3.24.2008

Ultimate Ears Super.fi 3 In-Earphones

Ultimate Ears have been founded by a Van Halen sound engineer and have been making customized ear monitors for bands such as U2 and Red Hot Chili Peppers, for use in-studio and on-stage. Heck, they even make customized earphones for celebrities like Elijah Wood and Jessica Alba. Their impressive list of clientèle gives off a hint of what kind their product is. But, of course, customized earphones don't come cheap. So, fortunately, for the rest of us who have a tight budget, Ultimate Ears decided to commercialize and mass market their product. Hence, the Super.fi 3 Studio in-earphones.

The Ultimate Ears Super.fi 3, out of the box.

Right off the box, the Super.fi 3 is a uniquely designed earphone that includes some nice accessories. The earphone is cool-looking. It was designed to go deep, and sit comfortably, in your ear canals. Putting them on and finding a proper seal can be a hassle though. The earphone also has a feature that allows you to separate the monitor from the cable. So if your cable goes "kaput" you can just take them, toss them, and replace them with a new one. The earphone also comes with a metallic carrying case, a cleaner pick to remove whatever's stuck on your ear conductor, and four pieces of silicone ear tips that comes in various sizes. Finding the silicone tip that fits perfectly in your ear can also take up some time.

Once you find your desired seal and a perfect silicone tip, however, it just blocks out every sound in the world. Its sound isolation is just far more superior compared to my two other in-ears (Skull Candy Smokin' Buds and Philips SHE-9500). I tried snapping my fingers in front of my face, while wearing it without any music, and could barely hear it. Turn any music device it's attached into and it brings you to a whole new realm where all you hear is just music. The roar of the bus engine and the noise of bickering commuters are all but gone. So it's perfect when you're a commuter. I also had the need to cut my mp3 player's volume in half, dropping it down to 7 (it was on 14 during the time I was using my Philips SHE-9500).

As for the sound it produces, it maybe debatable because it depends on the type of music you're listening to. But every range, the hi, lo, and mid, are audible with it. The bass, however, is almost non-existent. I tried listening to different songs (on 256 kbps), with the EQ on default and bass turned on, using WMP 11, SanDisk Clip, and ZEN Vision:M. It sounds best with indie rock and jazz because the guitars sounded so clear that you can almost taste it. Metal and hard rock also sounds good but the with the weak bass, heavy guitars and drums have less viscosity. Rap, electronica, and other music rich with bass just lacks the thump, as evident with the songs of Nine Inch Nails and Gravity Kills.

Ever since I got my mp3 player, I've been on a quest to find the best earphones under $80. People always say I'm crazy just because I'm willing to shell out more than $20 for a headphone. I'm no audiophile, I just want the best out of my digitized music and movie library. So, almost a after a year of searching (and two earphones), I think Ultimate Ears Super.fi 3 is the perfect earphone for me. Being able to listen to music without hearing the roaring bus engine, or being able to hear all of the song's layers and ranges, is just priceless.

2 comments:

shurikenstuff said...

No Kidding?!!! Whoa, sounds cool, im not sure if i can find any of these available here in PH, maybe through amazon or ebay? ill cross my fingers tight, thnx for this

r4i card said...

Ultimate Ears' no-frills Super.fi 3 Studio in-ear headphones deliver a clear, balanced audio response. This set should be your top choice in the $100 price range.