Pros: Lots of accessories, instrument seperation
Cons: cable tangles, connector
UE 900S Unibody
I would like to first say thank you to Mrs. McDonald for sending me a demo unit to review. UE has some of the best customer service that I have experienced, they are very fast in responding to any emails with questions that I had. I am not employed or I am being compensated by UE for this review, this review is based on my opinions and all the photos were taken by me. A little about myself I don't consider myself a hard core audiophile like most people on this forum. I am 38 years old and have been into audio since I was 15, I like listening to music they way it was produced. I use in ear monitors for 8 hours a day at work, it try to use a different pair ever day to change it up. This review is more for the every day user that wants more from there music, I don't get to detailed with sound since I am terrible writer and I have only used these for about 15 hours.http://pro.ultimateears.com/products/custom-monitors/for-audiophiles/ue-900s
4 Proprietary precision balanced armatures
Impedance (@1khz) 30ohms
Sensitivity 101.2db (50mV,1khz)
Frequency Response 20Hz-20khz
Noise isolation 26db
Connectivity 3.5mm gold plated
I used many different sources with these Fiio X1 with Fiio E07K, Lenovo Ultrabook with Audioengine D1, Samsung Alpha with Fiio E11, Nuforce Hap-100 amp. An amp isn't needed but it improved the overall sound. I have only had the chance to use these for only about 15 hours since I didn't want to take a demo unit to work. The first time listening to these I was blown away, the way these separate instruments is impressive, listening to the Foo Fighters Skin and Bones you can clearly here every instrument from the orchestra. You can really here the fine details in the music, from hearing the performer taking small breathes of air between notes to the pick of the guitar hitting the strings. Listening to Match Box 20 live it sounded so natural, and my wife dragged me to about 6 of there concerts. Hearing the kick drum sounded life like and very realistic in some tracks you could hear the singers mouth rub up against the microphone. The soundstage is were I think the 900S excel you can easily hear the placement of every instrument from left to right to front to back with the singer at center stage. These are definitely not a bass heavy iem from what I am used too, they have plenty of bass and it is very smooth and tight. But when listening to it at a high volume the bass becomes distorted, this is at a volume that I don't listen to any way. Most of the music I listened too was in WAV or FLAC format when using MP3 format you can easily hear the difference with the 900S. Playing right from my phone the 900S sound good but adding a Fiio amp gave it a much fuller sound with a richer low end.
Some people suggest blocking the small port to get more low end, I have tried this and really like they way they are with it unblocked. In my opinion live recordings and rock and roll are the best kinds of music for these iem's. These are very well balanced, my friend let me borrow his Triple Fi10's to compare them both. The 900S midrange is fuller and richer then the TF10 and the lower midrange is more prominent. The upper mids can seem slightly veiled on some recordings.
Accessories and Build
2 detachable cable 1 blue with mic and controls 1 black
6 sizes of silicone ear tops 4 per size
3 sizes of memory foam 4 per size
1 hard case
The 900S are the updated unibody iem's from the 900, do to quality problems. First impressions opening the box I was amazed of the presentation, you should have know problem getting the right seal with the amount of tips they give you. The box itself is pretty impressive, most boxes you just toss in the closet this one can be used for storage of all the accessories. Every accessory has its own little spot. It also has a soft pouch and a hard case that they fit nicely into. To get the right fit they made these paddles with the tip connected to it to check for fit, even the paddles are marked with the size on them.
I chose to use the black cable, with memory plastic too wrap around your ear. This has to be one of the most comfortable cables that I have used it is very light and you forget there even there. The iem's sit flush within your ear, unlike the TF10's sticking out like bolts. Changing cables is one of the few problems I have with these, the MMCX connector is very tight I almost feel like I am going to break the plastic changing cables. I really like the cable that comes with these but it they tangle very easily, if you don't wrap them upright for storage when you take them out to use them can be a mess. I tried the blue cable making phone calls the person on the other end didn't even know I was using a cable. Overall design is very modern looking witch I really like. For having 4 balanced armatures these have to be one of the smallest designs out there. I have many pairs of iem's and I have never saw so many accessories that come with the 900S. They put a lot of thought in the presentation and accessories for the 900S. Strain relief seems good on the connector, the Y splitter is just a piece of heat shrink keeping things simple helps keep the weight down.
It's easy to see how small these are compared to a penny, I really like the fit of these especially for wearing for long periods of time. Through the transparent blue you can see how small the drivers are. There is 2 bores for the sound to come out of 1 for high, mids and the other for the lows. The small bore is so small making it impossible to clean if it were to become clogged(a lot of head-fiers prefer this anyway). Wearing these for over an hour wasn't fatiguing at all these could easily be worn for extended periods.
A lot of people think these might be overpriced, considering being 4 balanced armatures they are actually one of the cheaper ones. I think for the sound and clarity the 900S have they are priced just right.
For the way they separate instruments and how good the soundstage is these would give higher priced iem's a run for there money. I have over 18 pairs of in ears in all price ranges and these would have to be one of my favorite ones to listen too. Besides being very comfortable they just look good, just wearing them on the train I had 3 people ask me what they were. If your in the market for a universal in ear I would highly recommend these to any one. You will be surprised of how many accessories that comes with these and the packaging is more like a display case. The MSRP is $399.99 you can find them for under that price on many websites, you can get the first version for under $300 through some dealers. My only issue with these would be the cable tangling, and the MMCX connector being so tight but after some time it should loosen up. The new Shure SE846 have 4 drivers costing double of the 900S, and having a chance to hear the SE846 I would save my money and go for the 900S and take the other half of the money and buy something else and would be very satisfied with my purchase. After I spend more time I will update my review in more detail thanks for reading.