Ultimate Ears 350: First Impressions
Ok, so Best Buy officially has the new UE 350 and 500 in stock, two pairs I've been wanting to try out since their announcement back in September. I picked up the 350 today and here is my first impressions, after use for a few minutes (in other words, with zero burn-in time):
They really surprised me. I was expecting, for $50, a bloated, overwhelming bass, as they are advertised on the box as being "tuned with extra bass for deep, thumpin' beats." The bass is definitely prominent, but their sound signature upon first listen is less "warm" (sorry, I know some people hate that word, but it fits here I think) than the Klipsch S4. As far as clarity goes, I will say that despite the very prominent bassy signature, it does not drown out the rest of the spectrum (at least as far as my ears are concerned), and they have pleasingly smooth mids thus far--one of the highlights of the S4. I cannot get into any details here as I am no expert on this. Using the extra small silicone tips, I had no trouble whatsoever getting a comfortable fit, and they are small and lightweight. Overall, these $50 IEM's are a considerable bargain: sound quality upon first listen is very good to my ears. Soundstage is noticeably bigger than I expected (again, similar to that of the S4). As far as detail, instrument separation, etc., I think it is too early to make a judgement as I want to burn them in for some time to see how they sound a couple of weeks from now. I can say this confidently though: these are one of the best $50 IEMs I've yet heard, and I think I may have found a replacement for my S4, temporarily. In all likelihood, the 350's will not be as detailed as the S4 (for this price range), and probably not as detailed as the 500's above them which I have yet to try out. But anybody looking for a new pair of IEMs, go to Best Buy and pick these up if you are looking for a good upgrade from the stock earbuds, these will not disappoint for this price range.
Also, the Klipsch S3, also $50, are coming out next month, so I am looking forward to some serious comparative reviews.