better noise canceling, but a very muddy sound. Personally, I would much prefer better sound quality. I think the current Bose users, who are looking for better sound will switch.

    A rule that most folks follow is; if you don't need noise canceling don't buy them as you will get better sound from regular phones. I really wanted to get 8000's but they would only get used about 16 - 20 times a year on the actual flights for a couple hours each time. Including airport time, this would probably only be 100 hours a year. If I was flying more, or making international flights the cost of good noise canceling phones wouldn't be an issue.

    Mainly due to the sale, I decided to spend my dollars on Westone 4r's. These will get a lot more use in the hotel room and also when ever I'm on the go. While I didn't want to go full size for noise canceling, I let my wallet decide as I found a really good price on Audio Technica ATH-ANC7b's. These have been rated very high for noise canceling, even if the sound quality wasn't as good. Plus at $80 (factory refurbished with the same warranty as new) this was kind of hard to pass up. Sacrificing sound quality is something I normally wouldn't opt for, but considering they are only going to be used less than 100 hours per year it seemed like good compromise.

    I'm still interested in the 6000's and would be interested in hearing what folks have to say about them. My guess is I'll still probably get a pair, but not this month.

    Al, thanks for taking the time to give us some information about yours.

    Scott
    Congrats on the Westone 4rs. I'm a big fan of Westone products, having previously owned UM-2s and currently very happy with my Westone3s. Have you used other Westone IEMs? I'd love to hear your impressions of the 4rs. I haven't heard them yet, but from everything I've read they seem really nice. I'm also sort of looking for some active noise cancellers, although the Westone3s have served me very well on many flights including a couple of longer international flights.

  18. #18

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    Quick update...

    So I ran these through the 'bass' test. On the Dark Knight soundtrack the first track "Why So Serious" has some serious low end a little more than 3 minutes in that is very difficult to reproduce well. Most headphones either don't attempt to reproduce it at all and sorta wimp out there, or try to reproduce it and can't handle it and it turns into a muddy slurred mess. These headphones reproduce it effortlessly.

    Assuming the sound on these doesn't change or only gets better when they break in Polk has a real winner on their hands with this model, wish you guys could see the smile on my face
    Last edited by AsSiMiLaTeD; 07-17-2012 at 06:57 PM.
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  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sherardp View Post
    Congrats on the purchase. Can you tell me where you purchased? I'm interested in these, but looking to get a good deal on a pair. Thanks and happy listening bro.
    When I was checking for different prices on the Polk headphones, every place that carried them were all at MSRP.

    That being said, Polk is running a promotion http://www.polkaudio.com/promotions/free-ultrafit-3000-promotion :

    FREE UltraFit 3000 Promotion

    Purchase $299 or more in Polk Home Audio Products or Headphones and receive a FREE pair of UltraFit 3000 Headphones. Customers who purchase UltraFocus 6000 can receive a FREE pair of UltraFit 500 Headphones
    .

    Scott
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  20. #20

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    Congrats on the Westone 4rs. I'm a big fan of Westone products, having previously owned UM-2s and currently very happy with my Westone3s. Have you used other Westone IEMs? I'd love to hear your impressions of the 4rs. I haven't heard them yet, but from everything I've read they seem really nice. I'm also sort of looking for some active noise cancellers, although the Westone3s have served me very well on many flights including a couple of longer international flights
    These are the first Westone's I have owned. I was looking for something that would be an upgrade with a similar sound signature as the Audeo PFE 112, that I bought last year. The Westone's seem fairly well balanced with none of the lows, mids or highs being what I would call forward.

    I've got about 20 hours on the new headphones, the first 10 was probably finding the tips that worked the best for me (shure silicone olives). I'm really happy so far and expect them to get better. I have found that I prefer to have the sound colored somewhat, when using headphones to listen to music. I also prefer to use the EQ in the Cowon to accomplish it, as it will vary from music type and album.

    The Shure olives have provided a real good seal so I get a excellent bass without being boomy. The mids are probably, the best part of the 4r's. The are lush and full. The highs are very clear, but I find I usually choose an EQ setting that enhances the highs a bit more. I like the snap of the high hat to be bit more forward. They perform well with this setting and deliver nice crisp highs.

    The 4r's will also show how good or bad the music was mastered. On some of the newer rock / pop songs you can tell there is something missing in the music. There just isn't the full, lush sound that you get from a well mastered jazz recording or from the older rock recordings. Even playing with custom EQ settings, I can make the music sound better, but there is always something missing. If your music isn't in lossless, you might be disappointed by the 4r's. They will show you flaws in the recording process.

    I haven't tried these on any average bit rate MP3's yet. I'll get to that after I get more time on the phones. I'm really pleased with the sound from these and I expect as they break-in, they will get even better. I'll update the thread at about 50 hours of listening, if things have changed.

    The Audio-Technica 7b's perform about as expected. They are very good at noise canceling. They performed well with the audio book I was listening too and also when i was watching TV on the flight. They were a little disappointing, when I tried them with music. I really didn't enjoy music on them at all and I switched to the Westone's. Even with a good seal (and what I assume is close to a -20db reduction from exterior noise), I found myself boosting the volume over my normal settings to get rid of the ambient engine noise. They sounded good, but if I was flying a lot, I'm sure I would find the Ultrafocus 8000's a necessity.

    Hope that helps,
    Scott
    Without music to decorate it, time is just a bunch of boring production deadlines or dates by which bills must be paid. ..... Frank Zappa

    My Mid-Fi Systems - In The Showcase

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    Thanks for the detailed writeup. With my Westone 3s, I alternate between the Shure Olives, and some Shure Triple flange tips, that I cut down to dual flange. The dual flange tips do a better job of isolating, so that might be something to try for plane flights. I've never used active noise cancelling phones on a flight, so don't really know the differences, but I don't really have to raise the volume much when using the Westone 3s with the dual flange tips. I think I'll probably try the Westone 4s at some point. I think that the Westone 3s are a little less accurate, as they have a bit of a mid-bass hump, but it doesn't really bother me for the music I usually listen to, at least not enough to warrant spending the money for the Westone 4s.

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