I'm not an audiophile, just someone that loves headphone, especially inexpensive ones. While I have always been obsessed with speaker, headphones, and anything electronic that plays music, I never really felt the need to take the plunge and buy a really good set of headphones. Well that all changed when I bought a set of UE 6000s on clearance. I had read tons of reviews and opinions pieces, and knew they were good, so when I saw them for sub 100 CAD, I picked em up. Glad I did.
Given that I am new to the forums, I wanted to open up with a brief review of my UE 6000s, and their little bro, the UE 4000. Sure, they have been covered pretty extensively over the last year, however another opinion can't hurt, can it?
Logitech UE 4000 and 6000
Both the UE 4000 and 6000 excel in the realm of design and overall appeal to a non-audiophile audience, who care less about sound quality, and more about who they can impress with a nice set of cans wrapped around their neck.
From a distance, the piano black UE 4000 hanging from my neck seem very unassuming with only a hint of their unique and trendy design. This is visible in the glimpse of blue between the ear cups and headband. However, upon closer inspection you see that they have some elements I have not yet seen on another headset. While rectangular in shape, they have an interesting kink that cuts diagonally down across the cup (angling towards your jawline), which carries into the headband where you find a wonderful raised impression of the EU logo. While unassuming in black, these cans definitely take a more front-and-centre approach in the alternate white option. Take note that they are also quite compact, which never a bad thing, but do not fold up.
While the UE 4000 are a good looking headset, they don't quite impress me to the extent of the UE 6000.
The 6000s follow a similar design philosophy, however they look undeniably more upscale. They feel it too, from the added weight (mostly due to the added electronics, which I will get to later), to the brushed aluminium UE logo surrounding the hinges which connect the headband to these gorgeous cups. While the 4000s sport a shiny headband to match the ear cups, the 6000s have a quality matte finish which stands out in stark contrast to the rest of the headphone.
Between the plush ear pads and brilliant exterior of the ear cups, you find additional details further separating the 6000s from their more plebeian sibling. Outlining the earpads is a subdued chrome band, followed by an opaque blue strip, and matte black surface completing the look. While I appreciate the dash of color the blue band adds, I found it unnecessary, and that it breaks up what overall is a very clean design.
Both headsets come with the same quality blue cable. It is also detachable, which is a handy feature I wish was included on all headsets. If you like blue cables, then you should be happy with Logitech's choice. If you prefer a more traditional black cable, well, too bad. Me, I don't care.
While all plastic, the UE 4000s feel durable and are very light. It is nice that Logitech opted to add a metal strip to the head band, as it not only improves their already appealing look, but adds that extra bit of toughness to what is generally a weak spot on more budget friendly cans. Maybe it also adds to the satisfying 'click' you hear when adjusting the size.
While the ear pads are not replaceable, they do feel decently durable, and I have no doubt they will last the life of the headset. The pivot points between the ear cups and headband themselves I am not so sure about, as they have mushy feel when moving them around. If I were to pick a spot where Logitech was trying to save some money, this is it. The plastic used has a pebbled texture and clearly defined mould lines, which is completely unlike that of the plastic used throughout the rest of the headset.
While I do think that the UE 6000s are a well-built piece of equipment, there is just something that feels a bit low rent. The plastics used feel fantastic and look great, but upon closer inspection and after months of use, some weaknesses have come to light. The pivots for the ear cups have a similar mushy feel to the UE 4000s, but on the 6000s they creak with even minor movement. While this issue is mitigated by putting them on your skull, it does not leave me confident for the long term.
While many will appreciate that the 6000s fold up for travelling, this is not actually a feature I like or plan to use often. I appreciate that the hinges are all metal, but with constant use I am worried that the cable running through the headband, while fairly thick, will become damaged from constant bending.
Finally, the cover for the batteries (these are "noise cancelling" after all) is made of a fairly thin plastic. For those in warmer climates this should not be a problem as long as you take some care opening it. For those like myself in a colder climate, I fear that the slim slice of plastic through which the headband resides, will easily snap.
Overall, I do think that both headsets will be quite durable in the long run, and that the UE 6000s, with their considerably more complicated build, will have some issues with the pivots on the ear cups. This is also my proposed problem area for the 4000s, but given their more straightforward design, I am less concerned.
I have to admit that I am a sucker for nice accessories and those provided with both the 4000 and 6000 mostly satisfy my needs.
The UE 4000 comes with a soft carry bag, which admittedly I have yet to unfold and remove from the packaging. I prefer the bag that came with my Marley Revolutions and use it instead (no comparison between headsets though). They also come with something unexpected: a splitter, so you can share your tunes with a friend.
The UE 6000 comes with the same splitter, and a more impressive, shaped, semi-soft carry case. The case provided with the 6000s carries a similar design philosophy as the ear cups, with the zipper composing the diagonal kink. When undone, the bag partially splits in two and the headphones slot perfectly within. The bag even has a small pouch on the bottom where you can store your cable and splitter. While I am not a fan of the blue/black color combination, I have to admit it looks pretty sharp.
The UE 6000 has an Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) feature, which in my opinion is somewhat useless. It does use only two AA batteries, which I quite like. I am sure that many would prefer a battery pack, however the convenience of AAs is unrivalled, and the cost of rechargable batteries is somewhat negligible now.
We come to what I think is the most important part of any headset (in tandem with comfort). Who cares what they look like, or what bonuses you get if you don't want to listen to them? To my untrained ears, both the UE 4000 and UE 6000 provide a quality listening experience that I have been pleasantly surprised with.
The UE 4000, given that they are the entry level and more cost effective option of the couple, sound good but sacrifice some of the highs and mids to provide a nice solid punchy bass. I find that a lot of fine detail tends to get lost on more complicated songs, and that they lack a certain 'crispness' I have come to like over the years. This set, in my opinion, is geared towards bass heads that want a bit more than just bass, and these deliver.
The UE 6000s are currently my favourite headset, and travel with me everywhere. They sound very balanced when in passive mode, and provide an exciting listening experience with the bass-boost, I mean active noise cancelling, on.
In passive mode, they are still slightly skewed to the deeper end of the sound spectrum, but provide sweet crispy highs, and in my limited experience with headphones at this price range, near-perfect mids. I would like it if they with a little brighter sounding, as the tinkling sound at the end of BT's 'The Force of Technology' just doesn't stand out as much as it should, but I really have nothing to complain about.
Then you turn on the boost. As a noise cancelling headphone, look elsewhere. The only time I have found this feature useful was for drowning out tire noise on a long drive (no music playing, just testing the feature solo). However, if you want a crap ton of bass and boosted treble, you are good to go. I know that many dislike the way the sound signature changes, but given I listen to mainly EDM and hip hop as of late, I appreciate the boost. For me, the hiss that the ANC adds is a non-issue, given that the last two pair of IEMs I used hissed like a bugger (JVC HA-FX101 and HA-FX1X). This will be a deal breaker for some of you I am sure.
I must note that the bass does lose some of the tightness and control that it has in passive mode, but I do not use the ANC feature for sound quality. For me it adds to the fun factor when listening to some of my favourite, bass-riddled tracks.
In summary, the UE 4000 sound like a more lifeless version of the UE 6000 (in passive mode), providing similar bass production, but with more recessed mids and highs. They are good, but not great.
Owning the EU 6000s on the other hand is like having two different headsets in one package. One is a well-balanced listening experience providing crisp, detailed highs and confident mids, with strong bass. The other is a booming, ear shattering monster that provides solid mids which are slightly hidden behind boosted treble. I love both listening experiences, and am happy with the versatility of the 6000s.
Last on the list, and one of the more subjective measures, is comfort. There is not must to say here, as both headsets are near perfect.
The UE 4000 are the most comfortable on-ear headset I have ever worn. The foam used in the ear pads and headband is very compliant, and the faux-leather is plush-as-can-be. They clamp the sides of your head ever so delicately, and rest upon your noggin light as a feather. Mind you, I have a pretty slim skull, so you may have a different experience. Either way, I am impressed at how comfortable these on-ear cans are. The only complaint I could have, but don't, is how thin the padding is in the headband, and that the rubber used occasionally sticks to my hair.
My impressions of the UE 6000 are nothing but favourable when it comes to comfort, with the exception of one very minor issue. For some reason, after extended use (near eight hours straight) they tend to hurt the area just under my ears. Not sure why, since these also clamp my head very lightly. Either way, this issue is resolved by either not using them for near eight hours with nary a rest, or by swapping over to my IEMs from a brief while. An easy and logical fix I think.
Would I recommend both headsets? At full price, not the UE 4000. While they are immensely comfortable, subjectively look good, and are well-built, I just cannot justify spending 129 CAD on headphone that sounds just okay. If you get them at the price I did, 35 CAD, then yes. Go for it!
The UE 6000 are probably worth the price, however I haven't listened to anything else in their original price bracket to compare them to. From what I have heard and read, you can't go wrong, and for the low price I paid, there is no way I would ever return them.
Some albums I used for testing different genres:
BT - This Binary Universe (amazing album btw)
BT - Emotional Technology
Skindred - Union Black
The Prodigy - Invaders Must Die
El-P - Cancer for Cure
If you made it this far, I hope you enjoyed the read. I will be looking at some more inexpensive headsets and IEMS in the future, including the JVC HA-FX101 and HA-FX1X mentioned earlier, and one of my *former* favourite on-ear headphones, the Sony MDR-ZX300 (now Tritton Kunai).
Edited by B9Scrambler - 2/25/14 at 1:06pm