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Logitech UE 9000 review

Andrew Williams

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Logitech UE 9000
  • Logitech UE 9000
  • Logitech UE 9000
  • Logitech UE 9000
  • Logitech UE 9000
  • Logitech UE 9000
  • Logitech UE 9000
  • Logitech UE 9000
  • Logitech UE 9000
  • Logitech UE 9000
  • Logitech UE 9000
  • Logitech UE 9000
  • Logitech UE 9000
  • Logitech UE 9000
  • Logitech UE 9000
  • Logitech UE 9000

Summary

Our Score:

8

Pros

  • Utterly fantastic sub bass with amp engaged
  • Fun, clear sound
  • Immensely feature-rich
  • Good sound isolation

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Boosted sub-bass not for audio purists
  • Noise cancellation is mediocre

Key Features

  • Bluetooth with apt-X
  • Active noise cancellation
  • Integrated amplifier
  • Removable optional cable
  • On-headphone media controls
  • Manufacturer: Logitech
  • Review Price: £299.99

Introduction

The basic premise behind wireless headphones is great – no wires, no cable noise and no real ties to your music player beyond the range of whatever wireless standard your headphones happen to use. The reality, however, is often quite different. TheLogitech UE 9000 headphones side-step most of the sound quality and reliability issues thrown up by cheaper wireless headphones, however their £300 price means only those who desperately want wireless need apply.

Logitech UE 9000 – Design

In terms of design the Logitech UE 9000 are presented as full-size, over-ear headphones. From a quick glance, you might assume they’re nothing more than that, however they actually pack-in far more features than almost any other set of headphones we’ve tested in the last year.

Not only are they relatively high-end headphones, they also offer wireless audio over Bluetooth, the apt-x codec for higher-quality streaming, internal microphones for hands-free phone calls and – just for good measure – active noise cancellation. To be perfectly frank they're ridiculously feature-packed, which goes some way to explaining why they cost £300.

Ultimate Ears – which is what the 'UE' part of the Logitech UE 9000 denotes – has traditionally stood for sound quality above all else, but these latest headphones in the range also give a nod to style. The Logitech UE 9000 have a retro-tinged angular look that see-saws between an 80s and 90s flavour. The styling is undoubtedly an acquired taste and we have to admit that at first we were totally unconvinced by the look of them. This initial impression did soften, however, as we spent more time with them.

The bold styling is an important part of the Logitech UE 9000 modus operandi. These are headphones that want to be worn out on the street – those angular lines positively stick two fingers up at the Beats headphones that proliferate on the nation's high streets.

The Logitech UE 9000 hardware design is completely geared towards outdoors use too, and not just in the inclusion of flexible Bluetooth wireless.

These are fairly heavy headphones, thanks to their need to include more circuitry than the average set of cans, along with a hefty battery to supply the 10-hour wireless stamina. To compensate for this the Logitech UE 9000 take a few measures to make sure they stay glued to your head.

The headband grips your head with a decent force, and the headband padding is topped with a rubberised material rather than fabric or protein leather. This offers much higher friction, keeping the cans stuck to your noggin even if you want to go for a run. This type of material is also used in the Monster Beats Solo HD, for more-or-less the same purpose.

A tight fit and a relatively thin rubber-topped headband don’t exactly make for a luxurious fit, however the UE 9000's certainly aren’t uncomfortable, thanks to the good synthetic leather pads. They’re thick, and judge their level of softness well to balance comfort and noise isolation.

Logitech UE 9000 – Features

Isolation is one of the most important components of a portable headphone, and here the Logitech UE 9000 really shine. Although they offer active noise cancellation when “turned on”, isolation remains excellent without this feature being turned on. Logitech may claim that it wanted to make the most flexible headphones possible, but it does make us wonder why the UE 9000 really need active cancellation technology, especially given how much it adds to the overall cost.

You see, here’s the rub – the active noise cancellation isn’t particularly good. Indeed the natural isolation is so good in the first place, that the active element only serves to highlight the slight hiss it adds to the sound bed. It isn’t noticeable while you’re listening to anything but the quietest music, but does suggest that Logitech didn’t invest too much development dollar into this part of the equation. The active noise cancellation removes some low-end and mid-range hum, but overall it feels like a bit of an afterthought.

Looking at the Logitech UE 9000 less critically, though, they offer the full package in terms of noise blocking when cancellation is activated. The cancellation zaps lower-end hums, and the isolation smothers higher-end noise that active noise cancellation isn’t so good at wiping away.

Features such as noise cancellation can largely be controlled from the headphones themselves. On the right cup you’ll find a power switch, which activates the noise cancelling and Bluetooth, along with a trio of buttons handling volume and track control when using Bluetooth. To complete the package for cancellation and calls, there are microphones on the bottom edge of each ear cup.

However, if you get fed up of the annoyances of Bluetooth, you can wire up and use the Logitech UE 9000 with regular headphone cables. On the bottom of the right-side cup is a 3.5mm jack port to let you connect to your music player in the old-fashioned way. A cable is duly supplied in the box, and this even features a three-button remote housing so that you never have to take your music player out of your pocket (assuming it’s an Apple device – these headphones are designed primarily for the Apple brigade).

Logitech UE 9000 – Sound Quality

The Logitech UE 9000 use 40mm dynamic drivers, the standard type for headphones of this size. To begin with, we found these headphones a little underwhelming for the price. They sound good, and balance the priorities of sounding fun (important for portable street headphones) and sounding balanced (important for all headphones) well. However, they’re not the most refined cans we've ever wrapped around our ears.

It comes back once again to a question of adding features, and how that can completely skew the notion of the sort of sound you’re getting for your money. Put them on and press play and they sound more like a great pair of £150 headphones, however we'd expect a bit more for headphones costing twice that amount.

However, the Logitech UE 9000 do have an ace hidden away under an earcup. It’s a feature that Logitech doesn’t shout too loudly about, but it’s probably our favourite techy extra of the lot.

The feature in question is an internal amplifier – something that you’ll hardly find in any headphones, let alone ones from a big manufacturer. Some are sceptical about what built-in headphone amplifiers can really do, but the difference here is unmistakeable.

Bass performance improved hugely when the Logitech UE 9000 amp is engaged. Sub-bass performance is really quite phenomenal, making these some of the most exciting headphones for dance music we’ve ever heard. It’s so powerful that it has that physical effect of a subwoofer, where you not only hear the bass, but feel it.

Audio purists may shake their head at such things, of course, but it’s so low down that it doesn’t muddle-up the sound. And it’s incredibly fun too.

Verdict

The Logitech UE 9000 wireless headphones have a richer feature set than just about any other set of cans on the market. Features include Bluetooth wireless, noise cancellation, integrated microphones and even an integrated amplifier. All these extra bits and bobs send the price sky high though, and the fidelity of the sound can’t match the best at £300. However, switch on the internal amp and they offer some of the most exciting bass of any headphones. If you like your dance music pumping, there are few better sets for the job. However, Ultimate Ears also makes a cheaper non-wireless model that you should check out if you don’t mind using a cable.

Overall Score

8

Scores In Detail

  • Design & Features 8
  • Sound Quality 8
  • Value 7

schriss

March 7, 2013, 1:27 pm

What other Bluetooth APT-X headphones would offer similar sub-bass experience for lower price? Or would using portable amplifier with some reasonably priced Bluetooth APT-X headphones make them produce sub-bass similar to those EU 9000?

Andrew_TR

March 7, 2013, 3:41 pm

This is the problem. If you want wireless, they're among the best. However, I would personally forgo the wireless and go for the Sennheiser Momentum. Do you really need wireless?

Using a portable amp won't magically get you that low bass performance - in some sets it won't increase bass at all.

schriss

March 7, 2013, 7:54 pm

Thanks for response. I already have wired headphones and now have a need for wireless, for different use case. Also found these EU 9000 for a better price online, so decided to give them a try :-)

khaled mourad

March 7, 2013, 9:42 pm

i prefer UE 6000 for half the price

Andrew_TR

March 8, 2013, 12:23 pm

Nice, let us know what you think.

schriss

April 2, 2013, 1:26 pm

Well, I have them for few weeks now. Obviously I was expecting a lot and at first was a bit disappointed with lack of solid bass. Then I noticed much better audio when used with my Asus Padfone 2 phone. Not sure if it has Apt-X codec but it was a big improvement. I was able to configure myself an equalizer on the phone that gives me desired bass levels.

I will retry my experiments when my Apt-X bluetooth dongle arrives.
I don't think they sound better than my wired in-ear HippoVB, those produce really punchy sub-bass and yet are still "crisp" in sound. I find it strange that such tiny in-ear speakers can output such a loud and punchy sound, maybe that's why I expected even more from UE9000 knowing they are much bigger.

Overall I'm very happy, they sound great and I do not hear any hissing sounds I read about related to active noise cancellation. Battery lasts a long time and build quality is very good. They are also very comfortable. I'm now using them everyday at home, while my wired HippoVB serve me when commuting or when at work.

zavix

June 25, 2013, 10:14 pm

Well, they have a very decent sound quality but the hissing issue exists, there is a video that point it out, just search on YouTube for: ue 9000 noise problem

Guest

September 5, 2013, 7:41 pm

I set out to buy a pair of Beats Audio Studio headphones. I noticed that they had released a wireless Bluetooth model but also noticed that most of the reviews were unfavourable. Given that I needed active noise cancellation and now Bluetooth my choice seemed to be limited to just four models (of the over ear design); the Logitech UE 9000, the Sony MDR-1RNC, the Sennheiser MM550X & the Parrot Zic. Whilst I appreciate that every person's opinion re aesthetics will be different, I was able to eliminate the Parrot immediately simply because I couldn't imagine feeling comfortable walking around outside wearing them.

The Sennheisers were harder to dismiss. Along with BOSE, Sennheiser enjoy a good reputation for their noise cancellation processing. BOSE, by the way, make Bluetooth headphones and they make noise cancelling headphones. They do not, however, make noise cancelling Bluetooth headphones of the over ear type.

And so the decision was made that I'd go for the UE 9000s & my partner would get the MDR-1RNCs (next week). Having had a few days to get to know them I'm now in a position to share with you my initial thoughts. I'll be doing the same for the MDR -1RNCs when they arrive. There will then be an update comparing the relative strengths & weaknesses of the two models. It is my intention to post an identical review against the Logitechs & the Sonys to (hopefully) help anyone who is considering getting either of those items. I will post periodic updates as time goes by.

Receiving & unboxing the UE 9000s was an absolute delight. The attention to detail & quality of the packaging scream that hear is a product that we are extremely proud of. It certainly made me feel that if they'd paid this much attention to detail with the packaging there was a fair chance that the same level of care and attention was applied to the design and assembly of the product. The exterior of the cups are not gloss black (as I was expecting) but rather a beautiful blue/black with a perfectly discreet ability to subtly alter colour (ever so slightly) when exposed to bright sunlight. It's the sort of finish that would cost a small fortune if ordered as part of your new Audi or BMW specification.!

The headphones themselves are beautiful. Beautifully designed and built from quality materials (primarily metal & a composite used in the manufacturing of high end spectacles). They're not the lightest but are extremely comfortable. I had read that some people had found that the ear cups were too small. I have big sticky out ears that were a constant source of ribbing in my school days. My ears fit the cups perfectly; it's snug but in no way whatsoever uncomfortable. I have found that my ears get hot & sweaty but the temperature has been high twenties and I think that it's a feature of over ear headphones rather than a particular problem with this design. They'll be wonderful during the colder months for sure. The Bluetooth keeps connected without any hiss, pops or bangs provided you remain within sight (or close to within sight of the music source). If you wander too far, there is just a brief dropout which is soon rectified. The Bluetooth seems to buffer the music which doesn't bother me at all. Avid SongPop addicts may do better to attach the chord to totally eliminate any potential lag caused by the buffering process when they're doing battle.!

Set up could not have been easier. You can pair up to eight devices to the headphones; a process that is as easy as it could possibly be. Battery life is very good and if the battery runs out you can continue to listen to your music via the (supplied) lead. In this configuration the noise cancellation is inactive. When using Bluetooth the noise cancellation is effective at keeping external noise from interfering with sound quality but when the noise cancelling is used without listening to music I can hear little or no benefit beyond the passive insulation offered by the soft cups. I suspect that BOSE are still best in this regard if it's important to you although you will, of course, lose the cordless option whilst listening to music. The internal battery is user removable and replaceable should the need arise.

Sound quality is simply outstanding. I used to run a pair of stripped down Quad electrostatic speakers. The sound quality reminds me so much of that glorious sound but with the benefit of a really well integrated sub woofer (something that was notoriously difficult to do with the Quads). If you listening to music that is of roughly CD quality you'll not need to utilise any tone controls or graphic equalisers. The music will shine just as nature (or the producer) intended. If you don't know what stripped down Quad electrostatics sound like, I'm very sorry, but there really isn't anything else that I've ever heard that sounds so.. just right.. and yes.. there really are times when it does feel like there's been a subwoofer implanted into your head but it's only apparent when the music demands it. Am I impressed.?.. you bet.!.. Would I recommend them.?.. Definitely.!..

Richard Lucas

September 5, 2013, 8:25 pm

I set out to buy a pair of Beats Audio Studio headphones. I noticed that they had released a wireless Bluetooth model but also noticed that most of the reviews were unfavourable. Given that I needed active noise cancellation and now Bluetooth my choice seemed to be limited to just four models (of the over ear design); the Logitech UE 9000, the Sony MDR-1RNC, the Sennheiser MM550X & the Parrot Zic. Whilst I appreciate that every person's opinion re aesthetics will be different, I was able to eliminate the Parrot immediately simply because I couldn't imagine feeling comfortable walking around outside wearing them.

The Sennheisers were harder to dismiss. Along with BOSE, Sennheiser enjoy a good reputation for their noise cancellation processing. BOSE, by the way, make Bluetooth headphones and they make noise cancelling headphones. They do not, however, make noise cancelling Bluetooth headphones of the over ear type.

And so the decision was made that I'd go for the UE 9000s & my partner would get the MDR-1RNCs (next week). Having had a few days to get to know them I'm now in a position to share with you my initial thoughts. I'll be doing the same for the MDR -1RNCs when they arrive. There will then be an update comparing the relative strengths & weaknesses of the two models. It is my intention to post an identical review against the Logitechs & the Sonys to (hopefully) help anyone who is considering getting either of those items. I will post periodic updates as time goes by.

Receiving & unboxing the UE 9000s was an absolute delight. The attention to detail & quality of the packaging scream that here is a product that we are extremely proud of. It certainly made me feel that if they'd paid this much attention to detail with the packaging there was a fair chance that the same level of care and attention was applied to the design and assembly of the product. The exterior of the cups are not gloss black (as I was expecting) but rather a beautiful blue/black with a perfectly discreet ability to subtly alter colour (ever so slightly) when exposed to bright sunlight. It's the sort of finish that would cost a small fortune if ordered as part of your new Audi or BMW specification.!

The headphones themselves are beautiful. Beautifully designed and built from quality materials (primarily metal & a composite used in the manufacturing of high end spectacles). They're not the lightest but are extremely comfortable. I had read that some people had found that the ear cups were too small. I have big sticky out ears that were a constant source of ribbing in my school days. My ears fit the cups perfectly; it's snug but in no way whatsoever uncomfortable. I have found that my ears get hot & sweaty but the temperature has been high twenties and I think that it's a feature of over ear headphones rather than a particular problem with this design. They'll be wonderful during the colder months for sure. The Bluetooth keeps connected without any hiss, pops or bangs provided you remain within sight (or close to within sight of the music source). If you wander too far, there is just a brief dropout which is soon rectified. The Bluetooth seems to buffer the music which doesn't bother me at all. Avid SongPop addicts may do better to attach the chord to totally eliminate any potential lag caused by the buffering process when they're doing battle.!

Set up could not have been easier. You can pair up to eight devices to the headphones; a process that is as easy as it could possibly be. Battery life is very good and if the battery runs out you can continue to listen to your music via the (supplied) lead. In this configuration the noise cancellation is inactive. When using Bluetooth the noise cancellation is effective at keeping external noise from interfering with sound quality but when the noise cancelling is used without listening to music I can hear little or no benefit beyond the passive insulation offered by the soft cups. I suspect that BOSE are still best in this regard if it's important to you although you will, of course, lose the cordless option whilst listening to music. The internal battery is user removable and replaceable should the need arise.

Sound quality is simply outstanding. I used to run a pair of stripped down Quad electrostatic speakers. The sound quality reminds me so much of that glorious sound but with the benefit of a really well integrated sub woofer (something that was notoriously difficult to do with the Quads). If you listening to music that is of roughly CD quality you'll not need to utilise any tone controls or graphic equalisers. The music will shine just as nature (or the producer) intended. If you don't know what stripped down Quad electrostatics sound like, I'm very sorry, but there really isn't anything else that I've ever heard that sounds so.. just right.. and yes.. there really are times when it does feel like there's been a subwoofer implanted into your head but it's only apparent when the music demands it. Am I impressed.?.. you bet.!.. Would I recommend them.?.. Definitely.!..

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