Audiophile quality sound for your mobile phone.
Recently acquired by Logitech, Ultimate Ears has a long history of producing in-ear monitors (IEMs). It has now brought tailored Super.Fi 5 IEMs to market, providing a viable solution for mobile phones such as the iPhone. The Super.Fi 5vi boasts an in-line microphone and answer call button, allowing it to handle phone calls in addition to music.
- In-line microphone and call-handling button, cord length, stylish design, range of rubber and foam tips included, excellent sound quality
- In-line microphone and call-handling button separated, call-handling button too low on cord, bass isn't outstanding
For the average consumer, spending this much on a set of headphones will probably seem ridiculous. For the price, though, these IEMs will completely rejuvenate your music listening experience.
Price$ 379.95 (AUD)
These IEMs are quite stylish. The left earpiece (black) is a different colour to the right one (red), eliminating the need to squint at the tiny L and R markings. The outer side of each earpiece is described by Ultimate Ears as "liquid silver" — glossy, mirror-style plastic. Those with the original iPhone are in luck — the Super.Fi 5vi's 3.5mm connector fits into the iPhone's recessed headphone jack, and the cable is long enough to be comfortable but not so long as to leave you in a tangled mess.
As they are noise-isolating headphones, Ultimate Ears includes a number of different sized rubber and form fittings to create the best possible seal and ensure maximum comfort. Small, medium and large rubber tips are packaged, and there are two sets of foam tips. The foam tips provide the best noise cancellation but aren't as aesthetically pleasing or comfortable as their rubber counterparts. Also included are a cleaning tool and a small plastic carrying case, but the headphones don't have removable filters like many other IEMs on the market.
The headphones are quite comfortable once you get the required fit. Keep in mind that these types of headphones sit deep in your ear canal and can be uncomfortable if you aren't used to them. Despite long periods of listening during testing we have no complaints about the comfort.
Sound quality is, as expected, excellent. Mid-range does sound a little overenthusiastic and the bass isn't as strong as some other IEMs we’ve reviewed but the sound is extremely detailed overall. As is always the case with IEMs, an adequate seal should bring out the best possible bass. Highs are smooth and the elements of sound are relatively neutral. Higher-pitched instruments are crisp and clear, and soundstage, while not comparable to a good quality pair of over-the-head headphones, is excellent for IEMs.
To handle voice calls when connected to a mobile phone there is an in-line microphone and a call-handling button that allows you to answer and reject incoming calls. Oddly, these are separated and the call-handling button is a little low on the cord for our liking. When a call comes in, the music dims and your ring tone plays through the headphones. A simple press of the button answers the call. The button can also be used to control music playback — simply press the button once to play or pause the current track, twice to skip to the next track and use a triple click to return to the previous track. The quality of calls through the microphone is excellent, and the call-handling button is comfortable and easy to press.
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