Ultimate Ears SuperFi 5vi Noise Isolating Earphones with Microphone

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5 Responses to “Ultimate Ears SuperFi 5vi Noise Isolating Earphones with Microphone”

  1. A. J. says:
    100 of 105 people found the following review helpful
    3.0 out of 5 stars
    Poor Build Quality, September 1, 2009
    By 
    A. J. (NY, USA) –

    This review is from: Ultimate Ears SuperFi 5vi Noise Isolating Earphones with Microphone (Electronics)

    First let me start with the good by saying that the top firing micro driver in these ear buds are fantastic. As far as sound goes they provide a very lively, rich and balanced sound. I listen to a wide variety of music and they did everything justice…Jazz, Rock, Classical and Electronica all sounded great. They are not reference monitors by any stretch but for casual listening bang for the buck they really deliver. As for comfort I was satisfied with these buds although the foam ear tips don’t last very long. You will find yourself ordering replacements before long.

    The headset function though is where the problems start. First, if you are not using these over the ears there is a tremendous amount of cable noise. If you can get a good fit over the ears this defeats some of the cable noise. The problem is once over the ear the microphone is now not placed optimally for talking. Finally ear canal phones (any I would imagine) produce a weird experience while talking hands free. Hold you ears shut and then talk…you will get an idea of what I am talking about.

    The nail in the coffin though is the build quality. The junction from the cable to the 3.5 mm jack ends up failing after prolonged use. It took mine about eight months. Sadly I have heard other UE owners complain about the same thing with various models. I have owned three pairs of Shure earphones (E3c, E4c and 310s) before these and never had an issue with a frayed cable after years of use. Now I sadly have to deal with Logitech for a warranty repair.

    If you really like the sound of the SuperFi 5’s I would just buy it without the integrated headset feature and save yourself a few bucks. Just be aware of the issues with durability if you plan on using them often.

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  2. Akshay Anikhindi says:
    44 of 45 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Great set of earphones and great customer experience, August 4, 2009
    By 
    Akshay Anikhindi (Gaithersburg, Maryland United States) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

    Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: Ultimate Ears SuperFi 5vi Noise Isolating Earphones with Microphone (Electronics)

    About 6 months ago, I purchased the Ultimate Ears Super.fi 4vi and found them to be great for airplane travel and the morning commute. They block out noise pretty well (considering I’m using them on the loud DC metro) and come with a variety of ear buds in different shapes so that I found a good fit. These fit very snugly into my ear. The only problem I would have with these are the cable noise (when you touch the cable) and the sub-par microphone (I am using it primarily for my iPhone) quality.

    Fast forward to about a month ago – I lost sound in the right side of the headphones. I called UE customer support (really Logitech customer support, since they own UE now) and had them sent in for repair since they were still under warranty. After about a a week or so they told me that they would ship me replacements and would let me know the tracking number for these. A week later and I still didn’t get my replacements or a tracking number. Sounds like a bad customer service experience waiting to happen right?

    So I call up UE again to ask them what’s going on. Apparently they no longer make the 4vis (it’s gone from their product site as well) and thus it is backordered. Without me asking or complaining about this, the customer service rep asked me if I would like to upgrade to the 5vi. Well, hell, of course I would!

    I got my 5vis recently and I have to say that they are a vast improvement on the 4vi. First off, they just look very cool and sleek compared to the 4vi. Next, they can be worn over-the-ear or regularly. Wearing them over-the-ear works very well, and you can still access the mic. Sound quality has improved slightly, the bass is deeper.

    Also, the new “memory foam” ear tips make a HUGE difference. These are what I primarily use now and they should solve any problems people have with the fit of this headset. If you’ve ever used those earplugs you can get at the drugstore, you know the concept of these already… just squeeze them and put them in your ear!

    The cons would still be the cable noise. This has not been fixed. However, I would have to say that the cable itself is greatly improved. I think the problem I had with the 4vi was that the cable was too flimsy and just felt cheap (like $10 headphone cheap). The cable on the 5vi is a vast improvement in quality. It feels sturdier and is less likely to end up in a tangled mess just from sitting in your pocket.

    Overall – a fine product! And more importantly – great customer service.

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  3. Dr. Sam Beckett "Hoping for that last leap home" says:
    31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
    2.0 out of 5 stars
    It WAS the closest thing to the perfect iPhone stereo headset…, September 4, 2009
    Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: Ultimate Ears SuperFi 5vi Noise Isolating Earphones with Microphone (Electronics)

    UPDATE:

    After a few months, I’ve encountered two durability issues. First, the silver finish is flaking off the backs of the earbuds. I do not wear these in extreme conditions (exercising, the pool or beach, etc.), nor do I clean them with harsh chemicals, so there is no excuse for this.

    Second, the eartips do not stay on the earbuds – they will come off IN YOUR EARS when you remove the earbuds. Cleaning the insides of the eartips and the *stems* of the earbuds with rubbing alcohol and Q-tips will work, but only for a little while.

    To add insult to injury, Logitech’s customer service is difficult to contact, slow to act (2 weeks and my replacement set under warranty still has not even shipped), and non-existent when inquiring as to status updates.

    This is in addition to a controller that does not work 100% reliably (sometimes the unit registers one more “click” than what I input), eartips that are less than ideal in comfort (they’re good at first but hurt after a while and lose their “seal”), and sound quality that lacks in clarity.

    I’ve since moved on to the Klipsch S4i and am so far much happier. Whenever I finally get my replacement 5vi’s from Logitech, look for them on sale here.

    Klipsch Image S4i Premium Noise-Isolating Headset with 3-Button Apple Control

    ORIGINAL REVIEW:

    Having recently moved on from iPods to the iPhone 3GS, I needed a new set of earphones, ones with built-in phone and music controls + an in-line mic. Adapters that provide this functionality with standard headphones are too bulky and cumbersome. I also find the
    near-ear-canal design of earphone to be best for my needs. Sadly, quality headphones with full iPhone functionality are still very hard to find, especially in the $100-$200 range (my target). Thus my choices were narrowed down to the Ultimate Ears SuperFi 5vi’s and Etymotic Research hf2; given my past experience with Ety’s (ER6i’s with an older iPod; I quickly returned them for their flimsy construction, difficult and uncomfortable fit, and totally lacking bass), I quickly dismissed the hf2’s. And forget V-Moda, unless you want all of your music and video to sound like James Earl Jones speaking through a wooden box.

    I gambled on the SuperFi 5vi’s as I never used an Ultimate Ears product before. One week on, I’m convinced this is the closest I’m going to get to the perfect iPhone stereo headset. With no EQ, the sound quality is near-perfect: rich and full, fairly even with definite warmth. The bass is there, clean and not overpowering; this mids are very strong; and the highs are clear and present, though I would like a bit more. (The specs show 15kHz as the upper end of the freq. range; I think 16kHz would’ve been perfect.) Though if more bass or treble are needed, these earphones respond to the EQ extremely well. These are also quite LOUD; I’m using 2/3 the volume setting on the iPhone vs. past headphones of this design. The fit, seal, and comfort are all very good with the included silicone tips. (I’ll reiterate what others have said, a proper fit and seal are CRITICAL for good bass response!) My only nit here is my desire for 2 extra pair of eartips in intermediate sizes, but I’m good with what’s included. The construction is solid – all plastic parts are high-quality, the driver units are right-sized and look good, and the cables are stiff and thick. Furthermore, the call/music button is the right size and offers excellent tactile feedback. Finally, the in-line mic is outstanding; none of my callers can even tell I’m on a headset.

    So where’s the 5th star? The cable is one of the reasons for that. It’s about 6″ too long; the Y-split and button are too low; and the split needs an adjustable slider. (Even the free Apple earbuds provide this.) Also, the cable microphonics can be a bit much; a shirt clip would help this somewhat. I recycled the one from my old Sennheiser CX400s and it makes a difference with both the microphonics and the cable slack. Which leads me to my other point: UE really skimped on the included accessories. Besides a shirt clip, I would also like to see some spare eartips and an airline adapter at a minimum. Etymotics offer a lot more here for the same list price. The included carrying case is OK but needs work: (1) the plastic is a little cheap (2) the outside size & shape are too big & bulky for a pants pocket (3) the earphones don’t fit easily inside.

    In all, this is a fantastic set of earphones for the iPhone. In the $100-$200 price range, I feel the only choices for balanced, high-quality sound are these or the Ety hf2s. I’d recommend the latter only for clinical listening; otherwise, for their warm sound, easy and comfortable fit, and flawless iPhone compatibility,…

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  4. Steve says:
    128 of 138 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    My ears say YAY, October 28, 2008
    By 
    Steve (Colorado) –

    This review is from: Ultimate Ears TripleFi 10vi Noise Isolating Earphones w/ Microphone (Personal Computers)

    These Buds come with the full arsenal for a great listening experience. They come with four types of buds, one type a foam kind that fits to your ear perfectly, so they are what I use. And when you put them in, you can’t hear anything outside or around you. Airplanes with crying babies are no match; the buds cancel ambient noise by design.

    The main selling point for me was the iPhone compatibility, with the mic and play button. Works great, and the only complain from a realllly picky perspective would be that the button be right below the mic, instead of on the main chord, as the mic and button are separate on the chord. But it makes no difference.

    Another thing I like is the wire that comes out of the bud end. There is a wire about 2 inches long inside the cord that you can bend so when you put them over your ear they stay in place, which is great when I run and move around. They are large, due to the three drivers in each bud, but are worth it. From low to high frequency, they play music back as accurately as possible.

    I record my music in lossless formats on my computer, so playback comes at CD quality. After a couple weeks of listening, this is what I found: Bass is strong. Now I wouldn’t use these phones for a DJ or anyone whose only concern is bass, but every low chord or beat comes out as if you were right there playing it yourself. But this is what got me. The best sound quality for these speakers comes in the mid-high to high frequencies. It doesn’t matter how high the sound is, be it a trumpet blaring, guitar at high E with cymbal crashes, or a female soprano hitting the highs, the speakers won’t crack or fuzz like cheap headphones, and when comparing them to the generic iPhone ones I regretfully was using before, the difference is extremely pleasant and refreshing. This is quite something, since the first thing I listen to is Bass quality, so for the crisp highs to take away my attention from Bass is saying something.

    One last thing for the listening experience that is a great joy to listen to is their reproduction of the sound itself. Some speakers make you feel like you’re in the studio, others make you feel like you’re listening by the studio, and each headphone is different. This is called sound stage, and the UE’s reproduce it very well. Unamped, they can put you there

    The case is great (practical) and I use it all the time, as well as the extender when I need to. For Audiophiles such as me, pictures and specs are on their website at […]. They show you how to wrap the cord around your ear like i explained earlier, which is nice.

    I have many headphones, including AKG 701’s, Sennheiser HD 650’s, Sony MDR-F1’s, Shure and those V-moda’s, among mannnnyyy others. For an earbud, these rank among the top of the list, and I would reccommend them to anyone.

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  5. Shane O. Laake "camera nerd" says:
    12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Phenomenal sound, but not perfect, December 11, 2009
    By 
    Shane O. Laake “camera nerd” (Columbus, OH) –
    (VINE VOICE)
      
    (REAL NAME)
      

    Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: Ultimate Ears TripleFi 10vi Noise Isolating Earphones w/ Microphone (Personal Computers)

    My quest for the perfect set of headphones had me read endless reviews from consumers, audiophiles, gadget blogs, and anyone else who wanted to weigh in. In short I never found one set of headphones to rule them all. Since I was looking at an investment of several hundred dollars such ambiguity left me a bit unsettled. Sure there were some moments of clarity:

    * multiple drivers had the potential for more accurate reproduction
    * balance armature drivers are among the best for headphones
    * multiple ear cushion options offer the best bet for a good fit

    These factors led me to this set of headphones, and despite quite a few complaints of cord damage being too frequent (sadly it seems many competitors also suffer these issues), I took the plunge. Granted a Gold Box price of $99 made it more of an informed impulse buy.

    When you first get the headphones, you’ll get an immediate satisfaction that you’ve purchased something of supreme quality. Packaging is top notch, the included case is both attractive and functional, and there are numerous accommodations for fit. Once I tried out the headphones I was a bit underwhelmed however. First off getting the right fit was difficult, which was made a bit more awkward due to the fact I’ve never worn earbuds that want to wrap the cable over the ear. After multiple tries, I was able to focus on the music, which also was disappointing. Sure it sounded good, but it wasn’t great. Not having fully addressed the fit, I was losing low end punch to a poor seal, and the mids and highs weren’t much better than $35 headphones. Did I just blow $99? Not at all, as the mids and highs improved with use (I left my iPod running all evening at a moderate volume, and an significant improvement was evident). The lows also improved greatly due to finding a better fit, and now I’m enjoying high fidelity audio wherever I am.

    Overall the sound quality is highly transparent and clean. Things just sound how they should. I can actually hear the difference between 192kps and 320kps MP3s, and I imagine I can finally appreciate lossless files enough to justify their storage demands. In short, you will hear things again for the first time. This is why I give these 5 stars despite some of my issues with fitting and numerous reports of cable failures. Sometimes greatness comes with a price that goes beyond the financial, and if you’re willing to take that on, these may be the headphones for you.

    Other observations:

    * cable length is just about perfect for personal use
    * not only do you get four types of silicone cushions and foam ones, you get a second set of foam ones
    * replacement cushions seem readily available
    * while I love my headphones, if someone offered me $300 for them, I’d probably go for it

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