The Ultimate Ears UE 6000 Review– I purchased the UE 6000 headphone on a whim (getting a pattern here haha oh no) after hearing it first at the Apple store and absolutely creaming my brains with delicious bass. It was the best bass experience I had heard to that date. I already owned a pair of bass cans that were recommended by Tyll over at InnerFidelity but I could not foget the bass coming from the UEs. Seeing a price that was 1/3 the MSRP made me do the jump and I was hooked. After owning these for a year and a bit I would like to post my IRL (In Real Life) impressions and review.
Design– The overall design is very uniquely UE’s- remembering that UE was bought out by the consumer sort of giant Logitech, it was not really surprising that UE came out with a consumer grade headphone after focusing on the professional custom IEM set for years. Its design managed to stay very unique in the sense that it didn’t look like every other headphone, through its use of hard angles and accents of color. There are very clear (IMHO) details inspired by the infamous Beats line but I would say that it still manages to keep a unique profile.I like the blue accent color- its used throughout the UE range and makes a clear branding. Most of the headphone is plastic with faux leather on the headpad and earpads. The logo is the only metal patch. There is a pop out panel for the AAA battery, an on off switch for noise cancelling and a swappable 3.5mm wire. This wire comes with an Apple certified 3 button remote that can play/pause Android phones (doesn’t work on my Android Walkman Z).
Build quality- just ok. Its definitely not going to last for years unprotected in a bag and it likely wouldn’t last several hard drops that might happen in a professional use. However, its still a sturdy design, and I would not call it cheap feeling at all. I just don’t feel that the multi material design would hold as well as a more professional set of cans would hold, like the Sony MDR-7520 or the Beyerdynamic DT-1350, where the metal/plastic build feels like you could punch somebody in the face with the headphones and win a fight (don’t do that). UPDATE Dec 26th, 2015- THESE ARE A PIECE OF JUNK. I don’t understand how these could possibly break from just hanging unused on a headphone stand. I’ve used these maybe less than 30 hours the entire year of 2015, and the power button now does not work reliably. Sometimes it allows sound in passive mode. Sometimes it doesn’t. Same think with active mode. This is really bad quality and I am pretty disappointed in them, particularly from a brand like UE. I suppose this is not surprising, given that other headphones have had build quality issues, including their top of the line universal IEM UE900. Huh. While I sort of thought I would delegate this to be my travel headphone because of its fairly craptacular noise cancellation, I can no longer even do that. I’m not wasting luggage space to something that might not work.
Whats in the box- It comes with the headphone itself, a nice neoprene carrying case that has a pouch for the 3.5mm headphone cable, a headphone splitter to share music with friends and the blue 3 button remote. The package has all the essentials. Oh and some alkaline AAA batteries.
Sound quality– The UE6000 is exactly what I would recommend for the general consumer- its colored and it doesn’t try not to be. Without the active noise cancellation on, it sounds relatively flat and uninspired- I’m not going to say reference flat because I don’t think all the details are there. I have seen more precise reviews like from InnerFideltiy that say they enjoy the flat response here, but I hate it. I didn’t buy the headphone for this mode. Flipping the ANC switch turns on the noise cancelling but also turns on an internal amp/EQing action that boosts the lows and the highs. I don’t find it overwhelming and the mids are not necesssarally drowned out. ITS FUN FUN FUN. Its the kind of bass that is shaking and makes you want to snap your fingers and dance. Its excellent with pop music and hip hop. I don’t use these cans for any other music genre. Its too colored for other music genres especially for vocals. I would say its the funnest sounding headphone of my stable and its the sound most people would enjoy because most people listen to pop/top 40.
Noise cancelling- It features active noise cancelling and I would say this is a feature that you should not buy this headphone for- its simply not that great. It has minor passive noise blocking by being a closed headphone, and the ANC blocks out low frequencies like rumbles/airplane engine/dishwasher sounds. But it is not good at blocking other ambient sounds like conversations. Its not even close to the BOSE QC15 and QC25 ANC technology. I use it because its on for the internal amp, but its not something I would choose because I need to block sound specifically. The headphone works in passive mode without batteries so that is nice. I wish it had a microUSB charging feature though. UPDATE December 26th, 2015- Man I wish I read the headphone measurement charts on InnerFidelity- the noise cancellation is TERRIBLE on the charts and it reflects that compared to other names like the Bose QC25 and Beyerdynamic DT1350 (which I have to add, is only a passive noise isolator). That’s totally ridiculous. They shouldn’t have marketed these as noise cancellation. Seriously. Its probably a 10-20% noise reduction relative to the noise reduction in either the Bose or Beyerdynamic models.
Comfort- These headphones are super super comfortable. The pleather is soft, the headphones clamp just enough to stay on, without feeling like you have a vise on. I have a big head so this is awesome. Its not like the perfectness that my Sony MDR-1R headphones are, but its great overall. I have no problems with comfort. My hair doesn’t snag on anything. They are also fairly inconspicuous so I like that too- in a day and age where I don’t feel I need to assert my self identity anymore through loud colors, this is a nice headphone to have. Minimal branding and minimal style- but stylish and comfortable enough to wear with professional attire and not feel like I have a piece of equipment on my head that is all power and no cool. I’m not sure why I am writing this in the comfort section.
Conclusion– This headphone is awesome- its a can that I would recommend to anyone even at its MSRP. Its fun the listen to and I feel like most consumers would enjoy its sound, its style and its price. I wouldn’t recommend this to audiophiles because its simply not detailed enough. It lacks good ANC as well. But its a great headphone and I would buy it again. Pros- Fun sound overall, build quality is devent, style is great but not gaudy, price is right Cons- ANC is poor, turning off ANC is fairly boring in sound
TLDR; fun colored sound for consumers, good style, ok build quality, crappy noise cancellation