In the past year, Logitech has released what feels like an infinite number of new headphones under the UE brand—named for Ultimate Ears, the company it acquired in 2008. Of all the options we’ve tested thus far, the UE 4000 might be the simplest, best value. At $99.99 (direct), it’s a comfortable, on-ear pair that delivers deep bass without too much boosting, and with no distortion, even at top volumes. Occasionally, things can sound overly bright. But in the $100 realm, there are few truly amazing headphones, and the UE 4000, with its measured frequency response, inline microphone/remote for iOS devices, and detachable cable, is a solid value, and a clear Editors’ Choice for low-cost headphones.
The simple, supra-aural (on-ear) design of the UE 4000 is available in a black-and-white frame, an all black frame, and a purple-and-black model. The earpads are sufficiently cushioned, though the underside of the headband could stand to be a bit more padded. Regardless, after a long listening session, the UE 4000 remains mostly neutral—you won’t be marvelling at how comfortable the fit is, but it won’t cause any real discomfort, either.
An inline microphone and three-button remote for iOS devices is located a few inches below the left earcup along the cable. One added bonus: The audio cable, which is the Logitech UE signature blue, is detachable. This means you can replace the cable, which is the most likely culprit when headphones begin to malfunction, rather than the entire headphone pair—a nice bit of added value.
Call clarity for the UE 4000 is pretty standard—the mic delivers your voice clearly to your call partner, and you should hear your partner clearly as well. But don’t expect high fidelity, as cellular call quality is still pretty weak across the board.
Other accessories included with the UE 4000: a 3.5mm adapter that turns your single headphone jack into two (so you can listen to your phone with your buddy simultaneously), and a zip-up protective carrying pouch.
The Logitech UE 4000 delivers above-average performance for a $100 headphone pair. It doesn’t offer overwhelmingly powerful deep bass performance, but it does provide a good sense of sub-bass frequencies—you hear the thuds and resonance of deep bass content in electronic music, for instance, but the sounds are delivered in a fairly measured manner, rather than an all-out subwoofer-like assault like you might experience with, say, the Monster Beats by Dr. Dre. At top volumes, the UE 4000 does not distort, even on tracks with extremely deep bass content, like the Knife’s “Silent Shout.”
The best quality of the UE 4000′s sound signature, however, is its crisp, clear delivery of hi-mid and high frequencies. This is not a pair that would ever be called muddy—though some listeners might find it on the slightly overly-bright side, depending on your tastes and what content you’re listening to.
On classical tracks, like John Adams’ “The Chairman Dances,” the lows are not under-represented, but the there’s no added resonance or body for the lower register strings. The overall sound is bright and articulate, with a spotlight on higher-register strings and percussion. The big drum hits at the end of the piece can sound thunderous on headphones that boost the sub-bass frequencies more; here they sound pretty natural, with an emphasis more on the attack, in the mid-frequency range, followed by a subtle low-end sustain. In this sense, the UE 4000 is similar to a flat-response reference pair of headphones—not anaemic on the bass front, but certainly not booming.
On Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “No Church in the Wild,” the attack of the kick drum loop is treble-heavy, but still packs a substantial thump, while the sub-bass synth hits beneath the loop are delivered with enough push to feel powerful, but again, nothing approaching subwoofer-like presence. Bass lovers will appreciate the fact that the UE 4000 doesn’t distort on deep bass and does not ignore it—but this is not a booming, bass-heavy pair of headphones.
If you’re looking for more booming bass in this price range, consider the SOL Republic Tracks. Or, if you’re looking to spend even less on an on-ear pair, the Noontec Zoro offers reasonable quality for the price. Spending more will net you far more quality: The Sennheiser HD 558, for instance, is a revelation of clarity and balanced performance, but it’s significantly more expensive. The UE 4000 is a solid, no-frills headphone pair that delivers mids and highs cleanly and avoids overly boosted bass—without avoiding bass altogether for less than $100. For this, it earns our Editors’ Choice award.
More Headphone Reviews:
|Active Noise Cancellation||No|
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc