Fresh off of the hype train and fresh onto my review desk, the Ultrasone Edition 15 is begging for a review. But with all the recent buzz being generated about this $2999 headphone, does it have the sound to match the fury?
Boxed in a super-deluxe leather James-Bond-style case, the Ultrasone Edition 15 is a humongous departure from their more consumer-oriented offerings. This is a new, svelte Ultrasone, aimed purely at audiophiles.
The earcups sport wood veneer and stainless steel grills, with a deep pleather-padded headband rounding out the package. The earpads are a soft, snuggly velour -perfect for longer listening sessions when you want to forget you’re even wearing headphones.
Accompanied by one 4 ft (1.2 m) and one 10 ft (3 m) cable, as well as a 3.5mm to 1/4” stereo adapter plug, and a cleaning cloth (as well as that dope leather case), the Ultrasone Edition 15 comes with a decent share of accessories.
Both cables feature 3.5mm plugs and LEMO-push-pull-connections. These headphones also come with a 5 Year Warranty.
Frequency Range: 5 – 48.000 Hz
Nominal Impedance: 40 ohms
Sound Pressure Level (SPL): 94 dB
As we can see from the specs, the frequency range sports some width, which should translate to greater detail, especially in the lows and highs. A respectable 40-ohm impedance means this headphone could potentially work with a low-output device like a smartphone or laptop but would also benefit from some amplification.
Finally, that 94-decibel Sound Pressure Level translates to adequate volume under most circumstances, though amplification would definitely help here as well.
Where the low end is concerned, the Version 15 remains highly detailed. Nuances land with plenty of gusto, complimented by a lively, vibrant bass you can feel in your soul. All in all, this is one amazing low end.
In the midrange, the sound quality waxes downright fantastic. Excellent fidelity compliments an already-overflowing frequency range, and vocals appear at once lifelike and otherworldly. I love love LOVE these mids for hip hop – you can practically hear the saliva that accompanies certain artists’ diction. Simply put, the mids are saturated with detail and resolve EVERYTHING they touch.
The Version 15 sports an interesting high end, and if this headphone has one facet that may divide critics, it will be this part of the frequency range. With plenty of detail and a rich, contrasting sound, the high end definitely delivers audiophile sound. However, it avoids ever sounding too bright by sometimes sounding just the least bit smooth. That smoothness easily takes the edge off of the highest highs, but may just barely miss some finer nuances.
Strong placement and good depth furnish a decent sense of soundstage. The wealth of detail on the sound here virtually DEMANDS a high res source – enough so that I was ready to permanently can my few 320kbs mp3 tracks so I’d never make that mistake again.
Comfortable and gifted with a relatively low frequency range, the Version 15 could be considered a fairly portable headphone. Not only does it sound surprisingly good without an amp, but it’s light enough to tote around when you want to do some audio evangelizing.
TONS OF DETAIL. I can’t stress this enough! The sheer amount of resolution and clarity that comes with the Version 15 is staggering. You love vocal-heavy music? This is the headphone you need to own.
For those seeking an ultra-high-end listening experience, there are other options that could surmount the Ultrasone Edition 15. However, most contenders (like the Final Audio D8000 or the Audeze LCD-4) would cost considerably more.
Now, if you want all that detail and some more bass to boot, maybe you could opt for the more expensive models – particularly the LCD-4.
For those seeking a similar range of detail, and don’t mind paying more for their ‘phones, the D8000 might be decent alternative.
However, for sheer detail at the $3000 price point, the Ultrasone Edition 15 is taking all comers.
Designed with style and flair, the $2999 Ultrasone is one swanky headphone. But the sound is more than worth the price, with raw detail shining through at any frequency, providing a truly mesmerizing listening experience.
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