For the longest time, I have explained Ultrasone headphones as love-or-hate options. Depending on the model, you could easily hear two wildly different sounds. Even the quality of the headphones might differ wildly, from a budget model to a premium limited edition. In the latter regard, the new Ultrasone Jubilee 25 Edition feels like no slouch. And at $5999, you wouldn’t expect it to. But just what kind of sound can you expect from a headphone of this caliber?
Ultrasone Jubilee 25 Edition Review: Intoxicating Intimacy
The Jubilee 25 Edition comes with a 3 m (10 ft) removable cable terminating in a 3.5 mm plug. A screw-on adapter comes included, allowing the Jubilee to be plugged into a 1/4” jack.
On the downside, the case looks a bit cheap and paltry. Opening it up, the inside cut-out material is nothing more than chinty foam. Ouch.
However, this headphone still looks great, and even the cheap case can’t take away from the Jubilee 25’s stylish appearance.
Featuring a bespoke build, this headphone uses wood on the cups, with steel extensions and reinforcements in the headband. Real leather delivers a comfortable headband and earcups. And, once the music starts, you’ll be hard-pressed to hear much of anything outside those comfy earcups.
Internally, the Jubilee 25 uses 40 mm dynamic drivers to deliver an impressively detailed sound. Furthermore, the headphone features a fairly low nominal impedance. For my review, I tried the Jubilee 25 with my basic work PC, as well as the new AK KANN Cube.
And, even though the KANN Cube was a bit overkill in terms of required power, this headphone still benefits from that amazing DAC.
Solid low end with deep bass. Emphasized to the brink of sensibility, the Jubilee just prevents its low end from being swallowed by that bass response. There’s still some good detail here, though, and an excellent sense of control prevents the bass from bleeding into surrounding notes. Rock and hip-hop and electronica all shine here, with the extra bit of weight giving beats a sense of gravity that you can feel in your aortic valves.
Clean and accurate if a little forward, the mids give the impression of a w-shaped sound. This consistently results in a more intimate sound that behooves any vocal-heavy content. Blasting Third Eye Blind’s new Ways, Stephen Jenkins sounds like he’s crooning just a few feet away. But complimenting that intimacy, the Jubilee also delivers spacious and light instrumentation. So, further away from Stevie, a crawling, sludgy bass and roars in and out of earshot, while a piano and tambourine jostle for attention hard by.
At first listen, the Ultrasone Jubilee appears the slightest bit sibilant. But after just an hour of listening, the edge falls off the high end, leading to a smoother, more agreeable sound. Not bright, or peaky, or harsh, the highs still sport a slight sparkle. Strings and female vocals particularly benefit from this profile. However, these highs easily compliment the Jubilee’s rich low end, resulting in an impressive sound that seems as emotive as it is detailed.
At once intimate and spacious, the Jubilee offers a rich and rewarding listening experience. The closed back design keeps vocals close and emotive. However, instrumentation feels a bit more airy, delivering a sense of space that compliments any genre. While more spacious and lifelike than an IEM, it’s also tighter and more enveloping than an open-back headphone. The resultant sound makes for a unique listening experience you can’t get with another headphone.
At first glance, I found it hard to give the Ultrasone Jubilee much credit. For one thing, the looks and styling of the Ultrasone Jubilee aren’t really my cup of tea. While I admit that most folks will enjoy the look, its a personal stumbling block. But I’ve also heard plenty of great-sounding headphones with questionable looks. And this is key to understanding and appreciating the Ultrasone Jubilee. If, like me, you don’t like the look, you should still give it a listen. Everything good and right about this headphone – everything that merits that crazy expensive price tag – is lurking in the sound.
And, by the way, if you listen to this headphone for more than a few minutes, you will listen to it for hours. Even as I near the conclusion of this review, I find it hard to tear myself away. For classic fans out there, the new Ludovico Einaudi compilation of his Seven Days Walking project sounds ABSOLUTELY BREATHTAKING on the Jubilee.
Pros and Cons
Pros: This headphone delivers a unique listening experience that blows other closed-back headphones out of the water. The rich, intimate sound will not disappoint, regardless of your most esoteric listening tastes. Furthermore, the excellent build quality leaves nothing to be desired.
Cons: Unfortunately, for a $6000 headphone, the case is cheap dreck, and should be thrown out immediately upon buying this headphone. And that’s assuming you could afford it, because the price is the only other con. At $6000, this premium headphone definitely costs a pretty penny.
Cost and cheap case aside, the Ultrasone Jubilee 25 Edition looks great, feels great, and sounds divine. If there’s a better closed-back headphone out there, I haven’t heard it yet. But what really sets this headphone apart – other than it’s breathtaking attention to detail – is the sense of intimacy that accompanies it. Sure, you can get top-tier closed-back headphones for half as much. But you’ll never experience or feel your music quite like you will with the Jubilee’s close but lifelike character.
Get one for the best price (while they last) here:
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