Ultrasones are overpriced in the same way a Bugatti Veyron is overpriced. Which is fine with me. The Bugatti costs 1.44 M USD now. But when you factor in the development costs and number of cars sold.. the price of that car- ie what it really cost to make it is about 5 million British pounds. 9.8MIt's a VW! The Bugatti Veyron 16-4 has a $1,440,800 price tag. I'll take two, please! on Flickr - Photo Sharing!
So the cost of a headphone is not merely the component cost. And in this regard- it is possible that these are a “bargain” in terms of what they deliver. I expect Ultrasone will use this flag ship to drive the sales of the rest of the line.
I heard these with stock cable and with the V3 cable. I think it is fair to say that IF (I said "IF" ...as I would highly doubt this would ever happen) Ultrasone were to offer a headphone with the V3 cable as a Ultrasone Edition 9 SE (Special Edition) people would be talking about this recabling very differently- likely urging people to bypass the Ultrasone Edition 9 in favor of the SE model. Even if the cost were $300 more. They sound like a completely different model in terms of refinement.
IMHO the Ultrasone Edition 9's sounded very good on their own but had some not insignificant detracting flaws which if tamed would still leave a dynamic authoritative headphone without making it so "polite" that it became less involving and background like.
This was further tamed by using a Millet Hybrid Portable. Yes portable.... and I felt that this combination delivered such great imaging, immediacy, and full range authority, that the headphones are not being held back by being run by a TTVJ Millet Hybrid Tube Portable. I personally have decided that I will likely be happier with this combination than say.... trying to get a Tube home system with HD 600's or 650's and then buy a Predator and some midway decent IEM. I think this combo would beat both systems while costing less and ultimately deliver more satisfaction more of the time since I expect to listen at home less than on the go. (I still have to buy the Predator and UE-11's ... just to be smaller for sports.. and I am not going to regret it.)
Please do not go OT on the Veyron, there has been one in Aspen for the past few days. I drove a Maybach 6.3...and I can say that without doubt the Maybach is overpriced and not worth it at all. But the Veyron... is a whole different thing. I think these Ultrasones are a whole different thing too when recabled... there is still room for improvement in them in terms of high frequencies, but if you lose the imaging... well then I will take them with the V3 and be happy. I'll ride off into the high end audio sunset... upgraditis effectively medicated to be considered in complete remission. There are still some flaws (some frequency dips and some imaging shifts that seem hard on occassion...hell it least it doesn't sound like 3 blobs) - but this system combo does SOOOO many things right that I am hoping I can live with them for a long time to come.
If you listen to The End by the Doors...you are transported. Jim Morrison's voice is fullbodied (not hollow)- the echo not over done... it is simply haunting...and this was not in a dark room listening alone..no no no.... this was in a harshly lit conference room with tons of headfiers stomping around..chatting…. and unusually enough this was through a current ipod classic (no mods) with some ALO dock cable (luminette what was it?) and going through the Millett Hybrid tube portable. I compared the Imod and v cap later and without fear of being ridiculed I can plainly say unmodified sounded better with greater synergy- the imod/vcap dried things out too much. It started stripping away at the high end analog sound and shifted it closer to digital sound. With the unmodded ipod/ALO docking cable/Millett/V3 Ultrasone Edition 9 I COMPLETELY FORGOT I was listening to digital. I thought I was listening to a clean perfect LP played on a Goldmund studio turntable with t3-f arm with a Koetsu Rosewood cartridge through some full range apogees being fed by Mark Levinson ML-3 amps- and it was almost “Speaker like”. And what a fricking bargain.... to get that sort of sound... no scratch that sound is not the right word.... -EXPERIENCE- for under $2200 total!
For those brought up on digital sound...they will find themselves listening for digital artifacts...that are not really there anymore. Listening for more space between instruments that digital does to string ensembles..that doesn't really exist. And they may think to themselves..."hey I didn't hear that, I liked that, and it is missing". But in actuality you don't hear that in a concert unamplified. You hear massed strings.
The Eagles Hell Freezes over Hotel California... well it was like being at the concert itself being suspended by a Cherry Picker 12 feet over the crowd...
(I really wonder how the microphone set up was for that?) The sound for live... was startlingly impressive... I swear I was there.
I just wish I had had more time to listen with a wider range of music..
The best part- was you could play them quietly and still feel very satisfied.. in that regard they are almost like hearing protection for headfiers.