Review: Ultimate Ears 18+PRO – Take my money

DAC/AMP

 

I stick to my point of view, the AudioQuest DragonFly RED is one of THE best buys you can do, especially if you’re on the go a lot, don’t want to carry around big(ger) gear or if you even want to use your phone as source. The UE18+PRO with the RED sounds powerful, clear, rich and musical. As with the Earsonics EM10, the RED is a perfect companion. Yes, the bass is a little bigger in body but it goes deep and keeps the quality and layering. What’s not to like? The RED rocks and you can add the 18+PRO to the list of “best synergy monitors”.

The Chord Electronics Mojo is clear, precise and detailed and with the UE 18+PRO it delivers excellent speed, tight punchy bass, rich mids, good vocals and energetic treble. The combination is good but and while it’s technically stronger than the RED, it doesn’t move me as much. IT’s one of the issues I’ve always had with the Mojo and it’s also why I prefer the Hugo 1 and 2 over it. The synergy certainly isn’t bad but it’s not as magical.

The Chord Hugo 2 is just so much more emotional with improved layering and naturalness. The 18+PRO’s bass might not be as tight or fast as on the Mojo, but it’s richer and better layered. The same goes for the mids and the vocals, they’re just more natural, more “real” and the digital character of the Mojo is simply not present. The UE 18+PRO and Hugo 2 combo rocks my boat, that’s a fact.

Conclusion

There are so many great sounding monitors on the market right now and luckily they don’t all sound alike. The new UE 18+PRO comes with the new True Tone drivers, the Linum SuperBax cable and a new IPX connector. On top of that it also sounds heavenly and it has like the best hard case ever.

If you take into account the fact that it only has six drivers, than there’s no other choice than to put the UE18+PRO on our recommended CIEM list. Yes it’s that good and special, even for $1499.

I was supposed to get the V3 version in for comparison later, but I’m thinking of getting the LIVE monitor instead. It would be great to compare both monitors to each other, if Ultimate Ears and Fischer audio are interested of course. Seeing how nice this 18+PRO already is, the LIVE should be nothing less than spectacular.

 

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Lieven is living in Europe and he's the leader of the gang. He's running Headfonia as a side project next to his full time day job in Digital Marketing & Consultancy. He's a big fan of tube amps and custom inear monitors and has published hundreds of product reviews over the years.

8 Comments

  • Reply June 21, 2018

    Thomas Alessandro

    Great review as always. I have had the UE18 rps for 6 years the best thing about UE is the repair service its a flat fee of $99 US and no matter what’s wrong with your monitors they fix them for this price. I just loss my bass in both ears and UE came to the rescue and upgraded my monitors to the new UE 18 pro + free of charge. Hows that for customer service.

    Eagerly awaiting your Astell and Kern SP100 review as thats on my list to purchase! I also have the Campfire Vega which musically are brilliant, unfortunately i cant find any tips to make them comfortable for more than 30 minutes so i have them on the market and will probably get some Vision Ears to compliment my UE. Love the site and all the reviews are fantastic thanks Headfonia team keep up the great work.

  • Reply June 22, 2018

    JH

    Interesting, getting a $1500 product for free and not a single bad point. And the opening feels like a marketing blurb that UE/Logitech wrote. I’d believe it if you paid UE for real rather than scream take my money in the title

    • Reply June 22, 2018

      Lieven

      Reading, it’s not for everyone I know. But there are several negative points in the review, especially regarding build quality. And then there’s the IPX connector that we don’t know how will react in the long run.There’s the missing things in the online creator tool, etc etc.

      cfr the intro: If you look at the UE site, you’ll see its what they wrote, there’s no secret about that my dear reader, it’s also why that part is in Italic.

    • Reply July 1, 2018

      XiaXueYi

      You’ll just have to listen to you for yourself. There are no headphones or IEMs that cover everything and every taste, but it’s like what he’s written, and looking at /audiophile under Reddit you’ll see a lot of UE18+ love as well.

      I only wished they told existing UE18+ owners or those buying UE18+ within ~6months of buying that they would be rolling up the new cable system. Many other IEM companies like Noble do inform their customers about upcoming upgrades and it’s a bummer some of us bought the older UE18+ just months before the new Superbax came out. It’ll be a pain to send it back for an upgrade.

  • Reply June 30, 2018

    Thomas Alessandro

    i thing to add is if you are an existing UE CIEM customer pretty sure you will get a 30% discount which is substantial.

  • Reply July 1, 2018

    XiaXueYi

    Thank you for finally posting this review! In my opinion the UE18+ is one of the most well-received TOTL CIEMs and every CIEM lover should at least listen to it once, if not buy it.

    Some people would disagree with me but I would describe the UERR as the younger brother; similar sound signature with slightly lesser performance in the technicalities.

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