Ultimate Ears where one of the first companies to introduce quality in-ear-monitors (IEMs) in the sub $150 category. Today I will be taking a look at their budget IEM called the Super.fi 3 Studio which cost a little over $100 which is to be considered cheap compared to other midrange IEMs. Even they don't come cheap they are still substantially cheaper than the competition's similar offerings. What you have to appreciate about the Super.fi 3 Studios is that they are based around a single precision balanced armature sound drive. This type of technology has until recently been limited to IEMs that are located in the $200+ price range. All of this has changed with the Ultimate Ears Super.fi 3 Studio.
So what does this mean for the average consumer? For starters the balanced armature drive will deliver sound more precisely than most full sized headphones. This means that the definition of the music you are listening to will be better.
One of the most noticeable problems with IEMs is the fact that they need a tight seal against your ear in order to function as intended. Ultimate Ears have a slightly different method for getting a good seal compared to Shure or Etymotic headphones. Instead of making a complicated fitting, the Ultimate Ears are simply placed shallower in the ear allowing for better comfort and easier insertion into the ear.
There are several major advantages of using IEMs compared to traditional headphones and one of the most distinct is probably ambient noise attenuation. The Ultimate Ears that I am looking at today claim to attenuate about 26 dB which isn't as good as most Etymotic or Shure headphones, but what they lack in noise insulation they pack in the price performance category.
SpecificationsThese are the specifications listed on Ultimate Ears own homepage:
- Input Sensitivity: 115dB/mW
- Frequency Response: 20 to 13,000
- Impedance: 13 ohms
- Internal Speaker Configuration: Single full range precision balanced armature
- Noise Isolation: -26dB
- Input connector: 1/8" (3.5mm) gold plated
- Weight With cable assembly: 0.5 oz.
Considering their price of around $100 they do deliver in the “bang for the buck” category even though they aren’t exactly cheap.