A couple of months ago Logitech started rolling out their UE (Ultimate Ears) branded audio products. I took a look at a couple of their speakers and found them to be pretty compelling products. Six years ago I picked up my favorite earphones, the super.fi 5 Pro earphones, and used them for a few years before the cable wore out (you can now buy replacement cables). Thus, I was looking forward to what Logitech would launch after purchasing Ultimate Ears in 2008 and the Logitech UE 900 earphones have been stuck in my ears ever since they arrived last week.
Check out my image gallery of the Logitech UE 900 earphones.
The retail box is black with blue highlights and has a photo of the UE 900s on the front with an exploded view of an individual earphone on the back showing all the internals. The box is small (about 6 x 6 x 2.5 inches), but feels quite heavy. Inside the outer box you will find a durable cardboard box secured with a magnet and blue ribbon handle. Under the lid you will find a card stock envelope pocket with the documentation. This heft is easy to understand when you open it up and see the following inside:
- UE 900 earphones
- Glossy black protective hard case
- 5 pairs of silicone ear cushions (XXS, XS, S, M, L)
- 3 pairs of Comply foam tips (S, M, L)
- 48 inch audio cable (black)
- 48 inch cable with mic/controls (blue)
- 1/4 inch stereo adapter jack
- Airline attentuator
- Carrying pouch
- User documentation
The airline attentuator is a nice touch and something I can't wait to try out on my next flight. It is designed to reduce volume spikes caused by in-flight announcements.
Fit and controls
The default ear cushions on the UE 900s fit me perfectly, but I went ahead and tried a couple other sizes to see how they fit. Logitech provides an assortment so I am sure you will find one that fits you best. The preferred size for my ears is the medium ear cushion. The Comply foam tips may help keep out excess noise since they squeeze to a smaller size for insertion and expand when you place them in your ear, but I found the soft silicone ones to work just fine and preferred the easier insertion process. Like the older super.fi 5 Pro earphones I had before, these earphones come with a semi-rigid wire leading out from the earphone so you can wrap the wire around your ear and help hold it in place. I found the earphones extremely comfortable and the only trouble I had was while placing them on my ear with my glasses on. I had to take my glasses off and then put on the earphones to secure the wires around my ears. It is a two hand process to properly insert the UE 900s since they work to isolate noise as well as provide amazing sound.
You get two audio cables in the package, the black one is a standard audio cable and the blue one includes a controller. The controller is used to control your media and your mobile phone calls. One click on the button answers or hangs up your phone (play/pause your media), two clicks jumps to the next track and three clicks takes you back to the previous track.
The earphones are attached to the cables and can easily be swapped out by pulling the earphone off the cable. To attach you simply press the cable into the socket and it snaps into place. Logitech's user guide recommends you cinch up the audio-only cable on the back of your head while you can use the clip to attach the cable to your shirt front when using the cable with the controller.
While the cables are braided and feel quite durable, they also tend to get tangled up pretty easily. I have been rolling them up and placing them in the carrying pouch, but then have to spend a few minutes getting them straightened out before using them.
The Logitech UE 900 includes four drivers per ear, two woofers for low frequencies, one for mid-bass, and one tweeter for highs. The sensitivity rating is 101.2 dB, the frequency response is 20 Hz to 20 kHz, the impedance is 30 ohms, and the ambient isolation is 26dB.
Daily usage and experiences
I enjoy good sound, but it has been a couple of years since I have been blown away by a good set of headphones. I plugged the Logitech UE 900 earphones into my new Apple iPhone 5 and had trouble wiping the grin off of my face as the joy of pure sound filled my ears. The UE 900s are not heavy on the bass and I would characterize the sound as clean, crisp, and authentic. It seemed like I was in the recording studio with the bands and I have not heard sound this good before.
I enjoyed using the UE 900 with my iPhone 5 and even while mowing the lawn for an hour and a half the sound was loud and clear. I wanted to see if the Beats Audio technology in the HTC One X was noticeable so I used the UE 900 with this device too. I have tried the Beats Audio utility with other headphones before, but only noticed a slight increase in bass. With the UE 900s and the HTC One X I noticed a SIGNIFICANT improvement in the music I was listening to and finally heard the value of Beats Audio. It also was not bass heavy as the UE 900s seem to present more natural sound and not an artificial rendering. This actually led me to getting more excited to try out the HTC Windows Phone 8X when it launches next month with Beats Audio since I always found Windows Phone/Zune devices to have the best audio quality.
$400 is a LOT of money to pay for a set of high quality earphones and I am not sure yet if I will buy a set for myself. I could swallow $200 or $250 (I am blessed with some good jobs), but $400 is quite expensive. If you are a sound afficionado then it might not seem unreasonable and if you spend $100 to $200 every year or so trying to find that perfect headset then you might want to splurge and get it over with on the UE 900s. My daughter has the UE 600, their $120 model, and while they sound very good there is a significant increase in music quality in the $400 UE 900 that will blow you away.