April 19, 2021

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The small Colorful U6 has the same energy as bricks

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Seriously speaking, the first piece of “Brick” should be HIFIMAN’s HM801, but I believe that many people, like me, started to know “Brick” from Colorful C4. Retro design, rough texture, weak interaction, and large size constitute the first batch keywords of domestic portable HiFi players in the post-MP3 era. Condensed into two words, it is “National Brick.”

What is embarrassing is that Colorful, as the earliest preacher of National Brick, has been silent for a long time after C4 and has not launched a similar product that has attracted attention. It is not until the flagship model U8 that Colorful has truly returned to the player’s attention. However, as the first model of Colorful, U8 has been criticized a lot in experience and endurance. After the “rehabilitation training”, the U6 launched by Colorful could finally be regarded as a relatively mature product.

This “maturity” is first reflected in the body design. U6 abandoned the flashy sliding touch volume adjustment method of U8 and replaced it with a more pragmatic scroll wheel, and the damping of this scroll wheel is not bad. The dark green color of the body also matches well. At the same time, the shape of the power button of U6 is also more conventional. The three-key pad on the left side of the music and play/pause is much higher than the body, and it is much more comfortable to operate blindly. The disadvantage is that it is easier to be touched by mistake.

Among the portable DAPs at the same price, U6 is a relatively small product. It is shorter than Astell & Kern’s main compact and portable SR25 next door and has a slightly larger thickness and width. The two’s the size and specifications are the same, and it is easy to operate with one hand. Easy. Regarding the design of U6, I only have two opinions: one is that the TF will protrude slightly from the body after it is inserted into the card slot; the other is that the balanced interface of U6 is neither 2.5mm nor 4.4mm, but it’s not a big deal. I love the 3.5Pro. It makes it difficult to find headphones and upgrade cables compatible with its balanced interface on the market. As a compensation solution, U6 comes with a small tail that adapts to 2.5mm. However, the transfer is only a “will” after all. The answer, let alone 4.4mm, users still have to prepare their own adapter cable.

Although the appearance design of U6 quickly returned to normal after learning the experience of U8, the software experience is not something that can be done overnight. U6’s fluency is good, but the interactive experience is not very friendly to be honest. Its interface and logic have many problems: for example, the volume adjustment animation cannot be manually exited quickly, and the white background album cover invades the top bar. The battery and volume information can’t be seen clearly. For example, the category navigation bar is too narrow, which often results in the track being clicked by mistake. For example, it does not support the automatic pause when the headset is unplugged. In short, it is quite annoying, let alone streaming. Also, the battery life of U6 is much better than that of U8, but it is far from excellent. Charging only supports 5V 2A. It is not even compatible with the USB-C output of the PD charger. The heat generation is relatively large. If you don’t wear a protective cover, you can hold it. It’s uncomfortable to hold.

However, it may have something to do with its calorific value, but the mini U6 sound has plenty of energy. Suppose you look at the paper parameters alone. In that case, the output level of U6 is only 2.1vrms, the balance is 4.2vrms, and the maximum output power is 130MW, which is very close to the previous generation products (SP1000, SE100, SR15) of Astell & Kern that the bricks most despise. However, for the vast majority of earplugs, pushing well is not directly related to the maximum output power of the front end (unless it is weaker than Walkman). The “pushing well” that players want nothing more than solid density and dynamic fullness. The primary manifestation of the lack of thrust is the weak active dispersion of density. Here, U6 is not sleepy, although the output of 2.1vrms. It seems that the level is somewhat weak, but it also boasts a dynamic range of 121dB.

And it is worth praising that the “dynamic” of U6 is indeed achieved by excellent dynamic performance, rather than raising the energy distribution to make a more aggressive and intense look. In terms of energy distribution, U6 is just a more balanced and relatively balanced device. It does not deliberately highlight high and low frequencies or strengthen the sense of speed to put on a wide-open posture, and it will not cause apparent interference with the style of the headset itself. Sufficient dynamic reserve and unbiased sound make U6 have good adaptability to all kinds of music and different headphones styles.

The only problem that can be found out is that the single ended voice of U6 has a grain feeling that is easy to detect. Although the volume of U6 is quite large and the paper parameters are close, the dynamic driven by U6 is obviously better than that of sr25, but the timbre of sr25 is more delicate and fluent than that of U6 – at this time, it is necessary to move out the balance port.

The only fault that can be singled out is that the U6’s single-ended tone has a graininess that is easier to detect. Although the volume is comparable to paper and the parameters are close, the dynamics that U6 can drive are significantly better than that of SR25, but the sound of SR25 is a bit more delicate and smooth than U6-at this time, we need to move out of the balance port.

U6’s balance port appearance and single-ended consistency are still relatively high, and the energy distribution is still relatively balanced. The balance port of U6 will not be as much faster than single-port cold and thin as some products. On this basis, you can perceive the density advantage brought by the increase in the balanced port’s driving force, which will make the U6 sound more solid and smoother than the single port, in other words, make up for the only shortcoming of the single-port.

Then there is the normal operation of balancing the output and increasing the separation, the sound field will stretch out more openly, and the sense of layering will be clearer and scattered There is no obvious improvement in the dynamic aspect, but the single port dynamic of U6 is good enough.

So I prefer the balanced port of U6, but unfortunately, it is 3.5Pro, which significantly reduces the convenience of use. I can only use the adapter cable that comes with U6 without the 3.5Pro plug wire. Fortunately, U6’s single-port is also quite good. When it’s troublesome, it’s not much worse to use the single port.

In terms of collocation, U6’s sound is not biased, so the earplugs are more comfortable. The sound of the earplugs I have with U6 is more faithful to the original style of earplugs. Even for a hard-to-drive model like the RS10, ample dynamic reserves make it completely audible. So if you use U6 as the primary front-end, you can directly choose the corresponding earphones according to your sound preferences. It would be better if Sirius II or Artemis comes with 3.5Pro products (although The material of the adapter cable is the same as that of the headphone cable, which avoids the influence caused by the adapter cable included with U6).

As for music types, U6 does not choose songs because of its balanced energy distribution. Moreover, compared with ZX505 and SR25, which also belong to the “MP3 type”, U6 is more competent for rock or symphony tracks with its dynamic advantages. Unlike C4, which was often paired with IE8 in those years, U6 now has a good tolerance for different styles of headphones and different types of music.

In general, as a portable player with a price of $570.00, U6’s appearance design, volume control, and sound quality performance are all satisfactory to me. The following two points need to be improved: First, the 3.5Pro standard has not been successfully promoted. , Mainstream headsets and wire brands rarely adapt, it is imperative to switch to 4.4mm or 2.5mm and 4.4mm at the same time; second, the interface design of U6 still has many anti-human aspects. Fortunately, fluency and stability are no problem. The difficulty of changing it will not be exceptionally great.

These two pain points are really “painful”, but they are not difficult to solve. If Colorful’s next portable Hi-Fi player can handle these two flaws, it will undoubtedly have good competitiveness.

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