The custom UE 5 Pro personal monitors

Discussion in 'iPod' started by bomadian, Jan 30, 2008.

  1. bomadian macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2007
    #1
    Has anyone bought the $700 earphones from Ultimate Ears? I was thinking of getting them but wondered if they were worth it. If so, did you get any custom artwork done and does that cost extra?

    On a side note, how do I go about re-encoding itunes music to a higher setting to take advantage of the superior sound?
     
  2. KT322 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 26, 2006
    #2
    In Preferences click on Advanced. Goto the Importing section, and set the following:

    Import Using: AAC Encoder
    Setting: Higher Quality (256 kbps)

    I would also enable error correction when reading Audio CDs.

    Instead of Higher Quality (256 kbps), you might want to consider selecting Custom, a bit rate of 192 kbps, and check "Use Variable Bit Rate Encoding (VBR)". If you can't differentiate between 256 kbps CBR & 192 kbps VBR, you'll end up with 33% more songs on your iPod.

    Of course, if size is of no concern, the audiophile's configuration would be:

    Import Using: Apple Lossless Encoding

    for ZERO audible loss. Apple Lossless tracks will have a bit rate ~800 kbps.
     
  3. bomadian thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2007
    #3
    thank you, that was very helpful.
     
  4. quixotic macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2003
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #4
    Check out www.head-fi.org forums. They have tons of user experiences on various ear canal phones.

    ...I have a pair of UE's, but not the ones you're looking to get. But I can say that even their cheaper units have a great build quality and sound.
     
  5. The Monkey macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2006
    #5
    I have the UE-5c and the UE-10. If you're going to do custom, go all the way and get the UE-10 or the new UE-11. I believe custom is now extra, but they can do almost anything you want.
     
  6. Sesshi macrumors G3

    Sesshi

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2006
    Location:
    One Nation Under Gordon
    #6
    I also have the UE-10's, and have to get around to scheduling a fitting for a UE-11. Then I'll get a remould for the UE-10's done again to dial the fit. Whether you go custom is really a matter of improving fit, which can improve perceived sound over a generic-fit dual/triple driver phone (because IEM's are very critical in terms of fit vs sound), and also getting the best possible comfort of fit and isolation.

    I don't rate the sound quality of in-ear monitors as highly as I do full-sized headphones because the drivers the power them have limitations, even if you stack them up to make the overall response less uneven. e.g. I think the UE-10 is not a worthwhile improvement on a ~$200 open-backed headphone in terms of sound quality. But on the other hand, having the sound quality of a ~$200 open headphone with very high isolation, reasonable comfort, lack of temple pressure that closed headphones exert to maintain isolation and of course the portability is a very good thing - which is why I have customs.

    So it depends on what you want and how you intend to use it. You won't get a "$700-sounding" earphone with the 5c and you won't get a "$1000-sounding" earphone with the 10. What you will get is pretty decent sound allied to good comfort, high isolation and a reasonable degree of practicality, at least over a large headphone.

    However, I find it a pain for commutes for example although you can add Shure's PTH attachment (bulky and ultimately impractical IMO) to prevent having to take it off regularly. As a result I only use the customs for long plane/train journeys and for the rest of the time, stick to headphones or generic-fit IEM's like Shure's SE530.
     
  7. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604

    thegoldenmackid

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2006
    Location:
    dallas, texas
    #7
    read iLounge's review

    They prefer the Shure SE530's
     
  8. bomadian thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2007
    #8
    You say it's a pain to keep taking them out? I was going to wear them at work but I'm guessing i would never hear the phone ring! Did you have to pay for the mould session? I would love to go for the 1k monitors but even 700 bucks seems excessive, maybe I should stick to in ear-headphones.....do you recommend any?
     
  9. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Location:
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    #9
    To be accurate, you cannot re-encode existing compressed music files to get a higher quality -- you have to encode them again from original CDs or uncompressed/lossless format files.

    If you have AAC or MP3 encoded at, say, 128 kbs, then the quality has already been thrown away, converting that file to a higher bitrate will not improve it.
     
  10. Sesshi macrumors G3

    Sesshi

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2006
    Location:
    One Nation Under Gordon
    #10
    I chose to pay for a consultation session each time, which includes hearing tests and other stuff. But the audiologist's visit specifically to mould the phones are inclusive, at least for the UE-10. Can't say whether the same is for the 5c but I would imagine so.

    The custom thing as I said is largely not a sound thing, unless you have major issues fitting generic in-ear monitors: It's a fit thing. If that matters to you enough (and it matters to me) to pay extra, then that would be what you want.

    I notice a lot of web reviews of the UE customs casting these in some ultimate-sounding way. They are not. They happen to be among the best IEM's you can get, but they don't provide a commensurate increase in the sound quality in terms of the cost difference compared with a generic, and they also aren't ultimate monitors by a long way if you have any experience of regular professional-use (and we're talking $2-$300 items) headphone listening. Like Apples, perhaps the initial experience tends to make reviewers overstate the actual benefits.

    If it's your first IEM it might be better to go with a generic and see how you get on. The Shure SE530's are a good compromise and are unlikely to disappoint - especially those new to high fidelity audio. They give out decent sound on the whole, have a good range of fit options and generally lacks the compromises that other single and dual driver IEM's have in terms of not being able to cover the musical frequency range convincingly. They are also (relatively) reasonably priced at $400ish street. I'd say don't bother with the Push To Hear model, but it's up to you.

    If you want to hear your colleagues and the surrounding environment then an IEM is not a good idea because of the high isolation. You're best off with mildly isolated headphones, the cheaper in-ear phones which isolate less, or a pair of open phones. If you want to selectively block out certain types of noise (droning air-con, computers, etc) then electronic cancellation can be more effective.
     
  11. ntrigue macrumors 68040

    ntrigue

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2007
    #11
    I understood that CD's were 320kbps so I am a bit lost on Apple Lossless translating this to 800kbps?

    What is a recommended rate for Shure E3 vs. the 530's supposing HD space is not an issue?
     
  12. Sesshi macrumors G3

    Sesshi

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2006
    Location:
    One Nation Under Gordon
    #12
    Personally I think ripping a CD at 256K is enough for portable listening on anything.

    CD's are 1.4Mbits.
     
  13. bomadian thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2007
    #13
    great advice, thanks. Can you recommend any of the UE headphones? Those Shure ones look kinda ugly :)
     
  14. Sesshi macrumors G3

    Sesshi

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2006
    Location:
    One Nation Under Gordon
    #14
    Actually if you consider the 'how it looks in ear' aspect, the UE's (SF5Pro / TF10Pro) are uglier and also far worse fitting.
     
  15. KT322 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 26, 2006
    #15
    Audio CDs (Red Book standard) consist of 2-channel 16-bit PCM sampled at 44,100 Hz. The bit rate is:

    44,100 samples/s * 16 bits/sample * 2 channels = 1,411,200 bits/s (bps) =

    1378 kbps

    Apple Lossless achieves ~60% compression (~800 kbps).

    If HD space is not an issue, rip your CDs using Apple Lossless (no options to set as the bit rate achieved depends on the complexity of the source). This is a good choice for large home setups.

    For portable use using high-end canalphones (Shure SE530, UE triple.fi 10 Pro, Westone UM2, etc), AAC or MP3 will yield higher compression with minimal audible loss. Encode MP3s using the LAME MP3 codec @ 320 kbps CBR or 190 kbps VBR (search the forums at hydrogenaudio.org for specifics). Encode AAC-LC @ 256 kbps CBR or 192 kbps VBR.
     
  16. steelers4206 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2008
    #16
    what should i get

    hey i am interested in buying a pair of the UE 5 Pro. i am not a musician or work in any way with sound i am just looking for ear buds with custom ear pieces and the best sound quality is it worth getting a pair. and if not what do you guys think i should get
     
  17. Julien macrumors G3

    Julien

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2007
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #17
    I have a pair of UE 11 Pro's and love them. I also keep a pair of UE Super fi 5's as backup. I have used numerous IEM's and by far love the sound signature of UE's (especially the 11 Pro's).
     
  18. harinezumi macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 4, 2007
    Location:
    UK
    #18
    Go for custom made earphones by ultimate ears.
    i use the UE10pro and theyre awesome. since they are custom made they fit very nicely and ive had no problems concerning comfort.
     

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