Review : Ultimate Ears (UE) 4 and 4vi (iPhone version 4 vi)

Review : Ultimate Ears (UE) 4 and 4vi (iPhone version 4 vi)


Musically these earphones are very good, it just that they reproduce the sound, in the words of the great Frank Sinatra – My way. If you like ‘their way’ then these are the perfect earphones for you. You can listen to music you know well, they will get out of the way and let you enjoy your music – but they do not hold up to critical listening – it is very easy to pick the sound apart and they make no attempt at hiding the flaws. UE Super.Fi 4vi - Box

I personally found them to be very difficult to define – until you actually listen to a particular piece of music, you just don’t know if they will excel or fail. In a sense it is like you are taking part in a musical lottery. In any genre you can listen to one track which has great guitars and bass and in the same genre another song – it will all go wrong.

I think the Shure SE210 have a slight edge and for critical listeners they are the choice – I would suggest doing some listening tests before committing to either one. The iPhone integration is good and they make the perfect upgrade for the standard Apple earphones. UE Super.Fi 4vi - Earphones

If your budget is tight and you are not a critical listener then save you money and buy the Metro.Fi.

Update (15 Jan 2008)

After my listening test, they reminded me of another earphone – the Shure E4c, they both have sharp and very harsh high response – but the Super.Fi 4 are warmer in the lower end.


  • iPhone compatible
  • Musically competent sound
  • Ideal upgrade from the Apple earphones
  • Value for money


  • Lacking Mid range
  • High end response is sharp and harsh

11 thoughts on “Review : Ultimate Ears (UE) 4 and 4vi (iPhone version 4 vi)

  1. Jay


    Hope you changed your mind, I like you am partial to bass. I listen to allot of Reggae, and hip hop. That said I was disappointed with the 4’s I gave them a day trial, but I’m going to try and return them. Believe it or not my last pair of earphones (Ear candy – Smoking buds) were about quarter the price and sounded twice as good. They weren’t equipped with the microphone and I needed an adapter, but they sounded Waaaaaay better.

  2. Tarkan Post author

    If you like the 5EB bass and that is something you look for – 4 will come across too cold for you. I suggest looking at either the Metro.Fi or Futuresonics Atrio M5, both of which have better bottom end response compared to the 4’s.

  3. matt

    I love loads of bass, but i hated the 5EB’s midrange….far too unpredictable. with that in mind, would you recommend the 4’s to me?

  4. Tarkan Post author

    Kind of – but the difference is that 5EB midrange suffers from the over loose booming bottom end.

    I would say with the 5EB you do have the scope to push up the mid and highs obviously you cannot do much to the flappy bass response.

    Horses for courses – I personally do not like the 5EB but I have met a few people who love them – partly because of personal taste but also due to the types of music they listen to, and the experience they want.

  5. Matt

    From your review, they seem to lean towards the ‘unpredictable’ midrange that the 5EB’s suffer from! Although, i’m still thinking of getting a pair.

  6. Tarkan Post author

    That is why in my reviews I try and stick to the facts without adding my own preferences – some people love a crisp high end and some don’t!

    I tend to via for a good balance between detail and sharpness. I personally found the 4 to swing closer to the sharpness end of the scale.

  7. wh!telight

    Mine arrived via Parcelforce from the US this morning, these earphones really are superb for the price, and their aluminium casing makes them look even more stylish. When I get the chance, I’d love to compare these to the V-MODA earphones as these are both aimed at the ‘fashionable consumer’ with similar pricing..

    I have KRK RP6 studio monitors for reference, obviously the Super.Fi 4’s aren’t *quite* in the same league but they deliver exceptionally clean sound with a crisp high end, if you own Klipsch speakers or speakers with high end tweeters, this sound will be familiar to you.

    It’s personal preference, I love the high end on these.

    Anyone in the UK who wants to buy them, I recommend who are one of the few who will ship the UK..

    Great review!

  8. Pingback: IPhone » Review : Ultimate Ears (UE) 4 & 4vi (iPhone version)

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