Ultrasone Headphones have always been in a league of their own, but their latest creation exceeds all expectations. Ultrasone Signature Studio is here to redefine Ultrasone's position in the audio market.
Ultrasone is a well-known and well-reputed headphone company from Bavaria, Germany, who has been creating headphones since 1991. They have a very strict policy when it comes to Quality Control and their high-end models come with one of the longest warranties on the market, about 5 years of guaranteed warranty for all their higher end headphones.
Ultrasone has developed their own approach to sound and music, introducing S-logic, a technology that brings the quality of the sound coming from a headphone closer to the quality of the sound coming from a pair of speakers, along with reducing the total sound pressure that affects the listener.
While less known for their involvement with the audiophile communities, Ultrasone is very known for their involvement with artists and musicians, for providing some of the best tools to those who make the music we listen to.
I have absolutely no affiliation with Ultrasone, I am not receiving any incentive for this review or to sweeten things out. This review will be as objective as possible and it reflects my personal experience with Ultrasone Signature Studio. Every opinion expressed is mine and I stand by it, the purpose of this review is to help those interested in Signature Studio find their next music companion. This review includes no paid information and no affiliate links whatsoever, all links being normal links to product pages and threads on Head-Fi, the only reason they are included is to help you find a suitable place to order the product faster.
My name is George Dobrescu and I am the Director of the Seventh Heart Studios game studio. I work as one of the main programmers for the company, and I am the writer for Quantum Magica and Falsetto Memories projects. I spend eight – twelve hours a day working on a computer, writing and sometimes drawing. I also take care of administrative work which means that I require a portable setup so I'll be testing the portability of iDSD as well.
Music is present all around me for a big part of that time as working with music is always more fun. With all the devices I own, I need great sound, comfort and ease of usage, not to mention that my listening volume ranges from "please stop that, it's far too loud" to "I can't even tell that you're listening to music".
My collection includes everything from Classical to Metal, from Rap to Pop, from Punk to Cabaret and absolutely everything in between. There are great artists from every type of music, and I'm one to collect their albums, and keep a tidy order for my files.
You can check out more about our games on our pages https://www.facebook.com/seventh.heart.studios/ and https://twitter.com/7heartstudios .
At Seventh Heart Studios, we all love music and this has had an impact on our games as we hold the music close to our hearts and we are committed to only use ogg -q10 as the encoding format for our music since it offers the best disk space to sound quality ratio, OGG -q10 being closest to audibly transparent when compared to FLAC encoding.
Personal philosophy: Music is more than a hobby or sound. Music is inspiration. Music is life. Music has meaning by itself, being the one thing that can define one's life while shaping one's imagination and creativity. Music can open doors to new plains and music can change one's mood. Music can rest the mind better than days of sleep or can give one energy better than a thousand cups of coffee. Music can be anything we want it to be and the music we experience using professional audition tools is more but at the same time it is nothing more than our way of enhancing the emotion we get from music. Love is a concept too shallow, unable to encompass what music really means to a music lover.
I have owned Ultrasone Dj One Pro headphone for a very long time before, and in my music-loving journey they have been succeeded by a headphone with a different signature, but excellent sound – Meze 99 Classics. I also have quite a few high-end IEMs, like Sennheiser ie800, Dunu DK-3001, Etymotic ER4XR, HiFiMAN RE2000, and a few others. In the meanwhile, I also owned quite a few Players, like FiiO X5, FiiO X5 2nd Gen, Opus #3, Opus #2, and iBasso DX200 along with a State-Of-The-Art DAC/AMP, iFi iDSD Black Label.
When I heard that Ultrasone is working on a new Signature series headphone, I knew I have to give it a listen. I always wanted to buy a pair of Ultrasone Signature DJ before, but never actually got to purchase one. When I saw the design for the new Ultrasone Signature Studio, and the fact that it comes in black color, I couldn't stop myself from reading more and more, eager to hear its sound. At the moment, Signature Studio is fairly new to the market, but there are a few resellers that carry them, like Musicteck.
Since there was no reseller in Romania that had it at that moment, I contacted Ultrasone directly, and the conversation has been lovely, their spokesperson answering my qualms and quandaries with care and delicacy. I actually had a few requests to make and Ultrasone has been happy to listen and answer those quite nicely. It is always gladdening to have dainty conversations from a company.
The delivery time from Germany to Romania has been fairly low, the package leaving Germany on 23 June and reaching Romania on 27 June. Given that Signature Studio have been one of the headphones that really caught my attention, those have been some fairly long four days of waiting and erratically refreshing the AWB tracker, but I was really happy to see the moment the package arrived.
After the package reached Romania, it was swiftly delivered by a local company.
Upon opening the package, I was promptly reminded of the luxury and meticulous package Ultrasone employs with their products. It has always been a high-end experience to unpack an Ultrasone Headphone, but when it comes to high-end headphones, the packaging is probably less important than the sound.
It was a torrid day when I first took Ultrasone Signature Studio out for a walk. We were dealing with a swift drought during our typical Bucharest Summer days. The streets were mostly empty as the university classes were over now and there's only a shade of a human here and there, probably lost or looking for something they wanted but never managed to find. Who can blame them, one must be crazy to fathom taking a walk under the might of the full blaze of a Summer day's Sun, but nevertheless I had to take a break from my work so I to stop myself from overworking. I placed Ultrasone Signature Studio on my head, and felt a great relief as the cups felt pretty nice on my ears, and although Signature Studio has a pretty tight fit, they are actually quite comfortable. Since the temperature was above 35C outside, I expected the headphones to feel fairly hot on my head, but they actually feel like all my other headphones in those conditions. After I was done with all this analyzation of their fit, I pressed play and started one of my favorite songs. The first thing I noticed was a pitch-black silence. I'm wasn't used to this since most headphones weren't isolating the listener from the outside sound this much. This time it feels like I'm completely separated from all the rustling of the world. Signature Studio being connected to iDSD BL, I did not know what to expect, but I was eagerly waiting for the song to start (this one piece has a few seconds of silence at the beginning).
The sound coming from them is dumbfounding, the clarity and passion I am hearing in music is far from what I was anticipating they will have. What happened next is hard to describe as I forgot a lot of that day, but I remember this, the sweet sound carried me home and beyond as I spent almost eight hours continuously savoring the sonic experience Signature Studio provided. With tens of deadlines pressing on me, it is rare that a headphone or IEM causes me to disrupt my workflow by those lengths, but I knew I had to listen more to this intricate electronic contraption.
First things first, let's get the packaging out of the way:
Ultrasone has always been a company to put a lot of effort in their packaging and this is easily visible when opening one of their official boxes. To seal the main cardboard box in which the actual box sits, Ultrasone have used a very distinct tape that reads "Caution Highly Sensitive Electronic Equipment". The actual box is covered in bubble-wrap and sits in an anti-shock material that keeps the box safe.
After taking off the bubble-wrap, you will uncover the actual box of Signature Studio in all its beauty. The box is themed in a shiny black and deep red and it includes quite a few bits of useful information about Signature Studio along with a few beautiful pictures of them. The first time I opened the box, I could hardly contain my excitement to get to the headphones faster.
Inside the main black box, you will find another box, but this time white and made out of hard cardboard. This one is there to keep the inner levels safe from further physical pressure.
Inside the white cardboard box, you will find the leathery hard-carry box, wrapped in a protective plastic layer. There is a plastic protection layer placed on the "Signature" logo to keep it safe from scratches and the words Ultrasone and Studio are etched in the leathery material. The logo plate is made out of a beautiful silvery shiny metal, and after removing the plastic layer that was protecting it, you can see the fine work of art and attention to details that Ultrasone had when they designed Signature Studio. The metal plate is pretty thick and it has a smooth edge and surface. The word Signature has a beautiful look to it and impresses every time I see the metal logo.
The leathery material that the carry box is made of is smooth and feels nice to the touch while the zippers of the box work smooth and leave the impression of a high-quality workmanship.
Within the carry box, you will find Ultrasone Signature Studio along with two cables, one short and with a 3.5mm plug and one that is longer, coiled and which has a 6.3mm termination.
Ultrasone placed thin protective plastic layers on the cups themselves to preserve the beauty of the "Signature Studio" glass-like plates, but those layers of protective plastic need to be removed to full enjoy the beauty of Signature Studio.
The carry case features a fine and velvety material that comes in contact with the headphones themselves, and the box has the right shape for the headphones, allowing you to carry the headphones even without removing the cable.
There are two booklets included in the package. The first booklet indicates that Ultrasone offers a 5-year warranty for their Signature Studio headphones, making this one of the longest warranties by any company for any product in the world, if not the company with the longest warranty within all headphones. The other booklet that offers general information about Signature Studio, along with something that I appreciate greatly mentioned, the warning that listening to headphones at loud volumes, for extended periods of time, might cause hearing damage. It is always nice to see companies who care about their customers and their hearing.
All in all, the unboxing experience of Signature Studio is excellent and they leave the impression of a true high-end device that includes the amount of accessories needed to use and enjoy them.
What I look in when purchasing a Headphone
When purchasing a headphone, there are a few things that you should be looking at, and seriously consider, as sooner or later those will come in foresight:
- Sound quality – This is, by far, the most important aspect of every purchase when you invest in high end audio products. The sonic abilities along with the frequency response / sonic signature widely differs from IEM to IEM.
- Comfort / ergonomics – The fit and comfort are quite important, especially if you plan on using the same IEM for hours in a row, or in a live performance.
- Isolation – Every IEM will offer some degree of isolation, but there are both models that focus on ultra-isolation from the outside noise, and open models.
- Good Value – Always nice to have
- Interesting/Intriguing design – Every user will have a personal preference and taste for what an “interesting design” is, but it is generally recommended to pick a IEM which you consider to be aesthetically pleasing, or in simpler words, Good Looking.
- Drive-Factor – How easy it is to drive and how prone to hissing it is, since certain IEMs and headphones will require special sources to offer the best performance.
- Accessories included – It is better to have a large selection of tips and accessories included with a IEM, especially for those that feature unique tips or require their own accessories.
- Build Quality and Warranty – While it is good to have a solid warranty included with Every IEM, having a solid build quality is far better.
Impedance - 32 Ohm
Connector - 3.5mm / 6.3 mm
Frequency Response - 8 Hz - 40.000Hz
Rated Power Efficiency - 98 dB / mW
Weight - 290 Grams
Cable length 1 - 1.2m / 3.5mm
Cable length 2 - 3m / 6.3mm
Driver Size - 40mm
Driver Material - Titanium Coated
Magnet - NdFeB
Driver Type - Dynamic, Closed Back
Coupling Type - Over The Ear
Headphone to cable connector type - 3.5mm
S-Logic Plus Technology - Yes
Handmade in Germany - Yes
Low Magnetic Emissions - Yes
The first thing to notice about Signature Studio is their shape. The headband is larger than the one on Dj One Pro, but it is far more comfortable with better padding, the cups are not as big, but they are oval shaped this time and the pads are made out of a leathery material, being much thicker and more solid than the pads on Dj One Pro.
Aesthetically speaking, Signature Studio dazzles everyone who comes in contact with them, they are both a headphone to wear in studio while carefully tinkering your next masterpiece, a headphone to wear indoors while tingling your ears with the most splendid of musical compositions, a headphone to wear outside while relaxing on the barren streets of your hometown, and a headphone to present with and use in a live event. What is even better, the headphones themselves have enough style and class to be compatible with the highest of environments, making an excellent choice to wear while on a business trip or to wear while going to a business meeting.
The cups are made out of a glass-like material, smooth to the touch and reflexive. The word Signature logo is embedded into the glass, ever so slightly protruding from the glass, while the silvery rings bring a light tone to the headphone. The rest of the cup is made out of a slightly rubbery plastic while the headband is made out of leather or a leathery material. The whole construction has a very "premium" feeling to it in general.
The carry box is pretty sturdy, but it would still be a good idea to use the cardboard box included with Signature Studio for keeping the carry box in best condition for the longest time possible.
The 3.5mm connector that goes into the cup features a twist motion mechanism that keeps in in place, the same mechanism existing in other headphones as well.
Ultrasone employs a few unique and patented technologies in Signature Studio, technologies that help make it the awesome headphone we get to listen to. The first Technology is Ultrasone's own S-Logic, a concept where the driver is displaced from shooting the sound directly into the ear, the earcups usually simulating the sensation the listener gets from listening to well-placed speakers in a dedicated room. Ultrasone also employs a technology that reduces the amount of electromagnetic radiation the listener is exposed to. Ultimately, they also employ titanium covered drivers in the production of Signature Studio.
When placed under normal usage pressure, Signature Studio don't present any creaking or squeaking noises and they feel very sturdy in my hands. For the record, I've been using them outside for a good while now and they held up very well to my rather energetic usage.
Fit / Comfort
The comfort of Signature Studio has greatly improved when compared with the past generations of Ultrasone Headphones and it is now a headphone I can wear for hours without getting too much fatigue.
The earpads are made out of leather or a material that feels very close to leather and the cup depth has improved greatly. The earpad material has a texturized feeling to it and it feels comfortable in contact with the skin. The earpads don't heat more than any other headphones do and since it is full summer in Bucharest, they heat as much as any other headphone would in this situation. I have also had the chance to test Signature Studio in a colder day, and it doesn't heat, or rather, it doesn't make me sweat while wearing them, being quite comfortable when worn outside, during a normal day.
The clamping force is average to slightly high, and Ultrasone Signature Studio sits tighter on the head than other headphones, Signature Studio being well suited for dancing or moving while wearing them.
The cups of Signature Studio swivel in almost all directions, the high level of free movement making them ideal for using them as DJ headphones. They are comfortable to wear around the neck as well since the headband has a good amount of padding and the material is nice to the touch.
The cups themselves have a pretty good depth, but the size might be a bit on the small side, especially for users that have larger ears or wear glasses. I didn't experience a lot of comfort issues with them, but it is fair to take into account that the cups are on the smaller side.
The isolation of Signature Studio is one of the best isolations I heard in a headphone, their design being fully closed and providing enough isolation to be used even while walking along a street with busy traffic.
All in all, Signature Studio provides a good fit and comfort, and besides the cups that might be a bit small for some users, it is hard to complain about them.
Ultrasone Signature Studio has been tested with Xiaomi Mi Max 2, FiiO X5ii, Opus #3, Opus #2, iBasso DX200, FiiO X7mkii, Shanling M2s, Hidizs AP200, and HiFiMAN Megamini, and the benchmark DAC/AMP we have, iFi iDSD Black Label.
The difference in sound quality when using a better source is very noticeable, Signature Studio having very good resolving abilities. This makes Signature Studio a headphone that requires a very good source for their true ability and awesome sound to shine – iFi iDSD Black Label being one of the best choice when driving them, especially with the inclusion of the X-bass switch, tightly followed by iBasso DX200 and Opus #2 / Opus #3. FiiO X7mkii also does an excellent job at driving Signature Studio, and it is a nice pairing.
The design Ultrasone employed in Signature Studio is pretty good and they are usable both inside and outside, but they have a pretty low efficiency and they need a bit of power to be driven well, so I'd recommend a strong source, even when using them outside.
Ultrasone Signature Studio has a unique signature that might require a few moments to get used to, but which grows on the listener after they get accustomed to it. They sound extremely resolving and detailed, and their soundstage is larger than most closed back headphone I tried to date. The signature itself is pretty U shaped, the bass being slightly enhanced along with the treble, while the mids are slightly recessed. The treble of Signature Studio is energetic, alive, passionate and full of life, the headphone that has the closest treble in my experience being probably the mighty HD800S.
Signature Studio is not a smooth headphone necessarily, nor a treble-shy headphone, being quite energetic and happy all across the spectrum. While the level of details, the engagement, the texture resolution and the speed of sound are on level with the mighty HD800S, Signature Studio features a somewhat more magical midrange, being a tad more musical and melodic than HD800S. The sweet signature is quite similar to Sennheiser ie800 in this aspect, full of sweet sounds and textures rather than the mature and sometimes cold midrange of HD800S.
The soundstage is also quite important as Signature Studio clearly has one of the most massive soundstage(s) I heard in closed back headphone to date. It might also be important to mention that Ultrasone's S-Logic technology working very well with my ears. The instrument separation is something special as Sig Studio separates and outlines individual instruments really well, being on level and with the instrument separation of Sennheiser ie800, which has been my benchmark for instrument separation up to the moment of writing this review.
To sum it up in a few words, they sound well-extended, happy, energetic, airy, open, tight, quick, sweet, musical, enhancing, engaging and resolving.
All sonic impressions for Signature Studio have been taken with iFi iDSD Black Label, FiiO X7mkii, iBasso DX200 and Opus #2 all of those being excellent sources for driving headphones, and all of them being benchmarks for source technologies. Some sonic characteristics will inherently belong to the source, but Signature Studio's sonic signature and characteristics are quite visible, since some of the sources quoted are quite transparent and resolving.
Since Signature Studio has the cable connector on one side, the left side, and I did extensive testing on its channel balance, and there is no channel imbalance I can detect. The channels seem to be perfectly matched.
The bass of Signature Studio is enticing at first audition and it becomes quite an addictive and dazzling experience with further auditions.
Signature Studio has one of the deepest and most detailed / best layered bass out there, even when compared with well-established headphones. They are not a basshead headphone by definition, but rather a Studio headphone, and as the name implies, their bass has a studio sound to it. The bass of Signature Studio can stop at the drop of a needle and can unleash its true power when needed, being one of the tightest out there, but this doesn't mean that it is anemic, but rather very well controlled. It is very coherent and tight, but carries all the force it needs to achieve a full and convincing impact when the song asks for this.
It is arguable whether a sound so clear and clean is natural or an enhancement of what would be natural, but it is a vivid experience that must be heard to understand.
Mindless Self Indulgence – Mastermind – The song starts with the micro dynamic elements coming through strong and clear, the voice playing along with all the synths in a true-to-life tonality. There is a nice sense of space and the separation between instruments is astounding, the song being presented with an excellent spatial clarity. Every synth note has a vivid texture and bears great impact. Being great at revealing the smallest of details to the listener, Sig Studio presents things vividly and clear. The speed of the song is incredible and there is a mellow rain of microdetails that I'm able to hear for the first time when listening to this song on iDSD BL + Signature Studio. The emotional impact of the song is great as well, the voice carrying a very good amount of emotional strength and energy.
Muse – The 2nd Law: Unsustainable – The intro of this song is vivid and a lovely symphony of multiple instruments tightly woven together, but still separated well within the expansive soundstage. Female voices feel strangely vivid and tangible, listening to this song on Signature Studio being one of the rare times when the word "entropy" is pronounced clearly and easy to distinguish. All stringed instruments feel real and their textures are quite vivid, presented along with many symbols and short synth sounds that spice the composition. The story of the song, about the limited resources of humanity and the dangers of entropy is send forward with a good emotional impact. It is impressive to notice how well placed all instruments are in the 3D space and how you can clearly tell what layer is behind which. For the record, the sound is so overwhelmingly complex that I had to listen to this song a few times before I was able to write my impressions.
Dethklok – Blazing Star – The song starts with an excellent presentation of the brass orchestra along with the guitar notes and the drum beats. There is a clear distinction between instruments and between different brass notes played at the same time. The drum pedals have an excellent tactile feeling to them along with the cymbals having an excellent presence and energy breathing through them. All voices have a natural tone along with a melodic feeling to them. The background voices are all distinguishable from each other, singing each in their own tone, almost like a veil has been taken from the sound, different from headphones that present those as a single sound. The Journey Dethklok takes the listener through is quite an exquisite one, the journey through the universe as the birth and the coming of the Deathstar are upon the world are presented vividly, with the beasts singing along the path of destruction coming upon the universe as the dark light of the Deathstar are shines upon it.
The midrange is yet another magical part of Signature Studio. With an energetic and revealing approach, Signature Studio will point the listener to the closest detail that exists within the recording, and will make all of this in a musical and pleasant way.
The midrange is ever so slightly recessed, and its sweet tonality is comparable with Sennheiser ie800, but I'd say that it is less recessed than it is on ie800. Male and female vocals sound real, well-textured and magical, and the midrange could easily be one of Sig Studio's strongest points, especially with the huge soundstage they have.
Machinae Supremacy – Hubnester Rising – The start is slow and played skillfully with every small detail and intricacy shown to the listener, an embroidery of sweet guitar notes. Signature Studio shows excellent abilities in recovering fine textures and background instrument / spatial cues. When the song starts, the listener is surprised by an exposition of guitars and drums played fast, with the cymbals being hit with amazing strength and energy. There are multiple sonic layers, all separated well, surrounding the listener, and there is a very good sense of air in between instruments and musical notes. The voices are sweet and the tonality is true-to-life, while the bass guitars bear good weight and impact. It is easy to imagine the story as presented by Machinae Supremacy, going through the entire journey, finding the end of life and meaning, reaching the final stage, and having to confront the machine, to finally end it all and escape from the game, only to be then reborn into a new life.
Dream Evil – Book Of Heavy Metal – The song starts with a strong scream and with a heavy yet clearly presented bass line. Every guitar note feels juicy and full of life, while every cymbal crash can be felt with a vivid impact. The voices are clear and well-textured, but don't go overboard, staying quite melodic. The song feels clear and airy, every musical note being well separated from the rest. The whole solo part is juicy and feels tangible as the cymbals are hit hard in the background and the voices are forward and attack with swift rhythm and peace. The story of the man who gives up on his own life, only to be in the book of Heavy Metal is presented vividly, and whether it is a sad or a happy story, is left to the listener to decide.
Melanie Martinez – Doll House – This is an excellent song to test the midrange of Signature Studio as Melanie Martinez and her compositions make pop music a bit more interesting, having very dark / depressive lyrics, yet a clear and sweet voice. The first few effects are vivid and have a good spatial presentation, and while the bass isn't the central part of the song. The voices are really clear and there is a whole river of microdetails to be heard. The voices are presented vividly and with a very honest tonality, while the cymbals / hi-hats and upper range symbols are presented vividly and energetic, Signature Studio having a strong and honest top end. The bass is much stronger and bears far more impact in songs where it is meant to, for example in Melanie Martinez's Carousel, where the bass has deep hitting notes that aren't meant to be toyed with.
The treble of Ultrasone Signature Studio is quite energetic, happy, full of life and slightly splashy. The presentation is vivid and they recover a lot of treble detail, and present it with an amazing width and depth, the rather energetic treble helping all instruments breathe.
The treble itself is not harsh or grainy in its presentation, but the quantity relative to bass makes the whole headphone feel both a bit U shaped and a bit on the light side of things. Given their fast and accurate bass which is pretty tight, the treble feels more enhanced than if the bass were slightly more enhanced, but this helps Signature Studio be a better studio headphone. Now, the whole headphone sounds sweet and is quite musical, but with the treble being lively, Signature Studio will expose most microdetails found in music, they are a pair of headphones that will make you learn all the intricacies of the music you thought you knew, and present even more with each listen. They are clearly not a relaxed headphone, and while I personally liked and appreciated them with all types of music I had, some J-pop and rap music might be presented different than listeners are typically used to hear. If there is a headphone that has a similar tuning out there, that would be Sennheiser HD800S, which has a similarly energetic and detailed treble, with a tight bass and a sweet midrange, but where HD800S sounds rather mature, Signature Studio is a tad more playful, with the midrange especially being a bit more musical and vibrant rather than mature.
All in all, Signature Studio is not bright, but they could be borderline bright, being recommended to those of us who like a more lively and energetic presentation rather than those who are looking for a relaxed sound. Signature Studio will expose all the details in a song, both intended details, and mastering / recording mistakes.
Powerman 5000 – To Be Human – The song starts with a heavy and melodic intro, followed by a juicy combination of snappy electronic effects led by a strong and vivid voice. The cymbals are played with a good amount of energy and vibrancy, the top end of Signature Studio being one of its strong points. There is a general sense of space and separation that is great for hearing more details and dwelling deeper into each song played through Signature Studio. Guitar solos are always juicy on Signature Studio, and Powerman 5000's solos are a very good example of this, bearing musicality and a playful tone to each note. The story of the flawed humans that we all are is presented in an energetic and jumpy way, and the song makes one understand how all of one's defects are what actually makes him human.
Om – Ghetsemane – This is a very good test track for any pair of headphones, because with a rolled off treble, or with an intimate presentation, it can easily transform from a meditative transcendentalist song to a doom metal song. The headphones it is played through are quite instrumental to understanding the beauty of Om's works. With Signature Studio's excellent presentation and energetic top end, it is possible to hear the clear voices played in a soprano canto in the background. There are cymbal notes literally played behind my head as I am listening to the song, and I turned my head a few times, afraid that something might have broken in my room. The bass notes are extremely deep and strong, played with a great level of detail and texture, surrounding the listener with a sweet symphony of textures. The voices are extremely clear and come through with a natural tone, also having a good distance from the listener. Listening to the whole song, one can close his eyes and feel how he transcends the state of being, finding himself far in the meditative plane, discussing with the singer, while an entire band plays magical instruments to make the whole meditation possible. The lyrics are rather ambiguous to say the least, but the song feels lovely and the whole experience is extremely vivid.
Lumen – Дыши – This is a sweet and melodic symphony of a depressing ballad served as a sad rock song – an excellent song to test Signature Studio's abilities. The intro is played slowly, with fuzzy guitar notes and a distant bass guitar. The actual song begins with a very clear guitar and a vibrant voice. There are multiple guitar notes playing in the background, sang by a very talented rhythm guitarist. The cymbals are played with finesse and gentleness, but their sound is honest and energetic. The bass is strong and clean, well textured, and placed well in the sonic landscape. The heavy part of the song is energetic and has an amazing impact, every musical note staying clear and well defined, despite the high volume and the dynamic compression towards the end of the song.
Ultrasone Signature Studio's soundstage is clearly one of its strongest points, and if S-logic works well with your ears, the soundstage is easily comparable with the soundstage of the mighty Sennheiser HD800S.
Signature Studio has one of the largest soundstages I heard in a closed back or open back headphone. The music can come from any point around the listener, even from straight behind him, and there is an entire landscape around the listener that will surround him with all kinds of playful effects. There is a convincing sensation of layering and instrument separation for every track played through Signature Studio, as they separate the musical layers with delicacy yet precision. It is almost unfair for a closed back headphone to have this good of a soundstage, along with the extreme isolation Signature Studio have, but the S-logic technology supposedly works best with some ears, while it is tricky for other ears to get a good sweet-spot for it. For reference, Signature Studio sounds great as soon as I place them on my head, and other Ultrasone headphones worked really well for me in the past, but I still recommend testing them before purchasing, to ensure that they will work with you as well.
The ADSR (Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release) and PRaT (Pace, Rhythm, and Timing) of Signature Studio are excellent, and the definition of each musical note is very good. The decay is not prolonged beyond its normal time, and the Attack is generally fast and natural, as you'd expect from music played live. The pace and the rhythm are very good as well, and although Signature Studio are not bass-heavy, they have enough bass that hits deep enough to give a good sense pf pace and rhythm. You can expect a very dynamic sense in all music, Signature Studio feeling quite natural in their presentation, with all textures being presented vivid and in well-defined manner.
When it comes to portability, Signature Studio is a little more portable than the Dj One Pro I owned from Ultrasone, the headphones themselves being lighter, and the cups being somewhat smaller.
Given their black color, Signature Studio will do a pretty good job at being taken outside, and the glass panels on the sides of the cups feel really sturdy. The extreme isolation Signature Studio provides is a plus when it comes to their portability, but it is recommended to be aware of your surroundings at all times. The only aspect of the portability that might pose an issue is the carry box, which is very premium and looks astonishing, but might require being placed inside another box for best protecting the leathery gentle material it is made of. It should be noted that the carry box is also pretty large and requires quite a bit of space. Even so, the box seems to offer a good amount of protection from external pressure and shocks, and I tend to place other boxes and DAPs on top of it while Signature Studio are inside.
Ultrasone Signature Studio can be driven from a portable source, like a smartphone, but the results are considerably better if they are driven from a professional-level source like a FiiO X7mkii + AM03A, iBasso DX200 + AM01, iDSD BL, Opus #3 / Opus #2, or another high-quality source. Since they have a treble-happy, energetic and vibrant sound with a U-shaped sound, Ultrasone Signature studio works fairly well with many sources, but it is important to consider whether you want to enhance the behavior of the U-shaped sound, adding a somewhat U-shaped sound source, like X7mkii+AM03A, or if you're looking to bring them closer to neutral, adding a neutral source like iBasso DX200, both making excellent options for driving Signature Studio.
Signature Studio driven by X7mkii + AM03A – The sound is vibrant and the midrange is natural, while the bass feels heavy and well textured. Every note has good weight and impact, and each hit leaves a nice impression on the listener. The revealing abilities of Signature Studio are enhanced by X7+AM03A and the sound feels very spatial and well-separated, the combination working very well together.
Signature Studio driven by Opus #2 – This is actually one of my favorite setups because Opus #2 enhances the sweet midrange of Signature Studio, offering a very energetic and dynamic presentation. Opus #2 tends to be quite neutral, but it adds a bit of bass compared with the absolutely neutral DX200+AMP1 combo, and since Ultrasone Signature Studio are quite tight and light in the bass area, the added bass is good for a playful sound.
Signature Studio driven by iBasso DX200 + AMP1 – This combination offers an excellently precise sound. DX200 doesn't enhance the top end or the bottom end of Signature Studio, but instead DX200 enhances the textures and the general timing, providing an even quicker and more defined experience. Since Signature Studio are quite treble-happy, DX200 is an excellent DAP to pair them with if you're looking for a DAP that is very tight and musical, but which doesn't present any kind of U or V shape in its signature.
Signature Studio driven by Shanling M2s – Shanling M2s is a very portable DAP, but it shouldn't be toyed with as it has the power necessary to drive Signature Studio to a pretty satisfying loudness and quality. M2s will relax the sound of Signature Studio a bit, providing an amazing balance of making the sound leaner while adding more power to the lower registers, Signature Studio becoming an interestingly playful and relaxed headphone this way.
Signature Studio driven by Hidizs AP200 – Hidizs has been doing a great job with their AP200, and with many consequent updates they improved the experience quite a lot for their AP200. The sound remains slightly U shaped, but like Shanling M2s, AP200 will relax the tight and quick sound of Signature Studio, providing an interestingly relaxed outcome. AP200 has a pretty sparkly top end and will not relax the treble of Signature Studio, but the way the higher registers are presented through the combo feels like they have a good detail, but will still be pretty far from being too much.
Signature Studio driven by Opus #3 – Another excellent setup as Opus #3 tends to enhance the top end and the bottom end of Signature Studio, all while slightly enhancing the musicality as well. The two look pretty good together, and the final sound is happy, lively and energetic.
Signature Studio driven by iFi iDSD Black Label – iDSD BL helps Signature Studio get a bit stronger in the lower registers, giving them a bit more power to hit and impress the listener, while giving them a bit more treble as well, impressing the listener with a balanced yet musical presentation. iDSD BL's large soundstage will enhance the soundstage of Signature Studio, giving them an even more expanded soundstage with even more space between the instruments.
Signature Studio is not prone to EMI and it even features shielding against all kinds of EMI. They were tested right above my Wifi router, and they were tested under high tension electric power lines. They have proven to be uninfluenced by any kind of Electro Magnetic Interference, and although most headphones are, it is nice to know that they have been well built and well-thought in this aspect.
Signature Studio competes very well with other headphones from many price ranges, and the list of comparisons will include a few headphones above their price range because their sound and the whole package is able to holds its ground quite nicely.
Signature Studio vs Meze 99 Classics (300$) – Meze 99 Classics are considerably less expensive than Signature Studio, but it is fun to see how the two compare, especially since 99C is one of the headphones I really like as well. Starting with the comfort, 99C exerts less pressure on the head and the headband is very comfortable, while Signature Studio is considerably tighter. The sound is very solid on both, especially for their price range, but it should be noted that Signature Studio and 99C have polarizing different signatures, 99C having a strong bass, and a natural, open and smooth sound, while Signature Studio has a bass-tight, natural and ultra-revealing, open, and energetic sound. 99C and Signature Studio are complementary more than they are similar, both being excellent headphones in their price range and both being really good at what they do best.
Signature Studio vs Kinera H3 (100$) – Although they have very different price points, and target publics, H3 should be mentioned next to Signature Studio as they feature a very energetic and open sound as well, being like a very energetic, mini, IEM version of Signature Studio.
Signature Studio vs Ultrasone Dj One Pro (200$) – Ultrasone vs Ultrasone, Dj One Pro being considerably less expensive than Signature Studio. Signature Studio provides a tighter bass, a more forward midrange, with a much more energetic top end. The soundstage is larger, and the presentation feels more open. The headphone cups are deeper on Signature Studio and although DJ One Pro has larger cups, Signature Studio proves to be more comfortable. It should be noted that the Ultrasone build quality can be seen on Dj One Pro, as they are alive even after almost four years of heavy usage, including outdoor usage during the winter, and they look pretty fresh as well.
Signature Studio vs Sennheiser ie800 (700$) – This is an interesting comparison because ie800 is a benchmark IEM, and Ultrasone Signature Studio is an excellent headphone. Starting with the bottom end, ie800 has a considerably stronger sub-bass, with a slower decay for bass notes, while Signature Studio has a tighter bottom end with quicker bass notes. The midrange is similarly sweet and musical between the two, although it feels a tad more recessed on ie800. The top end feels slightly more energetic on Signature Studio, but it is presented slightly different, with ie800 being ever so slightly splashier.
Signature Studio vs HiFiMAN RE-2000 (2000$) – An excellent comparison because RE-2000 is one of the best sounding IEM I heard to date, a truly high end IEM, and Signature Studio is one of the best closed-back headphones I heard to date as well. Starting with the bottom end, RE-2000 has a stronger bottom end, with slower bass notes, while Signature Studio has a quick and tight bottom end with a bit more enhancement on the textures. The midrange is more forward on RE-2000, with a more natural presentation. The top end is interesting to look into. RE-2000 has a similarly energetic top end, but the frequency response will be a bit different, RE-2000 shining best in the lower treble, while Signature Studio's treble focuses more on the upper treble.
Signature Studio vs Beyedynamic Xelento – Signature Studio and Beyerdynamic Xelento have very different signatures from each other, Xelento having a warmer, natural and smooth, relaxed sound, while Signature Studio has a quick, light, energetic and vibrant sound. They are complementary more than they are similar, Beyerdynamic Xelento being a very natural and relaxed sounding IEM that is there of the musicality and for an easy-listening experience, while Signature Studio might find its place more within the walls of a studio with their tight and crispy sound.
Signature Studio vs Sennheiser HD600 – Starting with the bottom end, HD600 has a slower decay for each note, while Signature Studio feels quicker and gives more enhancement to bass textures. Although HD600 is open back, Signature Studio presents music with more width in its soundstange, The midrange is more forward on HD600, while it is slightly recessed on Signature Studio. The dynamic abilities of each headphone are excellent, and the top end is a bit more energetic on Signature Studio, HD600 being more of a relaxing and easy headphone in comparison to the vibrant and jumpy Signature Studio.
Ultrasone Signature Studio retails for about 500 Euro in Europe at the moment of writing this review, being one of the mid to high end priced headphones.
Ultrasone Signature Studio comes with 5 years of warranty from Ultrasone, being one of the headphones with the longest warranty at this moment. They also come with two cables included in the package, a very beautiful leather(y) case, providing all the accessory needed to use Signature Studio out of a dedicated player, or a mixing / mastering station.
The sound of Signature Studio is very revealing, natural and while it is not neutral, but rather V/U-shaped, this means that it will help one spot the micro details better, making them an excellent choice for both novice and professional music makers. Considering the build materials which include glass, leather and hard plastic, Signature Studio feel like a very expensive and well-built headphone, leading to a very high perceived value.
All in all, Signature Studio provides an excellent value at 500 Euro, and are one of the better priced headphones on the market at this moment, punching well above their price and providing an excellent choice for those who are looking for this type of signature.
If you're wondering whether Ultrasone Signature Studio will be your next friend in enjoying or producing music, you have to ask yourself whether you like this type of ultra-revealing and energetic signature. With a classy and high-quality build, the excellent sound, and the very nice price tag, Signature Studio is a very good choice for a closed-back headphone, being an excellent choice for both music enthusiasts and music producers.
It is best to test them before purchasing, because it is impossible to guarantee how well the S-logic technology will work with your ears, but it worked really well with mine during all my tests.
With Signature Studio, the music will always be energetic, lively, dynamic and will make you jump and spot every little detail within. At the end of the day, Signature Studio is a headphone that you can't miss from your list, if you you're looking for an open-sounding closed-back headphone with a U-shaped sound and revealing sound.
Thank you for reading!
I hope that this review is of help to you!
Stay safe, and please remember to have fun while listening to music!
Link to the review on Audiophile Heaven: https://audiophile-heaven.blogspot.com/2017/10/ultrasone-signature-studio-exquisite-eccentric-excellent.html
Link to the official Thread on Head-Fi: https://www.head-fi.org/threads/ultrasone-signature-studio-impressions-and-information-gathering-thread.830789/
Link to shop page: https://shop.musicteck.com/products/ultrasone-signature-studio-headphones
Link to the writer’s head-fi page: https://head-fi.org/members/dobrescu-george.170938/
Audiophile Heaven: https://audiophile-heaven.blogspot.com/
Audiophile Heaven on Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/AudiophileHeaven/