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Universal Fit item created by Sumflow, Jun 23, 2010
Pros - Price to sound quality
Cons - Bass kicks sound ... 'plastic'.
It was midnight and I was surfing ebay for fun like I normally do and saw these headphones on sale from a reputable USA seller. The deal was ending in 20minutes and there was only 1 pair left... 40 seconds of thought, debate, and action take place and next think I know ive spend $60 on headphones I dont need. I already have a pair of Shure SE315s that I love so I spent the next week waiting for the UM1s to come in listing to those and justifying my purchase as a set of "spares". I was also worried that I might like my cheaper UM1s than my $200 SE315s...
So my first test was probably the most insightful. I played a song on my Sansa Clip + connected to the UM1s... Listened to the whole thing... (This song - https://soundcloud.com/kaskade/rufus-wainwright-go-or-go-ahead-kaskade-mix) and I noticed a lack of extension in the highs as compared to what Im used to. I use an EQ on my Sansa to mainly boost the bass and tip top highs ever so slightly for my SE315s. The UM1s took quite a bit more of those boosts to achieve what I found acceptable.
Next up I plugged in my SE315s and noticed much improved extension into the highs from the UM1s and Improved - more full sounding, bass kicks. The UM1s could produce bass in good quantity when properly EQed and impressive low extension but the sharp bass kicks sounded cheap and kinda lacking in sound. Almost plastic. The SE315s claim to have a tuned bass port which I think can help with the kicks.
So far I have kinda talked down the UM1s as compared to my 315s. But not to say I was disappointed or upset. I usually listen to Electronic Music - House, French Touch, EDM, all lossless. Rockbox Sansa Clip +
Sound: The UM1s can produce solid bass if EQed properly - and it doesn't clip or cut the mids and highs like that of many dynamic drivers at a similar price. The highs are there but do not as extend as far as im used to but overall are pretty clear. This does not upset very much considering the price. Sometimes the highs can be a bit harsh at some volumes. The mids are there, nothing fancy, just there and acceptable.
Design: I like the size of these! They are very small and fit in your ear so they are comfortable to lay on a pillow with or something. They stay put and I have had no problems with fit. I love the ear pieces! The foam is so soft and smooth. Its a nice neutral color too. I actually took some of the tips and put them on my SE315s. I prefer the westone foam way more than shures. Once again the fit is perfect for me. I hardly notice them when they are in. The cable im not a fan of. It feels cheap and tangles easily. Often bends into strange shapes and gets cought on things. The plug is nice and small. Keep in mind im comparing these to my 315s cable - shure is known for quality cables. I also got mine in teal - its a fun color and I like that I can see the driver, even if its in a box unlike that of my 315s where you can see the coil and all of the armature.
- Nice size
- Excellent foam tips!
- Build quality is maybe a 5 out of 10... But to be expected for the price.
- Good bass extension into the lows but cheap kicks.
- Mids are normal. Highs are lacking in the tip tops. But clear otherwise.
- Can handle the bass.
- Price is pretty awesome.
- The box was cool looking
- Decent isolation
- Sound to price ratio
These would make an excellent gift - especially combined with a Sansa clip plus!
Excellent spare headphones or emergency.
A healthy impulse purchase
Pros - compact size, minimal microphonics, great sound
Cons - star tips might be a bit painful
disclaimer: I'm still pretty new to this whole 'audiophile' thing so my impressions probably are not the most accurate. i don't own any so called 'high end' audio gear so all my comparisons will be done with respect to sounds in real life, against what instruments actually sound like in a band or when singing. all tracks used are either 320kbps mp3 or lossless CD rips on an iphone 4
build: build wise, i have no issues at all. i've been using them almost every day for the last 8-10 months or so, to and from school and everywhere in between. I've used them till the wires have curled into the memory wire-shape behind my ear, but the whole thing-cables and all, still working fine. their small size plus the compact case makes it easy for me to wear just about anywhere cos they're really comfy and easy to store. my only *minor* gripe is that the star tips felt slightly uncomfortable for me, but that's just personal preference.
sound: the um1 was my first pair of BA driver earphones so i had no idea what to expect, especially from such a tiny thing, but the um1's punch way above what i thought they would. As a whole, its really detailed in replicating all the sounds in whatever track i toss at it, but I'm the kind of guy who likes to break things down so here it is...
TREBLE- really crisp sounding, sparkly highs that generally sound great with anything. listening to violin or other string instruments, the resonance of the highs can be heard, albeit slightly muffled and lifeless compared to the real stuff, but hey its good enough for me. the defining moment for me was when i listened to 'phantom of the opera' by sierra boggess and ramin karimloo, the last high note that sierra hit did not sound shrill at all, although the ring that such highs make naturally were not exactly there, still, the um1 performed incredibly with that track. only gripe i had was when listening to the electric guitar, riffs and shreds tend to sound either really muffled or shrill, but the rest of the time it sounds fine.
MIDS- what i feel really make a song come to life... the um1's mids are incredibly analytical in the sense where i can hear all the details in band music with the instruments playing and stuff, but i would have preferred if they had a bit of a warmer sound to them. what that means is that in tracks with a very strong vocal presence, although the vocals sound fine, they lack the warmth and emotion that you would hear in a live performance. where the mids really come through though is when they are given things like piano or acoustic guitar pieces, with the kind of rich creamy sound
BASS- I'm no basshead, but like many i love a good bit of oomph in my tracks. the bass of the um1 is solid all the way, although it might be a bit more muggy sounding at the lower sub-bass end of the frequency range. still, and bass guitar lines are clearly heard, controlled but impactful; same goes for the drums, i played a couple of drum solos on the um1s and it replicates the sounds fantastically, toms and kick drum both. even in rock music, when there is so much going on in the highs and mids, the drum line can still cut through and make itself heard. only problem is when you have both the bass guitar and drums at the same time, the um1 seems to 'sacrifice' one sound for another, which tends to cause both parts to meld into one slightly messy lump of sound, but maybe thats because its only one driver, i have no idea how the um2 or um2x sound so...
in general, the um1 is a very good pair of earphones because they can represent all the main parts of a piece of music with pretty good detail. instrument separation is good all the way to the bass levels, with minimal mushiness in the lower bass frequency. however, as previously mentioned, the um1s do not really show all the nuances and overtones of natural sound, which is not that big an issue when you look at the price of it and its quality. i am very sensitive to this kinds of 'nuances' so some might not even notice the difference, especially if you haven't heard the physical instrument. on the other hand, this inability to reproduce all of the sounds you hear could be a good thing because the um1s are very forgiving of all but the worst audio formatting, giving you decent quality sound even down to 128kbps, so if you are like me with a music collection of everything from classical to punk rock and 128kbps to FLAC, the um1s are a great pair of earphones for general listening, plus they sound perfectly fine un-amped too.
Pros - Inexpensive, small and light
Cons - Bass could be stronger
I was looking for a set of earphones for iPOD listening during my daily commutes. I compared the UM1s with similarly priced earphones and found these to have the best bass response and overall quality. After about 3 months of daily listening, I still craved more bass and upgraded to the UM2s. Most of my friends wouldn't know the difference, but if you're a bass player, you would.
Great Build, Fit, everything
Cons: Sound is not for me, but it isn't bad. Too anylitical