Share the sound of UERR on the ToGo!
PROS: neutral accurate tonality, transparency, resolution, soundstage expansion.
CONS: not a common 2pin connector, very polite sub-bass with a neutral mid-bass.
The product was provided to me free of charge for the review purpose in exchange for my honest opinion.
Even though I mentioned in my recent UERR review (https://twister6.com/2016/10/24/ue-uerr/) about upcoming Universal version of UERR, I didn’t realize it will arrive that soon! Typically, with an exception of UE900s, Ultimate Ears Pro monitors are only available in Custom fit shell design, requiring you to get in-ear impression. As much as CIEM design is convenient for stage musicians and studio engineers, or those who require maximum isolation without fiddling with eartips, there are still many audiophiles and audio enthusiasts who can’t tolerate deep in-ear insertion of CIEM and prefer to have a choice of universal fit. Also, universal model takes the pressure off the custom “commitment” which comes in handy if you decide to upgrade your IEM down the road. Plus, universal IEM provides some flexibility to fine tune the sound while tip-rolling (switching between different eartips to tighten or to relax the seal).
Regardless if you decide to go with Custom or Universal shell, it’s always good to have a choice. After listening to their customers, that’s exactly what Ultimate Ears decided to do – give the choice of either the original Custom UERR or the new Universal UERR ToGo. My interpretation of this nickname, which btw used as an actual reference name by UE, is that you just take UERR with you “to go” without a need for impressions or extra effort associated with inserting CIEMs in your ears. For me personally, the biggest advantage of ToGo is being able to SHARE the sound of UERR with my family and my friends, something I wasn’t able to do with CIEM version of UERR. At the same time, now you won’t have any excuses if someone wants to borrow your UERR 😉
In the past, I had a few opportunities to test and to compare Universal and Custom shells of the same in-ear monitors, and found some differences in sound tuning along with the obvious difference of the shell design. That’s expected since you are going from a custom mold to a generic shell and if you consider the variation of distance between eardrum and drivers which can affect the sound. While waiting to receive UERR ToGo, I was getting ready to do my usual sound analysis, pair up testing, and comparison. But instead it turned out to be a big surprise when I realized that I’m looking at almost identical design with nearly identical tuning.
UERR ToGo has what I would consider as “custom” Universal shell design where the nozzle is narrowed down to form a universally shaped tip with a narrow lip for secure attachment of common eartips. The inner shell side was also modified by trimming down the Concha Cymba part of the mold to make it fit any ear. This side by side picture speaks louder than words:
And the new fit feels and looks no different than a custom:
After spending a few weeks of listening and comparison, the only noticeable difference I hear is with Custom UERR having a little wider soundstage. Both have the same tonality, the same sound signature, and the same resolution and layering of instruments and vocals. Soundstage width is the only difference I hear, and even that is subjective due to my ear canal anatomy. Thus, I found no reason to go into the design and the sound analysis and comparison for UERR ToGo, and instead recommend to read my original UERR review https://twister6.com/2016/10/24/ue-uerr/ where everything is still applicable to ToGo version. Even the design was kept the same, a clear transparent shell with a while piano finish faceplate carrying a signature “Capitol Studios” and “UE” labels.
The only big difference turned out to be in packaging and accessories. Unlike other reviews where these sections are usually featured in the beginning of my write up, in this mini-review everything got shuffled around.
Unboxing and Accessories.
While UE could have used their original box from Custom UERR model or maybe recycle the box from their Universal UE900s, they actually decided to treat us with an all new packaging which still looks very classy. The magnetic flip cover of the small square box (110mm x 110mm x 70mm) opens up to reveal the main compartment with CNC aluminum round storage case which has UERR and accessories inside, and also an accessory sleeve built into the cover with eartips tray. This is one of those packaging boxes which you would want to keep.
The included accessories will look very familiar to UERR users since you have the same metal storage case, except without an engraved name, and also UE Buffer Jack along with 1/4” adapter and cleaning tool. Presence of the adapter and the buffer jack is always a good reminder that UERR monitors are popular among studio producers and musicians working with desktop recording equipment.
Cleaning tool is a necessity because you still have 3 bore nozzle design which you need to keep clean by periodically scooping out the accumulated earwax. Eartips have been “borrowed” from UE900s where UE decided to include 6 pairs of their custom color-coded silicone eartips and 3 pairs of their custom color-coded foam eartips. Definitely a good idea since these are quality eartips, and you are getting a nice variety of different sizes to find the exact fit.
This is probably the first C/IEM review where I talked very little about the design and skipped the sound, pair up, and comparison sections. I found it to be not necessary and encourage people to read my original Custom UERR review to find out what you are in for with Universal UERR. With an exception of a little soundstage width difference (which as I mentioned could be due to my ear anatomy), the design of Universal UERR version looks and sounds the same. Well done UE, and I hope you will continue this trend with your other UE Pro models. As a matter of fact, I believe the recently announced UE Pro 18+ flagship will follow the same footsteps.