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From SE530 to UE-11

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Is it worth the upgrade?

considering that UE-11 is custom made to your EARS only, meaning there will be no residual value whatsoever, $0 value, it's a life-keeper.

Really.. does it sound that good? Will I notice a huge leap of sound quality?

I'm just confused... Somebody help convince me?
post #2 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by ace8888 View Post
Is it worth the upgrade?

considering that UE-11 is custom made to your EARS only, meaning there will be no residual value whatsoever, $0 value, it's a life-keeper.

Really.. does it sound that good? Will I notice a huge leap of sound quality?

I'm just confused... Somebody help convince me?
I was considering the same thing. it has now been exacerbated by the fact my 500s no longer work in the left channel.

I'm slightly concerned that I sometimes preferred my TF10 pros and other times preferred the 500s. The 500s were an easier listen to my ears (lovely warm mids) but the TFs more exciting. For general use I'd usually use the 500s. If the 11s are closer to the TF10s than the 530s/500s then I might be wasting my money. Hmmmm.
post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
So, it's not worth approx 4x the price for the upgrade?
post #4 of 15
Put simply, the first question you need to ask yourself is this:
Do I really want or need custom IEMs?
If you do - read on. If you don't, don't waste your money and be happy with your TF10, SE530, ED 9, HD 650, etc.

Custom IEMs have their rewards and tradeoffs just like everything else. I will leave effusive praise for or sharp criticism of the UE-11 to others.
See the following threads:
http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f103/c...l-iems-346851/
http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f103/f...ssions-251338/

Quote:
Originally Posted by ace8888 View Post
So, it's not worth approx 4x the price for the upgrade?
In terms of performance per dollar, no. Nothing beats my Yuin PK3 in terms of performance/dollar.

However, no other IEM that sounds like the UE-11, so if you really have to have that UE-11 sound, then you have no choice but to spend the money.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ace8888 View Post
Really.. does it sound that good? Will I notice a huge leap of sound quality?
Yes and Yes. And also a huge leap in comfort only if the impression was done right, and you are okay with having a larger volume in your ear (outer and ear canal). Some people, though, can't get a good fit no matter what they seem to do.

What do they sound like?
Take the Bass of the Atrio M5/8 + SE530
Add the Midrange of the SE530 and UM2
and Add the Treble of the TF10
Then add a nice soundstage and detail
Combine all of that and you have some idea what the UE-11 sounds like.
Combine all those IEMs, and that's roughly how much the UE-11 costs after impressions and shipping.

Not to say that you are guaranteed to like the UE-11. The bass can be a bit much for some. The amount of bass reminds me of the bass you'll feel at a live concert or a movie theater. Despite the bass, the detail and midrange never get overwhelmed. The treble might be a bit much for those who think the S530 has too much treble, but detail-freaks will be pleased. The midrange is not as lush as speakers or good full-size headphones.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ace8888 View Post
...there will be no residual value whatsoever, $0 value, it's a life-keeper...
...therefore upgrades and sidegrades are costly. My only other customs - Livewires - will not see much use now that I have my UE-11.
With universal IEMs, you can slowly upgrade. You can't really do this with customs - so when you're ready for customs, reach for the sky.

"Don't settle for 2nd best when getting married" - remember that advice? Well, you can't divorce your custom IEM and file for palimony/alimony. However, UE and LW have 'universal fit' customs to let you experience the sound signature of their customs - contact them to find a dealer that has these demo customs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ace8888 View Post
Is it worth the upgrade?
A qualified NO.

UE-11 pros - they're not life-changing (other than potential financial adversity, being ridiculed for spending so much on earphones, etc). I've heard better-sounding full-sized headphone setups for about the same cost. My $80 Ety ER6 gives my ears just as good isolation. Customs do not provide enough isolation for use in a shooting range. Some universal IEMs are almost as comfortable. You can't share the UE-11 experience with anybody else. Crappy MP3s sound terrible (but great recordings sound phenomenal). Any weak component in the chain (e.g unamped iPod) will reveal itself.

However, for awesome, engrossing, immersive sound in a portable package that's comfortable and practical enough to listen to literally all day in a variety of audiophile-hostile environments (work, Best Buy, etc) - it's hard to find an equivalent to the UE-11. I'm not saying ACS, Freq, Livewire, Sensaphonics, Westone, Future Sonics and other customs IEM won't provide the same gratification - just that I cannot possibly afford to try them all.

Custom IEMs combine many desirable performance characteristics from multiple well-known universal IEMs, while seemingly introducing few non-financial penalties (e.g. no need to deal with replacing foam tips yet customs provide isolation and comfort, both bass quantity and detail, very portable yet has a 'big' sound, etc). And you pay a premium for this.

And the process of making impressions and getting a good fit is not without it's failures. I'm lucky because I have customs-friendly ears.

Perfection is not guaranteed for the price of the UE-11, either. If you bought a Hyundai and it turns out to be a lemon, you may be more forgiving than if your Bugatti Veyron turned out to be a lemon (though if you can afford one Veyron, you can probably afford two).

Above and beyond this, each manufacturer's customs has different sound signatures, and the process becomes like choosing among different IEMs.

If you need or really want custom IEMs, then the UE-11 is worth considering. Buying it solely for it's sonic attributes is a setup for disappointment given the cost. Few things will beat the UE-11 in sound quality per cubic inch, but many options will beat it in sound quality per dollar.
post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thx for the reply wombat, hmmm I'd say I'll f*&k it and go with the best. LOL

I'm going to order it in a veryyy near future.
post #6 of 15
cool...I think you'll be very happy with it.
I went from se530 to UE11s as well and have no regrets.

Law of diminishing returns applies here, but that's the case whether it's IEM or full-sized cans. That being said, I think it's still worth it for the improvement in sound that you do get.
post #7 of 15
I went from the Triple.fi to the UE11s and needless to say, my Triple.fi's have been collecting dust ever since. The robustness of the UE11s (better midrange) gives so much substance to all my songs that the Triple.fi's never could achieve and all the while still retaining the luster of the sparkling high-end!
post #8 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by trickywombat View Post
Put simply, the first question you need to ask yourself is this:
Do I really want or need custom IEMs?
If you do - read on. If you don't, don't waste your money and be happy with your TF10, SE530, ED 9, HD 650, etc.

Custom IEMs have their rewards and tradeoffs just like everything else. I will leave effusive praise for or sharp criticism of the UE-11 to others.
See the following threads:
http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f103/c...l-iems-346851/
http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f103/f...ssions-251338/



In terms of performance per dollar, no. Nothing beats my Yuin PK3 in terms of performance/dollar.

However, no other IEM that sounds like the UE-11, so if you really have to have that UE-11 sound, then you have no choice but to spend the money.


Yes and Yes. And also a huge leap in comfort only if the impression was done right, and you are okay with having a larger volume in your ear (outer and ear canal). Some people, though, can't get a good fit no matter what they seem to do.

What do they sound like?
Take the Bass of the Atrio M5/8 + SE530
Add the Midrange of the SE530 and UM2
and Add the Treble of the TF10
Then add a nice soundstage and detail
Combine all of that and you have some idea what the UE-11 sounds like.
Combine all those IEMs, and that's roughly how much the UE-11 costs after impressions and shipping.

Not to say that you are guaranteed to like the UE-11. The bass can be a bit much for some. The amount of bass reminds me of the bass you'll feel at a live concert or a movie theater. Despite the bass, the detail and midrange never get overwhelmed. The treble might be a bit much for those who think the S530 has too much treble, but detail-freaks will be pleased. The midrange is not as lush as speakers or good full-size headphones.


...therefore upgrades and sidegrades are costly. My only other customs - Livewires - will not see much use now that I have my UE-11.
With universal IEMs, you can slowly upgrade. You can't really do this with customs - so when you're ready for customs, reach for the sky.

"Don't settle for 2nd best when getting married" - remember that advice? Well, you can't divorce your custom IEM and file for palimony/alimony. However, UE and LW have 'universal fit' customs to let you experience the sound signature of their customs - contact them to find a dealer that has these demo customs.


A qualified NO.

UE-11 pros - they're not life-changing (other than potential financial adversity, being ridiculed for spending so much on earphones, etc). I've heard better-sounding full-sized headphone setups for about the same cost. My $80 Ety ER6 gives my ears just as good isolation. Customs do not provide enough isolation for use in a shooting range. Some universal IEMs are almost as comfortable. You can't share the UE-11 experience with anybody else. Crappy MP3s sound terrible (but great recordings sound phenomenal). Any weak component in the chain (e.g unamped iPod) will reveal itself.

However, for awesome, engrossing, immersive sound in a portable package that's comfortable and practical enough to listen to literally all day in a variety of audiophile-hostile environments (work, Best Buy, etc) - it's hard to find an equivalent to the UE-11. I'm not saying ACS, Freq, Livewire, Sensaphonics, Westone, Future Sonics and other customs IEM won't provide the same gratification - just that I cannot possibly afford to try them all.

Custom IEMs combine many desirable performance characteristics from multiple well-known universal IEMs, while seemingly introducing few non-financial penalties (e.g. no need to deal with replacing foam tips yet customs provide isolation and comfort, both bass quantity and detail, very portable yet has a 'big' sound, etc). And you pay a premium for this.

And the process of making impressions and getting a good fit is not without it's failures. I'm lucky because I have customs-friendly ears.

Perfection is not guaranteed for the price of the UE-11, either. If you bought a Hyundai and it turns out to be a lemon, you may be more forgiving than if your Bugatti Veyron turned out to be a lemon (though if you can afford one Veyron, you can probably afford two).

Above and beyond this, each manufacturer's customs has different sound signatures, and the process becomes like choosing among different IEMs.

If you need or really want custom IEMs, then the UE-11 is worth considering. Buying it solely for it's sonic attributes is a setup for disappointment given the cost. Few things will beat the UE-11 in sound quality per cubic inch, but many options will beat it in sound quality per dollar.
Superb summation & post, TW. Great stuff!
post #9 of 15
I totally disagree with the notion that 11 have the highs (treble) of Triple fi 10. 11 have better soundstage and boomier bass (not the bass quality I was after and I'm a basshead) but overall, the Triple if sealed perfectly, are the BEST IEMs on the planet. I regret shelling $$$$ on 11. Their treble is just not crisp, their bass is undefined--just smacks of boominess and are very overpriced. Their only virtue is their soundstage and mids.
post #10 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by sabatar View Post
I totally disagree with the notion that 11 have the highs (treble) of Triple fi 10. 11 have better soundstage and boomier bass (not the bass quality I was after and I'm a basshead) but overall, the Triple if sealed perfectly, are the BEST IEMs on the planet. I regret shelling $$$$ on 11. Their treble is just not crisp, their bass is undefined--just smacks of boominess and are very overpriced. Their only virtue is their soundstage and mids.
Looks like you are experiencing what dscans experienced in the "First UE11 Impressions" thread First UE11 Impressions - Page 104 - Head-Fi: Covering Headphones, Earphones and Portable Audio

Quote:
I have written about some of my early impressions earlier in this humongous thread:

Specifically, the UE11's sounded very ordinary when plugged directly into your DAP's. While it has very engaging mids / vocals, the bass was bloaty, boomy and unfocussed, and the sound signature was overwhelmingly warm. In fact, it sounded surprisingly coloured. In terms of clarity, separation and detail it did not compare favourably to the Triple-Fi 10 pro.

To say that I was surprised was an understatement. It didn't compare well at all with the TF10. The TF10 gives a huge soundstage, and the bass was tight and punchy and the treble was silky smooth. Music just sounded much better. My Futuresonics Atrios M8 has better treble sparkle. For clarity and separation, my Sleek SA6 sounded way better. So what gives?

Despite the fact that the UE11's nominal impedance is only 18 ohms, it is not easy to drive at all, especially straight from the anemic headphone out of most DAP's. This is an extremely power-hungry earphone. Plugging it into an amp is a must - and not just any amp either. The amp must be able to pump out a serious amount of juice.

I tried it on my Hornet - it did not tame the bass at all, and the overall sound was congested...ditto with my Govibe V5. In fact, none of the 9V powered portable amps worked well.

I then tried it on a Headamp AE-2. Well blow me down, we're talkin' about a whole different kettle of fish here! The UE11 was totally transformed - crisp clear highs, super smooth mids and tight controlled bass. No more boominess here! The bass was clean with impressive extension. The low frequency rumbles were all there. Clarity, separation, detail....it was all here, and in spades! Soundstage was huge, the sound was almost 3D, all around you. Hand over heart, it surely ranks among the very best of all the headphones I have heard, and I've heard a few. Everything sounds just right.

It was so good that I was loathe to unplug it to try on another amp . I stuck it on my Firestone Beyond (class A) and damn, it sounded mighty fine. It's not as refined sounding as the AE-2 though, because of the higher noise floor. I could detect a slight hiss on the Firestone on some of the quiet portions of the music. The AE-2 was dead quiet.

Most earphones benefit from amping, of course, but few improve to such an extent. Kinda surprising, because the Triple Fi 10 pro sounded pretty good straight from a headphone jack on most DAP's.
post #11 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by foo_me View Post
cool...I think you'll be very happy with it.
I went from se530 to UE11s as well and have no regrets.

Law of diminishing returns applies here, but that's the case whether it's IEM or full-sized cans. That being said, I think it's still worth it for the improvement in sound that you do get.
Foo me... How do you find the midrange compares? The main thing has has stopped me is the fear the the UE11s will simply be a TF10pro ++ , wheareas i'd like them to be somewhere between the Se530s and TF10pros (midrange equal or surpassing the Shures)

Headamp AE-2--- Yeah, I'm also slightly worried that I'll need to amp these. I use an iPhone, and there is now reasonable way to amp one of these without making it unwieldy as a phone. I've read mixed opinions regarding the need to amp. Some people say, yes, UE11s improve, but don't need amping specifically, others say they REQUIRE an amp
post #12 of 15
I actually pulled out the se530s for a quick comparison directly out of my iPod this morning. Not a definitive review but just a quick listen as I noticed you have been looking for a comparison for a while.

I honestly think the UE11s are just fine without an amp and have used them this way on a couple of long flights and on the subway this week. I have tried them with a couple of amps and actually preferred them without as bass got a bit intense when amped.

The midrange on se530s was one of the strong points in my opinion the few times I have used mine. In direct comparison the se530s are not hugely outdone in the midrange by the UE11s but they are a bit recessed. Not as recessed as the highs in comparison but it is enough to stand out on certain music. Acoustic guitar pieces really make this apparent. Voices are good with both but display a lot more character/texture with the UE11s.
post #13 of 15
I went from the se530s to the ue11s, had to sell off a lot of stuff to buy them, but I love the sound signature of the ue11s, I take them everywhere, have no regrets & I genuinely enjoy them to no end.

Two Tips that I can offer: One, don’t buy if your concerned about the price, yes they are expensive but worth it. Two, don’t try and save a penny on the impressions, go with their recommended or better. I first went to a friend audiologist and ue called me to tell me the molds were unsuitable. I went to their recommended audiologist, cost me $35.00 … but guess what my customs fit perfectly 1st time with no hassles and I’m so happy it went down like that. I regularly run across posts of how theirs is too big or too small, after that large expense imo that would suck as they either have to be shaved or built up in size.

I wrote a review if you are interested in reading it, look at lower right under my sig.
post #14 of 15
vpivinylspinner----

Thanks for that, most encouraging. How do the two sets compare in terms of warmth? I like detail, but warmth is more important to me. Often a detailed headphone can be a kind of cold to my ears.

Cheers!
post #15 of 15
I would certainly say they are warm and do not disappoint in detail either. Below please find a quote from my review.


Quote:
Bass – Every time I have the pleasure to immerse myself into my music, the ue11’s do not disappoint. They deliver a profound, mysterious, broad and substantial bass reproduction that really sounds natural to my ears. All this emanating from the subwoofer that appears to be in your head comes across without being strenuous, fatiguing or overbearing. They certainly deliver the rich and deep bass reproduction that I look for in my headphones.

Midrange - Very similar indeed to the se530’s midrange, warm and smooth is of critical importance, which really stands out on the ue11s. They deliver a clear, detailed and warm sound that makes it a pleasure to differentiate the diverse range that artists can deliver via their vocals and the essential sounds emitted by their instruments. Guitars sound almost life like and appear to be either next to you or behind you depending on the recording, seemingly coming to life as well as other instruments in the overall fusion.

Treble - The ue11s takes the best attributes of the se530s above and beyond to a higher level of high frequency. The frequency reproduction is more elevated, fast, precise and detailed, in comparison the se530s which sound recessed or lacking the overall natural punch that the ue11 delivers. The ue11s seem to come or be alive with details and not just in the highs. Personally I am experiencing a greater detail of vigor and power in my music.
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