Does Ultimate Ears have the next big earphone? | iLounge Backstage

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Does Ultimate Ears have the next big earphone?

Secrets—especially when they involve breakthrough iPod products—are hard to keep. We really want to tell you guys and girls everything we hear about, and if we’re enjoying something, we want you to have a chance at enjoying it too.

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been testing something new from Ultimate Ears. It’s early in development - first phase - but it’s seriously impressive. Enough so that I’m willing to go to the edge of the limited amount that I can say about it, to prepare those who might be looking for the next big thing in high-end audio.

I’ve been generally quite impressed by UE’s products in the past, but this one has the potential to be important on the scale of its best-known designs, for a number of reasons that I mostly can’t get into yet, since it’s not due out for a while. You may know from my earphone reviews that I’m not a classic bass-head - muddy thump doesn’t do it for me, so I’d take detailed, controlled low end over wider but flatter bass any day. The ideal would be if we didn’t have to compromise, and the highs and mids weren’t given short shrift in the process. That’s what UE appears set to deliver.

I always hold off on final earphone opinions until I know several things: the guaranteed final sound signature, price, and package details. Given the vague information I have at the moment, it’s too early to make any near-final judgments. But if it’s on time, at the right price, and both looks and sounds at least as good as what I’ve been playing with, this could be the big one for UE—a true killer product. I’ll share more, including pictures, as soon as I can.

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Comments

1

Jeremy,

You’re killing me!! I just bought a pair of Shure E5c’s about a month ago. Without too much detail can you say the UE’s will best them? If so, where is my credit card. :)

Posted by Don Trammell on April 20, 2007 at 1:47 PM (CDT)

2

It’d be nice to have a general idea of the pricepoint, or where in the lineup it goes. Up with their custom mold models? With the triple.fi, the super.fi, or the metro.fi?

But if you can’t tell, you can’t tell. Still, I’m intrigued. My super.fi 5s have been good to me.

Posted by mattwardfh in Texas on April 20, 2007 at 2:59 PM (CDT)

3

I picked my words carefully here. :-)

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on April 20, 2007 at 3:22 PM (CDT)

4

What’s the time frame we’re talking about here? Months? A year?

Posted by Roger Wong on April 20, 2007 at 3:42 PM (CDT)

5

Wireless.  Thats what would be killer—a UE triple driver phone with the sound signature Jeremy described, in a an ergonomic wireless package.

Thats what it would take to be the next “big thing” in high end audio.  Any other phone would simply be a slight improvement rather than a radical jump forward.

Posted by dmt1 on April 20, 2007 at 4:38 PM (CDT)

6

Hmmm… perhaps an unveiling at HeadFest this weekend?  I’ll be on the lookout for it at the Head-fi International Meet in San Jose!

Posted by Vik on April 20, 2007 at 5:07 PM (CDT)

7

Well, dmt1, if we could get the beautiful triple-driver sound in an ergonomic earbud that costs, say, $150, now that would be a giant leap forward.

At least for my wallet.  :)

Posted by malren on April 20, 2007 at 5:28 PM (CDT)

8

Wireless and a smaller, less obtrusive housing. Jeremy himself said that UE’s earphones are Frankenstein-like. As an onwer of the Super.fi Pro 5, I agree and don’t relish walking around with them now that I can’t hide them under a ski hat anymore. The folks at UE take consumer feedback very seriously and are “super” friendly. I look forward to learning more about the new product.

Posted by technolawyer on April 20, 2007 at 8:30 PM (CDT)

9

I can say that they’re not wireless and that the key here is the sound.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on April 20, 2007 at 9:08 PM (CDT)

10

And you did say the next thing in “high-end”.

Posted by mattwardfh in Texas on April 20, 2007 at 10:14 PM (CDT)

11

Well, taking all the clues together, I suspect they’ll be ergonomically improved, priced more reasonably, with great sound.  Evolutionary for sure, but not revolutionary.  Its going to take a wireless triple driver setup to knock my socks off (I have the UE10’s, and I love them.  Nothing short of wireless would get me out of my UE10’s).

Posted by dmt1 on April 21, 2007 at 12:22 AM (CDT)

12

It’s great to read about future UE products. I really do enjoy using my Super.fi 5 Pro canals and have no problem using them out of the house, but sometimes I do wish they performed sonically more like my E500PTH. If UE can build a great-sounding set at a knockout price…that would be a VERY good thing.

Posted by flatline response on April 21, 2007 at 7:02 PM (CDT)

13

viva stock apple earbuds.

Posted by rofl on April 21, 2007 at 11:30 PM (CDT)

14

UE still lacks a true three-way triple-driver IEM (universal or custom).  I’m guessing this is UE’s answer to the Westone 3/ES3 and the upcoming Westone custom-3s.  I also read something on Head-Fi about a quad driver IEM…  Maybe this is it:D

Posted by milkpowder on April 22, 2007 at 1:41 PM (CDT)

15

Any more news on these new UE IEM’s?

Posted by Ryan on May 22, 2007 at 8:52 PM (CDT)

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