Review: Ultimate Ears 3 Studio™ Earphones

by James Bain Jun 30, 2006

From the outset, Ultimate Ears’ 3 Studio™ earphones are impressive. It’s hard to believe that these are $99 earphones. Their sound is exquisite, clean and well spread-out. And expect the usual in-ear phone epiphany of hearing things in your music you never knew were there before. I listened to an audio lecture with these and could pick out the instructor shuffling his papers and knocking the microphone stand. Couldn’t hear any of that when I used the Apple ear buds. Not necessarily a selling point perhaps, but it should give you an idea of how well the 3 Studios perform.

I found the included earpieces fit well and comfortably, though not particularly deeply into my ear canals. Depth of fit is generally a sign of how well a set of in-ear phones blocks noise. What these have that compensate for a shallow fit is a really neat pair of bendable wires, “pro-style ear loops” they call them, built onto each earpiece. You can form these to closely fit each phone to your ears, and as a result they stay in place well and snuggly, despite their relaxed ear-fit. If you’ve tried other in-ear phones and found their fit and sizing difficult or painful, you’ll find these a welcome surprise.

Included are three sizes of rubber earpieces and one pair of semi-disposable foam ear sleeves. Try the foam ones first, to get an idea of what good noise exclusion should sound like, then try to get your best fit with the choice of rubber sleeves provided. You might find yourself having to mix sizes. I had a heck of a time until I tried a medium sleeve in one ear and a large in the other.

The very good hard case that comes with them is a plus too. It doesn’t cost a whole lot to include a nice case, a nice STURDY case, to protect your in-ear phone investment, but not everyone does. In the game of balancing quality against price, UE went the extra yard here and it’s appreciated.

At $99, they won’t break the bank and, if you’re used to listening to your iPod with nothing else than the included Apple’s ear buds or comparable low-end earphones, you’ll definitely enjoy a great audio boost with these!


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