Just got a pair of UE Super.fi 3...

Discussion in 'Portable Headphones & Earphones' started by angor, Dec 19, 2008.

  1. angor

    angor Casual Listener

    Dec 19, 2008
    Let's start with a little background. I'm not an audiophile by any stretch of the imagination. I enjoy listening to music, and do so on a regular basis. For the last couple of years, I have been using Sennheiser PX 100s. I really, really like them, but I wanted something more suitable for commuting on public transport. They leak sound like crazy. After doing a ton of research, I settled on the UE Super.fi 3s. I ordered them a few days ago through hifi headphones, and they came in today. I was excited :)

    At first, I had some trouble fitting them. I went to the website, watched the video, changed sizes (small) and tried again. Voila! They fit nice. I really like the way they loop over the ear and feel secure. Sound isolation is great as well.

    Now, the sound. I find that they are tinny, lacking in bass*, and a little thrashy at times. I don't really know how to describe it, but I don't like it one bit. In fact, I hate it :(.

    Has anyone else ever had this problem with this set of earphones? Am I just not used to IEMs? I'm super bummed out, because I had really been looking forward to using them, and I simply hate the sound.

    *Before someone jumps down my throat for not doing my research, I did. I know that this set is known for being bass lacking, but I didn't realize to what extent. Even with my Touch's EQ being set to bass booster, it's quite bad.

    These are the 3 main reasons I'm buying a new set:

    1. Sound isolation. This is a double sided sword. One one hand, sound isolation is good for my fellow public transport passengers. On the other, I won't be able to hear announcements on the train, and it would be unnerving walking down a busy street.

    2. Sound quality

    3. Appearance. Not in the way you think though. I have really thick hair, and when I wear the headband headphones, it leaves a thick squashed line across my head. It's not super noticeable, but I hate it.

    To satisfy #1 and #2, I could have gone with a good set of closed back headphones, but that would have killed #3.
    To satisfy #2 and #3, I could have gone with a good set of earbuds, but that would kill #1, kinda.

    Unfortunately, I have to return my set of UEs. I just can't justify spending £60 on something that will live in a drawer.

    With a budget of around £60, can anyone give me a solution that might work out for me?
  2. Musicman

    Musicman Well Balanced

    Nov 25, 2008
    I can't quote about the UE 3's but I own a pair of 5's and have recently upgraded to the 10's and can only describe the sound from both as very good.

    A couple of suggestions that may improve your sound (unfortunately to take-up the 2nd suggestion requires further investment)

    1. What compression level are you converting your mp3 files. I recommend you go know lower than 320. I have a 160g iPod classic so I didn't have to compress at all and the improvement in sound quality is immediate.

    2. Buy a Graham Slee portable headphone amp. Pricey but delivers fantastic sound. It was made with people who use ear bud phones in mind as it increases and improves the bass signle.

    With the UE 10's played through the Gramham Slee amp the sound is sublime. If you listen to music/watch movies stored on your computer the Graham Slee will also make a big improvement to the sound quality too.

    Hope this is helpful.
  3. Shaun-HiFi

    Shaun-HiFi Administrator Staff Member

    Aug 30, 2008
    Ultimate Ears Super.fi 3 bass response

    Angor: I agree with the comments about the Sennheiser PX100's. They are REALLY nice sounding headphones for the money. We get reports of customers upgrading to much more expensive headphones and being more impressed with their old PX100's.

    The Super.fi 3 is quite light on bass response, although I have to say I didn't find it utterly lacking, as I did with the Shure SE210 (my first pair of IEM's).

    You mention that you've found a good fit with the small eartips. As you probably know the fit is critical for getting good bass response with any in ear monitor style earphone. Any lack of seal will cause low frequency (bass) leakage and the sound will be thin and tinny.

    One solution to lack of seal is foam eartips such as Comply Foam eartips. We've had many positive reports from customers who say they have noticed improved bass response when fit was not good with standard eartips.
  4. shiftywxm

    shiftywxm Casual Listener

    Dec 30, 2008
    Cheap option to add bass


    An easy option to add bass to your earphones is to purchase a Fiio headphone amp. Either the E3 or E5 will add bass and are available at a fraction of the previously recommended Graham Slee amp. You can get the E3 on ebay for about £8.00 and the E5 has just been released for about $25.00.

    Both amps get good reviews and are a cheap option to allow you to decide whether the super-fi 3's are for you or not.

    Hope this helps!
  5. Musicman

    Musicman Well Balanced

    Nov 25, 2008
    I've heard the Filo amp and yes, for the money it's good value, but in my view, for pure sound quality the Graham Slee is head & shoulders better. I think it is a case of decing what you want and what you are prepared to pay.

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