UM Mage Customs

When I heard the JH13 universal demo pair a while back ago, I was really thoroughly impressed. There it was, a $1099 product that seriously kicks the butt off a lot of full size headphones. Though I was very, very impressed with the JH13, I didn’t really want to pay $1099 for it, and so my experience was limited to the universal demo unit.

I may not be able to do a direct comparison to the JH13, but what I can say is that the Mage impresses me the same way I was impressed with the JH13. Here is another custom IEM that seriously challenge a lot of full size headphones, and definitely on a different level than the current $300 universal IEMs.

Let’s talk about the soundstage first, since I think that’s the most kickass part of this IEM. Upon first listen, I was already impressed. No universal IEMs are going to match the Mage in terms of soundstage, not even the IE8, not even the Baby Stax. Then, as I’m writing the draft for this review, I became curious, and I tried to do a comparison between the Mage and the AKG K701, something you’re all familiar with.

So what was the result? The Mage has a soundstage on par as the soundstage on the AKG K701. Yes, I’m A-B ing between a full size AKG K701 and an IEM, and I find their soundstage to be on the same level. The full size K701 presents soundstage in a different way than the Mage, but somehow I find the soundstage on the Mage more realistic. Maybe it’s because of the depth. The soundstage width may be a little smaller in the Mage, but the Mage has a much deeper depth in the soundstage, making the K701 sounding very two-dimensional in comparison. Not only that, but the Mage has a much much better instrument separation than the K701. If the vocals and the different instruments are well separated in the AKG K701, the Mage goes the extra mile to put some real space between those instruments, resulting in a better image on the overall position of the band. This was through a direct comparison utilizing the two headphone outs in the Grace M902 amplifier.

If the Mage trounces the K701 in terms of soundstage, then it will probably trounce 90% of the other full size headphones in terms of soundstage as well. Good thing we still have good cans like the HD800 to defend full size headphones from these scary good custom IEMs. Nevertheless, the days where IEMs are inferior to full size headphones are over. I’d really hate to see this happen, but I see a future filled with custom IEMs, and full size headphones becoming as obscure as film in photography.

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22 Comments

  • Reply April 2, 2010

    Jose

    Hello,

    Very good review, enjoyed it very much! You should correct on Page 5, paragraph 2, line 2-3, “Red for right side, and clear for the right side, just so I can get a good look of what’s inside.”. Also, I hope you get the HE-5 soon, I already have them and I am sure you will complement them a lot in the review, looking forward to reading it. I like the site very much too, keep up the good impressions.

    Bests,

    Jose Gz.

  • Reply April 3, 2010

    Jose

    Are you planning on getting the plastic HE5LE?

  • Reply April 3, 2010

    Jose

    Sorry for that, you already replied in the other review.

  • Reply July 15, 2010

    Rushabh

    Hey! Awesome review.

    Will you be reviewing UM’s six driver custom, the Miracle?

    Also, how exactly do you think the Mage stands upto the JH13Pro?

    • Reply July 16, 2010

      Mike

      Hi Rushabh,
      No plans to review the UM Miracle at the moment. There are so many customs these days, and it's hard to cover them all, especially as we also try to cover a lot of other things. 🙂

      As for JHAudio to Unique Melody comparisons, I posted a little bit about that on this thread: http://headfonia.com/bbpress/topic.php?id=7

      Cheers.

  • Reply July 28, 2010

    Stephen Guo

    Thank you for reviewing our UM Mage.

    If you are interested in reviewing other UM products, you can contact me.

    Responding to your last page, UM has no more broken English!

    We are the exclusive distributor of UM in North America:
    http://www.custom-iem.com

    UM makes great products that makes me think they deserve to publicize their products in good English to English speakers.

    If you have any inquires, feel free to contact me at stephenguo@live.com

  • Reply October 27, 2010

    laon

    Hi mike, how much the total cost for you to get this custom? including the fit and shipping.

    Thanks. 🙂

  • Reply October 29, 2010

    laon

    bump for my above comment, sorry, delete this if you need.

  • Reply September 30, 2011

    Azor Ruiz

    Hi Mike,

    any new of when you’ll review the new UMs? Namely the Merlin, and Miracle?
    or even Merlin vs JH16 since both of them claim to have very good bass?

    • Reply September 30, 2011

      Anonymous

      Hi Azor, haven’t made any plans for a UM review but I’ll consider it. Thanks. 

  • Reply October 20, 2011

    Adam Nie

    Hi, since the link below expired, can you please post some information about how the sound signature of jh and um differ? I’m quite interested in the jh13 and the mage lol.

  • Reply November 5, 2011

    Hahn

    Hi Mike,

    I just want to ask if the westone 4 can keep up with the Mage as i cant decide between the two of them. How’s the bass on both when it comes to quantity and which is better overall? Thanks mate 🙂 

  • Reply November 16, 2011

    Seraphan

    Hey there I am looking to upgrade from Triple Fi to a custom with budget of around US$600. I am going to use it straight out from the iphone 4. I am looking for something that is close to but better than triple fi. Do you think the mage will fit my criteria? Or should i just reshell my triple fi and add in 3 driver? Thanks.

    • Reply November 17, 2011

      Anonymous

      Hi Seraphan,
      The UM reshelled Triple.Fi with 3 additional drivers is one of the best custom IEMs I’ve tried, and I’d definitely recommend it even more than the Mage. It has a nice forward sound like the original TF10, but with better quality all around and a much smoother frequency response curve (especially in the midrange region).

      • Reply November 17, 2011

        Seraphan

        Thanks a lot for your reply. Your comment seems to match some of my friends… How do you compare it with JH10x3, JH13 pro, Jh16?

        • Reply November 17, 2011

          Anonymous

          Hi Seraphan,
          The 6-drivers Triple.Fi refit is like the JH13 but less dark. Same forward sound, engaging and fun, just a little more sparkle on the treble.
          So it would depend on your music and recording, as some people find the JH13 to be a bit too dark for them.

          • Reply November 17, 2011

            Seraphan

            Wow seems like a winner… Thanks alot for your your info 🙂

            • Reply November 17, 2011

              Anonymous

              It is a winner product — just no buzz on it.

  • Reply May 3, 2012

    Special_KARZ

    Just had the weirdest idea… Is it ever possible to wire a TRRS plug and mic to the Mage? Thinking of using it as a basic (pause, play, back, forward, call/end) control for iPhone.

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