IN-EAR
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UE 18+ PRO - 3rd GEN

ULTIMATE EARS

Rating

Price

8.9

1380 €

Review published:

04/2020

Driver

6

per Side

0

Dynamic

6

Balanced

Impedance

37 Ohm

PZ/ES/PL

0

Sound

8.5

Bass

9

Mids

9

Trebles

Sensitivity

105 dB

8.8

Handling

9.5

Haptic

D

Value

0

Daily Life

Frequency

5 - 22000 Hz

Intro

The UE 6 Pro and the UE RR really convinced me. Both in their very own, individual way. Now let's get to an IEM that basically does little or nothing wrong, but is, to be honest, a bit too boring for me. In addition, it has a small boost around 600 - 700 Hz, which I don't really find advantageous in terms of clarity and makes voices or the whole arrangement seem more spatially set back and flatter.

One thing you have to give Ultimate Ears credit for, they don't dazzle the consumer with their marketing by any praise and promises. Well, that they want to make their product stand out is clear and some exaggerations as well, but the whole thing has substance. But more about that in the sound analysis.

UE 18+ Pro was provided by R+R SonicDesign AG.

Handling

>> Identical to all tested models of Ultimate Ears <<

The UE 18+ Pro is basically a custom IEM, but can also be manufactured as a universal IEM. If you decide on the custom variant, you will receive an individually adapted in-ear based on a personal ear impression, which is also only "compatible" with your own ear canal.
With universal IEMs, there is no way around a silicone or foam attachment (which is of course included in the scope of delivery in this case), but this can influence the sound characteristics and the sound can be falsified both positively and negatively.
The scope of delivery consists of a cleaning tool for the sound tubes, a removable cable, which was especially developed for stage use and the IEM itself. All this is in a screwable, round and black metal case, or square folding case, where the respective name of the owner is engraved.

Ultimate Ears relies on a specially developed IPX connector in their products. This connector is not compatible with MMCX or other connectors. I personally find it better than the one I know so far. It's more compact, sits bombproof and is easier to detach than the MMCX. The tight closure of the two connections (male/female) prevents moisture or dust from entering the connection, which is very important for stage use.
The cable is available with or without ear-loop, clear or black, and with a length of 125 or 160cm. There is also a balanced version (4-pin 2.5mm mini-jack) and a Bluetooth cable incl. remote for telephoning and controlling the Smartphone / Player.

With a custom IEM you don't have to worry about the fit, comfort and isolation. No matter which acrobatic exercises you perform, the IEM will not move from the spot and will also isolate you almost completely from the outside world. If something does pinch, or an adjustment is necessary, you can have it done free of charge by the respective distributor, or directly by Ulitimate Ears.

The cleaning tool is not only practical, but also really necessary, because as with many universal IEMs by now, there is no protection (mostly by a metal grid) in the sound tube, so earwax and dirt can get into the in-ear more easily. For the careful user cleaning is certainly not a foreign word, but it should be mentioned nevertheless.

The design of the UE 18+ Pro is individually left to each user. What remains the same is the transparent 3D-printed housing with a view of the inner workings, but with the faceplate you can let off steam to your heart's content and the ear side is individually made to ear impression anyway.

Sound

Each in-ear of Ultimate Ears has its own characteristics, which are also crystallized by UE in the description. If the UE 6 Pro is recommended for drummers, or the RR as a reference and mixing tool, the UE 18+ Pro will give you more headroom and therefore better dynamics. This is indeed the case and is especially noticeable with more output power. Between quiet and loud passages there is a smooth dynamic range, even in common interaction, without any overlapping or loss of information.

Similar to the UE RR, the bass only jumps as high as it has to. It treats the sub range rather shabby, but has presence there as well, which makes the bass appear quite linear. It lacks a bit of punch and nuances, but stays clean. Nevertheless, I still miss a bit of tightness here. It has a bit more quantity than the UE RR, but in quality they don't take much away from each other. Also here typical BA, but I'm spoiled a bit by the UE 6 Pro. But the bass is much more stable and linear than many other in-ears reviewed so far, which used a BA driver and can be seen at about the same level as the BGVP DM7, which I also attest a very good BA bass.

The UE 18+ Pro sounds warmer than the RR due to the slight bass spur, especially in the upper bass.
Likewise, they are positioned a bit further to the middle of the head and not as much in front as for example the UE Pro 6. This is not a negative criterion, but in any case a change to which one has to get used to shortly, similar to the OH500. As technically skilled as the mids are, I lack a bit of energy and liveliness. That makes for a bit of tristesse. Maybe the best way I can explain it is this: When I'm on my own, I listen to music via in-ears in almost every situation. But that doesn't mean that I am completely in the music with my head all the time, but that I just let it run as background noise and let my thoughts wander. But now there are in-ears that manage to pick me up unexpectedly and focus my attention on them without me paying special attention to them and the music. With the UE 18+ Pro, I have to concentrate on it specifically, otherwise the music will just ripple away. Admittedly high quality, but somewhat emotionless.
Sometimes a peak creeps in at the mids, especially on electric guitars, where I'm a bit sensitive and they become slightly demanding, but that's a rare exception. I would describe it as slightly roaring. Basically, the mids of the UE 18+ Pro are very soft, relaxed and peak-free. Even sibilants are for the most part well avoided.

Trebles are relaxed and have a good extension, but they can't really assert themselves, or rather, the UE 18+ doesn't pay any special attention to them and puts more emphasis on safety. Once you have got used to the signature, the trebles are very harmonious and above all natural, without any artificial build-up. But they should have a bit more steam for my taste. In general, I'd like to see a bit more clarity in the whole signature, but that's grumbling at a high level. The trebles blend in very well and provide a homogeneous sound.

I repeat myself, but location, 3D display and positioning are clear strengths of the UE-IEMs, and of course one of the UE 18+ Pro. However, they tend to stand out more with more output. The RR is a bit more sensitive and convinces even with less power. Since the stage of the UE 18+ Pro is centered a bit more in the middle of the head, it may not seem very big at first, or separate, but that will come with time.

Outro

Very safe earphone for sensitive ears. The tuning doesn't quite suit me and is too unemotional for me. Well-behaved, but technically adept, describes the UE 18+ Pro quite well. It doesn't disguise anything, but doesn't catch your eye. That's quite pleasant at times, but not quite to my taste.
It leaves me a bit perplexed, as it basically does nothing wrong, but doesn't completely pick me up even after a long listening time, although I like it much better after a short warm-up phase and also lets me dive deeper into the music.
However, with its technical features and also the large headroom (even at high volume nothing seems compressed), it seems to me to be a very good tool for the stage and for perfectly tuning the personally preferred mix. Also for this reason I want to remain objective in my evaluation and can also argue the score with a very good conscience.

I wouldn't buy it, but when I get my hands on it, I could easily bend it into my preferred direction with one or two small adjustments in the equalizer.

!!! The pictures do not show the original product, but are specially made universal demo receivers from Ulimate Ears !!!

https://www.sonicdesign.ch/ue/de/

Legend

Haptic:

Here the processing plays a role and the usability of the scope of supply. Additionally the appearance, wearing comfort and robustness.


Value:
Here I evaluate for me subjectively the price/performance ratio - does not flow into the evaluation!

Z: No Brainer

A: money well spent

B: all right, you can do

C: gives better for less money

D: overpriced

E: collector's price

Daily life:
Here, I focus on the long-term audibility and whether I can hear it well out of the box. This is of course very subjective and therefore only a minimal deduction or bonus. 

(-0.1, 0, +0.1)

Frequenzgang

Rating in Letters

S: 9.5 - 10

A: 9.0 - 9.4​

B: 8.0 - 8.9​

C: 7.0 - 7.9

D: 6.0 - 6.9​
E: 5.0 - 5.9​

F: 0.0 - 4.9​

1/3
UE 11 PRO

UE 11 PRO

UE 7 PRO

UE 7 PRO

UE 18+ PRO - 3rd GEN

UE 18+ PRO - 3rd GEN

UE LIVE

UE LIVE

UE 5 PRO

UE 5 PRO

UE RR

UE RR

UE 6 PRO

UE 6 PRO

...

Contact:

chi-fier@gmx.de

CHI-FIEAR © 2020 by David Hahn

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