I had the pleasure of receiving a pair of Logitech UE’s 9000 recently, and I’ve been DYING to talk to you about it. I finally found the time!
Let’s talk about the Logitech UE9000 headset.
“WHAT IS IT? WHAT THE HECK MAKES THESE HEADPHONES SO SPECIAL?”
Ultimate Ears company was purchased by Logitech a few years back, and for good reason: UE knows sound. When you go to concerts, and you see your favorite performers using in-ear monitors to hear their audio mix? Well, it’s probably Ultimate Ears.
I have a couple of custom in-ear monitors (I love them, btw), but many DJs looking to experience the glory of a UE product have lamented the lack of over-the-ear cans to take to the club.
The Logitech UE9000s and the UE6000s look to bridge that gap, but this review is specifically for the UE9000 model.
“WELL, OKAY. TELL ME WHAT THEY LOOK LIKE, THEN.”
First off, these are not gaudy, “blingy” headsets you’re used to seeing on store shelves. And THANK GOD for that, because I like my headphones to be classic, understated, and dignified. Like a good coat, well-designed headphones should be able to go with any outfit and work in any situation. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people wandering about in business suits in Downtown Los Angeles with a pair of ridiculously colorful headphones. It’s like wearing a pair of Alexander McQueen shoes with a pant suit: It looks insane, and we’re all laughing at you on the inside.
Anyway — back to the UE9000s — they’re perfect for any occasion. They look cool and sleek enough to jockey with the high-end audiophile headsets, but also look fun and futuristic in a subtle way. This, I like. They also come with a lovely travel case, though some may consider it a bit bulky since the UE9000s fold flat instead of inward when stored.
Flat storage! Also, look at how pretty they are.
There’s a few different buttons and slots on the UE9000s — on the right, you have a Bluetooth toggle, volume controls, play/pause (also works as answer/hang up and forward/back chapter depending on context), a micro USB charging port, and a 3.5mm input jack. On the left, there’s a single button, but it’s just as important, as it’s a “listen through” button that allows you to hear what’s going on around you if needed. Pretty handy for anyone who needs to hear their surroundings, but doesn’t want to go through the hassle of stopping music, taking off your headphones, and being interrupted.
As for accessories, you’ll get that lovely carrying case (it’s a molded hard case, and it’s solidly built), a cable and plug for charging, a 1/8″ – 1/4″ adapter, and a 3.5mm VI cable. VI = Voice Integrated, btw. Those are the cables that let you handle calls and control your music from them, and they’re a welcome addition here. Overall, it’s a very nice package, and Ultimate Ears presents it smoothly.
“FINE. THEY’RE PRETTY. BUT ARE THEY COMFORTABLE?”
A side view of the Logitech UE 9000s
You’re damn right they’re comfortable. I’m the first person to complain about around-the-ear headphones bothering me. In long play sessions for games like WoW and Diablo 3, I cannot STAND headsets. My ears must be shaped weird, or I must have some kind of brain issue, because every time I wear a $200+ headset that’s supposed to be made for long-term use, I get crazy headaches. I’m happy to report that the UE9000s are mega comfortable. Like, “sometimes you forget you have them on” comfortable. The extra cushioning and foam padding on the actual ear cups makes a world of difference when doing things like watching movies and playing games. I’ll admit, I do wish UE had put a little more padding on the headband (or maybe included an extra strip of padding for customization), but overall, it’s a good fit and they’re more than adequate for longer sessions. Editing video has been made MUCH easier with these.
“I CAN’T BUY ANYTHING WITHOUT KNOWING IF IT SOUNDS GOOD!”
The wired performance of the UE9000s is, plainly put, outstanding. The bass response is lovely, while the mids and highs are clear and precise. It’s a testament to UE’s experience in the professional audio world. In my opinion, the UE9000s will definitely make a lot of “Best Of” lists this year for its price point. The audio quality (combined with the comfort I mentioned above) makes watching movies on my iPad while laying in bed an absolute pleasure. My husband also would like to thank Logitech UE for the additional sleep he’s getting, since there’s virtually no-spill when wearing them in close proximity to others who would prefer quiet time.
The VI cable is fantastic and works well with my iPhone 5, but I’ll admit fully to not needing headphones “in the wild” as some do. I’d bet dollars to donuts a college kid with an iPhone, iTunes Match, and a pair of UE9000s would be in heaven, though.
For me, I’m perfectly good with the noise canceling quality of the UE9000s. I don’t travel too often, and when I do, they’re usually under 6 hours long. In this way, the UE9000s perform perfectly fine, though I’ll say that generally speaking, the kind of false bass boost when the feature is toggled on isn’t for me. Again, I’d file the UE9000s squarely in the “fine” column here.
For the battle-hardened ultra-traveler, who demands ultra quality audio and perfect sound when flying… well, you’ll have to really listen to them yourself and see if they’re for you. One friend who travels a lot said he thought they were great. Another said she preferred her Bose headphones.
Sleek. Stylish. Not covered in rhinestones.
I’d also like to add that I’d be very curious to see how a professional DJ feels about the noise canceling on the UE9000s. Unfortunately, I don’t know any well enough to trust with my personal set for a weekend of spinning, so I’ll just have to speculate that I _believe_ a DJ would really enjoy these. The comfort level, added bass, and sound quality (specifically whilst wired, not while wireless) could be just what they’ve been looking for from Ultimate Ears…
BLUETOOTH / WIRELESS
We know that Bluetooth never delivers the same kind of audio quality that wired headsets do. And I’d be lying if I screamed that the UE9000s were an exception to the rule. It’s true there are some changes there in the sound quality when you go wireless. Here are a few things I noticed when using the UE9000s in Bluetooth mode:
- Bass gets a tad bit looser and blobbier
- Highs still cut through pretty well
- You’ll still experience wireless connectivity blips
- The sound is much warmer than other BT headsets I’ve used
There are, of course, compromises when you want to go wireless. Fortunately, Ultimate Ears has found ways to minimize those compromises, and while they’re still present, the 9000s are easily the best sounding wireless headphones I’ve ever used. There might be some insanely expensive ones out there I’ve yet to try, but at its price point, there’s nothing like ‘em out there.
“THESE SOUND KIND OF AWESOME. HOW MUCH?”
It’s kind of odd. I’ve never recommended an around-the-ear headset to someone that costs so much money, and yet I feel they’re somehow worth a little more than the actual price. The UE9000 model clocks in with an MSRP of $399 — a princely sum for a pair of headphones, I know — but if you tend to use multiple devices, need some quality audio from some of them (intermediate video/audio editing, movie watching), it’s not a bad investment. The Bluetooth quality is outstanding, allowing for freedom of movement around the house, while the wired experience is rich, plush, and filled with depth when listening to whatever floats your audio boat. Also, the hard case is a beautiful and sturdy addition, never feeling cheap or tacked on, and the “listen through” button is helpful when you need to hear a quick question or announcement with minimal interruption.
If you have the scratch, this is a premium pair of headphones, and I highly recommend picking them up.
If you don’t have the scratch, you should absolutely look into the UE6000s ($199), a wired pair of headphones from Logitech UE that also provide a rich listening experience at half the price.