Logitech UE-4000 Stereo Headphone review

Discussion in 'Headphone Reviews' started by dalethorn, Oct 3, 2012.

  1. dalethorn

    dalethorn Active Member

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    Sources: iPhone4 alone, iPhone4 with PA2V2 amp using LOD, various computers using Audioengine D1 DAC and the D1's headphone out.

    I walked into the Apple store recently and found 2 new headphones on display, the Logitech UE-4000 and UE-6000. The UE-6000 sounded very good, at least as good as the SoundMagic HP100 and other such circumaural headphones in that price range, but that will come later. The UE-4000 reviewed here is a small plastic on-ear headphone that I never would have expected to have a high fidelity sound. As it turns out, the UE-4000 has a treble rolloff very much like other similar-size portable headphones, and like some of those, sounds very good with a treble boost. Comparing to my full-size hi-fi headphones, the UE-4000 with treble boost (using iPod/iPhone EQ or the equivalent) still does not have the full treble energy of those larger headphones, and since it also doesn't gain any excessive sibilants or other high-frequency irritations with that EQ, this review will be based entirely on that EQ'd sound.

    The most similar headphone I have on hand to compare the UE-4000 to is the new Beyerdynamic DTX501p, which I assume from various Internet postings to be a SoundMagic OEM. The bass is very similar between the DTX501p and the UE-4000, as is the EQ'd treble. The significant difference is in the midrange, where the DTX501p has an upper midrange emphasis giving it a more nasal quality. The v-moda M80, which costs twice as much, is also emphasized higher up in the mids, so I would rate the UE-4000 as the winner there. The M80 is pretty well regarded for bass reproduction even though the bass is somewhat lean, however I get the sense that the UE-4000's bass is slightly better, and the beginning bass notes of the Jennifer Warnes music track listed below bears that out. That said, the UE-4000's overall bass strength is slightly less than the midrange level, and people who like strong bass will probably want to look elsewhere. The good news is that the bass doesn't roll off, staying relatively flat to around 30 hz.

    The UE-4000 is very light with spongy plastic earpads and a moderate clamping force. I find it extremely comfortable, especially for an on-ear headphone. The bad news is when wearing it, if I tilt my head forward the headband slides forward, and then if I shake my head slightly, the headphone falls off. C'est la vie. There were different colors available and I bought the purple edition, which looks OK when wearing around - dark enough that it doesn't attract much attention. The headphone cable is a matching purple, is a good 3mm thick, detaches from the left earcup, has an Apple miniplug with the extra connector on both ends, and the end for the music player is right-angled. The headband is 3/4 inch wide, is metal internally, and has a thin pad underneath. If the headband pressure on your head should ever be a problem, just pull one or both earcups down another click and that will take pressure off of the headband and distribute it to the earcups.

    The UE-4000 comes with a carry-bag which offers no protection in luggage or backpacks. Although the UE-4000 looks pretty rugged for the most part, I'd worry about the joints where the earcups connect to the headband. Those joints don't look extremely rugged to me, so a stiff headphone case would be much better. Since the earcups don't rotate, they can't be folded flat, and thus any such headphone carrycase would have to be at least 3 inches thick. Isolation is at least average for a closed on-ear headphone, and leakage is minimal. The UE-4000 should work well in office cubicles, and even in bed next to someone sleeping if the volume is moderate.

    In other reviews I've done I've included the following music examples with comments about how the headphones sound with each track. My suggestion is instead of reading each one as an absolute unto itself, you could compare my notes here to other reviews and see how the UE-4000 compares with each individual track.

    Bauhaus - Bela Lugosi's Dead (~1980): Strong midrange sound effects - this is a good worst-case test for resonant-type sounds in the most sensitive midrange area. Handled very well by the UE-4000.

    Beethoven Symphony 9, Solti/CSO (1972): Very good overall sound. Note how the UE-4000 reproduces the triangles, bells and other background instruments that are often obscured with other headphones that have a more limited high frequency response. Note also the bass impacts beginning around 10:30 of the fourth movement. Those impacts won't overwhelm you since they're soft and well in the background, but you can feel a little bit of the weight they carry.

    Blues Project - Caress Me Baby (1966): Rarely mentioned, but one of the greatest white blues recordings ever. The loud piercing guitar sound at 0:41 into the track is a good test for distortion or other problems. Handled very well by the UE-4000.

    Boz Scaggs - Lowdown (1976): Good sound quality - this is a great test for any nasality in the midrange. Handled very well by the UE-4000.

    Buffalo Springfield - Kind Woman (~1968): A Richie Furay song entirely, rarely mentioned, but one of the best sounding rock ballads ever. This will sound good on most headphones, but it's a special treat with the UE-4000.

    Cat Stevens - Morning Has Broken (early 70's): A near-perfect test for overall sound - this track will separate the best sounding headphones from the lesser quality types. Nothing specific, except that almost any deviation from perfect reproduction will stand out with this track. Sounds very good with the UE-4000.

    Catherine Wheel - Black Metallic (~1991): Goth with industrial overtones - I like this since it's a great music composition and the sound effects are smoothly integrated into the mix. This may sound distorted or mushy with some headphones, but the UE-4000 renders the deliberate instrumental distortions clearly.

    Def Leppard - Bringin' On The Heartbreak (1981): MTV goth/pop/metal at its best - good ambience and high energy - the better headphones will separate the details and make for a good experience. Lesser quality and the details tend to mush together. The UE-4000 plays this very well.

    J.S. Bach - E. Power Biggs Plays Bach in the Thomaskirche (~1970): Recorded on a tracker organ in East Germany, the tracks on this recording have the authentic baroque sound that Bach composed for, albeit the bellows are operated by motor today. The UE-4000 plays the tones seamlessly through the upper limits of the organ, which cover nearly the full range of human hearing. Of special note are the pedal notes - tracker organs have low-pressure pipes and don't typically produce the kind of impact around 30-35 hz that modern organs do. A headphone that's lacking in the low bass will sound especially bass-shy with this type of organ, but the UE-4000 provides a satisfactory experience.

    Jamming With Edward - It Hurts Me Too (1969): Intended originally as a test to fill studio down time and set recording levels etc., this was released a few years later for hardcore Rolling Stones fans. Although not as good technically in every aspect as the Chess studio recordings of 1964, and in spite of the non-serious vocals by Mick Jagger, this rates very high on my list of white blues recordings, and sounds absolutely delicious with the UE-4000.

    Jennifer Warnes - Rock You Gently (1992?): The strong deep bass percussion at the beginning of this track has been cited as a test for weakness or distortion in certain headphones. Having played this track several times now, I'm highly impressed with the UE-4000's bass reproduction and detail throughout the track, and especially the beginning notes which have good impact and a distinctive drum-type sound.

    Jimmy Smith - Basin Street Blues (early 60's): This track has some loud crescendos of brass and other instruments that don't sound clean and musical on some headphones. The UE-4000 provides good reproduction. Listen particularly to the second crescendo at 15 seconds in, for maximum detail effect. I'd like to emphasize that these crescendos are probably the worst-case test I have for instrumental separation and detail, and the UE-4000 plays them well.

    Ladytron - Destroy Everything You Touch (~2009): Featured in The September Issue, this song has heavy overdub and will sound a bit muddy on some headphones. Sounds very good with the UE-4000.

    Milt Jackson/Wes Montgomery - Delilah (Take 3) (1962): The vibraphone is heavily dependent on harmonics to sound right, and the UE-4000 plays it very well.

    Pink Floyd/Dark Side of the Moon - Speak To Me (1973): Strong deep bass impacts will be heard and felt here.

    Rolling Stones - Stray Cat Blues (1968): Dirty, gritty blues that very few white artists could match. On some headphones the vocals and guitar lack the edge and fall more-or-less flat. If you're a really good person, playing this song will probably make you feel nervous and uneasy.

    Tony Bennett - I Left My Heart In San Francisco (1962): Frank Sinatra's favorite singer. Highest recommendation. With some of the best headphones, the sibilants on this recording are very strong, but they're not bad with the UE-4000.
     
  2. dalethorn

    dalethorn Active Member

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  3. dalethorn

    dalethorn Active Member

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    Location:
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    From what I hear, Innerfidelity got 2 sets of the UE-4000 (from where I don't know), and had problems on the left side with both sets. Reduced bass, increased distortion. So I tested mine with deep bass and mono tracks, and listened to each earcup with the left ear (to eliminate any left-right hearing difference). The UE-4000 design allows each earcup to be placed evenly on the left ear, so differences there won't be a factor. My left and right drivers were within one decibel of each other. I don't remember buying any headphones in the past 2 years (about 30 sets total) that had significant differences between the left and right, although there was one brand and model of headphone, very low-priced, that had significant sample-to-sample differences.
     
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