In my MEE Audio M6 PRO review, I said the difference in sound quality between it (a AUD80 IEM), versus a pair of smart phone/portable audio player bundled earbuds is clear as night and day.
I have not felt an urge to upgrade since I got the M6 PROs, then I saw a sale on for the Ultimate Ears Pro UE900s, that changed everything – again!
It has been a while since I have purchased anything that came with such a full suite of goodies.
The upper layer of the package contains the UE900s IEMs (already connected to the pair of cables with inline controls), and the first set of silicon ear-tips.
The lower layer of the package contains a UE-branded hard carry case and the second set of silicon ear-tips.
Inside the hard carry case are a soft carry case and the second pair of cables (without inline controls).
Design and Comfort
The UE900s are one of the best looking IEMs on the market and, I expect nothing less for an IEM in its price range.
The UE900s uses an around-ear design (i.e. the wire wraps around your ear). A design that I have become accustomed to since the M6 PRO (my daily driver for the past couple of years) are also around-ear IEMs.
The around-ear design feels a little strange at first, but after a couple of weeks, it feels second nature and a lot more comfortable than traditional straight plug-in IEMs.
The around-ear design allows you to relax and not worry about the IEMs falling out. And importantly, you are not relying solely on the force of the IEMs pushed against the ear to hold it in place. The IEM just rests nicely in place. I can have them on for hours and feel no fatigue.
A downside to the around-ear design is obviously, the putting on and taking off process – which is not an issue most of the time. It’s just times when you have to put it on and take it off frequently like at the office.
Something to note is, the holes to the drivers are not covered and the silicon ear-tips supplied do not include a mesh to cover up the holes either.
I have read reviews where the writer claims that using meshed ear-tips that cover up the holes alters the sound. From personal experience, I have not noticed any change in sound and would recommend using meshed ear-tips to avoid earwax getting inside the IEMs.
Another nice design touch is the red coloured ring on the right ear piece cable to differentiate it from the left ear piece. So much easier than trying to look for the tiny ‘L’ and ‘R’ letters.
To keep the weight down I presume, the UE900s’ main body is made of hard plastic.
Overall the UE900s feels solid. However, as I learnt the hard way with the M6 PRO, take extra care when you change the cable to avoid breaking or creating cracks in the main body where the cable connects to the body.
The UE900s gave me the same initial listening experience that the M6 PRO gave me when I switched from bundled earbuds.
The difference in sound quality is as clear as night and day. I still believe the M6 PRO is a massive step up from bundled earbuds. Just the UE900s takes it to another whole new level.
The first thing I noticed is the clarity, everything sounds much more refined and cleaner.
Next is the sound stage. The UE900s’ sound stage is vastly larger than the M6 PRO. I dare say it is in the range of high-end mainstream over-ear headphones such as the Sennheiser Momentum Wireless.
The M6 PRO sounded cluttered and restrained when paired with my SoundBlaster E5. While the UE900s delivered a cleaner separation of the instruments, allowing me to hear the tiny subtle details that would otherwise just shy away in the background.
Finally, the reproduction of the instruments is much more realistic, especially the drums and the bass department.
If I were to rank the sound quality of UE900s to all the headphones and IEMs I have tried over the years. I would rank the UE900s on par with the Sennheiser Momentum Wireless over-ear.
Just as with the Oppo PM-3 headphones, where I upped the price point from AUD300 to AUD500 as the price point in which the amount of gain significantly diminishes in comparison to the cost. I am happy to up the IEM price point from AUD100 to AUD300.
The UE900s package is worth every penny. It is super light, comfortable, stylish, and most importantly has sound quality that rivals that of main stream high-end over-ear headphones such as the Sennheiser Momentum Wireless (which retails for AUD500 at the time of writing).
I know in-ears are not for everyone. But for those who do not mind or prefer in-ears, and the UE900s is within your price range – I highly recommend them.