Sick Drummer Magazine

Mike Heller Reviews Ultimate Ears – UE 900 In-Ears
Friday, 31 July 2015 14:28

Ultimate Ears – UE 900s Review

By Mike Heller - Fear Factory / Malignancy

So let me start this review by saying that my left ear has a bit of an odd shape to it.  I have a problem with normal ear-buds or earplugs slipping out of that ear, let alone in-ear monitors.  This is why I always ended up either using big isolation headphones, or custom molded in-ear monitors for live performances with Fear Factory, where I am playing live to a click track. 

Thankfully Ultimate Ears has come up with an affordable solution for me that fits perfectly and sounds absolutely fantastic!  Upon opening the box for the UE 900s, apart from the in-ears themselves, and the cable that attaches to any 8th inch sound source (IPOD, MIXER, ETC), I noticed an extraordinary amount of ear tips designed for you to find the proper fit.  This proved to be invaluable as I was able to try out many different tips until I found one that fit flawlessly in my right ear, and a different one that fit flawlessly in my left.   

Also inside the package I found a small carrying case for the in-ears, and a spare connecting cable in a little pouch so that you can keep it handy just in case.   I really like the carrying case because it’s very small, (it takes up just as much space in my pocket as my cell phone for example), and will definitely protect the in-ears from any travel damage. 

Before I get to the actual sound of the UE-900s, I have to address the isolation that the they provide.  Sound isolation is incredibly important because as a drummer, I have an impossibly loud instrument directly in front of me that can damage hearing all on it’s own, and with Fear Factory, I have to play with a click track.  I keep the click loud in my mix, but I don’t want it to be anywhere near loud enough to potentially damage my hearing.  The sound isolation provided by the UE-900s is absolutely perfect for me. They offer a perfect balance, which for me means that I can crack a rimshot as hard as I possibly can, and it won’t bother me in the slightest, but I can also hear the subtlest of ghost notes.  I don’t have to crank up the audio very loud to hear it over my drums.

The Sound: Just plugging the UE-900s into my phone to check out some music gives me the most crystal clear audio I have ever experienced from any in-ear monitors I’ve ever tried.  I was able to hear things that I have never heard before in music I have listened to countless times.  I was even able to hear my breath in the overhead mics between songs on a demo I recorded for the upcoming Malignancy album.  I’m even more impressed with the fact that I could hear all of that, but not the screaming baby behind me on our flight from LA to Australia for the Soundwave Festivals.

That brings me to the heart of my review, trial by fire!  I only had one rehearsal back in LA with the UE-900s, and everything went better than expected.  The sound quality is way better than the custom molded in-ears I was using previously; so most of the adjustments I had to make were to the volume and EQ settings for my mixer.  To start with, I was able to lower the volume noticeably because the clarity provided by the UE-900s greatly surpassed what I was using before.  I also needed to flatten out my EQs because these in-ears have a much greater ability to handle low end than the previous ones, so I no longer needed to boost or cut anything.  At the festivals, this proved to be a great help because the stages were quite noisy, and without having a sound check to actually dial in my settings, I just had to wing it, and hope whatever settings I made previously would cut it.  TSA on flights has been known to touch every knob on my mixer, so I was worried about that when we got on stage, but luckily all I had to do was lower the overall volume in the first two seconds when the click starts, and I was good to go. 

The reason why I used the cliché of “trial by fire” is because it literally felt like it…  The first show of the Soundwave festivals was about 115 degrees on stage, and we were playing in direct sunlight.  In fact, the computer that runs the clicks and backing tracks overheated at about 40 minutes into our hour-long set.  Luckily we have an iPad backup of the tracks, so we just plugged it in and just went from there.  I was worried that sweating profusely in that heat was going to cause me some sort of problem with the in-ears, but they stayed in place perfectly and provided the same crystal clear sound I enjoyed at rehearsal. 

We also played two Sidewave shows, where we were playing smaller indoor venues, and we were headlining with Exodus and Terror Universal opening up.  The venue stages were even louder than the Soundwave stages, so I had to raise the volume on my mixer a little bit to compensate.   At one of the shows we decided to make a change to the set list last minute, which meant that we were now going to play a song that I haven’t thought about for at least two years.  Luckily all I had to do was take my UE-900s, find a place to sit in this incredibly loud venue, and air drum to the song on my IPod a few times before I felt confident playing it live.  That show, and the rest of the festival shows went off without a hitch. 

The UE-900s performed beautifully, and I never had to do anything but slightly adjust my volume for the various stages and locations.  I couldn’t be happier with the way they performed, and I would recommend them to anyone who needs a great fitting, and seriously awesome sounding set of in-ears, without spending a fortune.  I can’t find any negatives at all to gripe about with these in-ears, and they perform better than any of the custom molded in-ears I’ve ever had, even at a fraction of the cost.   Well done Ultimate Ears!

Sound Quality – 10/10

Comfort – 10/10




0 # AntonyMrTD 2017-01-23 12:32
Actually i looking for some sollutions to stop snoring mouthpiece reviews
0 # AntonyMrTD 2017-02-08 03:42
Actually i looking for some sollutions to cure sleep apnea
0 # Logannic 2017-02-12 17:37
Pożyczka hipoteczna w szczegółach od strony prawnej to niezmiernie interesujący temat. Kredyt na hipoteke był osiągalny na naszym własnym rynku ofert bankowych od wielu już lat. Natomiast tego gatunku twór finansowy jest względnie nowatorskim „pomysłem” w naszym kraju. Czymże odróżnia się od prostego kredytu? Kto jest w stanie się starać o jego uzyskanie? Jakie to warunki przychodzi osiągnąć, by pieniążki pojawiły się na naszym rachunku bankowym? Na te i jeszcze inne zapytania odpowiedź odnajdziesz w niniejszym wpisie. pożyczka prywatna

Add comment

Security code

Please update your Flash Player to view content.

Member Login

Who's Online

We have 197 guests online