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Ultimate Ears UE PRO 18+ Discussions and Impressions

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  1. seedubchris
    double post
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2017
  2. seedubchris
    Just ordered my 18's and looking for things to sell to afford cabling and an amp. Im using an AK 240 but assume I will need to step up to an amp to make full use of the 18's as they are probably pretty power hungry. Can anyone recommend a cable solution for the 18's? I'm a professional audio engineer and producer and I need the flat reference that these latest iterations of UE phones seem to offer. I was going to spring for the PRR's but was talked out of the idea by a rep from UE. In his view the best UE product for my applications is the 18+ citing the enhanced bottom end and the new BA's pioneered by the UERR's. I told him the 18's of old were reported to be a little scooped in the mid's due to the extra bass. He assured me that of all the RTA's he had seen from the UE line that the 18+ was the flattest of them all. This is where my question for you guys comes in. If he is correct and the 18+'s are truly immune to the mid scoop the older 18's had is there any reason for me to order a cable from them to augment the mid's /high's like their 99% silver cable or should I take him at his word that there is no lacking of said mids and highs and therefore no need for a brighter cable? I have the 30% off deal so now would be the time to buy the cable if i'm going to buy a specialized cable from them. Another question is about the balanced performance of the 18+ vs. the single ended. Do you all feel it is worth running them in balanced mode or are they fine or even optimized for SE? Lastly if you all were in my shoes ,how would you approach the cabling from a connector standpoint. would you get one really good cable like the gold/silver offering from UE and get an adapter or would you get two separate cables one SE and one TTRS because the adapter diminishes the audio fidelity? Im also open to the idea of getting a SE cable from UE for pro stage use and a third party TRRS balanced cable for hi fi use with my AK 240 from moon/PW/Effect if you who are in the know think is the best way to go given my circumstances.
    Thanks in advance for your views on my situation. I'm learning fast but as you all know there is a lot to absorb in this sprint to poverty.....

    P.S. Will my AK 240 cut it as am amp for these potentially power hungry CIEM's or do I have to look into selling a kidney on the black market to afford an amp to drive them? If so whats the hip choice in amps. Hugo way out of my price range. Maybe Mojo or Pure? Thanks Guys!
  3. headwhacker
    What makes you think UE18+ is power hngry and the ak240 inadequate???

    I find the UE18+ on the warm side. Not exactly neutral. But then everyone has a different reference for neutral. I think you should think about using EQ first rather that worrying about the cable or balance/SE.

    But on my personal experience UE18+ does not respond well on EQ especially the bottom end
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2017
  4. malvinviriya

    Don't worry, your AK240 is far more than enough to drive these. I actually drive them off my iPhone most of the time and it can get loud enough. Better DAP/amps would certainly help, of course and your AK240 is already up there. I'm not entirely sure about cables, but some silvers might just make it brighter. It's just a speculation though, since I haven't found a time to try and cable roll. I'll most likely do it around Xmas holidays. When you receive it, though. I suggest you better just use it with the stock OFC cable and probably EQ it to your satisfaction instead of going ham on cables first.

    Also, I'm not entirely sure it'll be a world of difference running it in balanced, since it's already pretty darn good on SE. I prefer sticking with SE honestly, with my limited wallet and all. Lets me plug it into everything so I can properly give it a run for the money. a balanced cable is still on the table, since I really want to upgrade to WM1A
  5. Hedonism
    Yes your AK240 will be sufficient. If you’re worried about a mismatch in terms of output impedence or synergy, I would suggest getting the line drive that UE offers. It’s supposed to fix any output impedance mismatches, making the UE18+ sound as intended by the manufacturers.

    Balanced vs. SE entirely depends on the implementation from your player. I would do research to see if people generally prefer their balanced outputs to the SE output specifically on the AK240, and decide from there.

    As for the cable, it’ll come stock with the SE cable. You CANNOT use that cable with a TRS -> TRRS adapter and use a balanced output. You would have to order a balanced cable to use balanced output. (You can however use a balanced cable with a TRRS -> TRS Adapter to use an SE output, but that’s not relevant here)

    I wouldn’t worry about aftermarket cables. Admittedly, I’m not much of a cable believer, but even if it were true and cables do make an audible difference, the UE18+ was tuned with the stock cable in mind, so I wouldn’t worry too much about it.

    Finally, I would categorize the UE18+ more natural than neutral. It doesn’t quite have a flat clinical sterile studio signature to it, but all instruments and voices sound lifelike and ‘right’ to me. It’s definitely neutral-leaning, however. Objectively, it has a bit of warmth to the lower mids. The upper mids might be the tiniest bit recessed relative to the rest of the frequency response, but it’s definitely more neutral than not. I wouldn’t worry about scooped out mids, I didn’t hear that at all from when I’ve demoed these multiple times for hours.
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2017
  6. seedubchris
    The reason I wonder about power/ impedance issues is due to my experience with the "Layla" which sounded superb powered by my Grace 920 but sounded veiled powered by the ak240. Noticeably different in the high's and not for the better. Surprising that JH maintains that the Layla is made for AK DAP's but in reality require additional hi end amps to make them sound right. Subtract points from JH due to this experience. I figured the more BA's the more power hungry the ciem's will be. Granted the 18+'s have half the BA's of the Layla's but that's why I consult with you all. Good to know they are efficient enough to be powered by more pedestrian amps.
    I'm not a fan of EQ in general due to the phase problems that can come from EQ (especially more radical eq). I'm really hoping these CIEM's are flat or reference enough to not have to go there with them. I'm really hoping they have vestiges of the UERR's reference signature with just enough low end augmentation to make my non work related listening more enjoyable. This is what the rep said they would have anyway. I know this might be too much to ask from any system but I figured if I start with a mostly flat freq response I could use cabling to augment the sound to suit my professional needs. I myself do hear a difference with alloys used in cabling and am also aware of a whole industry of high end users and manufactures that would maintain the same perspective. If they are absent of the mid scoop found in the previous iteration of the 18 pro then more the better. I will just get the best cable solution available from UE and hope for the best regarding my mixing needs from them. I mostly would use them as a second perspective on bass levels(the first thing that goes south in a mix i.e. too much or too little) and stereo balancing. I'm sure they are revealing enough for these decisions once I get used to the way my favorite reference tracks sound on the 18+'s.
    I will look into the best way to power them from my AK240 (Balanced or SE). In the meantime if any one has any recommendations as to the best pairing of amps for them let me know. Im sure there is a bit of resolution to be wrung out of them with the right amp. I would use my Grace but it is usually welded to the console (SSL 4056 G) at the studio.
    Cant wait to hear them. Time moves slow when you are in the production pipeline. I will have to rely on my Michel 2's limited editions until then. They actually sound very good for a fun style universal but not something I would trust my mix decisions to.
    Thanks again for the replies . This is super helpful to me as I learn about this hobby.
  7. AC-12
    There's a UE18+ Review here if you missed:

    Last edited: Nov 5, 2017
    Wyville and flinkenick like this.
  8. AC-12
    Pictured below is the SilverFi R5 .78mm 3.5mm non-recessed into UE18+ .75mm** non-recessed. No worries with UE products with proper care and handling.

    ** No verification from UE if .75mm. Will assume nothing has changed and it is still .75mm as of this post.
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2018
    Wyville and flinkenick like this.
  9. dongster
    the cable color is really classy, very nice
    AC-12 likes this.
  10. seedubchris
    What's the significance of the "non recessed" cable attachment . I didn't know there were other options other than the mmcx . Is there a reason I should have them make my 18's with non recessed attachments . Kinda confusing but thanks for the suggestion .
  11. uelover
    I have the UE Pro 18+ coming to me soon as well and I am excited to see how it work out.

    Based on my experience with the UERM and UERR, the best "amp" I had was the UE Pro Line Drive.

    I use it with my iPhone 7 and MacBook Pro Touch Bar and the sound was the best I have heard compared to many other amps I have tried.

    The stock UE cable is really good though. I don't think you will miss much by not "upgrading" the cable.
  12. AC-12
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2017
  13. uelover
    I have received my UE18+ yesterday, and I have been using for since then.

    Initially impression is rock solid, and is my favourite among all IEMs I have heard to date (including UERM and FitEars).

    I am running it directly off my MacBook Pro 2017.
    Wyville likes this.
  14. seedubchris
    Congratulations ! Mine are a week out and it's funny how slow time moves when ones ears are being made . Let us know if they change over time as they break on . Maybe they sound great and don't need any break in? Which cable did you go for?
  15. olddude
    UE told me no break-in needed when I got my UERM
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