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Ultimate Ears UE PRO 18+ Discussions and Impressions

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  1. soullinker20
    was able to AB 2nd gen and 3rd gen 18+

    Actually, planning to get the 3rd gen if there are differences but ended up with ny 2nd gen custom. Let me first give my impressions.

    18+ PRO 2nd gen and 3rd gen (using my custom and 2nd gen 18+ demo)

    The 2nd gen demo unit was warmer than my 18+ 2nd gen custom. So I used mine. the key difference is only the tonality imho. I used my final audio tips.

    the 3rd gen is less warmer, starting with the bass both exhibit same impact with the 2nd gen being warmer tonally. the midbass has a bit lesser punch on the 3rd gen but notes are a littl well more articulate and giving a more airier and spacious soundstage. the warmth for me isn't that prominent which translates to less body.
    vocals and instruments have less body. Imo, the 3rd gen favors more female vocals than male and having more harmonious notes but that doesn't mean to say the 2nd gen don't have this. it still sounds natural and has that nice timbre but vocals like Jack Johnson, leave me desiring for more low vocal notes, for me it doesn't have that chesty vocals anymore. Vocals are more forward this time with some lift on midrange to high mid so the vocals sound clear and focused all the time which on the 2nd gen vocals sometimes isn't well separated or drowned from the instruments. Instruments are well presented and easy to pinpoint, but I thought with less accurate sound/reverb especially on drums. there is more clarity on the 3rd gen and is very much obvious the moment you switch from 2nd to 3rd gen. Highs has a lot more spark and presence(2nd gen sometimes sound shelved) with some lift from 8k and mostly 10kHz and up thus also leading to some sibilance ime.
    Those looking for more spark in the highs will be happy. The 3rd gen sounds like a reference tuning to me.
    the overall tuning for me leans to a little brighter tone

    I ended up still with my 2nd gen because of also preference and it sounded more natural to me.
    BUT with an upgrade cable.

    I bought the silver gold cable that was being sold before.
    This one really for me hits the spot on my 2nd gen, and I did appreciate it more because of the cable, this was my 1st bought upgrade cable since 2013. After trying different cables on my iem/ciems and HPs way back, I always went back to stock. Because the cables alters the sound/tuning for me even though there is an improvement. The silver gold changes this.


    Tonally it's still warm but overall it sounds refined. I thought this is the type of cable i was looking for, having imporements but not altering the sound/tuning to an almost entire different sounding ciem.

    Bass is deeper but is well controlled, more impact and tighter than the stock and 3rd gen.
    the midbass sounds fuller than stock and 3rd gen but is on par with the 3rd gen when it comes to resolution. instruments on that area sound more solid and weighty with more space. vocals, this is the best part for me
    it is warm enough but not as warm like the 2nd gen (silver gold has lesser gain on the mid bass)
    vocals now is more focused, clearer and much more centered and bigger.

    the highs do get just very little spark benefitting from the silver but not close to the 3rd gen, imho the highs of 3rd gen dont sound natural to me because of that bump on the higher freqs. Both are very well extended but the 2nd gen with silver gold dont have any sibilance with me.

    Soundatage is bigger than the stock and 3rd gen. Instruments have more space and air and is very well organized

    Clearly, for me the silver gold has much more resolution than the stock an obvious improvement. I didn't have plans to buy a cable for my 2nd gen and in fact I was ready to sell them if I didnt happen to hear the silver gold.

    the overall sound is warm,refined, solid, organic, lush think of a very good turntable setup.

    Just to add, after auditioning the Legend X, Phantom and VE8 I still prefer the 18+ w/silver gold.
    The silver gold gives it a nice warm sound but less warmer than Phantom and VE8.
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2018
  2. flvtch
    Firstly, thank you for you AB impressions; I've been lingering and wondering about the new gen U18+ and whilst this reaction wasn't as positive as I'd hoped it won't stop.me seriously considering the new gen.

    1 question: having said that in comparison the Legend X and Phantom etc, you'd take your current 2nd gen with cable upgrade, I'd like to put it to you: Would you take the new 3rd Gen U18+ over those other CIEMs in your comparison?
  3. soullinker20
    Hello, the new gen sounds refined in comparison to the 2nd gen especially on the vocals. It's just that I preferred a little warmer approach and having auditioned the silver gold convinced me to stay with my 2nd gen and I also did have sibilance issue with the 3rd gen.

    Yes I'd go with the 18+ 3rd gen custom.
    After auditioning those the last few days, I realized my house sound was UE. The 3rd gen has a similar vocal tuning with the legend X but LX for me has meatier vocals which I like. Bass is more pronounced on the LX of course and sounded too much for my taste(not fully burned in)
    while the highs didnt do it for me coz it sounded thin and not much weight.

    Phantom is warmer. Solid bass. enough highs.

    Even without cable upgrade, I'd stay with my 2nd gen. I had sibilance issue with LX and Phantom. This always keep me from considering a iem/ciem.

    the 3rd gen sound more full package to me. Bass isn't lacking and has great resolution. Vocals are natural and has a nice timbre. Sparkly and extended highs. It does have a good transition from mids to highs mids, vocals sound harmonious to me.
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2018
    flinkenick and AC-12 like this.
  4. twice tzuyu
    Would you describe the 3rd Gen 18+ as "fun" sounding? To clarify, the 3rd gen is the model with the Superbax and true tone plus drivers right?
  5. soullinker20
    Yes, with superbax and true tone plus.

    Fun? depends on how each perceives it, usually fun is associated with bass and highs bump. For me, hybrids own the "fun" but I'll see how the UE Live's approach on this.

    3rd gen for me is musical, harmonious, fulfilling and satisfying especially to those whose not as sensitive to sibilance like me. If You want more bass, the UE6 will have more since it's dual DD. EE's Phantom has more bass presence too
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2018
    AC-12 and twice tzuyu like this.
  6. Ultrainferno
    twice tzuyu likes this.
  7. funkymonkcp
    Hey guys,

    I’m going to do what is generally unpopular in forums and ask general consensus. This is a long thread and I’d love to read through every post but being on Head-Fi for long periods of time is a rabbit hole for me and a wallet drainer. Seriously, I try not to come to this site often for those reasons.

    I currently have 2009 era UE-11’s, complete with the old connector and all. They don’t seal anymore and the custom art has faded. It’s time for me to replace them. Is it a logical and good choice to go to UE-18’s? I really only care about Red Hot Chili Peppers music and how it sounds. Obviously, I want other stuff to sound good but RHCP is by and far my primary concern. I was considering Westone and JHA IEMs but my UE’s have treated me well over the years so I am going to stick with them, unless there is a significantly better option I should investigate.

    Thanks for any input.
  8. soullinker20
    you might also want to audition stuffs from 64audio, Jomo, Empire Ears and yeah JH
  9. AnonymousGuy767
    Bought it to go with my UE Live's. It's really terrible. Constant static when nothing is playing that eventually turns off when the chipset goes into low power mode, bass sounds really muddy and amplified. Last time I had the static problem was with my cheap laptop integrated audio that they eventually fixed in a newer model...but I guess UE didn't get that update.

    Plus the controls seem to be twisted around so they're at a 45 degree angle to my head and not laying flat.

    I'll probably return them and stick to the default IPX cable.
  10. andra555
    Hello, sorry if it's already been asked do anyone know the one from massdrop (the drop that was on february) is the 2nd gen or 3rd gen? Im interested in buying second hand one, and is there upgrade option if you happen to have the 2nd gen one?

    Thank you, much appreciated!
  11. twice tzuyu
    If not mistaken, the one from the February drop is the 2nd gen UE18+ togo universals. You will be able to upgrade the connectors from the 2pin SL to the new IPX for $300 which comes with the Linum Superbax cable as well. http://pro.ultimateears.com/ipx-upgrade. It wouldn't be possible to upgrade the true tone drivers to the true tone plus drivers unfortunately.
    AC-12 likes this.
  12. UnknownPlan
    Hi guys! Seriously considering the ue18+, I’m going to get them new and only option is the v3. Though I don’t consider my self to be a bass head, I do like some bass. Currently I have the ue11 demo with me and if anyone can comment on the bass of the UE18 that would help alot
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2018
  13. soullinker20
    there is a good amount of bass but less warmth compared to 2nd gen as far as I remember and certainly not for a basshead. the UE Live have a lot of bass though.
  14. UnknownPlan
    Thank you for your quick reply, this is my first Ciem so any input is highly appreciated. Dose the Ciem have more bass comepared to the universals due to the proper fit? UE or in genaral.
  15. rantng
    I would recommend at least auditioning the universal version of any IEM before going custom. You don’t want rely solely on just “other people’s opinions.” With the better fit and isolation of a CIEM, you’ll find the custom version would tend to have ‘more’ not ‘less’; I don’t recall ever reading otherwise. With that said, a properly done universal should have minimal sonic differences with the CIEM, inherent properties of a custom fit notwithstanding.
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2018
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