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Headphone Sessions 11/16/2012: Ultrasone Signature Pro; The Best Ultrasone Ever!

The Ultrasone Signature Pro ($1,299) has been around for a while, but we just got around to putting it through our listening tests and review process.  The title is no exaggeration, but read on to find out why we don’t think it’s much of a compliment. [caption id="attachment_2574" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Ultrasone Signature Pro[/caption] Ultrasone is no newbie in the world of high-end, or at least expensive, headphones.  The Edition 8 and Edition 10 models have been around for years, but neither is a total stand-out for sonic performance, only for the extravagant aesthetics and rarefied materials used in construction.  Unfortunately for Ultrasone, the Signature Pro still isn’t a sound quality stand-out within its full size closed category. The presentation of the Signature Pro is well-controlled and balanced, which is more than we can say for the majority of the Ultrasone cans, however, we have never been fans of the “S-Logic” process as it seems to cause discontinuity in the soundstage by creating an artificial sense of space in the mid-range frequencies. The fit didn’t receive top marks because the earpads tended to lose their seal around the bottom of the ear and the leather headband and pads have a tacky finish that tends to pull the user’s hair, especially those with longer hair.  The headphone is a tough black plastic construction except for the outer earpieces which are framed in tempered glass; however, no one will know it’s glass unless you tell them and we have to think anyone who’s spent the $1,300 on these cans might tell everyone about the cool glass earcups to justify its top-tier premium! The Signature Pro seems geared toward the “pro” audio market for a reference and tracking headphone for studio and sound engineering use.  If you’re looking for a closed reference and tracking headphone over the $1,000 mark, we recommend the Fostex TH-900 as the most accurate closed headphone since the discontinuation of the old Denon AH-D7000.  The D7000’s replacement, the AH-D7100 has a more spacious presentation, but the Signature Pro maintains better clarity and balance.  Ultimately, for good tracking and reference cans for studio and live sound, it’s hard to beat the affordable Shure SRH 440 or 840, the Audio Technica ATH-M50, or the good ol’ standby Sennheiser HD 25-1-II. For more information on the Signature Pro or for expert advice on a headphone for your specific application call 800-828-8184.  Our experts are standing by, or in HeadRoom’s case, sitting in front of a listening station rediscovering our music collections while trying to keep our drool off the gear!

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