What better way to wake up on a Saturday morning than to a phone call from the mail carrier asking you to get out of bed, put on your contacts, and try your best to look like you’ve been awake for hours so that you can go downstairs and sign for a package? Fortunately for my mood, inside the box were the Ultimate Ears triple.fi 10 Pro earphones I ordered last week.
They’ve been available for about two years now, but you’d never know it from the price: they still carry an MSRP of $400. I guess canalphones aren’t really subject to the same kind of time-driven price cuts as DAPs, computers, and other gadgets. I don’t keep a finger on the pulse of the headphone world, so I wouldn’t know.
I’m not an audiophile either, so what follows isn’t a review of the triple.fi 10s. It’s just a quick look put together out of excitement more than anything else. I’ve been using the UE super.fi 5 Pro for just under a year and have been contemplating an upgrade for nearly as long, so it’s been a long-time coming for me.
Before I get into the photos, here’s how Ultimate Ears themselves describe the 10 Pro:
The closest experience to custom personal monitors available.
The triple.fi 10 Pro is the sonic equivalent of sitting in the world’s best recording studios. Imagine your favorite artists performing a private concert just for you.
The triple.fi 10 Pro has the same sonic signature as our custom personal monitors. It is the perfect backup set for touring musicians or for consumers who demand the best-of-the-best.
They’re called the triple.fi (and not the double.fi or single.fi) because they have "three individual speakers and an integrated passive crossover circuit board that directs the low-end frequencies to a dedicated speaker for bass, the mid-range frequencies to a speaker for the vocals and the high frequencies to a speaker dedicated for treble."
Now on to something that makes sense to everyone: pictures!
For obvious reasons, the blue and silver color scheme of the box had a positive first impression on me. There’s a lot of stuff inside it too.
In addition to the triple.fi 10 Pro, the box contains a metal case, extension cable, 1/4-inch adapter, cleaning tool, two pairs of Comply foam tips, three pairs of silicone tips (different sizes), and a sound-level attenuator. Now you know why many people consider stock buds that ship with DAPs to be so disposable.
The triple.fi 10 Pro looks similar to the super.fi 5 Pro, but it sounds very different even to untrained ears like mine. Comparing the two, I’d say that the triple.fi sounds cleaner and more balanced. The super.fi is punchier and more bass heavy; sometimes it actually sounds like a loud mess (!). This makes sense given that the super.fi has only two speakers (one for the lows and one for the mids and highs to share) but it wasn’t something I could detect before getting the triple.fi.
Which pair would suit you better largely depends on the kind of music you listen to. I like acoustic, piano-based stuff and want to hear the vocals more than anything else, so the triple.fi works out nicely for me.
Another thing I like about the triple.fi is the cable/wire/cord. It’s less rigid than the super.fi’s one, which I’ve been complaining about in the Pocketables Forum, so it stays straight. In the photo above, the silver wire is the super.fi 5 Pro after I’ve tried to straighten it. A wavy cable may seem like no big deal, but it’s really annoying to have something constantly curled on your cheek, under your chin, or on your neck. The triple.fi wire stays flat and hangs straight down when in use. Yay!
Needless to say, I’m really happy with my purchase.