Ultimate Ears Triple.fi 10 vi review

Patrick Nosker December 20, 2008 0

When I first put the Triple.fi 10 vi's in my ear and listened I felt that there must have been a mistake.  The bass was muddy and the treble was lacking.  I swapped on the foam earbuds and that helped a little bit but not enough.  They didn't even sound close to the Super.fi 5s I had recently listened to.  Needless to say I was very disappointed.  Maybe they needed to be broken in I thought, but other UE products I have reviewed didn't need to be.



I hooked up the Triple.fis up to my amp cMoyBB amp (review coming very soon!) and let them play music for 20 hours or so and then put them back in.  After this, things were completely different.  One of my standard test tracks is "Dani California" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers.  Two things I look for in this song are around 0:45 there is this guitar riff that is very easily missed with mediocre speakers and headphones.  Usually the riff is drowned out by the harmony.  As with all of the in-ear monitors I've reviewed here, I could pick that part out.  So it passed one test for decent IEM capabilities.  If it passes this bar (which the Apple IEMs don't, for instance), I listen carefully at 2:20 listening for a similar background riff.  I have never heard this more clearly than with the TF 10 vis.  Playing Antonio Vivaldi's Four Seasons showed me the treble range.  One flaw that many earphones have, though minor, but including even the UE Super.fi 4 vi's, is that when both bass and treble are playing simultaneously– such as when both a bass guitar and a splash cymbal are playing, the bass can greatly drown out the treble.  Because of the TF 10 vi's (and pro's) 3 driver system, this doesn't happen at all.



So the Triple.fi 10's are great… what's the catch?  Well for one, they are expensive.  With a street price of >$330, these are more than likely more than your MP3 player cost.  But what do you get for that money?  The same driver system used in their custom lineup used by industry professionals and musicians.  The accurate response and soundstage, which is almost unbelievable, are what cost so much.  Other downsides: they look ridiculous in your ears and take up an enormous amount of space; they don't sound $200 better than the Super.fi 5 IEM's, and take a long time to figure out the best way to get them to fit properly in your ears.

The odd fit is mitigated by the fact that the cable is semi-rigid and will stay the way it's bent near the ear.  This makes it very easy to wrap around the ear pointing up.  This is how I feel they fit the best, but YMMV.  Also, the cable is actually the right length to do that, unlike the SF 5vi's since the microphone is actually near your mouth now.  Also, the cable is replaceable.  This means that if the connector that goes to your iPhone or whichever device you own starts bending and eventually breaks (the most common failure of headphones that I have seen) you can just order a replacement set and not lose the majority of the $330 investment that you made.

Should you get these very expensive IEM's?  That's really something only your budget can decide.  The sound quality is impeccable.  If you absolutely want the BEST in sound, from non-custom UltimateEars, get these.  In fact only one other set of universal IEM's even gets close, and that's a $500 set of Shure earbuds.  These are a much better value.  If you don't need the absolute best, get the Super.fi 5 earbuds and save yourself over half the money for only a little compromise.  They look more normal too.  These are for the person who must have the best, but not the person who wants the best value.

Triple.fi 10 vi – 9.0/10

[Ultimate Ears Triple.fi 10 vi] – $419.99 / $337.97 street

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