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Ultimate Ears UE PRO 18+ Discussions and Impressions

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  1. seedubchris
    It would seem that they are the best kept secrets in the iem world as they don't get a lot of props on head fi. Good for you that you discovered them . The work they did with Capitol records staff has payed off in the 18 which seems like the uerr but with more bass . . The rep maintains they have the flattest response of the whole line. Super hi Tec fitting for ciem's with 3D printing . Mine were perfect first time. I doubt the 64 could outdo them from the listining I did at canjam. Great company ,great product . What other iems did you listen to . Any thing come close to the resolution from the 18's or are they in a class by themselves in your opinion?
     
  2. soullinker20
    they just don't get that much attention imho. I've tried and fitted my friend's uerm before but they sounded thin to me. what took my attention was how natural they sound for a BA. UERR changes that and this time poisoned me. I do prefer the 18+ for their open sound. I am more of a soundstage monitor guy. I have and had a lot of IEMs which are above the 18+ price point but above them all my favorite still even with today's technology is the Sony mdr-EX1000 (dynamic driver). only the 18+ yesterday upon auditioning them extensively dethroned my sonys.
    Resolution wise imho i think they are on par with the tops. it just depends on what we prefer. I wont place them on top of everything. I like them because they got what I was looking for. I like their focus on the instruments, accuracy and best of all
    the timbre. After hearing a lot of flagships even headphones, i am so blown yesterday that i was able to discover more details (no they aren't analytical to me) especially the vocals (only the DDs iems have been able to sound natural to me)
    i was able to differentiate the tonalities on the vocals or harmonics(?) that hit the spot for me and didnt get this on other iems/Hps. from what i remember the 64audio U18 also do sound natural and extract more details but not the ones i was looking for in the vocals.
    Soundstage wise, they're not the biggest but just enough for me not to sound closed (uerr, for me). they are very airy and could match my sonys to it (semi isolated). they are balanced to me
    monitoring the whole picture and monitoring the instruments.
     
    Speedstick and AC-12 like this.
  3. Rin1990
    I will be going off to Jaben to give my shot at UE18 and UERR demo. Is it alright to post my impressions here?

    Thanks.
     
    AC-12 likes this.
  4. seedubchris
    More than welcome ! Just ordered gold +silver plus sound cables for the 18s . Can't wait .
     
  5. soullinker20
    yes sure we would love to read them :)
     
  6. Rin1990
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Let the Ultimate listening begin.... :)
     
  7. Rin1990
    So I've given some time to audition both of them. The source is mostly on my phone with a bit of Mojo pairing, but contentiously, I think the synergy seem to work better from just the 3.5mm connection from my Asus Zenfone 3 Max so I ended up using that all the way for both models even though Mojo has a slightly more musical presentation.

    Anyway, here are my impressions. Know that this is just me spending a fairly short amount of time on both units so they don't represent the final product's impressions in anyway, whether it's universal or custom.

    Most of my songs used are in lossless format of WAV and FLAC in 16/44.1 and 24/192.

    Hissing

    I am glad to say that even from my phone's less than-ideal-output, I don't hear any audible hissing even with no music playing in the background. Both models.

    Fit

    I find both universal demo units to fit my ears comfortably, although the UERR does protude slightly from my left ear, but not really a big issue, and I don't feel any awkward movements when tilting my head in engaging with the music played, far more comfortable than the time when I auditioned JH Audio Layla and Roxanne, so that's saying something. Now those were awkwardly BULKY.

    Isolation

    Both provided good amount of isolation and I sense no sound-leak from using silicon tips befitting my ear size. Excellent.

    UE18+ Pro

    Bass

    Very nice, well-rounded bass with plentiful of impact and punch. It goes deep, quite deep in fact, for a BA CIEM model. It also has speedy attack and decay, but retained a very small subtle amount of rumble depending on what songs you listen to. Listening to Gravity Wall from Sawano Hiroyuki provided me with quite a nice amount of bassy engagement that I can learn to enjoy and tap my feet on. Excellent bass indeed. I love every moment with it. The full-body bass the UE18+ Pro is something you can almost reach out to grab since it's got quite a musical presentation. This is no basshead IEM though, make no mistake -- but the fine amount of quality and quantity balance will make this IEM's bass a looooot of people can enjoy freely, regardless of genre.

    Rank: A+

    Midrange

    The mids are -- with little doubt, the star of the attention in this model's strength. The highlight of them all.

    It's full, lush, syrupy thick and very much full of engaging musicality. Listening to just about any songs with vocals in it just present the singers' voices with nigh-sublime soulfulness and joyness with every nuance and note. While capable of doing both male and female vocal songs, I do have to point out that the presentation on male vocals with the UE18+ Pro is amazing. Listening Andy Williams' Moon River has never felt so soothing and enveloping before since... well, since the old days where I auditioned Vision Ears' vocal specialist -- the VE5!

    The midrange of UE18+ is -- in my honest opinion, something that is capable of giving VE5 a run for its money in presentation of soulful, energetic midrange filled with emotion and that thickness of human vocal notes. It really is that good to my ears, and this is just from my Zenfone 3 Max, take note on that. If you have a better source than me, the midrange's strength will very likely show itself more in a clearer way.

    Rank: S

    Treble

    Hmm, now here comes the minor weakness of the UE18+ unfortunately.

    While it's tuned with plenty of airiness, and well extended with sparkles everywhere that one can pick like the stars in the skies, there is a very hard to ignore range of spikiness and sibilance that can be exposed through lossless recordings that have very hot range of high frequency. The UE18+ passed through plenty of my high-frequency test songs such as OMAM's Black Water, Adele's Cold Shoulder, Aoi Yuuki's LOS! LOS! LOS!, Myth and Roid's JINGO JUNGLE, it however showed all the sharp treble peakiness under the recording of GARNiDELiA's PRIDE from Linkage Ring album.

    Overall, the treble is very, very good still, but it could have been done better in my honest opinion. I've definitely heard far more well-extended treble in my experience in this hobby.

    Rank: A-

    Spatial/Soundstage

    Soundstage for the most part is pretty spot on and convincing in positioning with proper layering. There's enough width and depth that gave a pretty nice 3D imaging that projects sound from all direction through my head's center, so great job on that. And considering that this is merely a demo of the universal model where sound isolation isn't near as ideal as custom seal, chances are -- if you already got one that fits perfectly to both your ears -- your experience on this lovely imaging will be way better than what I experienced.

    Really not much else to say other than a job well done by Ultimate Ears crew. :champagne_glass:

    Rank: A+

    Final Verdict of the Impression

    Pros: Superb midrange performance, great well-rounded bass that felt very balanced, great spatial positioning for a 3D sound experience, very forgiving on source pairing, even on phones.

    Cons: Treble performance isn't the best for something of such a large price tag.

    Overall Rank for Ultimate Ears UE18+ Pro: A+

    -------

    UERR

    Bass

    First word that came to my mind from this presentation is a very, very pleasant neutral, neither leaning on quality nor quantity but simply give out what is fed on during the source.There's almost a complete absence of coloration in this presentation of bass that just makes it so brilliant, and I am very, very impressed at the fact that -- despite adding almost no flavor to the low frequency, it retained a somewhat fun and still engaging signature of bass that can be felt, and the more I listen to it, the more I felt my fingers tapping at the music. This neutral bass is something I can learn to get addicted to very quickly and I really adore how effortless the presentation is.

    Punchy and impactful with fast decay that's not too thin. Just right tuning for music lovers that don't care about basshead experience, but won't compromise the bass just for the sake of a more analytical or clinical sound signature.

    Rank: A

    Midrange

    Again, free of coloration and any addition of flavor.

    But that's not to say that the midrange is thin or lifeless. This is a very natural presentation of near total exposure to whatever recording you throw at it. If there is any form of imperfection on the vocal's recording like static scratches or mic bumps, the UERR will pick it up easily. That there is some impressive performance because sometimes even mid-centric IEMs can't really be that precise in the accuracy of sound retrieval despise carrying the midrange as their strength.

    Again, everything is placed just right with enough musicality to keep your feet tapping to the vocals, yet has accuracy sharp enough to pick up imperfections once in a while on recordings with flaws.

    Brilliant tuning indeed, Ultimate Ears. I tip my hat off you guys for this.

    Rank: A++

    Treble

    Ahhh...the strength of this model.

    Sibilant-free and very much devoid of fatigue, the treble just soars all the way up in the upper atmosphere and hangs on its fluffy cloud, release plentiful of airiness and sparkle towards many songs of any genre. If you are a treble-sensitive person like me, this will definitely put a smile on your face. I am pleased to say that the treble presentation on UERR is capable of competing to big name top dogs such as Empire Ears' Zeus-R.

    If I am to nitpick however, is that I do think UERR could use just a sprinkly bit more sparkle because frankly, I've heard an IEM that has marginally stronger treble presentation than this, but this here is already pretty top-tier stuff. So...credit is where its due, I am very pleased with this model's treble performance.

    NOTE: I used Spinfit for the demo unit when giving this impression so this is subject to change once I use a more appropriate eartip to give a second round of audition in future. Thank you. :)

    Rank: S

    Spatial/Soundstage

    The UERR doesn't boast super big, wide or deep soundstage, nor will it go to place you in a gigantic room of holographic layering where everything is gonna present itself like those so-called "FULL SIZED SPEAKER SUB WOOFER EXPERIENCE" nonsense that many hyperbolic IEM reviewers toss out to push an expensive IEM out for sale.

    No -- to me, the UERR is designed to do one thing and one thing only -- and that is to present music to your ears in the most sincere way.

    The spatial and imaging is neither too separated nor too congested, everything is placed just right for you to remember being there. I certainly don't hear any unusually distant separation to the instruments and the singer's positioning when using the UERR to test my music and they all sound just the way I remembered, albeit with very natural and effortless presentation.

    The soundstage is neither congested nor unrealistically wide either, as mentioned. It's got just enough of a size to put you in a sweet spot to enjoy your music with nothing missed out.

    Just like the rest of the spectrum, the UERR's presentation on spatial and soundstage is as colorless as it can get, what you feed is exactly what you get.

    Rank: S+

    Final Verdict of the Impression

    Pros: Uncolored sound with one of the closest to best neutral-sound tuning I've experienced for quite a long time, sweet spot soundstage in terms of width, depth, and imaging accuracy.

    Cons: Can be a bit unforgiving to poor recordings, treble could still be just a bitsy-bit better with a little sparkle.

    Overall Rank for Ultimate Ears Reference Remastered: S

    -------

    Overall, I am very satisfied with my experience on Ultimate Ears. Truly a wonderful experience, and both are great IEMs IMHO.

    Whichever you choose I believe you guys will have a great time with them. Thanks for letting me share my honest impression here.

    Cheers. :beerchug:
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2017
    AC-12 and HiFiChris like this.
  8. Lucif6r6th
    UERR doesn't warrant an S, especially in treble. I do have a custom UERR and it is worlds apart from the demo at Jaben.
    The spinfit eartips elevate the treble to become very airy. I highly suggest not using spinfits for any demo at all as they can affect the sound signature.
    The actual custom version is much more similar to the 18+ pro in terms of treble presentation, unfortunately with slightly less sparkle but is smooth and detailed nonetheless.
    The signature of the UERR is more akin to using speakers in an enlosed room. Neutral warm-ish.
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2017
  9. Rin1990
    That's fair enough. But do know that that's only from my impression with what's provided there, so considering our ears hear different things probably, I can't speak for you or anyone and my condition is probably not the most ideal that time.

    I just think the UERR is better in treble than 18+ pro which I find a bit too hot and I am simply writing what I heard upon first experience.

    Again, I am not a be-all-end-all in giving impressions so take what I say with a grain of salt. You're free to disagree with me but I stand by my statement as it's ultimately my opinion. :)

    But again, perhaps I should one day try again with comply tips or my own Dita silicon tips.
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2017
    Lucif6r6th likes this.
  10. seedubchris
    Nice review. Which one would you buy I find you were in the market? They sound much better to me powered by my ak320 than my phone. They do have multiple balanced armature drivers that can make them harder to drive properly and the sparkle is one of the first things to suffer second to bass solidity.

    Where does "s" fit into your scale ?
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2017
  11. Rin1990
    I've no experience in pairing AK320 with any UE IEM demos so I can't say for sure. But from my experience, UE CIEMs are fairly sensitive and easy to drive. My Zenfone 3 Max is more than enough to have output to make them reach volumes that'll blast anyone's ears half-deaf.

    The rest is simply through refine sound production from competent DAC and amp implementation on a device like those high-end DAPs.

    I may have ranked UERR higher than UE18+ but I personally enjoyed a more engaging sound like the 18+ Pro. If only the treble is tuned better though...

    I should use my own Dita silicon eartips instead the next time I give these two another go again, and see if my opinion on the high frequency will change.
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2017
    AC-12 likes this.
  12. Lucif6r6th
    Do try them with a good source, the inexpensive opus#1 is a really good match.

    The sound signature can certainly be fine-tuned with cable changed. Ahh... the pitfalls of this hobby... :triportsad:
     
  13. Rin1990
    Thus the quote "Sorry about your wallet" :D

    For me, I think it'll sound wonderful by pairing through something like Onkyo DP-X1A, whether on balanced or 3.5mm since that one IMO is really, REALLY good value for the sound quality.

    I haven't heard the Opus#1, but I do read plenty of glowing reviews on it, so maybe if I got a chance...

    And now that you mentioned it, I think I will give UERR a second round next time with my Dita silicone tips just to see if I should knock the rank back down to A or A+ with its treble quality.
     
  14. Lucif6r6th
    Opus#1 is also really good for an amazing price to performance, although not much of other features. I'm sure Jaben has them.

    For me, I feel like UE 18+ pro is what the UERR should have been... if the mids didn't steal the show :laughing:
     
    AC-12 likes this.
  15. Rin1990
    Yeah. I have a feeling 18+ Pro should've been the flagship daddy but hey...different taste for different folks. :wink:

    And I'll give it a try one day.
     
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