Review of: Ultimate Ears Super.fi 5 Pro Earphones

Posted by Artem Russakovskii on September 18th, 2006 in My Favorites

Updated: June 24th, 2020

image Received this set today from Amazon. This is the review I wrote:

Well, what can I say… this is hands down the best pair of earphones that I've tried so far. I went through:

– (of course) the ipod cheapies that are horrible at everything except for giving you pain,
– the ER-6i, which sucked so bad, they had to be returned to Amazon. They basically touched parts of my brain, literally, that's how deep they went in. I experienced pain and headaches almost instantly,
– the Sony MDR-EX71SL, which was actually quite decent for the price ($29.99 on Amazon). They were much better than ER-6i and sounded great, until they fell apart completely due to the worst cord design imaginable. It actually stretches, rips and its surface has such high friction that I'm surprised it lasted these 3-4 months.

So finally, it was time for something new. After reading a bunch of reviews, I decided that Super.fi 5 Pro are going to fit me best in all parameters: bass, sound, and comfort. From the moment I unpacked them and put them on, I instantly knew they were for me.I'm going to compare mostly to EX71SLs because I liked those the most before .fi.

The build: first of all, replaceable cord. How ingenious is that? I looked it up, it costs $20 for a new one. I've actually got to replace one and it's as easy as snapping off the whole cord up to the ear buds and plugging in a new one. All done in under a minute. Great, now the build itself. Very sturdy, much sturdier than the EX71SL, no comparison. Also, the fit is great, even with the default earpieces. I can't hear the wind like I did with EX71SLs, and they don't echo as much into the ears when I knock on the cord.

The sound: dual drivers in each piece, they sounded like an orchestra that started playing in my ears. The sound is rich and very… surround. So far, I tried rock, trance, hip hop, and flamenco. It was most impressive with flamenco, when audience started to cheer and during guitar solos.

The bass: is great as well, I think it's perfect.

Overall: I'm very impressed with what I received. 6 out of 5 stars. Buy it, especially if you have tried EX71SL before and want the absolute best.

Update 04/05/2007: I've been using these bad boys for about half a year now, and they're still as good as the day I got them. The cable survives daily trips in my computer bag and pretty brutal action from time to time, but it's so thick that I feel I wouldn't even be able to rip it if I tried. After seeing how good these earphones are and hearing me rave about them every day, 2 of my friends got themselves a pair and a 3rd one is considering. UE earned my business for life.

Update 11/19/2007: UE did it again. After more than a year of very heavy use and no problems (the earphones have a 2 year warranty), the sound in one ear started interrupting. Thinking it was the cord, I called up Ultimate Ears customer support. No messages, nothing, a live person picked up the phone. I've explained the problem and 4 days later I had a free replacement cord at my door (I even asked for a black one to match the color of the buds). It gets better.

Turned out the cord wasn't the problem. Instead, one of the ear buds had some internal damage that became apparent after I pulled off the existing cord. Another call to UE and no problem – a week later I had a brand spanking new pair in my hands. That is what customer service should be like. At this point UE earned mine AND my friends' business for life.

Update 06/12/2008: I had a chance to listen to the UE Triple fi 10 last week, and boy, it's truly amazing. I thought I wouldn't but I did hear a big difference, especially in the bass, because Triple fi has another low frequency channel. Now I just need to figure out a way to upgrade…

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Artem Russakovskii is a San Francisco programmer and blogger. Follow Artem on Twitter (@ArtemR) or subscribe to the RSS feed.

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