Just got my new (bought used, but in perfect condition) UE9 00! I´ve always enjoyed the UE sound signature, but the build quality on the UE 700 I had was just horrible. It broke down in a week or two - the cable couldn´t hold up. The actual IEM itself felt like cheap plastic too. SQ wise it was very good for the price though! Balanced and neutral, but not too neutral making less than perfect albums still sound pretty good. With a new owner with a great distribution network and mass production capabilities, what could go wrong with the UE900? Surely Logitech would fix all the previous issues with build quality, get tons of positive reviews and make sure it´ll be sold at every Walmart & co out there thanks to their fantastic distribution network.
So here it is, the new UE 900. I´ve never tried the TF10, mostly because it has received so much flak for its ergonomics. No similar issue here: the fit is fantastic, sound isolation is good and overall they feel like comfortable earbuds. The cable is superb as well. Zero microphonics, looks good, feels strong. And thanks to Logitech you can get new ones at 20 euros. The sound quality is pretty nice too: just like the UE 700, it´s neutral but not too neutral to make mainstream records sound bad. The bass goes deep, highs extend nicely (although I would prefer a little less highs roll off), separation is superb, soundstage is decent but not outstanding like on the SM64 and EX-1000. Resolution is very high, which is something I really enjoy with these: try Michael Jacksons She´s Going Hollywood on these and behold how accurately you can hear every detail of the late kings beatboxing. Sure, you won´t find lushness here so fans of the Shure signature can look the other way, but the somewhat dry midrange is all about resolution. Overall the UE 900 is a very safe sound signature which above all goes for resolution and refinement at the cost of lushness and the fun factor of far from neutral IEMs like Shure 215 and so forth. They´ll find their place in the market and become a bestseller that´ll stay in the market for a very long time.
There´s just one "small" problem... Behold what happened the second day of me using my new shiny UE 900:
Good to see build quality is still high on the agenda with UE! Perhaps they view it as part of their artisan spirit, so to speak. I got lucky as you can see in the picture the actual sound cable inside the IEM is completely unharmed so they still work perfectly. All I needed to do is buy some good superglue (ie, something Logitech doesn´t deem necessary) and glue it back up. Now it´s fixed and I bet a lot stronger than it ever was when it came from the Logitech factory! I´ll looking forward to having the left side IEM shell come off someday, then I´ll fix that too. Before that I´m going to be a bit proactive and put some superglue in the plastic cracks. With some luck that little reinforcement might already help.
So my advice to UE 900 owners is: be prepared. As you can see in the picture every time you pull your UE 900 out of your ear, chances are you´ll grab the connector with the "R" sign or the black faceplate. You know what´s going to happen eventually :) I have to say this design is pretty puzzling to me: why include the connector on the faceplate part? It´s like they are asking for trouble placing the main "things to grab" parts in a glued together small piece of plastic. Coupled with the cheap glue (as you can see in the picture absolutely no plastic has been melted by the original glue so you can guess how many UE 900´s will break this way in the future) the design is simply asking for trouble. Especially as these are inserted pretty deeply so the black plastic parts are the first thing you´ll grab when you take these out.
So all in all, based on sound quality alone, these are very competitive in the market, but due to the cheap build and the inevitable price cuts, my advice would be to stay away from these until you can buy them for around 250 euros or so. At this price range there are better options out there, with competitive sound plus the added benefit of far, far far superior build quality. Apparently the In Ear StageDiver 2 for example sounds quite similar (neutral), sells for 75 euros less and has build quality from another planet compared to these.
PS: There are some issues with the cable 3.5mm connectors as well. On my new black audio cable the sound stopped every now and then when I moved the jack around; after rolling it around 360 degrees for a few minutes etc it started working fine. There might be a coating affecting the connectivity. The blue cable that had already been used worked fine though, supporting this theory. Oh and the new IEM connectors have issues too from what I´ve read on this thread; luckily I haven´t experienced those at all.
Edited by vrln - 6/6/13 at 1:54am