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Ultrasone Edition 8 Ruthenium

Posted

Pros: Easy to drive, lots of bass if you like that and very comfortable

Cons: Not very resolving for headphones at their price point.

For some years now I've been pondering a good transportable headphone rig, including a good pair of closed cans.  I tried the ED9s twice and was disappointed that I didn't feel they were any improvement over the Denon D5000s I had at the time, especially with the S-Logic making the sound more as if it were in my head than other headphones. With reports that the ED8s were more neutral, I decided to give them a go.

 

As much as I tried to like these headphones, all I got was bass overwhelming everything else and very average resolution regardless of whether I used an iPod or high-end gear. While the sound signature might be ok for pop or the like, it was hopeless for jazz and classical. I simply couldn't listen with them for more than 5 minutes before wanting to take them off and go back to my HD-800s or, later, the LCD-2s. The only redeeming feature was that they performed reasonably even out of my iPod.

 

Thus, if I'd been the kind of guy to take very shiny headphones out in public, they might have made for good portable cans. However, I was constantly worried about scratching them and fingerprints. While I had high hopes that the issues with the Edition 9s had been rectified (harsh treble and boomy bass stock that requires mods to fix) and that they might make good travel cans, I was very disappointed.  They are very pretty though, and would probably be good for people who want to show up their friends who own Beats with something more visually impressive.  Ok, that's a rude comment, but seriously, I was that disappointed with them. I thought the ESW9s, ES10s and ESW10JPNs sounded nicer at a third of the retail price or less. 

 

I recall comments that the HFI-780 with mods could be turned into 90% of an ED9.  I think in much the same way, the price disparity of the ED8s doesn't make worth $1500. I said elsewhere, if they were a third, or half their price, I would have felt the sound quality was far more reasonable. 

Posted

Pros: Wide sound stage with strong all round performance in bass, treble and midrange underpinned by only 30 ohms of impedance.

Cons: Short cable with minute quality loss with extension cable. Metal plating leads to substantial fingerprint marks and no hard carry case provided.

Hey guys, it's me Triple8Fidelity. This is my first review and also venture into head-fi.

 

First of all, i'm a music student at Monash University specializing in 'cello. I listen to a lot of  classical music works, many which I have played in e.g. Beethoven's 9th, Carmina Burana, Elgar cello concerto as a soloist and Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker suite to name a few.

 

In short, I am a perfectionist for true musical reproduction seeking to get the sound of a recital or concerthall performance through a pair headphones or speakers.

 

I predominantly listen to music through a pair of B&W 802ds amped up with Musical Fidelity Nu Vistas, however with the purchase of the Ulrasone Edition 8s, i've been spending all my time with them using an ipod or computer.

 

So without further adieu, i'll start the review.

 

 

The store www.headphonehk.com I purchased these headphones stocked every headphone you wish you had. They had Grado Ps-1000s, Sennheiser Hd800s, Ultrasone Edition 10s, Ultrasone Edition 8 limited editions, not just one but multiple cans of each type. These people meant business when it came to headphones.

 

I was looking for a pair of headphones to buy and I chose to compare the Ultrasone 8s to the HD800.

 

I used the Meier Audio Symphony 2 amp at the store to drive the speakers.

 

Needless to say, I was incredibly impressed by the performance of both these headphones. They were both on par in sound quality and reproduction, with the biggest difference after throrough listening simply the sound stage. The Ultrasones had a wide sound stage like sitting at in a room with the performers in front of you, however the Sennheisers blew me away. When I heard through the cans, it was like I brought tickets to a concert hall and was sitting infront of the performers.

 

The Sennheisers were in my opinion better than the Ultrasones simply due to the wider sound stage and in turn better sound reproduction due to the fact it is open. It is also the same reason among many that I chose to buy the Ultrasones.

 

I was choosing to buy a pair of high quality headphones that could be portable but still able to hold its chin up high if I compared them to the greats.

 

With the Ultrasone Edition 8, it was nearly on par with the benchmark headphones in terms of sound quality and even better in other areas which I will divulge in later.

 

When you unbox the Ultrasone Ed8s (edition 8s), you will be taken back by the quality

due to the Ruthenium coating of the headphones. It is incredibly shiny and coupled with the sleek design, looks like a silver Rolls Royce Phantom all polished and waxed in its grandness. And when you hold it in your hands, you feel quality as the metal gives it weight and sturdiness not given by say the Hd800s with its plastic construction. If you're shelling out four figures or more for a pair of headphones, the build quality should be near perfect, which the Ed8s nearly achieve. The ruthenium also provides a near mirror finish as you can see your own reflection from the sides of the cans, like an iPod before you scratch it. However unlike an iPod, I have accidentally knocked the Ed8s on other surfaces while moving or handling it, but it has not received any scratches : )

 

But upon holding and inspecting the headphone with all its glory, after you put the headphones down, you will have the sickening feel by seeing the finger marks on any surface on the cans. Yes, these pair of headphones are fingerprint magnets but note it is only around the meta which cups your ears, the other metal is I think anodized and does not leave finger print marks.

 

Thankfully, Ultrasone provides a cloth akin to those you wipe glasses with to clean your headphones. They also feature the Ultrasone logo and title printed on the cloth, which is a nice touch.

 

Last but not least, the cans come with a leather bag made from 100% Ethiopian Sheepskin. Not sure why they had to choose one of the wordl's hungriest countries to get their sheep, but it is superb leather. The bag is black with Edition 8 marked on the side using indentation. The quality of the leather is on par with the leather one would feel on a Louis Vuitton or Chanel bag. The fragrance of this luxury leather simply wafts to you as you handle the bag and in contents, which is extremely pleasing. The bag is ample in size to fit everything you would want regarding head-fi into it, as in portable-fi terms, it is two and a half ipods tall, 2 ipods long and one ipod wide. I can store the headphones, plus the Meier audio stepdance amp, the extension cable, all the adaptors plus my classic 160 gig ipod in the bag without hassle.

 

And just when you thought that all the head-fi gear would scratch the leather, the interior of the bag is covered with acryllic cloth coloured Russian Red. Also with the cloth, they have a interior pouch with a velco flap 3/4 of an ipod deep that can perfectly fit an ipod when you slot it in sideways. and also another pouch opposite that 1 and a half iPods deep that is most likely to store cables. Next to that pouch is another pouch of the same depth but half the width, which I think is just to store even more cables.

 

The top of the bag has one of those designs where if you pull the strings on both sides, the mouth of the bag will contract where you can then tie a knot with both ends of the strings, stopping anything from falling out the bag.

 

The headphone cable is around 4 feet which is a really good length to put your iPod in your jacket or pants pockets without needing to start wrapping up cables. Also a nice addition is a velcro strap on the cable which allows you to wrap the cable into a compact form.

 

An extension cable is provided that is nearly triple the length of the cable connected to the headphone.

 

So lets get down to business and talk about the sound.

 

The Ultrasone Editions 8s have incredible sound. It has a strong bass that is tight and controlled and sound across the board is incredibly clear and defined. The mid and treble range is bright and warm with the absence of harshness or tinny noises. However, the midrange and treble lack the same oomph, power and clarity of the bass which the headphones produce. This applies mainly to the midrange, with the treble suffering less. This improves with the addition of amplification (in my case the addition of the Meier Audio Stepdance). With amplification, the bass, midrange and treble all receive more substance and power in the sound.

 

All in all, the Ultrasone Edition 8s are a set of headphones which produce pure, bright and warm sound that all in all is noble but not lacking power. If this were in tennis terms, it would be akin to Roger Feder in playing style. Graceful, poised, but maybe lacking some of the oomph Nadal has which would make him perfect.

 

The Ultrasone Edition 8s in my opinion are the best portable headphones on the market right now. With sound quality nearly on par with Sennheiser's HD800 but as a closed pair of headphones, the presence of only 30 ohms of resistance as compared to the HD800's 300 ohms makes it possible to drive with only an iPod.

 

Ultrasone's Ed8 is top quality with out of the box performance sublime. I gave the value rating 5/5 stars because what comes with the package is basically all you need, with an extension cable, 2.5 to 3.5 mm jack, a luxurious leather bag with handy pouches to the ruthenium construction and leather padding and strap on the headphone.

 

Comfort also warrants a 5/5 star, as I feel no discomfort whilst wearing these headphones. As an anecdote, I wore these cans on a 9 hour flight without any discomfort and need to take them off! Furthermore, the clamp of these headphones are firm but not excessive, reducing noise by about 30 percent when on your head without music playing. Note that this is different for everyone as headsizes and earsizes vary. Some people complain that the headphones clamp on the ears, but my ears are a bit less than 3/4 of an iPod, so it fits just in. Any larger and the headphones will clamp on my ears, drastically reducing comfort. I measured the earcups to around 3/4 of an iPod.

 

I rate the design 4.5/5 as the headphone construction is sleek and classy with the leather bag and ruthenium bordering on luxurious. However a gripe in my opinion is that a hard case to protect should be provided instead of a leather bag

 

Audio Quality I rate at 4/5. For a closed headphone nothing beats the Edition 8. However the sound quality can still  be improved somehow (what do you think we pay the big headphone companies for? haha) and I look forward to that day.

 

Value is at 5/5. There is no doubt that if the Ed8 was an iceberg, out wallet would be the Titanic. But hey, you get what you pay for. This is the top of the line closed headphone, and the Ed8s has build qualities and accessories which other closed or open headphones simply don't have. Furthermore with only 30 ohms impedance, again an iPod is already fantastic in driving these cans, with a portable amp or amp improving quality, but not essential. This once another big consideration when buying headphones. The equipment you need to drive a HD800 nearly costs more than the headphone itself! Even with a Meier Symphony 2, I had to rotate the volume to 3 o'clock to get sufficient volume while with the Ultrasone using the same amp, 9 o'clock was more than enough.

 

Tracks I used to review include Don't Know Why by Norah Jones, Ride of the Valkyries by Wagner, Ave Maria by Schubert, Don't Look Back in Anger by Oasis, Devil's Trill Sonata by Tartini, Chaconne by J.S Bach and Lost Time  by 蔡琴

Posted

Pros: Soundstage

Cons: High highs can be a little sharp

Here is the deal. I really don't care how they look. I don't care how they are built (they are headphones for god-sakes). I don't care if they smudge or whatever else. So you won't see me wasting your time reading about that stuff. 

 

I will tell you that on their own, these headphones are good. That is until I made two very big improvements that made these lift off to the moon!

 

I started listening exclusively to MOG with is at 320 kbps but more importantly than that, it allows me to find really, really good recordings. 

 

Secondly, I bought the bel canto 1.5 DAC/headphone amp. Sweet baby jesus, I could not believe what I was hearing. Frankly, I never heard music sound this way. I have a 10K non-headphone system at home that cannot hold a candle to the sound I am getting out of this headphone combo. 

 

These two improvements made these headphones absolutely extraordinary. I even plugged in my Grado S60 beaters and they made them sound incredible (but without any bass). 

 

These headphones stay on my head for six hours a day and are never fatiguing and no one can hear my music (I listen at my office). I am so stoked on the sound that I am waiting on the asynchronous USB adapter from bel canto called the RefLink. If the sound gets even better, I think I will have a heart attack. 

 

Obviously, you can sense my enthusiasm for this setup. Lana Del Rey sounds like she is right next to me. Black eyed peas same damn thing. 

 

The tight bass on these headphones is really, really nice and the main thing I really like about them. I will trial the Audeze very shortly and if they are a clear improvement, I will get them. 

Posted

Pros: Excellent bass, airy for being a closed variant, build quality, warranty

Cons: Soundstage not on par compared to open headphones

If you listen to dance/club/dubstep/etc you will love these headphones. The bass is fantastic and there is clarity and detail in all spectrums. Soundstage is good for being a closed variant. However, when listening to acoustic recordings, they sometimes seem rather boring/analytical if comparing with headphones with an open design.

 

The build quality is really top-notch. The manufacturer offers a free 5 year warranty extension.

 

Comfort is good and they look classy. No specific amp is required, just connect them directly to your mobile device. The isolation is a plus whenever needed.

 

I use these primarily when listening to studio productions and prefer my modded Grado PS500 or Sony MPR-F1 when listening to acoustic recordings.

Posted

Pros: Design,Sound,Isolation

Cons: Price,Ear Pad

This headphone has outstanding Design and Perfomance. Very balanced and natural sound

one thing i have to talk about is its ear pad.

this earpad is just attatched with double side tape...............

I can't believe that they just used tape to hold them...and it is over $1000 headphone.....

but it sounds the best out of my portable system.
Ultrasone Edition 8 Ruthenium
Description:

The Ultratone Edition 8 is a stunningly elegant, black and silver closed-back headphone employing Ultrasone's latest S-Logic Plus technology that results in an impartial acoustic feeling that allows the listener even more spacious tonal perception.Designed with the audio connoisseur in mind, the interior ear cups are covered in fine Ethiopian sheepskin, which provides the most isolation of any leather, while the outer ear cups are covered in Ruthenium, known for its brilliant metallic sheen and durable properties. These special edition headphones contain MU-Metal shielding (ULE technology) that reduce the amount of radiation directed to the listener by up to 98%, as compared to conventional headphones. Each Edition 8 headphone is individually stamped with its own serial number & comes in a leather bag for storage and transportation.

Details:
DetailValue
BrandUltrasone
FeatureULE MU-Metal Shielding: The Ultra Low Emission (ULE) shielding was designed with the professional in mind. Many pros spend the majority of their time wearing headphones. The special MU-metal shielding helps to reduce radiation by up to 98% compared to other headphones
Weight1.65 pounds
LabelUltrasone
ManufacturerUltrasone
MPNEDITION8RUTHENIUM
Package Quantity1
Product GroupCE
Product Type NameCONSUMER_ELECTRONICS
PublisherUltrasone
StudioUltrasone
TitleUltrasone Edition 8 Ruthenium Headphones, Hand-Made in Germany, 40 mm Tri-Bass-Tube Titanium-Plated Mylar Drivers
Models:
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC
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