In my Ultimate Ears 600 review last week, I mentioned—entirely as a facetious, throwaway comment—something about having “a 10″ subwoofer surgically mounted in the back of your head.” For those of you who felt left out on that front, fear not, because Ultimate Ears have a solution. It’s called the 350, and these headphones could well be the closest you can get to the in-skull nightclub experience. Trading a minute amount of clarity for low-end volume, the 350s are definitely the ultimate $50 basshead’s treat.
Much simpler and more compact than its higher-end counterparts, the 350s don’t exude the sense of class or sophistication that the 600 enjoys, yet the highly-rubberized enclosures don’t feel any less well-built. The black rubber housings are much more discreet and understated, a departure from the 350s’ flashy “liquid silver” relatives. The cord is an improvement over the 500 and the 600; it’s thicker than the 600’s but doesn’t transmit nearly as much movement noise, and unlike the 500’s flat cord, it doesn’t feel overly vulnerable to folding. The 3.5mm connector is angled to reduce stress. All in all, the 350s are about as solidly built as you could ask for.
In terms of sound, the 350s are outstanding. Ultimate Ears’ engineers have tuned the 6.8mm drivers (larger, in fact, than those of the more expensive 500) for extra bass response, and it shows. Not only is the range excellent—crisp and clear down all the way to 30Hz—but the volume never drops off and distortion is never a problem. I thought it to be a bit cheesy and cliché when the UE site talked about the 350s’ “deep, thumpin’ beats that make you feel like you’re in the middle of the club,” but that’s about as accurate a description as you can get. In addition, the powerful lows don’t intrude into the rest of the spectrum, so the smooth mids and treble remain distinct. That means that, in more melodic music, the bass doesn’t overpower what you want to hear, so the 350s aren’t constrained to a single genre of music. While not quite as clear or defined as the more neutral 500s or the balanced-armature 600s, the 350s’ midrange and treble are still very impressive and offer plenty of volume. Vocals are articulate and instruments are easy to pick apart. Being in-ear headphones, they do offer some ambient noise-cancelling, but it’s noticeably less than that of either the 500 or 600. That could, however, come down to the type of ear tips that Ultimate Ears supplies.
Included with the 350s are five sets of silicone ear tips, but this time Ultimate Ears has not bundled any Comply tips, which is a shame. The silicone tips works fine, but after two weeks spoiled by Comply ear tips, going back to silicone was a bit annoying. Comply ear tips can be purchased separately, but they’re not cheap (3 sets are $20). Also included is a hard plastic carrying case, identical to the one that comes with the 500.
I definitely enjoy listening to the 350s. Their sound is very impressive and exciting, and they’re built solidly enough to stand up to anyone’s daily abuse. For day-to-day use, the 350s are excellent if you want to take a bit of the dance floor with you. At $50, you really can’t go wrong.
- Sensitivity: 105 dB/mW (1 kHz)
- Frequency response: 20 Hz–20 kHz
- Impedance: 16 ohms, 1 kHz
- Noise isolation: 22 dB
- Connector: 1/8 inch (3.5 mm)