Monday, August 27, 2018

Ultimate Ears UE II 4-Way In Ear Monitor with Dedicated Subwoofer Review



As an avid car audio fan, I tend to be a bit of a bass head. So I like a lot of bass. The Ultimate Ears UE ll appears to have that covered. They are a custom IEM with a 4-way design. This means that in addition to the standard highs, mids, and bass design, where there is a driver dedicated to each of those frequencies, there is also a dedicated subwoofer, with a driver dedicated to deep lows. 
 Features and specs:
  • Input sensitivity:  119dB @ 1kHz, 1mW
  • Frequency Response:  5Hz - 22kHz
  • Noise Isolation:  -26 decibels of ambient stage noise
  • Impedance:  18 Ohms @ 1kHz
  • Internal Speaker Configuration:  4 proprietary balanced armatures with 3-way crossover
  • Input connector:  1/8" headphone jack; compatible with all systems


The Ultimate Ears UE ll came in a simple yet elegant black box. On the side of the box was a white rectangular sticker that showed my name, the model number, the serial number, and an employees initials that is passed quality control. Opening the box, the owners manual was sitting on top, and a white thank you note. Nice touch. Under the note and manual, I saw an aluminum tin cylinder that was sitting in a custom cut out that was covered in black silky cloth. On top of the tin was the UE logo, and my name engraved on it. Another nice touch. Opening the tin, I saw a soft cloth bag that was holding the custom IEM. At the bottom of the tin was a wax loop. Opening the bag, I saw the custom IEM. Materials used was mostly plastic, with some metal. Quality of materials used was excellent, as was the fit and finish.
  
When it comes to the design of custom IEM’s, it doesn’t get much better than that. To get the sound from a pair of IEM’s you need a good seal. That’s where it all starts with custom IEM’s: a trip to an Audiologist. There you will need to get custom moldings made. These can be made a couple of different ways. The old school way is to have silicon squeezed into your ears, wait a few minutes for the mold to harden, and then pull it out. The molding is then sent to Ultimate Ears, where they will use it to make your custom IEM. The other way is the newer, more modern way that not all doctors are using yet. That is to use a computer and a handheld scanner, and scan the inside of your ear to make a digital map. This digital file is sent to Ultimate Ears, for them to use to make your custom IEM.

The next step is to order your custom IEM. Since they are made especially for you, you can also customize it, with different colors and designs. I went with a clear plastic for the body, to more easily see all of the internal components. The top end piece I went with a clear blue, with the UE logo. It came out looking really cool! And since they are custom fit exactly in my ears, I get the best fit for the best sound. And speaking of sound, let’s see how they sound!


Eric Bibb: Why are People Like That-Vocals were silky smooth like honey, with excellent texture and timbre. Piano sounded so natural. Bass was really deep, and played with excellent authority. Percussion was so crisp and clean, with excellent resolution and impact of the drums and cymbals. Harmonica was so dynamic. Soundstage had good depth and was really wide.   Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue-clarinet was extremely silky smooth with excellent resolution of the woodiness of the reed and tonguing technique. Piano was extremely natural sounding with great harmonics. Bassoon had nice midbass extension, output and texture. Brass was extremely dynamic and not overly brassy or edgy. Flute was very airy. Imaging was spot on, and soundstage had great depth and width.  Earth, Wind and Fire: Let’s Groove-vocals were as smooth as honey, with excellent resolution of the timbre and texture. Bass was incredibly full, very deep, and hit like a sledge hammer with ton of authority. Percussion was really crisp and clean and dynamic. The claps were also extremely clean and dynamic. Imaging was spot on, sound stage had good depth and was really wide.  Katy Perry: Dark Horse-Vocals silky smooth with excellent resolution for the texture and timbre. Bass was nothing short of massive, with excellent depth and hit like a juggernaut! Claps were also really clean and dynamic.

The Ultimate Ears UE Pro II takes aural bliss to a whole new level. They are an overall neutral sound with excellent resolution, and dedicated subwoofers for exceptional bass performance that had me grinning from ear to ear.  And having a pair of custom in ear monitors like the rock stars....that's way cool.  At $1,199, you are definitely getting what you pay for.  Based on their design, features, quality, and performance, they have earned out Editor's Choice Award.  For more info and complete specs, check out their website at pro.ultimateears.com.


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