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on 2 August 2006
These are expensive but well worth it in my opinion. They are very well made but some might object to the cables which are thicker and stiffer than the cables on Sony units, for example. However I guess it is to improve the sound quality which is what these are all about.

The ear pieces are slightly larger than the Sony Fontopias I am used to and a bit fiddly to plug into your ears at first but a bit of patience and careful choice of rubber plugs will pay dividends. The cables don't help at first as they are a bit heavy as well as being a bit stiff and tend to pull the units out at first. Like a lot of people I am a bit nervous about sticking strange things in my ears so was a bit cautious and shaky at first as well but once you get used to them they are a great fit and stay in well.

Other minor issues with the cables are that they are coated with sort of clear plastic whereas the ear units are black which looks a tiny bit odd. I really would have preferred black cables. Also they have a slight rubbery smell which I hope goes off with time as I am getting odd "rubber fetishist" comments from work colleagues !

Now to the sound. These things rock !!! Truly mobile high quality sound that never ceases to amaze. I am just loading CDs onto my player that have sat in my collection unplayed for ages just to hear them again.

I have yet to find any music that does not suit them, classical (both "purist" and "New Age - Bond etc."), rock, electronic, dance all sound awesome. Anything modern with complex sonic qualities just sounds so clear and detailed (try Chicane - Far From the Maddening Crowds) and they make older stuff sound fresher and more exciting. Even maximum compressed (128 kbps) MP3s sound good but 320 kbps is the way to go if you have a hard drive player or you refresh the music regularly on your player.

One often heard complaint about the player I use (Sony NW-A3000) is about the alleged EU imposed volume limit. When I first got my player I found about the hack and applied it - but still needed high volume settings (20 and above with a top volume of 30) to get any reasonable sound level with my old Sony Fontopias. But these puppies are pushing out fantastic sound at 10, which is a third of the volume the Sony player is capable of. The handbook that comes with these does mention starting to use them at low volumes and they even include an attenuator. I am guessing that lower player volumes = slightly longer battery life but not 100% sure. It does seem a reasonable assumption though.

I know they are expensive but couple these with a decent player (Sony NW-A3000 in my case), load up your music at 320 kbps and enjoy !!
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on 7 September 2010
Still running these in after receiving them but so far Chemical Brothers, Daft Punk, Rodrigo y Gabriela all are an aurally outstanding experience. And it's like what everyone else says, there are instruments and sounds you don't hear with other headphones. I've gone through years of Sony's mid range (~£50) headphones but always end up with broken wires. I had Shure eC3s (~£80) but one of the headphones came apart and to be honest didn't find them a huge leap in fidelity over the cheaper Sonys I was used to.

For me this was a move for lastability, I was more interested in having headphones with a replaceable cable and almost settled on the Super.Fi 3s. But the sound from these with their dual drivers is out of this world. My last headphones were the well rated(in their price bracket) Sony MDR-EX500LPs. The step up from those is like the step up from the default headphones that come with devices to the Sonys. If you can warrant splashing out on these, do it. You won't regret it.

Edit 30/03/2012:
Have now had to replace cables once, even though most of the time I've had these on sat at a desk the cable went near the Y split. Bought replacement cable via Amazon which has a 90 degree headphone jack and is generally a little thinner/more flexible. So far so good.

Edit 2015:
On second replacement cable since 2015, but the phones themselves are just as good as they were originally.
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on 11 October 2008
After much deliberation, and hours spent reviewing in-ear monitors for my 32Gb Ipod Touch, I finally took the plunge and bought the Super.Fi 5 Pro in black, and boy am I happy I did.

I had narrowed my choices down to Shure SE420's, UE's Triple.fi 10 and a new brand called Sleek Audio who have released a model called the SA62's. I am not an Audiophile, but really appreciate clear, vibrant and powerful music so I had to fold up my Sennheier PX100's and make my choice.

Naturally these models each hit a different pricepoint, and therefore I chose on the bang per buck basis. The previous reviews on Amazon kind of reaffirmed what I thought, and that was that UE's range offered studio quality, great customer service and although not a budget model, their Super.Fi 5 Pro's seemed to be the best match.

Everything you need comes in box, with a wide range of different sleeves, and foam covers, 3.5" jack etc. I tried the pre-fitted mid-size sleeves and thought I had the best fit possible, that was until I replaced them with the foam sleeves, which although they feel cheap do a much better job, as they expand to fit your canal and completely remove any outside noise. The choice is yours.

So, the million $ question, how do they sound?

Well after just an hour of listening to various types of music, from Ian Brown to Faithless, Radiohead, Elbow and Foo Fighters I am lost for words, they are truly stunning and I will never look back. I can only imagine what their custom IEM's sound like.

Don't worry about not having enough bass, as there is bucketloads. I will update this review once I have tried them with my Arcam Solo Movie to see whether there is any difference from 256kbp Mp3 over CD - I expect there will be :)

These IEM's are streets ahead of my admittedly high expectations, buy them now and see what you've missed out on.

Thanks for reading,

Chris
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VINE VOICEon 1 February 2008
I've used many different makes of canal phones before now(Sony, Creative, Shure to name but a few) and have never paid anything over £30 for a pair, but I decided to go crazy with the Ultimate Ears Super.Fi Pro 5's to see if there really was that much difference in sound quality.

So upon arrival I carefully opened the parcel and unwrapped the phones and plugged then into my Creative Zen 16gb and WOW, I was blown away by the shear sound quality of these headphones, yes it is true what other reviewers have said, you CAN hear EVERYTHING on the Pro 5's, the bass is strong and tight but without be bloated and flabby even at very high volumes. The mids are very clear with vocals a guitars raising the hairs on the back of your neck, the treble is nice and clear without harshness, the superb sound keeps coming no matter what volume levels you throw at these canal phones, form the lowest levels to the highest levels every detail can be heard without any distortion being present, this is all down to the dual driver system, one for the lows and the other for mids/highs.

Another point to make about the Pro 5's is you don't have to have the volume way up high to enjoy you music, you cannot hear anything from the outside world when you insert these phone, this could be dangerous when crossing roads or riding a bike, common sense must be used here as when you have the music pumping you can't hear ANYTHING form the outside world.

The Pro 5's are nicely packaged, if not slightly over packaged, you get a nice aluminium case for safe keep of the phones, you get a selection of ear tips ranging from small to large and also foam tips. You also get a 3.5mm to 6.25 inch adaptor for home audio connection also included is an attenuator for reducing output from an unknown source, aircraft ETC. A cleaning tool is also provided.

As other reviewers have said, the cables can be a little annoying and are not flexible enough, but I can live with this as you can replace the cables when needed(how many other earphones can you do this with??)

If you want true hi-fi quality in you head then get the brilliant Pro 5's , yes they are expensive but if you love your music then you will love the Ultimate Ears Super.Fi Pro 5's.
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on 19 July 2010
There is no doubting that these earphones are a serious upgrade from the Sony EX500LP which at the time of purchase were superb. The UE however have considerably tighter bass, superior separation and greater soundstage. You can really hear the difference. There's a huge array of eartips available but I struggled to get a great fit. I frequently need to twist and fiddle to get them to sit right. But maybe that's just my ears! It's a great idea to have a replaceable cable as it's seems that this is the most vulnerable part of most earphones. However I have replaced them twice in just over a year so that's an extra £40. The straight jack is far too week. There is an L-shaped version which is a little more expensive but the reviews don't bode well for them either. The only alternative now is to buy an extension cable so that the UE jack sits outside of my pocket. I'm sure it'll be fine if you sit your ipod in your shirt pocket otherwise you can start collecting airmiles more frequently if you buy these.
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VINE VOICEon 15 April 2009
OK so £150 for a pair of headphones does sound a bit steep, doesn't it? I'd read the reviews though and the rating for these 'phones was consistently good, so I thought I'd try and improve the sound from my IPod.

Now, I've always reckoned that Apple get a bit of unfair criticism at the minimalist preset tones available on the ipod, I also know from experience that the earphones are the most important bit of the set-up for listening to music from an MP3 player - yes, some manufacturers do provide much more in the way of EQ but no matter how much you can adjust the EQ, the sound is only as good as the 'phones.

These 'phones will cost you but actually if you listen to music a lot they are one of the most cost-effective ways of multiplying your listening pleasure by a factor of 10!

Advanced MP3 players delivered these to me via an Amazon order in really good time - and they were delivered so rapidly that the Amazon dispatch notification was sitting in my email box unread whilst I was unwrapping the earphones.

Getting a good seal in your ear from these earphones is very important and takes a little while to find the best supplied earpieces for you - but again,it is worth spending a bit of time on initial set-up.

On plugging in, the bass response is full and natural sounding - no need for a bass-booster here. Volume is very very loud (I did wonder why an attenuator was supplied as a separate plug in - now I know!) with very efficient drivers and the sound is as clear and crystal-like as a mountain stream...absolutely gorgeous and once you start listening through these amazing 'phones, you will want to stay up late, listening to your back catalogue, hearing your favourites as they've never sounded before. Really. (unless you've got a really dodgy taste in music!)

As well as the stunning sound from these 'phones, as they are in-ear once you've got the right seal fitted you will lose virtually all background noise as well.. a sound has to be really loud for you to hear it... you'll notice your breathing though, it feels like you are underwater. Can't wait to try these out on my next red-eye flight.

The phones come with a stylish metal box for storage, minimal instructions ( you shouldn't need them anyway), a guarantee, a jack adaptor, plug-in volume attenuator, and various ear-pieces in silicon and foam - I like the foam ones best but this is a personal choice.

One of my best ever purchases, and if you're serious about sound than I highly recommend these 'phones.
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on 4 September 2007
I've owned these earphones for a week now and, while I was initially unimpressed, they've now been 'run in' a bit and they're every bit as good as I expected.
My previous earphones were a pair of Shure E2Cs, and the UEs technically blow them out of the water. The sound they produce has a distinctly warm presentation, with the highs and vocals sounding a little less harsh than other phones. The bass is powerful and taught, if perhaps a little overpowering at times. Nothing you can't fix with EQ settings.
Having said all that, I can't help missing the more 'clinical' sound of my old Shures. These sound a lot warmer and possibly a little artificial in tone. If you're a fan of the Shure sound then maybe it's better sticking with the brand.
Fit and comfort is top notch for my ears, but not everyone's a fan of in-ear 'canalphones' (as UE's marketing calls them) and they simply don't fit in some people's ears. The myriad selection of included earpieces mean there's a comfortable option for nearly anyone. The cable is also stiffer where it exits the earpieces, so the wire can be moulded around the back of your ears to hold the earpiece in. This is a fantastic idea that works very well.
I've heard some reports of the flimsy cable failing, and I can understand this since the cable is oddly thinner than my Shures. However, I'm yet to experience any problems, fingers crossed.
All in all, top marks!
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on 13 November 2007
I have looked at lots of reviews about in ear headphones and deliberated along time when it came time for me to buy a new pair. I previously had shure Ec2's and i thought they were great, BUT compared to these they are lacking in many areas. UE pro 5's are simply awesome the rattle your eye balls ( no exageration!!) the bass response is clear, deep and punchy. The mids and highs are crisp and bright. Put it all together and you have a fantastic pair of head phones. I know they aren't cheap BUT for that little bit extra the difference is vast. I look forward to finishing work everyday just to put these in my ears, they are that good honestly!!
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on 1 February 2009
I have never owned a decent pair of earphones, always putting up with the crap that comes with your new cassette/CD/MP3 player. I'm getting on a bit now. So i decided to go and spend a load of money on a good pair, and my god i'm glad i did. When i first put them in my ears i was expecting them to melt after all the great reviews i'd read, but to be honest i was a little disappointed. The sound was better than all the other earphones i've ever owned, but still not what i was expecting for that money. So i started trying all the different ear tips that come with the headphones. After a couple of days i found that the small tips were the best fit, myself being 6'5 and having a big head this was a little suprising. I cannot stress what a difference finding the right fit makes to the sound these things make, the sound just gets better and better each time i put them in . The base sounds just as good if not better than my cinema system and the highs and mids stand out crystal clear with no distoration no matter how much you turn your mp3 up. And these things are loud!. The markings for left and right are that small they may as well not bother with them, but this does not matter as the earphones are shaped as such that with the wires going up and behind your ears it's easy to distinguish the two. The build quality also feels very good and i can see these lasting a long time. One last thing, shop around. The cheapest i found were £115. Over all i cannot rate these earphones highly enough, so stop looking and start buying.
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on 28 April 2007
These are absolutely stunning earphones - I also have the Shure E4C's and these blow them away.

The fit is superb - really comfy and not difficult to get a seal - plus - unlike the Shure's they don't feel so much like ear-plugs - although they DO block out external noise in the same way.

The bass is wonderfully full, thick and deep - the highs smooth and clear without ever being harsh (Shures = harsh & tinny in comparison). The soundstage is wide, 3 dimensional - excellent separation. You can just turn off your iPod's EQ with these - there's just no need to boost or cut anything - they just sound so natural and gorgeous.

Prepare for goosebumps!
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