Ultimate Ears 900s Review
By Victor Teixeira
I’ll be honest, I didn’t expect these earphones to perform as well as they did. It’s not that the spec-sheet doesn’t justify its performance, I mean, it sports 4 drivers, a 3-way crossover design and a patented “dual bore” audio path technology that makes for greater listening clarity. It’s just that, I use an older Westone 4R as my daily driver which also has 4 drivers and a 3-way crossover design. I absolutely love them, so I had set a high bar for the Ultimate Ears 900s. Much to my surprise, these earphones were pretty good. Great, actually.
Before I get into what makes the earphones especially good, let me start off with its physical design. At first, they appeared a little unconventional. Unconventional compared to what comes out of Shure and Westone. As a result, I didn’t think they’d fit too well. But with an abundance of eartips to choose from in the UE 900s’ packaging, fit and comfort was no issue. Ironically, this design ended up being more comfortable than my Westones or in fact a lot of other earphones I’ve tried. There is no slippage or movement when the earphone is fitted inside the ear. The earphones are built very nicely and have a very unique braided cable that have a nice ribbed texture giving it the impression that it’s bulkier and sturdier than usual. However, I did notice as well that the cable has a sort of high-grip rubber coating which feels nice, but it makes the task of untangling the cables (if you keep your earphones in your pocket) a bit more difficult. But that’s a nitpick, honestly.
Aside from it’s great build quality, comfort and looks, the UE 900s has a unique sound profile that really does a good job of showing off what that “dual bore” tech can do. No frequency jumped out at me as being much stronger or dominant. In that regard, the 900s is very balanced and offers a very crisp listening experience. But more than that, this has one of the cleanest and clearest sound profiles I’ve ever tested in any earphone (regardless of pricing). That’s what the 3-way crossover design and “dual bore” audio paths work together to do. They separate the individual frequencies for as long as possible to deliver the distinct, non-muffled frequencies (bass, mids, and highs) from the respective drivers. As a result, every song is super crisp and very bright. I personally enjoy bright sound and its ability to better distinguish between different instrument sounds. Especially the vocals, which don’t really dominate the listening experience, but they are noticeably more distinct from other instruments than in other earphones of the same price bracket. However, some may find the bright, clear sound to be too bright. Some songs can sound sharp and, depending on who you are, can fatigue your ears.
So in all, you have a pair of earphones that are built really quite nicely, are quite comfortable, and can generate extremely clean sound. It’s a solid buy for anyone looking for a pair of earphones in the $400 price range.
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