Ultimate Ears UE200 Earphones (Playback 52)

Earphones and in-ear monitors
Logitech/Ultimate Ears UE200
Ultimate Ears UE200 Earphones (Playback 52)

On the treble side the UE200s gently roll off, which robs the music of some air and openness. But on the positive side the UE200s always remain listenable, even with rude-sounding MP3 sources. Once more, Ultimate Ear’s designers have chosen a course that preserves most of the music, sacrificing only the last bit of sparkle in exchange for a more neutral and less obtrusive frequency response. Even after a long listening session, the UE200s generated a low amount of listener fatigue.

Ease of use/comfort and fit: Ultimate Ears UE200s come with multiple ear tips as well as a plastic carrying case. The case broke the first time I tried to open it; I guess I don’t know my own strength. For most people, one of the five different-sized soft silicon ear cushions should fit them fine. But because of my narrow ear canals coupled with a fairly large outer cavity, finding the right fit among the five choices proved to be problematic. After working my way through all five cushion sizes, I looked through my ear-tip stash where I found a pair of Etymotic Research gray double–flange ER6i-18C ear-tips that fit the UE200s and my ears perfectly. Even during an hour-plus workout I only had to reseat the UE200s twice. The downside is that you can only buy these tips by the pack for $14, which (for me at any rate) would effectively increases the cost of the UE200 earphones by 30%. But for most users with typical ears, one of the supplied ear cushions should work nicely. I tried the largest UE200 ear cushions with a pair of Sennheiser CX 500 earphones and found they made these earphones fit far better than with the double flange ear cushions that originally came with those earphones.

For the best fit, I found the UE200s needed to be positioned so the cables exited upwards and then wrapped around the top and down the back of my ears. Once properly positioned with over-the-ear cable placement the earphones stayed put and delivered the full measure of their potential 26 dB of outside noise attenuation. The earphone cord was relatively non-microphonic. Using the tap test—where you tap the cable with your finger to see if it goes “boom” or remains silent, I found the cord was for the most part sonically inert (once I got more than a centimeter away from where the cable met the driver housing). The provided signal cable was probably long enough for most users, but I would have preferred another six inches to insure no pulling when my MP3 player was in my rear hip pocket.

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