Ultimate Ears, UE for short, is a well-known brand of headphones that has been around for years. In their early years, they developed custom headphones that were form-fitted for an individual’s ears. These headphones could cost upwards of 1500 dollars. UE has since expanded their product lineup to offer affordable universal headphones that everyone can use. The UE SuperFi 4s are an example of these. The SuperFi 4s were the mid-range headphones in their SuperFi series. Today, however, they are the low-range headphones. The SuperFi 4s offer a refreshing design, great audio quality, comfort quality that is growing on me, good build quality, and depending on where they are purchased, a great value for the money.
- Frequency Response: 20Hz – 15kHz
- Impedance: 29 ohms @ 1kHz
- Sensitivity: 105dB SPL/mW @ 1kHz
- Driver: Precision, balanced armature
- Noise Isolation: 26dB
IN THE BOX
- Ultimate Ears SuperFi 4 Noise-Isolating Earphones
- Pocket-ready hard case
- Soft, silicone ear-cushions (S,M,L)
- Two sets of Comply™ foam ear cushions
- Cleaning tool
- Instruction manual
The SuperFi 4vis come with an abundant amount of accessories.
Ultimate Ears took to a simplistic design scheme for these IEMs. Since UE is known for simple designs, this was kind of expected. Taking some of the design from the MetroFi 220 design, they encased the drivers in full aluminum instead of plastic. The aluminum is both sturdy and light. They are coated with a gunmetal bluish color that is pleasing to the eye. At the outside of each earpiece lies the UE logo lightly in a silver-ish color.
The UE SuperFi 4 offers a refreshing design that is soft on the eyes
Going down the right earpiece, you can see a microphone (vi model only) that lies right next to your neck or your face (if worn over the ear) when the headphones are on. Going deeper down, the headphones come down to a thick y-split. There is no adjuster to adjust this split, which may irritate some people who like to use these. Below the y-split is the single button remote. The remote is in the worst place possible if you are like me and wear the headphones underneath your shirt. It’s still able to be pressed as the button is very sensitive, but still looks weird while you’re looking for it.
The design of these headphones is simplistic, yet able to stand out. I actually like the design. Even with a few flaws, the design is well thought out and cleanly executed by UE.
Armature headphones are really special in the fact that they are very detailed and balanced, most of the time. The 4vis are no exception to this. When I put them in, out of the box, the bass was overwhelming and the treble seemed to clash together in just about every song. The mids were perfect to the touch. However, the bass and treble both settled down; the mids stayed as perfect as they were with a little bit of burn in.
These headphones are a lively pair. Unlike others like the RE0 and Apple IEMs that seem to struggle with sounds coming from the far left and right sides, these have no problem doing it. They are bright, yet enjoyable.
The bass on these headphones is accurate and punchy. They are what they should sound like. There is no doubt that these headphones were not made for bass-heads. The bass is not emphasized; saying they were bass light would be a big lie. This bass was punchy, but seemed to be struggling to get the punch through. UE tried to get some punchy bass in these, but it just didn’t seem to punch. Still good, but not great. The SuperFi 4s come with 5 sets of ear tips to help you achieve the perfect seal. Although this is plenty, some have complained that they couldn’t get a good seal. I was able to get a good seal with the small size, but achieved a better seal with the Sony Hybrid tips.
The SuperFi 4s come with 5 sets of ear tips, one of them being Comply Foam Tips.
The mids on these headphones are clear and smooth. You can hear every guitar shred and violin hum. The bass is soft, so it can’t be intruded by that. The details and clarity in the mids add a nice touch to it. My main complaints about the mids are the hint of sibilance and harshness that occurs. The mids are well done, but they are over the top sometimes though.
The highs on these headphones are nice. However, they do lack clarity and are a little harsher, compared to the RE0s in a few songs. The highs are also missing lots of details in more complex sections of songs. In most songs, however, they are spot on. The highs shine bright and add a nice overall sound to the headphones. I did find that the highs did clash together and not sound clear in some faster paced songs, but this was rare. Every so often, the high mids do intrude with the highs as well.
There is no getting out of it, there is some cable thump. An adjustable y-split would have helped a lot with the microphonics. If you want no microphonics, just wear them over the ear. I’m not saying there are no microphonics, but with music playing, you just can’t hear it.
Rated at 26dB, the noise isolation is about the best I’ve heard. For not having to insert them until they hit brain matter, this is actually really great isolation. I was really satisfied with the isolation as I can’t hear anything but my sweet music right now. Is it the best, no, Etymotic holds the record for noise isolation.
Noise Isolation: ★★★★½
These headphones are really well balanced and enjoyable. The lack of microphonics and high noise isolation really makes me love this pair of headphones. Great audio quality that you can hear with no interruptions. There is one note though, many have complained that they can’t get a good seal, I had no problems getting one, but everyone’s ears are different. If you can’t get a good seal, then you won’t be able to get a good sound out of these buds. With a good seal, these headphones are bright and fun, but can get quite harsh on your ears at times.
Audio Quality: ★★★★
OW! That was the first thing I said while putting these things on. I chose the smallest tips, and they still hurt. These are not the most comfortable headphones to put in; I am normally able to put in headphones comfortably, but not these. They are big and large. The metal is light and that does help majorly. However, inserting these into your ear is painful and just uncomfortable. After insertion though, the headphones do disappear and are comfortable. These headphones are comfortable if you have large ears, but if you are like me with small ears, you may find it painful to put them in with the stock tips. After a while, your ears do adjust and get used to them, it took me about 4/5 days to get used to these headphones. Since they are decently comfortable to insert in the long run, it won’t affect the score as largely, but still will. These headphones take some getting used to, but it’s worth it at the end.
Comfort Quality: ★★★½
These headphones have their ups and downs when it comes to build quality. Some things I really love, others I just don’t. Let’s begin at the individual earpieces and go down from there.
Each earpiece is constructed of aluminum that is both durable and light. There is no way that these are going to crush or break, I just don’t see it happening. The drivers are protected by a thin metal mesh to keep the outside particles out. If there is any earwax, or anything else that builds up in the headphones, the included cleaner can remove them. There is a small flexible, plastic-rubber piece that connects each earpiece to the cable.
The included cleaner helps clean the nozzle of the headphone if ear wax were to inevitably build up.
The cables aren’t thick, nor are they thin, they are more of a happy medium between the two. I like them, but then I don’t. The cable is flexible, but doesn’t have the complete stiffness I like in a cable. The Y-split is really bigger and composed of the same material that connects the wire to the earpieces. The cable has a microphone and remote connected to it; they are enclosed in plastic. The plastic seems durable enough. The entire cable ends at the headphone jack.
The headphone jack is straight and thin, which shows some questionable build quality here. The jack does have some flexibility to it, but really isn’t as flexible as I’d want it. If something were to break, it would be here. However, the gold-plated jack does give me some relief as it won’t corrode as fast.
The headphone jack is small and doesn’t look too durable.
The overall build quality of the headphones is above average, but still nothing special. If you take care of them and put them in a case when not in use, you’ll find that these will probably last you a good amount of time.
Build Quality: ★★★★
VALUE FOR MONEY
OK, looking on Amazon, these IEMs cost $130-$150†. There is just no way I would pay that much for these. However, if you look on eBay, you can find them for cheap. Under 30 sometimes. I bought from this dealer which were confirmed to be genuine by Logitech, owner of Ultimate Ears, customer support (however, you will get no warranty). For 30 bucks, they are an absolute steal, even if the case and instruction manual weren’t included. They feature a remote and mic, great sound quality for the price, that is well balanced, and a refreshing design. It does have some downsides, but for 30 dollars, I can’t think up of something better. Heck, it even works as a stylus while it’s plugged in. So you can use the iDevice that is using it in the winter with gloves on!
Value For Money: ★★★★★
These headphones have some minor flaws in every category. They have a minor flaw or two that don’t take away from the experience. These headphones offer a very basic design that is warm on the eyes. They can turn heads because the design itself is unique. The audio quality is good; it is bright and lively! The bass is there and everything seems to be well balanced. If can find these on eBay for 30 or under, they are well worth it because of the balance you get in the signature. It’s a pair of headphones, a remote, and a stylus all in one!
- Design ★★★★½
- Audio Quality ★★★★
- Bass ★★★★
- Mids ★★★★½
- Highs ★★★★
- Microphonics ★★★★½
- Noise Isolation ★★★★½
- Comfort Quality ★★★½
- Build Quality ★★★★
- Value For Money ★★★★★
† All prices are in US currency.
This review was written by the iFans.com Review Team. Cumulative scores are rounded to the nearest half or full star.
All applications, accessories, and/or themes were purchased at their respective prices unless stated otherwise.