Ultimate Ears SUPER.Fi 5 Personal Earphones


TestFreaks Data











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I love my music and always have, I’ve got a few audio players floating around, and as everyone know they’re not cheap, or inexpensive, these things can easily cost a couple hundred dollars, an of course buying music to fill them up can very quickly add a lot more to the total cost of owning any portable audio player.

One thing that bugs me about audio players is that they can be very expensive, but yet companies always seem to pack cheap earbuds with them, I have to wonder why? I’m guessing to keep costs down, but still, you spend $100+ on an audio player only to have it sound bland through the included earbuds. Why can’t these companies get together with a good manufacturer of earphones and get a deal together to either bundle the better quality earphone or even have them design a set just for the audio player? I’ve got five audio players now, four of which I’ve had for a while and one I just got and haven’t even turned on yet, but the other four included inferior earphones with them, one of which is a Zune 120gb and another is the iPod nano 4th. The included headphones with these two players are decent, but nothing spectacular, I used the included earphones for a few minutes and then immediately packed them back up, and there they still sit, and will sit.

Bottom line is if you’re going to spend the money on a good audio player and the money on music, then why not spend a bit more and get a good set of earphones that will allow you to truly enjoy your player and the music that’s on it? Ok, enough of that…

A while back I took a look at the FutureSonics AtrioM5 Professional Earphones and I found them to be a very excellent product overall, today I’ve got another set of higher end earphones from Ultimate Ears, the SuperFi5 Personal Earphones. From my time with these earphones I’ve come to like them very much, they’re very well made, they include several different styles and sizes of earbuds, and of course they sound very good as well. So continue on to learn more about a very nice set of earphones…


First things first, check out the video, the stills and continue on:

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Specifications:

Ultimate Ears SUPER.Fi 5 Personal Earphones

Ultimate Ears SUPER.Fi 5 uses the same custom speaker technologies and sound signatures found in our professional monitors.  The top fire armature produces a detailed and full soundstage making it perfect for listening to a broad range of music genres. The liquid silver body with UE logo is stylish, low profile and ideal for a person on the go. The earphones are color coded (Red is Right) and makes for easy left and right identification. Cables can be worn down for casual listening or over the ear for active lifestyles.

Features:
The SUPER.Fi 5 features a proprietary top fire speaker that creates a wide sound stage perfect for listening to a broad range of music genres.  This best in class product is sleek and small and delivers the ultimate in comfort and noise isolation.

Specification:
Input Sensitivity: 115 dB SPL/mW at 1 kHz
Frequency Response: 15 Hz – 15 kHz
Impedance: 13 ohms at 1 kHz
Internal Speaker Configuration: Single driver, proprietary balanced top fire armature
Noise Isolation: 26 dB
Input connector: 1/8 inch (3.5mm) gold plated

Price:  $169.99
Warranty: 1 Year

For testing the Ultimate Ears SuperFi Earphones I listened to music of course, how else would you test them right? Music is something that is subjective to everyone, and everyone hears things very differently. For instance my wife is what some people might call tone deaf, she can’t hear subtle differences in music and to her a $300 set of earphones sounds just as good as one she paid $1 for at the dollar store, I feel bad for those people really, they are missing out on quite a lot of the full audio or acoustical experience. Anyway, it’s all subjective, but I feel that I’ve got a good grasp on what good sounds like, I happen to like to hear ever part of the music, and I can very much tell the differences between cheap and expensive earphones.

For testing I used my Zune 120GB GOW2 Edition as that’s what I use everyday in my car, and if I take my music with me that’s what I take. Yes I have an iPod nano 4th but it rarely gets used honestly in favor of the Zune.

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I’ve been using the Atrio M5 Earphones for quite a while an I love them, they are a high end set costing about $200, whereas the UE SuperFi5’s cost about $170, close in price and I figured they would make for a good comparison to each other.

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When you first get the UE SuperFi’s you have to know how to put them in, you cannot just wear them like a regular set of earphones, dangling from your ears. I made this mistake at first, with wearing them the ‘normal’ way you could hear when you touched the cables, or just brushed up against them, it was pretty loud, it was driving me nuts actually, and I was getting annoyed by it. So I hopped on over to the Ultimate Ears website and found that these earphones are inserted basically upside down in your ears and then the cords go over and behind your ears, this almost totally gets rid of the ‘line noise’. There’s a nice little video of how to wear them on the UE site. There is a slider as well that you’ll need to adjust upwards to make the earphones fit more tightly and once adjusted mostly all of the line noise is gone, you can still hear it faintly at times but it’s not annoying and loud as wearing them normally. This isn’t a bad thing as I’ve dealt with it before but people that are accustomed to regular earbuds might find it a bit awkward at first, and of course if you’re wearing glasses you’ve got that to deal with as well.

As for fit I had no problems with them fitting my ears, using either the silicone buds or the foam buds.

They do block out external noise very well which is a good thing, with the music on at even a low level I could barely hear any external noises.

The cords or wires are fairly thick and rubbery, they are a bit stiff as well, but they seem as though they’ll last for quite a while and they should withstand the daily rigors of life. One thing to note is that the cords are equal length as well, so you can use them with your audio player on either side of your body, unlike others that have one side longer than the other and limit placement of your player. The thickness of the cables actually helps to keep them from tangling up, I’ve tossed them around, shoved them in the case and they haven’t tangled up yet. Since UE was nice enough to include a case with the earphones you can keep them protected when not in use.

Now we know about all that, but how do they sound? They sound very good, comparing them to the Atrio M5s though, the UE SuperFi5s have a bit less bass to them, it’s not as clearly defined. The highs are very good though with the UE set of earphones which is something I always look for in a good set of earphones.

I listen to varying types of music from Classical to Metal, and everything sounded very good through this set of earphones, except of course the bass. The Atrio set of earphones has just enough bass, it doesn’t thump or vibrate your eardrums, it’s pretty much perfect, but the UE needs just a bit more I think. I don’t care for very heavy bass in my earphones, but I do like to hear it well, and the SuperFi5 earphones come up a bit short there. Other than that they’re a great set of earphones.


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Conclusion:
The Ultimate Ears SuperFi 5 Personal Earphones are a very well made and great sounding set of earphones. If you’re looking to get as close to perfect as you can then these are it, they’re very comfortable, they sound good and they block out external noise very well.

The low bass part is something that only some people might be concerned with, if you don’t like a lot of bass in your music then these would be perfect for you.

As for wearing them over the ear, well that’s something that will take most people a bit to get accustomed to if they’re only used ‘regular’ earbuds, but it’s worth it to wear them this way.

Pros:
Excellent sound for the price
Includes carrying case
Well made, quality product
Includes extra earbuds

Cons:
Lack deep bass
Must wear over the ears

Grades:  
Overall score-9-10
Design score-9-10
Performance score-9-10
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  • Mel

    Kristopher, the gold-plating on the plug is actually for better sound reproduction. And also, electrical conduction / sound conduction. Just like silver is a better electrical conductor than copper (and therefore you’d have less resistance on the silver than you would on the copper when electricity is traveling through the electrical wiring in your home), gold is a better electrical conductor / better SOUND conductor for SOUND than nickel [metal]. Therefore, gold-plating plugs would be better than nickel-plating plugs.

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