Pros: 26db of isolation, perfect fit for your ears, excellent sound, build quality
Cons: Sibilance when driven hard without proper amplificaiton, 26db of isolaiton
To start, I purchased these for two reasons. I am a live audio engineer, so I use these for mixing monitors and as my personal monitors when I sing Tenor as part of my group.
These have two speakers per ear. Low/Mid and High. 119db @1mw with an impendance of 21 ohms which means your iphone can drive these quite poorly.
My initial View:
I have been wanting a pair of custom in ears for quite some time and was looking at all of the different brands for around one year or so. I tend to take my time when it comes to anything that I may not be able to return. After much time, reviews, and a choice I decided to go with the UE5's over the UE7 or UE11. The vocal in-ear as they are so called.
So off I went to my audiologist to have my ear molds done. Julie Glick is an authorized UE audiologist. She contacted me herself rather than through her secretary, she is amazingly nice and her $75 mold cost at the time was cheaper than most other audiologists ($100). Did I mention she was a UE authorized audiologist?
Ten minutes go by and voila the innards of my ears lay in front of me in pink form. Sent my molds in and two weeks later my custom molded UE5's arrive in the mail. I am super excited at this point. I open the box and a black magnetically closed matte box greets me with a simple UE logo on it. Once past the "How music is meant to be heard" card I arrive at the metal box that holds the in-ears. Molded foam is caressing the metal box and my excitement grows. My name is on the box, my serial number is on the matte box along with my name (again) and the initials of the person who inspected them. I open the box and am greeted by my all black UE5's with the Batman Logo on them. They also come with a tiny brush and loop wire to clean them with when your ears get dirty.
Allright now to the good stuff.
As mentioned in the beginning of this review, I am a live audio engineer so most of the auditioning I did with this was done with live audio and later on pre-recorded music. The sound quality of these are simply natural. Garbage in garbage out, quality in quality out. These in-ears are the perfect balance of Lows, mids and highs.
For live shows these were powered by a shure wireless beltpack for live shows and various consoles when mixing.
The low end is round and hard hitting but not too boomy and it does not muddy or dull the mid and high end. The mids are where these really get their shine. They are so warm and clear that it really is disgusting. My voice comes through with such clarity and realism that it feels as if I am literally in my own ears (sorry for the pun). The high end is where the headphones came to a screeching halt in my opinion. When I began to hit high notes and the music driven my ears became fatigued extremely quickly and my . It got to a point where I would only put one in my ear and use the floor monitors to compensate.
Music sounds good on these. But it all depends on the mix that you have. IF you a great track to listen to then these will bring out that shine but if it is a good or an ok mix then you will hear all of the flaws. I realize that I did not want to listen to half of my music with these as it really showcased their flaws and made them truly sound like a**. A lot of my music is uncompressed but most is ripped at 320kbps.
In comes the FIIO E11.
I used these with the FIIO E11 and holy WOW! This amp did the one thing that I thought I would never do, bring these everywhere with me. They have brought the lows and the mids to life. Once you boost the EQ aka bass to level one the FIIO the low end is absolutely stunning. These are absolutely my favorite in-ears by far that I have used ( I've wasted much money looking for the correct par). The soundstage is SO much larger with this amp that it boggled my mind once more. Remember the sibilance I mentioned earlier when being driven? It has all but disappeared. The high end is now like warm velvet during a winter storm. AMAZING in case you missed my horrible metaphor. I have now vowed to never use these headphones without proper amplification again.
For the money, customer service and quality that you receive these are well worth the money. Speaking of customer service, I have used these countless times and have not had any issues with them. Before I forget the cables are part of this. They are detachable in case you accidentally destroy one of them and are very quiet when rubbed against clothing or body. The quality is quite good with ample insulation. The cable is 48 inches long.