Next, I used a FIIO portable audio player that supports high-resolution playback.「M11S」($500, around 60,000 yen in Japan) (you can probably tell it’s a Zune with much improved sound quality).
I remember gasping when I first heard Prince’s “Purple Rain” on this player, which outputs at 24bit/192kHz. I felt as if new life had been breathed into the sound. In this way, the M11S instantly became my right-hand man, but now I would like to take it one step further.
When I play music at home, I use a Marantz model used by audio enthusiasts.「SACD 30n」($3,000, 327,800 yen in Japan) to play the song. SACD 30n has a 24bit/384kHz output. When I listened to the sound source with the M11S, SACD 30n, and UE PREMIER combined, I was captivated by the wonderful profound feeling, extremely high reproducibility, and sound pressure.
A unique music experience
It’s been over a month since I played music using only UE PREMIER. I may not have spent as much time listening to music as I did while testing these in-ear monitors. I can’t listen to music without it. When I put these in-ear monitors on my ears, I find myself thinking, “I wonder what this album will sound like!”
There are only a few shortcomings with these earphones. The first thing to mention is the price. No average listener can afford the $3,000 price tag. However, for audio enthusiasts and people who make music their living, it’s not that expensive. There are flagship models of in-ear monitors that are more expensive than these, and regardless of your personal preference, it would be difficult to find an in-ear monitor at this price that offers such good sound quality.
The second drawback is that the Ultimate Ears Professional doesn’t have a Bluetooth option that matches the sound quality of the UE PREMIER. Ultimate Ears Professional now offersBluetooth cable sold separately($100, approximately 15,000 yen) version is Bluetooth 4.1 and does not support lossless transmission. That said, the sound quality from these in-ear monitors is excellent, better than any other Bluetooth earphone I’ve used.
Nor can you fault Ultimate Ears Professional in this regard. That’s because a Bluetooth cable is just an accessory, and most in-ear monitors don’t offer a Bluetooth option. (Ultimate Ears Professional says the company is developing new Bluetooth accessories that will be available in the coming months.) (I will update the article regarding Bluetooth performance after testing it once).