Since the reader comments on my Ultimate Ears UE 11 Pro review were quite polarizing (“best thing ever” vs. “who is insane enough to buy such an overpriced thing”) I thought it would be a good idea to give one of the less expensive Ultimate Ears universal fit earphones a closer look. We at abi aren’t entirely made of money – and neither are many of our esteemed readers, so it’s probably good to keep the reviews in balance, financially speaking.
Enter the Super.Fi 5, the newest (and cheapest) member in Ultimate Ear’s series of medium-priced earphones. The name couldn’t be any more confusing, considering there are two other phones from the same range available, the Super.Fi 5 Pro and Super.Fi 5 EB. It’s no surprise these new Super.Fi 5 “Without A Suffix” are often called “SF5 v2”, “2.0”, or “The New One” in blogs and internet forums to avoid confusion.
Read on for the in-depth review.
Here they are, the Ultimate Ears UE 11 Pro: reference ear monitors worshipped by recording artists, sound engineers, and audio nuts alike.
Besides the EarSonics EM3 and ACS T1 they’re the most expensive in-ear phones available at the moment. Ahead of all others in the ear monitor race however, the UE 11 raises the ratio of drivers per earpiece to a whopping four armatures. That’s more drivers than many full-sized floor standing speakers have.
Do I notice similarities to the marketing stunts of certain shaving utensil manufacturers, adding one more blade to every new razor model? While these delusions of grandeur appear a bit nonsensical for something you waggle around your face to get rid of stubbles, let’s see how the old “more is better” applies when it comes to professional ear monitors.
As with anything electronic there is always some kind of race; mega pixels on cameras, storage capacity on MP3 players and so on. When it comes to IEMs, the race has been about putting more and more armatures into already cramped earphones. No doubt there’s a lot of marketing aspects behind this, but that doesn’t mean it’s not about getting better sound – specially when you step up a few price ranges.
The Ultimate Ears UE11 Pro is the latest wonder in IEM technology, packing four separate speakers in each earphone – among them a sub woofer. The reason behind this method is to provide a different armature for each frequency range and thereby providing more real sound. Popsci.com has made a great “how it works” feature explaining how this technology works and why it’s as good as they say. Hit the link for the full feature.
[Popsci via GenerationMP3 | Audiojunkies]