Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Ultimate Ears 900s

Could this be the ultimate in-ear headphone?
Find out if this is right for you.

The Ultimate Ears 900s Up Close
Ultimate Ears 900s

NEW:  Check out my video of the contents of the Ultimate Ears 900s

                For professional musicians and audiophiles quality is the primary concern. Ultimate Ears, an industry leader and popular choice for professional musicians, created the UE 900s as a way to provide easy access to exemplary performance.

                In the higher echelon world of in-ear headphones, the admission price to enter this world can be substantial.  There is a defined market for devices in this class.  Here price is decidedly secondary to performance.  For demanding audiophiles, nothing short of excellence will do.

                Priced at $ 399.99, this does not constitute bargain basement pricing.  Even for those who want more than average sound, this may be a bit difficult to justify.  For those who settle for whatever came in the box with their mobile phone or whatever else that can produce sound, this may appear to be outrageously expensive.  But it may be so out of line when you consider other factors.

The very well crafted container for your IEM and all the extras

                Before you let the cost become alarming, think about this in relative terms.  Compared to the custom built IEMs ( In Ear Monitors ) that Ultimate Ear manufactures,  the UE 900s become more reasonable.  This may not be for everyone. It does fill a gap between those that want ultimate sound and are willing to pay several hundred rather than a grand. 

                If excellent sound is what you are after, it makes sense to look at a company that produces top tier products.

                Inevitably the question arises concerning quality. Can the UE 900s rise to the occasion?  Are they able to produce exemplary sound.  In this critical area, it captures detail that lesser earphones can’t muster.       
                Bass, an Achilles’ Heal for some ear-buds, is not a problem here.  They are handled with ease and do not drown out the mid range and upper tones.  

Assorted tips to fit assorted sizes and preferences and the maintenance jell 

                A big advantage with the 900s is that it comes packed with accessories.  Lower cost headphones may not include these type of  “bonus” extras.  Including these additions can certainly extend life expectancy.  They also add value.

                The first thing to go with earbuds are wires.  Ultimate Ears has included two detachable ones.  One simply connects to your device and the other has mic and volume for phone calls.  Of note, the remote and mic are supported only by iPod nano® (4th generation or later), iPod classic® (120 GB, 160 GB), iPod touch® (2nd generation or later), iPhone 3GS® or later, and iPad®.

                In order to achieve the best possible sound, a good fit is essential.  If you fail on this point, you are dealing with deterioration in quality, and guaranteed discomfort.  To ensure the best possible fit, there are 36 ear cushions included.  Six are memory foam and the remainder silicon. 

The black carrying case 

                Fit is essential.  Where the 900s differentiates itself from lower priced headphones is how it fits the ear.  There is a stiff wire that goes around the ear.  Placing them requires a little bit of effort.  After a while it becomes less cumbersome.  The advantage of this configuration is that you avoid the ear-buds from falling out of your ear. 

                The bottom line is always sonic quality.  In this area, the 900s is a high achiever.  One expects quality at this price point, and it does come through with the goods.  Base tones are handled with grace and the upper register is very clear.  Detail is well served.  There are no muddled sounds or distortion.  For those familiar with lesser quality devices, these in-ear headphones will be nothing short of a revelation. 

                I think it is a safe assumption to say that most people settle for the earbuds included with their devices, like mp3 players, smartphones and the like.  It can also be assumed that most users would not consider earbuds as a big ticket items.  For serious audiophiles and professional musicians IEM’s (In-Ear Monitors) are something to be taken seriously.

The extra cable in case one goes south

                For those of us who cannot afford the luxury price of custom built IEM’s, Ultimate Ears has found a way to make what was inaccessible to most of us a bit more accessible.  Their answer comes in the form of the Ultimate Ears 900s noise isolating earphones.

                Obviously the 900s is designed for a more demanding listener who wants a superlative sound, but without the greater cost of customization.   There are certainly audiophiles for whom $ 399.99 is not an issue.  What you get when you purchase in-ear headphones from the same makers that well known professional musicians use is improved quality and longevity over your average ear-bud.  Another plus here is a comfortable fit and a highly elevated experience.  If you are the type of user that sees ear-buds as disposable, at $ 399.99 you are not likely to look at this option.  However, if you want great performance and an extended life expectancy, the UE 900s becomes more viable. 
If you are looking for a high end in-ear headphones and are looking for a device that will endure, Ultimate Ears has produced a winner.

The box that holds it all

Purchasing Information

What Comes With These IEM
1.       Ultimate Ears 900 IEM
2.       36 ear cushions
3.       Two Cables, one with mic and controls, the other without.
4.       Maintenance Gel
5.       A carrying case
6.       User Documentation
7.       Jewel Case Container for all of the assorted elements

Technical Specifications
  • DRIVER TYPE:4 proprietary precision balanced armatures
  • IMPEDANCE:30 ohms, 1 kHz
  • SENSITIVITY:101.2 dB (50mW, 1 kHz)
  • CONNECTION:3.5 mm (1/8 inch) gold plated
  • CABLE LENGTHS:48 inch (121.9 cm)
The remote and mic are supported only by iPod nano® (4th generation or later), iPod classic® (120 GB, 160 GB), iPod touch® (2nd generation or later), iPhone 3GS® or later, and iPad®.

No comments: