Pros Full clear reproduction of sound, flat mids, accurate bass, clear accurate highs. new stronger cables and connections
Cons lacking richness when compared to much more expensive monitors in the $550 - $900. go figure.
Summary Being a musician and an audiophile, i'm always looking for the perfect audio product. I have lately been looking for an easily replaceable set of street cans (professional jargon for headphones).
I had been using my on stage monitors the Ultimate Ears 10 Pro. These monitors are made for musicians all over the world to use on stage, and have the best isolation, reproduction, and fidelity. Everyone in the business respects Ultimate Ears as the standard for clarity and isolation. While using my UE 10 cans on the street I ran into a rain storm and realized how stupid walking around with my UE 10's actually was. Thus began the search for a pair of earphones i could STAND to use in an affordable, replaceable price range.
I used several brands:
Shure E5c $550 - Too expensive for the quality.
Shure E4c $300 - Rolled off highs and poor bass clarity, and you have to lodge them too deeply into your ears to recieve full bass. Which means while working out or well walking you're constaly touching the earphones up to secure the fit.
Bose Triport IE $100 - I still use these for coffee shops as they're non-isolating, with the volume turned down you can hear everyone perfectly and your music clearly as well.
Bose Triport OE $179 - collapsable over ear headphones that in my opinion are lifeless and not nearly studio quality although the acoustic properties should delight those not looking for high detail and more fixed on hearing the rich bass. The quality however is poor and wearing them is dangerous if you live in a large city where muggings occur.
Sennheiser Isolating Earphones $70 - All i can say, is No. They are the best in the pricerange but they aren't anywhere near the quality of sound i need. Give them a look if you want a Sony Alternative for accurate sound.
Then Ultimately I went back to my very first Decision before i decided to play the field. The Ultimate Ears Super.fi 5 Pro. I read the reviews from CNET and Honestly I think the Shure Name seduced them into rating the the E4c's Higher than these. Or more likely they didn't compare the products side by side. I believe thise because they reviewed the UE 10 Pros and gave them a higher rating and then claimed the Shure E4c is the best they've ever heard. Sorry fellas your reviews say otherwise. Now the comparison. You cannot compare these headphones to the E3c, there is no comparison. The E3c is subpar to these headphones in Sound, Comfort, and Construction. The E4c? Well for 50 dollars more you can get less Bass, (yes bass, live music contains it as well.) rolled off highs, and mids that are equally clear and robust but aren't $50 better. In sound the E4c does stack up quite nicely and may even have some bonuses on clarity. However to achieve the Bass as I said you have to make an airtight fit. with the tiny tube and flange construction this means they have to go deeper and that pressure after hours can make wearing them very uncomfortable.
The UE 5Pro earphones are $250 at most retailers and can be found at some music stores for $200. They appear to be redesigned to have thicker cabling and better stronger connectors which has eliminated alot of the concerns for owning a pair upon their release. They are equipped with Memory Metal in the top 2 Inches next to the ear so that if you choose they can be wrapped comfortably over your ear. This provides a secure fit and reduces the motion that the phone is subjected to. This allows for a fit that isn't quite as deep yet more secure. Once you're used to this you'll love it. This means that you can use a larger tip for the earphone and that tip can use it's suction, and not your ear canal, to stay in place. Do not try to lodge them in your ear, start with the larger tip and roll it into your ear until you find one that will seal air-tight. At first it may feel insecure but shake your head and see if they come out, they won't. This reduces or well eliminates that uncomfortable pressure on your ear canal. Alot of the reviews I've read are from people that opened them and started trying to stick them in their ear. There is a Manual included that explains their use and to use them properly it should be read. Acoustically these headphones use a total of 4 drivers (or speakers) to produce the sound. One is for lows and one is for mids and highs. They have rich ACCURATE bass that doesn't distort the sound in the mids and highs. Making the Highs and Mids very very very clear. To test this Try other cans with a Tune like Banana Pancakes - Jack Johnson and listen for the rain. Or Erykah Badu's - Back In The Day (puff) and listen for the Fender Rhodes Piano in the background tinkling. Brilliant and Robust! Piano tunes will have you noticing the Harmonics in the Pedal Sustains as Well as the continued melody. Something Shure i'm afraid lacks. Layering. You can hear and differentiate between these sounds easily while still enjoying them. Clarity is incredible sometimes I think I can hear each bristle on a snare brush making its own music. I can differentiate all of the Instruments in the Orchestra Clearly and still notice the Percussion working. These Earphones will allow you to hear things you haven't before and for only $250 dollars. I compare them with $550 dollar headphones and honestly if you're the average audiophile or consumer you're not going to hear $300 worth of difference. Instead buy these and spend the extra $300 at the Music Store. The Equipment I used to test these ranged from my Ipod to my studio. Which is loaded with Onyx, Mackie, and ProTools equipment. The finest test a prepared was on a 24 bit Crystal Wave File... They blew me away for the price. They truly are the best street earphone on the Market.
Jazz Musician - Producer
Rio, Brazil S.A.
"Best of the rest!"on by Mr Laff
Pros Comfort Sound Quality
Cons A little pricey
Summary This is my first review of a product. I wouldn’t normally take the time. BUT, after owning these ear buds for 6 weeks, the honeymoon is over. I still love my Ultimate Ears!
The unfortunate thing about buying ear buds is you have to take someone's word for the sound quality. You can't go to the store and try out ear buds because icky ear wax and what not.
I read many reviews before this purchase. I owned Shure E2-C took them back, Shure E-3-c, gave them to a friend, Bose QC-2, thank goodness for the Bose return policy.
I purchased The UE Super.fi 5 Pro. Ran to the car and ripped open the package. My first impression was, uh-oh, the wires seem thin and will break, cool aluminum case with all the tools and adapters, nice leather case, and plenty of earpieces. I left the medium ear pieces on. Inserted them in my ears properly by "rocking and rolling", just like the instruction manual said. They were inserted properly because I felt a very light suction in my ear canal. The comfort level is great!
I was sitting in a busy, noisy parking lot so I started my car and rolled my window down and heard.....nothing! Wow, these just might make conversations with my wife tolerable! I turned on the XM Myfi and plugged the buds in. I almost jumped out of my skin and the car. The volume was loud, and what's this? No distortion. Being a little older and smarter (I hope.) I turned the volume down to about 25%. Pristine highs, midrange was clear and the bass, oh that lovely rich bass. Perfectly blended as if the digital music was inside my head. It's hard to explain to those who have not experienced this, what it’s like to have music playing IN your head. But, if you want to hear it BUY THESE BUDS!
The cords have be come an asset instead of a liability they are easy to wear, not thick and heavy like other buds. Downside? It’s hard for others to see you have ear buds in your ears. They chat away and you don’t hear them. Is that really a downside? The bendable behind the ear wires hold the earpieces securely in place. I can’t say enough good things about Ultimate Ears. If you can afford them buy them, if you can’t afford them, borrow. Does the person you sleep with snore? This is the answer! If you have questions feel free to e-mail me.
Pros amazing sound and performance
Cons price; cord's a little thin
Summary i have both the super.fi 5 pro's and the shure E4C and i love them both. and although it may just be in my head, it seems that hte super.fi's quality is a little better. although the cord is thin, i love the fact that the cord is replaceable, as i've already gone through one E3C with cord problems... who knows how long the E4C's will last. the cord is the perfect length. others are longer and they snag on things easily. also, the flexible ear loops are handy!
Pros Sound, fit, look
Cons A little expensive. Nothing else with regard to performance.
Summary So, for the last two months I've been reading reviews online from every source I can find and I finally concluded these headphones were for me (even it was $100 more than I wanted to spend). I figured I'm worth it.
And, so far it's been the right choice. Purchased the clear 5 pro's from headroom (headphone.com) at a pretty good $189 and have been delighted. I will not be returning these.
Thankfully, they have numerous tips because (to my shagrin) my ear canals are different sizes. No problem, put the small single flange in the left ear and the medium in the right. Once you know the "technique" for getting the seal, it's easy and not a big deal. 10-15 extra seconds to get the best sound I've ever heard is a small sacrifice.
Honestly, I've not tried the Shure Ec2, 3, 4 headphones but after reading the reviews: too hard to get a seal, lousy bass -- I didn't bother. I considered the Bose In-Ear headphones (good reviews, etc) but they look silly/retarded to me. With the UE clear headphones, they don't stick out like a sore thumb and the over the ear fit is quite comfortable.
With regard to the sound: it's stellar, crisp, with enough bass to make me happy (diverse musical tastes). Tried standard mp3s to Apple Lossless and it all sounds good.
I'm a LIRR commuter and it blocks out 85-90% which is good because I wouldn't hear when asked for my ticket or if a NYC taxi cab is about to hit me!
Also, headroom was very helpful and quite nice over the phone. Good luck with your search...
"A great product"on by invention13
Pros smooth, detailed sound
Cons reveals the noise floor of my iPod
Summary I bought these to replace the Apple ear buds that came with my iPod. Huge, huge improvement. They stay IN your ears, are quite comfortable and do a good job blocking extraneous sounds (like the A/C duct above my desk at the office). How to describe the sound? It is really smooth and well balanced - nothing is overemphasized. As a result, it wears well - you can listen to these for hours. As stated by others, they are capable of powerful bass but it is really clean bass. They also reveal everything - including the noise floor of the iPod. My other headphones, which I use at home when it is quiet, are Grado SR60's. I find the UE's close in sound quality and like the Grado's they are very easy to drive. One thing others have commented on are the wires - they are thin but for some reason this doesn't really bother me. Far more important is the fact that UE put connectors on the ear pieces to make replacing the wires easy. As for cost, my philosophy is that for things you use all the time - cars, computer keyboards, earphones, etc... - bite the bullet and just buy something that pleases you.