If you’ve been reading my blog over time you must have understood that I’ve a fetish for headphones. After my Sennheiser CX 300, I switched to the Ultimate Ears. The CX 300 is a nice set of ear canal/in ear headphones for the price, however the cable that comes with it is not of a great build. But I’ve got no complaints, those lasted me at least a year (which is a considerable lifetime for a 30 euro headphones) under the constant wear and tear of student life. When I was looking for my next pair of headphones I wanted something rugged enough to withstand the daily wear and tear.
Of course audio quality was not negotiable for the life of the earphones, which is why I ended up with the ultimate ears. The Super.Fi 3 Studio range is a not so cheap ( compared to the CX 300) pair of headphones, however when you hold the headphones you can see why they’re worth the price that you pay for it. The build is rugged and the wires are replaceable – though I think it would take some time for these to crumble.
One other peculiarity with this set of headphones (to the ones that I’ve used) is the fit, it has a over the ear design which frankly takes a while to get used to. In fact I had some pain in my ear lobes when i practised wearing these! but as time went on I adjusted to the over the ear design. The seal/silicone plugs that come with the ultimate ears are a significant part of the headphone setup with regards to the noise cancellation and bass effect. The changeable ear-tips provide -26dB of isolation and passive noise cancellation – as the UE site suggests, so switching them for anything considerably hinders the above mentioned capablities The Super.Fi 3 Studio is not a bass master, in fact it is a much more all-rounder. The lows, mids and the highs are spread uniformly over its performance range giving a very rich picture. If you’re looking for a boombox in your ear then you should be staying away from these.
Input Sensitivity: 115dB/mW
Frequency Response: 20 to 13,000
Impedance: 13 ohms
Internal Speaker Configuration: Single full range precision balanced armature
Noise Isolation: -26dB
Input connector: 1/8″ (3.5mm) gold plated
Weight With cable assembly: 0.5 oz.
Ok coming to the most important part of the Ultimate ears. The studio fi pro 3 is a over the ear style headphone and require a special method of fitting so as to get the maximum effect. This is where the Studio fi pro 3 let me down. I have been using these for almost 6 months now and I haven’t gotten around to getting a very comfortable fit. I must confess that this is my first pair of over the ear (in ear) earphones but still i am completely ill at ease with the studio fi pro3. For the first few weeks I had some discomfort in my earlobes which ached mildly and then I had the irritating sensation of the skin between my earlobes and my head. I quit immediately using this for almost a month! When I tried it again the sensation came back. However, I haven’t seen anybody sharing similar opinions so may be its just me.
I’ve now switched to the Shure SE 210s which are a little pricey than the UE3s but I feel more comfortable wearing that. Lately, I believe that the pain caused by the UE3 could have been because of the strong plastic mould that is part of the earphone which sits behind the earlobe, since the SE210s just have a wire that runs behind your ear and the hold earphone sits inside your ear. Expect soon to see a review of the Shure SE 210.