The Ultrasone Edition 8 headphones arrived last week. At $1499, these headphones compete directly with the Sennheiser HD 800s that I’ve been reviewing lately. This is a preliminary review, with more to come later.
For those of you unfamiliar with Ultrasone, they are a German headphone company (as are Sennheiser, AKG and Beyerdynamic). Founded in 1991, the company is focused on headphone design and manufacture (whereas the other German brands also make microphones among other devices) and has many patents in this field.
My initial impression is that the Edition 8s are extremely well done. Frequency balance is very linear, and the dynamics are impressive. Low-level information is well presented, and yet the Edition 8s don’t seem to fake this transparency. The sense is that high frequencies are smooth and have low distortion. The bass end of the spectrum seems well balanced as well.
So, what’s not to like? Well, really there isn’t a lot to criticize (so far, more on that below). I’d say the mid-treble might be slightly bright, but this seems like a very small error so far. Deep bass may not be as strong as one would hope for, and bass definition might be a little higher. I think.
Beyond that, we have spatial characteristics. For this, the Edition 8s have a technology called S-Logic Plus. The idea is similar to the concept that Sennheiser has employed on the HD 800: place the drivers so that your outer ear is involved with the result that you get a sense of space that is closer to live music. If you’ve read my HD 800 review, you’ll know that I found that the Sennheiser technology does indeed add a sense of space around instruments but that it doesn’t simulate the imaging of speakers or live music. I’d say the same thing about Ultrasone’s S-Logic, though I think the airiness is a bit higher on the HD 800s. In any event this is good stuff backed by inaccurate marketing.