Pros: Mid range and great soundstage for an in-ear.
Cons: Customs take some getting used to. Bass suffers a little.
I've recently amended this review, based on my education into the world of Head-Fi.
I've been toying around with getting a set of in-ear customs for a long time. I caught the write-ups in my audio rags about UE's new product and jumped all over them.
I'm a video editor, but I also do a lot of music and mixing, writing, directing, and anything else that has to do with entertainment production. It's like UE decided to custom build a pair of in-ear headphones just for me. Thanks guys, much appreciated.
My super-secret hope? They'd make for pretty good listening, too.
I don't have any experience with IE custom monitors prior to this. I've had about every model of universal buds Shure ever made-- and my favorite pair prior were the e4Cs. I had the e5's but they hurt the ear after an hour or so. The I owned one pair of UE's in the past, and was disappointed in their construction. They were pretty much toast within a year-- but they were low-grade consumer models.
No worries with the UERM's. These things are built well. I opted for translucent black. Something about clear and in-ear made me think of gross ear wax I never wanted to face. The black is pretty striking. I also did double Capitol logos on the ears.
The customs take some getting used to. Mine hurt at first. After a week things chilled out. There was a time I considered taking them back for a re-fit, but I stuck it out.
Sound quality-- well that's what these are all about- and they do sound fantastic. I would call the soundstage very good-- but not up to the level of a quality over-ear open headphone. Brilliant highs. That's where these really shine. I notice transients-- particularly in passages with great natural reverb. Open and extended.
The one common criticism I ran into about this model was the lack of bass. They certainly can't stand up to the LCDs or HD-650 or HD-800. And they don't go as deep as Dr. Dre Beats. But where Beats have a thumping quality suited for pop music, the bass overpowers on everything else. The IERMs bass is extremely tight. What they lack in deep low end they make up with in bass detail. A little EQ will bring the lows in, but the detail in the bass is where these shine. You can sort of hear the skins on the drums stretching and retreating. You can hear the fingers slip across the bass strings. They're just ridiculously accurate-- almost comically so. But in reference listening you don't want that deep extension there when you're trying to figure out what you're listening to.
You might get the sense that I like these by now... Indeed.
I knock the design a bit, because-- let's face it-- there's nothing sexy about the shape of your ear canal. But the box they come in is smashing-- and has my name printed on it-- but the buds have a hard time fitting inside, so I bought a Pelican case. It's waterproof anyway-- a good way to protect my thousand dollar investment.
My and my UE's are going to be married for a long time.