Gear Review: Ultrasone PRO 2900 Headphones

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Regardless of whether or not you are a DJ, producer, or audio aficionado, you absolutely need a pair of premium headphones in your life. When engineers mix and master tracks, every ounce of perceivable audio is squeezed between the speakers, from the sub frequencies of 20Hz, all the way up to the top of the register at 20kHz. For you to properly hear every nuance in your music, and to deliver the most uplifting musical experience possible, a quality listening platform is paramount.

While every type of music would benefit from a good pair of over-ear monitors (there are two categories of pro headphones on the market: closed back and open back), the unique demands of today’s electronic dance music truly puts any speaker to the sonic test. Fortunately the brilliant audio engineers from Germany’s Ultrasone have built a finely crafted professional level headphone perfectly suited for all genres, especially the dance music experience.

The Ultrasone PRO 2900 headphone (MSRP: $549) is of the open back variety. Generally speaking, the closed back headphones are good if you have other audible sounds in the room in which you are listening, while the closed back phones are ideal if you have a quiet room. With open back headphones you also generally have much better bass response, and the Pro 2900 is by no means an exception.

Compared to many other headphones in this same price range, this is the finest unit I have ever tested.

The frequency response of these headphones is well beyond the range of human hearing, going from a low 6Hz, to an incredible 42kHz! From a volume perspective, this unit delivers 96 dB from the 40mm titanium plated drivers housed within the phones. Upon first listen, these headphones sound absolutely amazing. The highs are razor sharp, and the bass has enough rumble that you would think there was a sub in the room. From a mix engineer’s perspective, the response is fairly neutral (all frequencies at same amplitude); however, the general EQ highlights a bit more bass, and a tad bit at the top end, which with enough use is easy to correct for.

The truly unique feature that really separates this headphone from everything else out there (be it cheaper or more expensive), is the S-Logic technology enclosed within. Basically this system is a way of positioning the sound in each ear to simulate what it is actually like to listen to a stereo mix on a pair of actual speakers. When listening to music, you don’t just hear the left speaker in your left ear, you also hear the left speaker in your right ear. S-Logic brilliantly addresses this issue, and leaves the listener with a much more natural and organic audio experience. Compared to many other headphones in this same price range, this is the finest unit I have ever tested. If your current cans are leaving you wishing there was more to your music, then its time to step it up to Ultrasone’s S-Logic revolution.

Praxis

3 Comments

  1. I have a pair and largely agree with the reviewer here. What he neglected to mention is that what sets this apart from many others in it’s price category, that are perhaps even better in quality, is the fact that the impedances are rated at 40 ohms vs 150 or 300 ohms of similar Sennheisers and others, so it can be used with an ipod and no headphone amplifier is needed.

  2. I had the predecessor, the HDI 2400, which was already fantastic. Now switched to the PRO 2900 before it goes completely out of stock, because Ultrasone seem to plan on reserving only the high-end and entry model ranges for open back headphones. Because having an open back model with this kind of spatial setup (S-Logic) is insanely great for the listening (and working!) experience, and I agree with the previous commenter that the impedances are also a big factor. (Ultrasone used to really push this as a selling point.) Some reviewers criticize the perceived boost of the high and low ends of the PRO 2900 spectrum, but in reality it’s very homogenous, and having this kind of sound quality lets you actually mix (and even pre-master) music and sound with these headphones. Depending on the source material these headphones can actually be *better* than mid-priced loudspeakers, especially with orchestral and other “wide” recordings. Be that as it may, mastering and dub studios had no problems whatsoever finalizing the mixes I had created, even with the HDI 2400. You tend to boost the low and high ends in a mix with other headphones, and with an open back Ultrasone you won’t fall into that trap. As for the listening experience, it can be harrowing, not because the headphones are bad, but because they are so good: if you listen to a bad recording/mix/master, be it pop music or a movie or the audio of a low-res home-made video on YouTube, you will hear every error, every slight ADR color variation, every spatial imbalance, every frequency imperfection, that’s how good they are. On the other hand, listening to near-perfect soundtracks, e.g. of a high-budget movie, is a much better experience than in most movie theatres.

  3. Thanks very much for your thoughtful comment.

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